The few unsettling days after the Saratoga meet ends reminds me of my janitorial job on Sunday mornings at U Mass, Amherst. I’d open the bathroom door and know somebody somewhere had a swell time, but at what cost? How’d that calzone go down? Er, how’d it feel coming up?

And if the movie “The Hangover” taught us anything it’s that we must re-trace our steps to make sense of what happened the night prior. We all have some stubble on our faces. Our teeth feel hairy. Our eyes crack red. Our breath smells like a mixture of cigar ash and motor oil and our tongues feel as if they’d been dragged across a used ashtray. There’s a tiger in the room and a chicken clucking by the king size.

The tiger in the room might just be Quality Road. That was a stellar job of training by Todd Pletcher to get this son of Elusive Quality cranked for yet another Grade 1. Now, somebody bring him back to Mike Tyson’s.

And it would also seem that our lost friend is none other than Rachel Alexandra. She went out with us, went atop the roof, and took a shot. When we woke up, she was gone. Panicked by her capricious result in the Personal Ensign the myopic of world of horse racing had a collective seizure. Where did she go? I think she disappeared somewhere in that final furlong, but we’ll keep looking elsewhere; perhaps she and Forever Together are getting a civil union at the House of “Once Upon a Time.”
This proverbial trip to Las Vegas is supposed to be fun and wasn’t there some good memories to be had? Hey! There’s a digital camera! Let’s look at it and do turn it away from the misses.

Boys of Tosconova sure looks like a monster and anything that puts Richard Dutrow, Jr. in the spotlight again is good drama.

And would you look at this!

A photograph from the man who wrote the book on fun and the man who’s living out his legacy. If that trophy were any smaller they’d be sipping Earl Grey out of it. Trainer Todd Pletcher straddles the Saratoga Kingdom yet again. It must feel good to bounce back after Linda Rice turf-sprinted her way to the training crown a year ago. Pletcher did it in style this past meet with babies and with brawn.

Getting back to this picture. They look about as comfortable as being stomach-down in the proctology room. I think NYRA had to Photoshop that smile onto Pletcher’s face. That’s the face of a man who’s been there and hated it. At least H. Allen Jerkens has two cool nicknames: The Chief and The Giant Killer. What’s Pletcher’s?

All the great trainers need a nickname. The closest we came was a name for his entourage of Derby starters, “Todd’s Squad,” but that’s not his name. What about Robo Cop? Flash Dance? Giant? P-normous? My favorite? The Edge.

Hey, we’d better start winning some money at the blackjack table otherwise we’ll never be able to buy back who we think Rachel is. Blame asserted himself as a force and Afleet Express proved that while the Travers is often exciting, it’s also forgettable. When was the last truly memorable Travers? Probably 2004 when Nick Zito pumped his fists to the lightning-strobe-light sky while Birdstone skipped away to $1 million.

Looking at my watch here we have only a few hours to get Rachel to the wedding, um, Breeders’ Cup and ... what’s this!? A mattress in the sky! The roof! There rests the sunburned, washed out hide of Rachel Alexandra.

Rachel, we’ve got good news and bad news for you.

We can get you to the wedding though you’ll have to settle for maid of honor. Thought we lost you there in the final furlong.

Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project Six Weeks in Saratoga and The Last Championship at The Blog Itself where he tirelessly awaits a willing publisher. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanOMeara. His Web site is http://www.brendanomeara.com.