Saratoga Week 4 Highlights
This week, Saratoga’s meet reaches the halfway point with plenty of world-class Thoroughbred racing to come. Week five begins with a Pick 6 carryover of $187,640 and includes more Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Action. Here’s a look at what’s happening at the Spa.
ASMUSSEN BECOMES ALL-TIME WINNINGEST NORTH AMERICAN TRAINER
The 12-race Whitney Day card featured five graded stakes, but history was made prior to these events in Race 5, when Steve Asmussen won the 9,446th race of his career to become the all-time winningest trainer in North America. He broke Dale Baird’s long-standing record with an unraced two-year-old named Stellar Tap. Ricardo Santana Jr., who currently ranks fifth in the track’s jockey standings, was in the irons. Asmussen, 55, became a trainer in 1986.
BELLA SOPHIA ACES TEST S. (G1)
Bella Sophia aced the Test S. (G1), cruising in 4 1/4 lengths ahead of her competition and earning her first graded stakes win.
The lightly-raced three-year old proved she was ready for the jump in class, beating rivals like Bob Baffert’s Illumination and Grade 1 winner Search Results.
Bella Sophia was unraced as a juvenile but made an impressive debut, winning by 11 1/4 lengths in a maiden race at Belmont on May 6. Next, she finished a competitive second in the Jersey Girl S. Prior to the Test, she scored a 6 1/2-length victory against allowance company, again at Belmont.
The victory marked the first graded stakes win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez in four years.
KNICKS GO RUNS AWAY WITH THE WHITNEY S. (G1)
Knicks Go ran away with the Whitney S. (G1), winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) qualifier by 4 1/2 lengths. He wired the talented field of all graded stakes-winning millionaires that included Maxfield, By My Standards, and Swiss Skydiver.
The Whitney pushed his earnings to over $5 million and was his fourth Grade 1 win. He previously triumphed in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Joel Rosario was up for trainer Brad Cox.
The Whitney Day card, featuring five graded stakes, generated a recorded all-sources handle for the day of racing of almost $37 million.
UPCOMING STAKES RACES: FOURSTARDAVE H. (G1) AND SARATOGA SPECIAL (G2)
On Saturday, the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues with the headlining Fourstardave H. (G1), a one-mile turf race that grants a berth in the Mile (G1). The 2019 winner, Got Stormy, is a probable starter for trainer Mark Casse.
Since last year’s edition, in which she finished second, Got Stormy has won three and placed fifth in three Grade 3 contests. Jaipur (G1)-winner Casa Creed is also a likely contender from Bill Mott’s barn.
The Saratoga Special (G2) for two-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs shares the card with the Fourstardave.