|Alpha and Golden Ticket surge together to make history|
Saratoga Springs was the place to be, specifically Saratoga Race Course, around 5:48 p.m. on Saturday afternoon when two horses finished one and a quarter miles at exactly the same time. Odds of this happening would break even this CPA's calculator. I had the above view of the finish and it was grand. I could have swore that jockey David Cohen punched his Golden Ticket right to the winners' circle with the final bob, but the hard charging Bernardini colt and meet leading jock Ramon Dominguez got Alpha to the line just in time.
I glanced up at the board when they posted the official results and saw the 3 on top and thought my vision was verified, only to see the red flashing DEAD HEAT sign blink in the next split second. That's when it hit me...hey, I just saw my first dead heat, and it was in a Grade 1, $1 million race. Hot damn. Juicy stuff and history. I love seeing history. Especially something that we may never see again, at least in our lifetimes (or at least mine).
It brought a great two day weekend with my father to a fascinating conclusion and man, it sure validated how exciting this game can be. Hell, I didn't even care that my bet was just blown to smithereens. It was a fun and light moment and it all just happened so fast. I never saw so many smiles in the winners' circle and I was happy for jockey David Cohen and trainer Kenny McPeek, who seems to be just a good 'ole boy. McLaughlin is already one of the good guys of the sport, and you could surely see the relief on his face that he captured his first Travers on his way to a historic 3-year old Toga Slam (CCAO/Dandy/Alabama/Travers).
If you missed my post race commentary in The Buffalo News, it can be found here. It was certainly fun to write and I enjoyed being involved with such a feel-good event. This 3-year-old crop has been taking its licks in the past two weeks, but Dullahan defeated older horses this evening in the Pacific Classic and hopefully Paynter will be a go next month.
A bonus on Saturday was the victory in the 6th race by Bona Venture Stables' Summer of Fun at odds of 11-1 on the turf going 1 1/16 miles. We wrote a quick recap of the race for the Sports, Ink blog. I caught up with managing partner Dan Collins who was ecstatic with the victory which could lead to a second straight trip to the Breeders' Cup if she keeps moving forward in the fall.
Here are some photos from the weekend...
|Javier Castellano on Repole Stables'|
Isn'tlovegrand on Friday
|Pletcher and assistant waiting on|
Turbulent Descent before the Ballerina
|Johnny V and Turbulent Descent|
head to the track
|David Cohen aboard Ballerina second place|
finisher Derwin's Star
|Turbulent Descent wins the Ballerina|
in front of Derwin's Star and All Due Respect
|Ballerina Winners' Circle Photo|
|Promising 2-year-old Honorable Dillon|
won the 2nd on Travers Day
|Delhomme (named after former NFL QB)|
came in second for Pletcher/Velazquez
|Ramon on 5th race winner Rigby|
|Summer of Fun won the 6th for|
Bona Venture Stables, Eddie Castro up
|Elvis wasn't in the building, but Larry Bird|
and stocky jockey were
|Philadelphia - represent!|
|Your Ballston Spa winner -- Zagora with|
Ramon Dominguez up
|Your Test winner -- Contested with|
Rafael Bejarano in the irons
|Trainer Steve Asmussen|
before the King's Bishop
|Willie Beamin steals the King's Bishop|
on a three day wheel back by Tricky Dick
|Alan Garcia is all smiles|
aboard the King's Bishop champ
|Kenny McPeek with Travers fourth|
place finisher Atigun
|Whistle while you work....|
Nick Zito with Junior Alvarado
|Travers third place finisher Fast Falcon|
|David Cohen with Travers co-champ|
Golden Ticket ($24.60)
|Ramon on Travers co-champ Alpha|
|Golden Ticket Winners' Circle Photo|
|Alpha Winners' Circle Photo|
|The winning trainers hoist the goods|
That's a wrap from the Spa...