Trainer Chad Brown earned his second consecutive H. Allen Jerkens award, and third overall, for the Saratoga meet’s top trainer with 41 wins, while Jose Ortiz [60 victories] registered his third Angel Cordero, Jr. award in four years as the leading jockey for the summer meet that concluded Monday, Labor Day, at Saratoga Race Course.
Klaravich Stables repeated its success from 2018 as well, tallying 19 wins to finish as the meet’s leading owner, compiling earnings of more than $1.9 million.
Brown, who set a meet record with 46 wins in 2018, dominated the trainer standings again in the current meet, finishing 20 wins clear of second-place finisher Todd Pletcher . The Mechanicville, New York native posted nine graded stakes wins, three more than in 2018, with earnings totaling more than $5.5 million. Among the highlights were Annals of Time winning the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, Dunbar Road capturing the Grade 1 Alabama presented by NYRA Bets, Guarana winning the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Sistercharlie earning a trip to the winner’s circle in the Grade 1 Diana.
Brown, the New York Racing’s Association’s leading trainer for the last three years, from 2015-18, compiled a record of 41-40-31 with 178 starters for winning percentage of 23.03. Either Brown or Pletcher has won every Saratoga training title since 2010.
“It’s an honor. So many people who put in so much hard work and so many horses showed up and gave very fine efforts the whole meet,” Brown said. “The four Grade 1s really stand out. From top to bottom, my horses gave really strong efforts. It’s a tough meet. You have to bring your best and I thought it was a real competitive meet. I saw a lot of great horses run who didn’t win. Our stable is very deep, and the staff executed everything really well.”
Ortiz notched his third Saratoga riding crown, adding to his back-to-back wins in 2016 and 2017 before his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., won it in 2018. The 25-year-old native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico compiled a 60-46-37 record in 280 mounts, totaling earnings of $5.46 million with a winning percentage of better than 21 percent.
Ortiz teamed with Brown for Dunbar Road’s Alabama victory and Guarana’s win in the Coaching Club American Oaks and notched his third Grade 1 win of the meet when he guided Basin in the $350,000 Runhappy Hopeful in Race 10 on Monday.
“The quality is what’s important. Even if we don’t win the meet, we want to win Grade 1s and I’m glad I was able to do both,” Ortiz said. “This meet is tough. It’s the best horses and they came from all over, so it makes it tougher. Everybody brings their best here. We have so many good riders here. It means a lot. We have some Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers in here.
“I just tried to work hard and my agent [Jimmy Riccio, Jr.] did a great job,” he added. “We have good relationships with all the trainers and owners and get good opportunities, and I’ll try to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing the last five years.”
Klaravich Stables repeated as Saratoga’s top owner by recording 19 wins, 20 runner-up finishes and seven third-place efforts from 65 starts, besting the next-closest owner in Michael Dubb, who had 12 wins. Headed by Seth Klarman, the stable’s meet highlights include Front Run the Fed’s win in the $100,000 Better Talk Now and Catch a Bid capturing the $100,000 Riskaverse.
Annals of Time, co-owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, captured the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, while Digital Age ran second in the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational, the second leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series, on August 4. Klaravich Stables’ total fell just three shy of Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Saratoga owner record of 22 wins set in 2013.
Thoroughbred action moves to Belmont Park on Friday for the 37-day Fall Championship meet that includes 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money – an increase of $1.45 million over 2018 – and will be highlighted by eight Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers held over two weekends.
Live racing will shift to Aqueduct Racetrack for Belmont at the Big A beginning on October 11 and continuing through October 27 before the traditional Aqueduct fall meet kicks into gear on Friday, November 1 and continuing through Sunday, December 1.