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Monday, July 23, 2012

Spa Opening Weekend is just grand

Irad Ortiz, Jr. on Questing
That's 18 year-old Irad Ortiz, Jr. giving the Big Guy a fist pump for his first graded stakes win in the Coaching Club American Oaks late Saturday afternoon in the first Grade 1 of the Saratoga 2012 meet aboard 3-year-old filly Questing. The kid was quite excited in the winner's circle after the win, showing the biggest smile around in capping off the first two days at the Spa. A recap of the race can be found on the Sports, Ink blog, my only assignment for the weekend.

The usual suspects were around for the opener, my pals the Saratoga Resident and G-Money have made this an annual event. We sat in the Club Terrace (for the first time) on Friday and on The Porch (my preferred location, if I'm not in the Paddock Bar) on Saturday, taking in the two days of racing, catching up with old friends, having a few lagers and meeting new friends. I was fortunate to meet SoCal blogger Rob (aka Amateurcapper) and his fine family taking in the Spa for the first time ever. Rob's been a contributing member at ThoroFan's Handicappers' Corner and is on the Derby Dozen panel with me over at the blog.

As for the wagering, Friday trumped Saturday, which goes to show you that speed capping can be a very dangerous thing (I didn't cap the Saturday card ahead of time). For the first time in my brief handicapping career I hit back-to-back Pick-4's on the same card, thanks to Pacific Ocean and So Many Ways on Friday. Those two wins also put me atop the leaderboard for 24 hours in Ernie Munick's annual Din Din Derby. That lead was short-lived after my selections in the CCAO and Sanford bit the dust.

Saturday was spent mostly in the backyard enjoying the shade, cold brews and watching the big screens. We stayed at the Grand Union Hotel (a last minute move that proved to work out quite well) and I'd go back just for the awesomeness of the shower. Sorry, if that's too much information.

The Toga Party contest is off and running with Green But Game taking the early lead, nailing the attendance within 200 patrons. Nice work...could this be her year?

We're taking next week off heading to the South Jersey Shore for a little family R&R, but am excited about going to next Sunday's Haskell with my pop as we detour north for an afternoon of racing.

Here's some pictures from the weekend....

Funny sign at the Grand Union
Trainer legends Lukas and Pletcher
in the Spa Paddock before the 3rd on Friday
Dale Romans saddles Sustained
Joel Rosario captured his first win of the meet
aboard slick filly Lignite
My single in the early Pick-4 Book Review
wins easily for trainer Chad Brown
Julien Leparoux and Ramon Dominguez
in the paddock with the Stay Thirsty statue
in the background
TVG's Donna Barton-Brothers
kids with Christophe Clement and Leparoux before the 7th
A view from the Spa rooftop
Gate Break for the 7th
Cosmic Energy crosses the wire
in front of Lily the Pink in the 7th
Pacific Ocean wins the James Marvin
for Babe Dutrow
Winning connex for the Marvin
CCAO Champ Questing
Irad Ortiz up
CCAO runner-up Zo Impressive
Rajiv Maragh up
Third place finisher
In Lingerie w/Javier Castellano in the irons
They're off in the Coaching Club
American Oaks
Questing wins the CCAO
for Godolphin Racing
A happy Kiaran McLaughlin
in the Winner's Circle
The champ
That's a wrap on the Spa's opening weekend...

1 Comment:

Tony Bada Bing said...

Back-to-back Pick 4s - you da man!


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