Backstretch with Gordon: Season finale
October 09, 2016
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Time flies when you're having fun. Here we are on Sunday morning, getting ready for the last of the eight days of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile. The weather this past week has been absolutely gorgeous, although it was a bit cooler with a strong breeze yesterday.
Over the past two weeks, I've had too much sun, and not enough sleep. I've had too much food, and not enough sleep. I've had too many adult beverages, and not enough sleep. I've gotten more than my share of excercise, and not enough sleep. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
My first stop at The Red Mile this morning was up to the press box so I could fire up my laptop computer. There is a definite chill in the air as it was 47 degrees when I woke up, and I saw it was in the high 30s in the southern part of Kentucky. The wind that was so strong yesterday has died down a lot, although the infield flags are still bristling in the breeze. We're supposed to hit 70 today, and with sunshine it should feel warmer.
Despite the wind yesterday we saw three world-record miles. Dragnet Alert set a new world mark for 2-year-old gelding pacers and I had a chance to congratulate trainer Chris Oakes when he came back to the dining room afterward. Boss Kathy and I had lunch there, and we were joined by Northwood Bloodstock's Bob Boni.
Later we had a pair of 1:49 miles that tied the world record for first-year colt pacers. The first came with Huntsville and the second was by Downbytheseaside. The timer wasn't shut off after the races so as I sit I can look out and still see the "1:49" on the board behind the winner's circle.
And talk about Miller time! How about the Erv Miller/Marcus Miller three-peat, lighting up the board at 93-1 Zane Hanover, 41-1 Chip Walther and then throwing a bone to the chalk players with the 8-5 Someomensomewhere.
I saw trainer Paul Kelley on the apron and wished him luck with Obrigado today and in next Saturday's $1 million International. Paul told me went over to Ashford Stud yesterday mornng where he had a chance to get up close and personal with Thoroughbred Triple Crown champ American Pharaoh.
A big shout out here to Somebeachsomewhere, whose progeny won six of the 10 two-year-old stakes on Saturday. And while the race wasn't here at The Red Mile, a big shout out to Foiled Again, who won the Kane Memorial last night at Batavia Downs, the 90th win of his illustrious career, putting him on the verge of $7.5 million in earnings. At odds of 9-1, I'm hoping co-owner Mark Weaver has some extra bills in his pocket today in addition to the purse money.
I went by Commonwealth Stadium on my way to the track today and the workers were out cleaning up the grounds. UK won, 20-13, over Vanderbilt. I knew I could cut through campus with no issues as the students had to still be sleeping after a late night of celebrating.
The barn area was just as quiet as there are now plenty of empty stalls with people shipping out. Bob Stewart yelled over at me to walk fast as there aren't many around. He was right. I did a quick lap around, and I think I may have said hello to two or three people at most.
Sally Bolon was here and I asked her about her travels the past few days. I knew Sally was here Thursday night because I wrote about her dinner, and then I saw she was in Pittsburgh yesterday. Sally said she went back to get Jim Pantaleano, who is set to ddrive Show Running in the Allerage Open Mares Pace this afternoon. Jim was waiting for Alicia Ritter in the licensing office, who arrived just a few minutes later.
Starter/trackman Greg Coon came by in his SUV and told me to hop in and go for a ride around the track. I had the door half open when I saw Erv Miller by his barn so I told Greg I had to take a rain check as I needed to talk to Erv about his three-bagger yesterday. I told Greg I was counting on him having the track in tip-top shape today so maybe, just maybe, a horse like Always B Miki could take a shot at the 1:46.4 world record.
As I came back up to the press box to write this around 10 a.m., there were already two people here getting ready for the races. They had some of those personal folding chairs with them and they lined up them up at the wall near Trophy Girl Whitney's stand.
Two of the happiest people in town have to be Lexington Selected Yearling Sale's Randy Manges and David Reid. From the first bang of the gavel at $550,000 to Hip 604, the sale was strong with an average of more than $56,000. Congratulations to my Backstretch sponsors, Steve and Cindy Stewart's Hunterton Sales Agency, for selling the Mission Brief brother who topped the sale at $800,000 as well as the daughter of Put On A Show who started it off at $550,000. I can't thank Steve and Cindy enough for their support, and I pledge to turn down all other sponsorship offers next year.
Speaking of pledges, I believe we were able to keep that pledge I started the first Backstretch with. Since I don't want to write what I said I wouldn't write about, if you don't remember, go our archive pages on the site and look at the Sept. 28 column, the one that kicked off Season 14.
I want to make sure I thank Boss Kathy for sending me out of the office every day to write Backstretch. I want to also thank everybody again for the kind greetings given to me regarding my Communicators Hall of Fame election. I wish I could name everybody here, but the list would be too long and you'd probably get bored and stop reading. Also having the story I wrote for The Horseman in our last issue about what transpired behind the scenes at Delaware, Ohio, nominated for the prestigious Stan Bergstein award, what an honor that is. And I also received a phone call from the manager at the community I live in telling me that I was named the November Resident of the Month! Can it get any better than that?
Finally, in the "Say what?" column, gas at the Marathon station near The Red Mile has jumped back to $2.39 today. Not sure how you can drop to $2.19 one day and then back up 20 cents the next. The station across the street where I live was at $2.13, and I saw a pair of $2.15 stations along the way. I'm just hoping next year--if Backstretch is renewed for Season 15--I can write prices at the same level or lower.
Good luck to Marion Marauder and his connections this afternoon in his quest for Triple Crown glory. By the way, Dean Hoffman told me yesterday this will be his 53rd straight Futurity. Might be a streak never broken. Good luck to all and I will see you down the road somewhere. Remember, the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner is at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Can it get any better than Vegas?