Makin’ it in Saratoga

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Saratoga is about making it. Chad Brown and John Fahey III felt like they had made it when they won their first races at Saratoga.

Agent Hoppy DeMarco felt like he and Sebastian Morales had made it when they upset the sixth with Joppa Flat’s Saturday. Rudy Rodriguez and trainer Jimmy Correa felt like they had made it when they teamed up on Thursday.

Others struggling for mounts, for work or for winners feel like they haven’t made it.  

Have you made it?

For me, it’s an ongoing question.

You know you’ve made it when your 15-year-old nephew calls from the box seats and says, “Wayne Lukas said he didn’t know what race you were watching when you wrote your story about the Lake George.”

You know you haven’t made it when you’re asked, “You still riding jump races?”

You know you’ve made it when you walk through the crowd and a perfect stranger says, “Good show today.”

You know you haven’t made it when a guys asks, “You’ve been doing that paper for three years now, huh?” It’s been eight.

You know you’ve made it when Neil Howard says to you, “We need people like you in the game.”

You know you haven’t made it when the only positive day you have in the New York Post Showdown contest is when your horse scratches.

You know you’ve made it when a trainer sees you coming and offers “Put me down for Obama, we need help.”

You know you haven’t made it when you’re still meeting The Paper Lady with three stacks of papers at 5 in the morning.

You know you’ve made it when she tells you, “The Chief has to have his Special.”

You know you haven’t made it when someone says, “You should be a jocks’ agent.”

You know you’ve made it when a whole crowd of people in the trustees’ room turn to you and say, “That’s a quote of the day.”

You know you haven’t made it when Peppers calls and says the papers are blowing down Lake Avenue.

You know you’ve made it when Nick Zito puts his arm around you and says, “You know what I mean, you grew up on the backstretch.”

You know you haven’t made it when you’re wondering if you’ve made it.

You know you’ve made it when people call up specifically to contribute quotes for the Here and There page.

You know you haven’t made it when you’re asked, “Are you Indian Charlie?”

You know you’ve made it when Larry Jones will stop working to do a radio interview with you.

You know you haven’t made it when the radio interview is done via a cell phone held in the palm of your hand.

You know you’ve made it when a guy e-mails to ask the subscription price for The Special if it’s mailed to Oregon City, Oregon and writes, “I know I sound like a broken record telling y’all this, but man I love getting up at 5 a.m. each morning, well before my daughter, putting the dogs out in the yard and reading The Special online with my coffee. It is the only time I have to myself each day, and it’s time well spent.”

You know you’ve made it when someone stops to get you to sign a book you co-wrote.

You know you haven’t made it when they then realize the book is already signed – meaning they probably hadn’t opened the book.

You know you haven’t made it when it’s 11 at night and you’re still working on tomorrow’s column.

Have you made it?

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