A modern rarity occurred
yesterday at Saratoga when Mabou, a steeplechase horse, was
claimed for $30,000 out a fifth-place finish in the second race, a 2 1/16-mile
optional claimer over hurdles.
Claims clerk Eric Friedman said
no horse has been claimed out of a steeplechase race in his five years of
working for NYRA. To add the intrigue, the horse was haltered by David Jacobson,
who has never had a starter over the jumps.
That will change when Mabou makes
his next start, with Jacobson planning to give the 8-year-old Dynaformer gelding
another start in a steeplechase before the 2011 Saratoga meet concludes.
Among races under consideration is the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup on
While unorthodox in the
21st century, claiming jumpers was a practice employed decades ago by
David’s father, Howard “Buddy” Jacobson, and Oscar Barrera, Jacobson noted.
“It wasn’t as uncommon as it is
now,” said Jacobson. “My father claimed a bunch of jumpers and did very well
with them on the flat and on the jumps. Jumpers are trained totally differently
than the flat horses. Sometimes when you get a horse who has been trained
differently, they can improve. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
Jacobson said his father trained
prominent jumpers such as Barras, who raced from 1960-1964, and Lake Delaware , whose career spanned
Following the Saratoga meet, Jacobson
plans to run Mabou in flat races, with his most recent start in a
non-steeplechase event having come at Laurel Park in August 2008. Prior to being
claimed on Thursday, Mabou compiled a record of 5-1-0 from 10 steeplechase
starts. Including his flat races, he is 9-2-3 from 31 career starts.
“Most steeplechase horses are
big, strong, and sound,” said Jacobson. “Stamina is not an issue. Speed is what
tends to hurt horses’ legs. These horses run longer distances, and distance
horses stay sound longer.”