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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Saratoga grad Davis records first Spa victory

Saratoga grad Davis records first Spa victory

Dylan Davis graduated from Saratoga High School in 2011. He “graduated” from Saratoga Race Course on

Dylan Davis graduated from Saratoga High School in 2011.

He “graduated” from Saratoga Race Course on Thursday.

The son of long-time NYRA rider Robbie Davis, Dylan notched his first-ever winner not only at his hometown track, but on the NYRA circuit overall when Untiltherewas­you wired the field in the 10th race.

“Unbelievable. All my friends and family are here, and it’s just nice to get my first winner in New York,” he said. “He’s [Robbie] going to love this. It’s actually my older brother’s birthday, too, so I’ll probably go and buy him some dinner.”

Davis, who was 0-for-37 for the meet heading into the card and finished last on Fictionalcharacter in the third, was not scheduled to ride Untiltherewasyou.

He got the mount because newly inducted Hall of Famer Alex Solis hurt his knee a few days ago. Davis and Solis share the same agent, Mike Kelly.

“I came into the race hoping I would get good position, hopefully on the lead, and I did,” Davis said. “She was a little aggressive going into the first turn, but she relaxed on the backside, and then that was it from there.”

Untiltherewasyou finished 7 1⁄4 lengths ahead of Quarla, who was running for the second time in four days for trainer Chad Brown of Mechanicville.


Uncle Southern’s connections can’t influence the weather.

But they can take advantage of it when it suits her.

Skipping over a sloppy, sealed track, the 4-year-old filly won the $100,000 Union Avenue for New York-breds in front-running fashion for her second win in the mud this meet.

She was tracked by even-money favorite Risky Rachel most of the way, but never gave way and finished three-quarters of a length ahead of 8-5 Sunny Desert.

“She really dug in the stretch. The last time we ran her it came off the turf, and she loved the mud,” trainer Linda Rice said. “That might be her best surface. I noticed in her last race, when it looked like the forecast called for rain, I thought I’d give it a chance.”

Rice had entered Uncle Southern in a turf sprint on July 31, and the filly liked the sloppy track so much that she won by 3 1⁄2 lengths.

The Union Avenue was her stakes debut.

“We didn’t see a lot of speed, but we knew my filly had speed,” jockey Luis Saez said. “Linda told me, ‘You can go on the lead, and let’s see what we’ve got.’ I thought someone was coming to get me, but she responded when I switched my stick [to my left hand].”

“I think the Dixie Brasses excel on the mud, and I think that’s a big play for her,” Rice said. “She seems to be coming into her best form now as a 4-year-old, and I think that’s helping as well.”

Dixie Brass is the broodmare sire of Uncle Southern, who is by Uncle Camie out of Southern Statement.


The 72nd running of the Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup steeplechase was postponed on Thursday because of heavy overnight rain and rescheduled for Monday.


Hall of Fame trainers

D. Wayne Lukas and Allen Jerkens and track announcer Tom Durkin, who announced his retirement earlier this year and will call his last race at the Spa on Aug. 31, will be honored in a special “Red Jacket” ceremony to commemorate their achievements at 12:15 p.m. today.

NYRA CEO and president Chris Kay will present Lukas and Durkin with Saratoga red blazers, while Jimmy Jerkens will accept the jacket on behalf of his father, who is training at Gulfstream Park. Kay also will unveil individual plaques celebrating the trio’s long and storied history.

Ortiz on a roll

Irad Ortiz, Jr. continued his recent hot streak, riding three winners on Wednesday and two more Thursday.

He trails leading jockey Javier Castellano by four wins, 44-40.

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