SARATOGA SPRINGS — The summer meet at Saratoga Race Course wrapped up on Monday with Sporting Chance winning the Hopeful, Todd Pletcher and Jose Ortiz winning individual titles and the track setting an all-time record for handle.
Sporting Chance won the Grade I Hopeful Stakes for 2 year olds despite veering to the outside near the finish line. The horse survived a steward’s inqury to pay $13.40 to win.
Jockey Luis Saez led Sporting Chance past National Flag on the turn and into the lead of the 7-furlong race. Sporting Chance had a fairly comfortable lead before suddenly bolting to the outside a few yards from the finish, but beat Free Drop Billy by a neck. Givemeaminit finished third.
Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won the Hopeful a record eight times now.
Jockey Jose Ortiz won Monday’s sixth race to clinch the Angel Cordero Jr. riding title for the second straight year. He finished the meet with 58 wins.
“It feels great,” Ortiz said in a statement released by NYRA. “Just being able to be here and win races here is huge. To win leading rider for a second year in a row, I feel blessed and I just thank all trainers and owners that give me an opportunity to ride the horses and my agent, who has done a great job and worked really hard for me.”
Critique’s victory in the fifth race gave Pletcher his 13th H. Allen Jerkens training title. His 40 wins ties a Saratoga record. Chad Brown was second with 39 wins.
“I’ve never won 40 and it’s hard to do,” Pletcher said, according to NYRA. “I told Chad (Brown) last year when he did it that it was a hell of an accomplishment. Those guys are tough to beat. We exceeded expectations and I’m proud of it.”
Michael Dubb won his fourth straight owners title with 15 first-place finishes.
Irad Ortiz rode Heart to Heart to victory in Monday’s seventh race, the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap. Heart to Heart paid $6.60 to win in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
Closing day brought 31,808 fans to the track and produced an on-track handle of $3,473,895. The meet’s all-sources handle was $676,709,490, beating out the previous record set in 2015.
The total on-track handle for the meet was $157,014,965, a 3.4-percent increase over last summer. Total paid attendance was 1,117,838.