Jockey Robbie Walsh scored a come-from-behind upset victory in the New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga on Thursday. He had the seat on David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable's Mabou, which had been claimed out of its previous race three weeks earlier by Jacobson, who had never before saddled a hurdler. No matter. Walsh reserved Mabou off the early action, got him going into the lane approaching the final fence, after which he took the lead and stole away to win by almost six lengths. Mabou paid $35.20 to win.
Second finisher in the Turf Writers was Dirar, which came over for this race off a third-place effort in the Galway Hurdle Handicap in late July. Trainer Gordon Elliott brought Barry Geraghty along to steer Dirar, and they had the lead while clearing the final fence, but could not withstand Mabou and Walsh. Dirar went off as the 2-1 second choice.
Stay Thirsty's victory in Saturday's Travers Stakes at Saratoga places another feather in David Scanlon's cap. The second-generation horseman prepped Stay Thirsty for last year's Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale, where he was purchased for $500,000 by owner Michael Repole. Scanlon is the son of the late Bob Scanlon, originally of Bray, Co. Wicklow, who established the Scanlon Training Center just outside of Ocala, Fla.
Eddie Kenneally found the Saratoga winner's circle late on Wednesday afternoon when Avalon Farms' Buckleupbuttercup won the eighth race, a 7-furlong, third-level allowance race, by three lengths. The 4-year-old gray filly was ridden by Javier Castellano and returned $5.50 to win as the favorite.
Kenneally then got a maiden win at Arlington on Thursday out of Hudon and Arnold's Dance On the Moon. The 4-year-old homebred colt had been sidelined almost a year after making his second career start under previous management. He took the early lead in this claimer at the $25,000 level on the grass, and then rated under James Graham when a rival swooped past to run off to a long lead. Graham and partner regained the lead inside the sixteenth pole and tallied by almost a length to pay $10.20.
Earlier on the same card, Graham hooked up with Andrew McKeever to win the second race, a nickel claimer at a mile, aboard Wyn Racing's Spanish Baron. They stalked the early pace and rallied while straightening for home, drawing away for a 5-length score. This is the second win of the meet for this horse and jockey tandem. They paid $6.00 to win here.
McKeever also scored on Arlington's Saturday program, when Flaxman Holdings' Barbies M rallied under Junior Alvarado for the victory in the ninth race. The 3-year-old filly had broken her maiden three weeks prior in her previous start and kept up her winning ways here against first-tier allowance foes on the lawn. She paid $32.00 to win.
Irish émigré John Wade also got a win at Arlington on Thursday, although he had to settle for half a loaf when his Pedrolino finished on even terms with Lemon Custard in the fifth race. Pedrolino and jockey Florent Geroux had opened a 5-length lead midway through this 9-furlong optional claimer on the main track, but had just enough left to keep from being overtaken at the wire. Sent off at 9-2 odds, Pedrolino's backers collected $5.40 in both the win and place slots. Doug Matthews trains Pedrolino for Wade.
Pat Gallagher doesn't exactly wield a potent hand when sending out first-time starters. In fact, before Friday's fifth race at Del Mar, he'd greeted only one of his 30 previous debuters in the winner's circle, which was undeniably noted by the wagering public, which sent Mike and Cory Wellman's Miss Sea Cup off at 13-1 against a field of Cal-bred fillies and mares. Miss Sea Cup showed that she has little use for statistics, reaching the wire first with David Flores aboard. She paid $28.20 to win, and contributed to the carryover of the day's Pick 6 pool to Saturday.
Thursday's first race at Del Mar went to Darley Stable's Do It All, trained by Eoin Harty. The 4-year-old colt had done little since running third in the Grade 2 San Fernando back in January. Pitted here against second-level allowance types at a mile on the main track, Do It All went for the lead, a new tactic, and held to score by almost a length with Rafael Bejarano along for the ride. Do It All paid $9.00 to win.