Monday, September 03, 2012
The New “King of Saratoga”
September 2, 2012—We’re not be facetious or mean spirited, although inevitably some will take it that way, that the final day of Saratoga 144 comes as a relief.
It’s what happens when about 47 days of racing are condensed into “only” 40. But it is what is and what it did was, despite the questionable quality of the fare on many days, produced damn good finishes race after race on many days.
And whatever the supposed “quality,” or lack thereof, it boils down to competition, and good competition makes for good betting, and good betting’s good for business.
The handle locally, whatever the final numbers say, would have been higher if the racing office didn’t wear out its customers about every other day.
But all-sources handle keeps climbing because the Saratoga brand is virtually indestructible. Spa regulars may be disappointing in the quality of the racing but, on balance, it’s still the best anywhere.
The graded stakes have been excellent, alternately creating or confirming stardom, and some terrific two-year-old have been on display—not all of them owned by the estate of the late Jess Jackson, an outfit that’s had quite a Saratoga.
Not as good as the Godolphin/McLaughlin team, who still has a major player in the Hopeful. Of course, when Fortify broke its maiden impressively it was for Darley Stable; on Monday it moves up to the varsity.
But, ultimately, the meet belonged to Ramon Dominguez.
One might wonder what would have happened had newly minted Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez rode the entire meeting, just to see how many winners the great Ramon would have had.
You’d have to guess less than the record-making 66, achieved by winning six races on the today’s program, including a 10-1 upset of the G3 Glens Falls with Unbridled Command. But that's completely academic.
The fun won’t stop there; Dominguez’s scheduled to ride in all 11 tomorrow. The record of 65 was previously held Velazquez, the only other rider ever to win six in one day at Saratoga.