08/11/2012 5:27PM

Saratoga: Scherer wins three in a row

Barbara D. Livingston
Merrill Scherer sent out three winners at Saratoga this past Wednesday and Thursday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Merrill Scherer has been training horses since 1962, but during all that time he had only been to Saratoga twice, as a visitor, until finally deciding at the behest of his friend and colleague Wesley Ward to bring a small string here for the first time four years ago.

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Scherer won three races during his first summer at Saratoga and the same number again last year. He needed only 24 hours to send out three winners here earlier this week, the first on Wednesday and two more the following afternoon.

“I was training horses at Suffolk Downs when I decided to drive over to see the place for the first time in 1973,” Scherer recalled. “It was the day Onion upset Secretariat. I never thought I had the stock to race here on a regular basis until Wesley convinced me to try it a few years ago.”

Scherer, 73, has raced almost exclusively in the Midwest during his 50-year training career. Aside from the 10 runners he has stabled here this summer, Scherer also has 15 horses bedded down at Churchill Downs and several more at Presque Isles.

“I was very happy to win those three races my first summer at Saratoga, although I should have had four,” said Scherer. “I had one horse disqualified that I didn’t think should have come down. I’m still mad at the stewards for that.”

Scherer has trained four graded stakes winners in his career, the last of whom being Atticus Kristy, who captured Keeneland’s Grade 3 Shakertown in 2006.

“This is the toughest meet in the country,” said Scherer. “They do run a good horse at you. I was just fortunate to have a few this week who were peaking at the right time and in the right spots. I set a goal to win four for the meet, so we’re almost there and we still have three more weeks to go.”