The only thing hotter than the opening week weather was trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who saddled six winners from his first eight starters and boasts a stratospheric return on investment (R.O.I.) of $9.80 per $2 wagered going into the first full week of the 40-day meet.
"This has been just crazy good fortune and horses running great in the right spots," said McLaughlin, who is off to his best start at Saratoga since 2008, when he captured the training title with 17 winners from 62 starters.
Sentiero Italia, who won the Grade 2 Lake Placid here last summer, took a high-end optional claimer in her 4-year-old debut to get the barn rolling Opening Day. She is eyeing a return to stakes company. "We hope to run her in the [Grade 2] Ballston Spa on the 27th," said McLaughlin.
Watershed closed out a memorable opening week for the stable, stretching out successfully to 1 1/8 miles for a late-rallying win in an optional claimer with second-level allowance conditions. The Bernardini colt received a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort, matching his career best when fourth in last year's King's Bishop as a second-time starter.
"It was a very good race, we wanted to try him two turns, thought he would like the two turns, and it just worked out great," said McLaughlin. "Obviously the [Grade 1] Woodward is at the end of the meet . That might be too big a step up, but we will definitely look at it."
McLaughlin, who also got victories with Farhaan, Gap Year, Girl Talk and Takrees, also reported that Frosted remains on schedule for his next start in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney.
"He's just fabulous, couldn't be doing any better," he said of the star 4-year-old, who ran a race of historical proportions winning the Met Mile by over 14 lengths in stakes-record time.
Frosted is scheduled to have his final major work for the Whitney.
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Stradivari, who sustained a career-ending lateral condylar fracture of the right front during training hours , is recuperating at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital after undergoing surgery , said trainer Todd Pletcher.
"He recovered from the surgery very well and had a good night, and is comfortable today," he said. "So far everything looks encouraging. The first step was successful surgery, but there is usually a time of concern for a while in those situations - complications can develop - but the process went as smoothly as possible, and the initial signs are encouraging. Obviously you want to give him plenty of time to recuperate. I'm sure they'll travel back to the [co-owner John B.] Gunther's farm in Kentucky when the time is right. He was bearing weight on both front feet today, which was an encouraging sign."
Stradivari, a 3-year-old colt by Medaglia d'Oro, won maiden and allowance races by combined margins of better than 25 lengths before finishing fourth in the Preakness and fifth in the Belmont Stakes.
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Trainer Bill Mott's 63rd birthday is on Friday, July 29, a date which has racing fans betting that the Hall of Famer will saddle at least one winner at Saratoga Race Course.
Mott has two chances to make it 16 of 20 years he will have won on the date, sending out Danny's Rush (6-1) in the sixth race, a 5 ½-furlong maiden event for New York-breds on the turf, and Agawa (12-1) in the eighth, a 1 1/16-mile claimer for fillies and mares, also on the turf.
Mott's 2012 birthday present was Alaura Michele, who paid $15.60 for her win on the day the Hall of Fame trainer turned 59.
"It's like lions eating wildebeests, I suppose," Mott said of the feat that day. "It's part of nature's plan."
In 2013, Mott won the final race to extend his streak to seven years. In 2014, Mott's birthday fell on a dark day, and in 2015 he went 0-for-1.
Since 2006, $2 win bets on each of Mott'sstarters have generated a profit of $35.90.
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Saturday, Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country with autograph signings and photo opportunities as part of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.
The Saratoga jockey colony will be available for autographs from Bob Fortus, co-author with Gary West of "Ride to Win: An Inside Look at the Jockey's Craft," a finalist for the 2015 Tony Ryan Book Award. A significant portion of proceeds for the book goes to the PDJF. on the porch outside the silks room. Joining them will be
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night, is the annual Race Track Chaplaincy of America's Jockey vs. Trainer basketball game. The event offers race fans the opportunity to see their favorite pro athletes vs their favorite, not-necessarily-athletic racing pros racing against the clock to win it all. Half-time raffles and other surprises are planned for attendees.
The New York All-Star Charity Basketball Game will take place at the Saratoga Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Avenue (off Lincoln), Saratoga Springs. For more information, to sign up as a Sponsor, or for media availability, please contact Chaplain Humberto Chavez at (516) 488-6000, x 4063, (516) 967-6037 or email email@example.com.
Source: NYRA Communications