Mott-trained colt finds foot­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL / NFL - BOB WISENER Joel Rosario

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott cel­e­brated his 64th birth­day in the win­ner’s cir­cle Sat­ur­day at Saratoga Race Course.

An­other case of good tim­ing for Mott, and win­ning a ma­jor race with a horse switch­ing sur­faces.

Mott took a page from the Cigar play­book and won the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes with a pre­vi­ous turf horse mak­ing his first start on dirt.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan, with a strong late kick, up­set the Ken­tucky Derby and Preak­ness win­ners in Saratoga’s $600,000 prep for the Aug. 26 Grade 1 Travers Stakes.

“El­liott Walden (pres­i­dent/ CEO of WinS­tar Farm) had been try­ing to get me to run him on the dirt ever since the Breed­ers’ Cup last Novem­ber,” Mott said. “We … missed some of the Triple Crown prep races and we de­cided … to con­tinue on the grass and point to­ward the Bel­mont Derby (July 8), which he ran very good there. We ac­tu­ally dis­cussed wait­ing for the Travers for his first race (on the dirt). Last week, we came to the con­clu­sion that we should try this race.”

Good Sa­mar­i­tan, a Har­lan’s Hol­i­day colt, drew away un­der Joel Rosario to a 4¾-length vic­tory, run­ning the 11/8-mile race in 1:50.69.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan paid $19.20, $5.60 and $3.50.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan and Giuseppe the Great keyed an un­likely ex­acta pay­ing $145, the lat­ter graded stakes placed in his last two starts but el­i­gi­ble for an en­try-level al­lowance.

Rosario said it was nice to win on Mott’s birth­day.

“I am happy for Bill,” Rosario said. “He al­ways gives me good horses.”

Ken­tucky Derby win­ner Al­ways Dream­ing tired to fin­ish third as even-money fa­vorite, beaten 5¼ lengths and deny­ing trainer Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame jockey John Ve­lazquez a fifth win­ner on the card.

The Bode­meis­ter colt broke quickly from the rail post, go­ing the first mile in 1:38.23, but was un­der siege turn­ing for home and saved the show spot by a head over Pavel, a re­cent maiden win­ner for trainer Doug O’Neill who shipped from south­ern Cal­i­for­nia and stretched out to 9 fur­longs af­ter win­ning his de­but at 6½ fur­longs.

Preak­ness win­ner Cloud Com­put­ing, who like Al­ways Dream­ing had not raced since May 20, fin­ished last af­ter press­ing the pace, Javier Castel­lano rid­ing for trainer Chad Brown.

Mott, mean­while, won a Saratoga race on his birth­day for the 16th time in 24 years, ac­cord­ing to New York Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion records. There was no rac­ing sched­uled dur­ing the track’s 2014 rac­ing sea­son on July 29, and Mott was shut out on his birth­day

the last two years.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan fur­ther mud­dled the peck­ing or­der in the 3-year-old male di­vi­sion, af­ter get­ting away from Os­car Per­for­mance, who de­feated Good Sa­mar­i­tan twice on the turf at Bel­mont and also in last year’s Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Turf at Santa Anita.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan evoked mem­o­ries of the Mott-trained Cigar, who won 16 con­sec­u­tive races and twice was named Horse of the Year af­ter switch­ing from turf to dirt.

His per­for­mance spoiled the first Jim Dandy matchup of the Ken­tucky Derby and Preak­ness win­ners.

Good Sa­mar­i­tan ran on the Derby un­der­card but in the Grade II Amer­i­can Turf, fin­ish­ing sec­ond by a length to Ark­low. Sud­denly, he’s be­come a ma­jor player in the 3-year-old di­vi­sion, which af­ter three dif­fer­ent win­ners in the Triple Crown se­ries re­mains wide open as Au­gust ap­proaches.

“We’ll cer­tainly nom­i­nate for the Travers, and we’ll talk about it,” Mott said. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t give it a try.”

AP/JOHN KEKIS

rode Good Sa­mar­i­tan to a 4¾-length vic­tory over Giuseppe the Great to spoil a matchup be­tween the win­ners of the Ken­tucky Derby and the Preak­ness Stakes in Sat­ur­day’s Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in New York. Derby win­ner Al­ways Dream­ing, who led for the first mile of the 11/8mile race, faded to third, just ahead of Preak­ness win­ner Cloud Com­put­ing, who fin­ished less than a length far­ther back in fifth.

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