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Weekend Hideaway popped his head over the stall guard late Wednesday morning, eyes bright and wide as he surveyed the shed row. Rain fell gently outside, the chestnut’s ears flicking back and forth with each drop. He watched a groom cleaning tack, sticking his tongue out for attention as she neared. 

 Stabled to the left of Phil Serpe’s office, Weekend Hideaway feels as much in charge as his trainer. The 8-year-old horse will make his 48th start for Serpe and Red and Black Stable in the $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for state-breds going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

“It is surprising, especially for a sprinter and a horse that works as fast as he does and runs the races he runs,” said Serpe. “He’s at an age where he took care of us for a long time and now I’m taking care of him.

“It’s been great. Everybody loves that horse. He’s got a big following around the racetrack because he’s been around for so long.”

The son of Speightstown is Serpe’s top performer, with 12 wins – eight in stakes races – multiple stakes placings and $1,079,212 in earnings. Weekend Hideaway won at least one stakes race every year since debuting as a 2-year-old in 2012.

“We were always hoping we could win a graded stakes with him,” said Serpe. “He’s got a reasonably decent pedigree and he’s a multiple stakes winner. We were hoping he could stand in New York and we still are but we haven’t been able to win a graded stakes with him yet. He’s got such longevity and determination and he’s just a real racehorse that I would breed a mare to.

To read the rest of the John Morrissey preview, download Thursday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by EasyFix Stable Solutions.