There’s been an uptick in sales of ear plugs at the CVS drug store. The yearlings have returned to the Fasig-Tipton grounds on Madison and East, and sleep-deprived residents of nearby Fifth Avenue are being awakened by their whinnying at 4 a.m.
On the other hand, Phyllis Crocker has heard the early call of Thoroughbreds for nearly 44 Augusts, and despite sleepless dawns, she still enjoys the preemptory alarm. “It’s only for a short time,” the native of Saratoga Springs said. “This wouldn’t be Saratoga without horses.”
Michael Amo, the founder of Thorofan, the latest left-brained group to emerge in a sport that requires right-brained thinking, sees things differently. “Without the fan, there wouldn’t be horses; without horses, there wouldn’t be a sport,” Amo said. “Unlike football, baseball, basketball or NASCAR, the fans participate. They’re the sport’s most important component.”
Amo has set up camp under the covering of the Carousel restaurant, trying to lure people into joining his ranks. Thorofan’s mission is to give fans an organized voice beyond the pari-mutuels system, something Amo believes could be used to influence the establishment. As everyone knows, the chances of changing the status quo are nil without “skin in the game.” So far, Thorofan has 120 members.
Like Crocker and Amo, the sixth and seventh races produced opposite, albeit complementary, conclusions. Inattentive fans might have thought the back-to-back events were a déjà vu experience, but they weren’t. In the sixth race, the gray filly Jibboom, wearing the number four saddle cloth, appeared to have the field at her mercy, until the chestnut filly Final Refrain, wearing number eight, caught her. In the seventh race, the chestnut colt Clemens, wearing number eight, couldn’t catch the gray colt Holla Bend, wearing number four.
Another number eight horse, Luck Money (IRE), was as easy a horse pick as one can get. He won the co-featured Majestic Light Stakes, having run before in England against Henrythenavigator, New Approach and Raven’s Pass. In the following contest, Miss Macy Sue, visiting the Spa for the second time from Iowa, should have captured the Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II). But the 5-year-old Trippi mare fell prey to a slow break from the inside post and Any Limit triumphed.
After the races, a decent Saratoga Race Course crowd of 19,435, flush with first-of-the- month paychecks, dispersed in various directions. The Police with Sting and Elvis Costello and the Imposters played before a sold-out delirious house at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Audiostars, formerly Burners UK, rocked the Horseshoe. A society orchestra crooned the night away at Marylou’s costume ball in the Canfield Casino. Ear plugs were advisable for one of these three venues.