SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Bill Parcells stood in Saratoga’s winner’s circle, looking as happy as you’ve ever seen him, except after playoff and Super Bowl victories.
The Hall of Fame coach had just watched his colt Hit It Once More dominate Friday’s $250,000 Albany Stakes for New York-breds, leading throughout a 3 3⁄4-length runaway the way a 4-5 favorite is supposed to. Congratulating him were Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a longtime friend, and people chanting “Let’s go, Giants!”
“Lots of Giants fans here,” Parcells said.
He grinned and shook his fist at Kendrick Carmouche, whom he hugged after the jockey dismounted. Carmouche minimized stress by taking the lead entering the first turn and setting slow fractions before drawing off at the eighth pole.
Trainer Gary Sciacca loved the looks of the son of Hard Spun, who cost Parcells $90,000 at an auction in May 2015. “Gary went over budget, but he told me to keep bidding,” Parcells said. “He kept saying, ‘Hit it once more,’ and that’s how the horse got his name.”
Hit It Once More paid $3.90 after running 1 1⁄8 miles in 1:50.38 on a track rated good after overnight rain. He earned $150,000 for his fourth win in 10 starts, raising his career total to $355,202. Stablemate Jet Black finished fourth, which was worth $12,500 to Parcells.
Sciacca said he’s leaning toward the $1-million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24 for Hit It Once More’s next race. “He’s a big, good-looking horse, and he’s for real,” said Sciacca, who ended an 0-for-32 slump at the meeting.
Parcells said his August Dawn Farm owns 15 horses, including “seven or eight” New York-breds. He was asked to compare coaching football with running thoroughbreds.
“Football is easier because you can do something that can affect the game,” Parcells told Newsday. “Here, once they get into the gate, you can’t do anything.”