When Unique Bella, making her first start in seven months, crossed the finish line 3#xbd; lengths in front in Sunday's L.A. Woman Stakes (G3), it brought a virtual end to this year's Breeders' Cup prep schedule. Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 8, thirty-three graded races - 18 of them Grade 1s - were contested at five tracks, most of them at Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita.
With 3-year-old filly Elate the third consecutive example, the Stars of Saratoga continue to pour it on as the Breeders' Cup draws near. The 34th edition of the event is just 29 days away, and will be held the weekend of Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar Race Track in California. Elate, winner of the Alabama Stakes on Aug.
Twisted Tom, bred in Saratoga Springs, took down the biggest trophy last weekend on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park. His breeders are Dr. Joan Taylor and Dr. William Wilmot of Stepwise Farm on Fitch Road. The annual New York Showcase Day offered $1.75 million in stakes purses for horses bred in New York.
It was a rough week for thoroughbred racing. Wednesday night, multiple graded stakes winner Effinex died after suffering a ruptured pulmonary artery in his stall at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds. The six-year-old son of Mineshaft had recently been moved to the farm after standing his initial season earlier this year at Questroyal North in Stillwater.
DEL MAR >> There's a new king in horse racing and it's Gun Runner. The 4-year-old colt won the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday, sending rival Arrogate to a third straight career-ending defeat at Del Mar. Gun Runner ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.29 and paid $6.80, $4.
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> It isn't officially cold and flu season, but it certainly appeared that way Friday night as there were plenty of (yellow) handkerchiefs thrown onto the turf at Brent T. Steuerwald Stadium in the latter half of the Class AA quarterfinal between Shenendehowa and visiting Colonie.
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> The Shenendehowa football team executed a different game plan Friday night for its homecoming, keeping its offense on the field for longer periods of time so that the end zone student section had more to cheer about and take a step towards its post-season plans. The Plainsmen scored on six of its eight possessions and rolled past a youthful Ballston Spa squad 41-7 at Brent T.
Another of the Stars of Saratoga made a major statement for the second weekend in a row, as Travers Stakes winner West Coast romped in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby last Saturday. The week before, World Approval overpowered the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile after capturing the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga.
Burnt Hills, N.Y. >> Burnt Hills- Ballston Lake football managed to bring the offense and defense to the game against Amsterdam and take a big 50-7 win to stay undefeated on the season. "We came out and we were able to get some momentum, which is nice," Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football Coach Matt Shell said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> Carter Steingraber has been one of the best players on an undefeated Saratoga Springs football team this season. He is a wide receiver, a defensive back and as the season progressed, became one of Saratoga's top running backs and players due to injuries. Steingraber said the team came together to work into the roles that needed to be filled.
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