SARATOGA SPRINGS — When Serve the King squeaked past Ry’s the Guy in the $120,000 John’s Call on Wednesday, Chad Brown roared past Mike Maker for the lead in the Saratoga trainer standings.
The roar echoed on Thursday.
Brown, a Mechanicville native who has won three Saratoga titles in the last five years, saddled a whopping five winners on Wednesday’s card, including three straight in races 7-9, and three more on Thursday, including the feature, won by his filly Rastafara in the $120,000 Riskaverse.
Maker came into this week with the lead in the standings by one, and two days later is down 30-24 after Brown won eight of the 20 races carded on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Look, you’ve got to earn every win at Saratoga,” Brown said. “I know we have eight wins, and it’s starting to look easy, but it’s anything but that. You’re going to have to work hard, you’re going to need focus and good rides from these jockeys and we’re going to have to do our part to bring over horses that are healthy and ready to roll.”
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Rastafara has accounted for two of Brown’s victories at the meet, breaking her maiden on July 24 before winning her stakes debut in the Riskaverse by a length and a half as the 2-1 betting favorite.
Brown is poised for a big Travers weekend, if his barn can maintain this momentum. Besides long shot Miles D in the Travers on Saturday, Brown has three horses in the Ballston Spa, two in the Personal Ensign and two in the Sword Dancer.
“It’s cyclical, like any professional sport,” Brown said. “When you’re doing it long enough, you’re going to realize that you can’t get too high or too low. Right now, we’re in a really good groove, in all different divisions — dirt, turf, long, short, young, old — and the horses are really ready. It’s a testament to my staff and the patience of the owners to see it through week-to-week. And these jockeys. There’s a handful of different jockeys who have participated in this streak the last two days.
“Yeah, Travers Day is huge for us. Obviously, the Travers is at the top of the list, and that’s a tall order. But there are several stakes races we’re represented in that day, and we have some young horses debuting that day and all throughout the weekend that are really exciting.”
Brown’s five winners on Wednesday included Pocket Square at a mile and an eighth on turf; Digital Future at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf; Gandy Dancing at six furlongs on dirt; Winter Pool at a mile and an eighth on dirt; and Serve the King going long, at a mile and five eighths on the turf in the John’s Call.
Of those five, Serve the King was actually the highest win price, at $8.90 for a $2 wager, as the betting public supported Brown’s horses at the windows.
The 7-8-9 $1 Pick 3 paid $28.75.
NEW YORK-BREDS IN SPOTLIGHT
Friday’s New York Showcase card features six stakes restricted to New York-breds for a combined $1.15 million in purses.
Americanrevolution is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds going a mile and an eighth, coming off an impressive performance in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.
The son of Constitution, who also sired 2020 Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Tiz the Law, won the New York Derby by 7 1/4 lengths in the second start of his career and could be pointed toward open graded stakes company based on how he does in the Albany.
“I think so,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s certainly run well enough and trained well enough. We’re going to focus on the Albany right now, but hopefully he can step up and continue to develop into an open horse.”
Trainer Jim Bond had been considering the Grade I Fourstardave for Grade III Forbidden Apple winner Rinaldi, but he’ll instead return to the West Point at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf as the 7-5 favorite.
Rinaldi won the West Point last year and is 4-for-5 at Saratoga.
Make Mischief will drop out of graded stakes company for the first time in her last five starts and will stretch out in distance to nine furlongs as the 8-5 favorite in the Fleet Indian for 3-year-old fillies, after she was eighth in the seven-furlong Grade I Test on Aug. 7.
She ran three times at Saratoga last year and was second each time, in the Grade III Schuylerville, Grade II Adirondack and Seeking the Ante.
The juveniles will take the stage in a pair of 6 1/2-furlong races on the main track, the Seeking the Ante for fillies and the Funny Cide.
Miss Alacrity is the 7-5 favorite in the Seeking the Ante for trainer Wesley Ward, who has won at a 30% clip from the last 253 starts he’s had with 2-year-olds.
She’s already a stakes winner, in the Colleen at Monmouth Park on Aug. 1.
The eight-horse Funny Cide field includes four horses coming off wins at Saratoga, but a California shipper is the slight favorite, at 3-1. The Bob Baffert-trained Montebello won his debut at Del Mar on Aug. 7.
Daufuskie Island and Who Hoo Thats Me come into the Funny Cide off a 1-2 finish, respectively, in a maiden race, and Run Curtis Run (7-2) won the Rick Violette on July 21.
The stakes portion of the New York Showcase card wraps up with the Yaddo for fillies and mares on the turf.
Myhartblongstodady is back after winning the Yaddo last year and is the 8-5 favorite while searching for her first win of 2021.
GIVEAWAYS FOR SALE
Leftover giveaway items from past promotions will be offered for sale for $10 or less (cash only) at Saratoga next Wednesday.
The giveaway sale will begin at 11 a.m. near the Clubhouse exchange booth.
Items will include the Angel Cordero, Jr. bobblehead; 2015 Saratoga cooler bag and long-sleeve tee; 2016 Saratoga zip-up pullover; 2017 Saratoga wall clock; and a selection of Saratoga umbrellas, t-shirts, beach towels, hats and other collectables from the past decade.
Fans can secure a free Grandstand admission ticket for Wednesday racing by donating to a food drive during New York Showcase Day.
Fans who donate at least three non-perishable items to LifeWorks Community Action on Friday, August 27 will receive a free Grandstand admission ticket for either Wednesday or Thursday.
The food drive collection on New York Showcase Day will take place at the Community Outreach Booth near the Jockey Silks Room Porch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The second and final giveaway of the 2021 season will be a Saratoga fleece hoodie on Sunday, Sept. 5, available free with paid admission, while supplies last.
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