High Oak wins surprise in Saratoga Special

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Junior jockey Alvarado had little to do in Saturday’s $ 200,000 Saratoga Class II special at Saratoga Racecourse. That’s because his partner, High Oak, did the heavy lifting.

“To be honest, I was just a passenger,” Alvarado said. “He put me where I wanted and he took me around.”

At the end of the 6-1 / 2-stage race – the second major issue for the 2-year-old colts at the Spa competition – High Oak claimed a 4 1/4 length victory for the Hall of Fame trainer. renamed Bill Mott.

High Oak, a son of Gormley, is partnered with LRE Racing and JEH Racing. He started his career with a hard-won rally victory by a neck in his first start at Belmont on June 26.

The betting public apparently weren’t too impressed as High Oak was sidelined with odds of 10-1 in the Saratoga Special. In his last job before the race, Mott placed his juvenile in the company of the I category winner Casa Creed, a 5 year old who finished third in the I Fourstardave category on Saturday.

“If they’re going to be in these kinds of races, they better be able to do it,” Mott said. “We just gave him company and thought they looked like a good pair.”

High Oak sat behind point guard Gunite and 7-5 favorite Doctor Jeff before going wide four and pouncing on the leaders in the stretch. He increased his lead, then Alvarado was able to reduce it as he approached the finish line.

“When I got home I just had to ask him a bit and he left,” Alvarado said.

The first fractions were quick as Gunite and Ricardo Santana Jr. completed the first quarter in 21.82 seconds and the half mile in 44.93. It cost Gunite dearly as he couldn’t follow High Oak in the last eighth of a mile.

The final time was 1: 16.53 on the fast track.

Gunite was second and Nakatomi and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. were third.

The champion works for Travers

That’s not good news for any other trainer or owner looking to race in the $ 1.25 million Travers on August 28. Essential Quality, which will be the race’s favorite, worked on Saturday morning at the Spa. And he was spectacular.

“Fantastic,” coach Brad Cox said on Saturday afternoon. “It was the best job he’s had here at Saratoga. He was really on it.”


With regular pilot Luis Saez on board before heading to the Mr. D. Stakes in Arlington Park, Illinois, Essential Quality completed a five-meter job in a time of 59.40 seconds. It was the fastest of the 35 over the distance on Saturday.

This was the fourth job for Essential Quality since arriving at the Spa from the Cox base in Kentucky in early July. Essential Quality worked alongside his stable mate Bonny South, a 4 year old filly who is headed to Grade I. $ 600,000 Personal Ensign on Travers Day.

Essential Quality won the Jim Dandy here on July 30 to take their career record to seven wins in eight starts. The only time he lost was when he finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby. He has since won the Belmont Stakes before moving to Spa.

He will have one more job on Saturday before the Midsummer Derby.

“We are where we want to be,” Cox said.

Ready for a rematch

Trainer Robertino Diodoro has great respect for Essential Quality. But he can’t wait to have another chance against him. Diodoro trains Keepmeinmind, who finished half a length behind Essential Quality.

“He’s a monster, but we really want him to fire another shot,” Diodoro said in his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track on Saturday morning. “(Keepmeinmind) is a horse that should improve in its 3 or 4 years.”

Keepmeinmind continued his preparations for Travers on Saturday as he worked four stages in 47 seconds with exercise runner Dennis Means. It was the fastest of 80 distance jobs on Saturday.

“We tried to slow him down,” said Diodoro, who said he was hoping for 48. “But he did it so easily. The runner was actually trying to hold him back. I really don’t think he would have it. could do better. “

Mr. D. Stakes

Long shot Two Emmys beat Domestic Spending by one neck to win the MD $ 600,000 Stakes at Arlington Park.

Two Emmys came out at 27-1. Glynn County (38-1) was third. Two Emmys paid $ 56.20 to win. Saez finished seventh in the eight-horse field aboard Zulu Alpha.


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