Saratoga Notebook - August 19

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 19th, 2015

Four Grade 2 tilts headlined the racing at Saratoga Race Course.

Saratoga Special (G2): Big Chief Racing’s EXAGGERATOR (Curlin) overcame some traffic issues, closing boldly up the inside to score by three-quarters of a length under Junior Alvarado. The Keith Desormeaux trainee endured 6 ½ furlongs on the fast main strip in 1:16 2/5.

Fourstardave H. (G2): Jim and Susan Hill’s GRAND ARCH (Arch) was always close, took a short lead nearing midstretch and held off a stern late challenge from favored Ironicus (Distorted Humor) to post a neck decision for conditioner Brian Lynch. The six-year-old gelding went one mile on the firm inner turf in 1:34 3/5 under the guidance of Luis Saez.

Lake Placid S. (G2): Godolphin’s homebred SENTERIO ITALIA (Medaglia d’Oro) stalked in midpack early and received her cue while four wide in the lane, closing best of all to secure a 1 ¼-length win under Joel Rosario. The capable sophomore miss went nine furlongs on the firm outer lawn in 1:49 1/5 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Adirondack S. (G2): Ron Winchell’s homebred JUST WICKED (Tapit) got closer to the leader approaching the turn for home and wore down the favored Tonasah (Malibu Moon) en route to a 1 ¼-length tally for trainer Steve Asmussen. The juveniles miss sped 6 ½ furlongs on the fast main oval in 1:16 3/5 with Jose Ortiz in the silks.

Track Stats

A total of 60 races were held over the Saratoga Springs, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 32 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 53 percent of the wins during the week. From 29 races on the main oval, seven animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (24 percent), while four of the 31 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (13 percent).

Three of the seven wire jobs on the dirt occurred on Monday, all in the sprint form. For the week, all but one wire-to-iwre winner on the main strip came in a sprint.

On the green, two of the winners who led throughout came in sprint runs, with the other pair coming in two-turn runs.

Meet Totals












71 (32 percent)



53 (24 percent)



20 (17 percent)



28 (26 percent)



Wednesday (8/12)

7TH – SISTER SOPHIA (Tale of the Cat) was last at the top of the lane but closed with a lot of energy to just miss under the wire beneath Jose Ortiz. The Lisa Lewis pupil, who was coming off a win, will surely be tough right back in a fine form cycle.

9TH – REGARDEZ (Champs Elysees) was slowest early but much the fastest late in dominating this field. The four-year-old filly surely appreciated this extended trip and beat a few decent ones in our view. Look for this import to try stakes foes in her return for conditioner Chad Brown.

Thursday (8/13)

3RD – Trainer Barclay Tagg appears to have a nice prospect on his hands with SPEIGHTSTOWN TIME (Speightstown), who was awesome at first asking. The sophomore colt dueled on the front end to the top of the lane, dispatched his foe and easily pulled clear coming home swiftly as a debut winner. We’d keep a keen eye on the three-year-old.

Friday (8/14)

2ND – ANNA RAE (Tiz Wonderful) didn’t have a very clean trip, but she was totally dominant in posting a superb debut showing for Jeremiah Englehart. The two-year-old filly was wandering around late but still finished more than 11 lengths in front and likely won’t be in a for a tag in her subsequent performance.

9TH – MISS TEMPLE CITY (Temple City) took the lead in the lane and was a nice second under the wire for trainer Graham Motion in this comeback race. The filly, making her first start since Royal Ascot, should be a little tighter next time.

Saturday (8/15)

5TH – SKY HERO (Sky Mesa) showed good speed and held well when passed in the stretch, recording a solid runner-up effort. The Mark Casse trainee could have been a bit short in his first run since November, and is obviously one to watch next time in his second run as a sophomore.

Sunday (8/16)

3RD – Gary Contessa’s UNCLE SIGH (Indian Charlie) may have burned some money in this run but the four-year-old had to need a run coming off a very long layoff. He just tired late with a big second and the talented colt should be much tighter going forward.

6TH – TAP TO IT (Tapit) was one of the more impressive maiden winners we’ve seen here after the filly overcame a poor break and a lot of traffic to win going away under Joel Rosario. The juvenile miss is bred to run longer and could be absolutely any type.

SHAYNA LADY (American Lion) tracked early, opened up a nice lead in midstretch and finished well clear in second behind a fine prospect. Tab this Chad Brown trainee to graduate real soon.

9TH – The Todd Pletcher-trained SARATOGA MISCHIEF (Into Mischief) did everything right but win, and he’s a nice two-year-old in his own right. The juvenile was more than four lengths clear of third and appears to be a serious runner.

10TH – WEDDING DRESS (Medaglia d’Oro) moved into the lane with momentum and closed with fine energy in just falling short under the wire. Trainer Tom Albertrani rarely wins first time out, so we can expect this two-year-old filly to move up off her debut.

A Look Ahead

Saturday’s $600,000 Alabama S. (G1) is this weekend’s topper at Saratoga.