Saratoga Racecourse

Epicenter Exits Runhappy Travers in Fine Shape

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter (Not This Time) was in fine shape Sunday morning, a day after his emphatic victory in the GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga. "He's doing beautifully. He's very proud of himself," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "The race went beautifully and it was everything we hoped for. We're very proud of his win and excited about who he is." The Travers was the first Grade I win for Epicenter, who was runner-up in the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. "We wanted it for him and for...

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The Week in Review: While Racing Sleeps Late, MLB Opts for Morning Betting

Since the advent of the simulcasting era 30 years ago, I've never understood why some enterprising track somewhere hasn't seized a late-morning first-post slot and carved out its own niche at a time of day when no other pari-mutuel competition on the continent is running. Be it midweek in the winter, when most of the fair-to-middling Eastern time zone tracks do little to distinguish their products, or as a Saturday special during the summer when some C-level track could have an uncontested advantage for several hours as a lead-in to...

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The Week in Review: Mind Control Learning Two-Turn Tricks at Age Six

When the late John Brunetti Sr., the colorful and sometimes controversial owner of Hialeah Park and the Red Oak Stable breeding and racing operation, died at 87 in 2018, his racing manager, Rick Sacco, told TDN, "He's been active right up until the very end [and] this is probably Mr. Brunetti's best crop of homebred 2-year-olds that we've ever had." The standout from that Red Oak foaling class of '16 ended up being GISW Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), who at age six edged up over the $1.5 million earnings mark...

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Following Triple Crown Finale, Saratoga Dates for Belmont Runners

GI Belmont S. winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) and GI Kentucky Derby Rich Strike (Keen Ice), sixth in Saturday's Belmont, will now be pointed towards the Aug. 27 GI Runhappy Travers S., connections confirmed Sunday morning. "I haven't really talked to the ownership group about it too much, but both of our Travers winners went through the Jim Dandy," Mo Donegal's trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday. "So to me, if he has a prep between now and the Travers, that would make the most sense." The GII Jim Dandy will...

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Capital OTB TV Wins Telly Award

Capital District Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation's television unit, OTB TV, won a Telly Award for its promotional spot, "OTB TV Now Available on ROKU" The spot was honored in the Local TV-Media Promotion category. The Telly Awards annually recognize excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials. [tdn_video service="youtube" videoid= "utSh6Ey5XPw"] "OTB TV, all year long, but particularly with our daily morning programming from the Saratoga backstretch during the racing season, has been appreciated by horseplayers in the upstate New York area for many years," said OTB TV's Seth Merrow....

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Essential Quality Fine After Travers Win

Godolphin's Essential Quality (Tapit) exited his win in Saturday's GI Runhappy Travers S. in fine shape, and, while his next start is up in the air, his ultimate target will be the Nov. 6 GI Breeders' Cup Classic, trainer Brad Cox confirmed Sunday. "He looked great this morning. He's in good shape," Cox said. "[Godolphin USA President] Jimmy Bell and I spoke about [his next start] this morning, there's no pressure to make a decision right now. We'll just let the dust settle and enjoy this victory for a little...

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Fasig-Tipton Marks 100 Years in Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale, swept away by the pandemic last summer, marks its 100th anniversary when bidding on the two-day boutique auction starts Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion. "We are thrilled to be back," Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said while overseeing action at the sales barns on a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning in upstate New York. "It's wonderful to be here and to feel the excitement and the energy on the sales grounds. And there is that same...

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Fastnet Rock Filly Storms to Debut Win at Saratoga

5th-Saratoga, $100,000, Msw, 7-22, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:46.88, gd, 3/4 length. PIZZA BIANCA (f, 2, Fastnet Rock {Aus}--White Hot {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}), sent off at 5-1, settled well back in last as Hope Over Fear (Cupid) took the field through fractions of :24.88 and :50.53. Expand the Map (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) made an eye-catching move on the far turn and Pizza Bianca shadowed the move of that favorite before unleashing a powerful rally to inhale that foe in deep stretch and graduate by three-quarter lengths. Pizza Bianca...

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Friday's Insights: Pricey Flatter Colt Debuts at Saratoga

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 3rd-SAR, $100k, Msw, 3yo/up, 1mT, 2:15 p.m. Phil and Christine Hatfield and JSM Equine's ARISTON (Flatter), a $500,000 FTSAUG yearling, debuts for trainer Ian Wilkes. The 3-year-old, bred by Joe Minor's JSM Equine, is out of S S Pinafore (Street Sense) and is a full-brother to graded stakes winner Plainsman and a half to graded placed Liam (Liam's Map). Shadwell homebred Mubtadaa (War Front) set the pace before settling for second in his most recent trip to the post at Belmont June 12. The gray...

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Candy Ride Colt Debuts a Winner at the Spa

5th-Saratoga, $85,000, (S), Msw, 7-18, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.38, my, 4 3/4 lengths. SENBEI (c, 2, Candy Ride {Arg}--Sweet Aloha, by Western Cat), a $280,000 KEEJAN short yearling purchase in 2020, was sent off at 5-1. The chestnut colt was hustled out to the early lead and and was clear through a quarter in :22.38 and a half in :46.04. He extended his advantage down the lane and came home a 4 3/4-length winner. Longshot Gimmedamoney (Central Banker) chased throughout to finish second. Senbei is a half-brother to Filibustin (Bustin...

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Practical Joke Colt Romps in Sanford

Wit romped home an eight-length winner of the GIII Sanford S. at Saratoga Saturday, becoming the first stakes winner for his highly touted freshman sire (by Into Mischief). The dark bay colt, who broke last before romping home to a six-length 'TDN Rising Star' victory in his 5 1/2-furlong debut  at Belmont June 5, was again away from the gate slowly and settled off the pace as longshot Trust Our Journey (American Pharoah) set the early tempo. The pacesetter was some three lengths in front through a quarter in :22.68...

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Sunday Insights: Daughter of Oaks Winner Debuts at Spa

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 7th-SAR, $100k, Msw, 3yo/up, f/m, 7f, 4:29 p.m. ET Bobby Flay's MEZCAL (Pioneerof the Nile), the first foal out of 2016 GI Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss), makes her debut in the seventh race at Saratoga Sunday. The 3-year-old filly, a $625,000 KEESEP yearling, is trained by Todd Pletcher. Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto Corp. purchased Cathryn Sophia, with this filly in utero, for $2.3 million at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. Courtlandt Farms' Big City Momma (Quality Road), a $700,000 KEESEP purchase,...

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