I knew I should have ordered a Mocha with my donut from Tim Horton's after crossing the border yesterday afternoon.
It was truly a golden day at the Fort, as the chestnut with four white stalkings, Golden Moka (pictured here in the paddock), stole the show and the big prize winning the 2nd leg of Canada's Triple Crown. Fort Erie Race Track was buzzing all afternoon on a beautiful summer day in southern Ontario. The border oval, just a hop, skip and a jump from my hometown Buffalo, was packed to the gills like I've never seen it. I parked as far away as I ever had when arriving in time for the 5th race. The stands were full, the beer lines long and the betting lines longer. Track officials had to be happy with the on track attendance and the concessions business appeared to be rolling all day long also.
The horse itself is a big story, in that he had only won 3 races previously, netting a whopping $8K, each race being run in Panama. He was the "X-factor" as previewed by Bill Tallon in the DRF before the race and he sure did X out a few of his competitors, pulling away by 2 3/4 lengths to his closest challenger. Looks like he'll pass on the third leg of the crown, the Breeders' Stakes, according to Tallon.
The track had a big race day feel to it that I've never felt in many visits since I started following the sport five or so years ago. It wasn't Saratoga, but it felt good to be around the buzz of the crowd and listening to the roar as they rolled down the stretch in the Prince of Wales. I took a few photos (as usual) for your viewing pleasure....hope you enjoy 'em...
Looking down at the grandstand (racino side).
Looking left at the clubhouse turn side of the grandstand, notice the picnic benches full of race fans.
Huggy Rocks ($11.80) wins the sixth.
Surprise visit by Dudley Do Right in the paddock.
They were hanging from the rafters overlooking the paddock before the Prince of Wales.
Patrick Husbands making a rare appearance at the Fort to ride Hotep for trainer Mark Frostad.
If he were the trainer for the winner we coulda had a Frostad Moka on our hands...
Speaking of Hotep and Husbands.....
The Plate winner Big Red Mike gets some paddock encouragement from jockey Eurico da Silva. He finished third.
2nd place finisher Mobil Unit.
Not exactly Buffalo News-worthy, but a shot of Golden Moka crossing the wire from the rail, with Mobil Unit and Big Red Mike rounding out the tri...
Toga Party III is in full swing and The BeerMan jumped out to the early lead by corraling the opening day attendance with his projection of 22,660 and within 518 of the actual attendance of 23,178. He nosed out Green But Game (who is the only contestant to pick Castellano as top jock - with 5 wins yesterday!) by a mere 91 visitors.