Saginaw recovered from a stumbling start and also got back in winning form by taking the $100,000 John Morrissey at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday.
Saginaw won five straight since March, but had the streak stopped when he jumped into the Grade I Met Mile and finished 24 1⁄2 lengths behind Shackleford.
Back with New York-breds in the John Morrissey, Saginaw had a poor start under David Cohen, but got back in the game and won.
“Saginaw needed a rest after the Met Mile,” trainer David Jacobson said. “He had a nice, hard campaign. We freshened him for Saratoga, and what better place to win a race than right here?”
“He stumbled a little bit and grabbed himself, so that kind of altered it, but it didn’t change anything,” Cohen said. “I ended up where I wanted to be. He drifted out on the backside, really just did everything in hand just like in all of his races.
“He ranged up around the turn very easily all on his own and, just like usual, I called upon him down the lane and he kicked on very nicely. You never would’ve been able to tell that he’d had 60 days off.”
Also on the card, Beautiful But Blue outdueled Risky Rachel to win the $100,000 Fleet Indian stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.
It was the third win this year for Beautiful But Blue in New York-bred stakes.
“I wasn’t sure we could handle older fillies, but this filly has really, really come on,” trainer Tom Bush said. “She’s been fabulous.”
BIG PICK SIX
Sinorice barely outdueled Dan and Sheila in the 10th race to complete a pick six that was hit on two tickets for $470,645 each.
That included a $239,114.97 carryover into Wednesday’s card.
The 5-year-old gelding One Note Samba suffered a right hind condylar fracture shortly after the start of the first start and had to be euthanized.
It was the second race-related fatality of the meet.
The 3-year-old filly Regal Citizen was euthanized after suffering catastrophic leg injuries during the gallop-out following the seventh race last Thursday.
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, One Note Samba was 6-1-1 from 13 lifetime starts for $171,198.
He won two turf sprints at Saratoga last year while trained by Todd Pletcher.
Today’s feature is the Grade I A.P. Smithwick, one of the premier steeplechase races of the meet.
The slight morning-line favorite, at 9-5, is the entry of Nationbuilder and Divine Fortune from the barn of Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard.
Divine Fortune, a 9-year-old gelding, has won the A.P. Smithwick the last two years, by two lengths over Decoy Daddy last year and by three-quarters of a length over Arcadius in 2010.
The graded stakes winner Decoy Daddy is back for more and is 2-1 coupled with Via Galilei, The Jigsaw Man and Tax Ruling, who won two Grade I races last year and finished second to Black Jack Blues in the Eclipse Award voting.
SAN PABLO FAVORED
Today’s card also includes the $100,000 Birdstone at nine furlongs for horses 3 and up.
San Pablo, fourth in the Monmouth Cup behind two Whitney runners, Rule and Flat Out, is the 2-1 favorite.
That was the only race in which the son of Jump Start has finished out of the money in 10 lifetime starts.
He started the year by finishing second to Marilyns Guy twice, in the As Indicated in February and the Grade III Excelsior in March.
NEW OWNERS LUNCH
Trainers Chad Brown and Dominic Galluscio will be among the experts on hand at Saratoga for NYRA’s seventh “New Owners Luncheon” on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
Initiated last spring, the program provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of thoroughbred ownership in an effort to bring new owners to the sport of horse racing.
Hosted by former champion jockey Richard Migliore and co-hosted by NYRA Raceday personality Ernie Munick, the event will begin at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast in the Saratoga luxury suites, followed by presentations and Q&A sessions with Brown and Galluscio, as well as Michael Dubb, NYRA’s leading owner in 2010; Jack Wolf and Don Lucarelli, managing partners of Starlight Racing; Tom Gallo, managing partner of Parting Glass Stable; New York State Steward Stephen Lewandowski; equine accountant Andre Moglia, and Jeffrey Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
Throughout the day, guests also will have the opportunity to meet many of NYRA’s leading jockeys, trainers and owners, visit the paddock and participate in a winner’s circle trophy presentation.
The registration fee is $100, which includes breakfast and lunch in the luxury suites, a backstretch tour, a racing program and a giveaway bag.
Registration details are available at www.nyra.com/newowners.