Notes from the backstretch

The Blood-Horse recently reported that a $40,000 grant from the Alfred Z. Solomon Trust will make it possible for Backstretch Employees Service Team (BEST), based at Belmont, to offer dental care to backstretch workers at Saratoga this summer. While BEST has for the past three years provided medical care, this is the first time that the organization will be able to offer dental care as well. You can donate to the good work that BEST does and learn more about the organization at their website, and read a fuller story about the grant here. One of BEST’s partners is West Point Thoroughbreds, owner of Saratoga Russell (see below).

In other backstretch news, the children at Anna House are learning about reptiles and amphibians, and they’ve recently acquired some classroom pets: a chameleon and a fire belly toad. The good folks at the Belmont Child Care Association recently sent me these pictures of the children’s lessons.

In racing news, Dave Grenig at the Daily Racing Form confirms what we’ve been told for a few weeks by Mr. Anonymous, that Saratoga Russell is coming up from Florida to run in this week’s Gotham. He’s going to face some tough competition, including Giant Moon and Visionaire, but this particular fan will be hoping that he’ll be as solid around two turns at the Big A as he was in his one-turn races in 2007. This date has been on my calendar for a while now, and with a little luck, this spring weather will last. A sure sign that spring isn’t so far away is the return of the 1:00 post time at Aqueduct—no more 12:30 starts!

I’ll get this week’s Take Ten! standings up as soon as they’re available over at ST Publishing. Not even The Bad Cat came through for me this week…and I’m happy to report that our collective donation is up to $110, which will be donated in the name of the winner to his/her racing charity of choice.

4 thoughts on “Notes from the backstretch

  1. Alfred was probably the most interesting person that I ever met. He played VERY low key and when people would ask him what he did for a living – he would say one of two things, “I’m a farmer from Gansveoort.” or “! am a horseplayer.” We greatly miss him.

  2. Saratoga Russell will arrive NY on Wednesday PM and will be ready for the Gotham. Although we don’t know whether he will stretch out around 2 turns, I am optimistic that he will. Visionaire and Giant Moon are very good horses, but let’s not forget about Eaton’s Gift, Roman Emperor, and maybe some of Pletcher’s and Zito’s horses. I think they will be formidable as well. Given all that, I will tell you that I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I know Saratoga Russell is talented and will be a star. If I’m lucky enough to be at the winner circle this Saturday, please come and say hello.

  3. Good luck w/ Saratoga Russell, my brother and I have been watching your horse from Cleveland very closely, It started because his name is Russell and we visit Saratoga every year, not knowing much about the horse. Now we like what we have seen, hope you make it to the winners circle, we are looking forward to Saturday.

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