Through our latest Dark Day, 195 trainers have saddled horses at the Spa. One hundred thirty-six haven’t won a single race, a 136-way tie for 59th on the list. It sounds worse than it is. Saratoga, after all, is a bear. To win a single race is never taken for granted.
Of those trainers that haven’t recorded a win yet, you’ll see The Coach, D. Wayne Lukas, Zenyatta’s conditioner John Shirreffs, 2009 Saratoga training title winner Linda Rice, H. Allen Jerkings, Barclay Tagg, H. James Bond and many, many others.
Of the whole kitty, 58 trainers have won a race, which makes the efforts of the Pletcher Industrial Complex all the more impressive with his 12 wins, clear by seven over Saratoga’s favorite birthday boy, Bill Mott.
A familiar name around these parts is Robbie Davis, a famous jockey, now famous sire of jockies, and horse trainer as he sends out his buck Sandyinthesun. Watch him dance. Sandyinthesun is a six-year-old New York-bred by Say Florida Sandy. This horse, in December of 2011, gave Davis his first win as a trainer, made all the more special because his daughter, Jackie, was up.
Since that win, Sandyinthesun has won one more time, an allowance at Belmont back in October. He got a long break and came back to the track in May and has had four starts this year: seventh, fifth, fifth, and fourth.
Wednesday marks his first start Saratoga since September 3 of last year and it will be in the John’s Call Stakes for $100,000, run at 1 5/8th miles on the grass. He’s 30-1 on the morning line and Robbie Davis finds himself up against Pletcher, Chad Brown, Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Christophe Clement, among a few others, so really isn’t all bad.
Davis has 25 starts this year, no wins, and one second for earnings of $34,457. In his young career as a trainer he’s got 44 starts, two wins, one second, and one third for $111,385.
He was an amazing riding talent and, for that matter, likely still is. He’s ridden five times this year for $5,019. That’s a $1,004 per start. His son, Dylan, is tearing up with 55 winners from 360 starts and $1,153,043 in earnings for $3,203 per start. Jackie clocks in with $2,000 a start with 23 wins and $441,973 in earnings this year. And you thought Curlin was this years hot sire.
Davis enters a stakes race against the most accomplished trainers in the country. The above mentioned have 113 starts at Saratoga this year with 25 wins. Their earnings nearly top $2.5 million.
For those big dogs, saddling their horses will just be another in a long line of races. For Davis, you know his heart will be in his throat, you know his teeth will be shining as he pulls the girth tight. I’d say for most of us underdogs in our daily gallops, for 1 5/8th miles, we’ll be rooting for Robbie G. Davis. I know I will. Race 6, 3:41 PM, Post 7. Davis against the world; Davis versus Goliath.