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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saratoga Opener: Day in Pictures

It was somewhat prophetic when I snapped the above picture in the paddock prior to the 95th running of The Schuylerville Stakes (G3) on Friday afternoon. The jockey statues of the two horses that dead heated in the 2012 Travers are prominently displayed in the paddock at the Spa, in addition to the two canoes in the infield pond. The feature race of opening day ended in a dead heat between the Bret Calhoun-trained Bahnah and Brazen Persuasion trained by Steve Asmussen.

We spent the day on The Porch, a very nice spot to watch the races, even in the oppressive heat that has been bearing down on the Capitol Region over the past few days. There was a nice breeze blowing through our area so it wasn't as overbearing as it could have been. After the track we ventured up to Saratoga National for some drinks and appetizers on the patio that was very relaxing. We ended the evening at the Merry Monk (formerly Tiznow) where I tried the pomme frittes with chipotle mayo that hit it out of the park.

My advance on the meeting for The Buffalo News focuses on some records, the big races of the meet and the historical perspective of the 150th anniversary of racing in Saratoga. Today's big race is the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks which has attracted only five fillies including the Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar and Unlimited Budget, last seen finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes against the boys. I think Unlimited Budget will defeat the Oaks champion, who likely won't get the pace scenario that favored her late closing style in Louisville.

Here's a look at the day in pictures, primarily of the 2-year-old maiden race won impressively by Stopchargingmaria and the Schuylerville....

Donna Barton Brothers interviews
Todd Pletcher
Hall of Fame trainers Zito and Lukas
shoot the breeze

Second place finisher in the 3rd
22-1 shot J. Quirk

Trainer Gary Contessa

Maggie Wolfendale chats with
Mike Repole

Rare visit by Toronto-based jock
Emma-Jayne Wilson

Zito and Joel Rosario
discuss strategy

Johnny V aboard Stopchargingmaria

Stopchargingmaria romps

Win Photo - Repole Stables

Bret Calhoun saddles

Jose Lezcano and Johnny V

Javier Castellano aboard Elena Strikes

Johnny V up on Yes Liz

Rosie Napravnik on Brazen Persuasion

Corey Lanerie on Bahnah

Head bobbing to the wire in the Schuylerville
Dead heater Bahnah

Dead heater Brazen Persuasion



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