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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Saratoga Surgical Strike: ThoroFan, the Sale and a DQ

Wise Guys
Made a quick surgical strike to the Spa this week for the ThoroFan annual board meeting, to take in the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings sale on Tuesday night and to attend the races on Wednesday.

I've been part of the ThoroFan board since October 2010 and am the Treasurer of the not-for-profit organization. We've made great strides with membership and industry groups over the past few years and we recently received news that our Annual Awards Brunch will officially be part of the Eclipse Awards weekend at Gulfstream Park next January on the Friday before the Eclipse Awards event.

We held our first Annual Awards Brunch last January and pulled off a successful event (which isn't easy doing from New York) that featured Nick Zito as the keynote speaker, and we presented our first annual ThoroFan Award to Ms. Wolfson, owner of Affirmed. She attended with family and friends and was truly honored by the Award. We also had handicapper of the year, Michael Beychok and Starlight Racing/NBC Sports personality Donna Barton Brothers as guest speakers.  Here's hoping with the support of the NTRA we continue to grown this event.

If you haven't checked out Tom Amello's Joe ThoroFan blog and his Saratoga Diaries, make sure you check it out, there is a ton of useful information there.

After the meeting we had a nice casual drink and readied for the sale, which was my first time ever attending any type of sale. It was fascinating seeing the horses up close in the walking ring and reading the pedigrees provided with the free catalogs that were on site. It really is quite the social event (if you're not working, of course) with tons of fans, locals and industry types all over the place. The facility is of the highest quality and the drinks were cold. After about an hour, a colleague and I started to amuse ourselves by trying to guess the final bid using "The Price is Right" model and would bet a buck a hip. If you hit the number on the nose it paid double. Yours truly walked away with 16 crisp ones after nailing hip 113 on the nose in the final bet of the night. Degenerate gambling at it's best.

On Wednesday, I mostly caught up with friends around the track, but managed to make a wager or three early in the card. I benefited greatly from the DQ of Orino as I had singled West Hills Giant in the middle of a 6x1x5 Pick-3 trying to catch some long shots around WHG. Let's say I wasn't too upset by the decision. Ironically I was standing in the winner's circle next to the two jockeys Saez and Prado who were having a civilized discussion about the inquiry during the long wait for the decision.

Here are some pictures from the two days at the Spa...

Inside the F-T Sales Pavilion

Do I hear $650,000?

Well, yes I do (on this horse)

Outside walking ring

Goose and Tonic (drink of choice)

Drum Roll, please in Race 4

Johnny V on 6-1 Drum Roll

The Toddster, JV and assistant

Luis Saez on Orino

Edgar Prado aboard West Hills Giant
The Spa from the inner turf course

View of the Turf Terrace, Durkin Central
and Press Box

Durkin Central

Beautiful Video Board showing post parade
before the Cab Calloway

By us the first time from the hedge

Eclipse Worthy - Finish Photo
(jumped the gun)

Prado on the phone with the stewards

A dejected Saez after
the DQ

A not very happy James Bond
trainer for Orino after the DQ

Winner via DQ - West Hills Giant

Winner's Photo

Excited Groom!

1 Comment:

Dan De Federicis said...

Hey Gene hopefully that gave me credibility from not on when I tell you "Gene you must go to this!" Are the Fasig-Tipton auctions not the coolest thing you've been to in years? I want to make the September Keeneland sales one of these years - so I'll pick you up in Buffalo for the road trip to Lexington one of these years. Speakng of Lexington, if you haven't been to the Keeneland Race Track, that is a must-see also. Great catching up with you at the track Gene. Go Bills!


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