Trainer Bill Mott gave himself an early birthday present, then another, with winners in the first and sixth races Sunday.
Mott has won a race at Saratoga on his birthday — July 29 — 15 times in the last 20 years, including seven straight heading into 2014, when Saratoga was dark on his birthday.
He scored his third winner in as many days of the meet when Theophilia won the first, then Mott went 1-2 in the sixth with Sage Hall and Rebelle for a $258 exacta.
His prospects look pretty good to make it four straight days with a winner to start the meet today, although he’ll have just one crack on his birthday, with First Charmer entered in the seventh.
Today, he has Right Decision in the fourth, 7-5 Tiz So Sweet in the fifth and My Friend Keith in the ninth.
The first two finishers from Saturday’s Sanford — Magna Light and Uncle Vinny — could have a rematch in the Hopeful on Closing Day Sept. 7.
Magna Light hit the wire first, but was disqualified to third for zigzagging in front of Percolator in deep stretch. The incident had no bearing on Uncle Vinny’s action, as he closed down the middle of the track to finish second. He was awarded the victory with the DQ.
“I really don’t get enjoyment or satisfaction from those kinds of situations, like you would when they cross the finish line first,” trainer Todd Pletcher told the New York Racing Association Sunday morning. “Any of us that have been in the business very long have been on both sides of those, so we know how much it hurts when you’re the one disqualified. I feel bad for the connections [of Magna Light]. Their horse ran a really powerful race and looks like a nice horse.”
Starlight Racing’s Uncle Vinny continues to improve through three starts, and Pletcher is optimistic that longer distances will suit him better.
“He’s got some talent, and he’s finishing his races well,” he said.
Spring to the Sky, owned by Anthony McCarthy of Saratoga Springs, is entered in the $100,000 Lucky Coin, a turf sprint on the Mellon Course.
At 8-1, the 6-year-old son of Langfuhr is the fifth choice on the morning line despite having won this race last year, as well as the Troy, and also won an allowance in 2013.
He is coming off a second by 31⁄4 lengths to 3-1 Lucky Coin favorite Shore Runner at Belmont.
Fields are beginning to take shape for next weekend’s stakes races.
Besides the Jim Dandy, which is expected to draw Texas Red, Materiality, Frosted, Upstart, Keen Ice, Frammento and Tekton, Saratoga will offer the A.G. Vanderbilt, Amsterdam and Bowling Green on Saturday.
Among those pointing toward the Vanderbilt are True North winner Rock Fall, who has won five straight, Clearly Now, Departing, Salutos Amigos, 2014 King’s Bishop winner The Big Beast and Marylou Whitney’s Viva Majorca.
The Amsterdam is expected to draw March, Bluegrass Singer, Holy Boss, Requite, The Great War, Victory is Sweet and Barbados.
Dynamic Sky, Golden Soul, Innovation Economy, Iron Power, Messi, Morning Calm, Reflecting, Skyring and War Dancer are probable for the Bowling Green.
Sunday’s feature is the Shuvee, which should mark the return of Stopchargingmaria, who swept the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama last year.
She’s likely to face House Rules, Imposing Grace, Tiz Windy and perhaps Carameaway.