No Use Complaining

Some horsemen are complaining that they can't get their horses into a race.  The complaints are especially loud from trainers who have traveled their stock to Saratoga from long distances, specifically Kentucky and California.  PJ Campo, the racing secretary, has filled the majority of races that have been run at the meet to the maximum.  But, in the process, he's passed on carding several races that have attracted only six or seven horses. That's the rub, evidently.

The quality of Saratoga's racing rose to traditional levels on the weekend of the Fasig-Tipton Festival.  But the depth of fields and the standards for conditions on weekdays continue to be mediocre.  To its credit, NYRA is running six days a week, nine or ten races daily and more on weekends.  If people aren't getting a fill of the action, it's their fault not anyone else's.

"What's the track record?" was the question heard throughout the clubhouse repeatedly after Discreetly Mine crossed the finish line in the Gr. 2 $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes.  Quality Road took the 2009 Amsterdam in the course record time of 1:13.74, so Discreetly Mine's 1:14.27 wasn't as fast as it looked. What impressed watchers most was the 1:07.76 that the bay son of Mineshaft recorded en route to completing the 6-1/2 furlongs.  He was flying down the lane, once he dispensed with the horse - Essence Hit Man - that led most of the race

In the evening, Sheikh Mohammed put away anyone who stood in his way from buying the horses he wanted.  The Sheik's representative John Ferguson affixed his John Hancock on eight sales receipts on the first night of Fasig-Tipton's Yearling Sales.  He spent $3.155 million, nearly $2 million less than he did last year, and got two more horses.  It was a buyer's market.

The Sheikh was a dynamo, moving back and forth on the grounds from his usual spot near the waterfall effect to the presentation ring to a room set aside for his use above Barn 8. He wore a blue and white striped long-sleeved dress shirt rolled up at the sleeves, khaki cargo pants and the same running shoes he wore last year.  Cloudy overnight skies and rising humidity made him feel like he was in the desert.  Consignors, facing major declines, must have felt the same way.

Word-of-mouth scuttlebutt on the new digs was positive.  Infamous party-crasher Jerry Berliant, fresh from being tossed out at the ex-Gov.Blago trial, managed to weasel his way into the upper deck salon where only buyers and sellers are welcome. Business was good for at least one businessman - the security guard.


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