Keri Brion told Jimmy Day her plan for the Foxfield feature. Standing in the paddock Sept. 25, the apprentice jockey explained to the veteran trainer how she was going to settle the 7-year-old Irish-bred behind expected frontrunner Bau Bai Gold.
“Good luck,” Day said, with a smirk.
The end of an era passed with barely a whimper August 31 as Rockingham Park closed its doors for the last time.
Rockingham, slated to be torn down and redeveloped into another housing project and shopping complex, was originally built as a poor man’s Saratoga. It was the summer place for horsemen to escape Suffolk Downs during the heat of summer with horses not quite good enough for Saratoga.
The $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx was supposed to be a dry-dirt showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and his rival, Preakness hero Exaggerator, who defeated his nemesis on a sloppy track at Pimlico and in the Haskell at Monmouth Park. But neither was a factor as 11-1 Connect, owned by Paul Pompa and trained by Chad Brown, held off Steve Asmussen's Gun Runner. Connect's win, his fourth in six lifetime starts, further muddled the 3-year-old championship picture, making spectacular Travers winner Arrogate look even better heading into the Breeders' Cup. Photographer Tod Marks was at Parx with the recap.
Sean McDermott had a choice for the timber feature at Shawan Downs Sept. 24. Jack Fisher aimed three horses at the $25,000 fall opener and gave the Irish-born jockey his choice between Two’s Company, Straight To It and Ballylifen.
Undefeated champion Songbird made it 11 in a row by taking the $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., Saturday Sept. 24, over tough competitors Carina Mia and Cathryn Sophia. Now it's on to the Breeders' Cup and a possible showdown with older mares Beholder and Stellar Wind. Photographer Tod Marks was on hand to watch the champ in action.
Todd Pletcher’s spot in the Hall of Fame is as close to an absolute lock as there is in racing. He’s won seven Eclipse Awards, three U.S. classics, three Canadian classics, 10 North American earnings titles, nine Breeders’ Cup races and 145 Grade 1 stakes. Yes, 145.
Hurricane Sandy blasted New Jersey – and much of the East Coast – in the summer of 2012, all but stranding trainers and horses at the New Jersey track. That’s when Monmouth Park-based trainer Mike Lerman got a phone call that changed his life.
For a guy who got sat on by a horse Thursday afternoon, Jack Doyle is pretty cheerful.
“I’m not feeling too bad,” the steeplechase jockey said Friday, about 24 hours after falling with Rudyard K in the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory at Belmont Park. “I’m a lot more comfortable than I was yesterday.”
A little punchy from being on the road in Saratoga and Belmont Park, the steeplechase schedule gets back to its roots this weekend with stops at Shawan Downs in Maryland Saturday and the Foxfield Races in Virginia Sunday.
Stash it under your hat brim while watching youth sports, fold it in your shirt sleeve while eating dinner, email it to yourself and take a gander when you can. Laurel and Parx put on Broadway-worthy cards while there’s action all over the country, the world. Songbird is just part of the show. Here’s this week’s edition of Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud. Good luck and enjoy. Enjoy.