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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Whirlwind Tour and My Racing Jones

There's no better medicine to get back your racing jones, than a two day swing through the Historic Saratoga Race Course (photo courtesy: me). Let's just say I'm back in the saddle and the place just recharged my batteries. It was great to see old friends, new friends, interweb friends and meet some new acquaintances, but it was certainly a whirlwind two days as the Saratoga Resident once again proved to be an incredible host.

We did a respectable 4:09 on a busy Wednesday morning in from Buffalo which was hampered by the continued construction between exits 39 and 40, an old lady in a pinto, a student driver and the loss of my GPS with 26.7 miles to go. The Puma was watching on the "Geno Cam" as he calls Twitter and sending me encouragement for the 3:59, but it just wasn't meant to be. Regardless, with the traffic at the corner of 9 and 50, I would have been hard pressed to make it if I was closer. I'll have a couple more shots at it later this summer.

The racing on opening day was spectacular, I hit the early double and exactas on the two early baby races to make day one on the gambling front a profitable one. The Schuylerville was a nice race and Hot Dixie Chick looks to be a good one.
It was great to see Pyro back from a long layoff, here's an awful picture I grabbed of him while three deep at the paddock fence....

Day one at the track was a wrap with the Saratoga Resident taking the early lead in the Toga Party contest. His attendance guess of 25,750 was only 306 higher than the NYRA reported attendance of 25,444. He based his selection on the fact that he doesn't have any visitors scheduled for the rest of the summer at the Residence (other than me). [Dollar Bill: need your Dandy pick or you get the post time highest choice]. We headed over to Siro's in the pouring rain for a post-race drink and smoke. I had a nice blogger meetup with some of my interweb comrades and we all shared some stories from the day and caught up.
Day two started off bright and early (can we blow it off?) with a round of golf at beautiful Ballston Spa CC. The Puma broke out both his Puma shirt and socks for the occasion (I think he was trying to psyche me out), but the Saratoga Resident and I held off him and the Dragon on hole 18 to pocket a few more dollars. The round had two highlights for me, I just missed my first ever hole in one (on the second hold - one foot away) and secondly the Toga Rez convincing me to try a Jean van de Velde-like shot out of puddle. Needless to say, I was wearing said puddle (and the mud) on me for the remainder of the round.
Back to the track and we wandered the box area and ended up sitting right in front of D. Wayne Lukas. I got the courage (after some prodding) to ask him for a photo and ended up chatting with him for a few minutes about his spreading of the Triple Crown races out. He was a classy gentlemen, even when I told him I was one of those crazy racing bloggers.

As you can see, D Wayne had his best duds on and looked extremely sharp...

Next we moved up to the Puma's box to watch the last few races of the day, including spending some time with my pal, JB and some of the Saratoga Resident's Albany buddies (and avid readers of EquiSpace - thanks guys). JB and I went down into the paddock before the Quick Call Stakes and the only horse I didn't get a picture of was the winner, and Linda Rice-trained Awakino Cat. I also met one of the owners of Canadian Ballet (running today at Woodbine) who also uses Linda Rice, and we both left the Cat off our tickets after we were talking for ten minutes about how good she is in turf sprints. Robert from They're in the Gate joined us for a race or two (nice call on Backtalk).

I did get a side view of winning jock Alan Garcia though before jumping on Awakino Cat:

We wrapped up the day at the track and I got to meet one of my favorite jockeys, Julien Leparoux who was kind enough to pose after riding the final race of the day on Regal Refrain....

Back to Siro's, where I found these two fine gentlemen just waiting to get their picture taken with these colorful jackets. I figured I would give them their 15 minutes of fame.

We had a fabulous dinner at Max London's at the bar, where we met one of the owners of Siro's, who was enjoying his meal next to us at the bar. We haggled over a price for Siro's, but just couldn't get it done. Nice guy and enjoyed our time with him. We headed over to the Grey Gelding for a nightcap where we met Frank the Postal Guy who told me it was a federal offense to mail back the Puma's lighter upon my return to Buffalo...good to never know what you will learn when you spend some time in the Springs.
The trip concluded on Friday morning with some breakfast at Shirley's (my favorite Toga diner) and a little business. We visited my good friend and client over at Saratoga Eagle Sales & Service (the local A-B distributor) and had a great tour of their brand spanking new warehouse in the Grande Industrial Park. Thanks Jeff, for the great tour (and samples!!).
Well, I'm glad to report my racing jones is back. The Spa is just what the doctor ordered. Just in time for a great weekend of racing. On a side note, La Chica Rica is taking on male rivals for the first time on the West Virginia Derby undercard. Looking forward to seeing how she fares.


Ernie said...

D Wayne shot is legendary. Your kids are gonna love that one day

The Turk said...

Geno- How I didn't notice the D. Wayne shot before, I dunno! I'd have that framed.


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