09/01/2007 12:00AM

Mott takes first Spa title since 2001


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What Bill Mott thought was fantasy early in the meet became reality on Saturday as he officially clinched the Saratoga trainers' title.

Mott won his 22nd race of the meet when Saada, a 2-year-old son of Thunder Gulch, captured a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race. It was the ninth 2-year-old maiden win of the meet for Mott, who had always been overlooked for his work with young horses.

"We've had some nice 2-year-old winners, more than usual, more on the dirt, which is nice," Mott, 54, said. "It's nice to kind of have some of that behind us where they don't say, 'Oh, this is a grass trainer.' "

One of Mott's most impressive 2-year-old dirt winners was Majestic Warrior, whom Mott will saddle in Monday's Grade 1 Hopeful. Majestic Warrior, a son of Grade 1 winners A.P. Indy and Dream Supreme, won his debut in a professional manner. This is the third foal but first colt out of Dream Supreme, whom Mott trained at one time.

"The other two were nice, he's very nice," said Mott, who trains Majestic Warrior for George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable.

Other impressive Mott juvenile winners included J Z Warrior and Freakstein, both owned by Mott's biggest client, Ahmed Zayat.

Mott also had his share of stakes winners, taking the Grade 1 Diana with My Typhoon, the Grade 2 Fourstardave with Silver Tree, the Grade 2 Lake Placid with Sharp Susan and the listed Waya Stakes with Nunnery.

This will be the ninth time Mott has won or shared a Saratoga trainers' title. His last came in 2001, when he also won 22 races. Todd Pletcher had won the last five consecutive trainers' titles, but through Friday had only managed 11 wins this season.

"It is [gratifying], but the best part has been the last five years not being on top, because you learn a lot more that way," said Mott, who missed out on his 10th juvenile winner when Hyrule got beat a half-length in Saturday's fourth. "I'm very serious about that. It's been very humbling."

Chatain scratched from Forego

In the end, trainer Angel Penna Jr. had to scratch Chatain from Saturday's Grade 1 Forego Handicap.

Chatain had bruised his left front foot during a workout on Tuesday at Saratoga. Penna had a blacksmith develop a special shoe for the colt, hoping he could still make the race. Chatain galloped with the three-quarter shoe on Friday morning, but he still wasn't right, so Penna opted to scratch.

"It's not a grave problem, but it's not 100 percent," Penna said. "After he galloped, when he cooled out, he was a little sore if you pressed the bulb of his heel. It's a tough thing to get rid of in three or four days. It's tough to do it with medication, imagine without medication. Now we're going to have to treat him and be more aggressive, and in four or five days it'll be fine again, but the race is gone."

Penna said he wouldn't even think about what race to point Chatain to until the horse is healthy.

"Planning with this horse is really difficult to say the least," Penna said. "Once he's ready and doing good, I'll have to act quickly."

Classic Neel tops Weekend Madness

After knocking heads with Rutherienne in her last two starts, Classic Neel should find the company a bit kinder in Monday's $80,000 Weekend Madness Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is for 3-year-old fillies who have not won a stakes on turf.

Classic Neel was beaten a half -length by Rutherienne and Bit of Whimsy, who dead-heated for win in the Grade 3 Sands Point at Belmont on June 2. Classic Neel then was beaten 1 1/2 lengths when she ran fourth to Rutherienne in the Grade 3 Lake George here on July 27. Rutherienne emerged from those two stakes to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

Classic Neel, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, projects to get a good stalking trip from post 6 in the 12 -horse field.

Other contenders include Tears I Cry, Unspoken Word, Lady Digby and the European import Tanguista.

* Any Given Saturday, the Haskell winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.88 Saturday in preparation for his start in the Grade 2 Brooklyn at Belmont on Sept. 22. With jockey Garrett Gomez up, Any Given Saturday went in fractions of 13.09, 25.42, and 37.48 seconds, and he galloped out seven furlongs in 1:14.32.

* Vitruvius suffered his first loss when he was beaten a half-length by Owners Manual in a seven-furlong allowance race on Saturday. Vitruvius, unraced since winning an allowance race in April, raced erratically down the backside, appeared to be backing up at three-sixteenths pole, but rallied to get second. Owners Manual, trained by Bobby Frankel, returned $15.80.