At about 10:00 PM Friday a storm came through to darken portions of Broadway and cool things off through the region. The lightning ran sideways in the North, where the streaks of electricity must have traveled from peak to Adirondack mountain peak.
On Saturday morning, 1200 runners in the annual Silks ‘n Satins 5K to benefit Special Olympics were relieved that they didn’t have to jog through the streets in a sauna. The horses, too, felt their first taste of why horsemen began to come here in the first place.
Runners create human traffic jam for the Silks N Satins 5K through the streets of Saratoga Springs, NY.
Contrary to what happened on Opening Day with the weather, Saratoga Springs can be an amiable environment. To wit, Wise Dan, Successful Dan, Mylute, So Many Ways, Delauney, Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man and Alpha - all targeted for upcoming Saratoga stakes - prepped on the main track.
The skies were pinto blue and white by the time post time rolled around. Some of the sultriness returned. The main track was good. The turf was firm. Eleven races were on tap for the faithful – four or five too many for scores of visitors. Many in the disappointing crowd of 19,138 began leaving the track after the seventh. Things will have to pick up in coming weeks if the 150th Anniversary is to break records.
Swing dancers performed to the music of Reggie’s Red Hot Feet Warmers on the west end of the backyard and Big Fez and the Surfmatics entertained folks on the west end. Despite their attempts to lend the flat turnout a festive ambience, the racecourse felt like it still hasn’t become a venue that can captivate attentions for a full afternoon.
Even Big Fez and the Surfmatics had difficulty maintaining an audience.
Those who hung on to 5:00 PM saw two stakes races won by two pretty nice horses, although in each only five competed.
The $200,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr.III), a race not run last year but taken in past Saratoga seasons by Inside Information, Sky Beauty and Lady’s Secret, was won by Authenticity. Padua Stable’s six-year-old mare has started just nine times and this was her first Grade I triumph. John Velazquez rode for trainer Todd Pletcher. He’s only three back of Jerry Bailey on the all-time Saratoga Racecourse wins list.
Eblouissante, the previously-unbeaten half sister to Zenyatta, was fractious in the starting gate and ran poorly for Rosie Napravnik. But she created in the most fun of the afternoon in the walking ring. She wasn’t bet hard and wasn’t promoted in a manner that allowed most of the crowd to know who she was. Yet she stirred emotions in those who could get near the tree where they saddled her.
Eblouissante knows how to pose for the cameras.
Princess of Sylmar won the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks ((gr.I). The chestnut filly won this year’s Kentucky Oaks (gr.I). With six wins in eight starts on her resume, she’s at the head of her class even although bettors won’t give her due. Unlimited Budget went off the favorite.
Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers. In addition to these daily musings, he is posting real-time photos as viczast on Instagram.