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Fri. Backstretch With Gordon: Go away rain!

September 28, 2012

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Gordon, calling boss Kathy at 7:30 this morning: "Hi Kathy, it's been raining forever and I'm sure The Red Mile will be a muddy mess, you don't really want me to head over there, do you?” Kathy: "You get paid the big bucks, get yourself over to the track and find out what's going on. I want to know the big news and so does everybody else. No excuses. If you get sick, you get sick. That's why you have health insurance.”
When I did actually talk to Kathy she told me she had learned that Bill Weaver of Valley High Stables is in intensive care (that means no visitors) at a Lexington hospital. Bill's filly Aspidistra Hanover had finished in a dead heat in a division of the Bluegrass on Thursday night at The Red Mile and unfortunately he wasn't there.
Bill fell from a chair while in the backstretch at The Red Mile earlier in the week, where of course he was keeping an eye on his horses. He's suffered a broken nose and bruising, but thankfully did not break a leg or hip or anything to limit his mobility. He is in intensive care because doctors are monitoring him carefully due to his injuries and medication. Bill's presence on the backstretch, at the track, and at the Peninsula Farm consignment area has been constant for many years, so we all will keep him in our prayers for a full and speedy recovery.

So no, Kathy and I did not talk about me skipping the backstretch, but what really is taking place is that it just continues to rain in Lexington. We got through Thursday night's card with just a light sprinkle midway through, but it wasn't 15 minutes after the last race when it started to pour. We had a monsoon for about 90 minutes. And it rained overnight, and it stormed this morning, and when I got to the track—yes, I did not shirk my responsibilities from keeping the masses informed—there was still a light rain falling. As for Friday morning's qualifiers, they've been moved to Saturday morning.

As for Thursday night at The Red Mile, the place was jumping for the first night of Grand Circuit racing. The track had arranged a promotion with the University of Kentucky's fraternities and sororities and the "Greek Night” was a success. So was the $1 beer and hot dogs. A large group gathered in the winner's circle for the last race's presentation to the winner With Sugar, who is owned by Brittany Farms.

In my travels this morning I ran into Brittany racing manager Myron Bell and John Fodera, and Myron told me that he invited the entire group of students back to the track on Saturday to see Captaintreacherous race. I told Myron that it might be a hard sell since UK plays South Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday (remember that if you're heading to the track, there will be extra traffic) but if the outcome is as predicted, the kids might be looking for some late-night entertainment and could still make the race, which is late on the card.

Speaking of late-night entertainment, I admit to going over to Buffalo Wild Wings after the races to get some food (one $1 hot dog wasn't going to cut it) and there were plenty of horsemen there doing the same. It was nice to have a chance to say hello to some I haven't had a chance yet to see. When I left it was in the midst of the big rainstorm.

Fellow Michigander Brad Kramer told me that a vulture was living in the rafters of his barn at The Red Mile so I made a point of heading to Barn 15 this morning to see for myself. Brad and Kevin St. Charles looked and looked for me but it was just my luck that there was no vulture to be found.

I made a quick circle through the barn area as the rain continued, and since it was kind of quiet I decided to head back to the office. Please Kathy, can I come home now? I stopped in to the race office and Mickey Burke was holding court with Curby, Dill and Billy. Mickey seems to be getting along pretty good since shattering his femur a few months ago in a training accident. He gave me the lowdown on the 12 screws and everything else needed to repair the damage.

I also stopped briefly to say hello to the stewards, and yes, they were all again in the same spots. After seeing the real NFL refs get a standing ovation last night in Baltimore I asked Rich—since track judges are racing's referees—if he ever received a standing o in his career and he quickly replied, "No.”

Gas went down another couple cents this morning to $3.76. As for the weather, the sprinkles now are supposed to lead to another good bout this afternoon. But then it's supposed to clear up for the rest of the weekend. The predicted temperature tonight at 11 is 62 degrees, so that should make for a pleasant night at the races.

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