It is the morning of which Saratoga dreams are made, and the racing gods ensure that everything’s perfect.
At 6:30 am, the sun is peeking over the trees, but bathing the track and the horses working out over it in golden light. The morning fog without which no Saratoga photograph is complete shows up on schedule, and there’s a coolness to the air that dissipates with the mist.
At every entrance, fans are lined up, waiting for the 7:00 witching hour, when they will all turn into sprinters, breaking from the gates at full speed, eyes on their own personal finish line, a coveted backyard picnic table.
It’s not Travers morning, typically the only day on the Saratoga calendar when the gates open at 7 a.m., but this year it’s better, because Travers morning was wet and chilly, but this morning is glorious, and Rachel is here.
On the backstretch, the usual Labor Day Saturday feeling of packing up, of the season coming to an end, doesn’t feel quite as strong, because there’s anticipation, there’s an Event, one more Big Day before we go all go home.
Even without her, the cast of racing characters lures us in…Pyro is back, and so is Kodiak Kowboy, and Macho Again. Kinsella, a Fasig-Tipton sale-topping yearling two years ago, makes his third start, and first since April. Sean Avery is back, too, after a win earlier in the meet, his first start in a year. Cool Coal Man and True Quality will hit the Spa track this afternoon.