Cup of Coffee: Progress Report

- -

Ten cards in the books, 30 to go. The things we’ve learned so far . . .

 Quality Road has never been better.

Ramon Dominguez works as many horses in the morning as he rides in the afternoon.

Shaun Bridgmohan was one of the few jockeys at the track Tuesday morning.

Rachel is still Rachel.

I will not set up any more blind dates.

Javier Castellano, Rajiv Maragh, Freddie Lenclud will change the guard. John Velazquez plans to be the guard for a while longer.

Golfcarts need water in their batteries.

Todd Pletcher is a better horse trainer than basketball player.

Phil Gleaves is here, tuning up Mambo Meister, who’s now a dirt sprinter.

People still yearn for the good old days.

Eric Guillot fits right in at Saratoga.

The jury’s still out around the sales grounds on whether Sheikh Mohammed’s presence helps or hurts the sale.

Fasig-Tipton still has some bugs to work out – valet parking at the top of the list – there is no doubt they will.

If half the trainers waited five minutes to get on the turf, it would be a lot safer.

Winslow Homer is fragile.

The Travers looked loaded one minute and light the next.

Hosting a TV show is way harder than being the sidekick.

Mark Casse has stalls in the stakes barn.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is going to be tight.

The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm are making progress.

The Shake Shack makes a mean burger.

Tom Proctor and Bruce Levine are glad it’s 2010 and not 2009.

Musket Man, stuck between 7 furlongs and 9 furlongs, looks awesome for Derek Ryan.

Richard DePass can coach a jockey like John Wooden could coach a shooting guard.

Anak Nakal has the best walk of any horse on the grounds, Quality Road has the best mane, Missinglisalewis has the best gallop and El Crespo has the best neck.

The 2-year-old races are still confusing – experience or hype?

The product has played out better than expected.

Bill Mott and Todd Pletcher will turn every stone when it comes to handling high-strung horses, Mott ponied Unrivaled Belle (with a rider) to the paddock for the Ruffian while Pletcher simulated an afternoon gate experience for Quality Road.

The Annex could still use some grass seed (come on Voss and Sheppard, spend some money).

The turf has already taken a beating.

The Fruit Man switched to plastic bags, bad for the environment and for the mystique of eating peanuts on the backside.

Don’t drop your shells anywhere near the Graham Motion barn.

Rick Violette can’t get lucky at the gate.

There’s a garden right out of Country Living at the house next to the horse path on Union Avenue.

There’s a tomato-growing contest on the backside.

Sergio Vasquez (not Santiago Vasquez as written here), who exercises horses for Barclay Tagg, won 3,604 races in Chile. He was Chile’s winningest jockey before Gustavo Barrera caught him in 2003.

Bill Person is missed at the corner of Mott and Clement.

Toadie is missed at every corner.

The Cupcake factory, at 507 Broadway, has taken The Special’s marketshare from Spring Street Deli. They deliver from across the hall.

Don’t let kids drive golfcarts.

Chad Brown enters aggressively, he’s the dog at Pletcher’s heels.

Bridgetown will win Thursday.

There is never enough advertising.

The game needs more characters like Leon Blusiewicz. He wins a 9-furlong maiden race with a first-time starter, touts him around like he’s running for mayor and then says he’s going to win the Travers with the horse.

We should have bet out on Followmyfootsteps, Settle For Medal, Admiral Alex, Proviso, It’s Tea Time . . . so much to learn.