Feel Good Game

Don’t ever believe that horse racing is anything other than the greatest game. The second larger-than-life, feel-good story of the young Saratoga meet unfolded in the Loudonville Stakes. The first featured the daughter of a sharecropper whose only horse triumphed in the Sanford Stakes. This one featured a man down on his luck and the ghost of a woman he loved.

Tim Snyder, a guy who lives in a stable at Finger Lakes Racetrack, bought a filly for $2000 down and $2500 to come from future earnings.  He named the horse Lisa’s Booby Trap in memory of his wife, who died from cancer.  Lisa’s Booby Trap has won four from four starts following Friday’s smashing Loudonville victory.

Clubhouse patron Mike Deeb led the chorus of applause that accompanied the 3-year-old daughter of Drewman on her triumphant walk from the winner’s circle to the barns at Oklahoma.  “I love the little guy that rises up and wins,” Deeb explained, knowing Snyder’s extraordinary story. By the way, Lisa’s Booby Trap is blind in one eye and wears a hind shoe on her front foot to help with an ankle problem.

“Freak” is the word horsemen use to explain the raw talent that Lisa’s Booby Trap seems to have. “Cheap” is the word fans use to describe the $25,000 claiming horses that ran in the fourth race.  Nonetheless, many would give anything to own any of the nine horses that started.

Not one has earned less than $100,000. All combined, they have started 263 times, posted 52 victories and finished in the money on 114 occasions. As often is the case when an experienced bunch like this comes together, the lightest raced takes the prize. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Quick to Charm, in his 15th lifetime start, won for the eighth time – an enviable percentage. Of course, he was claimed afterward.

Two other races Friday gave onlookers the gee willikers. Only those holding the winning ticket on Pelican Lake in the fifth can say how jockey Shaun Bridgmohan failed to get penalized.  Even track announcer Tom Durkin said Bridgmohan’s mount, the eventual winner, “came off the rail and smashed” She Wears The Best while rounding the turn.  Later, a British-born 9-year-old gelding named Always First, trained by a steeplechase trainer to run a mile and five-eighths on turf, won the co-featured John’s Call Stakes. Shame on all those who didn’t back him at 21-1; he was favored last year in the very same race.

At 7:00 pm, a stunning Marylou Whitney arrived in a yellow ‘60s taxi at the Canfield Casino for her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” party. Gawkers were given gaudy faux diamond rings and vials of blue bubble solution to blow kisses at her entourage.  Whitney wore an elegant, black, floor-length sheath dress with a black mesh insert at the waist and a jewel-enhanced neckline. With a new roan-colored Tab Hunter hairdo and jewel-enhanced bolo, publisher Gene Stevens moved about the 300 curiosity seekers, passing out magazines.

Vic Zast writes a column for HorseRaceInsider.com each Monday. He’s written the Saratoga Diary for bloodhorse.com in five of the last six years.

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