Sometimes a non-traditional approach is just what it takes to get the most of out a horse. That said, if you ask Niall Saville about the program for his starter in today’s 1 5/8-mile John’s Call Stakes on the turf, which includes dressage, jumping, and lots of hill work, he’ll tell you it’s just part of the usual routine.
Somebody stole Al Stall’s training board – right out of the tack room. That’s why his 18-horse Saratoga roster is scribbled in black pen on a small, paper trainer’s chart. The handwriting won’t win many prizes, but the horses are there and they’ll likely win a few races before Stall returns to his Kentucky base for the fall season. (Editor's note: Originally published in July 31 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Steve Asmussen is on the doorstep of a huge, perhaps even monstrous, stretch at Saratoga Race Course and beyond. The two-time winner of the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer, Asmussen will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month (Editor's note: Originally published in July 30 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Ralph Nicks resides in the same barn as last year, nestled below the trees between Barclay Tagg and Mark Hennig, a winding walk from the Morning Line Kitchen.
Last year, The Special hit the old new kid on the block as Nicks was back in Saratoga for the first time in years. It was about his return. Nicks had 12 horses – 12 ripened and ready for a strong show. (Editor's note: Originally published in July 29 issue of The Sarartoga Special.)
Dallas Stewart’s stable for the 2016 Saratoga meeting could not be a truer reflection of himself. Like the native of New Orleans who trains them, the horses are full of personality and a love of racing. Stewart’s string totals 14 and ranges from unraced 2-year-olds to Grade 1 winners. (Editor's note: Originally published July 28 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart walked through the grounds of Saratoga Race Course Monday afternoon, shortly after his trainee Cansomebodyplease finished 10th in a field of 10 in the fourth race, and pondered. “I try not to set too many goals because this place will humble you in a hurry,” he said with a smile and a laugh. “Maybe one more win, that will be the goal.” (Editor's note: Originally published in July 27 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Mike Smith swelled up his chest after Songbird won a battle with Carina Mia in the Coaching Club American Oaks July 24.
“My mare’s never had to dig, you know what it does to champions sometimes,” he said. “All of a sudden, they’ve got some new air.”
Twenty-seven days later, Songbird walked into the gate for Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, her nine-race win streak on the line. She was breathing new air.
Two huge weekends await for the season and one final day of racing remains in the fifth week of the 2016 Saratoga Race Course meeting. A nine-race card is on tap for Monday, highlighted by the $100,000 Summer Colony Stakes for older fillies and mares on the main track.
Ron Moquett isn’t concerned with win percentages and makes no bones about it.
He’s concerned with developing the horses in his care and that’s exactly what he hopes to do with his string of 10 bedded down in the Clark Stakes Barn just behind the paddock on Frank Sullivan Place. (Editor's note: Originally published in July 24 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Trainer Mark Casse hesitated and then said it. “I think we’ve got about eight millionaires in the barn. Wow. That’s something when you think about it.” Then he started counting. “Kaigun, Dynamic Sky, Lexie Lou, Za Approval – they’re in Canada. And here we’ve got Tepin, Catch A Glimpse and . . . well, maybe there’s only six. I think there’s one more though. That’s going to bother me.” (Editor's note: Originallay published in July 23 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Todd Pletcher’s stable is loaded and deep. This is nothing new, at least in recent memory, as Pletcher begins his quest for a seventh straight and 13th career training title when racing begins today at Saratoga Race Course. (Editor's note: Originally published in July 22 issue of The Saratoga Special.)