Keen Ice stars in stakes-packed weekend; speed plays well on turf

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September 2nd, 2015

The signature day of the meeting on Saturday topped the action at Saratoga Race Course.

Travers S. (G1): Donegal Racing’s KEEN ICE (Curlin) moved outside at the top of the lane and gradually wore down Triple Crown star American Pharoah en route to securing a three-parts of a length tally beneath Javier Castellano. The talented sophomore colt went 1 ¼ miles on the fast main dirt surface in 2:01 2/5 for trainer Dale Romans.

Sword Dancer S. (G1): Juddmonte Farms’ homebred FLINTSHIRE (Dansili) slipped through an opening along the fence entering the stretch and quickly put this field to rest for trainer Andre Fabre. The superb five-year-old was 2 ½ lengths clear under the wire, completing 1 ½ miles on the firm turf in 2:23 3/5 beneath Vincent Cheminaud.

Person Ensign S. (G1): Harold Queen’s homebred SHEER DRAMA (Burning Roma) sat off a duel to the lane and asserted herself in deep stretch, posting a 1 ¼-length score under Joe Bravo. The David Fawkes trainee finished off nine panels in 1:49.

Ballerina S. (G1): Charles Fipke’s homebred UNBRIDLED FOREVER (Unbridled’s Song) was last early but gained momentum approaching the turn for home and finished much the best, recording a one-length win for trainer Dallas Stewart. The four-year-old filly endured seven-eighths in 1:22 2/5 with John Velazquez.

King’s Bishop S. (G1): James McIngvale’s RUNHAPPY (Super Saver) broke slowest, rushed to the lead and then fended off all comers on his way to a four-length romp under Edgar Prado. The sophomore colt sped seven furlongs in a superb 1:20 2/5 for conditioner Maria Borell.

Forego S. (G1): Good Friends Stable’s PRIVATE ZONE (Macho Uno) was allowed a clear early lead and made his foes pay for it, waltzing home a facile 3 ¾-length winner for trainer Jorge Navarro. The classy six-year-old, who was piloted by Martin Pedroza, stopped the teletimer in 1:21 for seven furlongs.

Ballston Spa S. (G2): Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ DACITA (Scat Daddy) finally got clear in the lane and closed best while wide, posting a head decision in her U.S. debut beneath Javier Castellano. The four-year-old Chilean champion smoked 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:39 3/5 for trainer Chad Brown.

Track Stats

A total of 65 races were held at the Saratoga Springs, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 26 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 46 percent of the wins during the week.

From 30 races on the main oval, 10 animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (33 percent), while seven of the 35 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (20 percent).

Speed on the green took over on Monday when four of the five turf races were captured in wire-to-wire fashion. In total for the week, five of the wire jobs on the lawn came in route races, with the other pair in one-turn sprint runs.

We thought the main oval gave all runners a legitimate chance once again this week. Nine of the 10 winners who led at each call occurred in one-turn races.

Meet Totals












103 (29%)



86 (25%)



31 (17%)



45 (26%)


Wednesday (8/26)

2ND – BRINKLEY (City Zip) made a nice middle move to midstretch before tiring behind a sharp winner in this one and surely could break through next time for conditioner Todd Pletcher. The juvenile filly should improve from the outing.

6TH – TOTAL JOINT (Tiz Wonderful) tracked the leader for a long time before finally wearing him down in the lane as a stubborn and the gelding posted a determined win beneath Irad Ortiz Jr. The sophomore looks like a very useful runner for conditioner Jason Servis.

8TH – KATIE’S GARDEN (Elusive Quality) was in the mix until tiring in the lane in her first outing since October and the John Shirreffs trainee should improve second time off the layoff.

Thursday (8/27)

4TH – WOMEN WIN (Yes It’s True) was fast early and fast late in a powerful maiden romp for conditioner Mike Hushion, finishing more than 11 lengths clear under the wire. The sophomore filly will surely be given a stakes look at some point in the near future with any type of forward move.

9TH – BIG FAMILY (Any Given Saturday) was last at the top of the lane and still halfway down the stretch run, but the three-year-old really kicked into gear late to get up by a nose in a fine outing. We expect the three-year-old colt to stay sprinting on the turf for the time being after this explosive late burst.

Friday (8/28)

2ND – FOREVER IN LOVE (Scat Daddy) was on or dueling for the lead at every call and when given his cue, the New York-bred colt responded with a flourishing debut tally. The Linda Rice trainee left these foes in his wake and finished up fast for a juvenile.

8TH – IRISH FILIBUSTER (Paddy O’Prado) was behind a slow pace to the top of the lane and while the first timer failed to challenge for the win, he did run well enough to merit serious consideration in his return. The Mike Maker pupil also may benefit from a bit more ground to work with going forward.

Saturday (8/29)

4TH – The Barclay Tagg-trained TALE OF S’AVALL (Tale of Ekati) was live in the wagering and showed why in an excellent debut showing, winning easily over potentially a fine field of prospects. The juvenile colt was full of run late and might be capable of going longer with more seasoning.

8TH – WATERSHED (Bernardini), who was jumping up to Grade 1 company off a debut maiden win, left himself too much to do when last turning for home, but the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee finished with good energy to be fourth and looks like a fine prospect.

11TH – We remain big fans of FROSTED (Tapit), who looked a superstar in the eye from the start and was not shamed late for McLaughlin. The sophomore colt could be a major player this fall and through the winter.

Sunday (8/30)

5TH – LADY SHIPMAN (Midshipman) pressed the pace, took over readily in early stretch and cruised home a sensational 2 ¾-length win under Irad Ortiz Jr. The three-year-old filly is now 8-for-10 lifetime and has to be considered among the top turf sprinters in training after decimating four fields in succession.

10TH – FEATHERED (Indian Charlie) closed best after stalking early against a stakes-quality field for Todd Pletcher. The accomplished three-year-old is thrice Grade 1-placed and has run well on dirt and turf. She got her final five-sixteenths in this spot in a wicked :27 4/5.

Monday (8/31)

2ND – UP MY ALLEY (Flower Alley) moved into contention in the lane and did everything right but win in a fine second-place showing in this debut offering. The sophomore colt looms large in his return for conditioner Christophe Clement.

A Look Ahead

A total of seven graded stakes races will be held at Saratoga during closing weekend. Saturday features a quartet: the $600,000 Woodward S. (G1), $300,000 Spinaway S. (G1), $300,000 Saranac S. (G3) and $200,000 Glens Falls S. (G3).

Sunday will be topped by the $300,000 Prioress S. (G2), while the Monday headliners are the $350,000 Hopeful S. (G1) and the $250,000 Bernard Baruch H. (G2).