SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., August 8, 2014—Here it is, the fourth Saturday of Saratoga 151, and I’m already looking passed it, awaiting Sunday’s juvenile stakes doubleheader.
Maybe that’s because the Grade 2 Saratoga Special attracted 11 entrants. Given the state of two-year-old racing around here for the past decade, Sunday’s field is almost twice the norm.
The ladies will go first on Sunday’s national television broadcast on Fox in the Grade 2 Adirondack at 6-1/2 furlongs and we’re pleased that both stakes will be run at this hybrid distance.
Instead of a speedway to graded heaven, what this trip should provide is a more meaningful perspective on the future; the longer races of Fall leading up to a national championship. Not many races are stolen at this
A cursory look a past performances indicates, to us at least, there are two fillies that just might be extraordinary, casting no aspersions on the other talented fillies in the group.
I don’t want to make comparisons with filly debuts past, but can I have to say this; that I’ve not been this impressed with a first-time starter since, well, Moccasin, or Ruffian. Please—not making comparisons with either one; that would be crazy.
But I don’t think I’ve seen a filly win as easily as Wonder Gal did in the modern era. The New York-bred, by juvenile buzz sire of the season, Tiz Wonderful, made her debut in the restricted Lynbook Stakes against four overmatched rivals.
I didn’t know those fillies were overmatched at the time, although the fact Wodner Gal was postward at 4-5 was a pretty good indication.
Debut types often win by big margins, and the 14 lengths thatseparated her from runnerup Accelebrate was huge by any measure. But this was no runoff wire job; this was a professional hit.
Vic Zast: The Complete Package
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 6, 2014--For two chroniclers of the sport of horse racing, it was totally appropriate that Vic Zast and I would have our first face-to-face in this town, a place when Vic would spend every day if he could, but summers would just have to do.
The bonus for Vic, in addition to the top class racing, social scene, and race course itself was that his children lived downstate and could visit frequently. He was always eager to introduce family to the friends he made on his racetrack odyssey, sharing coffee, croissants and conversation by morning and something a tad stronger by afternoon.
We initially met because of Vic’s gift for words, syntax and cadence. I remember reading a piece he wrote for the Bloodhorse, showing it to my wife and saying: I’ve got to meet this guy; maybe he’ll be interested in writing for [this] website?
That day came on a Sunday morning. We shared breakfast and a conversation and if the term “mutual admiration society” hadn’t already existed, we could have founded the organization right there at the table. Vic loved what we were trying to accomplish; I loved Vic’s writing and critical eye. It was a marriage made in turf-writing heaven.
I told him he had carte blanche; that he could write about anything he wanted. I never failed to be surprised by the topics he ultimately chose. I can handicap a race with the best of them but I never knew what Vic was going to do. Not that it ever mattered; I never so much as substituted a semi-colon for a comma.
Clean copy and a great read, what a parlay!