Another Triple Crown season in the books, Royal Ascot past the halfway point, summer racing underway and a serious countdown to the start of the Saratoga Race Course meeting. If you’re counting – and who isn’t really? – it’s just five weeks away.
The action was fast and furious through the spring classics and the end of the spring steeplechase season and we’re not expecting much of a rest in the 35 days until Saratoga opens its doors. We’ll close the book on the Triple Crown with one more installment of Here & There, which features plenty of quotes and some numbers for your enjoyment. See you down the road.
“Governor Cuomo, you need to man up and keep your promise.” – Exercise rider Heather Coots, speaking on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing during a press conference Wednesday urging New York’s governor to return NYRA to a private not-for-profit organization
“I woke up about every 15 minutes to watch the replay.” – Steve Asmussen the morning after the Belmont Stakes
“It’s great to win any time.” – Elliott Walden, WinStar’s president, CEO and racing manager, when asked if it was more rewarding to win as an owner or trainer
“He needs to be rewarded or pampered a little bit. He needs more than a couple days at the spa. Valiant horse on the lead. He showed that in the Arkansas Derby, that he’s not a patsy by any means.” – Asmussen on Belmont pacesetter Gettysburg
“Just a wow. I want to watch it again.” – Kiaran McLaughlin on Frosted’s monstrous win in Metropolitan Handicap
“To get a horse like this, from an owner like that, is an honor.” – Chad Brown on Juddmonte Farms sending him Flintshire for a U.S. campaign in 2016
“Good feed program I guess.” – Bill Mott, joking when asked what he could put his finger on for Just A Game winner Celestine’s recent rise up the female turf ranks
“They might be lucky they were there today.” – Mott on Tepin and Miss Temple City being at Royal Ascot and not Belmont to run against Celestine
“I’m going to keep trying until all my hair falls out.” – Wesley Ward on his continued assault on major stakes at Royal Ascot after Lady Aurelia romped in the Queen Mary Wednesday
“Whole lot of gray.” – Asmussen watching the replay of the Belmont, which featured a 1-2-3 finish by gray colts
“When we finished fourth in the race at Keeneland we didn’t get enough points to get into the Kentucky Oaks, even though she won the premier race for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill in the fall. They’ll have a re-look at that. The filly that won their most important 2-year-old race in the fall didn’t have a chance to get in the Oaks.” – Mott on Acorn winner Carina Mia
“I can now walk by that wall. I’ll actually stop next year and look at the pictures for obvious reasons.” – Asmussen, referring to the wall of Belmont Stakes-winning photos on the second floor at Belmont Park. He avoided it before, because of the 2007 win photo of Rags To Riches nosing out Curlin
“I shouldn’t even be sitting here.” – Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who bought an interest in Belmont winner Creator the week of the race
“Kenny Troutt, the guy who makes all the difference.” – Elliott Walden pointing out WinStar Farm’s owner in post-race press conference when the moderator didn’t recognize him
“Breakfast on Irad.” – Patron at The Morning Line Sunday, after the Belmont-winning jockey walked took a seat at the counter
“Tough beat.” – Todd Pletcher, succinctly explaining the loss by Destin
“The way he rode this horse was like a Cordero ride.” – Dallas Stewart talking about the ride Joel Rosario gave Tom’s Ready winning the Grade 2 Woody Stephens
“Granted I have little idea what I’m watching and no idea of what kind of competition this horse was facing, but this was visually impressive and then some. Was up 20 lengths in an instant and didn’t come back. Anyway, it’s the first steeplechaser I’ve ever added to watch mail.” – Turf writer and handicapper Frank Angst on High Hope winner All That Rules
“I appreciate you walking all the way back here with me.” – Neil Howard to TIHR’s Tom Law and Daily Racing Form’s Nicole Russo after they walked back to the test barn with the trainer after the Allaire DuPont Distaff
By the Numbers
14 1/4: Frosted’s margin of victory for the Met Mile, the largest at least since 1959 (that’s as far back as we could find charts of the race).
100: Expected temperature Sunday in Southern California, prompting Santa Anita Park to move up post time to noon.
12,842: Winners for recently retired Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze.
47,629: Attendance on first day of Royal Ascot meeting.
53,578: Career mounts for Baze.
60,114: Paid attendance announced by NYRA for Belmont Stakes.
$99,419,023: Total handle for Belmont Stakes Day, down from $135,790,321 last year when the Triple Crown was on the line.
$199,334,219: Career earnings for Baze.
The three TIHR handicappers didn’t light it up Saturday at Belmont Park despite the opportunity to try and pick winners in the 10 stakes on the card. Each picked one winner – Tom correctly tabbing Metropolitan Handicap winner Frosted and Sean and Joe selecting Flintshire in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan. The 2016 classics season comes to a close with a tie atop the handicapper’s leaderboard. Tom and Joe finish with 12 winners, while Sean checks in third with nine. They’re hoping for better – much better – luck next year.