Horologist Adds Saratoga Win to Her List of Accomplishments

by Bill Finley

   She has won richer races and more important races, but Horologist’s finest hour may have come Aug. 22 at Saratoga. Racing at the sport’s Mecca in front of 21,750 fans, the New Jersey-bred was a buzz saw in the $120,000 Summer Colony Stakes, winning by 8 ½ lengths.

   “There’s nothing like Saratoga,” co-owner Cameron Beatty said. “There’s nothing else like hearing the crowd cheer when she’s coming through the stretch and there’s nothing else like the atmosphere. Because of all that, I would say this was probably her best race overall. I would rate this memory as one of the best.”

   It was Horologist’s ninth career win, her sixth in stakes company, and it pushed her earnings to $891,439. She covered the mile-and-an-eighth run over a “good” track that was sealed in 1:51.57. Her Beyer number was an 88.

   The Summer Colony came less than two months after one of the lowest points of Horologist’s career. She shipped to Thistledown for the June 26 Lady Jacqueline S. where she was 8-5 against a group of rivals that appeared to be overmatched. Instead, she had trouble finding racing room for much of the race and finished fifth, 8 3/4 lengths behind the winner. But a lesson was learned that day. Horologist has enough natural speed that she can go to the front and control the race, one way to make sure she stays out of trouble.

   “I think we’ve kept her from winning on a couple of occasions,” trainer Bill Mott said.

    In the July 25 Shuvee, also at Saratoga, Horologist was never given a chance to get herself into a jackpot. With Junior Alvarado aboard, she went right to the lead before getting caught by Royal Flag inside the final furlong. Though she was second, Horologist turned in a 94 Beyer figure, her best of the year.

   She ran well enough that day that a start in the Grade I Personal Ensign against Horse-of-the-Year contender Letruska made some sense. Instead, the decision was reached to go in the easier spot.

   “Some of the partners wanted to go to the Personal Ensign,” Beatty said.  “But, at the end of day, we relied on Bill and his team to put her in the right spot. We figured it was best to give her a little confidence booster rather than throwing her to the wolves.  Bill wanted to put us in the right spot to springboard us toward the Beldame.”

   It was not an easy spot, no stakes race at Saratoga is, but neither was it a particularly difficult one. With the scratch of Dunbar Road, only a field of five remained and the public decided that Horologist was the one to beat, sending her off at even money.

   Once again, Alvarado rode aggressively. Breaking from post two, Horologist was hustled to the lead and enjoyed a two-length lead six furlongs into the race. 

   “It was simple,” Alvarado said. “I rode her like the best horse and she showed it out there. Once she put herself on the lead, she took me all the way around. She’s very quick and is a good gate filly. If she wanted, she could go faster without using much.”

   The 5-year-old mare poured it on in the stretch and was uncontested as she turned the Summer Colony into a one-horse race in the final eighth.

   “The tactics that we used in the last two races, the Summer Colony and the Shuvee, are not the tactics we were using before,” Beatty said. “We decided to let her go and use her natural speed to her advantage. That way she can’t get into any early trouble. Since we’ve done that, she’s really been a completely different horse.”

   For Horologist, the Oct. 10 Beldame at Belmont, a race she won last year, will be next. She will be attempting to become the first horse to win the race back to back since Sightseek, the 2003-2004 winner. After winning the Beldame last year, Beatty and his partners, a list that now consists of Medallion Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Abbondanza Racing LLC, Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher, put up the money to supplement Horologist to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. It didn’t turn out well as she finished ninth. But another big performance in the Beldame could very well mean a second crack at the Distaff.

   “That option is definitely on the table,” Beatty said. “The Beldame is such a big race and it’s prestigious. If she does well in there that conversation (about the Breeders’ Cup) with the partners and Bill and his team will take place. It will be a topic of conversation.”

   With Horologist having been supplemented last year, the owners do not have to put up any additional money to get her into this year’s race.

   If she goes in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, that will likely be the last start for the daughter of Gemologist, who has been the Jersey breeding program’s brightest star since she broke her maiden by 20 3/4 lengths way back in 2018 at Monmouth Park. Last year, she was entered in the Keeneland November sale, but the owners pulled her out and decided to let her race one more year. Beatty said she will be again entered in the Keeneland sale, and this time she will go through the ring.

   “That’s the plan, to put her through the sales ring,” he said. “When you look at these mares, the value is better for a 5-year-old versus a 6-year-old. For obvious reasons, the buyers want younger mares. Then there’s the way she looks. Physically, she just looks great. She has so many great features and is such a nice specimen to look at. The buyers will like that. We think this fall is the best time to put her through the sales ring.”

   But first, there is the Beldame, where a win would put her over the $1 million mark in earnings and, possibly the Distaff, where she could join Open Mind as the only New Jersey-breds to win a Breeders’ Cup race. The list of accomplishments grew longer with the Summer Colony win, but there’s more to be done.