Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alert

Follow us:
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to this news feed 

News

THE SPA SPOT

Catch all the action of Saratoga's 144th season of racing, here on YNN. The Spa Spot is the place for all things Saratoga - on and off the track!


09/02/2013 02:40 PM Posted By: Matt Hunter
Albany/HV: Final day of 2013 Saratoga season
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

With so much buzz surrounding the 150th anniversary, this year's Saratoga meet brought lofty expectations. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on whether the 40 day season lived up to the hype.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- Saratoga's historic 150th anniversary season got out of the gate running on July 19th's opening day. While 90 degree temperatures kept attendance and handle down, they couldn't slow Princess of Sylmar the following day.

The regal filly captured the first Grade 1 of the meet, cruising to a six-length victory in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks.

The princesses' coronation would come a month later, returning to victory in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama. It was trainer Todd Pletcher's first score in Saratoga's signature event for three-year-old fillies and the moment of a lifetime for owner and Schenectady native Ed Stanco.

"It's the best day of our lives in horse racing," Stanco said after the race in the winner's circle, where he was joined by more than 80 friends and family.

"I'd say she's certainly established herself as the champion three-year-old filly," said Pletcher, who would win his 10th Saratoga training title this summer.

At that moment, Pletcher already sat near the top of the division for three-year-old colts after Palace Malice made quick work of the Jim Dandy on July 27.

Yet, it was Pletcher's old battle partner, Johnny Velazquez, who owned the meet's early signature moment, becoming Saratoga's all-time leading rider on board three-year-old Unitarian on the Jim Dandy undercard

"I'll tell you what, it was a great response from the fans," Velazquez said in the jockey's room after the race. "I really thank the fans for all the support, every race I've gone out there."

Velazquez certainly would not be the only all-time great leaving his mark on the season.
It brought the return of Calvin Borel for his enshrinement in the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, just four years after riding Rachel Alexandra to a spine tingling victory in the 2009 Woodward.

"It's soaking in," Borel said after the August 9 induction ceremony. "I'm very blessed to be where I am, thank God."

Saratoga also delivered the returns of champions Wise Dan and Royal Delta, who both stormed their way back to the winner's circle. Wise Dan repeated in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap, while Royal Delta won the August 25 Grade 1 Personal Ensign after finishing second in the same race last year.

All meet long, fans seemed to talk and talk and talk some more about the big three heading to the Travers: Orb, Palace Malice and Verrazano, but the dream of a triple dead heat was dashed by a big chestnut with an unmistakable white streak across his face.

"These are the ones you point for, this is what you get up for and gets you going every day," said D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Will Take Charge.

Will Take Charge's upset was the third win in the Midsummer Derby for the Hall of Famer, Lukas and the first for jockey Luis Saez.

One year ago, Alpha shared a dead heat victory in that very race. This summer, he was back at it, winning the Woodward in upset fashion on a sloppy track.

If ever there was a year where the action off the track kept pace with the battles on it, it was this one. All summer, thousands celebrated this old track's 150th anniversary, highlighted by a party for the ages on Whitney Handicap Day.

"I'm happy with everything," said Marylou Whitney, the socialite who's been synonymous with Saratoga since 1958. "I'm happy that I see all these wonderful faces here."

No one knows what the next century and a half will bring for The Spa. Surely there will be races won and lost and champions in our midst.

2013 will forever be looked back on as year where Saratoga provided the very best the sport has to offer.

On Sunday, a trio of champions were crowned. Pletcher was awarded his record setting 10th training title, while jockey Javier Castellano won his first riding title. Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey were awarded the title for owners less than a week after besting the old meet record of 19 wins.


Updated 09/01/2013 04:49 PM Posted By: Matt Hunter
Albany/HV: 2013 Saratoga season winding down
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Racing fans wait all year for it to kick off in July, but after Monday's final race, the 2013 Saratoga meet will be a thing of the past. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the big task of packing up and moving south to Belmont.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- Sunday was moving day at Tony Dutrow's barn behind the Oklahoma Training Track.

This summer, the longtime trainer stabled 15 horses at Saratoga, getting a half dozen winners in the process. After morning training hours wrapped up, the few that were left were loaded on a van and sent south.

"Actually, we're going back to Fair Hill in Maryland. There's a big training center there," Dutrow said. "We'll join in New York later on this fall."

With the sun setting on Saratoga, Dutrow is hardly alone. Many backstretch stalls are already empty.

James Bond's private barn on Gridley Street is one of the few where runners will stay put through the fall.

"It's kind of nice. All the traffic leaves, a few of the restaurants are open, things are quiet," said Bond, who also keeps a team of horses in Sunday. "It's a great fall here."

Joining the horses on their southern migration are nearly 300 year-round NYRA employees , not to mention four tractor trailer loads of equipment, all of it needing to be in place before Saturday's Belmont Park opening day.

"The people are easy to move," NYRA communications director Eric Wing said. "It's the stuff that's not as easy to move."

With Saratoga's roots 150 years deep, many have made this move before, making the labor a little less tiring but the feeling bittersweet.

"It's always a little sad leaving Saratoga, mainly because you know it's about ten-and-a-half months before we get to come back," Wing said.

"It may be the brightest spot in horse racing today," Dutrow said. "A lot of people are in horse racing so they can enjoy Saratoga, so absolutely it's sad to leave here."

Monday's $300,000 Grade 1 Hopeful for two-year-olds marks the final stakes race of the Saratoga meet. All proceeds from admissions will be donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.


Updated 09/01/2013 12:16 PM Posted By: Web Staff
Albany/HV: Giveaway day at Saratoga Race Course
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- Fans poured into the Saratoga Race Course Sunday for the last weekend of racing and for the fourth giveaway day at the track.

Fans received a commemorative beer stein with their paid admission. The stein features a number of legendary Saratoga horses as voted on by fans.

Other giveaways this year included a t-shirt, a bobblehead and a baseball cap.

There will also be a giveaway Monday, when the first 10,000 fans will receive a magnet featuring upcoming stakes races at Belmont.


Updated 08/31/2013 06:29 PM Posted By: Matt Hunter
Albany/HV: Stakes winner's death marks fifth equine breakdown at Saratoga
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Heading into Friday's third race, the seven-year-old gelding Saginaw was going for his 16th win in just 19 starts. Instead, he took one bad step and suffered what would ultimately prove to be a fatal injury.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE, NY -- Friday's third race at Saratoga Race Course brought plenty of glory for winner Bernie the Maestro and his connections. It proved equally as tragic for the stakes winner, Saginaw.

Stopped by rider Junior Alvarado heading into the far turn, the seven-year-old gelding was taken by ambulance to trainer David Jacobsen's barn after the race. X-rays revealed duel fractures in his front left ankle.

Soon after, veterinarians and his trainer made the decision to euthanize the horse, marking the fifth equine fatality of this year's Saratoga meet.

"As somebody who loves horses and who loves thoroughbred racing, you're always heartbroken when these things happen," said Richard Migliore, a retired jockey and racing analyst for the NYRA.

"Unfortunately the physiology of the thoroughbred is such that some injuries can't be repaired or can't be repaired satisfactorily," said NYRA Communications Director Eric Wing.

In last Sunday's ninth race, Kris Royal and Sarava's Dancer both suffered fatal injuries at different points in the race.

In September, following the death of 21 horses at last year's Aqueduct winter meeting, a board appointed by Governor Cuomo recommended several new safety protocols. According to Wing, track operators have been following those guidelines.

Wing said NYRA's breakdown rate has fallen from 4.0 per 1,000 starts in 2012 to just 1.6 per 1,000 starts in 2013.

"Just based on the empirical data, which is all we really have to go on, the trend line is going in the right direction without question," Wing said.

It is NYRA's procedure that all horses are examined by a vet for soundness before entering the gate each race. When a horse is fatally injured, full necropsies and investigations are performed.

Even with those extra steps, experts say accidents can't entirely be avoided.

"Unfortunately it's part of the game," Migliore said. "You try to do everything you possibly can to keep it as safe as possible but occasionally it's going to happen even under the best of circumstances."

At Wednesday's NYRA Board of Directors meeting, Anthony Bonomo, who heads the board's safety committee, said the organization's breakdown rate is still well below the national average.

According to the New York State Gaming Commission's website, four horses have died in training at Saratoga since the start of the meet on July 19.


08/31/2013 01:59 PM Posted By: Web Staff
Albany/HV: A season to remember at Saratoga Race Course
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

The 150th anniversary racing season at the historic Saratoga Race Course will wrap up on Monday. NYRA Racing Analyst Richard Migliore takes a look back at some of the racing highlights from the 2013 season.


08/31/2013 01:52 PM Posted By: Web Staff
Albany/HV: End of summer racing season approaches at the Spa
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

There are just three days of racing left in the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. And as the end of the season approaches, NYRA's Communications Director Eric Wing takes a look back at the 2013 season.


Updated 08/29/2013 04:48 PM Posted By: Matt Hunter
Albany/HV: Paynter's return to Saratoga defies the odds
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Headlining a competitive field of six in Saturday's $750,000 Woodward Stakes, Paynter will have his work cut out for him in Saratoga. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, win or lose, the race won't be the biggest hill the colt has climbed, not by a long shot.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- For anyone close enough to hear it, Paynter announced his arrival to the Saratoga backstretch loudly and proudly Wednesday night, snickering and neighing all the way to his temporary home at John Terranova's barn.

Trained by Bob Baffert, the four-year-old colt makes his return to Grade 1 stakes competition in Saturday's $750,000 Woodward Stakes. This time last summer, that feat seemed almost impossible.

"To tell you the truth, a year ago, I didn't know where we were going to be in a year's time, but I'm happy to be where we're at, that's for sure," said assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who accompanied Paynter on the flight from California Wednesday.

In the weeks leading up to last summer's Travers, where Paynter seemed poised to be the favorite after a second place finish in the Belmont Stakes and a win in the Haskell, the colt spiked a dangerous fever. Instead of walking into the starting gate, he entered a stall at the Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville.

"He was bright and alert, however, he did have fever and he had profuse diarrhea," said Dr. Tracy Bartick-Sedrish, one of the veterinarians who treated the colt for owner Ahmed Zayat.

Diagnosed with colitis, Paynter shed hundreds of pounds. As soon as doctors fixed that ailment, he developed laminitis, a dangerous hoof condition that had many fearing for Paynter's life.

"Every time we'd surmount one obstacle, another one would crop up," Bartick-Sedrish said Thursday. "There was a lot of discussion but the realization came that he was still fighting to survive and so if he's fighting, we'll keep fighting too."

Over the course of a month, Paynter received plenty of encouragement from fans far and near. He even developed a companionship with the clinic's in-house gelding, whose nickname just happens to be "Painter."

"The two of them became very attached," said Bartick-Sedrish, owner of "Painter," whose official name is Rocky Splash. "They began pressing noses together across the paddock fences, happy as two peas in a pod."

In early fall, Paynter left Upstate Equine to head for another clinic where surgery awaited. Months later, he was finally given a clean bill of health.

In June, he returned to the track, winning an allowance race at Hollywood Park. Last month, he finished second in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar.

In what will be his first Grade 1 start since last July's Haskell, Saturday's Woodward marks a return to the place where the colt made his greatest triumph.

"It's always exciting," Barnes said while giving the horse a bath Wednesday. "Racing needs something like this, to have people get into it and be excited about it."

"It's a real treat to know he's back out there doing what he loves to do," said Bartick-Sedrish, who plans to be at the track Saturday. "To know that this facility could be a part of that, that's a really special thing and that's why we do what we do for the hours we do them."

Also entered in the Woodward are Alpha, one of the dead heat winners of last year's Travers, Ron The Greek, Flat Out, Successful Dan and Mucho Macho Man. It's the day's 10th race with post time set for 5:45 p.m.


Updated 08/25/2013 05:28 PM Posted By: Matt Hunter
Albany/HV: Travers winner Will Take Charge enjoys quiet Sunday morning
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

After weeks of talk about the "Big Three", it was an upset with the win during Saturday's Travers. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the 144th running of the Midsummer Derby.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- With a light snack and visit from his exercise rider, Will Take Charge's relaxed Sunday morning wasn't anything out of the ordinary, except for the fact he won the Travers just 24 hours earlier.

"I was pretty pumped," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "These are the ones you point for, this is what you get up for and gets you going everyday."

A crowd of 47,597 packed Saratoga's historic grounds on Saturday to see the colt crash the Travers party at 10-1. Will Take Charge gave Lukas his third win in the Midsummer Derby.
Weeks earlier he sent his first-stringer, Oxbow, to the bench with an injury.

"It was great," said Lukas, a member of the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame since 1999. "It was great fun, great fun, great fun. Made my girlfriend think I know what I'm doing."

Up shed row behind the Oklahoma Training Track, the feelings were more subdued for the connections of Orb, Verrazano and Palace Malice. All three of those horses came in with big expectations.

Palace Malice, who finished a length ahead of Will Take Charge in the Jim Dandy, closed well for fourth despite falling in the gate.

"What I saw was a horse that had no chance to win, tried like hell to win and on another day was going to," said Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stables.

"I thought he ran a terrific race in spite of that," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "As far as Verrazano, I don't really have a good explanation."

Verrazano, the morning line and post time favorite, beat just two horses on Saturday after coming in seventh place.

Hours before the race, trainer Shug McGaughey was forced to call an audible and find a new jockey for his colt, Orb. The Kentucky Derby winner's regular rider, Joel Rosario, broke his foot on Friday and is expected to be out for six weeks.

McGaughey made no excuses for Orb's third place finish.

"Lezcano rode a great race on him yesterday," McGaughey said. "I don't discount one thing he did, I thought he rode him great."

With the dust settled, the race for top three-year-old in the country is no closer to being won than it was Saturday morning, a hard charging colt with an unmistakable white streak across his face made sure of that.

"Hopefully we'll get some of these you're considering in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or Pennsylvania Derby," said Lukas. "Better yet, let's just lay it all out on the line for the Breeders Cup. That's what it was designed to do, maybe it will happen."

On Sunday morning, McGaughey said he hadn't made a decision about Orb's next start but said he's penciled him in for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on September 28.

Pletcher said he's still considering his options for Palace Malice and Verrazano.


12345678910...


10.11.12.241 ClientIP: 54.196.215.114, 23.62.6.199 UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP Data Source: nHib. Cache Key gs_staNews9_sec362 (874b30fbc7a01340b3dbcf9d8fc8564f) hit