Tim O’Donohue didn’t like the direction his day was headed after watching a race on his smartphone in the Saratoga Race Course paddock Friday before the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.
Eighteen minutes after watching his Over and Back duel for the lead, take the lead and then fade in deep stretch to finish fourth in a race that just missed the course record for 5 furlongs on the Monmouth Park turf course, O’Donohue leaned up off the back of his seat in a box at Saratoga to watch the Grade 2 Hall of Fame. Wallyanna, a colt he claimed earlier this year for $35,000, was 23-1 in the field of six that included two graded stakes winners, two restricted stakes winners and an improving colt trained by one of the hottest trainers on the grounds.
Isn’t it funny how things can change pretty quickly in racing?
O’Donohue went from slightly bummed out to overwhelmed when Wallyanna stormed from off the pace for the biggest upset in a stakes at the 2014 meeting, returning $49.20 to win and adding another highlight to the owner’s dream year.
“I’ll tell you I’m living the dream. I’m living the dream,” O’Donohue said. “I got bummed out because we had the horse at Monmouth and I’m like, ‘eh, not a good start to things.’ “
O’Donohue can be forgiven for being a little leery of bad omens when he’s got a horse running at Saratoga. He’s only run two before and they both finished last – Debt Ceiling at 9-5 in last year’s Sanford Stakes and Mast Cove in this year’s Opening Day Schuylerville Stakes.
Wallyana helped him improve that percentage in a big way when he and Irad Ortiz Jr. gunned down front-running favorite Bobby’s Kitten in deep stretch for a fourth win in five starts this year. Wallyanna won by a widening length, getting the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.66.
Read the rest of the Hall of Fame recap in Saturday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland Sales.