Before August 18, trainer Ray Handal was putting together an impressive string of accomplishments from the claim box…impressive, unfortunately, in all the wrong ways.
“I’ve lost 13 shakes in a row,” he said, standing outside his barn on the grounds of Saratoga Raceway, the harness track across Nelson Avenue from Saratoga Race Course. “I haven’t won a shake since February.”
He was the only claimant on a number of horses that he’d added to his stable, but of those eight, six had finished second first off the claim.
“Four of them by a neck or less,” he said. “I was pulling my hair out.”
On this sunny morning, though, Handal was laughing about his bad luck and celebrating, because finally, one of those claimed horses hadn’t finished second, and he gave Handal his first Saratoga winner.
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