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Backstretch with Gordon

October 01, 2005

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It was as good as it gets yesterday afternoon at The Red Mile and it should be even better today with the Kentucky Futurity on tap. The weather was perfect yesterday for the 16-race card that ended with Her Culese's dramatic win in the Filly Futurity race-off, raced before a big crowd.

The crowd should be even bigger today for the Futurity that features a showdown between Vivid Photo and Classic Photo, although Trond Smedshammer told me a couple days ago that he believes he could crash the party with Strong Yankee. With no University of Kentucky football game to compete against, maybe, just maybe, some locals and college kids will find their way to the track, which would really fill the place to capacity.

Speaking of college football, I had to laugh this morning as I looked at the Lexington Herald Leader. Back while living in Michigan I turned to the sports page first, which I did this morning, but the order of what I look at has changed a bit. In Michigan on a football Saturday I would still look at baseball scores first, and then to college football. Here, because I have been to Lexington Catholic high school games with my co-worker Greg Schuler, whose two daughters attended that school, and because one of my friend's boyfriend is a defensive coach at Madison Central high school, I first check the high school football scores. Both teams won big on Friday night.

Today is also the Michigan State-Michigan game, which I was disappointed to learn won't be carried today in Lexington. Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that MSU would be a 5 1/2-point favorite (up from an original 3 1/2-point line) over an UNRANKED Michigan team. I ran into a longtime friend from Michigan last night at dinner (which I had the pleasure of the company of veteran Kentucky-based trainer Scotty Harris), who I only call "Michigan" because I see her only once a year now during this meet, and she asked me if I could make sure the MSU-UM game was on TV at the track. Sorry "Michigan," but we're out of luck.

Oh yes, isn't this supposed to be about the backstretch at The Red Mile? I stopped briefly at the track and it was a flurry of activity. Whitney of LV Harkness was putting her flower bouquets ready and getting all the trophies and giftware ready. She's been a whirlwind of work the entire meet and probably the most popular person on the grounds as she is the one who gives all the winning owners their trophies.

Also, the track crew was preparing the clay oval, which should be lightning fast for today's race card. Scotty told me last night at dinner that the days start early with the afternoon cards because he needs to train his horses, and with yesterday's qualifiers at 8:30 a.m. it made for even a longer day. Eric Ledford told me yesterday that his day began at 4:30 a.m. so he could train a few, then race in the qualifiers and then the long card.

In closing, it's great to see all these people at the track and having a good time. Another Michigander I saw yesterday was Joe Konen, who came up to me thinking I wouldn't recognize him. For one time he was wrong as my memory held up and I told him, "Of course I know you, Mr. Konen."

Another funny anecdote about this meet--and I'll wrap this up with this--is my boss, Kathy Parker, having a "Bed and Breakfast" sign in front of her house. Kathy's Uncle Rex told me that Bill and Moira Fahy sent the sign from Pittsburgh since Kathy's house is full of relatives this week, with her sister Sally, and husband Rod Bolon, brother Norm and Uncle Rex staying there (I might be missing a few). If you see Kathy at the track today or through next week, you might want to check what the daily rate is.
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