Saratoga’s on the downside of its sesquicentennial meet. All-sources handle is up. Good weather, which has been keeping races on the turf and horses from scratching, is at fault. There is still plenty of heart-pounding horse racing ahead.
The fine Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Orb is in the house, settled in and looking heftier and healthier. Verrazano and Palace Malice, Orb’s currently-determined Travers (gr. I) nemeses, have made their presence felt in workouts. The backstretch is a good place to spend a morning.
The fried egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches that backstretchers wolf down at The Morning Line are a lot like the hot dogs at ballparks. They’re probably not very good and not very good for you. But, boy, they taste swell in the setting.
Backstretch breakfast: the fried egg, bacon and cheese sandwich.
Rain fell throughout the day on Tuesday, which bodes well for the greening of the turf course. The public handicappers at The Pink Sheet could use some greening, too. Only one of the five assperts has a 30% win strike. The handicapping columnist is muddling about at a 22% clip.
Regarding stats, not much has been determined about anything, really. Nobody’s surprised that trainers Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown and David Jacobson have saddled the large numbers of winners they have. On the other hand, had anyone said that Dominic Galluscio and George Weaver would be visiting the winner’s circle at a 40% pace there’d have been belly laughs. The D. Wayne Lukas, Bruce Levine and Gary Contessa barns are cold as freezer units.
On the final day of last week, Magical Moon couldn’t hold off Monmouth invader Jewel of a Cat in the $100,000 Coronation Cup. Drawing Away Stable’s Strapping Groom basked in the glow of the late afternoon sun after winning Monday’s co-feature, the $100,000 Kid Russell Stakes. Collaborator, a three-year-old colt that was rehabilitated from a career-threatening suspensory ligament injury with stem cell therapy, broke his maiden in the fourth. A good-looking maiden two-year-old named Due Diligence won the fifth, sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass and defeating his foes by almost eight lengths.
The week’s grand finale took place at the Vapor Night Club. But Jockey Karaoke lacked the polish of prior years’. The performance was disorganized, unpracticed and affected negatively by a VIP seating policy. Still a lot of dough was made for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and smiles were on the audience members’ faces.
Todd Pletcher and Angel Cordero, Jr. were two of the judges who presented trophies to competing performers at Jockey Karaoke night.
From his Row 1, Seat 1 location, horse owner Martin Schwartz bid a whopping $22,000 for a wooden rocking horse that Ramon Dominguez made. Every big winning bid like this must have an underbidder who’s responsible for driving the price up. The underbidder was Emily Meier, daughter of jockey Randall Meier, who launched her bids from a spot at the bar.
Jockeys lined up to thank Martin Schwartz for his generous winning bid on a wooden rocking horse.
Tom Durkin, clad in vanilla sport coat, black shirt, pink pants, yellow shoes and pork pie hat and voguing sleeves ink that the U.S. Marines wouldn’t allow, emceed.
No, this isn't 'Barry Irwin channeling Johnny Cash,' as French horse trainer Gina Rarick remarked on facebook.
Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers. As for Jockey karaoke, he longs for the pizazz that Dean “New York, New York” Mernagh and Ronnie “Love Man” Ebanks previously provided the event.