Genaro: McLaughlin, Santana out of the gate fast at Saratoga 2016

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TwinSpires Staff

July 29th, 2016


Kiaran McLaughlin won his only Saratoga training title in 2008, the summer he won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G2) with Abraaj and the Bernard Baruch (G2) with Shakis. He racked up 17 wins that year.

It's early in the meet, but McLaughlin once again tops the trainer standings, this time with a sizzling 70% win rate from 10 starters so far. By comparison, Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown, tied for second place, have won with 19% and 17% of their starters respectively, both having started many more horses than McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has yet to pick up a stakes race at Saratoga this summer, but he's got a big chance in Saturday's Jim Dandy (G2) with Mohaymen. With seven other Spa starters this weekend, he's also got a chance to pad that lead a little further.

Last summer jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. got his first Saratoga stakes win when he rode Holy Boss to victory in the Amsterdam (G2). This summer, he's spending his first full season at the Spa and currently ranks eighth in the jockey standings with a record of 3-2-1 from 20 mounts, good for a 30% top-three rate.

Santana had been Creator's regular rider, on him for six of the horse's 10 races and his first two wins, including his maiden-breaker and the Arkansas Derby (G1). Following a 13th-plae finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Santana was replaced by Irad Ortiz Jr., and it's Ortiz who got the Belmont win on Creator and who will be in the saddle on Saturday when Creator contests the Jim Dandy.

Still, Santana is making the most of his relatively few mounts, and last Sunday, July 24, he rode three winners on the card -- from four mounts -- for three trainers, one each for the New York-based David Cannizzo and McLaughlin and one for Rusty Arnold.

He'll try to get his first stakes win of the meet in Sunday's Caress with longshot Harp N Halo for John Terranova.

  • Trainer Tom Morley got the first graded stakes win of his career when New York-bred Haveyougoneaway won the Honorable Miss (G2) on July 27.
  • Nine-year-old Moonlight Song became a two-time winner of the John Morrissey Stakes on July 28, winning off a year-long layoff, his last race the 2015 edition of the John Morrissey. The race gave jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. his 1,000th victory.
  •  The Irish-bred Race Me Home is a longshot in Saturday's Jim Dandy at morning line odds of 15-1, but if he takes after his dam at all, he'll love the Saratoga strip. Society Selection broke her maiden here in her first start and won the Test (G1) and the Alabama (G1) here in 2004 for the late Allen Jerkens. She was three-for-four at the Spa.
  • On Monday night, the Saratoga jockey colony will once again take to the stage to sing karaoke to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The singing starts at 7:45 p.m. (EDT) and tickets begin at $75. More information and tickets available here.
  • (Adam Coglianese Photography)