Trainer Bill Mott turned 60. And, yes, he won a race on his birthday again – 15 times in the last 19 years, the seventh in the last seven. Take wagers now that he won’t win in 2014. His 61st birthday falls on a dark day.
Birthday boy Bill Mott on the heap of history at Saratoga.
Winning took him five tries on Monday. But the 8-5 Revenue, a $20,000 claimer that was claimed, did the job for him. It was Mott’s final chance.
A crowd of 10,539 fans got to see the achievement. It was the last day in the first full week of racing. The weather, while cool, was sunny and dry. Quite a surprise, as a matter of fact – rain was forecast.
Two races, in particular, stood out. The fourth was an allowance/optional claiming $100,000 event at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Classy horses such as Cease, Big Screen and Mott’s Tech Fall went to the post. But a five-year-old roan gelding with the sweet name Don Dulce made the most of a slow pace and won by the narrowest of noses.
The other race of note was the feature – the Honorable Miss (gr. II). The trophy for this $200,000 six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares became the property of Susan H. Wantz. Her Dance to Bristol, trained by Ollie L. Figgins III – a man unfamiliar to most - and ridden by Xavier Perez – only his second Spa ride, got into gear later than her custom but got to the wire first anyway. Make that six in a row for her.
With some ordinary races squeezed in between, there was time left for shopping. Outside the Saratoga Styles boutique, the first of four different packs of 150 Year Anniversary trading cards was being offered for purchase. It takes some time to find the new “Boutiques in the Grandstand,” although there are plenty of signs that try to direct you there.
Boutiques in the Grandstand not easy to find for racecourse shoppers.
A Monday morning is hardly the time for a social gathering. Yet, horse racing’s elite flowed into the lobby of the Racing Museum to buy Theresa Behrendts new book and have her autograph it. Behrendt, a former advisor to US presidents, seems to know just about everyone. Her book, co-authored by Susan Strauberg, is titled “Selected Quotations that Inspire Us to Think Bigger, Live Better and Laugh Harder.” It’s an aggregation of pronouncements by famous people, a sort of equidaily.com for the book set.
One quote that didn’t make Behrendt’s book was, “Behind every successful woman, there stands a strong man.” Heaven forbid, what would poor Theresa have done if husband John, a breeder of Argentine racehorses and a campaigner of NY-Breds, wasn’t there to replenish the gift shop with books from his car? They were selling so fast.
A favorite quote from Behrendt's book was by Bonaparte – ‘In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it.
Oxbow’s trainer D. Wayne Lukas and horse racing columnist Michael Veitch headlined morning and evening Museum programs on Tuesday.
Further off campus, the ladies met for lunch at the National Museum of Dance to benefit the museum and the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation.
Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers. He remembers vaguely what it’s like to turn 60.