My First Travers Was a Great Experience
You always here people talking about their bucket list. It began after the movie of the same title came out. Saturday I got to experience to experience that has been on my list for a long timeI The Travers Stakes at Saratoga. I hope that I have lots of good years left in and this will be my first of many trips to the "Midsummer Derby."
It all came about because of my partnership with America's Pastime Stable. Being that I have NYRA credentials through being a race horse owner with the group I was finally able to attend the race and it provided me several great memories.
Probably my biggest thrill was twice getting to see British jockey ace Ryan Moore and get a taste of what these star riders can go through in a day during their career. I went to The Spa a little late. The 13 race card was a bit long for me and I just wanted to get to the track for the big stakes races. I spent time earlier in the morning at Granville football practice. Even though the card began at 11:30 a.m. I arrived at the track in time for the fourth race.
As I was pulling into the owner's parking lot when a car in front of my abruptly stopped. Thiis man with a dress suit on jumped out of the back, grabbed his suit and started walking briskly to the the trakc entrance. It was Moore arriving to ride Japan in the Sword Dancer.
Later in the day after watching Moore finish second on Japan I was waiting by path the riders take to the paddock, hoping to get some video and pictures of the Travers jockeys. I just happned to turn around at he same time that Moore, with a security guard at his side, was being escorted to catch a car back to the airport. Turns out Moore had to rush to ride in a Grade 3 at Goodwood the next day.
It was also great to get up close and personal with some of the great horses in the country. My plan for the day was to rush to the path from the barns to the paddock after each race. Stand along the fence and get as close as possible to the equine superstars. And also to secure a spot near the winner's circle to see the trainers and owners as well.
It worked out like a charm. Among the horses I was close enough to touch were Gamine, Yaupon, Swiss Skydiver, Midnight Bourbon, Whitemore and of course the race winner Essential Quality. In the winner's circle it was nice to see guys like Chad Brown and Brad Cox after their wins.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the Travers itself. What a thrill watching the start of the race and then the stretch battle between Midnight Bourbon and Essential Quailty, with Luis Saez getting Essential Quality to the finish line first. As usual the gray colt did just what he needed to, securing the win.
My trip to The Travers was everything I was hoping it would be. It was well worth the wait. I am looking forward to going again next August.
With the Border Country Sports Blogs, I'm Keith Harrington.