Charlie LoPresti stood at the big screen TV in the clubhouse, surrounded by Wise Dan’s team. Owners Morton and Elaine Fink waited to LoPresti’s left, assistant Reeve McGaughey and exercise riders Damien Rock and Kelly Wheeler stood in front of LoPresti as Wise Dan warmed up on the main track, minutes to post for the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, the fifth race on the afternoon but the feature of the year.
Eddie Plesa wasn’t about to take complete credit for one equipment change making all the difference in one race.
The stressors were adding up as the days clicked by for Charlie LoPresti during his annual stay here in Saratoga and an incident last weekend involving a horse he had no association with helped put his 2014 meet in perspective.
The race for leading trainer at the Saratoga Race Course meet for 2014 got awfully tight after Chad Brown capped a three-win day with a victory in, what else, a 1 1/16-mile race on the grass for 2-year-olds.
Saratoga winners usually return to applause, pumped fists, smiles, the occasional shout of joy. The aftermath of Monday’s Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup steeplechase included no such signs of celebration.
Free as a Bird can dish it out as good as she can take it and the 5-year-old daughter of Hard Spun proved it winning Monday’s $100,000 Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.