Photo: Andrew Champagne
Mother Nature wreaked havoc on Wednesday’s card at Saratoga.
In addition to flat races being forced off the turf, NYRA made the decision to
cancel the day’s steeplechase race (the first such decision since July of
Among the races forced off the grass was the $100,000 Troy
Stakes, which became a 5 ½ furlong dirt sprint. Only five horses contested the
event, but it featured no shortage of drama.
Spring to the Sky survived both a steward’s inquiry and a
trainer’s objection and emerged with his third consecutive victory. The
5-year-old son of Langfuhr, who took down a $100,000 stakes race on turf
earlier this meet, notched his sixth win in 23 career starts, and in doing so
knocked off a Grade 1 winner.
Dads Caps, who won the Carter earlier this year, was sent
off as the 1/2 favorite, and he loomed an imposing presence as the field turned
for home. However, he could not get by Spring to the Sky, and just barely held
on for second ahead of the surging Sandy’z Slew, who finished eight lengths
ahead of the rest of the field.
The inquiry and objection looked into the stretch run, where
the top two horses both drifted away from the inside rail. After a short wait,
the stewards opted to let the original results stand, and as such awarded $7.40
for every successful win wager on Spring to the Sky.
- The day’s other big news came away from the track,
specifically regarding the announcer’s booth that sits above it. Larry Collmus
was introduced as the heir apparent to Tom Durkin, who is retiring at the end
of the Saratoga meet.
Collmus currently serves as the track announcer at both
Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park, and was previously the voice of Monmouth
Park (where one of his most famous calls, the battle between Mywifenosevrything
and Thewifedoesntknow, took place). He’ll begin his job with NYRA in April of
- Chalk players were left tossing their tickets at the top
of the stretch during the second race. Shireffa, who was sent away the
even-money favorite, was left in the muddy wake of Desert Valentine, who
improved to 2-for-2 with an impressive score in her first try against winners.
Last seen running away with a maiden claimer at Belmont
Park, the Wild Desert filly rated behind the favorite, who set sizzling
fractions over the slow track. In fact, while Desert Valentine frolicked in the
mud, Shireffa could do no better than a fading fourth.
- Amulay allowed owner Roddy Valente to celebrate his
birthday in style after the fourth race. The 4-year-old filly recorded her
seventh lifetime win by splashing home two lengths clear of 2-1 favorite
Ginny’s Grey in one of the races taken off the turf.
Last seen running fourth in the slop at Monmouth Park,
Amulay and jockey John Velazquez were received by a crowded winner’s circle
after the score, which came after the pair stalked early pace-setter Jane’s
Heir, who tired and finished a distant third.
- When the sixth race came off the turf, a powerful set of
main-track-only horses drew in. Two of them ran 1-2, and trainer Todd Pletcher
recorded his 20th win of the meet with 6/5 favorite Eastwood.
Winless in 2014 and a beaten favorite last out at Belmont
Park behind Confrontation, Eastwood rated behind Dubai returnee Zee Bros. On a
day where the muddy track wasn’t kind to early speed, the early pace-setter
retreated in midstretch, and Eastwood drew well clear for his third career
Meanwhile, Zee Bros did well to hold second. He was sixth in
the Dubai Golden Shaheen this past spring, and he could be a stakes-quality
horse stateside later this year.