With apologies to Roger Daltry and the rest of the lads regarding the headline, the Daily Racing Blog gives you some of the great memories from the 2019 Saratoga Race Course, in yet another summer to remember.
Loss Of A Legend: Memories of Marylou Whitney, the beloved Queen of Saratoga, filled the hearts and minds of fans for the remainder of the meet after her death on July 19 at age 93. Mrs. Whitney was celebrated in many ways, including her induction into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame on August 2nd as a “Pillar of the Turf.”
Her husband, John Hendrickson who is President of the Hall of Fame, said during those ceremonies: “She was dedicated to the horses and the people who love them, the unsung heroes and backstretch workers. Thank you for loving her. She loves the sport and you with all of her heart.”
Celebrating A Legend: Racing and baseball intersected beautifully when former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was honored at the track on July 12th, a week prior to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in nearby Cooperstown, N.Y. He spent the day at the track, in which he was present in the Winners Circle after every race, posing for pictures with the Winning connections. Rivera is no stranger to the Winners Circle as he helped the Yankees to five World Series Championships during his career.
Wise McGaughey: Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey earned his 4th Travers Stakes Victory when he did an outstanding job in preparing CODE OF HONOR, who he once described as “a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde horse.” McGaughey used the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park instead of the Jim Dandy, (the usual Travers prep race) to give CODE Of HONOR additional time to rest in advance of the Travers. The result was an emphatic three-length triumph over TACITUS, which gave McGaughey his first Travers since 1998.
Record-Setting Performance: GOT STORMY produced a performance that was remarkable on many levels when she became the first filly to defeat males in the 35-year history of the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap. She not only set a track record of 1:32 on the firm inner turf course but she did it on seven days rest!
Short Memory: PRESERVATIONIST, who faded to 4th in the Whitney, showed some perseverance when he rebounded from that disappointing showing to rally for a Victory in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, prevailing by half a length against runner-up BAL HARBOUR for trainer Jimmy Jerkins and jockey Junior Alvarado.
Three-Peat: Young riding star Jose Ortiz Won his third straight Alabama Stakes as DUNBAR ROAD was shuffled back but used a wide rally on a sloppy, sealed track to get the job done by 2 ¾ lengths. Ortiz is the first jockey to Win the Alabama three years in a row since Hall of Famer Jerry Baily from 1997-99. Trainer Chad Brown notched his first Alabama Victory, leaving the Travers Stakes as the only Saratoga jewel that eludes him.
The New York Racing Association resumes racing Friday with its Belmont Park fall meet.