Hat's Off to Scisney

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.

The Sanford, 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 Sanford favorite Bail Out the Cat got off badly. Hold your opinions.. There is no resemblance.

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 Twitter.

Recent Posts

Related Reading

More Blogs