Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
As the 150th
anniversary celebration of Saratoga Race Course's inaugural meet winds
down, a pair of throwback horses will appropriately kick off the 2013
season's final weekend when they meet on Friday afternoon. First post is
scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Veteran runners Caixa Eletronica and New York-bred "win machine" Saginaw
will square off in the third race, a $70,000 starter optional claimer
that drew a field of nine going seven furlongs on the main track.
8-year-old Caixa Eletronica and 7-year-old Saginaw have combined for 43
wins and $2,749,195 in purses from 106 career starts dating back to
2007. Breaking side-by-side in post 1 and 2, respectively, they will
each carry 130 pounds, 14 more than each of their seven rivals.
might be as tough an assignment as he's had in a while, when you think
about him and Saginaw hooking up, both carrying 130 pounds," said Todd
Pletcher, who trains Caixa Eletronica for owner Mike Repole. "They're
two of the best in the business at what they do.
you look at the fact that they've won  times and run as many times
as they have, their record is amazing. I almost hate for the two of them
to have to run against each other. They're two very popular horses."
Eletronica debuted on July 14, 2007, finishing seventh in a maiden race
at Calder Race Course for trainer Juan Arias. He raced exclusively in
Florida until midway through his 5-year-old season, making his first of
nine Saratoga starts on August 9, 2010, running fourth.
has won at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and owns six
stakes wins, including the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, Grade 2 True
North, Grade 3 Westchester and Grade 3 Fall Highweight.
recently, Caixa Eletronica was last of five in the Grade 1 Alfred G.
Vanderbilt Handicap on August 4 at the Spa, running a 95 Beyer Speed
Figure, his highest since winning the 2012 Fall Highweight last
November. Overall, he is 22-8-11 from 66 starts with purses of nearly
versatility is impressive, and he's put that on display multiple
times," Pletcher said. "He won from off the pace in a graded stakes
going short, winning a starter handicap here carrying  pounds [on
August 26, 2011] going a mile and an eighth, winning the Charles Town
Classic. He's capable of doing many different things."
takes a five-race win streak into Friday's race, having defended his
title in the John Morrissey for state-breds on August 1 in his last
start. Co-owned and trained by David Jacobson, he also has won each of
his past three starts in open company, including a seven-furlong
handicap last summer at the Spa. He has won 15 of his 18 past starts.
Jacobson gave Saginaw a three-furlong blowout on Wednesday morning in 39.94 seconds over the main track.
is training very well," Jacobson said. "He went really well. We always
have these tough horses to run against, and when you have a horse like
Saginaw, you have to expect that. If he brings his 'A' game, which he
usually does, the competition [is] going to be in trouble."
being claimed by Jacobson for Drawing Away Stable in March 2012, the
gelded son of Peruvian has won 14 of 17 starts, including 10 stakes, and
purses of $713,100. In his career, which began in a maiden race at
Saratoga on August 15, 2009, Saginaw has 21 wins and $974,690 in purses
from 40 starts.
Jacobson said the long-range goal for Saginaw is the $150,000 Hudson on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park, October 19.
are in Saratoga. It is the best of the best, and that's what Saratoga
is all about," he said. "You have to thrive on that in order to be
successful here. I really want to keep him among the New York-breds.
That is where he is supposed to run and that is what has given him the
longevity that we have been able to keep with him. He will try so hard,
no matter who he runs against."
Also in Friday's field are Bernie the Maestro, who is 15-for-45 lifetime for meet-leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey; Metarus, on the board 28 times in 45 career starts, including six wins; Maui Mark, a winner of 11 of 33 total races; Private Tale, Tummel, Kingsford Drive and Where's Danny.
* * *
Arcadia Stable's Take Her Tothe Top
will attempt a rare Saratoga Race Course stakes double when she meets a
high-powered field of mares in the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords
Stakes on August 29 on the final Steeplechase Thursday of the meet.
on the Steeplechase Thursday program will be a $65,000 optional
allowance claimer that, like the Mrs. Jeffords, attracted a field of
by Jack Fisher, Take Her Tothe Top successfully made the steep step
from maiden over fences to stakes winner in the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden
Phipps on August 8. A $20,000 claiming winner on the flat last September
at Belmont Park, she had finished a good second in a filly-and-mare
maiden hurdle on May 25 at Fair Hill, Md.
put her speed to good use in the Mrs. Phipps and drew clear after the
final fence to a 3 ¼-length victory under Xavier Aizpuru, who will again
ride the 5-year-old More Than Ready mare.
Take Her Tothe Top will be coupled in the wagering with Arcadia's Opera Heroine, the 2011 Mrs. Phipps winner who finished sixth in this year's edition. David Crosse again will be in the saddle.
Among the entry's opponents will be the winners of last year's Mrs. Phipps and Mrs. Jeffords. Owner-trainer Kate Dalton's Cat Feathers
upset the Mrs. Phipps at 23-1 and then finished a good second in the
Mrs. Jeffords to claim the National Steeplechase Association's filly and
in Colonial Downs' Grade 3 David L. "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial in June,
the five-year-old Catienus filly most recently finished fourth in
Saratoga's $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on August 15. The
owner's husband, veteran jockey Bernie Dalton, will ride.
Dalton also will saddle Riverdee Stable's Lillehammer, the fifth-place finisher in the Mrs. Phipps. The maiden winner will be ridden by Danielle Hodsdon.
Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle Cubist,
who turned back Cat Feathers for a neck victory in last year's Mrs.
Jeffords. The 6-year-old Sheppard homebred by Royal Academy most
recently was pulled up in the Mrs. Phipps. The Hall of Fame trainer
named Richard Boucher to ride the half-sister to Italian Wedding, who
won the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap last Thursday.
has bad feet. The ground was very hard that day [in the Mrs. Phipps],"
said Sheppard. "She takes a while to warm up, not breaking it too fast
from the start. She came down to the first fence and practically fell.
So now instead of being a couple of lengths behind, she was 20 lengths
and never could get into race. When she obviously was not going to catch
up, [the rider] just pulled her up. Since then she's been back to the
farm and has trained rather well. She seems to be doing fine."
Also coming out of the Mrs. Phipps is Gregory Hawkins' The Grey Express,
who led at the final fence but could not hold off Take Her Tothe Top.
Ross Geraghty has a return call aboard The Grey Express for Hall of Fame
trainer Janet Elliot.
Doug Fout will send out the betting entry of Well Fashioned and Quiet Flaine,
both owned by Virginia horsewoman Magalen O. Bryant. Well Fashioned
finished third in the Mrs. Phipps after a victory in the Margaret Currey
Henley at Nashville's Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11.
Flaine, a Bryant homebred, will be making her first start since
finishing fourth in the Henley, a race she won in 2012. Willie McCarthy
rides Well Fashioned, and Paddy Young takes over the mount on Quiet
Clarke Ohrstrom's Kisser N Run
will be seeking her first 2013 victory in the Mrs. Jeffords. Nosed out
for the victory in the Henley, she had a wide trip in the Mrs. Phipps
and tired to finish fourth. Robbie Walsh again will ride for trainer
Earlier on the card, Sheppard will send out Bluegrass Summer and Royal Fling Shot,
fifth and sixth, respectively in an optional claimer on August 1. That
race was the first in almost 19 months for Royal Fling Shot, who has
made three starts over jumps.
Fling Shot is] coming up to the race well, I think," said Sheppard.
"That was his first start in almost two years but only his third
lifetime start over jumps, so he probably needed that. Hopefully, he
will benefit from the outing. He's training well. We are hoping for a