Mott-trained colt finds footing
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.”
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.