Saratoga Diary: Heat Leaves Owner in Cold

Jack Wolf was looking forward to the first running of the Ashado Stakes. He believed all along that if any track was to have a race named after his Eclipse Award winner, it should be Saratoga Racecourse or Belmont Park, the scenes of some of his filly's biggest triumphs.

Using the nom de course Starlight Stable, Wolf and his wife Laurie, along with Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, were listed as the owners when, in past years, Ashado won the Schuylerville (gr. II), the Spinaway (gr. I) and the Go For Wand (gr. I) at the Spa. On Wednesday, they were to be on the opposite end of things, handing out the silver instead of receiving it.

But no money-swapping would transpire in the winner's circle on the seventh day of racing. Hot weather forced the first cancellation of an entire Saratoga race card.

The heat index reached 106 degrees and Charlie Hayward, the track's president, wisely vetoed the scheduled action after meeting with jockeys and trainers.

Since putting up pre-race detention barns without consulting anyone, Hayward has learned to coop the controversial issues with others. With the power going out from overuse of electricity on Tuesday, Hayward decided to keep his power in tact by making certain that he wasn't alone in this one.

Jockey Calvin Borel, who won his first race at Saratoga in Monday's Amsterdam (gr. II), learned the hard way on opening day what can happen when a horse encounters severe humidity.

Borel was sent flying when riding Frances G in the Schuylerville. The filly collapsed from dehydration near the finish line. As the crowd held its breath in fear that Frances G broke a limb, track hands with a hose revived the heat-stricken animal with cool water.

Nothing this drastic happened during the Wednesday morning workouts, but horse after horse returned from his paces with a salty sweat spread across its chest. By 10 AM, all humans with a way to escape abandoned the backside in favor of the lake or a rare air-conditioned hideaway.

The Ashado was to be an overnight stakes worth $70,000. When Wolf made the deal to honor Ashado with a race, he told Hayward that he wanted a graded stakes, but no graded stakes was available.

Hayward promised Wolf that when one opened up, he'd consider it. Now everyone must wait until Friday to see any kind of Ashado Stakes will be run.

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