Englehart Doubles his Pleasure at Saratoga

July 24, 2014 06:38am
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After needing 59 starts to win his first race at Saratoga, trainer Jeremiah Englehart didn't need much time to double his Saratoga tally, as Shankopotamus gave the trainer his second win at the track with a victory in the eighth race on Wednesday.


Englehart won the first race of the meet, a $25,000 claiming event for horses who haven't won two races, with Winter Games before winning his second straight race at Saratoga six days later with Shankopotamus, who took an open $25,000 claimer.


"The start is better than we were expecting," said Englehart. "It had been a long time waiting [for the first win]. To win the first race of the meet makes it a little more special."


Englehart, who took out his trainer's license in 2003, currently leads the trainer standings at Finger Lakes, where he is three races ahead of his father, Chris Englehart. In addition, Jeremiah Englehart has maintained strings year-round on the NYRA circuit since the autumn of 2011, winning 50 races, including five stakes with King Kreesa, at Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park during that span before finally getting his first score at Saratoga last Friday.


For Englehart, winning at Saratoga was the logical next step in his trainer career, which includes a win in last year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Ria Antonia via disqualification.


"Winning my first Breeders' Cup race last year was special," said Englehart. "Saratoga is like no other in terms of competition, and I believe in setting goals and making new goals after you meet them. I've been blessed with a good year, and it wouldn't be possible without my staff, considering all the travel I do."


On Wednesday, Shankopotamus went to the lead and dug in to hold off Street Shark by a half-length in a protracted stretch battle. It was Shankopotamus' first start for Englehart, who claimed the 6-year-old for $12,500 on behalf of owner Neal Allread in his previous start.


Englehart said Shankpotamus' record at Saratoga, which he improved to 3-2-1 in six starts with yesterday's win, was a major factor in the decision to claim the gelding.


"Neal wanted him because he runs well in Saratoga," said Englehart. "That's the main reason why we claimed him. He's been nice for everyone who has trained him, and it's been my job to not screw him up."


Five horses were claimed out of Thursday's eighth race, but not Shankopotamus, and Englehart says he hopes to run the Florida-bred son of Greatness at Saratoga one more time before the end of the meet.


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Awesome Pearl scored his first victory of the year on Thursday afternoon, rallying from far back to edge Kingdom by a nose at the end of 2 1/16 miles over fences in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes.


Ridden by Kieran Norris, Awesome Pearl was content to run ninth, just ahead of Kingdom, as favored Saint Jerome led the field of 10 to the far turn before fading. At the top of the stretch, Top Striker took command but yielded the lead after leaping awkwardly over the final hurdle, setting the stage for Awesome Pearl and Kingdom to battle to the wire, with Awesome Pearl prevailing in 3:48.26.


"He's more of a hunt-meet horse who likes a mile-and-a-half track," said Norris of the Richard Valentine trainee. "It took him a while to adjust to the tightness of the track, but the farther we got into the race, the better he got. I was stuck in traffic, and once I got an opening I let him go. He just went away from me. He's a very versatile horse, but I didn't expect him to win the way he did today."


The Jonathan Kiser was the first win at Saratoga for Norris.


Sent off at 35-1, Awesome Pearl returned $72 for a $2 win bet, the highest win payout thus far in the Saratoga meet. Overall, he is 5-1-1- from 15 career starts.


Completing the order of finish were Sporty in third, followed by Bluegrass Summer, Fog Island, Bob Le Beau, Top Striker, Saint Jerome, Tempt Me Alex, and Schoodic.



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