Thursday night quick picks

For those folks who have been asking about Saratoga Russell (and judging by the number of you who land on this page from your searches, he’s got a lot of fans out there), an anonymous poster left this comment: “Russell had a stomach bug in January that set him back in training. He is now training well and will be running in an allowance race in February. We expect him to do well. Then he will test Stakes races and hopefully qualify for the Triple Crown races.” I’m hoping to have confirmation of this in the next couple of days.

Remember that hunch bet I made from Tampa Bay Downs, on Helen Pitts’ Face the Cat at Gulfstream? He won that day, and on Wednesday, he made it two in a row, winning an allowance by four lengths. You’ll see that I sneaked him into my Derby fantasy stable…wishful thinking, perhaps, but sometimes, one has to go with one’s heart.

Two changes to the stable that I posted earlier this week; I went with Zito instead of McLaughlin, and Face the Cat instead of Ready’s Image (or Ready’s Echo). Wish me luck.

Nice to see a headline article in today’s Daily Racing Form on Mike Luzzi . Following his win on Daaher in the Cigar, I wrote a profile of him here, and I’ve long been a fan. Good luck to him and Daaher in the Donn this weekend.

Any philanthropic hockey fans out there? If you’re in New York City, you might consider joining Ice Hockey in Harlem at the ESPN Zone for its annual auction. IHIH enrolls students in an after-school program and teaches them to play hockey, at no cost to students and their families. The program serves students from age six through high school, and I used to teach in its after-school program. I taught vocabulary, so that kids could learn such words as “Predator” (Nashville), “Avalanche” (Colorado), and “Sabre” (Buffalo). We did math by adding up the Rangers’ record to see how many points they had (most times, we didn’t need a calculator, unfortunately). Kids learned geography by locating and naming Canadian provinces and US states on the map.

Tickets are $150 each and include hors d’oeuvres and an open bar; the evening will feature appearances by some of the Rangers and a live and silent auction.

If you don’t have quite enough racing reading in your life, check out the new Racing Dispatch. It’s a nice collection of the stories out there about the sport we love, all in one place, and you can add to their collection if you come across a story you really like.

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