Saratoga Diary: Of Bridesmaids and Brides

The Woodward
Gender issues aside, Sun King was a bridesmaid instead of a bride again.

Tracy Farmer's dark bay colt by Charismatic has amassed more than $2 million on the racetrack, but even as the 2-1 favorite, he could only finish third in The Woodward (gr. I) on Saturday.

It was the fourth straight race in which Sun King had his shot at becoming a winner, but couldn't quite get to the finish line first.

Instead, Premium Tap, a Pleasant Tap four-year-old, beat Second of June, an offspring of Louis Quattorze, in a thrilling stretch duel. The John Kimmel-trained winner was ridden by Kent Desormeaux. He paid $64.

Funny Cide contested the $500,000 Woodward, but wasn't up to the challenge. One wonders how much of the decision to run Funny Cide was trainer Barclay Tagg's. The Kentucky Derby champion hasn't been of grade I caliber in a year. Nevertheless, Saratoga is the home of Sackatoga Stable, and the local hero has shown his face here only once.

The Forego
The $250,000 Forego (gr. I) was a co-feature on the card, and it looked to be a dandy--until it was run. The race brought together many of the best sprinters for a 7-furlong showdown, but what figured to be a hot pace was merely tepid. A good horse, although not the fastest one, was able to win.

Pomeroy, making just his second start for trainer Marty Wolfson, beat War Front with Friendly Island third. Commentator, another horse owned by Farmer, finished up the track as the even-money favorite.

The Woodward, the Forego, and Funny Cide were supposed to be reasons for bringing in a crowd. But with temperatures in the lower 60s, a drizzle, and gray autumn skies, the gathering was held to 13,111.

Other strange happenings occurred. Nick Zito sent out eight runners, none won. The 4-8 Daily Double was a hunch play for fans of King Kong. King Hoss won the opener, and Kong's Revenge won the second. In the dreary seventh race, the superfecta on 9-7-1-8 paid $210,562.

The sixth race was named the "Last Minute Plans for a Lifetime Together, Patti and Tom at the Starting Gate" purse. If rain is a lucky sign because a wet knot creates a tighter bind, how fortunate the new Mr. and Mrs. McCauley are after celebrating their marriage in the winner's circle.

And this bride - no bridesmaid like Sun King - gave the trophy to Tiz Wonderful in her wedding gown.