The image to the left is 102 years old, the Sartaoga Race Track. One of the enduring and endearing things to the Turk about horse racing is the tradition, the grandeur, and the pure pleasure of being at a place like Saratoga.
In 1986, this Turk found himself living about 5 blocks away from the racetrack on a street called Jumel Place. I had been indoctrinated into the sport of horse racing by people like my mother and father, and most importantly, my Aunt Rose. As I found myself living near the track, and working odd hours, I found myself venturing to the track regularly. At first it was just to be with my Skiddy-Kiddy, but then it took hold. The Sleeper Awakened. Like a drug in got inside me and its never let go. I love Saratoga Race Track for many reasons but none more importantly then the symbol of what horse racing was and what horse racing can be again. I digress.
The Turk looked at today's card and was drawn to the kind of horses and the the type of race he enjoys: 3 YO and up racing on dirt around one turn. Yeah! The icing on the top is some of the talent I get to see in this one.
July 29th, 2009 Race 3: The James Marvin Stakes $80,000; 7 furlongs on dirt for 3 YO and Up.
I went back and forth, albeit briefly, as to which horse to put on top. I like the current form of Riley Tucker and I love his string of 100+ BSF. i don't like the fact he doesn't seem to want to win as much as he likes finishing back. The 4 YO son of Harlan's Holiday and the Baffert Trainee is more then capable of winning, but capable and doing is the Grand Canyon of all sports.
Finallymadeit is a 15-1 ML and yes I'm sticking him on top. First time trainer isn't something on keen on, and Trainer Ritvo only hits 9% of these, but I like the work and the class this horse has been keeping, as well as the drop in distance today. He could wire this one.
The Turk's more about the Super these days then anything else. 10 Cent Supers are in fashion here as well. Pyro, glorious Pyro, has the look of a rock star and now he sports the Royal Blue of Godolphin. It's his first race since the Breeder's Cup (cough) Dirt Mile. While he's training well, I'll drop him in the top four for sheer respect of his abilities and his class level compared to his fellow hoof beaters. I'm looking for Bold Start with R. Albarado up to come late and find a place on the ticket. For alternatives, Cassoulet or Lord Snowdon at long odds could hit the 4 spot.
It's a nice field of horses on opening day at the Spa.
One person who won't be there this year is my cousin, The Murph. I was in the Murph's wedding, as he is married to my beautiful and favorite cousin Marge, and it was my true pleasure to talk horses with that man every year at our family reunions. The Murph got sick in the middle of the meet last year and passed away before the Breeder's Cup. Life can be sudden, swift and merciless. It was a tragic loss and I honor him today with my appearance on opening day. Rest in Peace Murph.