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Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In action is back at Belmont Park this afternoon. The Champagne and Frizette have long been two of the country’s most prestigious juvenile races. Here are some quick facts to get you ready for them:

D. Wayne Lukas leads all trainers with six Frizette victories. Included in those is a mother-daughter duo with Flanders and Surfside.

No jockey has won more than four editions of the Frizette. John Velazquez is the only active rider among them.

The most popular first initial among Frizette-winning fillies is “S”, with 14.

There have been 26 Frizette winners to be named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly of some kind… an amazing 40% of the race’s winners.

Check out some of the race’s greatest winners:


In the last 50 years, no trainer has won more Champagnes than Nick Zito, with five, including a streak of three straight. Right behind him is Todd Pletcher, who has won two of the last three and a total of four. Both saddle horses in the 142nd edition of the race this afternoon.

No jockey has won more than four editions of the Champagne. John Velazquez is the only active rider among them.

The most popular first initial among Champagne-winning horses is “S”, with 15, including the first winner (Sarah B. in 1867) and the most recent (Shanghai Bobby).

Including retrospective champions and all forms of the Champion Two-Year-Old Award, thirty four Champagne winners are considered juvenile champions. This will be the 142rd edition, meaning just shy of 24% of winners are champions… and that’s despite twenty editions in years for which no champion was selected. In two cases, the eventual champion crossed the wire in front in the Champagne but was disqualified for interference.

Take a look back at some of those with History of the Game:




Today’s races feature the best the two-year-old division has to offer. Unbeaten sensational Spinaway winner Sweet Reason heads the Frizette. A trio of exciting colts do battle in the Champagne - Hopeful winner Strong Mandate and impressive maiden winners Havana and Honor Code. Who do you like?

The 2013 Jockey Club Gold Cup is stacked from top to bottom. Here are some fun facts regarding the stellar field:

  • All but one horse is a Grade or Group 1 winner… and the lone outsider was victorious in one of the nation’s most historic races, the Pimlico Special.
  • They account for a combined 23 graded stakes wins.
  • In 116 lifetime starts, they have hit the board over 2/3 of the time.
  • The field has combined lifetime earnings of $12,324,071.
  • If Ron the Greek were to win, Bill Mott would be just the third trainer to win back-to-back editions with different horses and the first in over 60 years. “Sunny” Jim Fitzsimmons did it in 1929-30 with Diavolo and Gallant Fox. Ben Jones accomplished the feat with Citation and Ponder (1948-49).
  • Orb is the first Kentucky Derby winner to run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup as a three-year-old since Thunder Gulch in 1995. 2003 Derby winner Funny Cide won the race as a four-year-old.
  • It took Last Gunfighter five starts to break his maiden, the most of any horse in the field. However, he’s been nearly perfect since, with just one loss.
  • Vitoria Olimpica was a Group 1 winner on turf in his native Brazil. His first win in this country came in his dirt debut, the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga. The timing was impeccable - he sports the same silks that Alydar used to carry, the former Calumet colors that are now owned by Stud T N T.
  • Alpha loves it here in New York. The colt has never been noted for his consistency, but in ten Big Apple starts, he’s only been worse than second twice.
  • Flat Out is looking to become just the second horse to win more than two Jockey Club Gold Cups. The standard, of course, is set by the mighty Kelso with five wins. He is currently one of ten horses with two wins in the race.
  • Prior to Flat Out, the most recent horse to pair-up in the Jockey Club Gold Cup was Curlin. A win by Palace Malice would make him the second multiple JCGC winner to sire a winner of the race. Nashua won the race in 1955-56 before siring the great mare Shuvee, herself a two-time winner (1970-1971).
  • Four-year-old Cross Traffic is the most lightly raced horse in the field with just five starts. He’s also less than a 1/4 of a length from being undefeated, having suffered narrow defeats in the Westchester and Met Mile.

Who do YOU like in Jockey Club Gold Cup?
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#SpaStars Finale

We had a horse picked out for the final edition of #SpaStars. Our progression in chronological order had taken us to a recent Jim Dandy-Travers winner who has made a splash as a Saratoga sire. However, at the last minute, we’ve decided to call an audible. Rather than giving you one more from our list, we want to hear who your favorite horses from the latest meet were. Was it one of the big Grade 1 winners like Princess of Sylmar, Cross Traffic, or Will Take Charge? Did a two-year-old catch your eye? Or was it someone more under the radar?

Comment, reply, reblog, or tag your own post #SpaStars!

Thanks so much to all of those who have enjoyed these profiles. We’ve got a few more prizes to give out, so make sure your ask box is open!

#SpaStars: Commentator
Ch. gelding, 2001-present, Distorted Humor – Outsource, by Storm Bird

When Commentator was right, boy was he right, and more often than not, he was on his game at Saratoga. The brilliant New York-bred made the first two starts of his career at the Spa, winning them by a combined 17 ½ lengths. Commentator had never won a two-turn race when he was entered in a tough rendition of the Whitney at four. Nick Zito, who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame two days later, had yet to win a race at the meet. The gelding held off that year’s Horse of the Year, Saint Liam, in a thrilling finish that Zito called, “probably the most important victory of my life.” Plagued by issues throughout his career, Commentator didn’t find the Saratoga winners’ circle again until 2008. He did it in the right race though, becoming just the third horse to take multiple editions of the Whitney. At the age of seven, he also became the race’s second-oldest winner. The popular gelding was retired a year later after finishing third in his quest for a Whitney hat trick. Expressing a sentiment felt by many, Nick Zito was quick to praise the horse who had become just the fourth New York-bred to earn $2,000,000, “He’s as gallant as he could be. He’s a real treasure.”

Breeder: Michael Martinez
Owner: Tracy Farmer
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Javier Castellano (3), Gary Stevens (4), John Velazquez (7)

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#SpaStars: AshadoDkb./br. filly, 2001-present, Saint Ballado – Goulash, by Marie’s Book

She won eleven stakes races, including more than half a dozen Grade 1 victories. When she retired, it was as the second highest earning filly or mare in American history. Ashado stepped to the national forefront at Saratoga, and it was here that she collected her first major win. Her first foray into stakes company came in the opening day Schuylerville. She drew off to win on a sloppy track. The dark bay filly came back in the Spinaway, but bettors who thought she might have been aided by a biased track that day dismissed her as the third choice. “She’s tough,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, after she dug in to pull way to a 1 ¼ length win. At three, Ashado joined the long line of “Graveyard of Champions” victims when felled in the Alabama.  However, she came back at four for what may have been her most brilliant performance. “She was unbelievable,” in the Go for Wand, said John Velazquez, who rode her to a 9 ½ length win.

Breeder: Aaron & Marie Jones
Owner: Starlight Racing
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Edgar Prado (2), John Velazquez (4)

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#SpaStars: Medaglia d’Oro
Dkb. colt, 1999-present, El Prado – Cappucino Bay, by Bailjumper

It seems unimaginable, given the logic of the progression, that only one horse has swept the Jim Dandy and Travers at three and returned to take the Whitney at four.  It’s even more amazing that it took until the 21st century for it to happen. Medaglia d’Oro made just three starts at the Spa, won all three, and etched his place in history. The Jim Dandy was a romp to the tune of 13 ¾ lengths.  Three weeks later, the Travers was much more contentious.  Medaglia d’Oro dug in to hold off Repent on a messy track.  The Whitney was a particularly gratifying win for trainer Bobby Frankel, who was sending the four-year-old to post off of an April layoff and against the only horse to have beaten him in more than a year. “I’ve learned that winning is the best revenge,” he said, “If you win, you don’t have to say anything. You just smile.”

Breeder: Albert & Joyce Bell
Owner: Edmund A. Gann
Trainer: Bobby Frankel
Jockey: Jerry Bailey

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#SpaStars: Summer Colony
Dkb. filly, 1998-present, Summer Squall – Probably Colony, by Pleasant Colony
It’s strange for a three-year-old to be the most memorable maiden winner of a Saratoga meet. Stranger still for it be one making their seventh lifetime start. Such was the case in the summer of 2001. On August 17, the first time she was given the opportunity to route on dirt, Summer Colony broke out of the maiden ranks. By 32 ¾ lengths. Thirteen days later she won again, this time by 9 ½.  When she returned to Saratoga a year later, she did so as a multiple graded stakes winner. It is only appropriate that she got her first Grade 1 victory at the track that had launched her career. Her 4 ½ length win in the Personal Ensign crowned her as unquestionably the best mare on the East Coast, and arguably nationwide. John Velazquez had high praise for her saying, “To me, she’s the best horse in the country.”

Breeder: Edward P. Evans
Owner: Edward P. Evans
Trainer: Mark Hennig
Jockey: John Velazquez

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#SpaStars: City Zip
Ch. colt, 1998-present, Carson City – Baby Zip, by Relaunch

The two-year-old program at Saratoga is the stuff of legends. It is highlighted by a trio of stakes races, the Sanford, Saratoga Special, and Hopeful. In the summer of 2000, City Zip became just the fourth horse in history to sweep all three. The first two came rather easily, by a combined 5 ¾ lengths. The third was a thriller. With thunder and lightning providing an ominous setting, City Zip didn’t have an easy trip. The colt that trainer Linda Rice described as, “never show[ing] any quit down the lane,” came running anyway, and the $9,000 auction purchase caught the $1.9 million Yonaguska on the line. It was a dead heat. He came back the following summer to run his Spa streak to four, defeating Speightstown, Snow Ridge, and others in a terrific rendition of the Amsterdam. City Zip was finally bested in the King’s Bishop but his influence is still felt at Saratoga. Though he now stands in Kentucky, City Zip entered stud in New York, and his offspring are a frequently found in the Spa winners’ circle.

Breeder: Adena Springs
Owner: Charles R. Thompson, Carl Bowling, Becky Thomas, Lewis Lakin
Trainer: Linda Rice
Jockey: Jose Santos (2), Jorge Chavez (3)

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#SpaStars: Evening Attire
Gr./ro. gelding, 1998-present, Black Tie Affair – Concolour, by Our Native

On the Whitney undercard in 2000, a dark gray two-year-old hit the gate, was bumped shortly after the break, and was forced five wide turning for home. He won anyway. In a career that lasted until he was ten, Evening Attire would go on to become one of the most popular local runners in recent years. The gelding picked up his first Saratoga stakes win as a four-year-old in a quirky edition of the historic Saratoga Cup. Fellow popular gray Gander stumbled at the start, leaving rider Mike Smith behind. He bounded under the wire ahead of the field, but it was Evening Attire who collected the trophy. Despite lacking a stakes win here at five, Evening Attire had another terrific summer, winning twice and running third in a tough rendition of the Whitney. 2004 saw what would turn out to be the penultimate edition of the Saratoga Cup, a race which originated in 1865. The headliner was Funny Cide, making his local debut, but at the end it was all Evening Attire who rolled home by five. “He was one of a kind,” Tommy Kelly said when the gelding retired in the fall of 2008, adding, “he always put in his run. I’ve never seen him back once. He might have finished second, third, fourth, or fifth, but he was always running at the end.” Evening Attire now lives at Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue in Pawling, NY.

Breeder: Thomas J. Kelly & Joseph M. Grant
Owner: Mary & Joseph Grant, Thomas J. Kelly
Trainer: Timothy Kelly (2), Patrick J. Kelly (4+)
Jockey: Robbie Davis (2), Shaun Bridgmohan (4), Edgar Prado (5), Mark Guidry (5), Cornelio Velasquez (6)

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#SpaStars: With AnticipationGr./ro. gelding, 1995-present, Relaunch – Fran’s Valentine, by SarosThe success of Jonathan Sheppard, particularly at Saratoga, is remarkable. It’s a wonder it took him until 2000 to get his first Grade 1 winner on the flat, but it did. The horse that finally delivered the big one for him was the popular, appropriately named With Anticipation. The six-year-old led nearly every step of the way to take the Sword Dancer over a tough field that included defending champion John’s Call. He came back the following year, this time making a late move to just get there in time. Of course, he had the right rider when impeccable timing is needed. Patient Pat Day, who guided the near-white horse to both Spa wins, had done that before. A lot. In fact, the victory in the race made him racing’s all-time money earner.Breeder: George Strawbridge, Jr.Owner: Augustin StableTrainer: Jonathan SheppardJockey: Pat DayReblog, retweet, like, and favorite for a chance to win!

#SpaStars: With Anticipation
Gr./ro. gelding, 1995-present, Relaunch – Fran’s Valentine, by Saros

The success of Jonathan Sheppard, particularly at Saratoga, is remarkable. It’s a wonder it took him until 2000 to get his first Grade 1 winner on the flat, but it did. The horse that finally delivered the big one for him was the popular, appropriately named With Anticipation. The six-year-old led nearly every step of the way to take the Sword Dancer over a tough field that included defending champion John’s Call. He came back the following year, this time making a late move to just get there in time. Of course, he had the right rider when impeccable timing is needed. Patient Pat Day, who guided the near-white horse to both Spa wins, had done that before. A lot. In fact, the victory in the race made him racing’s all-time money earner.

Breeder: George Strawbridge, Jr.
Owner: Augustin Stable
Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard
Jockey: Pat Day

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#SpaStars: John’s Call
Ch. gelding, 1991-2010, Lord At War – Calling Guest, by Be My Guest

When you spend $4,000 on a yearling steeplechase prospect, ending up in the Saratoga winners’ circle doesn’t sound far-fetched. After all, the annual tradition of steeplechase racing at the Spa is renowned. Ending up there following one of the meet’s premiere flat races, however? That’s a little more out there. Well into “old age” for a flat horse, John’s Call became Saratoga’s oldest G1 winner when he won the Sword Dancer at nine. The chestnut gelding, who had three Saratoga wins to his credit already in lesser company, drew off to score by better than nine lengths. “Some horses do well here, and some horses don’t,” said rider Jean-Luc Samyn, adding, “It’s got to be something about the climate and the water. John’s Call showed he definitely loves it here.” The feeling was mutual. Each year the John’s Call Stakes is run in his honor. In retirement, he even led the post parade for it during his summers as a pony for trainer Tom Voss.

Breeder: Wimborne Farm
Owner: Trillium Stable
Trainer: Thomas Voss
Jockey: Mike Luzzi (4), Jean-Luc Samyn (7, 9)

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#SpaStars: Thunder RumbleDkb./br. colt, 1989-present, Thunder Puddles – Lyphette, by LyphardIn his Saratoga debut, Thunder Rumble equaled a stakes record. In the Jim Dandy. At 24-1. As Joseph Durso put it in the New York Times, “in racing’s celebrated house of upsets, chalk up one of the biggest.” Trainer Richie O’Connell was understandably enthused, saying “I can taste the $1 million,” referring to the upcoming Travers. He was dismissed as the fifth choice in the wagering that day, but someone forgot to tell him. Thunder Rumble was the first New York-bred in over a century to take the historic Mid-Summer Derby. The hero of Saratoga didn’t make it back to the Spa for two years. He had ankle surgery at the end of his three-year-old campaign, thus missing his entire four-year-old year. In a remarkable comeback, having won just once, late in that year’s Belmont meet since the Travers, Thunder Rumble scored in the 77th Saratoga Cup. Richard Migliore was effusive in his praise, saying, “I always read the Black Stallion books when I was little, and Thunder Rumble is Black Stallion to me. He acts like him, and even looks like him.” Thunder Rumble is retired not far from his favorite track at Old Friends at Cabin Creek.Breeder: Dr. Konrad WidmerOwner:Braeburn FarmTrainer: Richard O’ConnellJockey: Herb McCauley (3), Richard Migliore (4)Reblog, retweet, like, and favorite for a chance to win!

#SpaStars: Thunder Rumble
Dkb./br. colt, 1989-present, Thunder Puddles – Lyphette, by Lyphard

In his Saratoga debut, Thunder Rumble equaled a stakes record. In the Jim Dandy. At 24-1. As Joseph Durso put it in the New York Times, “in racing’s celebrated house of upsets, chalk up one of the biggest.” Trainer Richie O’Connell was understandably enthused, saying “I can taste the $1 million,” referring to the upcoming Travers. He was dismissed as the fifth choice in the wagering that day, but someone forgot to tell him. Thunder Rumble was the first New York-bred in over a century to take the historic Mid-Summer Derby. The hero of Saratoga didn’t make it back to the Spa for two years. He had ankle surgery at the end of his three-year-old campaign, thus missing his entire four-year-old year. In a remarkable comeback, having won just once, late in that year’s Belmont meet since the Travers, Thunder Rumble scored in the 77th Saratoga Cup. Richard Migliore was effusive in his praise, saying, “I always read the Black Stallion books when I was little, and Thunder Rumble is Black Stallion to me. He acts like him, and even looks like him.” Thunder Rumble is retired not far from his favorite track at Old Friends at Cabin Creek.

Breeder: Dr. Konrad Widmer
Owner:Braeburn Farm
Trainer: Richard O’Connell
Jockey: Herb McCauley (3), Richard Migliore (4)

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#SpaStars: Irish Linnet
B. filly, 1988-present, Seattle Song – Royal Slip, by Royal Match

Nineteen days before two-year-old Irish Linnet broke her maiden at Saratoga Fourstardave had won the Daryl’s Joy. It was the fourth straight year he had won at the Spa. Perhaps he gave his stablemate some advice on how to succeed here. Irish Linnet came back the next five years and won the Yaddo each time. The streak began by defeating her elders as a three-year-old. At four she set a stakes record. At five she tied it. At six she lowered it. In her final appearance in the Yaddo, at the age of seven, she gave 11-17 pounds to the field and won by eight. Bill Finley, writing for the New York Daily News, with a nod to her more famous stablemate called her the “Sultana of Saratoga.” Leo O’Brien credited the mare, saying, “I’m proud of her because she started this when she was a 3-year-old, and that’s not an easy thing to do.”

Breeder: Austin Delaney
Owner: Austin Delaney
Trainer: Leo O’Brien
Jockey: Mike Smith (3, 4), Jose Santos (5), John Velazquez (6, 7)

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#SpaStars: Go for Wand
B. filly, 1987-1990, Deputy Minister – Obeah, by Cyane

Theoretically, Go for Wand’s Saratoga debut was meant as a prep race. She had been off from the races for seven weeks and had the Alabama on the horizon. Someone forgot to tell her and she flew to a stakes-record tying Test victory in 1:21.09. Nine days later it was more of the same. Her seven length victory in the Alabama, three furlongs longer than the Test, set a stakes record of 2:00.84 that has yet to be threatened. Trainer Billy Badgett couldn’t describe the win, saying “’I’m at a loss for words. She still just amazes me.” Rider Randy Romero went with “unbelievable,” while Craig Perret, who rode the very good Charon in second, labeled her a “super horse.” Superlatives often fly in the moment that don’t linger, but with the benefit of perspective in a meet wrap-up piece for The New York Times, Steven Crist had this to say, “Go for Wand proved herself Hall of Fame material with a sizzling victory going seven furlongs in the Test on Aug. 2 and then stretching out for a brilliant display of stamina in the Alabama nine days later.”

Breeder: Christiana Stables
Owner: Christiana Stable
Trainer: William Badgett Jr.
Jockey: Randy Romero

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