It was wonderful to start the Saratoga meet by getting off the mark with Unified Alliance winning the Coronation Stakes under Javier Castellano on July 14. Our second and third wins came a couple of weeks later on July 28 when Into the Sunrise won a $156,000 Allowance Optional Claiming going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf for Rainbow’s End Racing, first off the claim. Manny Franco with a wonderfully aggressive ride on a very fast horse never saw any danger and held off a closing Fauci to win by half of a length. A little later in the card, Colloquy won the New York-bred Allowance by 6 ¾ lengths on the dirt for owners Robert Murray and Mike Lyden. This time, Jaime Torres was in the irons. We then rounded out the day with an extremely pleasing second place finish from Sixwillberich, who ran in a maiden on the grass at odds of 60-1. So the horses in our barn who have been able to run since opening day have acquitted themselves extremely well.

As we moved into August, we started to encounter some typical, terrible Saratoga weather. This led, in my opinion, to some appalling decisions being made by the New York Racing Association management when keeping certain races on the turf created dangerous conditions and left behind some very rocky turf courses. I think it’s important to point out that decisions were not made and, when they were, they were the wrong decisions at that point. I have no doubt in my mind that in previous years, under previous leadership, these decisions would simply not have been made. The fact that they were is why many trainers took their horses away to race in other jurisdictions. The people who make these decisions need to be held accountable, especially when the outcome has harmed horsemen and horses. Very selfish decisions were made, stripping away the ability for many horsemen to have a fair shot at running on the turf for the remainder of the meet. Having scratched eight of our horses who were 5-1 or shorter put a huge dent in our meet and has been extremely frustrating.

Back to a more positive note. It was wonderful to see Grannys Connection finally get her very well-deserved Stakes win in the Union Avenue on August 11. Eric Cancel was the only jockey to have ridden the filly prior to the race, but having broken a bone in his foot, it was up to barn jockey Javier Castellano to take over in the irons. Granny broke a step slow but was quickly in front through very fast fractions to hold off a very game Kant Hurry Love, who had defeated her last time out at Belmont. This filly has been nothing but exceptional since we started her back in December. She now has five wins and two seconds from seven starts, which is very pleasing.

Another notable Saratoga performance: American Know How, who was very closely shutoff in his first real turf sprint and ran an extremely game second on August 13. He came out of his race very well and there is a small chance he’ll run back on closing day this Labor Day.

On the personal side of things, Grace and Willow are having a blast up here. Grace has completed two theater classes and Willow continues to go to Faith’s House while Maggie and I are working. I cannot say enough how much the BCCA, the Belmont Child Care Association, means to those of us who are working couples on the racetrack. The security and peace of mind that professional institutions like the Anna House and Faith’s House provide us is something we do not take for granted.

The Ryan Family visiting us in Saratoga all the way from NOLA.

We had a very successful sales period in Saratoga, purchasing one horse in the open company sale and three horses in the New York-bred Select Sale at Fasig-Tipton. I’m always quite relieved when these two sales are over as it’s a lot of work alongside racing and training. It’s nice to finish the sales knowing you have the rest of the meet to enjoy family time and some more races.

As the meet quickly draws to a close, I’m hoping the weather stays dry and we can all enjoy a fun Labor Day weekend of safe racing.

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