Sunday wrapped up the first week of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile and it was another great day of racing. There were some ominous times during the day when it looked like we'd get some rain, but it held off until early in the evening, and then it was just some light drizzle.
What's really nice about the Grand Circuit meet is that everything is so up close and personal. Before the races yesterday I saw Tim Tetrick sitting on the fence so I went up to him and we talked for a few minutes, just shooting the breeze. I told Timmy I thought I saw a smile on Captaintreacherous's face on Saturday night as he held off the field to win a Bluegrass division, and that the horse really enjoyed that victory. He agreed and said the Captain just loves to race.
Later I saw Jerry Silva and asked where his wife Theresa was, and he said she remained home in New York as she is in law school studying to be a lawyer. Jerry said he and Theresa are also awaiting the birth of a granddaughter.
Congratulations to Trond Smedshammer, who told me last week he was unsure about entering Arch Madness in the Allerage. So what'd the old boy do (Arch Madness, not Trond)? He went out and won the elim, equaling his own world record of 1:50.2. We also had a narrow miss on another world record later when Spider Blue Chip missed by just a fifth of a second of equaling Vivid Photo's mark for 3-year-old gelding trotters, but Spider Blue Chip's 1:51.3 effort was still able to knock Vivid Photo's Red Mile track record off the books.
Following the conclusion of the card I made my way to the Round Barn for the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association dinner that honored new Hall of Fame inductee Kit Glenn McKinley. KHHA president Bob Stewart, Kitty Sautter and Tom White told some tales of Kit and the Fennell's Tack Shop she owns. The food was great and I told Red Mile caterer Matt Falcone that. I also told Matt I've heard rave reviews about the Clubhouse buffet, and that Boss Kathy and I would be having lunch there on Friday, and he said he had plans to amp up the buffet selections even more this week.
When I left the Round Barn I realized the late football games were still going on, so I figured I'd drop in at Buffalo Wild Wings to catch the action and also find out how my fantasy football team players were doing. My partner in our massive 25-team league is Dan Coon—who along with his brother Greg have done a fantastic job keeping The Red Mile track lightning fast.
My quick stop at Wings turned out to be a little longer than I intended. Track stewards Rich Williams and Anthony Clark were playing trivia so I talked to them for a few minutes. I tried to make my way out the door when I heard someone call my name and it was Anthony Beaton, the assistant trainer in Casie Coleman's stable, who also owns a share of Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation, who sat out the first week of racing in Lexington. Anthony was there with Vegas Vacation's caretaker, Boyd Wilson, and they insisted I sit with them for a few.
We talked about the differences between the National Football League and the Canadian Football League, and Anthony and I tried to name all the CFL teams. I am familiar with Canadian football having grown up in Detroit and watching the games on Windsor's Channel 9, so I think I did pretty good, even knowing that two teams are the Roughriders.
I asked Anthony about Vegas Vacation missing the Bluegrass and the possibility of drawing in the same division as Captaintreacherous. I said I hoped the two pacers would meet up this Saturday in the Tattersalls. "If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and Captaintreacherous is the best,” Anthony said, adding that he believes Vegas Vacation just might be up to the task.
It was still an early night for me so I got plenty of sleep. My first stop this morning was to see trainer John Williamson, who won a Bluegrass 2-year-old colt pace division Saturday with the gray-colored Smack Talk. It looked on the track that Smack Talk was dark in color with just a gray head, so I thought I'd get a picture taken with him so my gray head could meet his, but as you can see by the photo, he's all gray. In the picture with me and Smack Talk is caretaker Jenna MacDonell, the daughter of Paul MacDonell, who drove Somebeachsomewhere to his world-record 1:46.4 win in 2008 at The Red Mile.
It's been a pretty good two weeks for John, who has only had 54 starts this year. But two of those starts came with Urbanite Hanover in the Little Brown Jug, with the 3-year-old pacer finishing third-placed-second in his elim and then second to Vegas Vacation in the second heat. John owns Smack Talk in partnership with Daniel Heist, and the $22,000 yearling purchase has now returned $54,581 after his 1:50.4 maiden-break win on Saturday. "He's definitely feisty,” John said as he tried to take the picture at the same time Jenna tried to keep the colt's head still.
I saw trainer Pete Foley and asked about Bolt The Duer, who finished a close second yesterday to A Rocknroll Dance in the Allerage elim. Pete raced Bolt The Duer last weekend in an Open Pace at Yonkers, where he was the 4-5 favorite despite starting from the outside post 8 and being off three weeks. Driver Mark MacDonald didn't leave with Bolt The Duer and when a first half of :56.4 turned into a back half of :54.3, they didn't have a chance in the world to make up any ground and finished last. Pete said he heard some negative comments—"grief” was the word he used—about the effort, which included an individual last quarter on the half-mile track of :27 flat. "What are you going to do?” Pete asked me.
On the way out I saw track president Joe Costa, and we talked about how great the racing was the first week. I also asked Joe if he knew about the overnight burglary at Le Deauville, the popular downtown restaurant that many horsemen have gone to this year. I told Joe that someone tried to break in around 1:30 this morning, finally shattering enough glass in the door to squeeze through and take the cash register. Reports say though that there was no money in the cash register. The reporter I saw on the news this morning said it was unsure the restaurant would be open today, so if you're planning on heading that way, you might want to call first.
The early weather forecast for this week doesn't look good, but we're still a long ways off. It's supposed to be OK until Thursday, then increasing chances of rain every day, and a predicted high right now on Sunday of just 66 degrees. The great weather so far has been holding steady, as are the gas prices, which remain at $3.23 and $3.25 this morning.