Jimmy Toner added his name to the list of winners through the first 10 days of the meeting when Thieves Guild posted a mild upset in Sunday's Caress Stakes. He won again Saturday as Recepta took the De La Rose Stakes on the Whitney undercard.
The pressure isn't totally off by any means, not with horses for other clients in his shaded barn toward the southwestern corner of the main track stable area, but it certainly helps.
"We got that out of the way and we're live with some of the others," Toner said after Thieves Guild won. "If we get one or two more out of here great. It's not easy but it takes the pressure off when you can win one early like we did and especially a stakes race."
Toner brought a dozen horses from Belmont Park and he's got three at the Fair Hill Training Center with Tres Abbott. It's a mix of older horses and some well-bred 2-year-olds, some that will be ready at this meet and others he hopes to run in the fall at Belmont.
"I'm waiting for the babies to come back, especially two fillies, I'm anxious to see them run," said Toner. "As long as you've got some nice babies it carries you through. If you've got good babies you're good for another year."
From one end of the shedrow to the other, Toner talked about each of the dozen he brought to Saratoga with The Special's Tom Law.
Recepta (won the De La Rose): "... She's a stakes winner coming out of a fourth at Monmouth last time in the Eatontown. She won at Keeneland first time out this year. She fits in there. A lovely filly."
Wabbajack: "He runs once a year whether he needs to or not. He makes a good picture and he's good to have around because everybody knows Wabbajack. He likes Saratoga. He's never run here but he likes coming up here so we'll try to run him before the meet is over. We'll try, no guarantees. Like I said, he runs once or twice a year, whatever suits him."
Sheldon: "He ran here last week (sixth in Aug. 1 allowance). We're just trying to find his level. The race he ran in was a non-winners of one that was kind of salty so I think we've got to find a different spot for him. We should find something later in the meet."
Hyper Nation: "She's a 2-year-old filly who ran third to the filly that Todd Pletcher ran Opening Day in the Schuylerville (Positively Royal). She's a Bernardini filly, lovely filly and she's supposed to run here Aug. 16. She's been training well and is a nice filly. We really like her. I wanted to make sure she had enough time before I ran her back."
Liberal Spin: "He ran good down at Belmont for $40,000 and I ran him up here in a non-winners of one, so we were a little ambitious. He ran July 25, just ambitiously placed. He's OK. We'll find a better spot. Anything will be better than the one I ran him in last time."
Jamaalaree: "She's a New York-bred maiden. We're going to enter her for Sunday. We ran her for maiden 40 and she was second. That's her level."
Time And Motion: "She's a Tapit filly out of Ellie's Moment. Nice filly, been training good. She's got a couple more breezes left. I'm undecided whether to run her on the dirt or the grass. She's for John Phillips. Good family, Moment In Dixie. Anytime I get something from them I know they're going to be good. She'll run here and we're looking forward to it. She's been breezing on the dirt, breezing fine, but I want to breeze her on the grass once to see if it looks like she's any better on the grass."
Manitoulin: "He's a 2-year-old, by Awesome Again out of Soaring Softly. I can do that. Bad pedigree, right? John Phillips sends me these off-the-wall-bred horses. Of course I'm just kidding. I'm not in any rush. We're just taking our time and will probably think about Belmont fall. Big, rangy colt. We're not looking to be pushing the buttons too soon. Soaring Softly, I ran her at 2, she broke her maiden in the fall. Then I ran her at 3 on the dirt and I remember she ran well and I ran her in the Acorn and Mother Goose on the dirt. She didn't handle it. When she turned 4 that's when she went to the grass and was 7-for-8. The only time she got beat in the grass was here in the Diana. They used to run it late and that was the year of the drought. 1999."
Cave Johnson: "He's another for AJ Suited and is a (2-year-old) Broken Vow colt. Big, grand looking colt. Same thing with him. We'll just bring him along, wait for the fall. He's a nice looking colt."
Thieves Guild: "She's one of those cases where you really feel like the patience paid off and there's been a lot of effort and time put into her. We gave her as much time and opportunity as we could. She's such a sweetheart, such a nice filly. I was telling somebody about when I bought her. I was in Delaware and Justin and Adam Driver were at Keeneland, talking to Craig Bandoroff. They were trying to buy her (privately). Craig had to talk to Bobby (Flay, her co-breeder), who was in New York. The phone call is going this way and that way. Finally Bobby said, 'do you want the filly?' I told him I'd give him this, he said he wanted that, and we finally got it done. Then I had to call them back to tell them it was OK."
Enjoy The Show: "He was second here in a good race July 26. He was making a good move and a horse that was in front of him broke down or pulled up and he had to check and come around. He ran really well. We'll run him back in a similar race. If he gets back in he's got a shot, so between the babies and him we have a shot to win another race or two."
Queen of New York: "She's a New York-bred by First Samurai. She looks OK, too, and hopefully we get to run her up here. She belongs to a fellow named Victor Bahna. He owns this one and Jamaalaree, two half-sisters. He's from Washington State. He used to be from New York but he moved there, and we have two New York-breds for him. She has a white spot on her back. We should have named her Queen of Canada because it looks like a maple leaf."