Funny Cide doesn't walk the shedrow or even reluctantly hang out in the pony stall anymore. Jersey Town is a stallion. Sky Blazer was retired and his stall is empty. Confrontation got sold to Dubai.
But Barclay Tagg's barn percolates with Saratoga success this summer with three wins from just 10 starts at the meet. Tagg, who trained his first winner in 1972, has 22 stalls filled with an assortment of horses including several promising 2-year-olds.
Tuesday, he deputized his longtime assistant and girlfriend Robin Smullen, with the stable tour - but checked in with a "She doing OK?" about halfway through. She did fine, stopping at each stall for an explanation with The Special's Joe Clancy.
Storm On The Moon: "The pony. He broke his maiden in 1:09 (in 2010). He's pretty good, but if you feed him - forget it."
Pure Of Spirit: "Barclay owns her. She belonged to the Stronach Group and when they sent them to us the horses all were going in the sale regardless of where they were and what they did. She didn't make it to the races, but we loved the way she trained. Barclay bought her for $5,000 and she's earned $96,000. She was in here Opening Day, but she had a bruised foot and we had to scratch. There's a race the last day of the meet and hopefully we can make that."
Highland Sky: "Two-year-old of Bonner Young's. He's by Sky Mesa. Nice colt, he should run in the last book. He's out of Kristy With A K so he's a cousin to some good ones. He's good-sized, a nice 2-year-old. I think he'll run well first time out."
Tale Of Mist: "Tonalist's baby brother by Tale Of Ekati. Two-year-old, he's about 16-2 so we're taking our time. He breezed (Aug. 17), 36 and 4. He does everything nicely but he's so tall. We had him breezing halves, but the hair kind of stood up on the back of your neck and made you think 'Maybe we should slow down.' We gave him a couple of easy months, no breezes, and that was his first breeze back."
Street Jersey: "He's Jersey Town's half-brother, by Street Cry. He has run three times and had three thirds. He's not near as good as Jersey Town was, but don't forget Jersey Town started at maiden 25. This horse doesn't have that luxury. He's 3, he can improve."
Beaukati: "He's a cheeky little bugger, but he's just about ready to run. He breezed a half out of the gate the other day. He kind of has ADD, we put blinkers on and that has helped a lot."
Homespun Hero: "This is a 2-year-old Hard Spun colt that's just about ready to run. Again, there are two races in the last book - one for him and one for Highland Sky."
Tale For Ruby: "We thought she might do something special in her first start, but then she hooked Rachel's Valentina. She was fifth, but she was second the whole way early and faltered, beaten a head for fourth. We really thought she'd win first out. She had beaten (debut winner) Realm every single work they worked, every single work and not just a little. Walked away from him. Then we got up here and I'm not sure she liked this surface as much as Belmont's surface. The first time she worked out of the gate with Realm, she broke very poorly - spotted him 5 lengths and then beat him. We really thought she would win. We didn't care whether Rachel was in there, but I'm not sure she likes this surface. She likes it a little more sandy."
Verve's Tale: "Tale Of Verve's full-sister. She's nice. We needed to slow down on her. She worked with Tale Of Mist."
Kitzys Rocket: "This is her stall (decorated with stuffed animals). She's cooling out. She is a terrible stall-walker and we could not stop her from stall-walking in Florida, only by tying her up. When we got back to Belmont we had toys so we brought them over and hung them on her screen and she hasn't stall-walked since. Sounds crazy, I know. It looks like Romper Room, but hey whatever works."
Unbelievable Dream: "She's a graded stakes winner. She's going to run in the Yaddo. She needs to come from last and everyone that rides her lets her move at the three-eighths pole because they have so much horse and then at the eighth pole she's got nothing left. Angel (Cruz) got hurt, he was going to ride her. We've gotten Junior Alvarado, and he'll listen. She's got a quarter-of-a-mile run, that's it. They're going to retire her this fall and breed her."
My Sweet Girl: "Caroline Thomas' sister. She's going to run in an a-other-than on the 24th. She broke her maiden on the dirt, but she's a better turf horse. She's just now starting to get the length (of her sister)."
Realm: "He's at the moment the big horse, but he's tack-walking. He had some minor growing pains, heat in an ankle and heat in a knee so everything says slow down. We're so far ahead now, he broke his maiden in his first start in July. For us, that's golden. We thought we'd just walk him 30 days. You want to do more just because he broke his maiden in his first start at Saratoga. You want to go in the stakes, but when everything about it says 'Listen, take it easy' you have to listen. Barclay bought him at the (Fasig-Tipton) Timonium sale as a yearling. He's by Haynesfield."
Royal Ekati: "This is a nice guy, Tale Of Ekati baby for Sackatoga Stable. We paid a lot of money for him, $180,000 at the (Fasig-Tipton) New York-bred sale last year. He's been slow, had shins, but he's a really, really well-put-together horse. He doesn't look big because he's so well proportioned, but he's 16-2. We're really taking our time with him. He's fun to ride because he doesn't let anything bother him and does everything right. The first day back galloping I broke him off the right way and somebody buzzed me like 10 inches from my stirrup and he didn't even blink. It was like, 'Yeah so what.' He's a nice, big, solid horse. You notice him, everybody notices him. He's a very efficient mover. He'll gallop everybody to death. He has the luxury of running in a New York-bred maiden race."
Easy Feeling: "Joe Allen owns her. She came from France and she's just not quite the quality to run against stakes horses up here, but she's OK. It's our first venture with Mr. Allen and we're pleased with her."
Tale Of Fancy: "He was third the other day (Aug. 8) at 65-1, almost second. He's coming along. He's figuring it out."
Ginner: "We have big babies. He's by Albert The Great. We're expecting to run on the turf and he's getting there. He'll probably run at Belmont."
Tale Of Sa'Vall: "He's Pleasant Tales' full-brother. He's ready to run, the problem is the race is on the 29th and that's Travers Day and you know somebody will have a big 2-year-old to run there. He's pretty laid back, a lot like (his sire) Tale Of Ekati. There's a race seven-eighths at the end of the meet, maybe we'll wait for that."
Sky Blazer: "He retired. This was his stall. We're going to miss him."
Isthatallthereis: "Scratched (Aug. 17) with a foot bruise. It only happens when you enter them."
Indian Brut: "He's in Thursday, it's his first time we're stretching him out. He ran a really good second last time going seven-eighths, but Mr. Fipke has all this E-Trakka stuff. Tells you heart rate, stride rate, speed, and according to it he wants to go long. We'll see what happens." He finished third in Thursday's eighth race.
Rock Eagle: "He broke his maiden in his second start, came from way out of it. He was in here and got a temperature."
Speightstown Time: "He ran well the other day. You've got to love the Speightstowns. They can sprint, they can run long, they can kind of do anything. He went 5 1/2 furlongs the other day but he'll got every bit of a mile. His mother was a champion in Canada. He's Ontario-bred. We might go up there and see how he does. I don't think it matters what surface he's on."