This is Horse Racing
Over in Bill Mott’s barn at the harness track Tuesday morning, one horse gets ready to train. The dark bay 2-year-old gelding looks a picture – white blinkers with orange trim, white saddle pad with an orange C inside of a black circle, four white polos, sheepskin cover on the yoke, attentive, upright ears.
Joanne Nielsen is charming, gracious and one of the most appealing people you will meet in the Thoroughbred business. And, oh yes, for about 40 years, by dint of single-minded year-round hard work fired by a passion for her calling, she has bred some outstanding horses in New York.
A very memorable Travers Stakes is in the books and there’s only a shade more than week to go in the 2015 Saratoga Race Course meeting. Still plenty of time to get out of the hole, pick up some shipping money or to pad the already swelled bankroll.
The crowd on both sides of the paddock chute chanted.
“Thank. You. Bob.”
“Thank. You. Bob.”
“Thank. You. Bob.
Bob Baffert, grasping his son Bode with his left hand, waved with his right. As the chant faded, Baffert walked to the end of the chute and made a left to go to the box seats.
The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Time to see if Triple Crown American Pharoah can pass another test and add the Travers Stakes to his glittering resume.
Bob Baffert likens the task that awaits Triple Crown winner American Pharoah today at historic Saratoga Race Course to being like a “mini Kentucky Derby.”
The 146th running of the Travers Stakes is the latest stop on what now feels like a victory tour for the colt, who marched into history this spring with victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. He’s the first winner of the Triple Crown in 37 years and will try to become just the second horse to add the Travers to his resume forever immortalized by the rare sweep.
A New York State Trooper pulled into the stable area of Saratoga Race Course backstretch of the main track with emergency lights flashing and parked outside Barn 25 just before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Triple Crown American Pharoah drew post-position No. 2 in the field of 10 entered Tuesday night for Saturday’s 146th running of the $1.6 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
A majority of the horses in the stable of 49-year-old Charlton Baker are New York-breds, including Moonlight Song, winner of the John Morrissey Stakes earlier in the meet for owner Albert Fried Jr. He won two races from 10 starters heading into today’s card, the same number of winners he posted in 2014 and 2013.
Seven years ago, he led the Woodward for a mile. Six years ago, he tried the Grade 1 at Saratoga again and finished sixth. Today, he stands around and waits for the love of his life.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like to think he likes me, he knows me and he waits here for me to pull in the driveway in my truck, but I don’t know,” said Trish McLaughlin, the proud owner of retired Grade 1 stakes campaigner Past The Point. “He’s got a home for life with me. I love him.”
George Weaver eats a clementine, pats his dog on the head and begins to walk down his shedrow in Horse Haven.
Weaver trained his first winner in 2001, his stable has earned at least $1 million every year since. With 38 winners this year, he has already gone past $2 million in earnings and has a chance to eclipse his best season, when he won 50 races for $2.6 million in 2014.
Big news Sunday with word that Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is headed East again, this time with sights set on next weekend’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Every morning, at 4:45, Tony Dutrow waits – for the longest red light in neighborhood history. It’s always red.
Saturday morning, the light at Five Points was green.
Dutrow knew then and there what was going to happen Saturday afternoon.
An allowance-optional going long on the grass and a loaded Grade 1 Alabama Stakes sandwiched between two maiden special weight races make up Saturday’s guaranteed $500,000 late Pick 4 at Saratoga Race Course.
Funny Cide doesn’t walk the shedrow or even reluctantly hang out in the pony stall anymore. Jersey Town is a stallion. Sky Blazer was retired and his stall is empty. Confrontation got sold to Dubai.
The running joke in the courtyard of Barn 26 the last few days was that Larry Jones brought his reinforcements for the signature 3-year-old filly race of the Saratoga Race Course meeting.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen was joined by representatives of six racehorse retirement organizations in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Thursday morning to announce a cooperative coalition for racehorse aftercare, to challenge other communities to act on racehorse retirement and to officially proclaim August “Racehorse Retirement Month.”
Ron Moquett’s job is pretty easy when it comes to One Mean Man.
“Just take care of him, keep him happy and lead him over and don’t mess up anything he did,” Moquett said about the Mizzen Mast colt outside the stakes barn Wednesday morning. “He’s (co-owned by) a guy that I used to work for named Bernie Flint, and when this race come up he wanted me to have him for this race. He’s a good horse, he’s well prepped, he’s got a great base on him by Mr. Flint.”
Joe McSorley laughed at the question. “Who taught him to jump? You can’t teach a horse to do that. You can’t,” the Kentucky horseman said, then instructed assistant Lyndsay Deaver to cue up a photo on her phone. “Find the one of him jumping the thistle out in the paddock. He would touch the ground and do it again, like a dolphin through water. It was easy for him.”
Asked to do a Stable Tour, Rick Schosberg, didn’t hesitate, turning at his tack room door and walking, “Let’s do that.”
Schosberg started at the first stall and walked the length of the shedrow, talking about his Saratoga string and a few horses at Belmont Park.