John Terranova’s Saratoga string of 25 bustles with activity and movement as it sits in the midst of the madness of Saratoga Race Course.
Situated just off the main track, between the three-quarter and half-mile poles, the Terranova barn is a prime location for visitors to drop by and horses and humans to walk past. (Editor’s note: Originally published in Aug. 12 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
Terranova started Zayat Stable’s El Kabeir in last weekend’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes.
His barn is full of promising 2-year-olds, successful graded stakes winners and last year housed Triple Crown winner American Pharoah when he came to town for the Travers. Nearly halfway through the 2016 Saratoga meet, Terranova has won and placed third twice respectively in only 12 starts.
“The horses are running well, it’s been a great start to the meet,” said Tonja Terranova, who works in lock step with her husband as his assistant.
The Terranova barn is certainly a family enterprise.
With a large group of horses split between Belmont Park and Saratoga, Tonja is frequently schooling horses in the paddock, attending races, regulating the barn and managing morning workouts. She took some time out of her busy Friday before last weekend’s Whitney to walk through the barn with The Special’s Shayna Tiller.
Jimbo Fallon: Owned by Natalie Baffert, the 4-year-old won his last two and scratched from Wednesday’s eighth. “He’s trained by Bob Baffert, but we’re babysitting. He’s kind of special, Jimmy Fallon talked about him on his show after he won at Belmont. He’s a big, pretty horse. He’s by Midnight Lute and Bob said he was big, but I didn’t expect him to be this big.”
El Kabeir: Zayat Stables’ 4-year-old Scat Daddy colt finished sixth in the Whitney. “He’s our big horse. … He’s one of our favorites. He isn’t the most friendly horse, but he’s kind of the big one in the barn.”
King Kranz: The Munnings colt finished sixth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam following a win in the Gold Fever Stakes May 6 at Belmont. “He needed the race the other day, he hadn’t run in a while and he got a little tired. If everything goes well he’ll be running in the Kings’ Bishop. El Kabeir and him are both owned by Zayat Stables.”
Enjoy Yourself: Sovereign Stable’s 3-year-old filly by Sir Percy finished third in Suffolk Downs’ Drumptop Stakes Aug. 6. “She’s Great Britain-bred. Really nice filly, she runs on the turf. The owners bought her last fall.”
Jess I Am: Homebred for Zayat Stables, 3-year-old Eskendereya ridgling has two seconds and three thirds. “He’s run eight times and is still a maiden. Hopefully he’ll break through at Saratoga. Very playful.”
Harp n Halo: Winner of the Avowal Stakes last year at Woodbine, 5-year-old mare finished fifth in the Caress Stakes July 31 for Curragh Stables. “She’s the oldest one we’ve got here. We tried her in the slop, but she’ll go back to the grass. She is definitely turf only.”
Greywalls: A winner at Saratoga last summer, 4-year-old City Zip filly exits fifth in allowance-optional July 3 at Monmouth. “Another turf filly, owned by Long Lake Stables. She’ll run up here, I’m not sure exactly when but she’ll make a start up here.”
Carry Your Heels: Gatsas Stables’ 2-year-old Freud filly was fast asleep in her stall, oblivious to the people talking on her doorstep. “She was third first time out (in her debut July 3 at Belmont). Mike Gatsas got that great name, they were walking out on Oaks Day when Enjoy Yourself ran and all the girls were carrying their high heels and wearing their flip-flops. That’s how she got her name. Hopefully she’ll make the end of the meet here.”
Dr. Dorr: Natalie Baffert’s Lookin At Lucky colt breezed 5 furlongs in a bullet :59.25 on the main track Monday. Fourth in the Grade 3 Bob Hope last fall, he was eighth in allowance-optional July 15 at Del Mar. “Another one of Bob Baffert’s, he’ll run here towards the end of the meet. We’re pretty close with them.”
Mabrouk: Zayat Stable’s 2-year-old Congrats gelding, seventh in a maiden claimer Aug. 1, occupies American Pharoah’s stall. “This is where American Pharoah was last year. He ran first time out and he kind of got squeezed at the start in the slop and after that he really didn’t know what was going on. But he’ll run up here again later in the meet.”
Caledonian: Two-year-old son of Concord Point colt finished sixth in a New York-bred maiden special weight Monday. “He’s a homebred of Kaleem Shah’s. He seems to like it; he’s doing well.”
Toohottoevenspeak: Long Lake Stable’s 4-year-old Stonesider gelding finished third for $16,000 tag last Friday off a near year-long layoff. “He’s a big horse that ran a couple times, then a year layoff, then ran a couple more times, then another year layoff.”
Not Taken: A maiden winner in her debut March 4 at Tampa Bay Downs, 3-year-old Arch filly exits two fifths and is entered in the seventh race Saturday. “She’s owned by the Gatsas family as well. She’s going to run in an a-other-than going 7/8ths. We tried the turf last time, that didn’t really work, but she’s another nice filly.”
Buffalo Miss: One of the barn’s two winners at the meet, Curragh Stables’ 3-year-old Golden Missile filly scored in state-bred maiden claimer July 29. “We’ll look to run her up here again by the end of the meet. We were really happy, and happy they didn’t claim her. Her and Not Taken are friends with their little window, they like to look at each other.”
Brimstone: The barn’s other winner, 4-year-old Munnings gelding scored in Aug. 1 allowance over Tencendur. “This is our other winner, pulled the upset the other day. He’s owned by Sovereign Stable. Pretty excited that he pulled that off the other day, that was a fun race.”
Champagne Papi: Unraced 2-year-old colt by Scat Daddy out of Liz Hunter, by Smart Strike. “All the kids know Drake, so my daughters are praying that he’s a good horse and Drake shows up to see him run. The Curragh’s son Matt is a sports announcer and Drake goes to a lot of the hockey games in Canada and they became friendly so that’s how he got his name. My oldest already wants concert tickets. He’s just a baby, and he will not run up here.”
Dab: Terranova laughs and does the “dab” motion with her arms while the 2-year-old Into Mischief colt takes mid-morning snooze. “That’s for the football player, the Carolina Panther (Cam Newton) that does the (dab). He’s a couple weeks away. He’s owned by the Gatsas family and he’s doing very well. We’re excited about him.”
Harlan’s Harmony: A $75,000 buy this year, 2-year-old colt by Spring At Last won July 14 at Belmont. “This is another one owned by Curragh Stables, Bob and Michael Devlin and friends. He won first time out and he’s being pointed for the With Anticipation. We’ve always liked him, even though he was a longshot when he ran. He’s a really special horse, very impressive first time out.”
Killybegs Captain: Another enjoying a nap, 2-year-old gray colt by Mizzen Mast worked a half-mile on the grass last Friday and is entered in the second race Saturday. “We call him ‘the Strawberry.’ He’s quite big when he stands up, a lot leaner than the other two, but he’s very tall. He’s a Mizzen Mast colt, owned by Curragh as well.”
Chavo: Twisting and turning his head with his tongue out, the barn’s pony is ready for lunch. “He wants to eat, he gets angry because all of the other horses get grain in the morning and he doesn’t. He’s our stable pony, who’s an ex-racehorse. He takes a lot of them, he was American Pharoah’s pony for the Belmont and the Travers.”