Travers Day, Part II

As good as Sara Louise and Music Note were in the Victory Ride and the Ballerina respectively, they might have been overshadowed by Vineyard Haven in the King’s Bishop even if he hadn’t been disqualified from first to second. Vineyard Haven, who went off at similar odds as Music Note and as the co-fourth choice…

You shoulda been there…

The sun is shining on Saratoga today, 24 hours too late to make Travers Day 2009 an unqualified success. Though Saturday brought neither the fury of the Birdstone storm nor the inexorability of 2002’s rain, the promise of day-long precipitation suppressed both handle and attendance. The weather turned out to be not quite as bad…

Travers Day 2009

Listening to the sound of raindrops pound outside my window, I am, for the first time in nine years, anticipating the start of Saratoga’s biggest race day not from the backyard, but from the cozy confines of my rental, a few blocks from the track. In 2000, I joined my brother and his friends in…

Brian’s Pick 4 preview, Travers Day

My petition to NYRA in an effort to pay out 3-out-of-4 denied, I forge on to Saturday’s $1 million guaranteed Pk4. It will have to pay half that much to get me out of the hole. Race 9: The Grade II, $200,000 Ballston Spa for filly/mares 3&up at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf.…

The Travers draw

In not terribly surprising news, Mine That Bird was declared out of the Travers this morning, so once again, a Derby winner will not run in the Travers this summer. Since Thunder Gulch in 1995, only one Derby winner—Street Sense in 2007—has also run here in the Mid-Summer Derby. But there will be no shortage…

Week 4: Sights, sounds, musings

Week 4 is in the books. Today is Sunday, or at least it feels like it is, because the pace is a little slower, there’s a little more free time. Then again, it’s Travers week, so come tomorrow (Monday), we are full steam ahead. But for now, a look back at week 4… I know…

The Barbarous Battalion in the Alabama

The breeding of Thoroughbred race horses is hardly an exact science; how, after all, can the same pedigree produce both Barbaro and Nicanor? Why did the talent of Secretariat and Chris Evert skip their offspring Six Crowns and re-appear a generation later in Chief’s Crown? 19th century horseman Francis Morris would likely not be able…

Brian’s Pick 4 preview, August 22nd

Race 8: $55,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 6 ½ furlongs. 1. Discreetly Mine: Somewhat alarming that Discreet Cat’s little brother is still a maiden after two starts and he gets no favor from the rail draw today. Blinkers come off in an attempt to get him to settle early, but if he breaks slowly from…

Women’s Expo, Blue Girl, & the Saratoga Special

Yesterday was the Women’s Expo at Saratoga; out in the backyard near the Big Red Spring, a variety of vendors set up tables to offer their services to the female fans who, according to NYRA, “comprise nearly half the fan base at Saratoga Race Course.” A stroll around the tent revealed an unofficial count of…

Week 3: Sights, sounds, musings

Week 3 brought the first real dose of Saratoga summer weather: little rain, but oppressively hot & humid days. The track was baked, the times were fast, and more than one person referred to the turf courses as “rock hard.” One of Saratoga’s epic thunderstorms passed through early Tuesday evening, but it likely did little…