The annual Memorial Day stop at Fair Hill Steeplechase marked the end of spring. The end of spring? Really? Saratoga looms. Here is your Here & There from Fair Hill, Saratoga and a little from Belmont Park and beyond. Enjoy.
“He figured it out.” – Former Saratoga Special writer John Panagot, when hearing former hotwalker Ryan Clancy got a real job – with weekends off – at Saratoga
“I do well at two places and they both start with F and H.” – Jump jockey Ross Geraghty, after winning four at Fair Hill (he’s been known to win at Far Hills too)
“Another big tree has fallen.” – Daily Racing Form’s Jay Hovdey, when hearing that all-time leading steeplechase jockey Joe Aitcheson Jr. died Saturday morning
“We know how hard it is to get to 100.” – Former champion steeplechase jockey Chuck Lawrence, when recounting Aitcheson’s 440 record number of wins
“I’m doing the Belmont Park, Penn National, Fair Hill triple.” – Owner Matt Groff, completing the third leg of the Memorial Day Weekend Triple
“Even on Memorial Day, I can’t get away from this guy.” – HRRN’s Jude Feld, while holding a bag of Clancy’s Baked Rippled Potato Chips somewhere in New Jersey
“Now, that was a tough non-winners-of-three for the price.” – Rival owner as American Ladie leapt out of the conditioned claimer at Willowdale to land the Valentine at Fair Hill
“I don’t watch.” – Trainer Willie Dowling before the timber race at Fair Hill
“I can’t watch.” – Trainer Tara Elmore before the timber race at Fair Hill
“Now, that kid is cool.” – Spectator as apprentice Connor Hankin won the James Stump Memorial at Fair Hill
“I still feel overdressed.” – Ryan Clancy, wearing shorts, at Fair Hill
“I miss the stone steps and wooden seats.” – Veteran Fair Hill racegoer as he walked up the metal stairs of the Aintree Stand
“It was Paddy Young’s finest hour.” – Steeplechase fan after the four-time champ guided Cry Vengeance to win the maiden claimer at Willowdale
“Front, in front.” – NYRA track announcer Tom Durkin as Front won the eighth race at Belmont Park Thursday.
“Just like the Civil War, we need one southerner up there to get things done.” – Eric Guillot after clockers timed his duo of Awesome Elle and Lovely Elle last week at the Oklahoma Training Track
“I’ve got to go and play trainer now.” – Jim Bond, heading back to his private barn on Gridley Street
“Rail, rail, rail.” – Exercise rider jogging the wrong way to a fellow rider galloping at least three or four paths out on the Oklahoma while breezers approached
“Trust me, it doesn’t get any wider than this.” – Bond, when hearing the warning call
“You missed the first barbeque of the season. Just look for the smoke coming up between those trees over there to know when the next one is.” – Guillot, about his annual (weekly, daily…?) cook outs
“Look at that, it’s like an elephant stepped on it. Anybody want to contribute?” – Trainer Leon “Blue” Blusiewicz holding his money clip after a rough trip downstate at the windows
“Well, what I would suggest is. . .” – Very patient mutuel clerk, helping a bettor decide what to do at the Fair Hill Races
“Do I retire the trophy?” – Trainer Todd Wyatt, who has won the maiden claimer at Fair Hill three years in a row (Sneaky Louis, Prime Prospector, Catch The Blues)
“You Never Even Call Me By My Name, Gimme Three Steps, Your Cheatin’ Heart…” – Playlist of the Fair Hill Races house band
By The Numbers
.545: Winning percentage of jump jockey Carol-Ann Sloan, who improved to 6-for-11 on the year with a win aboard American Ladie at Fair Hill Saturday. She’s in a four-way tie for second in the overall standings behind runaway leader Willie McCarthy’s dozen wins.
1: Trainer’s mobile phone found at the top of the bleachers at the end of Saturday’s Fair Hill Races. Trainer’s identity deciphered by looking at Horses Races Now app notifications.
5: Trainers with the last name Attard with runners on Woodbine’s Wednesday card (Jamie, Kevin, Sid, Steve, Tino).
Names of the Day
Nearby: The English import, who made a stakes start for Irv Naylor and Cyril Murphy at Fair Hill Saturday, is out of Contiguous.
Sally Brown: Bill Pape and Jonathan Sheppard’s homebred is named in honor of steeplechase fan and wife of former amateur rider Austin Brown. The 4-year-old filly made her debut at Fair Hill and finished third.