Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Saratoga Highlights 2014 (Top Ten: #1)

The summer wind
came blowin' in
from across the sea
--Sinatra (Johnny Mercer, Henry Mayer, Hans Bradtke), SUMMER WIND
(link: Summer Wind)

Yes, the summer wind has finally arrived. Warm with the chance of pop up thunderstorms. And Saratoga's 40 days starts this week.
To get mentally, emotionally, and psychologically ready for the best races, horses, jockeys, fans.... (you know the rest), here's New York Court Watcher's annual look at highlights from the year before.
(click any photo to enlarge)
They're off in the 2014 Travers
Adam Coglianese
So with the help of some spectacular photography care of Bob Mayberger and Adam Coglianese--veritable feasts for the heart and soul--here are my humble selections for last year's Top Ten. (#1 was hinted above.)

Highlight # 1
V.E. Day, winning the Travers

It was a full field of highly talented 3 year olds: Bayern (1st in the Haskell), Commanding Curve (2nd in the Kentucky Derby), Kid Cruz (1st in the Dwyer), Mr. Speaker (1st in the Belmont Derby), Tonalist (1st in the Belmont Stakes), Wicked Strong (1st in the Jim Dandy), and a few other previous winners--including V.E. Day, who had won his third in a row 4 weeks earlier at Saratoga in a come from behind stretch run in the Curlin Stakes.

V.E. Day made it 4 in a row with the Travers.
(click to enlarge any photo)
Another Stretch Run for V.E. Day
Bob Mayberger
early on, it was Bayern in front with Tonalist and Wicked Strong in tow. V.E. Day was near the back of the pack in 6th or 7th. At the turn, Bayern fizzled out, Wicked Strong moved into first with Tonalist on his tail.
But just as it looked like Jim Dandy winner Wicked Strong was going to take it, Javier Castellano pulled V.E. Day to the outside and he picked up momentum. By the final pole, V.E. Day had passed Tonalist, he was still gaining, and everyone knew it would be close.
V.E. Day Surging
Adam Coglianese
Then, right at the finish line, V.E. Day got his nose in front of Wicked Strong for a thrilling end to the Midsummer's Derby.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens might have felt a bit bad for his stand out Wicked Strong. But not too bad since V.E. Day, the 19-1 longshot winner, was also part of his barn. 
19-1 V.E. Day Noses Out
Stablemate Wicked Strong
Bob Mayberger
In the next post, we'll move on to the next several highlights.