Backstretch With Gordon: That's a wrap!
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After a day to recover, it's time to wrap up the 2015 Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile. The biggest thing for me this year at the "new” Red Mile wasn't the glistening gaming parlor, or the busy simulcast area and re-done Wagers; it was the painting of lines in the parking lot.
Although having painted lines meant there was no Randy in the parking lot directing us to an open spot, it was great to see some semblance of order. While there was plenty of parking, spaces were at a premium on Saturday for the Futurity card.
Congratulations to Team Takter for the wins with Pinkman in the Kentucky Futurity and with Wild Honey in the Filly Futurity. Yannick Gingras, who drove Pinkman, had told me the night before that he was hoping he could hop on a 6:40 p.m. commercial flight to get back home and spend time with his kids, but he didn't want to miss out on the chance to sit in the famed floral chair for the first time. That was the right decision Yannick, who had the chance to sit in the chair.
As for Jimmy, he told me he and Christina began their drive back home to New Jersey shortly after the races, with their celebratory dinner on the road at McDonald's.
Two horsemen who did get on a plane immediately after the races were John Campbell and Bob McIntosh. The two Hall of Famers headed to Toronto where they teamed up to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Super final for 2-year-old trotters with Tony Soprano. John and Bob were joined by Jim Fielding and his wife, Tracy, on the plane. The group needed a police escort to get from The Red Mile to Bluegrass Airport, which helped get them through heavy traffic near Keeneland.
Tony Alagna won the Super Final for 2-year-old filly trotters with Caprice Hall, but the trainer was still in Lexington watching from his hotel room. Although the Alagna-trained Artspeak won the Tattersalls Pace, Tony told me his celebration would be eating pizza and watching the Woodbine races on TV in his hotel room.
David Miller won five races on Saturday, but he hasn't checked in yet to let me know how he celebrated.
Saturday was a great day of racing and gave me one more chance to say hello to some people. It seemed some were here just a moment, so it was tough to chat, while others seemed to be around everywhere.
Former Horseman correspondent Andrew Cohen flew in from Colorado to make a single purchase at the yearling sale, and that's where I saw him on Monday night. I thought I'd see Andrew at the races, but he didn't stick around long as he swooped in and out pretty quickly. There were plenty of others who I saw for a moment and then never again.
I stayed up in the press box for much of the time Saturday. DRF's Derick Giwner was also stationed there. Dean Hoffman came up for a while, and he was joined in conversation by David Carr. The Little Brown Jug's Jay Wolf also came by. The press box was a busy place on Saturday.
As I call it a wrap on this year's Backstretch columns, I want to thank Steve and Cindy Stewart's Hunterton Farms for their continuing sponsorship. I also want to thank Boss Kathy for having the brilliant idea 13 years ago to send me out of the office to The Red Mile every morning and write what I see and hear.
I'm very lucky to have landed a job at The Horseman And Fair World back in 1998. I'm proud of the work a very small staff has been able to provide. As I write this today, I'm a bit tired from a hectic two weeks, but it has been well worth it.
Finally, let's talk about gas. For the second year in a row, veterinarian Ward Lutz has provided me with a file card showing gas prices in different regions. Dr. Lutz goes back a long ways, back to working for the late Joe O'Brien. Today's price still remains at $2.29 a gallon, a dollar less than last year. Who knows? Maybe today's prices will be a dollar more than next year. Now that's wishful thinking.Thanks for reading, see you next year.