Tag Archives: Saratoga

Bill Parcells owns a good thoroughbred – and he’s a little nutty

Legendary football coach Bill Parcells thinks quite highly of his New York-bred Saratoga Snacks, and rightfully so. The 3-year-old, trained by – and named for – Gary Sciacca, is now 3 of 4 with one second in his young career.

Parcells was on hand Friday at Saratoga when Saratoga Snacks won his allowance race – although there was almost a critical fumble. In control and on the lead over the sloppy track, Saratoga Snacks suddenly started swerving out toward the grandstand just before the finish. There was a legitimate excuse for his behavior, as jockey Ramon Dominguez temporarily lost the left rein and lost his balance.

Some of the horse’s other antics, however, signal he might be a wee bit quirky.

In a New York Racing Association press release, Sciacca told of how Saratoga Snacks got loose four days before the race, jumped on a pony and knocked the pony down in a melee.

Prior to Friday’s race, Saratoga Snacks reared up and threw a shoe, causing him to be late to the paddock.

Is it shades of Eightyfiveinafifty, the talented but offbeat Gary Contessa-trained colt known for his erratic tendencies? Or is Saratoga Snacks like a prima donna pro quarterback who just needs attention? Time will tell.

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Shackleford not “finicky” – well, except about racing surfaces

Famous fan favorite Shackleford is a pretty adaptable horse. He ships around to several different tracks, has won at various distances, and usually puts in strong morning works. Physically, he always looks outstanding, his chestnut coat gleaming. He’s never lacking in energy, especially prior to races (see Shackleford: saddling in the paddock).

Shackleford doesn’t miss a beat. Unless, that is, you take away his fast track.


Slop, mud, goo, even synthetic – they’re all Kryptonite to super Shack. He’s now 0 for 3 on off tracks after a dismal last-place performance in Sunday’s Vanderbilt Handicap, won by a longshot, Maryland-bred Poseidon’s Warrior.

“He is kind of finicky about what he runs on, and it’s been the only thing he’s been finicky about,” trainer Dale Romans said.

Was his mother a mudder? It’s hard to tell. Oatsee ran on an off track, rated “good,” just once – ironically also at Saratoga – and came in second. She also didn’t do well on turf, but Oatsee was 2 for 21 overall, so there you go.

Romans said Shackleford will forge on to the Forego at the Spa – unless, of course, the track is Spa-like.

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Caixa Eletronica: The Jan Brady of Horse Racing

Of all the Brady Bunch kids, no doubt Marcia Brady was the star.

Marcia was invited to all the dances. Marcia wore the grooviest clothes. Marcia was everyone’s favorite.

Meanwhile, Marcia’s younger sister Jan – the middle child – was left to toil in her shadow. She could only watch as her sister was lauded in the limelight.


Stay Thirsty – Marcia Brady?

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” Jan would say.

Caixa Eletronica, in essence, is the Jan Brady of horse racing.

The 7-year-old horse is older than his flashy stablemate, 4-year-old Stay Thirsty, but he’s been the understudy to the studly star since joining the Mike Repole lineup in 2011. Caixa Eletronica spent much of his younger days in claiming races at Calder before a breakout win in the 2011 Westchester Stakes, a Grade 3 at Belmont, put him on the radar. This year, he’s really come into his own with victories in the Charles Town Classic and the True North. Yet, he remains a second thought to the headline-grabbing Stay Thirsty.

Stay Thirsty boasts the classy pedigree. Stay Thirsty ran in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. Stay Thirsty is Mr. Repole’s favorite.

Stay Thirsty even has the electrifying name, conjuring up the image of the debonair “Dos Equis” man.

Caixa Eletronica means “cash machine” in Portuguese.

Stay Thirsty, Stay Thirsty, Stay Thirsty.

With the young poster colt staying in the barn awaiting another race, the Whitney offers Caixa Eletronica a chance to swipe the laurels from his spotlight-sponging stablemate. Will he succeed?

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Pletcher 1 for 22 at the Spa. Who do I single now?

pletcherIt’s a dry spell in more ways than one during this hot summer at Saratoga.

A shrinking water supply has forced the city’s public officials to call for voluntary water restrictions.

Even more alarming: Trainer Todd Pletcher is 1 for 22 after the first four days of racing at the Spa.

Take appropriate precautions – it could be one for the ages. The Pletcher slump, that is. The conditioner who usually dominates, providing horseplayers with steadfast singles for Pick 4’s and dreamers with dazzling debuting darlings, is cold as a Shake Shack shake.

Reports of dazed and disillusioned chalk players flooding Saratoga streets are premature; at this time, self-imposed betting restrictions are simply voluntary.

Meanwhile, Skip Scirocco, Saratoga’s City Public Works Commissioner, has requested residents in odd-numbered houses water their lawns only on odd-numbered days, and those in even-numbered houses on even-numbered days.

Doesn’t everything in Saratoga sound like some form of a handicapping system?

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Zito claims Jackson Bend “mad” after loss because “he doesn’t want to run outside.”

Apparently Jackson Bend is “miffed” about his loss as the 4-5 favorite in Friday’s James Marvin at Saratoga. That’s what his trainer said Saturday.

“He was mad yesterday,” Nick Zito is quoted as saying in a press release.

Jackson Bend broke from the farthest post – the No. 7 – and had a new jockey, Rosie Napravnik. The horse was wide for most of the trek and wound up fourth.

It seems the 5-year-old son of Hear no Evil isn’t one for the grandstand view – he’s a rail hugger.

“He just doesn’t want to run outside,” Zito said. “He loves to run on the fence, he loves to split horses, but that’s the way it went.”

Zito said Napravnik tried to maneuver to the inside, but couldn’t get there for the optimal trip.

“We’ll try to regroup and hopefully come back in the Forego.”

Jackson Bend is crossing his hooves for an inside post.

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