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Saginaw Defends John Morrissey Title

Saginaw 615 X 400
Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
Running out of ways to describe his stable star, trainer David Jacobson is content to let the 7-year-old gelding speak for himself.

 

Owned by Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable, Saginaw got a dream trip under jockey Junior Alvarado and spurted away to a 1 ¼-length victory in the $100,000 John Morrissey for New York-breds on Thursday at Saratoga Race Course.

 

It was the fifth consecutive victory and 21st in 40 lifetime starts for Saginaw, who also won this race in 2012. The John Morrissey is named for one of the co-founders of Saratoga Race Course, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

 

"There is nothing left to say. He's an incredible horse," Jacobson said. "Anyone who doubted him before, there's no such thing with Saginaw anymore."

 

Sent off as the 5-2 second choice in a field reduced to four with the early scratch of Night Maneuver, Saginaw returned $7.40 for a $2 win bet and pushed his career earnings to $974,690.

 

Mine Over Matter, one of two horses running for trainer Mike Hushion, rallied down the stretch to finish second by a nose ahead of Saratoga Snacks, the 4-5 favorite who ran into traffic trouble under meet-leading rider Joel Rosario. B Shanny completed the order of finish.

 

"I saw [Saratoga Snacks] was stuck on the inside," Alvarado said. "I guess things didn't work out very good for him, but you can't take anything away from my horse. He ran a hell of a race. He's a great horse."

 

Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. got B Shanny out well and led through fractions of 22.55 seconds for a quarter-mile and 45.05 for the half, with Saginaw to his right and Saratoga Snacks on the rail. Saginaw began to advance on the leader midway around the far turn, taking over the top spot at the top of the stretch and persisting to the wire in 1:16.47 for 6 ½ furlongs.

 

Saratoga Snacks was unable to advance on the inside, and Rosario was forced to check after bumping with B Shanny on the backstretch. After putting that rival away, Saratoga Snacks was angled out in mid-stretch before being caught at the wire for second.

 

"I had room to go through; first he [Ortiz] closed it, then he opened it up," Rosario said. "I had a chance to go through, but it was kind of like my horse didn't want to go there. After I had a position on the inside, I said, 'OK, I'll keep him going from here,' but he just stayed there.

 

"I thought he was going to go through there, but when [B Shanny] moved in, he kind of didn't want to be there. He had one pace, and maybe if we were on the outside it would have been a little bit different. Sometimes, it's hard to win every race."

 

Since being claimed by Jacobson for Drawing Away in March 2012, Saginaw has won 14 of 17 starts, including 10 stakes, and purses of $713,100. He is also 3-for-5 lifetime at Saratoga.

 

"He just has the biggest heart. He's out there to compete, to win, and he just loves to run. He especially loves Saratoga," Jacobson said. "I'm very fortunate to have him and fortunate to keep him going as long as he's going. I'm just enjoying the moment right now."

 

 

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