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Backstretch With Gordon: Lost In The Fog

September 28, 2018

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I need to get something off my chest right away. What I watched for hours yesterday was ridiculous. It was absurd. I just don't understand how it could continue for so long?

Yes, I'm talking about the rain that pelleted Lexington for several hours, rain that wasn't in the forecast. It was supposed to be a bit cooler yesterday but dry, but Mother Nature decided she wanted to make it seven consecutive days of rain in the Bluegrass. And while September is normally the driest month in Lexington, the month is now the wettest ever with nearly 11 inches of rain.

What happened though with the rain as when it diminished and the sun—I kind of remember the sun—came out early last night, it resulted in a brilliant rainbow over The Red Mile. I took photos of the rainbow, others took photos of the rainbow, and I even took photos of the people taking photos of the rainbow. Kentuckiana Farms' Ken Jackson pointed out to me how the rainbow's end—where we know is the pot of gold—appeared centered on where Fasig-Tipton is located, and how it has to be a great omen for next week's yearling sale.

That's why this morning's fog was such a contrast to last night. Because everybody seemed to have put rainbow photos on their social media pages last night, I decided to show y'all what a foggy morning at The Red Mile looked like. As you see in my photo, it was hard to see the horses. That's Tony Alagna on the right, but I had no clue it was him until he came directly past me.

But back to last night for a second. It was the first night of Grand Circuit racing and it was jacket time as it was a bit nippy. I was looking forward to Race 2, where my Taylor Swiftly favorite was going to be the betting favorite, but trainer Domenico Cecere scratched the filly with the track being off because of the rain. I really hope Taylor Swiftly shakes it off quickly as she'll be in the International Stallion next Friday.

Race 3 was the first stakes action of the night and it saw first-across-the-wire Don't Let'em disqualified to last after switching to the pace in the stretch and eventually making a break at the wire. That paved the way for 29-1 Aldebaranwalkabout and driver Andy McCarthy to score the big upset when the judges elevated her from second to first. I was rehashing the races this morning with one trainer, who told me, "Best trotting man in the game and it still happens," referring to the Jimmy Takter-trained Don't Let'em switching gaits.

I sat for a few races in an upstairs box with Boss Kathy, but when she decided to wander, I followed her lead. I went downstairs and saw Joe Sbrocco, who I love. I like everybody, but there are some I love, and Joe fits that category. I was a bit worried though when I saw Joe talking into his wrist. I realized he was actually talking into his watch, and when I figured out he was speaking to his wife Sandy, I gave her a big hello. I told Joe I was worried at first, but not as much as I would have been had he gone Maxwell Smart on me and was talking to his shoe.

Actually, my Lexington friend Katie has one of those watch phones, but she only uses it for texting. I mention Katie because she is a bartender at Harry's at Palomar and Goodfella's in the Distillery District, so if you are there and see her, please make sure you mention my name. Not that it will get you anything special, because it won't, but it'll help me prove to her that I really do have friends as I'm always going solo.

Right before the last race I received a text—on my phone, not on my watch—from announcer Gabe Prewitt, asking me to join him at Buffalo Wild Wings after. It was busy with people watching the football game, and there were a few tables of horsemen there already, and a couple more came in. I stopped to say hello to Blake MacIntosh and Jessica Dowse, and told them I'd be at their barn in the morning with Meadowlands Pace magazines I owed them after Courtly Choice's big win. I owed them Jug magazines as well but those I'll deliver on Saturday.

Barn 27 was my first stop this morning to drop off the magazines. Patty Stevens, the usual caretaker for Courtly Choice who wasn't in Delaware for the Jug victory, was there and she pointed out Courtly Choice to me in the last stall. She gave me some red licorice to give him, and he quickly took the two pieces out of my hand. Jessica and dogs Lena and Tank came back to the barn and Blake soon followed as he had been on the track. I told Jessica I need to ask for hazard pay for walking back there as it was a pretty sloppy going. I didn't realize trainer Bruce Saunders was right there, so I stopped and chatted a moment with him.

I stopped to say hello to Mickey Burke and then over to Brian Brown's barn next door so I could ask how his birthday dinner was last night at Merrick Inn. He sat on the right and one of his assistants sat on my left. I told Brian that as a Michigan State University product this was probably my worst nightmare as the assistant had on a University of Michigan jacket and he is a big Ohio State—sorry, that school in Columbus—fan.

George Ducharme waved me over so I went and said hello, and Howie Okusko soon came by as well. He was with his dog Maverick, who seemed so excited to see me I think he was thanking me for his mention in an earlier column.

I started to make my way to the car to head back to the office. A car that I put down newspapers on the floor mats to protect from the mud and had my second pair of shoes so I could get out of my "barn shoes." Jerry Silva saw me and came over so we chatted for a few minutes. He said he got to the track a few minutes later than he wanted this morning, but it was a result of the fog as he missed a turn that he couldn't see. Yes, it was that bad!

Gas at the same prices as yesterday, around $2.78 or $2.79. Don't forget The Round Barn celebration on Monday night from 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and there is a silent auction with great items and a live music by The Bedford Band. You can purchase tickets online at: https://squareup.com/store/stableofmemories.

See y'all at the races tonight, post time 7 p.m. In the words of Roger Huston, Be There!

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