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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tie Goes to the Runner(s)

Alpha and Golden Ticket surge together to make history
In baseball, tie goes to the runner and extra innings decide the final verdict. In soccer, it comes down to PK's. In hockey, penalty shots, unless we're talking Stanley Cup playoffs, then its sudden death. Football is too complicated to explain and basketball has oooovertime. In horse racing, we decide things civilly (at least in the last two centuries) and we just call it a draw.

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...



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