Ideal summer weather greeted fans at the racecourse again. Despite pop-up showers in the Berkshires and Mohawk Valley, Mother Nature seemed to prefer sun and mid-80s temperatures for Saratoga and, no doubt, so do horsemen.
It’s tough to remember a sloppy track or a race that’s been pulled off the turf course. Owners and trainers can pretty much plan a course from the conditions book and expect to follow it.
Several races on Wednesday presented opportunity for trainers who rarely start horses. Unfamiliar names such as Patricia Farro, Manuel Gomez, Marialice Coffey, Stacy Torelli and Anthony Quartarola were listed in the program. Only Quartarola broke the ice with a winner.
Souper Lucky was persistent against Commissioner in the first race but simply not good enough. The Todd Pletcher-trained WinStar Farm juvenile colt came from Monmouth to break his maiden going long. There was nothing about his performance, however, to suggest she will be something special, even though this was only his second start.
One of every four runners that trainer Rudy Rodriguez claims from a race is a winner the first time it runs for him. Yampa River began cutting into Talent N Passion’s seemingly insurmountable five-length lead with only a furlong to go, but managed to record a victory. Apprentice Manuel Franco hung on for dear life during blast-off.
When Finger Lakes invader Jupiter Moon took the place by a nose in the third, she created an $888.00 exacta. Selecting the winner was the easiest part. Kimmies Lucky Star is by Patriot Act and it was, after all, Veteran’s Day. The names of several races had suitable themes – the second was the Leatherstocking Honor Flight purse, the ninth was the War Horse and the co-feature stakes the My Flag.
Speed crazy horses made an impression. Some won and others didn’t. In the sixth race, Miss Narcissist drew in from the AE list and triumphed, giving up half the lead she had on her opponents but not all. That wasn’t true for Rosie’s Song in the third and John Bailey in the fifth.
The $2 Pick 4 paid $156,761. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode two of the four winners.
In what has been one of the meet’s recurring themes, one of Kitten’s Joy’s babies won a turf stakes. Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey broke the track record for races won in a season – 19, as Granny Mc’s Kitten took the $100,000 P.G. Johnson.
Lawyers for the Wandering Dago, a Schenectady, NY food truck operation that NYRA granted a license to operate on the concourse and then withdrew permission at the start of the meet because someone complained about the name, filed a lawsuit for $350,000 in damages claiming a first amendment violation of their rights.
Augie’s, the popular Italian restaurant in Ballston Spa, NY that burned to the ground recently, has found a temporary location where it will begin serving food again. Unfortunately, Augie’s can’t re-open quickly enough to host horse racing fans.
Vic Zast has attended the races at Saratoga for 49 straight summers.