Belmont Child Care Association, the organization that provides shelter and learning to the children of backstretch workers as they tend to the horses in the mornings, held in 16th annual fundraising party at the Gideon Putnam Hotel. The event’s honoree was Charlotte Weber, overseer of Live Oak Plantation racing.
What makes the BCCA event so compelling for the swells is how down-home the fun is. If you choose to go, you know you’ll go home with a smile on your face. The party’s provenance is the parties that Fourstardave owner Richie Bomze and his wife Diane, two of the organization’s founders, threw years ago. The arm-twisting’s WWF quality, but who cares after a few Margaritas. On yet another of Saratoga’s sublime summer evenings, following a blue moon night, auctioneer D. Wayne Lukas coaxed beaucoup bucks from the guests with a smattering of blue jokes.
Before the races began in the afternoon, the post position draw for the Travers was held in the walking ring. Then, an ice cream eating contest followed in the events tent. The winner Brandon Cole, age 10, of Schenectady, NY, finished his pint of Stewart’s Philly Vanilla ice cream in two minutes and 36 seconds.
A pint down in the time it takes a slow horse to run a mile and a half. Photo courtesy NYRA.
Court Dancer was fractious in the starting gate causing pick-up jockey Joel Rosario to dismount before his horse loaded for the first race. But once the field calmed down and the doors flew open, the NY-Bred two-year-old filly by War Chant poured it on. Trainer George Weaver’s success is no secret any longer.
Fans situated near the winner’s circle after the third race were able to see how Rosie Napravnik poses on her mount after her mount wins. She looks like a runway model sitting face-on to the camera, her right arm gracefully resting on the nape of the winner’s neck and the left arm balanced on the horse’s rump. Napravnik rode Regal Joanne to victory. Trainer Steve Asmussen seems to be using her more frequently.
In a very fast 1:33.77, Shadwell Stable’s Sayaad sprinted to a convincing five-length triumph in the $100,000 Dance of Life Stakes, the fourth race. The public then went to sleep and allowed Kiaran McLaughlin to win with a second Shadwell horse in the seventh, this one a 22-1 maiden first-time starter named Almurra.
Until then, favorites seemed to be having things their way. That said, the 3-5 Amberjack lost to Escapefromreality in the $150,000 Albany Stakes and in doing lost his chance at the Big Apple Triple. Escapefromreality was fresh competition for Amberjack and had lost in the Gotham and Withers, both graded stakes, against horses like Vyjack and Revolution.
Amberjack gets close to Escapefromreality but can't catch him.
Kimberly Remsen, a self-professed horse lover, earned Unsung Hero honors. She’s a peace officer trained in CPR, who rescued a fan having a grand mal seizure by sticking a pen under his tongue to clear the air passage.
Rene Ramirez was named Groom of the Day for Point Taken. The award was announced on the infield screen before Point Taken won the fifth race.
Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers.