Ok now I have joined the ranks of the real artists, I am blogging from Panera. Oh baby, I know you are jealous. Actually I might move I just sat down and the women next to me has a horrifically nasally voice, and she’s one of those super animated talkers and she knows everything. She literally hasn’t stopped talking in five minutes.
Ok lets restart our eight day odyssey.
Day 19 (8-12-11):
Some mornings are so pathetically slow that by 8 am, I am pretty much done. Other mornings its s hot and heavy that I amaze myself with how much ground I cover. This morning was no exception. I don’t know how I magically teleported to all these places…. before 7am, but I did! Instead of babbling on about each one, I’ll let you just look and enjoy them. They all have different feels to them.
From here, I literally walked straight over to the Fasig Tipton sale pavilion and watched the Hall of Fame inductions. Sorry no photos for that, they have not even been downloaded yet! It was however a pleasent experience to watch, unfortunately the only inductee I knew was Jerry Hollendorfer. The horses where before my time, heck for one of them I wasn’t even born yet. Despite that, the appreciation is always there for great horses, and was quite moved to see their replays and hear their accomplishments.
From there, the marathon continued right back over to the main track for the days races, which consisted mostly of maidens and claimers. The feature of the day was the Hall of Fame stakes, which proved to be every bit as exciting as last years. Big Blue Kitten broke beautifully and immediately went to the rail where he sat in perfect striking distance for the remainder of the race. Turning for home, he had an explosive turn of foot and as he straightened for home powered through a hole, that didn’t look like it existed on the replay, to overpower Rustler Hustler. I just watched the replay twice and am amazed by this horse, and I just realized he now has a FIVE race win streak! wow! I really cant wait to see this horse run again soon, he is gorgeous!
Oh and I went to Harvest and Hearth AGAIN. It’s better than crack.
Day 20 (8-13-11)
Halfway home. Thats a mildly depressing statement in itself. I am not going to talk about the morning because I was supposed to be at Arlington Park and its just wildly depressing.
I didn’t think it was possible to get sick from exhaustion, but apparently you can. I was remembering back on this morning through the photos, and I knew I was shivering and absolutely miserable all day long. I somehow managed to stay long enough to take pictures of Shackleford, who goes out super late. Well, to me, since I am there at 5am usually.
I arrived just in time to see ze king, Shackleford, in his first work over the main track with Tammy Fox up.
He is just a monster. I really think that despite loosing to Coil, he is the best three year old out there. Yeah thats a lofty statement, but I believe it. He is such a happy horse and really loves his job. I also love that Dale Romans’ lets horses be horses…
Really can’t wait to see that blue white blaze rolling down the lane at me in the Travers… or Woodward.
One other catch from this morning, the lovely Aikenite struck a pose for me! Love this little guy
I had to kind of blast through that part because the races where the most rewarding thing of all. After an abysmal morning, I was handed a D3 and a beastly 300 f/2.8. Which means pretty much nothing to you, but its a monster piece of equipment and I instantly go from 5’3 to 6’8. It’s my little machine gun.
The Prize Fighter finally broke his maiden. He tried what I believe was opening day and looked like a million bucks, only to be thwarted down the lane. With a race under his belt he knew what was going on and was bound and determined to win. He linked up with an appropriately named Jaw Crusher and they fought down the lane, leading ultimately to The Prize Fighter KO’ing Jaw Crusher at the wire.
Also much impressive was Tiz Sardonic Joe, trained by Asmussen and galloped in the morning by a friend of mine, wiring the field in a 1 1/16m maiden.
The part that I am really excited about is the Sword Dancer, a race that I really was on the fence about because its just a really long race that is usually quite boring. I say that only because I am usually on the outside rail, not the inside. I hate the outside rail, its such a poor angle and everyone can do it. I was shooting the race for the track photographer (Adam Coglianese) and he wanted me to shoot it from the inside, but in one of the most difficult spots I have ever tried to shoot from. I was behind a bush like Lee Harvey Oswald, had no idea when the horses where coming and had about two strides to find, pan, focus and shoot. Oh did I mention the rail was out at 18′??? By the grace of God himself I got the shot the first time around, and when I heard the thundering of hooves the second time around my heart started to race…. was I going to get it? It’s just too easy to screw it up…. Shit there he is…
Bam. Nailed. How ironic that my little machine gun got Winchester. The high you get from shots like this is absolutely unimaginable. It’s like having sex while riding a roller coaster and winning the lottery while eating ice cream all at once. It took what was a really crappy day and turned it into one of the best days of the race meet. A perfect way to mark the halfway point.
So all in all, a fabulous day. Its a perfect reminder to never give up on yourself even when you feel the walls are closing in. Believe in yourself, and the rest will follow.
Stay classy Saratoga, I’ll leave you with a shot from the ninth..
Wait, I forgot this
Oh and this!
Ok, I had a few tricks up my sleeve, NOW Stay Classy Saratoga!