Busy Day Back

Saratoga's first dark Tuesday gave maintenance men time to fix the fuzzy television sets and equip the infield tote board with working light bulbs.  Returning fans who wore green received free admission to the grandstand as Mid-Summer St. Patrick's Day was celebrated.  Cocoa Beach, looking to regain her winning form for Godolphin, survived an objection by the jockey on the filly that finished fourth in the featured eighth, a minor stakes called the De La Rose.  There was a lot going on.

Even before the races began, Saratoga was abuzz with activity.  At 7:15 am, Mine That Bird went out for a gallop on the main track.  At 11:00 am, the Museum of Racing hosted its first of four Guests in the Gallery seminars.  At noon, Cot Campbell entertained a tony crowd of 80 people at Dogwood Stable's 17th annual Dominion Award luncheon at the Reading Room.  One can tell that the season's in swing.

At the museum, Harry Rice, the senior valet (rhymes with ballot not ballet) on the NYRA circuit, was a surprisingly good guest for communications director Mike Kane to interview.  Although the audience numbered 35, it was fully engaged and Rice obliged with some funny anecdotes.  He revealed that Bill Shoemaker would get under the other jockeys' skin by feasting on ice cream in the hot box.  He touched upon the romance of TV lovebugs Mike Smith and Chantal Sutherland. On a more serious note, he admitted that NYRA has no female valets and never had.

A block away, this year's Dominion Award went to Mary Lee-Butte, executive director of Blue Grass Farms Chaplaincy.  Campbell's wife Anne said the grace, chicken salad and sherbet were served, Reggie's Red Hot Feet Warmers played Dixieland music, and the hour and a half passed by too quickly.  As for speeches, it's not easy to one-up the host with words.  But Lee-Butte had the line of the party.  When describing all the good works that her organization does, the afternoon's honoree from Central Kentucky added, "We also teach women how to spot a bad man and get rid of him."

By the way, there was one happening that slowed down the widespread frivolity. Following the third race, Hidden Face, a Juddmonte-owned 3-year-old filly by Empire Maker, fell head first after crossing the finish line, causing alarm that her tumble might be tragic.  Attendants set up a barrier to shield the public from seeing the horse suffer.  But a little fresh water sprayed from a hose revived her.

Richie Migliore, enjoying only his third ride of the meet, won the sixth race on Too Amenable.  Julien Leparoux and Ramon Dominguez bagged riding doubles.

Recent Posts

Related Reading

More Blogs