Wow, what a finale at Charleston. Drama to the end. All centered around championship races. Jockeys Graham Watters and Tom Garner and trainers Jack Fisher and Leslie Young.
“We were joking about at the start of the fall that it was going to go to the last day,” Watters said. “We didn’t think it would go to the last race.”
Still tied with two races to go, Fisher and Watters teamed up with Riverdee’s Gostisbehere to win the ratings handicap hurdle to go up by one. I kissed the computer screen. Watters and Fisher added another in the finale when Ghostlighter upset Garner on Young-trained Fast Vision in the Alston Cup.
Garner congratulated Watters with a handshake and a shoulderhug while easing to a walk aboard Don’t Shout. Sportsmen.
“In recent years, guys haven’t been getting along but it’s good to have a friend to compete with,” Watters said. “We talk a lot, we travel to the races a lot, it gives it a friendly vibe.”
The 30-year-old Irishman earned his first title with 21 wins.
“That sounds good. That sounds good,” Watters said after being called Champ the following day.
Riverdee played its part, supplying six wins for Fisher and five for Watters, the most of any owner for the newly crowned champions. We won our last five races to finish off a stellar 2021 season. Nine wins, two stakes, $258,950, our fourth consecutive year to place in the top five. Crazy, the highs and lows of the sport. We were winless from April to October and then won our last five and six of our last nine.
As Dad says, it’s the game we play.