Pay the Lady

There were three stakes races, each with a purse of $100,000, on Wednesday.  But it was a maiden special weight 1 1/16 mile turf race run between the second and third stakes that took the prize for the most exciting.  The 21-1 Hedonemewrongsong, a bay 2-year-old filly by Bluegrass Cat trained by Jonathan Sheppard, topped a superfecta with three horses that few people figured to hit the board.  A $2 winning wager paid $96,961.00.

“I wanted the 10 to come in fourth but the nine came in,” complained Cherie Dominski, a retired nurse from East Greenbush, N.Y. who missed winning the gigantic superfecta but had the trifecta.  The tri paid $9,686.00 for two dollars.  Dominski was pleased with her take but wasn’t completely surprised.  “I chart about four hours each night and I’m here every day for every race,” she explained.


Winning trifectas and superfectas is routine for Cherie Dominski. She's been coming to the track since a child.
Photo by Vic Zast

Dominski missed a week of this summer’s meet to attend a funeral.  Nevertheless, she’s hit 69 trifectas and 12 superfectas coming into the final weekend.  Last summer, she won 96 trifectas and five superfectas.  But who’s counting?  “Let’s just say I’ve won bigger bets before,” she said.

It was Veteran’s Day and anyone who could prove that he served in the armed forces was allowed in for free.  A few guys wore ball caps that said “Army” or “USS Saratoga.”  Chuck Wanko of Schaghticoke, NY, who served from 1968 to 1994, said, “I was going to come anyway, and then I realized it was Veteran’s Day.” Wanko left by the eighth race.

The eighth was the P.J. Johnson, the last of the three stakes.  An Irish-Bred and raced filly named Watsdachances, running on Lasix for the first time, performed predictably by winning for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano. A day before the stakes win, the rider’s wife gave birth to a son named Brady Ryan Castellano.  The new dad must have won on little rest.

Fredericksburg, a lively looking Speightstown juvenile, improved sufficiently for trainer Michael Matz in its second start to take the better of some sleepy colts in the fifth.  Summer Shiner was impressive in finishing second. But not finishing first has been a problem for him.  It was his third start.

Cross Gate Gallery closes on Sept. 1. The Lexington-based dealer of sporting art has been encamped on the balcony of the Humphrey S. Finney pavilion since the start of the month.  Greg Ladd, the founder of Cross Gate, said that the gallery’s first year for selling art in Saratoga was 1978.  He expects to be back.

 



Cross Gate Gallery at Fasig-Tipton's Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion.
Photo by Vic Zast

For the first time in racecourse history, two canoes are afloat on the infield pond.

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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