As she leaned her back on a railing outside the office of trainer Joe Sharp’s barn on the Oklahoma Training Track Wednesday morning, Dede McGehee was tired from the trip to New York from her home in Lexington, even more so after a stop in Brooklyn to visit her daughter.
The owner/breeder was bright-eyed nonetheless, more so as her homebred colt Dolphus walked out of his stall and to the woodchip-walking ring a few yards away. McGehee, who bred the half-brother to 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the name of her Heaven Trees Farm, came out to see the Lookin At Lucky colt train in preparation for his comeback in today’s $100,000 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.
(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the book “Ride To Win: An Inside Look At The Jockey’s Craft” by Bob Fortus and Gary West. Recognized earlier this year as a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, the book explores everything that goes into winning a race from the rider’s perspective. Topics include how jockeys land mounts, strategy, what’s actually happening on the way to the starting gate, what riders are thinking and trying to do as a race unfolds and more. Fortus will be on hand with the Saratoga jockey colony for an autograph signing, with a suggestion donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the Jockey Silks Room Porch.
Two John Morrissey Stakes winners stood in their stalls on opposite sides of Union Avenue Wednesday morning
On the Oklahoma side was 2015 winner Moonlight Song, who craned his dark bay neck over the stall webbing to accept a peppermint from trainer Charlton Baker. Staring intently and nodding for more, the 9-year-old gelding finally lost interest and gazed out at the horses striding past to the training track.
Alfred Nuckols Jr. is feeling the heat as the days count down until the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings. He’s not warm under the collar because of any pressure with his Saratoga-bound consignment of six, quite the contrary, just feeling the effects of the rising temperatures in Central Kentucky the last few weeks.
The final preparations for the six Hurstland Farm yearlings cataloged for next month's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings is well underway in Midway, Kentucky. Check out the photos from Sunday, July 17 and compare a few with how they looked back in the middle of February.
Sarah Sis took several turns around the shedrow before going out for a light jog Monday morning, her feet piercing the brown dirt with every step. Ingrid Mason sat on her pony just outside the barn, half under the overhang and half out in the open air. She liked what she saw as the filly loosened up.
“Go ahead, give her another turn,” she told her small crew.
Songbird kicked dirt in the face of the Graveyard of Favorites by winning with devasting ease the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday. Now 9-for-9, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has moved into rare air as an appreciative crowd at Saratoga Sunday can attest. Photographer Tod Marks has the highlights.
The $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes is set for Tuesday, the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown following on the heels of the Queen’s Plate and a race that the connections of Leavem In Malibu probably wish he could leave behind.
The first week of the 2016 Saratoga Race Course meeting comes to a close with the Lucky Coin Stakes topping a nine-race card Monday and a tight race atop the handicapping standings in The Saratoga Special.
The few days that Songbird has spent in upstate New York make it pretty easy to comprehend why those closest to her say they feel no pressure when it comes to maintaining the California filly’s unbeaten record, growing legend and rightful position atop her division and among the best North American racehorses of 2016.
There’s an elephant in the room, and her name is Tepin.
Last year’s champion turf female and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner is absent from the entries for today’s Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and that’s likely causing trainers to breathe a sigh of relief. Seven of the 10 fillies and mares entered in the $500,000 stakes have unsuccessfully gone head-to-head with the dark bay powerhouse on at least one occasion.
Fozzy Stack took a long deep drag on his cigarette and walked toward the end of the barn where assistant Craig Allen was grazing Lake George hopeful Diamond Fields Thursday morning. The bay filly stood still and stared across the paddock fence.