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.
"We're just happy to be here," a relaxed Stall said after training hours as his wife Nicole walked circles with their daughter Greta atop the stable's pony and son Albert played games on his iPad at Stall's barn on the main track Monday morning. "We were glad to get off the duck on Day 2. We were second Opening Day and then won the second day. We were like, 'wow this is easy, let's keep rolling.' Then we got beat up a little bit (Sunday)."
Stall won three races last summer at Saratoga and he's back again with a string of 18 from his base at Churchill Downs.
He sent out Chide to a fifth in Sunday's Coaching Club American Oaks and the stable figures to be represented in more stakes as the meet rolls on.
The group also includes 2014 Saratoga debut winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Top Decile and four-time graded stakes winner Departing.
Stall talked about those horses and some other prospects with The Special's Tom Law
Departing: "He's going to run in the Vanderbilt this Saturday. He's doing fine, coming off a Grade 2 win going a mile on the grass and we're shortening up to 6 furlongs on the dirt, so it's kind of a rank experiment. We wanted to get him around one turn and we think the competition in New York, older horses on the grass, is quite a bit tougher than it was at Churchill. We didn't think the Fourstardave would be the spot. We've wanted to get him around one turn, shorten him up the last couple years we just haven't had the chance to. The Derbies as a 3-year-old, you can't deviate from that. As a 4-year-old we chased a few handicaps. We're going to take a shot. There's a 3-5 shot in there, Rock Fall. We'll see if it works."
Great Minds: "He's in Friday for Vince Wilfork, the football player. He's a two-other-than going 5 1/2 on the turf, won two out of his last three, got beat this far at Keeneland in his last start (holds hands a foot apart)."
Top Decile: "She's on the comeback trail. She worked this morning (half-mile in :48.34 Monday). A couple more works and she might be able to catch the next a-other-than. Same kind of race Paid Up Subscriber won. I'm guessing if that was 6 furlongs the next one might be 6 1/2 or maybe 7. We're thinking of something like that. We're trying to be excited about the second half of the year for her. Her work this morning was her best one to date and I feel like she's getting where she needs to be."
Magical Connection: "He's in a maiden claimer on the grass Wednesday. We'll see if it helps him. His form is poor."
Paid Up Subscriber: "We were happy with her win. We'll try something like the Prioress at the end of the meet, Sept. 6. She just needs a clear trip. I'd like to see her run in the clear just one time to see what would happen."
Downside Scenario: "She's a Scat Daddy filly who acts like she might be OK. We might go straight to grass with her.
Lope: "She's a Claiborne filly and we might do grass with her. She's by Arch."
Attraction: "He's by Blame, for Claiborne. We'll try him Book 2, maybe Book 3. He's OK and I think we'll get started with him on the main track."
Chide: "Her mother (Grade 2 winner Yell) was a one-turn horse, she was by A.P. Indy and maybe she has more punch going around one turn as opposed to two turns. We'll definitely shorten her up but where that is and when that is I don't know. She got beat 7 lengths but she just maintained the same pace. We've seen that in her before, plus those were a bunch of nice fillies. That's definitely the best couple 3-year-old fillies in the country."