Fittingly, a victory by a horse named History Boy Thursday enabled Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard to stretch his Saratoga winning streak to 46 years.
There's no telling if that is a Saratoga record because stats for the entire 144 years of racing do not exist.
However, it is a very small group of horsemen who have ever trained for 46 consecutive years at Saratoga, much less picked up a victory every summer. The late, great Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons certainly is a candidate to have reached that level during his illustrious career. The late Phil Johnson compiled a 36-year streak. Allen Jerkens won his first race at Saratoga in 1951, but he says he missed some summers at the Spa through the years.
History Boy took advantage of Cornhusker's stumble at the last fence of the $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes and ran off to a 9 1/4-length victory under Brian Crowley. It was Sheppard's first win of the season and extended a winning streak that he said began in 1967.
After the race Sheppard acknowledged that he was starting to get concerned that his streak might be in jeopardy. History Boy, owned by Timber Bay Farm, was Sheppard's 16th starter of the season on the flat or over jumps.
Sheppard, 71, is American steeplechasing's all-time leader leader in purse money and jumpers he has trained have won a total of 11 titles. He also trained the flat racing champions Forever Together and Informed Decision. The leading trainer at Saratoga in 1984 and 1985, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990.