And so it begins: the final week. 30 days of racing done, 6 to go. A look back at week 5…
On Friday, Naughty New Yorker made his second start of the meet in the Funny Cide Stakes for New York-breds; he had turned in three dismal performances in a row, including a last-place finish earlier in the meet, but on this day, on a fast track, in more appropriate company, we saw the old guy return to at least a semblance of his earlier form. He got a pace to close into, and he made that patented stretch run, falling short by only a head. To many of us in the crowd, it felt like a win. His earnings for the race put him over the $1 million mark.
In news of another Backstretch favorite, Saratoga Russell stayed at Saratoga for a few days before heading back to his Monmouth base; on a beautiful, cool, sunny Spa morning, he went out for a light jog and then got a bath. No word yet on his next start.
The feline winners kept on coming: Wildcat Nation last Wednesday, and a double on Thursday, with both Becky’s Kitten and Acquired Cat crossing the wire first. Acquired Cat took the eighth on Thursday, the day after the Belmont Child Care Association benefit, a particularly timely victory, as owners Eloise and Peter Canzone are major supporters of the BCCA. Congratulations to them on their win!
Justenuffhumor got his second graded stakes win of the meet with a victory in the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap; how fun is this guy to watch? He swung five wide, closed in the stretch, and won by half a length. Can’t wait to see him next…
It took a whacked-out European import to beat Rutherienne in the Ballston Spa last Saturday…in her last eleven starts, Rutherienne’s got a two wins, two seconds, and seven thirds. She lost this one by a head, as Salve Germania just got up at the wire to win at 24 – 1; here she is heading to the track.
Is any big racing day complete without a performance by Ernie Munick?
Technology did not serve NYRA well on its biggest Saratoga day: the early than usual post time of 11:35 meant that the earlier than usual Talkin’ Horses program conflicted with Capitol OTB’s backstretch offerings, so fans watching OTB TV upstate were denied the handicapping insights of Serling, Crist, and Donovan.
Later in the day, the NYRA wagering platform was down; I tried to get on once to make a wager and once to watch a replay—no dice either time. I was at the track with, fortunately, other options, but I’d have been mighty cranky if I’d been shut out while playing from home.
The view on the way out, at approximately 7:30 pm, a little more than twelve hours after the gates had opened…