From the Spa: August 22 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
Thursday, August 22nd marks the 81st running of the Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap which is the first race on the Saratoga card. This historic race is run at two and three eighth miles on the turf, and is a hurdler exclusively for four year olds and upward. With a well-stocked nine horse field this year, it will be hard for the familiar Pennsylvania bred All the Way Jose to find his way into the winner’s circle from the outside post, but his extensive experience at the Spa should give him a leg up on his other contenders. All the Way Jose returns after a tough defeat in the Grade I A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase, and has not won at Saratoga since 2014, but will still put out his best effort even in his nine year old season.
A bay gelding by Senor Swinger – Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby, All the Way Jose has somewhat struggled the last two years, but has still maintained a top level of competition running primarily in graded stakes. Even with these struggles, he is still a consistent finisher and rarely comes home last, often showing great fight in the stretch. Perhaps keeping Gerard Galligan in the irons as his first back to back rider in two years will help him improve for trainer and breeder Jonathan E. Sheppard, but ultimately, All the Way Jose will need to maintain good position near the lead, and show his trademark fight in the stretch to put himself in the mix. Any result that adds to his near half a million in career earnings will make owners Buttonwood Farm very happy, with a win proving that he still belongs among the best in his class. All the Way Jose has morning line odds of 12/1.