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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Debuting at Saratoga - Loving the 2-Year-Olds

Indian Blessing beats Sara Louise in Gallant Bloom

It's the night before the bell rings and the gates fly open for the first race at Saratoga 2011. I am not going to lie … I'm pretty excited. Quality horses abound at the place with seemingly more racing history than anyplace else. Name a division, and Saratoga has many of the leaders in spades. Blind Luck and Havre De Grace, a loaded Whitney, top sprinters and turf horses, a Travers and an Alabama that could well be the deciding factor in end-of-the-year awards. NBC saw the power of the Spa. They will be there every week. I tell you what else Saratoga has … all those wonderful two-year-olds.


There's no place where I feel better about the chances of seeing a future champion debut than a juvenile race at Saratoga. Just last year we saw one of the most spectacular young horses unveiled in recent years, when Uncle Mo won his first start by a country mile. It's not a question of if we will see an excellent horse make their debut at the Upstate New York racing haven, it's only a matter of how many. Whether they are well bred, high-priced, or just very well thought of, when a horse debuts at the Spa, they have zero limitations as far as the heights their career may reach, as evidenced by the little list I compiled.


I did Del Mar on Tuesday, now it is time for Saratoga. Let's take a look at my favorite horses that made their career debuts at historic Saratoga:


Year Horse Claim to Fame
1908 Makette Hall of Fame
1914 Regret Hall of Fame
1941 Vagrancy Double Champion 1942
1951 Tom Fool Hall of Fame
1965 Moccasin Horse of the Year 1965
1967 Stage Door Johnny Champion 3yo 1968
1968 Arts and Letters Hall of Fame
1968 Ta Wee (f) Hall of Fame
1977 Bowl Game Turf Champion 1979
1979 Plugged Nickle Sprint Champion 1980
1983 Devil's Bag Champion 2yo 1983
1985 Manila Turf Champion 1986
1987 Winning Colors (f) Champion 3yo filly 1988
1987 Sunshine Forever Turf Champion 1988
1989 Rhythm Champion 2yo 1989
1994 Flanders (f) Champion 2yo filly 1994
1997 Beautiful Pleasure (f) Champion Older Female 1999
1999 Surfside (f) Champion 3yo filly 2000
2000 Macho Uno Champion 2yo 2000
2000 Speightstown Sprint Champion 2004
2001 Sightseek (f) 10-time Stakes Winner
2002 Storm Flag Flying (f) Champion 2yo filly 2002
2003 Kitten's Joy Turf Champion 2004
2004 English Channel Turf Champion 2007
2004 Commentator 2-Time NY Horse of the Year
2005 Discreet Cat Co-World Champion 3yo 2006
2005 Wait a While (f) Champion 3yo filly 2006
2007 Indian Blessing (f) Champion 2yo filly 2007
2007 War Pass Champion 2yo 2007
2007 Big Brown Champion 3yo 2008
2010 Uncle Mo Champion 2yo 2010
2010 More Than Real (f) 2010 Breeders' Cup Winner


From Maskette to Winning Colors, from Tom Fool to Commentator, Saratoga has seen stars begin it all there, year after year. And this list would have grown leaps and bounds if I had included horses that made their second start there. One thing, from the list of Saratoga debuts, that especially impressed me was the variety of champions. Males and females, dirt or turf, sprinters or routers, it's all happening at the Spa. In 2010, half the winners of the four Breeders' Cup races for juveniles started at Saratoga. Don't be too surprised if that happens again in 2011; I know I won't. Let the fun begin!


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Older Comments about Debuting at Saratoga - Loving the 2-Year-Olds...

Devil's Bag, there's a name from the past. He was the best 2-year-old I ever saw, bar none.
I hope everyone has a safe day.
Is it even safe to ask these loving animal to run in these temperature? It feel like hell out side....
Yes, I missed his turf race. Thanks, CauseForConcern. Big Brown is now on the list.
I thought Big Brown broke his maiden @ Saratoga on the turf? I believe that was in his 2 yr old campaign.
And so many other great 2YOs that started out brilliantly and excitingly at SAR.
Spreadsheet malfunction ... nice catch!
I didn't realize that English Channel was a girl ;).
I Loved Winning Colors!!!!!
I love watching the 2yr olds run here. Hoping that Overdriven proves he is something special. 56 is nothing to sneeze at.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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