Way to go, Dave!

Congrats to hometown (Saratoga) hero Dave for winning the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct yesterday for his second win of the year, the first coming at Belmont last month under Alan Garcia. Saturday Garcia was on Kiaran McLaughlin’s Encinas, who finished tenth. Dave was eighth with three quarters of a mile to go and made a gorgeous run up the middle of the track to beat favored True Cause by a length. Dave is trained by Barclay Tagg and owned in part by Partingglass Stable; the Parting Glass is an Irish pub in downtown Saratoga (I know, I know, but it’s not as anachronistic as it sounds), and I’m sure that many a glass were raised there last night.

Dave joins several other fan favorites in winning the Red Smith: Naughty New Yorker (2006); Dreadnaught (2004; he finished seventh yesterday); Evening Attire (2002—isn’t he great that he’s still racing?); and in 1987, Theatrical, sire of the recently-retired Shakespeare.

Today the girls go a furlong longer on the grass than the boys did yesterday, in the Long Island Handicap. This race was supposed to go last Saturday but was re-scheduled when the card was cancelled because of high winds. Morning line favorite is Christophe Clement’s German-bred Royal Highness at 7-5. She was a disappointing sixth on the rock-hard turf at Belmont in the Flower Bowl after winning the Grade I Beverly D in August; the recent rains might make today’s course a little more to her liking. Bobby Frankel’s Barancella is the co-second choice; she won the Fairway Flyer at Belmont in September and finished third in the EP Taylor at Woodbine last month.

Note to fans of the Allen Jerkens’ filly and mare brigade: Swap Fliparoo is entered in the first race, the Smartangle, six furlongs on the dirt; later in the card Duchess of Rokeby returns after throwing in a rare clunker in the Iroquois at Belmont last month. That race was part of the New York Stallion series, as is today’s race; she was outclassed then, and I’m hoping for a different story today.

I’m off upstate to take a riding lesson–I’m sorry to be missing a great day of racing at Aqueduct today, but happy to be spending what looks to be a gorgeous afternoon on the back of a horse.

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