This is Horse Racing
The stars are out this weekend on the East Coast and West Coast as Belmont Park and Santa Anita Park host definitive Breeders’ Cup prep races in several divisions.
When Main Sequence charged down the stretch to win the Sword Dancer at Saratoga in mid-August, everybody present saw his chestnut tail flying up and down as he edged past Imagining in the final strides. Well, everybody except Rajiv Maragh
It rained. And steeplechase trainers breathed. The annual question about turf conditions came up again last week and horsemen made their September plans and a short dry spell had some wondering whether racing this weekend was the right decision.
One year removed from making the bullish decision to stay home and take on older females for the first time with a filly coming off two strong races at Saratoga, Todd Pletcher found himself in a nearly identical situation last week as he assessed the best spot to run Stopchargingmaria.
The voodoo dolls are nowhere to be seen outside Barn 72 on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course. The famous gumbo pot, stirring paddle and makeshift picnic tables and chairs are all packed away for next summer, the next season, the next racetrack.
Jimmy Barnes, Kaleem Shah and Martin Garcia sat at a table in the Parx East Room and talked about the 2014 Pennsylvania Derby Saturday evening. Moments earlier, their horse Bayern set a track record in winning the $1 million Grade 2 stakes for 3-year-olds.
Where does one begin after a weekend like the one we just witnessed?
Choices. A Saturday full of choices. Think about all the choices the horsemen made and now think about all the choices you’ll make. Parx to see California Chrome? Charles Town for a stakes-packed card? The Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park? Or stay at home and play remote-control-racing? Here is your Saturday Special from Newbury to Charles Town for September 20.
When Demonstrative runs the way he did Thursday, you almost have to ask – What's going to beat him?
Mike Repole thrives on being the underdog. He was an underdog when he co-founded Glaceau, maker of Vitaminwater and Smartwater, in his 30s and he was an underdog when he started Repole Stables less than 10 years ago. He’s in the midst of starting another sports drink, Body Armor, which has some of the sport’s worlds biggest names on board and his Repole Stable is clicking right along.
The last time a national audience saw California Chrome he was on the back and wrong end of what turned out to be a five-way battle to the wire at the end of a grueling 1 1/2 miles in the June 7 Belmont Stakes.
The horses go jumping at Belmont Park today with two races to kick off the card at 1 p.m. The big menu item is the $150,000 Lonesome Glory for open stakes horses. The Grade 1 lured title contenders Demonstrative and Divine Fortune, plus the in-form Barnstorming in a field of eight.
Two years ago, Demonstrative was in the paddock for the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory steeplechase stakes at Belmont Park. Coming off two wins at Saratoga, the 5-year-old was odds-on to run his winning streak to three and take a stranglehold on the Eclipse Award.
A little more than a week to go until it’s officially fall, but the chilly air in many parts and the action on the racetrack in many parts of North America certainly took on a feeling of autumn.
To help celebrate next year’s 100-year anniversary of the incorporation of Saratoga Springs, Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson will donate Centennial Park and a statue of the legendary Native Dancer to the city. The park will be located where Union Avenue meets Circular Street at the edge of Congress Park. The site will feature a life-size statue of Native Dancer, and the artist selected is just as fascinating and impressive as the Thoroughbred she’ll recreate.
Plenty of action here in the U.S. and most definitely abroad Saturday, with the prestigious Ladbrokes St. Leger and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes leading the way overseas.
There were rising artists on the backside of Saratoga Race Course during the recently concluded 2014 meeting. No they don’t use paint brushes, stencils or sponges, all they need to create a piece of art is paint, canvas paper and their nose … whiskers add a nice effect as well.
The Saratoga Special summer office is emptied out, cleaned up and the tables and chairs we like to call furniture is packed away neat and tight into our storage unit, so what better time to review what else happened over the weekend and Monday.
Saturday Special. A long way from the finger-on-the-pulse at Saratoga, we bring you butt-on-the-couch from around the world. Big day of racing at Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, Parx and other venues including Black Rock. Yes, Black Rock.
Where has the time gone? Seems like just yesterday we were unpacking our bags, office furniture and supplies and paper racks gearing up for Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course.