Today in Racing, July 31, 2014

A bizarre Wednesday at Saratoga, with a lengthy delay prior to the 8th race while a stricken horse was being attended to in the path leading from the paddock out to the track.  Lavender Road had been scratched prior to the 7th on advice of his jockey.

Trainer Abigail Adsit, a 2005 graduate of Saratoga High and 2009 alumnus of Union College, watched nearby in anguish. Her horse suffered through heatstroke and head trauma in full view of an audience near the entrance to the track from the paddock. [Albany Times Union]

The horse is reported to be in stable condition at an equine hospital in town.

Willet ($3.10) is a pretty cool horse; the six-year old daughter of Jump Start won the 3rd, her 8th win in only 17 career starts.  She generally takes the winter and spring off and comes out to play come summer time.  Seems to be as good as ever in 2014 for trainer James Iselin.  Her season debut was a fine second at Belmont early this month behind La Verdad (whose dull effort in the slop on Monday can surely be excused), earning a career best TFUS Speed Figure of 113.  Yesterday’s race wasn’t quite as fast (a preliminary figure of 106), but she won handily under mild hand urging.

In the 6th, Coast of Sangria ($30.20) was claimed for 25K by trainer Larry Rivelli; and I always admire when a trainer puts in a claim for a longshot that runs well, as this 5yo daughter of Afleet Alex did.  Having said that, this mare won her last race in this same class, so not sure why she went off at those odds.  Maybe the bettors were looking at the TimeformUS Race Ratings, which indicated that this was a tougher task despite the parallel move.

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Coast of Sangria had been claimed back by Mike Miceli (getting his first Spa win of the meet with his first starter) from Rudy Rodriguez for 20K on May 2, and won two races and $58,200 in purse money before he lost her here; so nice job.

In the 8th, La Madrina ($4.20) got about as smooth a trip as one could ask for, saving ground until Castellano swung her off the rail turning for home, and the seas parted for a clear run to victory down the stretch.  This half-sister, by Tapit, to Verrazano won her 2nd start in three attempts for trainer Shug McGaughey, getting his third win (from 13 starters) of the meet.  She earned a TFUS Speed Figure of 93.

In the 10th, Candir ($10.80) graduated in his third career start, and first for trainer Chad Brown.  This 3yo son of Candy Ride, a $360K yearling purchase, disappointed in his first two starts, for John Shirreffs, before his connections made the switch.  (Owner Ron Sanchez is looking for a similar result with Social Inclusion, switched to Brown after his disappointing Haskell effort.  Perhaps the owner should find a new owner for the mis-managed colt.)  Candir is related to 8th race winner La Madrina, as the latter’s second dam is the third dam of Candir (a half brother to Al Khali, who won the Saranac at the Spa).  It’s the 4th winner, from 26 starts, for Chad Brown, who has gotten off to a slow start (for him) at the meet as he did last year, when he won with five of his first 32 starters.  He then proceeded to win seven of his next 11 races, and finished with 24 winners overall to be second to Pletcher.  We expect that he’ll ultimately fare well this year as well.  Whether he can catch the Toddster, comfortably in front with ten winners from 31 starters, remains to be seen.

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