Old Reliable

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Spring To The Sky walked out of his stall a little before 6:30 a.m. Thursday, walked a full circuit of the wood chip ring in front of trainer Bruce Brown’s barn inside Horse Haven on the Oklahoma Training Track and went about it like he’d done it hundreds of times.

Chances are Anthony McCarthy’s 8-year-old gelding had indeed done it at least that many times, in the midst of his seventh summer with Brown in Saratoga and preparing for today’s $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes. Spring To The Sky is a former winner of the Lucky Coin, taking it back in 2014 when it preceded the meet’s other 5 1/2-furlong open turf stakes, the Troy Stakes. He makes his 12th Saratoga appearance today as a 15-1 longshot against eight others in the race restricted to 4-year-olds and up who have not won a stakes in 2017.

Spring To The Sky trained Thursday morning like the pro he’s been in his 42-start career, making a short and quiet walk from Brown’s barn to the Oklahoma in a set of three. He jogged once the wrong way then turned around for a workmanlike gallop followed by a schooling session at the starting gate.

The Oklahoma was fairly busy on a cloudy and gray late-summer morning that felt a bit humid but neither warm nor cool. Spring To the Sky blended in with the others during his jog but couldn’t be missed galloping down the center, head cocked to the side and doing his job with purpose.

“His rider won’t be happy today since it’s so busy, he’ll be tough,” Brown said before Spring To The Sky galloped past while his trainer stood near the gap. “Here he comes; the one with his head to the side, ready to break off.”

To read the rest of the Lucky Coin preview, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special.