Indian Blessing (part of her, anyway) and John Velazquez, before she demolishes the field in the Test.
At the paddock before the eighth race on Saturday, a group of little girls chanting, “Num-ber one! Num-ber one! Num-ber one!” as the horses walk by on the way to the track; Hangingonaprayer, walking past them, agitated, rearing; someone—a trainer?—unceremoniously shushing the girls, waving his hands at them; someone else—an assistant?—more solicitous, explaining that they’re exciting the horses. They jump off the fence and watch, sobered.
Another gambling angle? At the paddock rail, a man stands, watching the jockeys walk in; his buddy approaches, “Who looks ready?”
The Communist exacta strikes again: Stalingrad, second to Leningrad last October at Belmont, gets nipped at the wire in the Fourstardave by Red Giant.
On the backstretch one morning, Rajiv Maragh, Alan Garcia, and Edgar Prado hanging out at a picnic table. I want to eavesdrop.
Tom Albertrani and a little girl in a golf cart; she’s driving.
Barclay Tagg sitting outside his barn in glorious afternoon sunshine, jovial. I swear.
Overheard: A well-known trainer says, “Johnny Velazquez is the best jockey in the country.”
Monday: Nacascolo pulls up on the backstretch. Ramon Dominguez stays on him around the turn, dismounts; the horse walks on the van on his own. Fingers crossed…
Marylou and Susan arriving…
On the infield, a man loading something long and big into a golf cart; it appears to land on the accelerator, as the golf cart takes off, he running after it…it looks like it’s going towards the lake; to the disappointment of many, it stops.
Additions to Men’s Day, from Monday’s program: bourbon tasting from Tuthillton Sprits (sic), and chair massages from the Habana girls.
On to week three…