Humor substituted for humans at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies. Four horses, two dead guys and Jerry Hollendorfer were let in. Hollendorfer didn’t let on if Blind Luck was coming east for the Personal Ensign or staying out west for a race at Del Mar. He was a class act delivering his acceptance speech, only choking up once when he thanked his wife Janet for sticking by him.
TV horse racing host Randy Moss was an emcee that made a difference. He dwelt long on a history lesson but nobody minded. In addition, Moss poked fun at a lot of things, including the “permed mullet” that Barry Weisbord sported in the videos of the honoree he co-owned - Safely Kept. Weisbord took longer than necessary to say thank you. In delivering his resume (it wasn’t an acceptance speech), he was, on the other hand, funny.
Keynote speaker Bobby Flay was summa cum laude at the lectern. His youthful mien gave a boost to the surroundings and his reminiscences of going to the track as a kid with his grandfather Willy Flay were precious. His message centered on lifestyle experiences – those incomparable moments, like wearing a top hat and tails to Royal Ascot or bidding on a horse at an auction, that the world of horse racing provides.
“I asked to be asked,” the celebrity chef explained about why he was chosen to speak. He admitted knowing that many people would use the occasion to advance a cause or address an issue. But Flay wanted the morning to honor the inductees. He honored himself in the process.
Keynote speaker Bobby Flay entertains the media at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Big Blue Kitten from the red-hot barn of Chad Brown won the gr. 2 $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes. Brown is winning with 25 percent of his runners. Settling Seas, trained by Bill Mott to win the fifth race, was impressive in victory. So, too, was a bay three-year-old colt named Rothko, a son of Arch making his third start for Steve Asmussen.
The program listed Bear Heart, the winner of the eighth race, as a gray or roan seven-year-old horse. But Bear Heart is the color of milk. Many jockeys, this meet, have found riding the rail through the stretch is advantageous. Alex Solis squeezed Ginger J through on the inside to nab the ninth, for example.
Mucho Macho Man worked three furlongs in :35.35 at Oklahoma. The Saratoga Springs High School class of ’91 held its 20th reunion playing darts and drinking beer at The Parting Glass.
Vic Zast is the author of “The History and Art of 25 Travers.” He’s attended the races at Saratoga for 48 straight summers.