Rain. More rain. Torrents. Lightning. Thunder. Flooding. Biblical in magnitude.
In line early Saturday morning to grab a picnic table: the security guard tells us that the gates will open a little after 7:00, because horses are on the path to the track. A chorus from those waiting: “Can’t you hold up the horses so that we can go in to get a table? Can training stop for twenty minutes so that the gates can open on time?” Are you kidding me?
At the clubhouse rail: Dale Romans watching his diminutive wife exercise one of their horses.
Bloggers galore: Dana of Green but Game and Swifty, handicapping like mad, charts and numbers and statistics. Impressive. Ernie, whose enthusiasm makes the rest of us look like curmudgeons. John of The Race is Not to the Swift, ever vigilant photog, and perhaps Asmussen stalker? Railbird, of whom I am envious, because she gets to stay at Saratoga longer than I, is twittering. Over several dinners and many drinks, we tried to solve all of racing’s problems.
Following Commentator’s win, loud and unpleasant griping from those nearby; Commentator pays $10.80 win, but the Ginger Punch/Commentator double only pays $11.20? 1-5, folks, 1-5.
Kent Desormeaux, off to a slow start and visibly frustrated, finally getting win 5,000 on Sunday…only to have his celebratory cake dumped headfirst into the winner’s circle. Oops. Too bad he couldn’t sip that champagne.
On the backstretch, raising my eyes from the Saratoga Special and my coffee to a horse rearing up just in front of me; as I step back, the rider stays on, but only temporarily…another trip up, and this time he comes off. He does grab the reins, but the horse is so ferociously active that the rider is pulled off of his feet multiple times, before the reins slip out of his hands. He’s abashed; witnesses, jockey agents, other riders, console: “You did all you could, man…great job….” The horse takes off, running straight towards a sawhorse; he approaches and nimbly executes a jump, only to be caught just on the other side. Disaster averted.
Sunday: people walking around with literally dozens of free give-away hats. Each cost the $3 admission price; you can buy yours on E-bay for six bucks. I like them this year.
Barclay Tagg, loping along the backstretch on Funny Cide.
It’s week two, and it’s still not routine, though we’re settling into one. Five more weeks…