Deja Vu

by Vic Zast

The free tee-shirt crowd was a little late in gathering. Usually by 10:30 AM, the cars are parked up and down East Avenue and by 11:00 AM the fans here for the giveaways have spun through the turnstiles repeatedly. The pitter-patter of raindrops was a detriment to early arrival.  Channel 9 said the chance of precipitation was 100 percent.

The gloomy weather didn’t bother Ted Rozycki of Saratoga Springs, NY.  He spun through the gates eight times and left promptly thereafter.  “I’ve got a party to go to today,” he said as he took his leave. “Eh, I’ve got the whole month to go,” he added, about missing the horse racing.

Spinners such as Ted Rozycki of Saratoga Springs, NY took their free tee-shirts and high-tailed it out of the track.

Only mediums remained after the first race was run.  Most people redeemed coupons for two or three shirts, but a few filled up big plastic garbage bags as if the promotion was their last chance to be clothed.  Who knows what this means to attendance, except if the track quits with the giveaways there’ll be a drop that is steeper than the ball on Times Square’s.  Sunday’s head count was posted as 47,132.  The on-track handle was twice what it was when about half the number of people showed up the day before.

It’s uplifting when a program begins with a good race.  The first was a restricted $100,000 stakes called the Sir Cat in which several fine horses ran.  Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes winner Winning Cause, trained by Todd Pletcher, beat Joha.  The race’s unusual conditions allowed the latter, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) runner and Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) winner, to sneak through a loophole and run against lesser sorts.    

It was déjà vu for the dapper Cot Campbell and his stylish wife Anne in the second and déjà vu in the fifth for George Weaver.  Big winners on Saturday, these folks returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday, although not in as grand a fashion.  

There was all kind of trouble in the second when the three and the four horses scratched.  The three flipped on his back in the walking ring and the four dumped his rider in the warm-ups before running off.  Dogwood’s Miss Frost at 14-1 won by a nostril, or so at least that what’s Tom Durkin called.  

The lonely walk of a rider who gets dumped.

Mike and Rob was Weaver’s ticket to the same ground he stood after yesterday’s Prioress (gr. I). The dark bay gelding had tried to win 11 times before and best he could do was three seconds.

Perretti Racing Stable’s Forty Tales, ridden by red-hot Joel Rosario, won the $200,000 Amsterdam (gr. II).

A new plan to charge fans in wheelchairs $16 apiece to occupy space behind Section J in the Clubhouse seems to have backfired.  Last year, the area was packed.  But this year it looks like an empty dance floor.

Clubhouse handicapped section now costs $16 a place.

Big Red Spring, due to a faulty valve, was inoperative.

Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers. 

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