Saratoga Race Course

TAG at the Track: New York-breds get their time in the spotlight

Start of the 44th running of The Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Friday, August 27, 2021.

Start of the 44th running of The Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Friday, August 27, 2021.

SARATOGA RACE COURSE This Friday at Saratoga Race Course will see the last of the 13 stakes races carded this summer for horses bred or sired in New York. Saratoga Showcase Day was added to the racing calendar in 2014 and scheduled for Travers weekend, increasing the visibility of the state’s breeding program on the biggest racing weekend of the summer.

Earlier this summer, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) carded something of a mini-showcase day on Aug. 12, offering four New York-bred stakes races worth $125,000 each. Three of those four races had been fixtures at Saratoga for years, and this year, NYRA, New York Thoroughbred Breeders (NYTB), and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) consolidated them to kick off a weekend that also included the NYTB annual awards dinner and the two sessions of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of preferred New York-bred yearlings.

Traditionally held in Saratoga Springs in April, the awards ceremony this year honored some of the very horses that had run earlier in the day and offered updates on the pedigrees of the yearlings that would be sold two days later. In action Friday will be another four New York-bred champions, including a millionaire that broke his maiden at Saratoga in 2018.

Somelikeithotbrown was both bred and conceived in New York. His sire is 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, his dam a gray/roan mare Marilyn Monroan. Credit for his name goes to co-breeder Susie Shircliff, a filmmaker and Kentucky native who’s got a knack for puns and who drew on both the name of the famous Hot Brown sandwich that was created in Louisville and the Marilyn Monroe movie “Some Like It Hot.”

In his 26-race career, Somelikeithotbrown has won six stakes races, three of them graded, including the 2020 Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Stakes at Saratoga. He’s a four-time New York-bred champion, picking up his second trophy for champion turf male at the awards ceremony earlier this month. On Friday, he’ll break from post 3 as the morning line second choice at 7-2 in the 10th race, the West Point Stakes presented by Trustco Bank.

In 2017, Final Furlong Racing paid $69,000 at the Saratoga New York-bred sale for a filly out of the New York-bred mare Glory Gold. Named Espresso Shot, she became a multiple stakes winner who earned more than half a million dollars, and last year, Espresso Shot was sold as a broodmare prospect last year for $300,000.

More Saratoga Racing Coverage: At The Track

Espresso Shot so impressed her owners that a year after purchasing her, they also purchased her stakes’ dam Glory Gold, paying $13,000 for a New York-bred mare named Glory Gold, in foal at the time to Firing Line.

On Aug. 12, that filly, Venti Valentine was awarded the trophy for champion New York-bred two-year-old filly for 2021. Owned in partnership by Final Furlong and Parkland Thoroughbreds, Venti Valentine is approaching the amount of money earned by her half-sister and has twice finished second in graded stakes in New York. This Friday, she returns to New York-bred races in the Fleet Indian Stakes for trainer Jorge Abreu, looking for win #4 in her eighth lifetime start, the second choice on the morning line at 9-5.

The 2021 three-year-old champion filly was born at Avanti Stable in Greenfield Center, NY, just seven miles from the track at which she’ll run in the Yaddo Handicap on Friday. The classy filly sold for $285,000 at the 2019 Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. With earnings of $636,000, she’s looking for her first win at the Spa, having finished second in four of her five starts here. At odds of 9-2, she’s the morning line second choice.

Contesting the Yaddo along with Make Mischief is Runaway Rumour, last year’s champion female turf horse. Like Venti Valentine, she’s trained by Jorge Abreu, and she’s owned and bred by Lawrence Goichman, who also bred her mother. She has seldom run in races restricted to New York-breds, taking on graded stakes rivals and frequently finishing in the top four. She’s the 5-1 co-third choice.

In addition to the West Point, the Yaddo, and the Fleet Indian, three other stakes races—the Seeking the Ante, the Albany, and the Funny Cide—will also be run on Friday. The remaining five races on the card, non-stakes races, will also be for New York-breds only.

Showcase Day isn’t the Breeders’ Cup, and a New York-bred divisional championship isn’t an Eclipse Award. But for the people who love New York racing and who race and breed in the state, who accepted trophies on Aug. 12 and who will get their pictures taken in the winner’s circle on Friday, and for those of us who get to watch, the success of the homegrown stars, especially at Saratoga, is more than enough reason to celebrate.

More Saratoga Racing Coverage: At The Track

Categories: -Sports-, At The Track, Saratoga Springs, Sports

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