Travers Stakes, 2009

Sep 1st 2009 01:45 am |

I never do well betting when in attendance at Saratoga. I find it one of the most distracting places to be a horse player but – as an historian and racing fan – there is no place that I would rather be. It is holy ground for the sport of thoroughbred racing. A race fan who doesn’t appreciate Saratoga is like a Catholic who thinks the Vatican is overrated.

As many times as I have wandered around the grounds – it retains its fascination. There is always something new to see – from the small nuances of the facility itself to the cast of characters that make up the multitudes who have trekked there for nearly 150 years. Saratoga is one of my favorite places on earth and – as corny as it may sound – it still takes my breath away when I walk through the front gates.

This year’s trip to the Spa was memorable. It included a productive visit to Lyrical Ballad; outstanding and exciting racing on Travers day; my first time hanging out in the Saratoga paddock; and a trip to the stakes barn to see the two Birds. Not bad for a guy living out of his truck for three days.

Here is a summary of my Saratoga trip in pictures:

These signs – one for each Triple Crown winner – line the
road that is adjacent to the Oklahoma training track

First turn of the Oklahoma training track

Inside the stakes barn at Saratoga

A blurry Summer Bird in the stakes barn
the day before winning the Travers

Summer Bird’s next door neighbor – Kentucky
Derby winner Mine that Bird

Trainer Chip Wooley tossing carrots into
Mine that Bird’s feed bowl

Cowboy Cal – a Colin’s Ghost favorite – in the paddock
before the Bernard Baruch on Friday.

Crowd along the rail waiting for an early race on Travers day

The crowd under the grandstand on Travers day

Salve Germania in a brief moment of sanity
prior to winning the Ballston Spa at 24 to 1

As the field readies to load for the Ballston Spa,
Salve Germania prepares to throw her rider

Ballerina winner Music Note in the paddock.

Vineyard Haven being unsaddled after
his disqualification in the Kings Bishop.

The field enters the track for the Travers Stakes

Quality Road returns after finishing a
disappointing third in the Travers

Quality Road being led back to the barn after the Travers

2009 Travers winner Summer Bird

Summer Bird and Kent Desormeaux

Many thanks to Gene from Equispace who gave me the paddock pass on Friday. And thanks to Teresa from Brooklyn Backstretch who made the introductions that landed us in the stakes barn to see Summer Bird the day before the Travers.

It has been a great summer — book-ended by Summer Bird’s wins in the Belmont and Travers. Looking forward to the fall meet at Belmont. Hoping to make a trip up the Turnpike for Jockey Club Gold Cup Day.

Back for another history post by the end of the week…


Filed in Cowboy Cal,Mine that Bird,Quality Road,Saratoga Race Course,Summer Bird,Travers Stakes, 2009,Wooley, Chip

5 Responses to “Travers Stakes, 2009”

  1. Teresa says:

    Great photos, and great to see you. Hope to see you at Belmont–

  2. Anonymous says:

    I always enjoy the history posts but this was a nice change of pace. Great pics.

  3. EquiSpace says:

    Great seeing you, Kevin. Man I don't know how you survived the rain Friday night in that contraption! Excellent pics.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. Must be splendid to be treated without suspicion as we ordinary fans are, should we foolishly have the urge to visit the barns (I had no idea I looked like Osama bin Laden, but there you are).

    Special kudos for enduring what must have been a dreadful day, with the rain andf the cold. But someone had to do it!

  5. dana says:

    I'm still chuckling over "frat party at a-hole university"