Saratoga Race Course opened for racing on August 3, 1863, and has been the home of many of racing’s great stakes, upsets, and champions. This slide show will present my list of the Top 10 champions to run at the Spa.
Many of the horses that made this list were eastern-based runners that tended to more frequently visit Saratoga. There were many great horses from the west that just did not make the trip east. As I did research for this list I was struck with the names of great champions that I would have expected to have run at Saratoga: Citation, Assault, Count Fleet, Bold Ruler, Spectacular Bid, and AP Indy.
Then there was a group of horses that did run at Saratoga, but surprised me with their results. Triple Crown winner Omaha lost all four for of his starts as a juvenile. Forego, who has a stake named after him at the Spa, ran only twice and lost both of them. Cigar’s 16 race win streak included no races at Saratoga and his only start was a turf loss when Bill Mott had just taken over his training. Curlin ran only once, winning the 1988 Woodward. Funny Cide, who was owned by the Sackatoga Stable based in the Saratoga area, ran only twice and lost both of them. Seattle Slew ran in only one allowance race.
If the list were not restricted to champions, everyone’s favorite Fourstardave would be near the top of the list. In his 99 start career he won at least one race at the Spa every year from 1987 to 1994, including a turf course record.
Click here to see the Top 10 at HorseRacingNation.com.
Let’s go back and enjoy the sights sounds of the three weeks between the Preakness and the 2012 Belmont Stakes. It was quite an important period for horse racing. Horse racing needed a boost.
That begins a Horse Racing Nation which includes many of my photos and a video from Belmont Park. I spent several days covering the Belmont Stakes by visiting I’ll Have Another’s barn, observing runners in the paddock, watching morning works, and hanging with the media in the press box. Here is the HRN.com link to the full article The_Sights_and_Sounds. The article is based on these photos.
Posted in Belmont Park, Belmont Stakes, Horse Racing Nation, I'll Have Another, Michael Matz, Triple Crown, Union Rags
Tagged Belmont Stakes, I'll Have Another, Michael Matz, Triple Crown, Union Rags
Follow the quest for the Triple Crown on HorseRacingNation.com. Use these links for great information on:
I’ll Have Another —> horseracingnation.com/horse/Ill_Have_Another
2012 Belmont Stakes —> horseracingnation.com/race/2012_Belmont_Stakes_G1
Triple Crown Winner(s) —> horseracingnation.com/content/triple_crown_winners
This past week I posted four articles on HRN, I hope you had a chance to read them. Two of them were highlighted in the NTRA media notebook. ntra.com/Notebook
The Met Mile: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
The Memorial Day Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park has drawn a small but extremely talented and contentious field. The six horses have battled with and beaten the best so many times that this feels like a prizefight, so “Let’s get ready to rumble.” The_Met_Mile
Is I’ll Have Another the Best Horse in America?
I’ll Have Another was the unanimous number one selection in the three year-old poll, but in the poll for all divisions he was ranked in second behind Alternation. Best_Thoroughbred_Racing_in_North_America
Acorn Stakes, Anyone?
No filly will ever compare to Ruffian for her brilliance and charisma. However, 1974 was the year of Chris Evert. I must admit that I had a bit of a crush on the tennis player, with whom I share a birth year and that certainly increased my interest in the thoroughbred. Acorn_Stakes_Anyone?
I’ll Have Another Arrives at Belmont on Cloud Nine
Right on the heels of their 2012 Preakness celebration the I’ll Have Another team arrived at Belmont Park on Sunday, still on cloud nine. They made a decision to get the winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown to Belmont as quickly as possible. Cloud_Nine
Read the story to go with the video at horseracingnation.com.
View this video from I’ll Have Another’s arrival at Belmont Park.
Then read my article at http://www.horseracingnation.com to find out about I’ll Have Another’s lucky number.
I am looking at the Preakness as a race in which you should NOT invest much money. The field is far smaller than in the Derby and the history of Derby horses doing very well in the Preakness makes it hard to see this as a race that will produce big mutuels. I am assuming that either Bodemeister or I’ll Have Another will be in the trifecta. Yesterday I made one small and simple wager: a trifecta box of 5, 6, 7, 9.
For those of you that followed my Monmouth Place Pick 6 picks. Here is my ticket for May 19, 2012.
It turned out that I did much better in the Run to the Roses fantasy leagues than I did in my real money Derby wagers.
I won the Brooklyn Backstretch charity RttR league. All 66 participants make a pledge and the league winner gets to choose the horse related charity or charities that will receive the money. I am really proud to have won this league. The charity league is run by Teresa Genaro of BrooklynBackstretch.com. We all know Teresa from her writings for many different websites and publications and for her presence on Twitter @BklynBckstretch. At this point I am considering the Our Mims Retirement Haven in Kentucky, which is now the home of one of my favorite Breeders’ Cup champions, Elmhurst, who won the 1997 Sprint. Old Friends Cabin Creek – the Bobby Frankel division in Saratoga is another great retirement program. I feel it is also important to think about the people who do so much for racing. Thus, Belmont Child Care Association’s Anna House, for the children of the backstretch workers, is on my list.
I also finished second in the horseracingnation RttR league, which had 47 entries. By my estimation there were over 15,000 total entries in all of the RttR leagues and my 423 points placed 222nd, not too bad.
I had a very good Kentucky Derby Day on the last day of the leagues. I had a total of 11 of the Derby field in my RttR stable and chose Bodemeister, Union Rags, and Dullahan as my final three power horses. I’ll Have Another was in my stable and with Bode and Dullahan coming in second and third I scored 75 points.
The RttR leagues were great fun and a terrific way to stay on top of the Derby trail. I just wish my Derby wagering could have been that good.
The 2012 Kentucky is such a wide open race that it is very hard to pick the winner let alone the trifecta. I am omitting Creative Cause and Hansen from my ticket. I believe that Creative Cause has hoof problems and that his training has been compromised. He walked the shedrow a couple of days after his last work and then he skipped a scheduled visit to the paddock for schooling. Hansen is not going to be able to go the full distance considering the contentious pace that should happen. Hansen will be in it until the top of the stretch and then he will fade. After seeing the track clearly play to the benefit of the early pace setters on Oaks Day, my faith in Bodemeister has been renewed. I believe he will sit behind Trinniberg and that will allow him to relax a bit and take over the lead as the rabbit(s) fade. I believe that Union Rags is the best horse in the race and is in peek condition. Dullahan has never run a bad race and could pick up the pieces, although yesterday’s racing strip has me concerned about his chances of coming from that far behind.
Here is my 50¢ trifecta ticket that keys Union Rags and Bodemeister on top of a whole bunch of horses for a mere $56.
You can find my Kentucky Derby 2012 top four picks posted on HorseRacingNation.com . My wagering strategy on the Derby will be to make a trifecta play that uses three horses in the win spot over 5 or 6 horses in the other spots: 3 x 6 x 6. With a 20 horse field there is tremendous value in the trifecta. Check back later for that play.
On Kentucky Oaks Day I have a ticket for the 50¢ all stakes Pick 5 that begins in race 7 and ends with the Oaks in race 11. I will also play the two day Pick 3 on the Oaks, the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and the Derby.
In the Friday Pick 5 the first stake is The Eight Belles (G3) where I will use just two horses and hope to survive: Good Deed and Bob Baffert’s Contested. Leg 2 is the Edgewood Stakes which features the 2012 turf debut of Stephanie’s Kitten, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf winner. Next is the Alysheba (G2) which features Nates Mineshaft and Mucho Macho Man who are ranked in the NTRA.com/polls of which I am a voter. MMM is currently ranked #1 and Nates Mineshaft is in the 10 spot. Leg 4 is The American Turf (G2) where I will omit the two probable favorites, Silver Max and Howe Great, because their 13 and 14 post positions will make it difficult for them with their on the pace running styles. Finally, in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) I will use three off the pace runners in a race that has a lot of early speed.
Here is my ticket for the Oaks/Woodford Reserve/Derby Pick 3 which begins on Friday with the Oaks and ends on Saturday with races 10 and 11. I will use the same three Oaks horses from above. In the Turf race Data Link, Turallure, and Doubles Partner finished one, two, three in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) on April 13th. I feel like one of them will win this race. Will five horses be enough to pick a Derby winner? UPDATE: If the severe weather hits CD and the track becomes sloppy I will add the #6 Broadway Alibi to the first leg of the Pick 3 ticket!