Harvey Pack and Picnic Mats

In the last several years before he retired from serving as emcee of the Daily Racing Form’s morning handicapping show at Siro’s, Harvey Pack used to retry old gems on pet topics.

Regarding The Jockey Club Round Table, Pack would say it’s the same old guys promising change and never delivering it.  Pack’s hackneyed comment might not be true any longer.

Last year, reacting to a McKinsey and Company report that encouraged The Jockey Club to become active promoting the sport to young people, the old guys funded America’s Best Racing and, in turn, America’s Best Racing came up with a website─followhorseracing.com.  

This year, on Sunday, in support of its interest in curtailing the use of race-day medications, The Jockey Club invited Travis T. Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to further that agenda.

Racing fans that arrived at the admissions gate after the third race found that vouchers for the picnic mat giveaway were gone already.  Those that stayed for the horse racing were nevertheless entertained.


Picnic mat giveaways made for good ground cover from the mud that's replaced the lawn in the backyard now.
Photo by Vic Zast

When the gate crew had to push 23-1 longshot Alykela back end first into the starting gate, her owners must have just about given up hope entirely.  To restore the faith, the young apprentice Wilmer Garcia, relying on a ten pound break in the weights, rode the 5-year-old mare into the lead with a quarter mile to go and kept her there. Alykela paid $48.60.

Only two races were kept on the yielding turf─the seventh and eighth.  First, Kitten’s Dumplings, a bay 2-year-old filly by Kitten’s Joy, won a 1 1/16 mile test on the Mellon Course.  Then, Tapit Dancer, a gray 4-year-old daughter of Tapit, won a race of similar length on the inner course.
 
As for the features, the Todd Pletcher-trainer Kauai Katie ran the first quarter of the 96th running of the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies in a little over 21 seconds. She stepped the next quarter mile in a little less than 24 seconds. That was all for any other horse that challenged her.

A slight fever kept the morning line favorite Shanghai Bobby from the Saratoga Special (gr. II).  Spurious Precision, a son of High Cotton trained by Rick Violette, whistled home like a Lawrence Welk Show performer.  It was the 107th running of the fixture.  

NYRA management gave the public two more reasons to believe that they didn’t care about customers.  Both the Special and the Adirondack were run after 6:15 p.m., breaking well into the finals of the Whitney Cup polo tournament and the cocktail hour.

After being scratched from a race on Saturday because of the sloppy track, the 2-year-old Archwarrior worked five furlongs in company with the Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Stay Thirsty at the Oklahoma training track on Sunday and beat him, getting the distance in 1:01.47 compared with 1:01.69 for his older stablemate.
Fasig-Tipton’s New York Bred Preferred Yearlings sale concluded with impressive advances.

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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2 Comments

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TXLonghorn

I wasn't at Saratoga this weekend, nor would I ever claim to know more about the Spa than Mr. Zast, but I believe the late start times for the big stakes races this weekend probably owe to NBC's Olympics coverage running till 6:00 pm Eastern on the NBC Sports Network.  I suspect NYRA was given a window and scheduled accordingly.  (I watched the NY bred sale on the internet, and those late posts affected them, too.)  I was pleased to see some national television exposure despite the late post times and thought the broadcasts were well-done and NBC promoted racing during their Olympics telecasts. That's a win-win, despite the drawbacks. Hopefully, with the Olympics over, the Alabama, Travers, Woodward, ect will be run at more convenient and traditional post times.  

13 Aug 2012 2:22 PM
Bill Two

The name Harvey Pack grabbed me as it always does.  I was hoping you would elaborate with some more  gems about Harvey.  Love that guy.  Nevertheless, Archwarrior is certainly creating a lot of buzz for an unraced maiden.  The anticipation is killing me.

14 Aug 2012 11:14 AM

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