God On His Side

How about a Saratoga suggestion box?  It should be easy to implement because NYRA has a Web site for everything.  Then the people in Sections H of the clubhouse could ask the authorities to relocate the garbage bins from under the simulcast television sets to a hideaway where the flies and the odor aren’t a nuisance.

Stan Marcinkowski of Glendale, Queens wants a policy that would result in a better seat when he buys a grandstand reserved ticket.  His seat was in the back of a near vacant section in which hundreds of empty places were laid out in front of him. Season ticket holders should have a method to “re-gift” unused seats, like the neighborhood on Seinfeld re-gifted their Christmas presents.

Donna Ayer of Boston, MA suggested, “I’d like a picnic table reserved with my name on it, so we don’t have to stand on line at 6:00 am.”  Last weekend was the eighth year in a row that Ayer and her girlfriends have come to Saratoga on what she believes to be “the third weekend of racing.” Guess there are plenty of folks who believe the track is still the “August Place to Be.”  The Spa course is in its fifth week of racing.

At the end of last week, the scent of the bitter conclusion to the meet was becoming noticeable. But, on Wednesday, the scent that holders of place tickets on Drumette in the sixth could detect was the scent of larceny.  The stewards refused to move the maiden filly from third to second although she was mugged like a tourist.  Orangeblackandgold was the perp. Silent Joy was the winner.

John R. Velazquez must have had God on his side in the following race, the St. Mary’s Hospital Association purse. Eugene Melnyk’s Moon Town was the rage. But the heavily-bet son of Speightstown ran out of the money as Pleasant Strike rolled home a winner because the jockey saw a hole on the rail open up.

Mother Miriam and Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Anglican/Episcopal order that operates the Queen’s NY hospital for children didn’t pose in the winner’s circle with Velazquez, trainer Todd Pletcher, Charlie Hayward, all the jockeys that rode in the race and the winner’s connections. Yet, the nuns were there trackside having lunch, wearing habits and greeting fans with “Good Luck!”

At 11:00 am in the walking ring, Saratoga hosted about 200 members of the press, friends and representatives of the 11 Travers Stakes runners to a draw of post positions for Saturday’s Midsummer Derby. Trainers John Kimmel, Kiaran McLaughlin and Pletcher all said that almost any horse could win – that’s how close this renewal, the 141st, is predicted to be. The program’s emcee Tom Durkin predicted correctly that no turf writer would use as his lead that Mary Todd Lincoln attended the first Travers. Yet, his note is a good point to end with.

Vic Zast is a veteran of 47 Saratoga summers. He is the former president of Finger Lakes and Turfway Park racetracks.


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I really wish that some historian would step in and correct all the throwout marketing phases.

Lance Ingmire of Grant's Cottage stated during the West Point Handicap that Gen.. Grant attended the Saratoga races July 25 to 27, 1865.  I don't know what races he saw as Saratoga opened the 1865 season on August 7th.

Now Mary Todd Lincoln attended the first Travers.  Prove it.

We really enjoy your blog - too bad it is only for the Saratoga season !

26 Aug 2010 10:12 PM

I learned long long time ago that this is one game God (or any invisible impersonator of God) has absolutely nothing to do with. JR had a terrible meet here in 2007 (save for two rides on Lawyer Ron). He is due for the meet when everything seems to go his way.

But if God has something to do with this game, he would make NYRA test  K. Desormaux EVERY DAY for blood alcohol level before he would be allowed to work or ride a horse. And if he decided not to fulfill his engagements under suspicious circumstances like he did this past WEDNESDAY, he would be shown the inside of the jock's room door. Leading to the taxi cab stand.

26 Aug 2010 10:18 PM
Vic Zast

Tom Durkin's information about Mary Todd Lincoln came from page 128 of the book "The Fall of the House of Walworth" by Geoffrey O'Brien.  

For where O'Brien's information came from, you'd have to ask him or search the notes in his book.

When time permits, I'll try to get over to look at the microfilm of The Saratogian to see if there's a reference there.  In the meantime, I have to work on picking the winner in today's first race.

Thanks for being a reader.

27 Aug 2010 4:39 AM

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