Four judges, all wearing fancy millinery, awarded prizes to
contestants in three categories at the 19th annual "Hat's Off to Saratoga" hat contest. A
hat at the track is no longer the choice for many women. Yet, when dressing the part of the main
attraction contributes to the whole of the afternoon, you will see some.
Cindy Franco, a visitor from New Canaan, CT, who was on site
to see her Splendid Behavior go down to defeat in the sixth race, wore a cute blue
porkpie hat that was covered with decorative buttons. In contrast to such whimsy, Carolyn Scisney,
the principle owner of Maybesomaybenot - the winner of the Gr. 1 Sanford,
presented herself elegantly. She wore a black laced creation with a diaphanous
brim that swept to the left which her husband Arthellor picked out for her.
Before Maybesomaybenot won, Carolyn said that
Maybesomaybenot was unequivocally the best horse that she and Arthellor ever
owned. The couple from Louisville, KY
began breeding horses 40 years ago. A
daughter of sharecroppers, Carolyn said, "He put this one in my name to make me
feel important." She, in turn, gave a 25
percent share in the horse to her daughter-in-law Karen, who is battling
lupus. "If the Lord does nothing more
for me, I'll be alright," said an appreciative Arthellor.
of course, is the only race that the mighty Man O' War lost. Upset beat him,
the beneficiary of a false start that left Big Red with his ass facing first
when the tape fell. Ironically, this year's
favorite Bail Out the Cat got off badly. Hold your opinions.. There is no
Man O' War's toughest victory came in the 1920 Dwyer Stakes.
Because of the unwillingness of owners to enter against him, Man O' War and
John P. Grier ran head-to-head in a match race until John P. Grier put his nose
ahead at the eighth pole.
In 1959, shortly after the new Aqueduct opened, the
installation of the eighth pole from the old Aqueduct Racetrack was configured
to commemorate Man O' War's hard-fought triumph. This year, the Saratoga facilities people placed the eighth pole inside
the Clubhouse entrance on Union
Avenue, just a few steps from "Man O' War Way" - the
horse path that leads runners from the Oklahoma
barns to the walking ring.
Lastly, Javier Castellano, whose name was left out of a
press release about "Top Jockeys Flock to Saratoga,"
gave NYRA's crack media department something it's certain to write about. He
won five straight races.
Vic Zast is the author
of the award-winning book "The History and Art of 25 Travers." You can read more from him on Facebook and