From the Spa: August 25 Midlantic-breds in Saratoga stakes
by Joseph Aiello
“From the Spa” returns to keep you up-to-date on horses bred in the mid-Atlantic racing in Saratoga stakes.
Saturday, August 25th is Travers Day at the Spa, featuring seven graded races in a row including six grade ones. Within those seven graded stakes, only two entries are Mid-Atlantic breds, one in the sixth and the other in the tenth. With extremely tough, well-balanced fields, these two horses will have their work cut out for them, but look to add another big win to their already impressive resumes.
The sixth race is the $500,000 Grade I H. Allen Jerkins, a seven furlong sprint for three year olds named after the hall of fame trainer of the same name. H. Allen Jerkins had his fair share of wins at Saratoga including some major upsets, most notably over Secretariat in the Whitney with Onion in 1973. While our Mid-Atlantic entry Still Having Fun wouldn’t be quite as big an upset with morning line odds of 6/1, he will still have to run his best to find his way into the winner’s circle. Coming from the seven post, Still Having Fun was bred in Maryland by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes & Tim Keefe and is by Old Fashioned – Casual Kiss, by Dehere. He was extremely impressive last time out in the Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont where he closed from eight lengths off the leaders after a half mile to overtake Promises Fulfilled, the morning line favorite in the Jerkins, in the stretch run. Staying aboard for trainer Timothy L. Keefe is jockey Joel Rosario, who hopes to guide this colt to his first Grade I victory for owners Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing LLC. Bought for only $12,000 as a yearling, Still Having Fun has already more than exceeded expectations, and will continue to add to his career earnings of $431,703.
The tenth race $1,000,000 Grade I Sword Dancer, a one and one half mile route run on the turf for three year olds and upward. With ten entries and no clear favorite, this may be one of the most closely matched races at the Spa in recent memory, where truly any horse could win. Despite this, trainer Graham Motion still has every reason to believe that his trainee, Spring Quality, will run the best of this field. Running from the two post, Spring Quality is a six year old gelding by Quality Road – Spring Star, by Deputy Minister. Bred in Pennsylvania by George Strawbridge Jr., Spring Quality is coming off a Grade I victory in the Woodford Reseve Manhattan Stakes at Belmont where he finished ahead of Sadler’s Joy, the narrow morning line favorite at 7/2 in this race. As the second morning line choice at 4/1, this bay gelding has only four turf tries in his career, but has still managed to win over half a million in those races, better than six others in this race. Owners Augustin Stable should be very proud of what this three time stakes winner has been able to do over the past two years and will be looking forward to another Grade I win. Spring Quality will keep jockey Edgar Prado in the irons for the seventh race in a row.