Day At The Track

Sintra takes on older foes in $260,000 Gerrity

08:54 AM 21 Jul 2017 NZST
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Sintra
Sintra
Lisa Photo

The way harness racing driver Jody Jamieson sees it, if stakes-winning pacer Sintra were human, he might be Mike Trout.

"He's got speed, he's got stamina, he's got talent," Jamieson said. "When you add in smarts, where he'll let you drive him how you want, that's the total package right there. He's a five-tool baseball player."

Sintra will get the chance to display his tools Saturday in the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Sintra, coming off a 1:47.2 win in the Graduate Series championship July 8 at the Meadowlands, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Gerrity's eight-horse field. Sintra and driver Jamieson will leave from post four.

The Gerrity also includes Haughton Memorial winner Mach It So, Ben Franklin Pace and Levy Series champion Keystone Velocity, and Battle of Lake Erie winner All Bets Off. Completing the field are millionaires Clear Vision, Bit Of A Legend, Boston Red Rocks and Somewhere In LA.

New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in last year's Gerrity.

Sintra, a 4-year-old gelded son of stallion Mach Three, has won six of eight races this year while competing primarily in races restricted to 4-year-olds, although he did win the Mohawk preferred against older foes on July 1. In the Gerrity, only Sintra and Boston Red Rocks are 4-year-olds; the remaining horses range in ages from 6 to 11.

"It's a real advantage to be able to race against 4-year-olds, there's no question about it," said Jamieson, who drives Sintra for trainer/co-owner Dave Menary. "He's got a bit of a tougher test coming up here on Saturday in the Gerrity, but if he gets the trip he's tough."

Last year Sintra won eight of 16 starts and earned $229,346 for owners Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Menary Racing. Five of the races he lost were won by Betting Line, who was Canada's Horse of the Year.

"Anybody that had to race against Betting Line was racing for second money for the most part," Jamieson said. "A couple times I headed him and thought I had him beat and it just didn't work out. It's hard to say whether I've seen a difference in him (this year). He was awesome from day one. He rarely put a bad start in, if at all."

Sintra, who was limited to three races at age 2 because of injury, competed mostly at Mohawk last year. His one trip to the Grand Circuit was for the Milstein Pace, where he finished fifth.

"We only faced the open company a couple times last year," said Jamieson, who has driven Sintra in 22 of his last 24 races. "This year we're taking on the world.

"Dave Menary has done a hell of a job managing him, you can't say enough about him. I think he's also done a hell of a job picking the driver for the horse too."

Boston Red Rocks, who is winless in 10 races this year but a runner-up on six occasions, is the Gerrity's 5-2 second choice on the morning line, starting from post No. 1 with Brett Miller driving for trainer Steve Elliott. Keystone Velocity, who drew post eight, is 9-2 followed by All Bets Off at 5-1.

"I got a great draw," Jamieson said. "I love the half-mile track, but when you put these kinds of horses on the half-mile track there's obviously a lot of luck and a little bit of a trip scenario that comes into play. But I think he's in the right spot with the four hole and he's in great form."

Racing at Saratoga begins at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The Gerrity is race No. 6 on the card, with post time at 8:45 p.m. approximately. In addition to the Gerrity, the card features eight New York Sire Stakes races.

Fans will receive a coupon for a free commemorative 2017 Gerrity Night T-shirt with the purchase of a $2 race program, while supplies last. A variety of local food trucks will be on hand throughout the night near the track apron. As always, parking and admission are free.

The Gerrity honors the memory of Joe Gerrity Jr. and his many contributions. A highly respected leader, inspiration and icon for Saratoga Raceway and the horse racing industry, he was a breeder of horses in Loudonville, a licensed harness driver and became Chairman of the Board of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (now Saratoga Casino Hotel) in 1987.

He later oversaw the expansion of the facility and the installation of video gaming machines, partially funding the project himself. He also served as a director for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State for 20 years, and acted as treasurer for much of that time. He passed away in 2005.

Below is the field for the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace.

PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line
1-Boston Red Rocks-Brett Miller-Steve Elliott-5/2
2-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/1
3-Somewhere In LA-Jason Bartlett-Richard Banca-6/1
4-Sintra-Jody Jamieson-David Menary-2/1
5-Bit Of A Legend N-Jordan Stratton-Peter Tritton-8/1
6-Clear Vision-Mark MacDonald-Jennifer Lappe-15/1
7-Mach It So-David Miller-Jeffrey Bamond Jr.-12/1
8-Keystone Velocity-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-9/2

Ken Weingartner

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