SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — British born and New Zealand-raced jockey Michael Mitchell has found a place to feast — the steeplechase course at Saratoga on the afternoon of Aug. 1.
For the second racing day in a row, he piloted a winner over the course when Carrington Holdings' Boss Man lost the lead, regained it again and went on to win the $65,000 Allowance 'Chase.
On Monday, the 28-year-old journeyman sat off the pace to win the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick Memorial with Mark Buyck, Jr.'s Irish-bred Show Court by laying off the pace before making a move down the back side and then around the turn. At the wire, Show Court and Mitchell were one length winners.
On Wednesday, the starter dropped his flag and Boss Man and Mitchell were on the front going to the first of nine National Fences. They stayed there until the field of six reached the next-to-last jump. At that point, Barry Foley and Beverly R. Steinman's First Friday ranged up along the inside and challenged Boss Man for the lead.
That situation was only temporary. Mitchell and Boss Man regained their supremacy around the Union Avenue turn and hit the head of the stretch a length to the good First Friday who would be outrun in the lane and finish third. The Serendipity Stables' Dark Gemini closed from sixth to finish second, 2-1/4 lengths astern of Boss Man.
The Florida-bred Boss Man was timed in 3;52.73 over firm steeplechase course on his way to his second lifetime win over the jumps. He broke his maiden at Charlottesville, Va. in late April.
After the race, the Coatesville, Pa.-based Mitchell said Boss Man's jumping style was “very positive.” Noting his big stride enabled Mitchell to “put him on the speed, which is very good for horses like him.”
Mitchell, whose North American racing career came into full bloom at Saratoga last year when he was aboard Swansea Mile to win the Smithwick and the Jonathan Kiser Memorial Novice Chase with Show Court, said Boss Man was “very careful at the last,” a move he praised in “a horse making only his third start over jumps.”
The bettors took note that Boss Man's flat racing career started with the red hot trainer Jason Servis before he was purchased by Bill and Carrington Price (she is the namesake of the racing stable) of Camden, S.C. for trainer and former steeplechase riding champion Arch Kingsley, Jr. They bet Boss Man down from a morning line of 6 to 1 to just under 3 to 1. He paid $7.90 to his backers for a $2 win bet. The Carringtons collected $39,000 for his efforts.
The van from Kingsley's Camden headquarters will stop, more than likely, at Belmont Park for the $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial on Sept. 20.
Boss Man will get some local recognition from the New York fans. He was bred at the Kinsman Farm of New York Yankees late owner George Steinbrenner — who was known to his players and to baseball fans as 'The Boss.'
The halfway point in the Saratoga Steeplechase season was reached when Boss Man took top honors in the Aug. 1 allowance race. Here are the win place and show standings for the National Steeplechase Association’s year-end awards at the halfway mark of 'Chasing 2018.
Owners, Purse Money Won:
Irvin S. Naylor, $251,950
Rosbrian Farm, $246,400
Hudson River Farms, $189,450
Trainers, Races Won:
Jonathan Sheppard, 11
Ricky Hendriks, 10
Jack Fisher, 8
Riders, Races Won:
Jack Doyle, 13
Darren Nagle, 9
Ross Geraghty, 8
Horses, Purse Money Won:
Show Court, $109,590
Timber Horse Owner, Purse Money Won
Irvin L. Crawford, $90,000
Sara E. Collette, $88,000
Irvin S. Naylor, $83,600
Timber Horses, Purse Money Won
Senior Senator, $90,000
Timber Horse Trainers, Races Won
Joseph Davies, 5
Katherine Neilson, 3
Neil Morris, 3
Timber Horse Riders, Races Won
Eric Poretz, 6
Gerard Galligan, 3
Jack Doyle, 3
Darren Nagle, 3
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