Another great day of racing at The Red Mile on Thursday. It was also another hot and humid day in Lexington, which is what we expect on Friday and Saturday. Sunday looks really dicey right now as the front moves through and storms are likely in the afternoon.
It was a long day for me as I went out to the sale last night. The first person I saw was Bill Haughton, and I noted he was holding his catalog without a cover. Bill showed me on Tuesday his leather cover that had his dad's name engraved from back in the early 1970s, but he said he forgot to slip it on before he came over tonight. I told him some of my fondest memories of working at Hazel Park came in the early 1980s during Grand Circuit week when his dad and brother, Peter, would come to town and then after the races we'd sit up in our director's room for some socializing.
I made my way back to the walking ring and saw Yannick Gingras, so I headed over to congratulate him on sweeping the three International Stallions for 2-year-old filly trotters, noting he won each with pretty much the same race strategy: settle in close early and then make a backstretch move to the lead and never look back, although the third win came with a move made just a bit later. Yannick said he wanted to keep the strategy since it had worked, but in the last division his filly Outsourced Hanover was 11-1 so he wanted to wait just a bit longer.
The Meadows-based Norm Parker came by and told me he won two tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates-St. Louis Cardinals playoff game in Pittsburgh on Monday. Having a playoff game in Pittsburgh has to be like paradise as it's been 21 years since the team even had a winning record. Norm said he was driving to Lexington yesterday and listening to MLB's radio station that was offering three sets of a pair of tickets to the game to the 10th, 20th and 30th callers. Norm missed the first two chances with busy signals, but he kept trying. He said he finally got a ring and somebody picked up the line, but then hung up. He said he dialed right back, somebody answered and asked, "Are you from Pittsburgh?” and when he said yes, he was told he was the lucky winner.
By the way Norm, I'd love to be your date on Monday………By the way Dave Palone, remember that you told me that if the Tigers played the Pirates in the World Series, we were good for tickets to every game,
I saw Mike Anderson of Paymaq Racing in Illinois and he had just signed the slip for hip 343, a Sportswriter filly. Mike said he paid $90,000, and I told him that next year at this time I'll be writing a story on the filly noting that he got a bargain.
I saw the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association's Jerry Knappenberger and the Ohio Racing Commission chairman Bob Schmitz, who introduced me to Ohio State Representative Jim Buchy, who played a big role in the Ohio racetracks getting slot machines. I asked Rep. Buchy if he could kindly come here to Frankfort and make his case with the Kentucky legislature so the tracks could get some gaming help. By the way, Chairman Schmitz sold a Dragon Again colt on Thursday night (hip 313) for $62,000, so hopefully he left happy.
I actually stayed more than two hours at the sale, and then left to meet Chris Tully at Buffalo Wings, which got really busy with horsemen soon after when the sale concluded. JR, one of the servers there, kept asking me when Andy and Julie Miller were coming in as she was saving a big table for them as Julie said they'd be in after the sale. JR said Andy and Julie have been first class the entire time they've been down here as well as being generous tippers.
The Miller entourage finally showed up, and the group kept growing and growing, including Balmoral Park's Tom Kelly, who told me at the sale that he and a few others made the trip from Chicago via a long, long, stretch limousine. Sure enough, when I left Wings, there was that long, long, long limo parked outside.
I made it to The Red Mile just before 8:30 this morning and they are paving Red Mile Road today, which will obviously make for a traffic nightmare later. Might not be too bad coming in, but leaving could see some problems. Keeneland also opens today so there will that traffic as well.
I got grief from Meegan Sattelberg for calling Fred Grant's dogs as Fred Grant's dogs in yesterday's Backstretch, as she said the dogs were hers. I told her the wonderful thing about the internet is I could change things, and she made me promise to add her name. Fred said it would be in my best interest to listen to Meegan.
I saw Paul Kelley and Jenna Caligaris, the caretaker of Goddess, who I wrote about last week. Goddess had a broken hobble last time out that took her out of contention, but yesterday she finished second so I felt a lot better. Michelle Crawford was at the barn so I wished her well in the under saddle race on Sunday.
Gas prices didn't change from yesterday's $3.18 or so, and that could mean they may be on the rise today. Leaving the sale last night I was behind a car with Ohio plates that turned into a station near Fasig-Tipton where gas was $3.35 a gallon. Obviously, they aren't Backstretch readers.