Tom’s Top 10: Counting Down

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The wrapping paper and empty bottles are in the recycler, leftovers in the fridge and friends and family starting to trek back to their homes. And the countdown continues, the most memorable moments of 2013 from the world of racing.

Dance to Bristol’s victory in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico and Calidoscopio’s dash through the mud in the Brooklyn Handicap kicked off my personal top 10, a two-for-one on Christmas if you will. Since I got a late start – on the list, not on resolutions for 2014 (more on that another day) – I’ll crank out two more here, two more Friday and then singles right through New Year’s Eve.

No. 8: Saginaw’s Morrissey. It was tough to include Saginaw on this year’s list and even tougher to not include the remarkable gelding. The end of the road for Saginaw wasn’t what anyone imagined or hoped – a fatal breakdown in a starter optional race late in the Saratoga meet – but his start prior to that epitomized everything the ex-claimer was all about. Off for two months, Saginaw showed no signs of rust coming back and handled the three opponents who stuck around in the race named for Saratoga’s founder. The group included the talented Saratoga Snacks, who trainer David Jacobson pegged as the horse to beat as we talked watching Saginaw breeze a non-descript half-mile a few days before race. The Morrissey would be Saginaw’s fifth win from as many starts to that point, his 21st victory from 40 starts in his career and ultimately a final shining moment for the gelding.

Read about Saginaw’s John Morrissey victory.

No. 7: Ramsey calls his shot. Four days before the Saratoga meeting a conversation with Ken Ramsey added a new layer to the already multi-tiered personality of the man who parlayed a successful career in real estate and later as the buyer and seller of cellular phone towers to become racing’s leading owner and breeder. “I’ll go on record and say we’ll win 20 races at Saratoga,” Ramsey said in his typical tone, which sounds somewhere between joking and serious even if you’ve known him the better part of 15 years. Considering that winning at Saratoga is always tough, it only made sense to ask a follow up. “You said 20, right?” The answer was an emphatic yes, followed by all the reasons why Ramsey felt he’d not only win more races than David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable and defending Spa leading owner Mike Repole. His prediction went in a story and like clockwork Ramsey went out and dominated the Saratoga meet. He did two better on his prediction, too, twice as many as co-runners-ups Darley Stable and Drawing Away and Jacobson.

Read more about Ramsey’s bold prediction.

Read Tom’s No. 9-10 memorable moments of 2013.