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Saratoga Stack 8.6.23
Sunday at Saratoga while the sadness of Saturday lingers
Not surprisingly, the Saratoga Special got it right with their Sunday cover.
And on page 18, Sean Clancy got the headline and lede right, too.
Sean had the unenviable task of writing about the Test Stakes, where Maple Leaf Mel broke down just yards from the wire and a Grade I win.
You should really read his story, click here on this blue link.
This sport can be brutal at times. And the breakdown of Maple Leaf Mel just strides from the wire at Saratoga is as brutal as it gets.
Beyond the utter sadness of a wonderful animal's death, you immediately feel for the connections.
Trainer Melanie Giddings, who herself has fought cancer over the last four years. Going out on her own after being an assistant trainer and having this amazing horse in her barn right away. Her namesake.
Owner Bill Parcells, who named the grey horse after Giddings. Who wanted to support Giddings by transferring training duties for Maple Leaf Mel from her former boss Jeremiah Englehart, because he felt so strongly about her abilities as a trainer. The former football coach can now be found on his golf cart at the Saratoga training track for hours at a time during training: just watching his horses and talking to clockers and other racing folks. He loves the sport.
This would have been his first Grade I win as an owner.
The fans who witnessed this tragedy live on track Saturday. An estimated 43,778 (a record for Whitney Day) packed the building.
It’s a day they’ll never forget, for all the wrong reasons.
My guess is the mood on track today at Saratoga, even on a beautiful summer day in August, will be somber. And it will certainly reflect the feelings of racing fans everywhere after the tragic death of Maple Leaf Mel on Saturday.
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Today’s Two-Minute Pick Presented by NYRA Bets
I don’t see any reason why #3 Whatlovelookslike can’t take control of this race from the jump. Was able to do that last time in a stake at Belmont. There does not appear to be any other horse who wants to lead this group into the first turn. Todd Pletcher 22% off a win in turf routes the last three years. When he gets these turf routers good (Up To the Mark) they stay good. Pletcher and jockey Flavien Prat are 7-17 (41%!) when they team up in turf routes in Saratoga. 9-2 ML seems more than fair. #3 Whatlovelookslike 3-4-1
Elsewhere on the Sunday card:
Featured Adirondack Race 8: I thought the debut for #9 Copper Em was really good. Was not one of those days at Ellis (at least based on the charts) where speed just dominated. But this horse blitzed them out of the gate and was long gone. Barn is due for some wins and the work two-back looks legit. 9-3-6-2
Race 10: As someone addicted to betting Conquist, I have a note from July 3 on #12 Zapruder. “Wide late, coming. Could have been closer.” Will need some pace but at 6-1 I’d be betting. 12-2-9-10.
Good luck if you’re playing today. Safe trips for all.