Race of the Week 2017

Steeplechase Horse Claimed at Saratoga

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 August 25.


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 1965-1970.


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.”



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Older Comments about Steeplechase Horse Claimed at Saratoga...

This week out director took time off and in his palce is a nive lady who works in the Attard barn. She had been working around the back side for many years, her favorite was one called Rainbow Connection, so I spoke with here about all the changes that must occur whenever a new claimed animal comes into their stable. "We must take our best guess as to what we are going to get based upon what we know about the normal modus operandi of the barn it was claimed from...We know lots in general (how they exercise in gneral, feed in general, their staff etc.) but the SPECIFICS of any horse (as they are all individuals) is COMPLETELY UNKOWN. We don't know if they will eat our table diet and many sulk with the change, miss work time, and it takes a few weeks to find that magic formulation that works. Old injuries are suggested by observation at a distance, but unless you are UNDER this animal or are the recipent of a vet's exam, you do not know. INDIVIDUAL habits (after all you are claiming someone else's problem which they offered for sale) are the real unkonws: did we claim a cribber, or a stall walker, is this one real nervous and a finnicky eater that is going to wind up wasp wasted and weak or will she eat like a pig?). I asked, don't you make it a habit to discuss these things with the trainer when youtake posssession of the horse in the paddock? The only thing you hear are the grooms comments, but little else so we have to take out best guess. Usually the claim is made as regards a situation that the receiving trainer thinks can be remedied, but there are LOTS of bad claims on horses that are complete surprises to us and do not work out..Whoever told you that caliming improves the animal just does not know what we don't know..It is a guessing game: when it works out you tend to remember it better than all those times that it does not. .

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