Saratoga Springs, NY, July 26, 2007--

Dear Diary,

Some giveaway promotions are better than others. And know that Saratoga Race Course is the King of Giveaways venue.

"Remember, you can picnic anywhere if you just had one of these coolers. And you can carry it in one of those tote bags over there.

Tired? No problem. Have a seat in one of our lawn chairs, drinking a cold one from these cooler mugs. Rain? No worries. Keep dry with one of these here umbrellas.

Funny, look like awnings, right?

Sure, it gets chilly some nights in the Adirondack foothills. Got you covered with a stadium blanket.

Are bears attracted to the color red?

But, really, who doesnt love a good bobble-head every once in a while?

The latest version, first handled out today, could have been bought on E-Bay last week. That might be a record.

The Jerry Bailey edition was first. He was the King back then, having ridden more winners at Saratoga than any other human, living or dead.

Then there was the Johnny V, the Todd, and others. Have to say, with apologies to legendary racing people so honored, my favorite is the Sam The Bugler. Being king is a state of mind, Sam knows that.

But today was the day that Angel Cordero Jr., the King of Saratoga past, present and future, was celebrated in pop-culture iconese.

Until Bailey, the smartest horse-backer weve ever seen, came along, no one was better than Angel. No one. He remained without peer as a race rider, the very best ever at riding more than one horse at a time. You try it sometime.

Hel-lo-o-o-o-o-o Genuine Risk!

The once and future king won 14 Saratoga titles, a record of 11 straight, one that will last longer than Woodys five Belmonts. And there were those 7,057 lifetime victories, too.

There might be a couple of handsful of riders in the same class as Cordero, but his is the bobbled head to be treasured. That mold never has been duplicated. Nor ever will it be again.


First Race: The first up and over of the meet went to a true overlay, Footlights. The seven year old mare, making her third off an extended layoff, often a harbinger of improvement, had enough back class in her history to rate a punchers chance. Prepped on the flat at Colonial after a promising return in an overnight stakes prior, the 6-1 early line choice drifted to 22-1, and Xavier Aizpuru timed her late run perfectly to get up in the last two strides. Good job byh trainer and former steeplechase rider, Roger Horgan.

Second Race: Experience the difference for these special-weight fillies. Twisted Tale had placed gamely in her debut and got it done here while on the engine for Team Asmussen/Bridgmohan. It appeared at the sixteenth pole that newcomer Forest Trial would run her down but the favorite held sway as Shug McGaughey filly finished a tad greenly. Forest Wildcat filly wont be a maiden long; bet back.

Third Race: Pat Kelly began where he left off last year, having his best Spa in several seasons. Precise Lady, taking advantage of her 7-furlong conditioning and hot pace, circled widest from last of seven and ran them all down late at 16-1, as the beat of longshots roll on at the young meet. Kent Desormeaux struck the face of the drifting place finisher, Stolen Star, with a right-handed whip but replays indicated it apparently was inadvertent. Think he deserved the benefit on that one.

Fourth Race: Another well timed late run gets it done on turf as Garrett Gomez made the last run with Christophe Clements Queens Full, the third winner out of the second race on June 23rd. Can you say key race? Meanwhile, runner-up Star Dixie might have been best, circling up four wide on far turn, momentum carrying her even wider into the lane. She finished well beneath JJ Castellano but was no match for the late power of the Clement filly; makes amends soon, note. Favorite Stage Dream, third, was without excuse after stalking a moderate pace comfortably throughout.

Fifth Race: This meet has public handicappers talking to themselves. Though none resemble Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford or Sandy Koufax, many of my colleagues are pitching shutouts. Gave up my day job just in time. Castellano doubles, taking Pay Attention down the center of the track for a 10-1 score. Post 12 at nine furlongs? No problem. Favorite Berry Bound set controlled pace and settled for place; Drizzly finished well too late for third after getting smart tote action; follow.

Sixth Race: Cleveland Johnson? Doesnt he show up only when someones on suspension? Anyway, Johnson almost gets it done with Al Sheetahn at 71-1, who led every step until the final one. It took extraordinary race ride from Ramon Dominguez, who weaved Giant Storm through stretch traffic to get up in last jump. Win gave Stanley Hough his second in two days. Think I detect a trend here.

Seventh Race: Winner? Truly Blushed. Trainer? Scott Lake. Odds? 14-1. Any more questions?

The G2 Sanford: Pletcher picked an opportune spot to get off the duck. Readys Image took his second straight stakes, drawing off impressively in fast time to win by open lengths. And hes still learning how to run. He carried his head a little high when we got to the leader and I had to get after him a little, said Johnny Velazquez. Its encouraging, he has a world of talent and is still learning, Pletcher warned. Meanwhile, Tale Of Ekati put in a fine, wide late run for place, holding off The Roundhouse who came from last and just missing placing. Interesting prospects, both Pletcher runners. But the horse to watch out of the Sanford is Sok Sok, virtually eliminated when slammed hard between horses leaving the gate, after which he finished willingly for fourth and clearly deserves another chance; follow closely.

Ninth Race: Well timed and strong late run from Follow My Dreams, getting it done for Colum OBrien by overhauling a stubborn Tishmeister, the controlled pacesetter. Glamour Star saved ground to no avail. She was hemmed in upper stretch, but Michael Matz filly really didnt fire like she should. Pletchers Storm Dixie lost too much ground throughout, losing any chance; follow.

Bias Report: Dirt; fast, played honestly. Turf; firm, all winners off pace, except 5- furlong sprint.

Pick Six Report: It was hit. Again. Who the hell keeps doing that?