Backstretch With Gordon: It's a Red Mile wrap!
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Two inches! Actually, more than two inches! That's how much rain we received in Lexington overnight, and the reason why this closing Sunday Backstretch with Gordon column is really "Driving Around the Perimeter of the Backstretch with Gordon" column.
I heard about somebody else driving around in high fashion through Lexington last night, but I'll get to that later. But first, the weather forecast we all feared. After 17 days of no rain—which finally led me to paying for a car wash and not relying on Mother Nature—we got hit last night and through the wee hours. It's raining now and it's supposed to rain pretty much all afternoon, with a high of about 72.One more day! We couldn't have made it one more day?
I'll actually be in The Red Mile backstretch tomorrow morning as Boss Kathy has scheduled me for a treatment session at Lindy Farms' equine spa. She told me last night she decided to get this for me instead of my usual lucrative bonus for all the backstretch walkin' and talkin'. One catch though, and that's if a Lindy horse—International Moni or Lindy The Great—wins this afternoon's Kentucky Futurity, I'm going to have to share space with the champ.
I didn't realize it until Boss Kathy wrote it for our special look at the Futurity in our Weekend Preview email newsletter that only one time before—in 1969, with Lindy's Pride—that the Antonacci family won the Futurity. In full disclosure, International Moni is my choice today, so I guess it will be bit crowded in the Lindy spa tomorrow.
After my OK showing on Friday's pre-game show with Gabe Prewitt, I was asked back for Saturday, and I picked five winners and three seconds on the card. Not bad. And talking about yesterday, what an outstanding performance! No, I'm not talking about Hannelore Hanover's dazzling 1:49.2 win in the Allerage Farms, I'm talking about my five winners and three seconds in the Horseplayers Association of North American Grand Circuit handicapping contest run by Allan Schott that led to me winning the day and moving me into second in the overall standings for the year. I'm only a handful of points behind the leader Rusty Nash, so hopefully by the end of today I will grab the top spot. The two charities I'm playing for are Horse Lovers United in the U.S. and Galahad in Canada.
How about that Hannelore Hanover? The second fastest mile ever trotted, the fastest mile ever trotted by a female, and the fastest ever trotted on a mile track regardless of sex. Nick Salvi told me afterward he was so mesmerized by the timer that he almost forgot to scoot trackside for an interview with driver Yannick Gingras. Nick said he and Yannick were both shaking as they spoke in the winner's circle. I talked to Yannick right after that and I can vouch for his excitement.
I came back on the apron and congratulated co-owners Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. I also have to now congratulate Mark and Mike on Foiled Again's 96th career win last night at Batavia Downs.
Before I go on, I better reveal who I found out was driving around in style last night: Jason Settlemoir. The guy is like a celeb magnet every year in Lexington, and he texted me late that he was in his hotel when he happened upon James Corden, who asked if he'd take a spin in his car doing some carpool karaoke. Jason jumped at the opportunity and he told me he did his best Frank Sinatra, especially on I Did It My Way, as he made his way up Vine Street.
I originally had dinner plans with Judy Davis-Wilson but we decided to move that to tonight, so when Boss Kathy extended an invitation to join her and a few others at Ramsey's, I accepted. I had decided earlier that I'd just stay home last night and watch the Michigan State-Michigan football game so Ramsey's worked perfect. Oh yeah, did I mention my Spartans won in the Big House? And how about the University of Kentucky holding on against Missouri to go 5-1 on the season?
I met up with Boss Kathy, Tom Charters, Jay Farrar and Maggie Leclair right after the races. We had two open seats while we waited for brothers Dan and Greg Coon to arrive. They were going to be tardy as a result of working to seal the track and get it ready for today's races. After a while Greg arrived—we had actually finished our dinners thinking the Coon bros were going to be no-shows—but he said he left Dan at the track finishing up and he wouldn't be joining us.
The Lexington Herald-Leader ran a big story about the Coon brothers in today's paper, which you can read online at http://www.kentucky.com/. While there are photos of both, only Greg is quoted in the story. You make of that yourself, I have my deduction as to why no quotes from Dan. Remember, he's my fantasy football partner—my "silent" fantasy football partner.
I was up late watching the football games so I checked the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale results and again there was a big-priced horse. Congratulations to my sponsors, Steve and Cindy Stewart's Hunterton Sales Agency, for selling the Day 5 topper, a McCardle colt bred by Steve Stewart and Cotton, Julie and Francene Nash that went for $300,000 to Ed James' SSG Stables.
It was a great sale for Hunterton as their horses brought in nearly $4.5 million. Bob Boni's Northwood Bloodstock was the leading consignor by average at $116,235. I know for certain that sales managers Randy Manges and David Reid have to be ecstatic about what transpired over the five-day sale.
Today is the last day of the Grand Circuit meet, so be sure to make a final stop at Jeremy's Gift Shop as he has a great offering. He even has sets of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Harness Hero cards (which includes one of me) available.
Thanks to everybody for reading. Thanks to everybody for their kind words over the past couple of weeks. Thanks to Boss Kathy for sending me out to The Red Mile and getting me out of the office. Thanks to Nick Salvi for giving me some exposure by asking me to do the two pre-game shows (whew, that could have gone so wrong!) Thanks to Steve and Cindy Stewart's Hunterton Sales Agency for their sponsorship.
And this year will be a bit unusual as The Red Mile backstretch will remain open as horsemen remain awaiting the Breeders Crowns later this month at Hoosier Park. So I'll be able to still get those inside stories you will be able to read on harnessracing.com and in our Weekend Preview email newsletter that we send out late Thursday afternoons.
And I can finally say that gas prices made a slight move downward as I saw a couple of $2.19 and $2.21 stations along the way. Chris Tully saw a $2.19 station last night and was so excited he texted an alert to me.