Saratoga Notebook: Saratoga Wired; 43 in Row for Johnson; Sky Mesa's Near Miss

Saratoga Notebook: Saratoga Wired; 43 in Row for Johnson; Sky Mesa's Near Miss
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Funny Cide unlikely for Travers.
Power Zaps OTB in New York City
Racing was held as scheduled at Saratoga Friday, with only a few changes necessitated by the power outage Thursday that affected an estimated 50 million people in the United States and Canada.

Nader estimated that NYRA would lose approximately $1.2 million in handle Friday because New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. was still without power. Nader said the five other regional OTBs in the state were operating.

NYRA was unable to produce pocket programs, but did have some 15,000 copies of its Post Parade Magazine program available for sale. Saturday's program, usually available on Friday, will not go on sale until Saturday.

Saratoga was briefly slowed, but not stopped when the blackout hit shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, as the horses were approaching the gate for the seventh race.

"The backup generator kicked in and we lost nine minutes," Nader said. "We were back up and running. The photo-finish, our television cameras, the public address system, the starting gate, betting terminals, our uplink to send our signal out.

"We were really well positioned. The only hits that we really took were a loss of communications with New York City OTB."

Nader said NYRA probably lost $500,000 in simulcast handle from the last few minutes before the seventh race and the final two races of the day.

"We were pretty fortunate," Nader said.

Johnson Extends Win Streak to 43 Years
Phil Johnson's winning streak at Saratoga was extended to a remarkable 43 years Friday.

The 77-year-old Hall of Fame trainer has won at least on race every season since he began running horses at the track in 1961.

Johnson had three seconds in 13 starts this year before 4-year-old filly Micmaceuse, the 7-5 favorite, led from gate to wire in Friday's opener for her third victory this year.

Micmaceuse ($4.90) was 2 3/4 lengths in front of Effervescent, running nine furlongs in 1:52 on the main track in a race originally scheduled for the inner turf.

"I didn't think she could lose," Johnson said. "I bet $20 for my granddaughter, and I do not bet on horses. She's getting some money."

Johnson, who will saddle 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi in Saturday's Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II), figured he might have to rely on the star of his stable to keep the streak alive.

"I thought maybe tomorrow it might happen. Now that it's happened, I might scratch tomorrow," he said with a chuckle.

But Johnson doesn't joke about the streak.

"No, it's important," he said. "I thought about it the last three years because they started writing about it three years ago. It makes you think about it. Like everybody else, I read that stuff. Today, I didn't read anything. How did that happen?"

Continued...,

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