The Spa Spot: Day 34 wrap
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens
The fifth full week concluded Monday, the 34th day of the season, with trainers Rick Violette and Allen Jerkens winning stakes for New York-breds and NYRA showing increases in handle and attendance.
It's difficult to make year-over-year comparisons because the Saratoga was closed the day after the Travers in 2011 as Tropical Storm Irene passed through the region. In addition, NYRA has stopped issuing weekly releases crunching numbers.
That decision cost NYRA another opportunity to toss out some good news: attendance and handle were up every day of the five days you could compare to last year and, of course, the weekly totals showed huge increases because of the added sixth day.
Compared to the five days last year, the on-track attendance was up 9,782 and adding Sunday's crowd, the total for the six-day week was up 28,963. The on-track handle was up $1,935,706 for the five days and a $5,313,588 for the six days. Same deal with the total handle. It was up $9,700,734 for the five-day comparison and up $26,121,832 in the six-day vs. five-day figures.
NYRA has run 21 more races than it did last year.
- A single off-track player hit the Pick Six Monday and cashed for $299,289.
- The legendary Allen Jerkens - for whom the Spa training title is named - saddled Go Unbridled ($12.20) to win the $100,000 Saratoga Dew. She won by 6 1/2 lengths one the favorite, Opus A, at odds of 5-1.
“It’s very, very surprising. I’m very happy," Jerkens, 83, said. "She didn’t gallop out very strongly the other day, but [the exercise rider] said she seems to know where the finish line is. I had never heard that one before, but it will do. She’s been an old pro all her life. [The exercise rider] has been galloping her good and strong. I guess that’s what got her good and fit.
"As Hirsch Jacobs used to say, ‘It’s much better to be surprised than disappointed.’”
It was Jerkens' second win of the season. His first was Emma's Encore in the Grade 1 Prioress. Jerkens won for the first time at Saratoga in his own name in 1951.
- Patsy Symons' 2-year-old Effie Trinket won the $100,000 Aristie. The Rick Violette-trained filly held off favored Agilion to win the six-furlong stake by a head.
Violette trains four horses for Symons. Three are stakes winners. He said the fourth may make her first start during the final week of the meet.
- There was a single winning favorite in the 10-race program: Federation ($3.60) in the second.
- Ramon Dominguez won twice and his 57 victories lead Javier Castellano by 17. Trainers Patrick Quick and Kathy Ritvo each picked up their first win of the season. Ritvo trains Mucho Macho Man, who is likely to be the favorite in the Grade 1 Woodward on Saturday.