Big Bucks

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New York-breds take center stage today at the fifth Saratoga Showcase, six restricted stakes for 2-year-old horses, older horses, turf horses and dirt horses cobbled together for a big appetizer before the main event Saturday with the loaded Travers Day program. 

 The Showcase card stands on its own, as do New York-breds. Just ask Phil Serpe, who sends out Lady Joan in the $150,000 Yaddo, Held Accountable in the $200,000 Fleet Indian and possibly Clutch Cargo in the $150,000 West Point.

“I don’t know why people that race in New York all the time breed anything but New York-breds,” Serpe said Thursday morning from his golf cart parked on the apron of the main track just before the break. 

Serpe made that statement – maybe a free marketing slogan for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders or the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund? – talking about the value of a recent win by Lady Joan. The 4-year-old Courageous Cat filly, who runs for Serpe and owners/breeders Tony and Pat Smith’s Hilly Fields Stable, topped open company in a 1 3/8-mile optional claimer Aug. 10. 

“How much is this race, $150,000?” Serpe said of the 1 1/16-mile Yaddo, one of Saratoga’s signature state-bred turf stakes. “Do you realize with our New York-bred program that she’s made good money? She made just under $78,000 winning that open two-other-than. The purse was $92,000. You get 55 percent, plus there was a $16,000 owner’s award for running in an open race and she got the whole thing because she’s by a New York stallion. And she got another 20 percent breeder award for being by a New York stallion.”

Serpe figured the dollar amount to be $77,600, not much less than the $82,500 Lady Joan would earn with a win over eight others in the Yaddo (the eighth of 11 races today). 

The enticement of the Yaddo’s purse combined with where the race is run and Lady Joan’s form after two starts at the meet – she finished third behind fellow Yaddo entrant La Moneda and Dolce Lili in another optional over opening weekend – made it an easy decision for Serpe to enter. 

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