Tom Albertrani's stable is tucked away in the quiet southeast corner of Saratoga Race Course's main track stable area. He's been there nearly 10 years and it's the same barn that housed the legendary Secretariat when he raced at Saratoga during Horse of the Year campaigns in 1972 and 1973. (Editor's note: Originally published in Aug. 4 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Albertrani trained Bernardini here in 2006, winning that year's Jim Dandy and Travers en route to taking home the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male.
"In 10 years I haven't had one quite as good as him," Albertrani said earlier this week. He has trained major stakes winners Balletto, Better Lucky, Brilliant Speed, Gozzip Girl, Romansh, Songster and Twilight Eclipse.
Bernardini has quite a presence in the barn as the sire of nearly a dozen of Albertrani's current horses in training.
Albertrani's Saratoga contingent features 50 horses - 30 in the barn on the main track and 20 at Godolphin's exclusive Greentree training facility on Nelson Avenue. The barns are full of well-bred 2-year-olds and there's a fair share of proven older horses that have successfully made their way to the top under Albertrani's patient approach.
"We have horses to look forward to and we're trying to get our first winner for the meet," Albertrani said. "We've had a couple of nice 2-year-olds start already. They all seem to be doing well here."
Albertrani and his daughter Teal, director of customer service for West Point Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, took some time during the break Monday to walk through his two strings with the Special's Shayna Tiller.
Twilight Eclipse: West Point Thoroughbred's Purim gelding finished third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green July 30. "He ran a good race. He always runs a good race. He's 7 years old now and he's been in the barn for four years. He was only beaten by about a length and a half or so, but he put up a good fight. Maybe we'll see a rematch in the Sword Dancer, or we may end up sending him to Kentucky to run early September. Just trying to figure out where his spot will be."
Smooth Daddy: Robert Baker and William Mack's 5-year-old Scat Daddy horse finished second in his last two starts, including the Grade 3 Fort Marcy at Belmont. "Ran second against Twilight Eclipse at his last (allowance) start at Belmont. We're trying to find a spot for him up here. We don't have a race intended for him up here but we're trying to wait and see what the next opportunity's going to be for him."
Empire Dreams: West Point's 5-year-old gelding by Patriot Act is a five-time stakes winner. "He's been with us since he was a 2-year-old. He's been out of training for a while. Slight injury that just needed some time off, he just came back about two weeks ago and had been off about three months. He won the New York Derby up at Finger Lakes a couple years back and we should see him maybe make a start up here at Saratoga near the end of the meet."
Giant Run: Also owned by Baker and Mack, 3-year-old Giant's Causeway colt won the Manila Stakes July 4 at Belmont. "He's going to be running this week in the Hall of Fame Stakes Friday. He won his last start and he's been training really well so we're looking forward to seeing him run this week."
Toughest 'Ombre: Hickory Plains' Tale of the Cat colt exits 12th in Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational July 9. "He was fourth two starts back (in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes). He was 100-1 and got beat a neck for the whole race. His last start he didn't run very well in the Belmont Derby, but he's a nice 3-year-old that we should see hopefully make a start in the next couple weeks."
Three Alarm Fire: Lightly raced 5-year-old Pyro gelding is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Michael Basone. "He was third in his last start. A couple of years back he beat Liam's Map right here at Saratoga, he was really impressive. There's a race for him coming up in a couple of weeks. He's been training really well, looking really good."
Biz The Nurse: John D'Amato's 6-year-old Irish-bred horse by Oratorio finished third in the Cape Henlopen Stakes July 9 at Delaware Park. "He's a distance runner, he's a graded stakes running horse that came over from Italy a few years ago. Actually, Teal was going to school abroad over there and one day I got a phone call from one of the agents for the owner and we got talking. I told him my daughter was going to school in Florence and he got really excited. We visited Teal during Thanksgiving and I got to meet and talk to the owner there before he got shipped to America. He's probably going to make his next start at the John's Call in a few weeks."
Berned: West Point Thoroughbreds purchased the Bernardini filly for $550,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale. "Here's one of our favorite 2-year-olds. She's by Bernardini so we wanted to come up with a nice name for her, which is really appropriate for her. As soon as we named her between all of the politics going on and 'Feel the Bern.' Nothing to do with the campaign. Hopefully in a few weeks she'll make a start."
Ready For Rye: Chalk Racing's 4-year-old City Zip gelding won last year's Quick Call at Saratoga and most recently was third in the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship. "Another barn favorite. One of our top sprinters in the barn. He's won a couple of races for us here and he'll be making maybe his next start in the (Grade 1) Forego."
"He likes to lick you like a dog," added Teal.
Ladies Day: Godolphin Racing's 2-year-old Bernardini filly finished second in a July 31 maiden special weight. "Her very first start, a good race. I was just hoping to see her run well, it was a little better than I expected so that was a pleasant surprise."
Hemsworth: Godolphin's 2-year-old colt by Bernardini out of the Grade 3-placed Unbridled's Song mare In Step. "He reminds me a lot of Bernardini, I'm hoping that he follows his daddy's footsteps. He ran fourth his first time out (in July 31 maiden special weight), and so did Bernardini in his first start. He looks like a horse that definitely can improve off his first race. He's got a nice quiet mannerism like his daddy."
Proven Commodity: Godolphin's 4-year-old colt by Bernardini out of Grade 2 winner Sahara Gold, by Seeking The Gold, finished fourth in an allowance-optional July 28. "He's a half brother to one of the top fillies I trained, Better Lucky. Grade 1 winner, she was beaten a head in the Breeders' Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint) in 2014. He's a nice horse that we're looking forward to running back in the meet. He's kind of tiny."
Songster: The barn favorite, Tom and Teal Albertrani waited until he was finished ponying his set to greet him at the barn and shower him with attention. Teal took over the tour briefly to talk about the multiple graded-stakes winning son of Songandaprayer. "After he retired, we turned him into a riding pony. One of our top sprinters, Grade 2 winner. He's 13 years old now. He's a real personality horse, and he's so intelligent so it worked out really well. I was 12 years old when we had him as a racehorse. He's adapted really well, he likes to be on the track and he likes to be in the barn and the people that come and visit him."
Newman: Godolphin's 2-year-old colt by Bernardini out of True Style, by Foresty, is entered in the second race Saturday. "Hello Newwwman! Jerry Seinfeld! He's by Bernardini and he's doing really well. He's had a few good workouts, and he's just about ready to make his first start in a few weeks. We have a lot of Bernardini's down here (at Greentree)."
Libreta: Godolphin's 3-year-old filly by Girolamo out of Enrichmen, by Ghostzapper. "She won one of the New York Stallion Series races back at Aqueduct (in April). She's a really kind horse. She really loves attention."
"If she's laying down and sees that you're coming over to the stall, she'll get up to come hang out with you and stick her head out to be pet," Teal said.