Timing is everything. At The Special, we like to time things just right. Scheduling a Stable Tour with Leah Gyarmati Friday morning was good timing. (Editor's note: Originally published in Sept. 3 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Gyarmati won the P. G. Johnson with Coasted Thursday and unleashed Grade 1-placed Wonder Gal for her first start since February to trounce allowance foes Friday.
Saturday, Gyarmati has a chance to top off her meet, sending out Strike Midnight in the Grade 3 Saranac.
"I knew my meet was going to be a strange one," Gyarmati said. "Going in, I knew I had three horses I really liked and were doing really well. Coasted, Strike Midnight and one I wasn't sure I could get ready, Wonder Gal. I knew it was going to be feast or famine, a couple of really good moments, a couple of bad moments and a lot of mediocre moments."
By Friday evening, Gyarmati had won three races from 22 starts.
The Special's Sean Clancy strolled Gyarmati's shedrow Friday morning.
Leaveematthegate: Bona Venture's 3-year-old has earned two seconds and a third in his six-race career, finishing third in his most recent start Aug. 26. "We're hoping he'll leave them at the gate next time he runs. He ran pretty well last year and then had a small issue behind so we turned him out for the winter. He ran up here and ran really well, ran up the inside to be third, ran hard."
Melodic: Treadway Racing's 3-year-old daughter of Tale Of The Cat won the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes in her second start last year. She finished eighth when stretching to 9 furlongs in the Fleet Indian Aug. 26. "She ran up here in the Fleet Indian, which didn't go so well, I don't think the distance really suits her. What we're going to do with her next, I'm not sure, maybe try the grass. She has a little turf breeding in her."
Ides Of Arch: E L R Corp's homebred made his debut Aug. 29, finishing ninth going 7 furlongs on the dirt. "He's an Arch we ran on the dirt first time, for whatever reason, he's definitely turf, he's out of Chestoria, who was a pretty good mare. I have her full brother, Uncle Chester, who looks exactly like him."
Tin Drum: A $75,000 purchase at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale last year, the son of Super Saver worked at Belmont July 4 before putting himself on the shelf. "He was ready to run and I went to gallop him on the turf in the infield at Belmont, he stumbled, lost the rider, got loose, jumped the hedges, jumped the rail, he cracked his foot pretty good. He's sound now, we had to go very slowly. He's really been a good sport about it."
Toga Tosconova: New York-bred son of Boys At Tosconova made his debut here, finishing eighth Aug. 29. "He ran with Ides Of Arch, he's a big guy. He'll run at Belmont, I think he wants to go long. He's pretty cool. They're all cool."
Alley Oop: A Fasig-Tipton graduate, the 2-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat breezed four times at Saratoga, including a 4-furlong drill from the gate Aug. 29. "She's close to running. I had two fillies I thought I would run right at the end of the meet, but they act like they need a little more."
Coasted: The star of the show. Treadway Racing's 2-year-old daughter of Tizway is undefeated in two starts on the turf, including a smooth, rail-skimming win in the P.G. Johnson. "The princess. I won't say queen, because Wonder Gal has to be the queen. The first time she ran, she got scratched at the gate, the whole bridle came off, I said, 'How did that happen?' But, look at her head, see that (points to bulges on both sides of her neck, right behind her ears), isn't that weird, you have to be very careful how you put the bridle on because it will go right over her ears. I was sitting there ready to yell at everybody and Marcelo, my assistant, said look at her head. If she ends up being the best filly I have, I'm going to look for this at the sales. We'll point for the Miss Grillo and hopefully California, knock on wood, God willing..."
In Equality: Treadway Racing's 3-year-old son of Quality Road finished third in the Grade 3 Jerome in January but hasn't managed an on-the-board finish since, including a lackluster seventh here Aug. 25. "We're at a crossroads with him. Definitely disappointed, but I hate giving up. He had a foot abscess that popped out, but that's only an excuse for the last race, what about his four prior to that?"
Adventist: The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling graduate won his debut at Aqueduct in December for Treadway Racing. The son of Any Given Saturday has tried six consecutive stakes since, finishing second in the Ohio Derby in July before venturing to Mountaineer to finish seventh in the West Virginia Derby. "We're regrouping. We had him shipping all over the place, he's going to get a little bit of a break."
Noble Moon: Treadway Racing's son of Malibu Moon won his debut in 2013, finished third in the Nashua and won the Jerome. Since then, he's lost 14 in a row. "He was off all winter, he made his first start back on the grass, it wasn't his thing but it was an experiment. He's had a lot of little issues, just makes me stop and go and stop and go. Hopefully we can point for a two-other-than at Belmont, definitely on the dirt. He just has nagging little things that keep him from being the horse he could have been. Very cool horse, beautiful, well bred."
Thunder Chief: "The greatest pony on Earth. I used to gallop him when he was a racehorse, if anybody else got on him, he would either stop or run off."
Wonder Gal: Roared back with a dominant win Friday. Owned by Treadway Racing, the daughter of Tiz Wonderful owns two state-bred stakes wins and four Grade 1 placings. Resting hours before her return, she looks at Gyarmati with her eyes half closed, forelock falling over her face, she can't be bothered with the visitors. "Here's the queen. The pothead, she looks like she just smoked one, doesn't she? She's looking better than she's ever looked. I'm excited about her. She got this weird throat infection and we wound up doing a myectomy. We'll see today. She's very laid back, she sleeps nonstop."
Ease His Pain: Unraced daughter of Tizway breezed 4 furlongs from the gate Aug. 29. A full rimmed white eye stares down Gyarmati. "I was hoping I could get her ready to run by the end of the meet but the jock breezed her and thought she wasn't quite ready. She's cool. She looks similar to Coasted, has a little bit of the same action, she's not as quick, but I like her."
Strike Midnight: Big bay colt, with poultice past his knees, stands alertly at the front of the last stall in the barn. Third in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes here Aug. 5, the son of Smart Strike returns today in the Grade 3 Saranac. "He's a handsome devil, isn't he? I just wish I could get the same rider twice. It's really frustrating. Lezcano was great and then he jumped ship. Castellano was great. And Manny's great, too, I just wish I could get some consistency. It's tough when you get to this level with horses because you want to get the best riders, you get them, but you only get them once."
River Of Dreams: "He broke his maiden for 75 at Belmont which puts you in weird spot, we tried an other than, he got beat pretty bad, then we tried non-winners-of-two for 40, he's grass but he can run on the dirt. I ran him all winter, he was hitting the board, he's a big good-looking horse, he might just need a break. He's been running for a while."
Ortiga: "She's a nice little grass filly, who I tried here going 5 1/2 but that was too short. She ran good long last year but then she got really rank, we gave her the winter off and she ran really well going six and a half and seven at Belmont."