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Friday, August 3rd
I hear it was about 100 degrees at the track on Thursday, so I can’t say I regret having spent the day on and in cool Lake George, with the Adirondack mountains all around me. Lake George is kind of like Saratoga to me; it was so much a part of my childhood that I didn’t quite realize how special and beautiful it is until I came back to it after an absence. If you’re in the area and have time, it’s worth a ride from Saratoga (about thirty minutes up the Northway); the downtown is hokey and overcrowded, but the water is gorgeous.
OK, back to racing. Gold and Roses did indeed win the featured Morrissey yesterday, by 9 ½ lengths. He won the race last year and has had other success here, so clearly, he is a “horse for the course” at Saratoga.
Shakespeare also won impressively in his first race in two years. He closed and got up at the wire to beat favored Art Master. The poetry/theater/Bard puns are running rampant in the local papers as they write about his victory. The headline in The Saratogian is “Poetry in Motion,” and the author, Chris Fitz-Gerald, writes, “Sidelined because of an injury after finishing 12th in the Grade I Breeder’s Cup Turf on Oct. 29, 2005 [Shakespeare’s only loss, I believe], Shakespeare truly got his act together in winning…”
According to several sources (The Saratogian and Times-Union) Nobiz like Shobiz is slated to race here in Monday’s feature, the Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. It will be his first start on the grass.
In related news, that race will be run Monday because it’s the day of the Hall of Fame induction. Rick Pitino will be this year’s keynote speaker (he’s a huge fan of the game and has long owned racehorse). This year’s inductees are: jockeys José Santos and John Sellers; trainer Frank McCabe, Henry Forrest, and John Veitch; horses Mom’s Command, Silver Charm, and Swoon’s Song. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public; it takes place at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion on East Avenue, just a couple of blocks from the track.
For those folks interested in the Funny Cide retirement celebration next Friday, August 10th, check out: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=611279
Today’s feature is the Honorable Miss, for fillies and mares at six furlongs. The race is named for the top mare who raced in the 70’s.
Thanks so much for sharing your Saratoga memories! I hope that you get back for another visit soon.
And I will certainly heed your betting advice...here's hoping for an upturn in fortunes.
At the bottom of the blank posting screen, you'll see something that says "attach files." Follow those instructions and you should be able to post a photo, just like attaching a photo to an e-mail.
That said, every time I try to post, it says I've exceeded my disk allocation space, even though I tried to delete every other photo (like two or three of them) that I've ever posted. So I create a sub photo album in Photobucket and post the link. It's a few extra steps, but it works.
And it took me only a few minutes of playing in Photobucket to figure it all out.
Just read about this on Railbird's blog--a local benefit for Andrew Lakeman:
On that same page....the poster to be distributed at Funny Cide's retirement party is HILARIOUS - and complete with the famous school bus!
Oh, how I wish I could be there!
Friday evening, August 3rd
So I think that maybe this getting to the track late could be a good thing. I was there for three races today; bet two, won one, and left with a profit for the first time in eight racing days—hallelujah!
I will thank Ramon Dominguez and Graham Motion’s Adriano for my exacta hit in the 6th race; I thought for a moment they would get up to win, which would have done wonders for my bank account (8-1 odds, and I had bet the horse to win); they got second, and the favorite won at 6-5. The exacta was Il Girasole over Adriano—a nice bet for this Italian girl! Had they finished in reverse order, the payoff would have been a lot bigger, but I’m not going to be greedy. I cashed a ticket, and life is good!
Didn’t make it there for the second race and Barclay Tagg’s Rebounded, but Carol related that at the top of the stretch the horse pulled an Afleet Alex and nearly got his nose in the dirt, but recovered and won by a length and three-quarters, going away. Keep your eye on him!
Poor John Velazquez: at the start of the 7th, his horse stumbled and off Johnny V went, flying off the side of the horse. The horse took off and seemed uninjured, and Johnny V walked off the track and rode his mount in the next race. You will remember that on opening day he was thrown when Massoud broke down, and when I talked to him in the paddock on Monday, he said that he was still pretty sore and getting regular massages in the jocks’ room. Today’s spill wasn’t nearly as bad, but it can’t have felt good.
Speaking of Barclay Tagg: as I was wandering the grounds, I passed a man that looked familiar, and I thought, “Hey, I think that’s Roy Jackson.” Carol and I went to the paddock before the featured eighth race, and there in the paddock were Roy and Gretchen, along with Barclay Tagg and Sean Clancy (none of them together). We couldn’t figure out what the heck they were all doing in there; neither the Jacksons nor Tagg had a horse in the race. I thought about taking photos, but figured that they all deserved a little privacy, so I didn’t.
Saratoga lived up to its reputation as the Graveyard of Favorites as the heavily favored Miss Macy Sue finished fourth in a field of five in the Honorable Miss. Darley’s Burmilla won the race.
Notables on this weekend’s card: The Test, for three year old fillies, run at seven furlongs on the dirt; and the return of Teuflesberg, who nearly won the Sanford last year but was nipped by Scat Daddy at the wire and who ran impressively on the Belmont undercard. This will be Teuflesberg's eighteenth start and first on the grass. Evening Attire is entered on Sunday.
Saturday morning, August 4th
As I noted last night, today’s feature is the Test. In this age of corporate sponsorship (the Kentucky Derby sponsored by Yum!; the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile; the baseball stadium of your choice), this is the second year the race is known as the Darley Test. The Test was first run in 1922 and this is its 82nd renewal. It was a prep for the Alabama, and that’s how it got its name: it was a “test” for the fillies en route to the more prestigious Alabama. The Test is now in and of itself a prestigious race, and no longer a prep for the Alabama, which is two weeks away. The races are run at different distances: the Test is a sprint at seven furlongs, the Alabama a route at a mile and a quarter.
Dream Rush is the favorite in the Test; she’s the winner of five of seven starts, including the Grade I Prioress at Belmont last month. She was second to Cotton Blossom, also entered in the Test, in the Grade I Acorn on the Belmont undercard. Cotton Blossom is the second choice this afternoon and will need to overcome her far outside post of 12.
An addition to the races at Saratoga this year is the ability to bet on UK racing beginning at 8:30 am; there’s a small area set up in the backyard with monitors and betting machines. I have not yet ventured there, as I’m doing such a good job of losing money on races taking place in my own zip code. One of Carol’s friends has a horse racing in England this morning, and I’m hoping to head over to watch the race before heading home after the workouts.
Another technological benefit of being here are the “race recall” monitors on the ground floor of the clubhouse. There, you can call up any race from dozens of tracks over the last year. It’s free and really easy to use (touch-screen instructions).
I am distracted this morning by the company of my two nephews, who are here watching the workouts with me. They are five and ten and way full of energy, as you can imagine!
Many FoB are coming to Saratoga from points far and wide, and I’m hoping to meet up with as many possible in the next two racing days. Here’s to a safe, fun racing weekend for everyone--