Michael Dickinson, whose training feats include sending out the first five finishers in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and training Da Hoss to win two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, is coming out of retirement to train again at his Tapeta Farm.
Dickinson made the formal announcement Monday night and said he’ll return in the fall “with between 20 and 30 horses.” He retired seven years ago to develop his Tapeta Footings synthetic racing surfaces company overseas.
John Terranova’s barn at Belmont Park was bustling with activity this spring and summer. The just turned 45-year-old trainer sent out 39 starters at the spring-summer stand, won eight races and hit the board in 13 others for a strike rate of 54 percent in the money.
The 2015 Saratoga Race Course meeting reaches its 10th day with a 10-race card Monday. That’s a quarter of the way through if you’re keeping track. Lots of races in the books, plenty more opportunities down the road.
Carl Nafzger doesn’t argue with the description by some that he’s semi-retired. He comes to Saratoga every year around the time of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, kicks around with his friend and former longtime assistant Ian Wilkes and catches up with other old friends and colleagues.
The Saratoga Special intern and 2014 National Handicapping Contest qualifier Billy Blake will serve up some wagering advice for This Is Horse Racing during this year’s Saratoga Race Course meeting. He takes another crack at Saturday’s $500,000 guaranteed late pick 4, which caps a big card at the Spa that includes the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Grade 2 Jim Dandy.
Keith Desormeaux’s primary motive behind sending a small string of horses to Saratoga Race Course this summer was his imposing bay colt, Texas Red.
The 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner is one of seven 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s $600,000 Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, a group that also includes Belmont Stakes runner-up Frosted. Not that many are expected to start, with others cross-entered in Sunday's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
Rick Violette called his Saratoga barn near the 6-furlong gap on the main track “as close to a home as you could have.” He’s been there for, as he put it, 50 years. It’s probably not quite that long, but he did work there for David Whiteley and Angel Penna before becoming a trainer.
Smart Transition isn’t the only 3-year-old colt that is also the first foal of a hugely successful racemare in trainer John Shirreffs’ barn, nor is he the most well known.
That spot belongs to Cozmic One. He’s the first foal out of Horse of the Year, three-time champion older female and $7,304,580-earner Zenyatta. Winless in two starts, he isn’t close to following in his mother’s footsteps although he deserves a pass because, seriously, who could?
The career of Smart Transition is on a better track.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. didn’t waste much time getting his 2015 Saratoga meet off to a strong start, sending out Dating Lady Luck to finish second in allowance company Opening Day and Paid Up Subscriber to a win another allowance the second day.
In advance of Equine Advocates' 14th Annual Awards Dinner and Charity Auction Thursday night at Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, local freelance writer and PR/digital media consultant Alyssa McClenning made the trip to the organization's base in Chatham, N.Y.
“Are we going to take my car, or yours?” I ask my friend while eyeing his 1998 VW Cabrio.
The 5-speed is stripped down to its black primer, the morning sun catching spots of rust.
“Let’s take mine,” he says, “it’s better on gas mileage.”
Listening to and paying attention to the cues given by Noble Cornerstone has produced positive results for trainer Tom Morley in 2015.
The gelding needed time to grow up at the end of his 3-year-old season, Morley gave it to him and he returned to the races even more successful this year.
Leah Gyarmati looks down her shedrow, deep in the corner of Clare Court and Greentree and thinks about her 20 horses here and 17 at Belmont Park. It’s the most she’s ever trained.
“I’ve never had to leave that many behind,” she said. “It’s just different. Trying to stay on top of everything. It’s not my favorite way of doing it, but it’s nice to have a good group of horses.”