So here’s the situation. I’m on my way to the Jersey Shore and this most likely will be the last blog of the week, unless I find a way to weasel my way to Monmouth Park or Delaware Park (still need to mapquest that one) during the annual family vacation. I’ve logged a total of 17 hours of driving since making my annual mid-week surgical strike and visit to the Spa.
The trip started out Wednesday morning with a full blown effort and attempt to break the 3:59 mark set by the Saratoga Resident roundtrip from Buffalo to a certain address on Nelson Avenue. My split times were very good, going Syracuse/81 (1:54), Utica (2:32) and Amsterdam (3:20) in decent times. The wild card is always Rt. 67 and the one lane road on Geyser Road and finally navigating the traffic in and around downtown (especially around the 11am to noon timeframe) on a race day. My downfall was probably I needed to be 3 minutes faster, averaging another mile per hour to make up the difference. I pulled in at 4:02, my best time ever, but thinking this was a huge opportunity lost. Oh well, as the Cubs say annually, there’s always next year, as my final trip of the year will require a stop in the Cuse to pick up my father on Travers Day.
We met up with The Beer Man next, our resident A-B distributor client and good friend, who hosted us at the Sackatoga Stables luncheon, where we were fortunate to meet Jack Knowlton, he of Funny Cide fame, and eat half a chicken at the Siro’s buffet and start the day off with a nice bloody mary. The buffet was to celebrate the filly Seattle Mission’s stakes debut in the Cab Calloway. After breaking her maiden in her first race, she’s had two seconds and a third in her last three efforts and looking to get back into the winner’s circle.
We had a table on the Porch and had a nice day at the windows, sticking to our new strategy of playing an exotic bet in the first race and Pick 3’s the rest of the day. My parents were also in town with their college friends from Kutztown State, so we visited with them and wished them luck. The day concluded with us visiting with GG (who was in town for the $1K handicapping challenge), the Puma and the Saratoga Resident hanging out at the new paddock bar, The Post, watching (and note to NYRA, betting on) Del Mar and enjoying some $4 Happy Hour cocktails and sharing the usual woulda coulda shoulda track stories.
Thursday, G-Money showed up from Buffalo (5:20, whoa) and we bagged the backyard and scored another table on the porch. The day’s wagering highlights were playing the Sheppard exacta in the early jump race and hitting the P3 into the feature, the Statue of Liberty, with 10-1 Surfing Ian completing the middle leg. It was a grind it out weekend, if only Javier had gotten Bretton Woods up (he was charging late at odds on favorite In Te Domine) in the feature we would have hit a home run, instead of a number of singles. But we’ll take walking out a winner at the Spa on two consecutive days anytime you can. We also met fellow bloggers The Turf Queen and Saratoga Spa during the day (thanks again to Robert for covering this week’s Sword Dancer post over at ThoroFan for me).
As always….here are some pictures of Wednesday’s festivities…
Trainer Barclay Tagg getting ready to saddle Seattle Mission in the paddock.
Principal Sackatoga Stables owner Jack Knowlton (of Funny Cide fame) awaiting the arrival of jockey Ramon Dominguez, riding Seattle Mission for the first time.
Cab Calloway winner Lubash with Kent Desourmeaux in the irons.
The Paddock Painter did a nice pose for me...
A very casual Kieran McLaughlin prior to the competitive 8th a $75K Allowance 3x. Typically the no suit look would tell me he wasn't thinking he would be getting into the winners circle today, but our table loved his horse, Tranquil Manner and pounded it for a few bucks.
NYRA's big huzzah Charlie Heyward holding court in the paddock.
2009 Queen's Plate champion Eye of the Leopard wasn't a factor on Wednesday, but it was nice to see the Canadian champ in person.
Gate break in the 8th, won by #1 Tranquil Manner.
That's a wrap...enjoy your week....and I'll say hi to the Sitch for ya....