The last weekend of Saratoga's racing meet was, in fact, last weekend. My friend, Nick Martinez, whom I met in Saratoga last year, gave me a trip up as a much needed break. Here's Nick showing fellow artist, Greg Montgomery (who does The Travers poster every year), his work in progress of Bernardini.
It was a perfect weekend! Dogwood Stable's Aikenite was running in The Forego (my friend Bob Witham was the exercise rider for Forego when Frank Whiteley was training the horse) and The Greatest Racing Fans Ever were also there.
It was tremendous fun to meet up with that group both days!
Saturday and Sunday mornings I went to the track to watch the gallops because that's my THING. Susan Howard met me to take me to her husband Neil's barn (I interviewed Neil 20 years ago when he wintered in Camden, SC) then we had breakfast at the track kitchen.
Sleepy horse at Neil Howard's barn:
Afterwards, I went over to Shadwell Stables to check on some of the babies I saw this past spring in Camden.
This is Al Aqsa - Isn't he CUTE??
Saturday had three big races and I had an affinity for this Dynaformer filly but she didn't do much. Here trainer Billy Mott stretches her legs.
Mr. Whiteley sent all his babies to trainer Shug McGaughey, who has a horse here.
Then it was The Forego and I just love Aikenite. He finished third.
In between races, there was Derby winning trainer Nick Zito. I was teasing him about something here (actually I like my hair, which is why this pic ended up in here)
Then we had the nice picture:
Afterwards, was The Woodward. Havre de Grace was a filly facing a field of boys and she trounced them! Nick's tentmate/artist friend Frankie Flores took me into the winner's circle with trainer Larry Jones and Havre de Grace. You know - I can just die now. That put me over the top!!
Larry Jones gets congrats on his way to the winner's circle:
Just after my foray into the winner's circle, I told Chris I had pulled "a Chris Heeley" by insinuating myself into the winner's circle. Chris, back in the spring, just jumped into the winner's with the Dogwood Stable group. It was hilarious! He gave me a thumbs up!
Sean Clancy runs "The Saratoga Special," a daily racing paper. He was a champion jump jockey back when I was a reporter in Camden.
Here's my funny Sean Clancy story (well, funny to me): I was walking by The Saratoga Special's office from the track and saw the door open.
I'd just seen Joe Clancy at the track so I figured Sean was working and I wanted an old issue. I knocked on the door and walked right in. Turns out to be where they LIVE so I'm yelling,"Helloooo!" and got all freaked out that someone was going to come down the stairs in a towel or something.
I bolted out of there and texted Sean: You guys should close and/or lock your door or else any ol' person (like me) walks in hollering hello looking for old papers.
So I see Sean later and said,"Hey, that was me texting you earlier after cruising through your empty house this morning." And we had a laugh.
I made the last issue of "The Saratoga Special" with this story and saw they'd closed their door the next day as I was walking past.
Me being silly with Mark:
Mark the day after:
Hogan having a GRAND time!
Here is the canoe in the lake in the middle of the track. So I hear that it disappears every meet in a common prank. I didn't even see it last year.