The Spa Spot: Another Sunny Friday in the books
August 3, the 149th anniversary of racing in Saratoga Springs, was a hot, sunny, humid summer day. The track was fast, the turf was firm.
- It was a very good afternoon for jockey Junior Alvarado, who is a riding regularly at the Spa for the first time this summer. Alvarado was aboard the winners of both stakes races on the program. He brought Harrods Creek from off the pace to win the lengthy John's Call on the grass and 34 minutes later guided C C's Pal to an off-the-pace win in the six-furlong Honorable Miss on the dirt. Alvarado has 12 winners through the first 13 days of racing.
- Jockey Javier Castellano had a good day, too. He won three times, the first, second and 10th races and has 13 winners so far.
- Trainer Todd Pletcher must have been pleased, as well. He won with three of his six starters Joonbi ($7.40) in the first; Jocosity ($3.60) in the fifth; and Never on Time ($14.60) in the seventh. Pletcher, who leads the standings with 12 victories, won once on Wednesday, twice on Thursday and recorded his first triple of the season on Friday.
- The D. Wayne Lukas-trained 2-year-old Oxbow was pulled up early in the fifth race and vanned off. A NYRA official said the Awesome Again colt did not sustain any apparent injuries.
- Three of 10 favorites won Friday. So far in the meet, 33.1 percent of favorites (44-133) have won.
- Following what seems to be a trend during the first two weeks of the meet, the on-track attendance and handle were down a bit compared to last year and the total handle was up. NYRA ran nine races on this day in 2011 and 10 this year. The on-track attendance was 19,078, a drop of 14 percent. The on-track handle of $3,386,533 was down five percent. The total handle of $14,404,084 was up 10 percent.