Audiostars and Aerial Musicians

Nicole Russo, who used to write about 2-year-olds at Saratoga for the Pink Sheet, would advise her readers to keep an eye on those horses that competed but didn’t win in the maiden special weight races. They’re the juveniles that go on to their 3-year-old seasons and become stars, she would write.  I’ll Have Another ran sixth in the 2011 Hopeful (gr. II).

That Hopeful, the first to be listed as a grade II fixture after years of being a grade I, produced the Robert B. Lewis (gr. II), Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Swale (gr. III), Bay Shore (gr. III), Kentucky Derby (gr. 1), Preakness (gr. I),Woody Stephens (gr. II) and Amsterdam Stakes winners.  Contrary to Russo’s theory, the brilliant winner of a maiden special weights sprint, Friday’s fifth race, may produce next year’s Queen’s Plate (gr. 1-Can) winner.

Let’s Go Stable’s Jocosity, a Canadian son of Sharp Humor trained by Todd Pletcher, had two previous losses in Toronto – one in a restricted stakes.  But the bay colt was bet to odds-on and won as if 4-5 was a bargain. Pletcher is rising fast in the trainer standings.  Jocosity’s rider, John Velazquez, although limiting his mounts, is having his photo shot at a Hall of Fame clip after races.

Now that it’s August, the crowds and the competition have improved.  One hundred forty-nine years ago on August 3, 1863, Saratoga Racecourse held its first meet.  The anniversary passed unnoticed.  Two more stakes races were run. Bill Mott saddled Harrods Creek to win The John’s Call, a 1 5/8 miles turf race.  Dick Dutrow, Jr. trained the unfashionably-bred high-weight, C C’s Pal, to Gr. II Honorable Miss Handicap victory.

Away from the races, the dilemma of finding fun in Saratoga Springs was exasperated by the choices available.  Audiostars played at the Horseshoe Bar and Grill.  Aerial musicians from Cirque de la Symphonie shared the stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC. Because it was the first Friday evening of the month, there was an art walk on Beekman Street.  The Tang Museum on the Skidmore College campus featured jazz on its rooftop.

Audiostars at Horsehoe Inn Bar and Grill. one of Many Saratoga entertainments to choose from.
Audiostars at Horsehoe Inn Bar and Grill. one of Many Saratoga entertainments to choose from.

Ron and Michele Riggi made the winning bid of $75,000 at the Saratoga Hospital Benefit on Thursday for a dinner date with Marylou Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson at their Cady Hill summer home.  There are good meals to be had in Saratoga Springs, but none as inviting as this one would seem.  Hendrickson is a most admired man for the time that he spends making lives better for people on the backstretch. Marylou?  Well, what can you say about Marylou that hasn’t been said – she’s the epitome of grace and generosity.

A top notch field for Saturday’s $750,000 Whitney Handicap has been invited.  If you are anywhere near the racecourse, you must make it there. Post time for the Whitney is 5:45 pm. 

Vic Zast is the author of The History and Art of 25 Travers. He has attended the races at Saratoga for 47 straight summers.

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