Dateline: Asheville, NC
Arrived here yesterday to pick up my friend Wade, and within literally minutes of pulling into town was drinking pink champagne at a cool little wine bar nestled into the Grove Arcade, a beautiful old building that is one of the highlights of the downtown Asheville landscape. Vacation is good.
The serious part of the journey starts today, when we venture north and west towards Lexington, where we’ll be spending the next five days.
Ever mindful, though, of this blog’s sub-title and cognizant of the three dark days since horses last raced in the Empire State, I turned to the NYRA home page to see what was going on. “Strong Big A Card on Tap Today,” Jason Blewitt tells me. You can read the article for the details, as I’m focusing on today’s feature, the ungraded Andover Way.
Andover Way (On The Trail – His Majesty) was born in 1978 and was something of a superstar in New York in the early eighties. She raced eighteen times and finished in the money seventeen of them, ending her career with nine wins, six seconds, and two thirds. Four of those wins came in the Busher, the G3 Athenia, the Top Flight (which was then a G1), and the G3 Next Move. At four, she was second in the Apple Blossom. She came out of that race to go next in the Top Flight, which was run a month later then than it is now.
In the New York Times piece on the race, jockey Jorge Velasquez spoke about his strategy in the Top Flight:
Before yesterday’s race, Velaasquez (sic) said he had become convinced that he
finished second two weeks ago with Andover Way in the Apple Blossom Handicap at
Oaklawn only because ”this filly seems to like company.”
”After leading going into the stretch of that race,” he said, ”she slowed down enough to let Track Robbery get by her. Then she let out a final burst but lost by a nose. I’m
not going to let that happen today.” (New York Times. Registration and possibly subscription required.)
As the article notes, Velasquez kept Andover Way in third for much for of the race, sending her at about the eighth pole and keeping her on track for the win.
And in a delightful confluence of occurrences that brings me back to where we started: Andover Way is the dam of Dynaformer, whom I will see tomorrow at Three Chimneys, the first official stop on my Lexington visit.
Next stop, Lexington…