Saturday Morning

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Watching Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown with Miles, our Saturday morning routine. Waiting for European racing to start, we’ll flip pancakes and watch Newmarket, Gowran Park, Redcar and Ascot, before heading up the road to Glenwood Park for the annual Virginia Fall Races. The only race meet Miles likes, “Is it the one with the rocks? Then I’ll go.”

Rained most of the day Friday, and most of the night. Still overcast. In a day, concerns about firm ground switched to concerns about soft ground. Amazing. Big card at Virginia Fall, with the running of the W. Gary Baker, a memorial stakes in honor of the former race chairman. He would be proud of the fund-raising effort, the full fields and the nine-race card. I’ll root for Cornhusker, Sharp Numbers and Sumo Power, graduates of Clancy Bloodstock.

Irv Naylor imports Able Deputy from Britain. Winless in nine hurdle tries, the 7-year-old has been prolific since moving to the bigger fences. Trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by the champ A.P. McCoy, the son of Lomitas out of a Pleasant Colony mare won four of his last five starts, making his final start in England August 31.

The Racing Post recapped his win at Worcester: 

ABLE DEPUTY was delivered with precision timing on the run-in and resumed winning ways. He took an age to come good, but has been in grand form this summer and obviously likes this venue. The 7yo has also now won his last four under the champion jockey and this was a decent effort off 145.

Kim Bailey´s assistant Matt Nicholls said, “AP has come back and said the ground was probably as dead as Able Deputy really wants as he is a summer horse who must have it quick. He is not going to be easy to place now as he was 145 there so we might have to see if there is a two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham´s first meeting in October.”

Ground might be dead today. Cool horse, adds intrigue to the day.

In other action, Wise Dan makes his second start since returning from colic surgery, taking on a tough field in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland. He’ll recognize rivals today, Optimizer, Seek Again and Kaigun ­- second to the champ in his three most recent races (beaten a length combined) – line up again. The good news about living down the road from Glenwood Park is I should be able to get home in time to watch on a real TV, otherwise, it’ll be iPhone from hillside.