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Breeders' Cup 2017

Saratoga Snacks Scares Sciacca, Dominguez

When jockey Ramon Dominguez nearly fell off Saratoga Snacks as they led in the stretch of yesterday’s eighth race, it was yet another anxious moment for the ridgling’s trainer, Gary Sciacca.

With Saratoga Snacks racing on a clear lead with a furlong to travel, Dominguez dropped the left rein and lost his balance. Recurring Dream attempted to take advantage of his rival’s lost momentum, but Saratoga Snacks and Dominguez were gathered themselves, straightened out, and went on to a 2 ¾-length victory in the 6 ½-furlong optional claiming race for New York-breds.

“You don’t see that happen too much,” said Sciacca. “[Dominguez] said [Saratoga Snacks] was drifting out a little bit, so he went to grab [the reins], and when he went to grab them, he missed. He lost his balance. He grabbed the right side and pulled him out. The horse coming up the inside came right to him, [Dominguez] straightened him out, and after he did that he won by 2 ¾ [lengths]. It was kind of scary at the eighth pole.”

His owner, two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Parcells, was said to have taken it all in stride.

“Bill said, ‘He was coming over to the grandstand to visit,’” reported Sciacca.

That wasn’t the only drama Saratoga Snacks created this week.

“He got loose four days before the race and jumped on a pony,” said Sciacca. “He’s a good-feeling horse, and he jumped on a pony, knocked the pony down, and got loose. The day he was running we were walking him over to the track. He reared up and lost his front shoe. So we had to call [Joe] Campbell, the blacksmith, and take him back to the barn. We came late into the paddock.”

Saratoga Snacks, a 3-year-old son of Tale of the Cat, is named for Sciacca.

“Bill wanted to name him after me,” said Sciacca. “He wanted to call him ‘Snacks,’ but we couldn’t get [that name]. So I said, ‘Bill, you live in Saratoga. Call him ‘Saratoga Snacks.’’”

Sciacca said he and Parcells will determine Saratoga Snacks’ next start at a later date.

“A lot of stupid things do go wrong [in racing], but he came out [of the race] great,” said Sciacca. “That was the main thing.”

A yearling half-sister to Saratoga Snacks will be offered as Hip 276 tonight at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga New York-Bred Preferred Yearlings sale. 

 

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