Teed Up and Teed Off

The remarkable attendance figures that have been attributed to this meet were enhanced further on Sunday by the third of four giveaway promotions.  Free to all paying patrons was a long-sleeved white tee-shirt with the Saratoga logo on the front and the trademark Carousel restaurant rooftop design on the back.  Whoever selected the promotion items this year has done a Vogue-ish job.

Lines to redeem the coupons for which people paid $3 upon entering the track extended from the top of the stretch to the finish line for at least the first half dozen races.  Hundreds of fans were seen leaving with six, ten, even 20 shirts under their arms. NYRA pegged the attendance at 57,114 people.

Compared to Saturday's races, Sunday's were a cut below Saratoga's standard.  The fields were small, diminished in size by the muddy track and because three races were displaced from the turf course.  In all there were 38 scratches and just 76 starters in 10 races.  There was no rain to speak of, except for a slight drizzle after the feature.  There was no Tom Durkin to hear from.

In addition, the feature was a $100,000 stakes race for New York-bred fillies and mares called the Yaddo. Chestoria, the recent winner of the Lake Luzerne Stakes on the Jim Dandy/Diana undercard, went forth as the favorite but finished fourth. Statehouse Stable's Nehantic Kat, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, rallied four-wide down the stretch and pulled away to a 1½ -length victory over Vivi's Book.

Ironically, the next best race was the eighth, the only other run on turf.  Elegant Bess topped a $54.50 exacta with Hold the Cruiser in a 5 ½ furlong sprint.  Maragh rode this winner, too.  The seventh race produced first time winner Heavenly Landing, as Shadwell's well-regarded Muhaawara failed to measure up to the hype over his Unbridled's Song pedigree.

Before the races, the Jockey Club held its annual Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing at the Gideon Putnam Resort.  Louis Romanet, the chairman of the International Federation of Racing Authorities, criticized the use of Lasix on racing days in the USA and said there could be no worldwide drug policy unless the USA changed its practices.  The case in point, there were but four horses all day - trained by Allen Jerkens, Merrill Scherer, Bruce Levine and Glen Disanto - that raced without the diuretic.

With all the Round Table participants in town, tables in the racecourse's dining rooms were hard to get.  This didn't bother Ed Abramowitz, a regular in the backyard on weekends.  The Wilton, Connecticut resident brought his own lunch of chicken wings, pepperoni, knishes and Jello-shots. Having his Saratoga long-sleeved tee-shirt to use as a napkin if needed, he didn't care that there weren't table cloths.

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