Buyout comes for jumping jockey Garner in Saratoga

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – To say steeplechase jockey Thomas Garner wanted this one would be an understatement.

He had been waiting for Wednesday for three weeks. He was to win the Grade I, $ 150,000 Jonathan Sheppard (formerly known as the New York Turf Writers Cup).

Mission accomplished. The Mean Queen and Garner arrived in the winner’s circle 21 days after an incident in another jump race left Garner without a certain victory and with a double dose of embarrassment.

The Mean Queen, the 4-5 favorite, won the Jonathan Sheppard by 2 3/8 miles over nine fences by 4 3/4 lengths.

On July 21, Garner and The Mean Queen were on the verge of a definite victory in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes when the 5-year-old mare dodged and knocked down Garner. That day, Garner couldn’t get off the track fast enough.

“I walked to the weigh station, got in the car and drove straight home,” Garner said. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone. For that to happen, especially in a place like this, which I love, it was actually heartbreaking. There was no one more upset or upset than me at this. subject. I’m just happy I improved it (Wednesday). “

The Mean Queen was also part of a good story for trainer Keri Brion. She also coached runner-up Baltimore Bucko and French Light, who finished third. Brion worked 11 years for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, for whom the race was renamed this year. Sheppard, who has won this race 15 times, retired earlier this year.

“I remember when they said this race was going to be named after him,” said Brion. “I was thinking, I hope I have only one (entering). I hope I can win 15 times.”

The Mean Queen was clocked in 4: 40.14 on the yielding turf course and paid $ 3.60, $ 2.90 and $ 2.60.

Baltimore Bucko, the 9-2 second pick, and rider Richard Condon finished a nose ahead of French Light and Jamie Bargary.

The Mean Queen has now won five of seven career starts over hurdles.

No word on Maxfield’s next race

Coach Brendan Walsh said he did not yet have a specific plan for Maxfield, who finished second to Knicks Go in the Whitney Stakes on August 7.

“We’ll decide over the next few weeks,” Walsh said by cell phone from Kentucky.


The goal for Maxfield, whose loss to Whitney was only his second in nine career starts, is the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Del Mar, Calif. On November 6. How he does it is what Walsh needs to figure out.

He said Street Sense’s 4-year-old son would “probably” have one more race ahead of the Classic. He said Maxfield will not be competing in the Jockey Club Gold Cup here over Labor Day weekend.

Walsh said he would return to Saratoga on Friday. He said Maxfield came out of the Whitney in good shape

“I thought it was a good effort,” he said. “He was beaten by a very good horse. When Knicks Go comes out on top like that, especially when he comes out on top like that, he’s a very, very, very hard horse to beat. We were beaten, no doubt. the best horse in the country. “

Bolton’s Landing

Chi Town Lady (5-1) recovered from a stumble at the start and won the $ 120,000 Bolton Landing for 2-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 stages on Mellon’s turf.

Ridden by John Velazquez and coached by Wesley Ward, Chi Town Lady won her two career debuts. She won the Bolton Landing by 1 3/4 lengths. She ran the distance in 1: 05.87 on the giving way and paid $ 12.80, $ 7.50 and $ 5.60. His teammate Poppy Flower, ridden by Jose Ortiz, finished second and Kneesnhips and Eric Cancel finished third.


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