The 150th anniversary meeting at Saratoga is in the books, and there were no real surprises, as Todd Pletcher was top trainer, Javier Castellano was the top jock, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey won the owner’s title.
Saratoga closed its doors Monday, and the Fall Championship Meeting at Belmont Park gets underway on Saturday afternoon.
The weather was picture-perfect for much of the meeting, but Mother Nature did her best to mess up the closing holiday weekend, as most of the races were washed off the grass and over the final three days of the meeting there were over 150 scratches
Pletcher won his fourth consecutive trainer title with 36 winners from 131 starters with earnings of $4,389,749. It was Pletcher’s 10th training title at the Spa. The trainer won 14 stakes during the meeting including Cross Traffic winning the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) and Princess of Sylmar victorious in both the Grade 1 Alabama (G1) and TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).
Last summer Pletcher won 36 races from 149 starters with purse earnings of $3,554,642.
For the third consecutive year Chad Brown was second best in the trainer standings. This year he won with 24 of 87 starters with earnings of $2,277,378.
Castellano won his first riding title at Saratoga, booting home 66 winners from his 322 mounts with earnings of $5,410,121. He closed out the meeting by picking up five winners on Monday.
John Velazquez was second in the jockey standings with 46 winners and became the all-time leading rider at Saratoga on July 27 when he broke fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey’s record of 693 victories.
Joel Rosario finished third with 41 winners despite missing the last nine days of the meeting after breaking a bone in his foot in a spill.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey set an all-time record for an owner with 22 winners at the meeting from 95 starters. Their horses earned $1,681,272.
Daily Racing Form reported that Saratoga had a slight decrease in all-source handle and attendance at the meeting. All-sources handle for the 40-day meet was $586,685,153, down 0.2 percent from last year’s figure of $588,351,964.
On track handle for the meet was $146,279,604, down 1.9% from last year. Attendance was 867,182, down 3.75% from last year.
Belmont Park Fall Championship Meeting Kicks Off Saturday
Belmont Park’s Fall Championship meeting gets underway on Saturday, Sept. 7, a 37 day-meeting highlighted by 21 graded stakes, most which will have Breeders’ Cup ramifications.
The biggest day of the meeting will be Super Saturday on Sept. 28 which will feature five Grade 1 races and one Grade 2 race.
The marquee event is the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, which is a key prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup and nine other stakes during the meeting are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races. The winners of the races earn automatic starting spots in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race and an all-expenses paid trip to Santa Anita.
Belmont Park’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races:
Date Race Name Division
Sep 28 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes Xpressbet Sprint
Sep 28 Beldame Invitational Stakes Distaff
Sep 28 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes Filly & Mare Turf
Sep 28 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Classic
Sep 28 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Turf
Sep 28 Kelso Handicap Dirt Mile
Date Race Name Division
Oct 5 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes Juvenile
Oct 5 Frizette Stakes Juvenile Fillies
Oct 6 Pilgrim Stakes Juvenile Turf
Oct 6 Miss Grillo Stakes Juvenile Fillies Turf
Michael Dempsey’s full card report every day of the 37-day Belmont Park Fall Championship Meet (Sept. 7 to Oct. 27) includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations.
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