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Friday, August 14, 2009

Surgical Strike & Mother Russia

I'm sure my post title will garner a lot of hits from the Communist Party, but there was no doubt in yesterday's Statue of Liberty (ironic, no?) that Mother Russia ($6.00) would land a huge haymaker on the rest of the field and hang on to win the $150K race on the Inner Turf at venerable Saratoga Race Course. A nice crowd of over 18,000 was on hand to see her win for the 5th time in 8 races (and 2nd in 3 races on the turf) for the beautiful filly trained by the white hot Linda Rice. It was her second win of the day after winning the sixth with Willsboro Point ($7.90) both turf routes. Now we have to watch out for her in all turf races! Ramon Dominguez won his second race of the day and he had a great ride aboard the Mothership. I was fortunate enough to meet one of the ownership group from Obviously NY Stables during opening day and he was sky high talking to him before the race and I received an email earlier today from him asking about my thoughts on the race. She had opened a similar wide lead in her last start but ended up finishing sixth. When trainer Rice was asked about the turnaround at the longer distance she said, “When she ran her last race, she had a lot of issues coming up to the race. Afterwards, I was regretful that I had led her there. She was not on her game that day. I was hoping the two turns would help her, and it did.” Obviously NY also owns the filly Canadian Ballet who finished second her last out in a stakes at Woodbine. They're definitely a group to keep an eye on.

My two day surgical strike in the Springs was a very memorable one. I spent some time with my parents who were in town with three other couples from their alma mater, Kutztown State in Pennsylvania. Wednesday was a fun day that started with a chance meeting with my client and owner from Trade Winds Farm that had two starters entered. Scientist finished second in the Cab Calloway and Jogja ran in the 2 mile marathon. I also chatted with Old Friends' Michael Blowen in the paddock who we visited back in April, and he passed along some good news about Black Tie Affair who will soon be joining the retirement home. He was in town for the weekend since Old Friends is the home to three former Sword Dancer champions. It was nice catching up with him. I sat with the Puma in the box seats (sweet view) for the last three races of the card and shared a cigar and a cocktail with him after the races at Siro's. I spent the rest of my evening in town with some of my clients from Saratoga Eagle who were hosting 20 guests from the mothership in Buffalo (many acquaintances of mine) after having a dozen wings one of my favorite haunts, Hattie's.

Little did I know I would be dining at Siro's for the first time ever the following evening, after the Statue of Liberty. I have never been to a restaurant sporting $45 and $55 entrees. Holy smokes, who said the economy is falling? The place was packed for both dinner seatings and the experience will be one I'll never forget. I ran into one of the restaurant's owners we met at Max London's the second evening of the meet who told us the bar was packed at 2am on Tuesday after the Fasig-Tipton sales. Based on the crowds the last two days, life must be good. After dinner we met an interesting gentleman who embellished us with stories of the old Saratoga, Rush Limbaugh and Tiger Woods (interesting combination) as he had been to 58 of the last 60 Travers. Ironically one of the two Travers he missed was the Affirmed/Alydar Travers. He has been coming to town since he was 8 years old and has stayed at the same hotel and same room since 1982. It was certainly an interesting evening listening to stories from a long time Spa visitor.

Here are some pictures from the Statue of Liberty and Thursday am at the Oklahoma training track:

Trainer Linda Rice saddling the eventual winner of the Statue of Liberty, Mother Russia.

EquiSpace Toga Party pick Ramon Dominguez, heading over to his mount, Mother Russia.

Edgar Prado on second place finisher who came at Mother Russia with a late rally, Es Mia.

Mother Russia holding off Es Mia as they approach the wire in the 1 1/16th turf race.

Welcome to the Oklahoma training track.

Nothing better than having a cup of joe and watching the sunrise over the barns on the backstretch at Saratoga.

Workout in progress....blinkers on!

NYRA's finest getting their moment in the sun...

A special thanks, as always, to the Saratoga Resident who never ceases to amaze me with his friendship and hospitality when I arrive on the scene for a surgical strike....


The Turk said...

Felt like I was there after reading this. Good Stuff Geno.

Unknown said...

Linda Rice's doing Hall of Fame stuff.

Love the dark morning backstretch shot


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