05/23/2013 6:20PM

Belmont Park: Jacobson wins with four first-off-the-claim horses

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ELMONT, N.Y. - No trainer plays the claiming game in New York better these days than David Jacobson, a point he drove home Thursday winning four races at Belmont Park, all with horses making their first start off the claim.

Jacobson, the son of the infamous trainer  Buddy Jacobson, won Thursday’s second with Spa City Fever ($12.60), the third with Yo Blue ($8.30), the fifth with Princess Mara ($8.90), and the eighth with Sing Dixie Sing ($7.80). None of the horses were favored. The first three wins, for Jacobson’s primary client Drawing Away Stable, came with jockey Junior Alvarado; the latter for owner Bruce Golden with David Cohen up.

“Every time I win I’m surprised,” said Jacobson, who is the leading trainer at this meet with 17 wins, seven more than Chad Brown. “I hope to win and I run them to win and I think they’re going to win but when they actually do win I’m surprised every time. It’s almost impossible to win a race - especially in New York. You have a lot of talented horsemen and people here.”

Though the 7-year-old Spa City Fever hadn’t won since the Alex M. Robb on Dec. 31, 2011, Jacobson took him for $62,500 on April 12 from Mike Hushion.

Thursday’s $81,000 allowance/optional claiming race scratched down to three horses and Spa City Fever was aided by the fact heavily favored Big Screen stumbled a few strides out of the gate. Spa City Fever won by 2 1/2 lengths.

“I guess Big Screen on his best day is going to beat us but he has run some very tough, very fast races and I was hoping it took something out of him and I was right,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson took Yo Blue from Gary Contessa for $20,000 out of a turf race on May 5 and won a $35,000 claiming race on turf with him on Thursday in front-running fashion.

“He was a big, good-looking horse, Contessa had him running good,” Jacobson said. “He’s a 3-year-old we hoped would go the distance on grass and he did. Nice horse.”

Jacobson took Princess Mara from Steve Asmussen’s stable for $16,000 and jumped her up to $35,000. She galloped to a four-length front-running victory.

“She was tough to train in the morning and I think we got a handle on how to train her,” Jacobson said. “Even though Steve Asmussen is an amazing trainer sometimes their [stable’s] too big and don’t have the time to spend with pain-in-the-[butt] horses.”

Sing Dixie Sing, dropping in for $35,000 after having been claimed for $50,000 by Jacobson, scored a 6 1/4-length, front-running victory in the eighth.

Jacobson said Sing Dixie Sing is also a bit difficult to train but he won’t have to worry about that as Carlos Martin won a two-way shake with Linda Rice to claim her for $35,000.

Jacobson did prove he was mortal as Irish Lion, a horse not entered for a claiming tag, finished last when running for the first-level allowance condition offered in race 6.

“I thought he’d run better than that,” Jacobson said. “I didn’t necessarily think he’d win, but I thought he could run with those horses.”

Jacobson will be back in action Friday with five horses in four races, including Sure Route, a horse running for the optional claiming price of $62,500 - the same price for which he was claimed - in the fourth race.