The horses are ready for him, and stand tied to the back wall as Christophe Clement hustles in and out of stalls, speaking in French (maybe Spanish) to grooms and checking legs. It's mid-morning and between sets and Clement hesitates when questioned about a stable tour.
"Meet me at 8:15 by the rail with the next set," he says and keeps walking - one stall, then another, then the next.
At 8:15, he's on the rail and ponders how to start a tour of a barn with 11 wins at the meet, 75 total wins on the year, a recent hot streak and a slew of quality runners going in all directions this summer from 30 stalls at Saratoga and another batch at Belmont Park.
"Stable tour, stable tour, where to start, where to start . . ."
Tonalist: "Even if he finished third (in the Whitney Aug. 8) I think he ran a great race. He was third best on the day. Obviously the winner was very impressive, but I'm not worried - maybe I should be. I'll take him on again. The idea was to go to the Jockey Club Gold Cup but he came out of his race in such good form I'm thinking about running him back in the Woodward (Sept. 5). Thinking about it."
Hard Not To Like: "She's been a fun acquisition in the stable. She's never run a bad race. She's won two Grade 1 races (the Gamely at Santa Anita and the Diana at Saratoga) and we'll try to go for a third sometime in September either in California or New York. I raced against her last year and I thought she was purely a mile, mile-and-a-sixteenth, close to the pace, and she's been a better filly since we took her back from the pace a little bit."
Stormy Regatta: "She was bought privately by Cheyenne Stable and came to the barn (after two wins at Gulfstream Park in April). She finished third in a stakes at Belmont and came back and won a stakes at Monmouth. She's going to run in the Riskaverse (Thursday). She's doing well, improving all the time. She'll get better through the year and even better next year as a 4-year-old."
Lubash: "He's one of my favorites, amazingly consistent, really a fun horse to have. He's a difficult horse to train, believe it or not, because he gets very anxious in his training. He got loose a month ago at Belmont Park and we thought that his racing career was over. He came back, he was very lame, very sore. He walked for two weeks and we just got lucky. He was just bruised all over. He had an easy work last week, easy work (Sunday), he's running in the West Point Friday (He won the West Point)."
Discreet Marq: "She has been running with the top-class fillies in the country for two years now. She might not be the best, but she's right there with the best. She brings her A game, a lot of natural speed. She doesn't look like a filly. She's like a body builder, she's very powerful. She sold for a lot of money ($2.4 million) at the Fasig-Tipton November sale last year to Moyglare Stud who have been supporting the stable for years. It would be nice to win a big race for them. Let's start with the Yaddo (last Friday, off the board) and we can be more ambitious after that."
Pure Sensation: "Very, very, very fast horse. He's going to be trained for one of these stakes coming up in the fall sprinting on the grass. He belongs to (Frank and Patricia) Generazio, who have been very good to the barn. They send me good horses."
Red Vine: "He's got bad feet, and I could not keep him sound breezing on dirt so I thought the grass was kinder to him. Last year, from late August and early September on, his works on dirt started to be really good. One race came off the turf and he won (at Aqueduct in December). He won three in a row, he got beat in a stakes at Monmouth and even if he got beat (third in the Pacific Classic) he ran a very good race."
Too Discreet: "Two races, two wins. I've been running him in sprints because of the program, but I think he will turn out to be a lovely miler next year. He came back from his last race and probably needs a bit of time. You probably won't see him anymore this year. We'll turn him out for 60 days and bring him back for next year."
Middleburg: "He's a homebred for Mr. and Mrs. (Bert and Diana) Firestone, and has kept getting better. We ran him in maiden and allowance as a 3-year-old and started to be in stakes as a 5-year-old. Maybe it's because I'm a bad trainer and it takes me two years to get it right, but I love it when a horse develops. He may not be the best horse, but he tries amazingly hard (and won the Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park Sunday)."
Iron Power: "He belongs to Barry Schwartz, came from the Mike Hushion barn in the spring. Nobody wants to get a horse this way. Whenever they feel like it, the horse can go back. The most important thing is for Mike to feel better and it's good to see him here. I need to find a stakes somewhere. I think he loves soft ground so something good should happen in the fall."
Pine Needles: "She is a homebred for (Jon and Sarah) Kelly. She's been very consistent, a touch unlucky last time out when she finished second in a stakes. We will find another race in the fall. She should be able to win a stakes at a mile-and-an-eighth to a mile-and-a-quarter."
Saratoga Dreamer: "He's been a fun horse. He won a stakes in the winter on dirt. I think he's a better turf horse actually. He won off the turf (Friday). That's great, he's good enough to compete on both. There's a stakes in New York September 13 - 6 furlongs turf, straight 3-year-olds. He'll be there that day."
Italian Charm: "Two-year-old by Gio Ponti out of Voodoo Dancer. I like him. He's probably a month away from a race. We won quite a few stakes with the parents so just because of the pedigree he's a fun horse to be around. Right now, he's more the mother than the father. I'd love to run him probably at Belmont Park seven-eighths of a mile and then we go from there."