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Backstretch with Gordon

October 05, 2005

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OK, it's taken me a few days to recover from the weekend, but what a weekend it was. An overflow crowd filled The Red Mile Saturday afternoon for the Kentucky Futurity Day card and no one left there without their money's worth. What can you say about Strong Yankee's race-off performance, and what can you say about the mile American Ideal went?

First stop this bright and sunny morning at the track was, of course, trainer Casie Coleman's barn to see how American Ideal was doing after going that world record 1:47.4 mile. Casie's tucked away in the corner of one of Continental's barns, and she flashed that big smile when I walked up and said hello and asked how the pacer was this morning and if he would be supplemented to the Tattersalls on Saturday afternoon. Casie replied that he would be in to and that driver Mark MacDonald would be back to give it another go.

I couldn't walk away without asking Casie how fast American Ideal might go this time around, and she said with a laugh that it didn't matter to her, as long as he won. As for my prediction, I think the 1:47.4 is safe, especially since the weather is going to take a downturn by Saturday. High of near 90 today, to 75 tomorrow, and then barely break 60 on Friday and Saturday.

I left Casie and as I was walking to the other side, trainer Ron Gurfein shouted at me to come into his office. We chatted briefly about the Las Vegas Harness Racing Congress in February and that he will be there, and then he showed me a bunch of paperwork on his desk that were stakes schedules for all of his horses. Ronnie was trying to figure out where to go next after this meet comes to an end, a daunting task since the Breeders Crowns don't come until late November and the Matrons for 3 year olds are even after that.

It actually was pretty quiet in the barn today now that the yearling sale is over and the Futurity is in the books. I made it over to Fasig-Tipton every night until Sunday, which I spent in the office writing away. Truthfully, I stayed at home just to be able to watch one quarter of the Bengals game before going in. My office work was put on hold though when George Teague called and invited me to dinner. Spending time with George is always great, but he also brought along a group that included Roger Hammer and his partner, Todd Schadel. George told me he never really shut Rainbow Blue down and that he is continuing to jog her as he prepares her for the 2006 season.

As for Roger and his runner-up finish with Vivid Photo in the Futurity race-off, I kidded him and asked him what he would have answered if I had told him beforehand that if he went in better than 1:52, how many lengths did he think he'd win by. Roger just gave me that laugh, which was answer enough. I think Roger just might be the front-runner for this year's Good Guy, following on the heels of the honor George received last year. He's certainly got my vote, especially since he picked up the dinner tab.

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