The Spa Spot: Wrapping up rainy Day 15
It didn't just rain Sunday, it poured, knocking four races off the turf and contributing to what turned out to be 41 scratches:
- The fallout from the rain storms that rolled through in early afternoon was a wild sequence of results. Only three of 11 betting favorites won, and there were a couple of big payoffs: Poseidon's Warrior ($74.50) in the Grade 1 Amsterdam; Purely Majestic ($36.80) in the seventh; American Legend ($20.80) in the 11th.
- With the flurry of long shots winning, no one hit the Pick Six. In fact, there were only two bettors who had five of six, so they each collected a very nice consolation payout of $12,063. There will be a carryover of $72,383 into Monday's Pick Six.
- Jockey John Velazquez picked up two more winners and has 10 since he returned to riding after recovering from injuries.
- Trainer Wayne Catalano won his first two races of the season with Thermal Cat in the ninth and American Legend in the 11th.
- On-track attendance on the hot, humid and rainy day was down nine percent from last year to 19,726 and the on-track handle of $3,194,735 was down 13 percent. Even the total handle, which has been up nearly every day this season, took a hit and was off one percent to $15,013,688.
- Trainer Ian Wilkes said that Whitney winner Fort Larned came out of the race in good shape.
“He ran hard; he’s a little tired,” Wilkes said. “But he’s happy, although not as happy as I am. Really, I was expecting that kind of performance from him. I believe in him. He’s a very good horse. He ran the same type of race in the Cornhusker. In that race, he beat Successful Dan; yesterday, there were more good horses.”
Wilkes said the Woodward at Saratoga was a possibility, but he said he intends to figure out a schedule of races by working backward from the Breeders' Cup Classic. The colt earned an automatic berth in the race with his victory in the Whitney.
- Royal Delta, last year’s champion 3-year-old filly, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.56 Sunday morning over the Oklahoma training track in preparation for her next start, the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign on August 26. It was her first work since her neck victory over Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 21.
“She was a little anxious, a little buzzed going in with it being the first work, but I was happy with it,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “She’s training good, she’s eating good, she’s moving good … it’s all good.”
Last year at Saratoga, Royal Delta won the Grade 1 Alabama after finishing third in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.