Two weeks after scratching out of her first appearance at Saratoga Race Course, Scribbling Sarah showed her class Friday with a maiden win for trainer Tom Morley in the fourth race.
Scribbling Sarah is named for Sarah Mace, the communications manager for New York Thoroughbred Breeders, and Mace was laughing in the winner’s circle about how proud she was of her namesake.
The 3-year-old filly was scratched July 20 after breaking through the gate before her race and losing rider Junior Alvarado, who suffered a separated shoulder in the incident. The heroics of assistant starter Mike “Pup” McMullen kept Scribbling Sarah from getting loose on the track, as he kept a solid hold of her, flying out of the gate with one arm holding her reins as he waited for his feet to hit the ground and give him some leverage.
“Pup did a great job,” Morley said in the paddock before Friday’s fourth race. “I live with him, I went home, I bought him a beer . . . I didn’t. I should buy him a beer. He’ll be looking after her again
today. He did a magnificent job. It’s always tough when horses do that, to hold onto them. As a trainer, if they’re going to do that, you’re hoping they don’t go out there and get loose on the track, because anything can happen to them then. Hats off to Pup. He’s absolutely a top-class gate handler, and I was delighted with the job he did.”
There was a little commotion behind the gate Friday, but Scribbling Sarah remained calm. She broke a little slowly in the 5 1⁄2-furlong race on the Mellon Turf, but Alvarado was back in her saddle and navigated her around the front-runners to edge a trio of rivals by a head to bring Morley his first win at Saratoga.
“My legs turned to jelly as she crossed the line; I couldn’t believe it,” Morley said. “I’ve had three runners, two seconds, and was beginning to get a bit twitchy about the whole thing. And now she’s done it.
“Tony [Grey] was the first person to send me a horse, so it means an awful lot to reward him with a winner here. He sent me one, then he sent me her, I’ve had two winners for him now, one at Aqueduct and now one here. To win here and win a maiden [race] with one a home-bred of his means an awful lot.”
It was better late than never, and Morley was thrilled with the ride Alvarado gave the filly two weeks after an incident that was scary for horse, jockey and trainer.
“She broke a little slower than I thought she would, but going 5 1⁄2 with a lot of speedballs in the race, I said to Junior, just throw the reins,” Morley said. “Don’t fight her, just let her find her own rhythm. That’s the way she’ll run her best race, and he gave her a great ride. He didn’t rush her, he didn’t panic. He let her get into a rhythm, and when she does that, she is a pretty decent New York-bred filly.”
Silverette missed the track record by just 0.68 seconds in winning the $100,000 Caress, carrying jockey Robby Albarado through a half mile in 43.70 and five furlongs in 55.19 before finishing the 5 1⁄2-furlong turf race in 1:01.27.
Rosa Salvaje led through the first quarter mile in 21.39, and winning trainer Dale Romans said having that pacesetter in front of her may have helped.
“They were going fast, but she looked like she was doing it relaxed. That’s what impressed me with her. Before when she’s run, when she gets to the lead, she’s looks like she’s kind of relaxed,” he said. “She did have that target the first part of the race, and I think that helped her. She held on. That’s phenomenally fast.”
Silverette took the lead from Rosa Salvaje in the turn with Double the Energy initially following in her wake. Double the Energy couldn’t keep the pace, but Spun Cap and jockey Joel Rosario were coming out around her, then found a late kick to get past Madame Giry, ultimately finishing just a neck behind Silverette.
“She’s very deceptive; it doesn’t look like she’s doing it that fast, but she’s moving,” Albarado said. “I worked her on the Oklahoma grass course, and she went really fast. I thought I went 49 or 50 [seconds], and she went 47. She does it real easy.”
After Mylute’s eighth-place finish in the Grade II Jim Dandy last Saturday, jockey Rosie Napravnik told trainer Tom Amoss she thought she sensed some kind of an airway issue with the Midnight Lute colt.
In his previous two starts, Mylute was fifth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, but his next target remains uncertain.
“He came out of the race in good shape,” Amoss said. “He did bleed in the race. That’s something we haven’t had a problem with to this point. Where we go from here is going to be up to the owners and the farm manager, and that decision will probably be made this weekend.”
FUNNY CIDE VISIT
Funny Cide, the winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will be in the paddock on Sunday from 11:30 a.m to noon to highlight Equine Retirement Day at Saratoga. He will make a return appearance in the paddock before the Grade I $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, which has a post time of approximately 5:12 p.m.
A number of thoroughbred retirement organizations will be represented at the Jockey Silks Room throughout the day and will collect donations and provide literature to the public.
Also Sunday, the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing Legends of Saratoga continues with former jockeys Angel Cordero, Jose Santos and Richard Migliore available to sign autographs outside the Jockey Silks Room from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
The annual Riders Up! Jockey Karaoke competition will take place Aug. 12 at Vapor Night Club inside Saratoga Casino and Raceway, beginning at 7:45 p.m. The jockeys will be backed by a live band, and NYRA track announcer Tom Durkin will emcee the event.
The competition will raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Advance tickets are available at www.pdjf.org. VIP tickets cost $150 and include early admission at 5:30 p.m., a private buffet dinner with the jockeys and reserved seating close to the stage. General admission will cost $75 and allow entry at 7 p.m.
AROUND THE TRACK
John Velazquez got back to the winner’s circle with a win aboard Sol the Freud in the second race. It ended an 0-for-20 run since he passed fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey on Saturday. . . .
In the ninth and final race, Freight drifted out in the stretch with Rosario aboard, causing a charging Force Multiplier to steady under Irad Ortiz Jr. Freight finished first by a length, but Ortiz filed a claim of foul. After the inquiry, Freight was disqualified, taken down to second, and Force Multiplier was elevated to first.
It was the third win of the day for Ortiz. . . .
Trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey also won three times on the day.