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Backstretch With Gordon: Fly

October 08, 2020

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No, not that fly. But I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall this past week trying to listen in as Tony Alagna tried to make the decision of racing Ramona Hill in the Kentucky Futurity against the boys or the Filly Futurity. Tony told me Wednesday morning he still hadn’t decided, but this morning—60 degrees, sunshine and no jacket needed—he said the filly would race against the fillies. I also spoke to co-owner John Fodera, and I’ll have that full report on why that decision was made in the HarnessRacing Weekend Preview that goes out later this afternoon. You will also be able to get the program pages of all the stakes divisions this weekend.
After two nights at Fasig-Tipton for the sale I decided to stay home, but Dave Brower and I called an audible and went to have dinner at Le Deauville. Let’s just say we really enjoyed our mussels and wine. There were plenty of people there, and I heard this morning that after I left a Billy Joel sing-a-thon took place. Glad I had fled the scene by then!
As I noted earlier, my first stop today was to see Tony Alagna, who also told me he is up to 30 yearling purchases over the first three nights. Tony mentioned the late night again last night (the last two nights went past the midnight hour) and I've heard from pretty much everybody that the sale should get underway at 3, 4 or 5 p.m. on non-race days. Hopefully that can be considered for the 2021 sale.
Tony also is today’s breakfast sponsor, and in addition to the usual donuts there were dozens of bagels and lots of cream cheese. Cindy Solverson got in a bit of a panic when she realized knives would be needed to cut the bagels, but just as she always does, she got that problem solved.
Where’s there’s food there’s usually Trackman Dan--Boss Kathy told him the kitchen was closed during the fall meet--and we again talked about the weekend weather. The timing of the remnants of Hurricane Delta are fluctuating, but hopefully we won’t see the rain and wind until after the races Saturday. Sunday’s not looking good as the forecasters say the rain chances are 80 percent. I need to go back and check, but doesn’t it seem like it rains every Sunday during the fall stakes meet?
Ake Svanstedt came up to grab breakfast and I told him how different his barn is this year as it’s much quieter. Usually Ake is holding court with Swedes who make the trip for the meet and sale, but obviously that didn’t happen this year. Same thing next door in the Marcus Melander barn as things are much, much more tranquil than last year. The Finn-Tack group also didn’t make the trip this year.
While Bow River has been at the track and sale, another person missing is Jeremy Wilson, who ran the gift shop in the grandstand. Jeremy texted me earlier this week that he was considering setting up shop this weekend, and I hope he does because it’d be nice to see him. He might also do a brisk business with rain gear on Sunday.
The USTA’s Rich Johnston was working away setting up the camera for the Facebook Live showing of the Kentucky Futurity draw at 11 a.m. today. Facebook Live will appear on both the Red Mile and USTA pages. The draw will be held at the newly-named Deck of Dreams. Kim Dressler, who was the winner in the name-the-deck contest, told me to pass out the hats he won as a prize to children, so I’ll be doing that tomorrow during the races. Somehow the torch got passed to me by Cindy, but that’s OK as it’ll remind me of my days at Hazel Park when I nightly walked the grandstand talking to fans.
I went back and did another lap in the barn area and saw fellow Detroiter Dewayne Minor. Dewayne’s mom has been in town so it was nice to see her as well. I’ve known Dewayne since the day I started at Hazel Park way, way back in 1979. Hard to believe that was 41 years ago. Linda Toscano was coming off the track so she said hello on her way past me.
That’s it for today. It looks like a great day too as the predicted high is 75. Same for tomorrow, and while it will remain warm over the weekend, it might be a bit wet.
And finally, gas still the same, with prices that I saw ranging from $1.98 to $2.13.  
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