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Saratoga: Repole on verge of third straight owners' title
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Though he has won some of the sport’s biggest prizes the last three years, owner Mike Repole still has a hard time letting go of the summer of 2009.
That year, at Saratoga, Repole went winless with all 36 of his starters. It drove him nuts.
“I suffered through 11 months of therapy,” Repole said by phone Saturday, hours before he was to watch Stay Thirsty run in the Woodward and Caixa Eletronica start in the Forego. “I said the only way I could recover from 0 for 36 was if I won the Saratoga title three years in a row. I’m two-thirds there.”
Repole was the leading owner here in 2010 and 2011. When Micromanage won Saturday’s seventh race it was his 12th win of the meet, two more than Klaravich Stable/William Lawrence and Michael Dubb, who has won 10 races with various partners.
Repole admits that his desire to win a third consecutive Saratoga owners’ title led him to claiming horses specifically for this meet while holding horses out of races at Belmont to run here. He had six runners on Saturday’s Saratoga card and lost with his first three, including even-money shot Winter Now (sixth in race 2) and Starforaday, who lost by a head after being compromised by a bad start. Isthmus, Repole’s runner in the fifth, finished second, beaten a half-length.
Repole has had 18 horses claimed from him at this meet, including Winter Now, who dropped from $50,000 to $20,000 on Saturday, and Isthmus. He has claimed only three horses at this meet.
“There were horses that we claimed [at Belmont] with the purpose of getting them in a race where they would be the favorite,” Repole said. “If we owned them at the end of the race, great, if not somebody else had the task of improving a horse off Todd Pletcher or Bruce Levine.”
Repole had only two horses entered on Sunday’s card here and five runners in four races on Monday’s closing-day card. One of Repole’s Monday runners, Overanalyze in the Hopeful, was expected to have run in Sunday’s Sapling at Monmouth Park.
“If I’m lucky to win it this year I would almost guarantee that there would be a new Saratoga owner title winner for 2013,” Repole said. “For five or six weeks this is all I do. My business has suffered. All my companies are down 40 percent for August. The good news is I had 12 wins at Saratoga.”
Bill Lawrence, who owns horses with Seth Klarman (Klaravich Stables), said the owners’ title isn’t something he or his partner necessarily covets. Lawrence was thrilled with the meet his stable has had, winning 10 races from 46 starters, including three Grade 2 stakes – the Saratoga Special (Spurious Precision), the Amsterdam (Currency Swap), and the With Anticipation (Balance the Books).
“We’re happy with the meet we had,” Lawrence said. “It certainly would be nice to be leading owner, but we’ve run nothing to try to win the owners’ title. We’re not giving our horses away and dropping horses in like some others do. We’re running in spots where we think they belong. We’ve won at 20 percent and three graded stakes, and we have a lot of promising horses for the fall.”
Klaravich lost with its only runner Saturday and had nothing in Sunday. Of its three runners on Monday, two were on the also-eligible list.
Dubb, who finished second to Repole last year here, entered the weekend 10 for 50, and had three runners on Sunday but only one on Monday.
“Being in the game, being competitive is what motivates me,” Dubb said. “It would be nice to win the title. Mike Repole and I have a lot of fun kidding each other about it, but at the end of the day he’s going to be more aggressive.
“I think my greatest frustration is I came here with about half a dozen hard-hitting horses for races that didn’t go.”
russell, you call it bashing, and calling me names. But, I am calling it the way I see it. I am not insane. Some of my favorite trainers past and present: Woody Stephens, R. Frankel, B. Mott, R. Mandella, W. Dollase, Shug McGuaghey et al. SO, I DO NOT HATE SUCCESS. Some of my favorite owners past and present: Phipps, Alan Paulson, R+B Lewis, E. Klein, Bert Firestone, et al. They are rich, by any standard. SO, I DO NOT HATE MONEY. I am NOT comparing Gill to Repole, person to person, and you think, I am repulsive. But, their tactic and motive, that you seem unable to understand, are not different. I will add no further comment.
Five, Ive been at the track since me dad brought me in 1977. He always taught me dont look for the obvious in the DRF. It was the best advice I ever got. Im not a owner but bashing Reploe is insane. You comparing Gill to Repole is repulsive. I remember Dutrow Jr claiming Kings Swan for 75k. What a different era.
russell, am I off base ? or you just do not understand the game ? I urge you, anonymous (Ginger), BigAFan, Thomas s, et all. to re-read JoyJackson21's post and may I ask AGAIN, why is Repole's tactic and motive different from Michael Gill ? If you walk the same road, you may end up at the same place.
You are way off base Five! are you kidding? Gill was banned from several tracks and most of his horses were very low claimers racing in Maryland and lastly at Penn National. It ended for Gill when a horse he owned broke down and died on the track and no autopsy was done. Many things were rumored but it ended when jockeys refused to ride in races where a Gill horse was entered in. Repole claimed horses to win a single meet. Big deal. You are insane! And I don't know anyone at the track! Crazy post. If u talk about about Gallussio, Jacobsen, and Dutrow about claimers maybe I would agree.
Repole's tactic in the claiming game is not new. How is his tactic and motive any diiferent from Micheal Gill, and how that ended.
And Repole claimed a horse for 62500k and the horse won $1 million for him. How can you bash him for claims. Some work and some don't.
I congratulate Mr. Repole on his three titles as top owner at Saratoga, and that he was able to fulfill his bet with himself to enable himself to get over being winless in his first year at the track. I am horrified on behalf of Isthmus, Winter Now and Starforaday. I hope they go to connections who will nurture and bring out their talents and do right by the horses. Horses are creatures of habit and so many changes in such a small space of time had to have been jarring for them. Changing barns so often cannot be good for their psyches, nor good for their performances. I hope they get to stay in one place for awhile and thrive with connections that appreciate them.
This guy wants to win. The more owners we have like Repole the stronger our industry, a business built on owners fighting each other for the top. Good stuff. I like a guy who leaves a hundred million on the table in his other businesses trying to pick up two more wins at the Spa.
must be the enhanced vitawater horse supplement,but watch out repole plettecher is using some on his 2yos.
Mike is great for the game.Horse racing needs more owners like Mike Repole.
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