Alternative Activities

The rains began about 30 minutes before the first race and then ended after the second race finished. All but the first and second races were switched from the grass to the sloppy main track. Ramon Dominguez, the meet’s leading rider, was dumped at the gate by Rockin Boogie in the third and forced out of the action again by the late stewards’ scratch of Willet in the fourth. Resonating, the 4-5 favorite, won by a margin only a flea could fly through.

The change of racing surface left only five horses to run in the fifth. But fewer scratches than expected occurred throughout the card. A number 16 from the also eligible list named Purely Majestic created another longshot victory for apprentice Wilmer Garcia in the seventh. Garcia is getting to be an expert at these. Shackleford, the Met Mile (gr.I) winner, finished last in the $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes (gr. 1).  

The rumbling of thunder wasn’t the only rumblings heard down the block at the Fasig-Tipton yearling barns. Horsemen from Kentucky were bemoaning the difficulty of making money at the Saratoga sales and some even suggested that the sales be no longer held. A few credited the strength of the New York racing program for keeping them coming. But none were complaining to the governor, who may be planning to kill casino subsidies, thus ending prosperity.


Buyers active inspecting yearlings at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga.
Photo by Vic Zast

The sale’s number one buyer, Sheikh Mohammed, would hear none of this, of course, seeing that a Dubai company named Synergy had recently purchased Fasig-Tipton and invested millions into updating the facilities.  According to a Facebook.com post by bloodstock journalist Deirdre Biles, the Sheikh inspected his upcoming purchases on Sunday afternoon looking trim in a green long-sleeved tee-shirt and khaki cargo pants, one of his typical American ensembles.  

Despite the iffy weather, Fasig-Tipton made its influence felt at the track with day two of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing.  Anna Seitz, a pretty well-turned-out filly in her own right, presided over the “Best Turned Out Filly” contest, won by Kathleen Fogg.

The rain-softened pitch caused the final day of the Whitney Cup polo tournament to be cancelled. That left people who had stomping down divots between chukkers in mind as their Sunday evening’s entertainment having to search for alternative activities.
 
Few meals are more satisfying than a turkey dinner with all the Thanksgiving Day trimmings at Winslow's. A mile north of the Wishing Well, this quaint roadside restaurant traces back to 1948 but is now owned by a Culinary Institute graduate. It has wood-paneled walls, a stuffed buck over the fireplace and mouth-watering gravy.


Winslow's on Rte. 9 the spot for Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner on any day.
Photo by VIc Zast

Drive a little farther north past Glens Falls to Martha’s for dessert. When you see Charlie the rooster on the left side of the highway, you’ve found the world’s biggest and smoothest soft serve ice cream cones ($2.75 for a foot-high – that’s all).


Charlie the rooster an unusual signpost for a stand that sells the world's best soft-serve ice cream.
Photo by Vic Zast

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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