Jackie Greene’s stable has featured numerous award-winning horses over the course of her lengthy tenure at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The trainer of three-time Pacer of the Year and back-to-back Horse of the Year Award winner Artful Way, Greene has won more Opens than any other trainer at the track in the span of the last decade. In the previous several seasons, Greene trainees who prevailed in Opens have in large part done so more on the pacing side of the ledger. This year, Greene has secured four Open Pace victories between Artful Way and Hudson Phil and has won the featured race for Fillies and Mares with distaffer Robyn Camden on three occasions but it is a trotter who is warranting attention as the next potential Open stalwart out of the Greene barn.
Since 2008, Greene trainees Prime Interest, Lorenzo Dream and Stirling Cadet have all taken home the award for Trotter of the Year at the track. Ever since Stirling Cadet’s magical ’16 season though, the Greene stable hasn’t produced a true force in the regular Sunday feature, the Open Trot. Owner Wayne Kellogg always likes to have an Open horse and is willing to go out and find young horses that he thinks have Open potential moving forward. In late 2020, Kellogg did just that when he acquired a young trotter named Remember Titans out of Canada. A $60,000 purchase, Remember Titans had high hopes attached to him when he joined the Greene stable. Kellogg and Greene were told by the trotter’s previous trainer that he thought the horse would get better and better as he aged keeping in mind that he had made only twenty lifetime starts before coming to New York for his new connections.
Remember Titans had mixed results upon coming to the Spa to wrap up his three year old campaign. The young trotter made a break in each of his first two local tries but after a good qualifier rattled off back-to-back jacks displaying his ability as a closer to secure consecutive wins to wrap up his ’20 season. Unfortunately, the wins came with a price as the young trotter suffered a serious leg injury. A fractured coffin bone is enough to end a lot of horses’ careers but a new procedure that had been used, mostly on thoroughbreds, was one that Kellogg and Greene looked into and eventually decided to have done. Remember Titans went through the extensive procedure and required a lengthy layoff before it would be known if it was effective enough to get him back to the races. Well, almost one year to the day of his last race of 2020, Remember Titans returned to the track in November of ’21. It took only until his second start back for him to show his connections what he is capable of and return to the winner’s circle.
2022 looked like it would be kind of a make or break year for Remember Titans as the highly thought of trotter now had a fully clean bill of health and a few starts back under his belt. His season began in January at the Meadowlands where the five year old prevailed in his first race of the season. Spring had sprung by the time the Plainridge Park meet got started in mid-April and by that point, the Greene trainee had recorded two wins and a pair of seconds (one of which came in a start here at Saratoga.) Remember Titans acclimated himself very well at the Massachusetts track securing a win in a $17,000 race before trying his luck in an Open for the first time. Even at their most hopeful points, the connections of Remember Titans couldn’t think that their trotter would fully recover from the significant injury enough to make it into Open company. But he did and when he got there, he would not only compete but he would thrive.
Local driver Jay Randall is also a regular at Plainridge and got the call to sit behind the Greene-trained Remember Titans who wound up as the overwhelming favorite in the betting in his Open debut. He cruised to a front-running score in the $25,000 feature before going last-to-first the following week to again record an Open victory. After rattling off what was his third consecutive win in Massachusetts, Kellogg suggested maybe racing Remember Titans at home. Though he had thrived on bigger tracks, nothing about Remember Titans led his connections to think he couldn’t do just as well on the half-mile track of Saratoga. The rising star made his debut in the local Open on May 15th and was closing ground around the final turn when he was interfered with and subsequently made a break. Undeterred, Remember Titans was right back to the Spa on May 22nd to take part in the $15,000 feature and not only did he win but he did so in a time that stands as the fastest for any local trotter this year. Randall again sat behind Remember Titans as he went the distance on the engine before stopping the timer in 1:54.1, a new lifetime mark in his first local Open score. Amazingly, the win was the first since 2018 in the Open Trot for Jackie Greene whose stable has been filled with many more top-flight pacers than trotters since the days of Stirling Cadet and his award-winning ’16 campaign. Following his local victory, Remember Titans returned to Plainridge last Tuesday (May 31) and lowered his lifetime mark again as he recorded his fourth Open win over the course of just a six week span.
Remember Titans has now established himself as an Open force both at Plainridge and here at Saratoga. Veteran reinsman Jay Randall has certainly been impressed with the rising trotting star and has glowed about the kind of talent the new Open force has displayed. His successes have been highlighted by a versatility that has resulted in him winning on the front-end, out of the pocket and while closing from the back of pack. Kellogg acknowledged that his new trotting star has kind of come out of nowhere. “We’ve always liked him but between his physical issue and the lengthy layoff, we didn’t know what we’d have with him,” the owner admitted. “He started out the year pretty well but now he’s just improved and improved big time. It’s good to have a top-flight trotter out of our stable. It’s been a while!” Just what the future holds and how much we’ll see him race at Saratoga remains to be seen for Remember Titans but one thing is for sure, the five year old who is on top of his game is making his connections remember their top-flight trotters of the past.
Live racing takes place every Friday and Saturday evening starting at 5PM and on Sunday and Monday afternoons beginning at 12 Noon. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!