The Grade 3 Saranac was Saratoga’s final 2014 stakes race, and Graham Motion won it. Ring Weekend’s triumph gave Motion two graded stakes wins on the meet; his first was Main Sequence’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer victory on August 17 — 10 years and three days after Better Talk Now provided Motion his first win in the race.
The Mid-Atlantic was well-represented at Saratoga on closing weekend. Earlier on Monday’s card, Tony Dutrow’s I Spent It finished second in the Grade 1 Hopeful; he’d cruised to victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special three weeks earlier, joining his 2-year-old stablemate Big Trouble as a Saratoga stakes winner, the latter taking the opening weekend Grade 3 Sanford Stakes. There was no sweep of the 2-year-old stakes for Dutrow, but two out of three, especially with a second-place finish, ain’t bad.
Late Saturday night, in near darkness, Jonathan Sheppard took the finale with a $51.50 winner, his sixth winner of the meet, the fourth on the flat.
Neither Motion nor Dutrow nor Sheppard is a stranger to the New York racing circuit, but Saratoga is where they settle in, shipping north and staying for the duration. Dutrow and Sheppard have purchased homes there; the names of all three regularly appear on the meet-end list of stakes winners, and this summer was no different.
The convergence of trainers, owners, and jockeys on Saratoga in the summer is among the joys of being there. Familiar faces too seldom seen through the rest of the year become regular sightings, not only at the track but downtown and in restaurants, and despite the demands of a six-day racing schedule, the visitors make time to support the many charities that seize on Saratoga as a prime fundraising opportunity, attending events with what is surely enervating frequency, contributing to, among other causes, Thoroughbred aftercare, disabled jockeys, and backstretch early education.
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