Katie, winner of the Brooklyn Backstretch Take Ten! mini-league, has decided to donate her money to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which is a part of NTRA charities. When Katie let me know where she wanted the money to go, she wrote, “…it will help people that are forced to face life changing circumstances due to their injuries in the sport (like Ron Turcotte)…Sometimes I take the jockeys too much for granted and just worship the animals in their magnificence and grace running.” Beautifully put, Katie, and thanks again to all the participants who contributed to this donation.
In other contest news, I once again forgot to register for the NYRA SHOWdown game, this time for the Belmont spring meet. This is the game in which, for a $10 entry fee, contestants pick one horse on each day’s card to finish in the top three. Usually, about half the field is gone by the second week, and I’m among them. It’s $10 I saved, but I can’t help feeling a little regretful about not playing.
Saturday’s Peter Pan Stakes looks like it’ll be an awfully fun race to watch, with a lot of storylines:
–Casino Drive, half-brother to the last two Belmont Stakes winners (Rags to Riches and Jazil, both out of Better Than Honour), ships in from Japan off an 11 ½ length maiden score at Kyoto. One race, at a mile and an eighth, and he heads west to take on stakes company, with the Belmont in his sights. If he wins the Belmont, shouldn’t Better Than Honour get some sort of lifetime achievement award? Casino Drive hasn’t raced in two months and gets Kent Desormeaux.
–In another international story, Tomcito hopes to make the Peter Pan his first stateside victory, following thirds at Gulfstream and in the Lexington under Jorge Chavez. Cornelio Velasquez rides this time. Was he really the favorite in the Lexington? Wow.
–When Ready’s Echo raced in Saratoga last summer, I wrote about it for another website on August 8th:
The other race that stands out to me today is the 6th, a maiden race for two
year old colts. Z Humor, by Distorted Humor and sent out for Bill Mott and
Kent Desormeaux (who are both having terrific meets, leading trainer and jockey
respectively), was the favorite and won—no surprise there. But Ready’s
Echo, by More Than Ready (also the sire of Ready’s Image, who won the Sanford
opening week), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, surprised
everyone, including and especially track announcer Tom Durkin, with his amazing
late run to get second. On the backstretch, Ready’s Echo was notably
behind the pack, barely running, and at the top of the stretch, he was ninth of
nine—nowhere to be found on the TV screen. As Durkin was wrapping up the
race and announcing Z Humor as the winner and about to announce Nick Zito’s Pick
Off as the place horse, Ready’s Echo charged up the track and Durkin had to pull
back to say, “Whoa! Ready’s Echo…Ready’s Echo came from another county!”
Although Ready’s Echo split my exacta (there’s a shocker), I couldn’t help
but be impressed by what he did.
Durkin’s practically talking to himself, laughing, as he finishes the call; I just went back and watched the race again, and you must see it. Go to CalRacing, Ready’s Echo at Saratoga in the sixth race on August 8th. Really…go watch it. Ready’s Echo didn’t race again until March at Gulfstream, winning there and then finishing second at Keeneland in April.
I’d love to head out to Belmont (and really, is there anything more beautiful than the Belmont turf course? Watching the replays when I get home from work, I just start to smile when I see that lustrous green) to see the Peter Pan, but I’ll be heading northward to Saratoga for Mother’s Day…and getting early enough on Sunday in the hope that there will be at least a few horses on the track at the Oklahoma. Oh, happy day!