Tatiana Echevarria did what all we school boys dreamed of doing on half days and sick days: she went on The Price is Right. We all dreamed of playing Cliff Hangers, Dice Game, Hole in One (or Two), and, of course, Plinko.
We’d scream at the television, “It’s only 50 cents for a bar of Ivory soap, you idiot!” Or, “Look at this bozo spinning the wheel like we have all day to listen to it beep.” Or, “Stop looking to the damn audience for an answer! Make a decision!”
Yes, Echevarria won a Showcase Showdown that puts her at Saratoga Race Course for Travers Day. Should she care, she’s in for quite a display. I mean, just listen to Saratoga Springs mayor Scott Johnson:
“The city of Saratoga Springs is excited to have participated in the Price Is Right Showcase offering us a unique opportunity to showcase the wonderful things that Saratoga Springs has to offer - from the summer excitement of Saratoga Race Course to the full fall foliage all the way to a winter wonderland of fun. As the mayor of Saratoga Springs, I am pleased on behalf of all Saratogians to welcome Tatiana Echevarria to our city, where the ‘price’ is always right.”
Waaaait a minute. Did he really say that the price is always right in Saratoga? Sure, if $345 a night at the Holiday Inn is your idea of a “right” price, well, then, “Come on down!”
The price will not, however, be right on Shackleford. This son of Forestry will be the likely favorite (though DRF thinks Stay Thirsty will be) for the Travers Stakes as someone, please, someone, will take the lead in the race for Champion Three-Year-Old Male. By this point in the season, the horses have all, in a matter of speaking, gotten through their pimply-faced puberties. They’re shaving regularly, getting into R-rated movies, buying cigars, trying to fool Pakistani convenience store workers they’re old enough to buy beer, slow dancing with girls, filling out FAFSA forms. Physically, the playing field has leveled. Now it’s about ability.
Though Shackleford is a lock to be this year’s First Dude, it would seem that Coil may be the best male in the country if he keeps proving to be a fraction as good as his father Point Given.
Coil is lightly raced and showed an explosive turn of foot to win the Haskell Invitational against the most-accomplished field of sophomores in years at Monmouth Park. He has a tendency to hang, however, just watch the replay when he pulls up to Shackleford.
What Shackleford has against him is that darn Triple Crown. He went to the front in every one of those races, not just two, and ran his guts out. That’s what this colt does. He lowers his chestnut head, levels it out, and spills his heart onto the homestretch. He’s tremendous fun to watch, but these efforts have a way of adding up, especially in the final furlong where he slows down just enough to get beat. The exception, of course, being the 9.5-furlong Preakness.
Whatever happens, Tatiana Echevarria spun the wheel, got on the Showcase Showdown and won a dream package to come to Saratoga Springs and watch the Travers Stakes in person.
As nice as the three-year-olds have been to each other, they’d better get down-right rude and anoint a new leader to the division heading into the fall.
Brendan O'Meara is the author of "Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year." You can buy it here.