The Spa Spot: Morning Breeze
The first quarter of the 2012 Saratoga season will be complete at end of today's program. Ten races on the schedule with a first post at 1 p.m.
- The feature race is the eighth, the $100,000 Shakespeare Cross, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares. Kid Kate is graded stakes placed on dirt and is a winner at Saratoga. If she stays in the race, this will be her second try on turf.
- The prelims for the Travers are complete and the trainers of Street Life and Five Sixteen from the Curlin and Alpha and Neck 'n Neck from the Jim Dandy say their horses are moving into Saratoga's marquee race. Typically, some advance from the Haskell, won Sunday by the Bob Baffert-trained Paynter. Baffert said Sunday that Paynter is headed to the Travers.
- Now the attention turns toward next Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap Invitational. There is a solid bunch of handicap horses pointing toward the Whitney, including Mucho Macho Man, Hymn Book, Ron the Greek, Flat Out, Rule, Caixa Eletronica and Endorsement. Entries will be taken Wednesday.
- There is a $66,254 carryover into the Pick Six today
- Sunday's giveaway day crowd of 50,727 was a 24 percent increase from last year. The on-track handle of $3,071,438 was down two percent from 2011, but the total handle of 15,559,698 was up six percent.
- Jockey Ramon Dominguez won three more races on Sunday and leads the way at Saratoga with 18. Dominguez is the top-earning jock, but Javier Castellano is right behind him after already cracking $1 million despite having 10 fewer victories. Two of Castellano's eight wins have come in Grade 1 races, the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Diana. Jose Lezcano is off to a great start wit 10 victories.
- Chad Brown of Mechanicville leads the trainers with seven winners. In 2011, he finished second to Todd Pletcher with 22.