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Saturday Backstretch with Gordon

October 16, 2010

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It's finally Kentucky Futurity day at The Red Mile and what a glorious day it is. The wind that wouldn't quit over the past two days has completly subsided. And after two days of wearing a long-sleeve shirt, I have a short-sleeve one on and don't even need a jacket. The high is expected to reach 70 degrees and with the day being a sun-drenched one, I'm sure it will feel warmer.
I am actually a little bit more rested today. After the races yesterday I headed across the street to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet up with Balmoral Park's Tom Kelley and his wife, Chris. Andy and Julie Miller came in a few minutes later and they joined us. Andy was sitting next to me so I told him how impressed I was with Manofmanymission's huge Breeders Crown win and also asked him if the strong wind really played that big of a role in race scenario the past couple days as only a handful of horses were able to go wire to wire. Andy assured me that yes, that wind was pivotal in the outcome of several races.
This has been a tough summer for us allergy sufferers and the past few days out in the open at the track hasn't helped my situation. Just ask my longtime friend Paul Ramlow from the USTA who was sitting next to me in the press box yesterday as he heard me sneeze at least two dozen times over the day. That's why after my quick dinner at BW3 I headed home and landed on the couch. I think I may have even surprised the boss--no, not Bruce, but Kathy--because she called about 8 o'clock after leaving the sale and apologized if she was interrupting my dinner. I told her where I was and that I was on the couch getting ready to watch the Yanks-Rangers game.
Before I go any further, I need to stop and give my best to my great friend Nick Salvi's father, who is undergoing bypass surgery today. Nick has been here all week and I was looking forward to spending  some time with him, but he texted me this morning that he had to head home to be with his dad. I hope everything goes well for the Salvi family.
Before I got to the track today I stopped at McDonald's to pick up an egg mcmuffin meal for myself and my--I mean The Red Mile's--trophy girl Whitney Fields. I arrived about two minutes before she did and she ate her breakfast while arranging the beautiful trophies that will be given out throughout the day on the three tables she has trackside.
I went over to the backstretch and as I walked in I heard someone on the loudspeaker blare, "Dewayne Minor, you have a message at the stable gate." Dewayne's another Michigan native who I go back a long way with. He has Wishing Stone in today's Kentucky Futurity, and after the colt drew post two after a seemingly endless string of outside posts in major races, he told me, "Finally a good post, now I hope we can make it work."
So good luck to Dewayne today. I also waved good luck to Jimmy Takter this morning when I went by him as he has Muscle Massive in the trotting classic. I shook hands with Chuck Sylvester too this morning and wished him luck with both Lucky Chucky in the Futurity and with Behindclosedoors in the Fillly Futurity.
I then saw Joe Holloway and as he walked past I asked him how Hambletonian Oaks winner Bar Slide--who came up sick and wasn't entered in today's Filly Futurity--was doing. I didn't realize Joe was talking on the phone as he had one of those earpieces in. But Joe asked whoever the person was he was talking to to hold on a second and he asked me again what I had asked. Then he told me, I tained her this morning and she was good, so she's going in next week's race." That race is the Bluegrass on Friday, so I'm glad for Rikki and Elizabeth Caldwell and their partners Bluestone Farms that they'll have a chance to see the filly race here.
I ran into the USTA's Jessica Schroeder and her mother, Susan, who were joined by Scioto Downs' assistant race secretary Jason Roth. Jessica told me that earlier she saw a "meeting of the minds" at the Sylvester barn as a big group that included Chuck and Jimmy Takter were in conversation. What was funny is that just then Erv Miller went past us while taking a horse off the track and he said to us, "Look at this meeting of the minds going on."
So as I write this from the press box, I also can look out and see everything going on. Right now that includes the track crew giving the finishing touches on cleaning the place, the tractors on the track getting the clay oval at its best, and a few people trickling in for the races.
Also, now that we had the big basketball happening at Rupp Arena last night, tonight we have a UK home football game against South Carolina, who is coming off that big win against the then number-one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide last week. The game is at 6 o'clock and announcer Sam McKee told me earlier he had tickets. So, look for Sam to call the races faster today--even if we get one or two race-offs--so he can make it for kickoff.
And gas didn't go down a cent from yesterday. I'll check on my way home as they may decrease later. Good luck and great racing today. Make sure if you're at The Red Mile to say hello.
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