It’s the best track in the world, and if you can beat the best, well, it lifts you pretty high as well.
Sunday afternoon, two undefeated two-year-old fillies, Saratoga winners already, will head a speed-laden field of eight in the 117th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway at seven furlongs, which will go as the 10th race on an 11-race card. The 101st running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Saranac for three-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths on the turf will be run earlier as the ninth race on Sunday’s card.
The last of three graded stakes in the division at Saratoga, the Spinaway brings together Padua Stable’s Jardin, winner of the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes on July 23, the meet’s Opening Day feature, and TYB Stable’s Mani Bhavan, winner of the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 13.
Mani Bhavan, a daughter of Storm Boot, easily broke her maiden at Delaware Park at first asking, besting five others in a 9 ¼-length victory. Trainer Steve Klesaris then shipped her to Saratoga and she crushed seven rivals with an easy seven-length tally at six and a half furlongs.
“I was surprised that she didn’t get the respect I thought she deserved,” said Klesaris, as Mani Bhavan went off at better than 8-1 in the Adirondack. “I knew she was a talented horse, and her numbers put her right in there with the best of them. After she won at Delaware, we thought about bringing her up for the Schuylerville, but it was a little too quick. Fortunately, it rained and that made the decision not to run there and wait for the Adirondack a lot easier.”
Klesaris, long a trainer on the New York circuit before re-locating to Delaware Park several years ago, is enthused by Mani Bhavan’s development but smart enough to keep his focus.
“She won her first two races very easily,” he said. “Alan (Garcia) never even used the whip; he just flagged her a little. As part of our program, we school our horses behind other horses, so I have no doubt that if Alan has to come from off the pace, he can. The thing is that, so far, she has shown just incredible quickness. She is like a missile coming out of the gate and then she gets into gear quickly and has a high cruising speed.
“She is a very talented filly, but you have to realize that there are a lot of good races coming up and, of course, the races next year. You want to make sure that she continues to develop and stays healthy. Meanwhile, you try to enjoy the run you’re on.”
Jardin has also had things her way in two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. Although she has never started beyond six furlongs, the Montbrook filly has been able to track the opposition and she proved she can handle a sloppy track with her Schuylerville triumph.
“We’re going to see how she takes dirt in her face,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “She’s always had a very sweet tracking position, and that won’t be the case in this race.”
Should the pace get too hot, trainer Anthony Dutrow has entered Girlfriendontheside, who overcame traffic to be a rallying third in the Schuylerville.
Fawkes invades NY on another front in Saranac
In 2007, trainer David Fawkes made history at Belmont Park when Take D’Tour became the third filly in history to win back-to-back runnings of the Ogden Phipps Handicap.
Sunday, Fawkes will try to continue that success upstate when he sends Mr Maccool in the Saranac.
A Giant’s Causeway colt, Mr Maccool is on a three-race winning streak and enters the Saranac off a head victory over Atwell in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park on August 3.
Two horses – Schopenhauer and Shive’s Success – were supplemented to this race by their respective trainers, H. Graham Motion and George “Rusty” Arnold.
Ready’s Echo tries the grass for the first time after dead-heating for third with Anak Nakal in the Belmont Stakes behind victorious Da’Tara and runner-up Dennis of Cork. The More Than Ready colt lost by a neck on Polytrack at Keeneland
The field for Sunday’s Grade 1 Spinaway (all carry 119 pounds):
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY
1. Girlfriendontheside Anthony Dutrow Cornelio Velasquez
2. Winning Brew Francis Vitale Jose Espinoza
3. Casanova Move Jimmy Jerkens Eibar Coa
4. Jardin Steve Asmussen Robby Albarado
5. Mine All Mine Wesley Ward John Velazquez
6. Collegiate Mark Hennig Edgar Prado
7. August Rush Wesley Ward J. Garcia
8. Mani Bhavan Steve Klesaris Alan Garcia
The field for Sunday’s Grade 3 Saranac:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Vacation Shug McGaughey Edgar Prado 117
2. Mr Maccool David Fawkes Eibar Coa 121
3. Nistle’s Crunch Ken McPeek Robby Albarado 117
4. Schopenhauer H. Graham Motion Alan Garcia 117
5. Ready’s Echo Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 117
6. Marlange Deborah England R. Dos Ramos 123
7. Shive’s Success George Arnold Javier Castellano 117
8. Thou Swell George Weaver Ramon Dominguez 117
Thou Swell will race without blinkers.
Schopenhauer and Shive’s Success were supplemented.