I love the Yaddo. A quintessentially Saratoga race, it’s named for the artists’ colony that lies just east of the track, so close that residents can (allegedly) hear the race calls. While the mansion is off limits to the public, visitors can wander the grounds and the gardens free of charge. I’ve whiled away many a sunny afternoon there with a book.
The Yaddo Handicap did all it could last year to ruin every positive association I have with Yaddo the artists’ colony. One of my favorite mares, Sabellina, was entered, running while in foal to Pulpit; she’d won the race in 2004 and was second in 2006, and she was a sentimental choice, though she hadn’t been in form in some time and I knew that the bet was ill-advised. Shortly before the race, I was invited to the paddock, and knowing that it was likely her last race, I surrendered some last-minute handicapping time for this opportunity, and I bet the race with about twenty-five minutes to post. There were a lot of horses in the race that I liked, and having been on a dreadful losing streak last year, I needed to economize on my betting, so at the last moment I threw out Latitude Forty, a filly I liked a lot and who was being ridden by Kent Desormeaux, virtually unbeatable last summer.
Watching the race from the clubhouse apron, I craned my neck to catch a glimpse of Sabellina; unfortunately, I didn’t see her, and instead saw Latitude Forty come up to kill my exacta (my horses ran 2 – 3); Latitude Forty went off at 23-1 and paid $48 to win; the exacta paid $277. No, I am clearly still not over it.
But do I learn? Noooooooooo. I was smart enough to use Latitude Forty in exactas today—at measly 4 – 1 in a five-horse field, no juicy double-digits odds—but I didn’t bet her to win, so for the second year in a row, I am grumpy about the Yaddo, and it’s all Latitude Forty’s fault.
Sabellina was sold in foal to Woodford Thoroughbreds at Keeneland last November, bringing $550,000. I’ve searched in vain for information about her foal, but so far—nothing. Perhaps someone out there can fill us in? Below are a couple of photos from last summer, during morning training and in the paddock before the Yaddo:
In other filly news, on July 6th Cordilleran Ice ran third in an allowance race at Belmont; she’s not a filly I’ve followed, but I was charmed by Ed Fountaine’s account in the New York Post the next day:
FIRST RACE: In field of NY-bred fillies and mares going mile on Widener course,
Cordilleran Ice, 3-1 under Channing Hill, emerged from pack to set pace down
backside, stalked outside by Western Slang, Edgar Prado up. Around far turn,
Western Slang made her bid, little Cordilleran Ice dug in and fought back to
deep stretch, but she had little hope of holding off Western Slang, who appeared
to be twice her size.
His description of “little Cordilleran Ice” brought to life a report of a fairly non-descript Sunday afternoon race and put another horse on my radar screen. Corderilleran Ice raced yesterday, and though well-beaten after a bad break, she’s had some good finishes lately and I love the idea of this little filly fighting back against horses bigger than she. Into the watch list she goes…
Finally, tonight is the annual softball game between the jockeys and the New York State Police, held at the East Side Rec Center to benefit the Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Catie Hoch Foundation, which helps children while they are in treatment for cancer. Cost is $5 per person or $20 per family; gates open at 5:30 and race fan and clubhouse denizen Bill Parcells will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at 6:30. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00. It’s been pouring pretty much all night, though, so I have to wonder whether this will be the second cancelled charity softball game of the Saratoga season.