Tardy Tuesday: Quick Review

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The Saratoga Special summer office is emptied out, cleaned up and the tables and chairs we like to call furniture is packed away neat and tight into our storage unit, so what better time to review what else happened over the weekend and Monday.

A week after Saratoga Race Course wrapped its 2014 meeting marked the opening of the Keeneland September yearling sale and from most reports the proceedings in Lexington are off to a strong start. Two yearlings sold for seven figures Monday – both fillies with very familiar U.S. pedigrees – and the opening-session metrics were up for the most part.

Keeneland reported sales on 120 of the 166 yearlings offered for a total of $33,165,000, down slightly from last year. The opening session’s average price jumped 3.4 percent to a very healthy $276,375 while median rose 22.5 percent to $245,000.

The session topper was a filly by Bernardini out of Mushka, by Empire Maker, who sold for $1.2 million to John Ferguson, primary agent for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

To check out the hip-by-hip results for the Keeneland September sale, click here.


Life at Presque Isle

The closing of Saratoga and Del Mar for the season don’t allow for very many non-holiday Monday stakes races, but there was one at Presque Isle Downs Monday night.

Living The Life, an Irish-bred daughter of Footstepsinthesand who shipped to Western Pennsylvania from Southern California, rallied in the stretch to win the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes for older fillies and mares going 7 furlongs.

Hall of Famer Mike Smith came in to ride Living The Life in the Grade 2 Masters and they won by a half-length from Disco Barbie. The victory gave Living The Life her second win in as many starts since arriving in the U.S. and in the barn of Gary Mandella earlier this year.

Check out the chart of the Presque Isle Downs Masters.


This Is Traffic

If you couldn’t pick up a print edition of The Saratoga Special this summer the place to be was ST Publishing’s website, thisishorseracing.com. Traffic numbers show that you, the reader, went to the site frequently and repeatedly to read and download a digital edition of The Special.

Here’s a sampling of traffic on the site from July 17, the first day we put a digital edition of the Special up, through Sept. 1, the final day of racing at Saratoga:

– Page views: 100,053, up 105 percent from the same period in 2013;

– Sessions (visits): 42,349, up 54 percent; and

– Users (visitors): 19,621, up 71 percent.


Special Handicapping

Since we don’t publish a Monday or Tuesday edition – aside from sales week – we didn’t get a chance to rehash how our handicapping team fared for the 2014 meet.

To say that John Shapazian dominated would be an understatement. Shapazian tabbed 131 winners from the 413 races run, a strike race of 32 percent and tops of all handicappers picking the Saratoga meet. Tom Law was next for The Special’s crew with 114 winners, while Gaile Fitzgerald also cracked the century mark with 101 winners. Chad Summers picked 92 and Charles Bedard picked 84.