Thirty-nine racing days, 34 newspapers, nearly seven weeks of races, stories, deadlines, and all the details that come with them. The 2011 Saratoga Special season ended with Sunday’s paper and we’ve retreated back to homes, to more permanent offices, to life.
Thanks for reading. The digital editions will stay on our website so feel free to check for any you missed or relive the racing season.
And now the news, or at least some house-cleaning:
– John Velazquez won the jockey championship 54-52 over Javier Castellano, who skipped out on the last day to ride in a stakes-filled card at Philadelphia Park.
– Todd Pletcher won the trainer championship in a runaway, setting a record with 38 wins. Chad Brown claimed second with 22.
– Mike Repole’s Repole Stable edged Michael Dubb for the owner crown, 16 wins to 15.
– The Special’s handicapping challenge once again went to John Shapazian, who finished with 103 wins from 340 races. “Shapes” has won the crown three years in a row and goes for the Grand Slam next year. Gaile Fitzgerald made a huge run at the champ with get within four (we think) with a week to go, but finished second with 94 wins. Rookie of the year Erin Finley finished with 83, followed by Dean Keppler with 82 and Charles Bedard with 71. The Special only handicaps one Monday during the meet, giving us fewer overall races to work with but still quite respectable totals when compared to other public handicappers at the meet.
– NYRA’s numbers were healthy in terms of wagering and attendance with a big gain posted for on-track wagering, a slight increase to daily average attendance and small decreases for total attendance and all-sources handle. There were 39 racing days, one less than the 40 scheduled due to the cancellation of the Aug. 28 card because of Hurricane Irene. Daily average attendance was 22,353, up 1.8 percent from 21,957 in 2010. On-track handle totaled $121,101,664, up 5.6 percent from $114,693,168 last year. Daily average on-track handle was $3,105,171, up 8.3 percent from $2,867,329 in 2010.