SARATOGA SPRINGS — It’s all tied up.
And that’s all tied up, too.
With eight racing days left, the race for jockey and trainer championships at Saratoga Race Course are both up for grabs, after a rare long shot out of the barn of Chad Brown won the Grade III Lake George on Friday.
Ridden by David Cohen in place of the injured Irad Ortiz Jr., Selflessly caught heavy favorite Sweet Melania, ridden by Jose Ortiz, and just got a nose in front on a head bob at the wire to win.
Irad Ortiz was out with a wrist injury for the second day in a row, and Jose Ortiz had two winners to tie his brother with 45 each.
Meanwhile, a byproduct of Brown’s filly winning the Lake George was that it negated what looked like a winner for trainer Todd Pletcher — multiple graded stakes winner Sweet Melania had the lead a stride from the wire — and gave it to Brown, creating a tie between the two of them with 24 each.
It was the seventh win of the meet for Cohen, who was officially named on Selflessly three hours before first post.
“My team at Belmont has had this horse all meet getting her ready, and they really did a great job,” Brown said. “David stepped in today when Irad couldn’t ride, and I’m really proud of him. He rode a great race and we were happy to put him on the horse. I use him occasionally and we certainly ride against him a lot. He rides particularly well on the turf saving ground.
“He rode such a great race and deserves a lot of credit. He followed the favorite all the way. He used her early to get position, which was key, and it was a real patient, well-timed ride, and the filly really responded.”
“We were happy to get a good trip behind the horse [Sweet Melania] I thought would take us the whole way,” Cohen said. “You never really want to get stuck behind a horse that’s going to back up into you. My filly really finished up strong and showed a lot of heart.
“Chad and I had the same idea. We thought there would be two or three to go and we really wanted to get her out aggressively and not get shuffled back into the first turn and played it by ear. If Sweet Melania was on the lead and I was fortunate to get behind her, then great, she would take me the rest of the way, and if not, just figure it out from there. We went to Plan B and Plan C real quick. Everything got bottled up into that first turn and as Chad requested, if we didn’t send her out of there strong, we would have been shuffled seven, eight back and probably never have the chance to get up for the win.”
“No excuse,” Ortiz said. “The last couple of jumps, the other horse came to me, but she dug in and fought hard. It was a good race. Tough beat.”
Selflessly was 6-1 on the morning line, and perhaps sensing that the rider switch might make a difference, the betting public sent Selflessly off at 14-1.
“Some loyal Chad Brown fans made money today, for sure,” Brown said with a laugh.
TIZ THE LAW WORK
Because of heavy rain scheduled for Saturday, Trainer Barclay Tagg faces a dilemma in deciding when to give Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Tiz the Law his final breeze in preparation for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.
So Tiz the Law will breeze on Sunday, like he did last week, when a scheduled Saturday work was called off due to a short but intense rainstorm in the morning.
Tiz the Law is scheduled to ship to Louisville on Monday.
CARACARO OUT OF DERBY
Travers runner-up Caracaro will miss the Kentucky Derby after suffering an injury to his right front leg during the gallop-out of a six-furlong workout on the Saratoga main track on Friday.
He worked three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.26, then exercise rider J.J. Delgado hopped off when he felt something wasn’t right.
“I don’t know how bad it is, but later on we’re going to X-ray and find out,” assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. said. “It’s disappointing, because he worked so well. He just took a bad step and he wasn’t feeling right. His work had already been done. I don’t think it’s going to be that bad, but we’ll know more once we do the proper examination.”