Saratoga Special

Girvin Lands Running

Damon's Mound (Girvin) has the feel of an inspiring story for our sport, as the David who landed his slingshot squarely on the forehead of Goliath in the keynote juvenile showdown of the summer. The family that bred his first five dams had turned down big money for their spectacular Churchill debut winner, and their fidelity to minor-league trainer Michelle Lovell (16 winners from 88 starters in 2022) paid off handsomely when Damon's Mound readily beat the vaunted Gulfport (Uncle Mo), who has already been reserved a slot in the...

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Spa Notebook: Lovell Looking To Two Turns for Damon's Mound

Trainer Michelle Lovell, who sent out 'TDN Rising Star' Damon's Mound (Girvin) to win Saturday's GII Saratoga Special S., said Sunday that she was not ruling out either the seven-furlong GI Hopeful S. Sept. 5 or the Oct. 5 GI Champagne S. at the Belmont at the Big A meet going a one-turn mile, but is more inclined to get the colt some two-turn route experience for his next appearance. "Everything's on our radar," said Lovell. "We'll see how he is. He's never had a bad day, so I don't...

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Damon's Mound Cruises To Saratoga Special Win

'TDN Rising Star' Damon's Mound (Girvin) backed up his jaw-dropping, double-digit debut victory at Churchill Downs with an impressive, 3 1/4-length decision over favored 'Rising Star' Gulfport (Uncle Mo) in Saturday's GII Saratoga Special S. Facing just three rivals here, the 9-5 second-choice trailed the closely bunched quartet in the garden spot as Gulfstream debut winner Super Chow (Lord Nelson) flew through an opening quarter in :21.94. Gulfport, a perfect two-for-two to begin his career, led by a 12 1/4-length win in the Bashford Manor S., was forced to check...

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'Special' Target for Promising Damon's Mound

Damon's Mound (c, 2, Girvin--San Antonio Stroll, by Stroll), a jaw-dropping 12 1/2-length debut winner at Churchill Downs July 2, is targeting the GII Saratoga Special S. at the Spa Aug. 13. "That's the goal, he's doing great," former jockey-turned-trainer Michelle Lovell said from her summer base at Colonial Downs. "We've got some weeks to go, so, hopefully all goes good. As long as he's doing great, he deserves the opportunity." Does he ever. Off as the well-backed, third choice at 4-1 in his unveiling, Damon's Mound was off to...

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Joe Clancy to Receive Old Hilltop Award Preakness Week

Joe Clancy, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine and co-owner with brother Sean of ST Publishing, Inc.--parent company of The Saratoga Special newspaper and thisishorseracing.com--has been named recipient of the 2022 Old Hilltop Award for covering Thoroughbred racing with excellence and distinction. Clancy will be presented with the Old Hilltop May 19 at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Couse. The Alibi Breakfast began in the 1930s on the porch of the old Pimlico Clubhouse and features a gathering of media, owners, trainers, jockeys, horsemen and fans to celebrate the Preakness...

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Gormley Takes up Twin Legacies

While it's obviously an extremely poignant day to be reflecting on a breakout success for one of the youngest stallions at Spendthrift, then at least those now mourning the farm's owner know that his own legacy to the breed could scarcely be more secure. For the same cannot quite be said of the horse who started it all for B. Wayne Hughes, Malibu Moon, whose loss earlier this year has now obtained a tragic symmetry. Between the farm's consecutive bereavements, there's no denying that the equine patriarch cannot yet match...

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Gormley's High Oak Fells Favorites in Special

High Oak was let go at double-digit odds off a narrow victory downstate June 26 that earned just a 57 Beyer Speed Figure, but he took a serious step forward Saturday to become freshman sire Gormley (Malibu Moon)'s first black-type winner. Having signaled his readiness with a :48.11 bullet breeze last week on the Oklahoma Training Track in company with his older Grade I-winning stablemate Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed), who would finish third in the GI Fourstardave H. one race later, the bay stalked out wide behind splits of :21.82...

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Doctor Jeff Steps Up in Saratoga Special

Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso's Doctor Jeff (Street Boss), a first-out winner in a six-furlong off-turf maiden special weight at Belmont Park July 10, will step right up to graded company as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday's GII Saratoga Special S. The chestnut colt earned a Special field-high 78 Beyer Speed Figure for his 2 1/4-length debut win and he has recorded three breezes over the main track at Saratoga, including a bullet five-furlong work in :59.61 Sunday, for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. "I'm just very happy with the way...

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Jackie's Warrior, Former King of the Hill, Looks to Reclaim His Perch

In the world's current state of affairs, a lot can change in a few months' time. Racing is no different. One only has to go back to November to remember when Kirk and Judy Robison's Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) was the undisputed leader of his age group. But an odds-on loss on the sport's biggest stage took the bloom off of his rose for some, and these days, despite being a multiple Grade I winner, one could argue he is a forgotten colt as the GI Kentucky Derby trail kicks...

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“It's Amazing How Things Work Out Sometimes”

What a name, for a mare salvaging her sire from extinction: Unicorn Girl. Certainly the faint footprint of A. P. Five Hundred on the North American breed would otherwise, by now, have been thoroughly effaced. His eligibility to compete with other sons of A.P. Indy at stud was marginal in the first place, third place in the GII Super Derby being as good as it got in a light career. And, really, he never got off the grid. After a single spring trying his luck in Florida, in 2004, he...

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Maclean's Music Colt Turns in 'Special' Performance at the Spa

J. Kirk Robison's Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music), the "other" Steve Asmussen runner signed on for Friday's GII Saratoga Special S., out-footed them all and never looked back en route to a powerful score at the Spa. The imposing bay took his Churchill debut by 2 1/2 lengths June 19, and was flattered when the runner-up that day, re-opposing Therideofalifetime (Candy Ride {Arg}) returned to romp at Keeneland and earn 'TDN Rising Star' status. He was less proven on paper than stablemate, GIII Bashford Manor S. winner and 'Rising Star' Cazadero...

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Roderick Heads West for Best Pal

Runaway Belmont debut winner Roderick (Into Mischief), scratched out of Friday's deep GII Saratoga Special S., has been tabbed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday's GII Best Pal S. at Del Mar. Roderick crushed a trio of rivals on debut for trainer Wesley Ward on Long Island June 21, including runner-up Zippy Baby (Cairo Prince), who returned to graduate next out at Saratoga. Purchased by Breeze Easy for $550,000 as a KEESEP yearling, Roderick is a full-brother to GIII Southwest S. winner One Liner and hails from the same...

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