a perfect summer afternoon, Saratoga Race Course played host to 25,612
guests as it opened its 2014 meeting with Fashion Alert taking a
heart-pounding edition of the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes and
international riding sensation Frankie Dettori capturing two races on
his first-ever visit to the Spa.
Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)
The opening-day crowd enjoyed the many improvements to the Spa for the 146th
race meeting, including 750 new high-definition television sets, an
enhanced sound system, improved wireless capabilities and a new
entertainment area for families.
handle at Saratoga for the 10-race card was $2,846,970. Combined
handle, including downstate wagering, was $4,235,167. All sources
handle was $14,916,986.
great weather, coupled with record season pass sales and the new
amenities in place throughout this historic race course, is a great
start to the 2014 Saratoga meet," said Chris Kay, President and CEO of
The New York Racing Association.
Alert, trained by Todd Pletcher, remained undefeated as she picked up
her second stakes win in as many starts as she outdueled Take Charge
Brandi to win the 96th running of the Schuylerville for
2-year-old fillies. Later on the card, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott
sent out Tourist to take the $100,000 Sir Cat, with the winning trophy
presented by Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
Ortiz won three races to emerge atop the jockey standings as the battle
for the Angel Cordero, Jr. riding title got underway, but the star of
the day was Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, who was riding at Saratoga
for the first time at the behest of trainer Wesley Ward.
flamboyant rider won race 8 aboard the Ward-trained Aventure Love in
his second mount of the afternoon, and then returned to win the 10th
and final race aboard Jet Majesty, also trained by Ward. The
43-year-old Dettori delighted the crowd by performing his signature
flying dismount in the winner's circle after both races.
I rode, I thought I was in Disney World, there were so many people,"
said Dettori, who arrived in Saratoga Springs early Friday afternoon
after riding in Istanbul on Wednesday and England on Thursday night. "I
thought maybe I got the wrong venue. It's nice to see people at the
races. It's very warm - the people make the atmosphere. There's a lot of
"I am only here until Monday," he added, "but I may come back."