We are five weeks into Saratoga now, meaning that three weeks remain. The good news is that much of the best stuff is yet to come. Alabama week begins today (Wednesday 14th), then it’s Travers week, and even after that we have the final week, “locals” week, which while bittersweet is always still fun.
I am hoping we get more of the weather of the last few days going forward.
Monday was pretty magical. A quiet dinner on the porch sitting in an Adirondack chair, just me with Mugs the Form Studying Labrador at my feet. The warm air of the day was dancing with a cool evening breeze. Van Morrison (Astral Weeks) was playing on the stereo and everything was right with the world.
Almost everything anyway. This is the week where the rest of the family makes their annual sojourn down to Capon Springs, West Virginia, a fun family resort. I love Capon, don’t get me wrong, but my increased role in racing has made it impractical for me to go during the meet.
And so, I get a week of solitude, which is nice in some ways, except for I miss them terribly.
Yesterday D.J. Blake – not to be confused with D.J. Unstable – and I took a little day trip out to Cooperstown, New York. In a mild upset, we did not visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead, we went to see the amazing Herb Ritts exhibit at the Fennimore Museum, checking out the famed photographer’s prints, cameras, and even his original marked up contact sheets.
So many great images both still and moving, but I particularly enjoyed the ones of Prince, McCartney, Springsteen, Dylan, and, of course, his iconic shots of Madonna. We also visited a couple of breweries, highlighted by Ommegang, where I was reminded that it’s not just the cult-y newer breweries making great stuff in the USA these days.
Then it was back to Saratoga and the feelings of missing Susan and Perrin were strong once again. Fortunately, there is racing to distract me.
HORSES TO WATCH
THURSDAY: FOLLOW THE LAW
I thought TIZ THE LAW was an extremely impressive winner who looked the part. The trip wasn’t easy and showed greenness and still won with authority. Has the look and pedigree to stretch out. From the same race I also liked DREAM BIGGER enough pre-race to add to the watch list.
HIERARCHY is very interesting next time, probably at Colonial Downs. Trainer Joe Sharp said on TV he was just looking for a prep race and he wants longer, he won anyway. Should be primed to roll next out.
FRIDAY: PASSAGE CAN LAND DREAM WIN SOON
DREAM PASSAGE made a huge run, attending a fast pace and still finding again late. Worth a long look next time.
SATURDAY: HAVE A LOOK AT MADE NEXT TIME OUT
KITTANSETT looked tremendous in the paddock, almost as nice as impressive winner Tumbling Sky, and based on pedigree should be better going longer and/or on turf. The race on paper might not look like much but this one can run.
I thought TUGGLE had a rough trip in the Saratoga Special, getting bumped and running on the worst part of the track. Not sure I’m in a hurry to bet him back against the impressive winner, Green Light Go, but I’d like to keep him on the radar.
Previous horse to watch Zyramid is off the list – looks like his stablemates Tumbling Sky and Gozilla have improved past him.
MADE YOU LOOK ran better than it looked in the Fourstardave, making the move into the hot pace that broke the race apart – a classic trip handicapping angle. Of course, it’s a tough division so whether or not to bet depends on where he turns up next but this race was better than it looked.
SUNDAY: KING TO GO ON IMPROVING
SLIP SLIDING AWAY had a tricky trip first out, brushing the gate, stuck in and among, moving into the fastest part of the race before flattening out. Based on how she looked pre-race, she’s one to note for more than just Paul Simon fans.
SECONDARY MARKET looked nice in the paddock and ran OK going short despite not taking much money. This is a router’s pedigree and improvement will be expected going longer.
SOUTHERN KING was off slowly for Todd Pletcher and made a nice sustained run in a race where the pace was pretty modest. This was his first time as a gelding and first time on turf. He should go on improving.
For more from me, check out inthemoneypodcast.com and be sure to watch all the action from Saratoga live on Sky Sports Racing Stateside.