Closing notes from Saratoga, Del Mar

Closing notes from Saratoga, Del Mar

September 05, 2017 10:55 AM


At Saratoga, 2016’s jockey champion Jose Ortiz defeated his brother Irad for the 2017 title and Todd Pletcher scored a narrow win for the training title over 2016 training champ Chad Brown. On closing day Monday, trainer D. Wayne Lukas won the Grade-1 Hopeful Stakes for the eighth time in his Hall of Fame career. Sporting Chances winning time for the 7 furlongs, was a respectable 1:23.71.

At Del Mar, the tight trainers’ race produced a dead heat between Richard Baltas and Phil D’Amato while jockey Flavien Pratt narrowly defeated his co-champion from 2016, Rafael Bejarano, for this year’s title. Trainer Bob Baffert’s three wins on Saturday pushed his Del Mar career total to 477 victories, passing former leader Mike Mitchell. Of equal import, Baffert’s 123 local stakes wins also is a Del Mar record.

On Monday, the 7 furlong, Grade-1 Del Mar Futurity was won in the fast time of 1:22.91 by Bolt d’Oro, a promising prospect for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to be run at Del Mar on Nov. 4. An hour later, Terra’s Angel won the Juvenile Fillies Turf to give trainer Dallas Keen his only win at this year’s meet. The Southern Cal. racing scene now will shift to Los Alamitos for a 12-day meet before Santa Anita Park takes over.

Beyond the NY and SoCal racing seasons, last Saturday’s stellar opening day card at Kentucky Downs that was rained out by Hurricane Harvey will be run tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 6. The card will include four stakes worth a combined $1.25 million. Each year Kentucky Downs runs a relatively unheralded five-day September meet loaded with stakes on the grass.