Ed Fountaine in the NY Post reports that trainer Sid Watters died in Maryland last week. Watters, age 90, trained champions Slew o’ Gold and Hoist the Flag, whom I profiled at the end of January. The story of Hoist the Flag, which must have garnered a relatively similar amount of press coverage as the Barbaro story, given the different media landscape, makes me wonder how well remembered will be our top racing stories in nearly forty years. Hoist the Flag is barely evident on our racing landscape, yet in the early seventies, the horse made both racing and equine medical history. In 2040, what will be Barbaro’s place in racing history?
Continuing on the historical theme, thanks for the great response to the Hollie Hughes story, and here’s a wonderful piece written by equine photographer extraordinaire Barbara Livingston on the Friends of Sanford Farm site. It focuses more on the farm than on Hollie Hughes, relating the significant role the Sanfords played in New York racing. After reading it, you may (I hope) find it virtually impossible to resist the impulse to contribute a little towards saving what’s left of this significant site.
Jumping back to the present, Jerry Bossert wrote in yesterday’s Daily News of yet another incredible example of the arrogance and entitlement of New York State legislators. Man, you can’t make this stuff up:
While it was good to finally get a permanent extension in place that allows
racing for the next 25 years in New York, the politicians up in Albany also made
sure the New York Racing Association couldn’t give away free admission passes –
as does every other race track in America. The politicians didn’t forget
themselves, however, as they can still write a letter to the NYRA requesting
free admission for the year (NY Daily News).
In today’s racing news, Naughty New Yorker is home where he belongs; he scratched out of his Saturday entry at Laurel to run in, and win, the Master Digby Stakes at Aqueduct earlier today. He went off the even-money favorite and won by twelve. All this, without having to make the trip down 95.
I’ll be heading down 87 in a few hours, my quick trip to Saratoga coming to an end. As expected, the place is blanketed in snow (and in most places, it’s a mighty dirty blanket), though it’s warm today and ice everywhere is dripping, making it feel a little like spring. The locals are not fooled, though; at this point in February, it’s way too early to hope for spring. I did get to spend some lovely browsing time in Lyrical Ballad, and while out with my mother earlier today, we saw a rainbow. Cool.