Photo Finishes

At first glance, the Friday card appeared to be loaded with NY-Bred races.  But that was the early part – three of the first three races including one of two stakes, a total of four in all.

It seems as if Leo O’Brien hasn’t trained a horse into the winner’s circle in decades.  Yet, Slimshady, a NY-Bred chestnut gelding by Raffie’s Majesty, made it there in the first race with Jose Espinoza aboard, proving that miracles do happen.

A maiden two-year-old filly named Artemis Agroteria, owned by Chester and Mary Broman, annihilated her foes in the second race and announced to the world she is heading for a stakes, maybe even in open company.  The one time in memory that trainer Mike Hushion unveiled a runner as promising as she, he lost it immediately. 

Dayatthespa won the $150,000 Yaddo Stakes.  The four-year-old filly has won each time she’s run at Saratoga – one for one in the last three years.  This time around, she sat just off the pace and then ran at the leaders in the end.  But, as good as she was, the ultimate spa is the Roosevelt Baths.

Run by the Gideon Putnam Resort and located near SPAC and the golf course, Roosevelt Baths offer mud wraps for $100 and massages for two at $370. Nevertheless, should you wish to partake in what made the grounds famous, you can soak in l’eau for as low as $20.

Many ways to luxuriate, including a Dayatthespa.

Elsewhere, the action was highlighted by several close finishes.  Souper Speedy won the sixth by the distance between his eye and his nostril.  Photos were needed to determine the winners on two more occasions – Allie Sweet by a head in the seventh and Ballistic Sue by a neck in the eighth. Awesome Vision won the ninth, the Saratoga Sunrise Stakes, by a length.

Jockeys Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Joel Rosario nearly swept the card with the rides, combining for eight victories. In one of the other two races in which they didn’t win, Oritz, Jr. finished second. 

The first evening of the Friday-Sunday Barrantes Memorial Cup was played on the Whitney polo field.  If you arrived just in time for the 5:30 PM start, you risked not getting in, at least not on the side, looking into the sun, where you tailgate. 

Tailgating crowd at the polo grounds must look into the sun.

“We’re doing our best to keep traffic moving,” said John Dustman, the attendant in charge of collecting $30 per car at the entrance.  His answer was puzzling because he stood there doing nothing as cars piled up on the road stalled in traffic.

To the polo crowd’s credit, not a horn sounded in frustration.  The decorum was admirable.  For anyone who cares, the team in black beat the team in blue by a score of 9-7.  

Head to head action in the Barrantes Memorial Cup.

NYRA CEO Chris Kay told The Saratogian that he has begun a search for someone to fill an executive racing director position. 

Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers. He’s taken a bath in the spa’s magic waters but twice, but he’s taken a bath at the betting windows daily.

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