That gauzy film that prevents you from seeing the horses in
detail on postcards of Saratoga in the morning was the first sight that early
risers had on Friday. On days like this,
for some unexplained reason, the streets seem quieter than normal, as if the
thick air is acting like a sponge. 7:00 am came and passed without the cars
roaring down Fifth Avenue, the rap from their radios booming. The reverie didn’t last very long.
If this was yesteryear, there’d be no racing to write about.
Saratoga’s completed the traditional 24 days of exclusive sport that was
guaranteed 50 years ago. The next
several weeks are a bonus. Canadian
Frank Stronach, a free market stalwart, might consider the Harriman Law
unconstitutional, but it’s a bill that raised the city out of certain
It was Fabulous Fillies Day, a day that by 20 or so hours
presaged what will be an excellent Alabama Stakes. Except Friday’s “fabulous fillies” were women
who gathered to wear pretty hats and learn about issues that mattered to them. Money was raised for Breast Cancer research.
The color pink splattered everywhere. A
pink flag flew in the infield. The saddle
cloths were pink. Pink lipstick soiled
many white collars.
Here's to the ladies who lunch - at the Sizzling Hot Pink Hat Luncheon.
In contrast to the sedate female behavior, Gregg “Free Beer”
Daniels and Chris “Hot Wings” Michaels, two guys with a penchant for potty
humor, broadcasted live from the Dunkin’ Donuts stand. Three hundred fans of the syndicated morning
radio show descended upon the premises as early as 5:30 am. Three flirtatious “Q-tease” from station
Q-103 FM, dressed in black and wearing piercings, hung around the periphery. The crowd roared when the band Sick Puppies
Fans of the Free Beer and Hot Wings morning radio show find listening to the banter better than looking at Q-103 FM's Q-Tease.
“Watch the teeth, man.
Watch the teeth,” shouted onlooker Mitch Allen of Broadalbin, NY as a
cast member named “Producer Joe” coaxed a horse to chew hay from his shirt as
the morning’s last bit. “I listen to
these guys every morning. I’ve never
been to the track, so my wife and I called in,” explained the truant fan. “We’re headed to the casino as soon as this
is over and back for the races later on,” Allen happily admitted.
Horseplayers with more knowledge about horses than Producer
Joe have been losing their shirts at the windows all summer. Those who bet on the favorites yesterday, on
the other hand, made money. The average
win payoff for the first eight of 10 races was just over $8.50.
John Velazquez rode the winners of the opening four races,
and then went cold as a mackerel. In the
process, he brought hundreds of lemmings down hook, line and sinker.
Vic Zast is the author
of “The History and Art of 25 Travers.”
He’s attended the races in Saratoga for 48 straight summers.