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.