Claire Novak

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A Day At The Spa: Aug. 16, Chasing the 'chasers

Every Thursday afternoon before the first race, the mood in the press box is decidedly grim. Each card leads off with a steeplechase event, and the handicappers – some of which have not picked a steeplechase winner since before the Kennedy administration - have no idea where to begin.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 14, The Perfect Trip

You can train your horse up to a race, conditioning him in the best possible manner. You can score the services of a top jockey with a winning percentage of 66.67 and a 79% in-the-money rate. It's all up in the air when they open the gate.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 13, This Game's Not Easy

This morning on the backside near the clockers' stand, Ron Anderson and Doc Danner are shooting the breeze, taking a break from the normal routine of lobbying trainers and chatting up owners in the hopes of scoring winning mounts for their riders. Anderson represents Garrett Gomez, currently fifth in the standings at Saratoga. Danner's jock is Shaun Bridgmohan, who ranks tenth.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 12, Giveaway Day

On an ordinary day, it takes two minutes to drive from Route 29 to Saratoga's main gate via East Avenue. This morning, the same route took 35 minutes. It's giveaway day, and the spinners are out in storm to bring home today's featured item, a red Saratoga lawn chair in a handy carrying bag.

Mott Considers Cox Plate for Silver Tree

The next start for 7-year-old campaigner Silver Tree is yet to be determined, but trainer Bill Mott said he will consider sending the son of Hennessy to Australia this fall to compete in the Oct. 27 Tattersalls Cox Plate (group I).

Meeting with NYRA Starters, Jockeys at Saratoga a Success

An Aug. 9 meeting among members of the racing industry and jockeys at Saratoga Race Course was a deemed a success by Bruce Johnstone, the New York Racing Association's manager of racing relations, as discussions took place over the recent issues before the starts of several races at the New York oval.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 9, Hey Javier!

See the twisted figure standing near the Oklahoma track? Yes, that's Javier Castellano, and it looks like he's attempting to master some absurd Yoga pose as he bends over backward with hands clasped above his head.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 7, Horse For Sale

Evenings in Saratoga bring another feeling, one of frantic energy, and of adrenaline, and of the intensity of short, fast-paced hours. No place emphasizes this more than the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds, where the vigorous pursuit of Thoroughbred yearlings at auction began with yesterday's opening session for the two-day select sale.

Eight Inducted into Hall of Fame Aug. 6

Eight Inducted into Hall of Fame Aug. 6

Eight legendary figures from the Thoroughbred industry were inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Aug. 6, as University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino gave the keynote address at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 6, Quotes and More

In honor of (and caused by) an 8:00 a.m. deadline, Hall of Fame inductions, an upcoming afternoon of racing coverage, and an evening of sales assignments, we defer to a smattering of quotes and scenes witnessed by your faithful correspondent, who peruses the backside of Saratoga (almost) every morning.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 5, Clockers

Up in the press box, half a dozen men peer down upon the congested scene. They wear baseball caps and sunglasses, keep pairs of binoculars close at hand, follow the progress of the galloping horses with obsessive concentration. They are fixated upon speed, and upon the tracing and recording of it.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 3, The Start

Want to watch a race from the rail? 1 1/8-mile events are the best. The starting gate is pulled up close to the winner's circle. The action, so often relegated to the backside, takes place before your eyes.

A Day At The Spa: Aug. 1, Dominion Award Day

Once there was a horse named Dominion, a determined runner who put Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable colors in front of the racing world at tracks from Chicago to Saratoga. He was a blue-collar horse with rarely seen determination--he would run on the dirt, turf, soft, hard, long, short--and he would lay his heart on the line to get to the front and stay there.

A Day at The Spa: July 25, Opening Day

Spend a perfect day at the Spa... There will be a few hours to lose at the Oklahoma training track, and you'll stand at the rail and breathe the pungent, pleasing odor of sweaty flanks and dew-stained grass, watching as horses and riders come lolloping over the freshly-turned dirt course.

Pleasant Strike Poised to Strike in American Derby

Todd Pletcher trainee Pleasant Strike, coming off consecutive victories in the Arlington Classic and an allowance optional claimer at Arlington Park, looks to extend his winning streak when a field of nine sophomores goes postward in Saturday's reneweal of the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT).

Borel Wins ESPY Award for Top Jockey

Jockey Calvin Borel was the recipient of this year's ESPY award for top jockey and received the award during a presentation ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre July 11, said the jockey's agent, Jerry Hissam.

Silent Pleasure Set to Please in Cornhusker Handicap

S & S Stables' Silent Pleasure, coming off a narrow victory in the April 28 Texas Mile (gr. III), stretches out to 1 1/8 miles and looks to extend his four-race winning streak when he heads up a field of 10 as the 121-pound highweight in Saturday's running of the Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Prairie Meadows.

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