Already in the final quarter of the 40-day Saratoga summer meet, the races for leading owner, trainer and jockey remain close with nine days remaining entering Friday’s card.
Two veteran trainers are vying to once again finish atop the standings and win the prestigious H. Allen Jerkens award, with Chad Brown looking to finish as leading conditioner for the third consecutive year and Todd Pletcher attempting to add to his 13 titles.
Before the start of Friday’s 10-race card, Pletcher held a slight one-win advantage over Brown at 24-23. With 89 starters, Pletcher has compiled a record of 24-16-9 and earnings of more than $1.5 million, with his top win coming last Saturday when Halladay captured the Grade 1 Fourstardave. Pletcher was the leading trainer at the Spa for six consecutive years from 2010-15 and most recently won in 2017 with 40 winners.
Brown, who leads all trainers this meet in horse’s started, has produced quality as well as quantity, compiling a 23-21-27 record with 108 starters, with his runners finishing top-three in 65.74 percent of their starts while winning at a 21.30 percent clip. Brown currently leads all trainers in earnings with $2.13 million, bolstered by stakes wins with Country Grammer in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, My Sister Nat in the Grade 3 Waya, Domestic Spending in the Saratoga Derby Invitational and Rushing Fall in the Grade 1 Diana. Brown won the 2016 meet title and finished in the top spot from 2018-19.
Trainers Mike Maker and Christophe Clement remain in striking distance with 18 wins apiece.
The competition for the jockeys is just as competitive, with brothers Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Jose Ortiz separated by just two wins, with Irad holding a 45-43 edge in the race for the Angel Cordero, Jr. award.
The brothers have won the award every meet since 2015, with Irad winning in 2015 and 2018 and Jose in 2016-17 and also last year, when he won 60. In 2020, both brothers have finished top-three in more than half of their mounts, with the 28-year-old Irad registering a 45-41-31 ledger in 217 mounts, while 26-year-old Jose is 43-38-27 in 204 starts.
Irad’s top wins include the Grade 1 Whitney with Improbable and Domestic Spending in the Saratoga Derby, while Jose won the Grade 2 Bowling Green aboard Cross Border on Whitney Day, August 1.
Joel Rosario is also in position to move up with a strong final week, tallying 40 wins in 183 mounts.
Klaravich Stables is bidding to win its third consecutive leading owner title, with 11 wins three more than the next-closest enterprise with Repole Stable’s eight wins. Headed by Seth Klarman Klaravich Stables won 19 races during last year’s Saratoga meet and this year has seen its runners finish in the money more than 70 percent of the tie, with an 11-4-16 record in 44 starts, leading all owners with earnings of $838,128. The stable owns Domestic Spending.
The Saratoga meet will conclude on Labor Day, September 7.