Updated 09/01/2012 07:28 PM
The Spa Spot: Emcee cruises to Forego victory
Emcee moving away from Jersey Town in the stretch
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing earned their fourth Grade 1 of the Saratoga season Saturday with Emcee's decisive victory in the $500,000 Forego.
Earlier in the meet, the McLaughlin-trained Questing won the Coaching Club American Oaks and he Alabama and Alpha dead-heated for first in the Travers. Alpha also won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.
“It’s an honor to train for Godolphin and to have such quality horses," McLaughlin said. "It makes my job easier, but I have a great team of people behind me, and it’s been an unbelievable meet. It’s hard to even believe. It will take some time to sink in.”
Emcee won the 4 1/2 lengths under jockey Alan Garcia, finished the seven furlongs in 1:21 and paid $5.10. He was content to sit a length behind the pace set by Pacific Ocean, and made his move to the front in the stretch after Jersey Town assumed the lead. Hamazing Destiny, the longest shot in the field of seven at 17-1, closed well to finish second. Jersey Town was third.
Emcee and Alan Garcia
Shackleford, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, was scratched Saturday morning because of illness. McLaughlin said the absence of the multiple Grade 1 winner ultimately didn't have an impact on his horse and the pace scenario.
“We felt earlier this morning that Shackleford might be there ahead of us with [Pacific Ocean] and we would lay third, but we laid second," McLaughlin said. "It helped that we don’t have to run against him; he’s a very nice horse. I’m sorry that they had to scratch him.
"When [Jersey Town] cut up the rail, I was a little nervous, but he hadn’t asked our horse yet. It was a very impressive race.”
Emcee drew to the inside in the A.G. Vanderbilt and finished third, beaten a half-length. He was more to the outside in the Forego and had a cleaner trip.
“My horse broke good and was right in the game," Garcia said. "Turning for home, when I asked him, he ran and did it very well. I was very confident. It was a great post today, better than last time. All I wanted was for him to break good and take it from there. He did it the right way.”