What I think…about Far Hills

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“What did you think of Far Hills?”

The question has been asked many times since Saturday. The best day of steeplechasing has come and gone. What did I think?

I think Demonstrative is a freak. The way he tanked Robbie Walsh for 2 5/8-miles, pulling to Divine Fortune’s flank every time Darren Nagle tried to slow it down and then easing back every time his front-running rival picked it up. The way he pricked his ears as he came up the rise to the last, like, ‘Hey, what else is going on…I got this…’ Awesome performance.

I think Richard Valentine should be commended for the job he’s done with Demonstrative, to revitalize a career that had definitely gone the other way, to research and pull the trigger on off-season wind surgery, to produce a horse at his best in four consecutive starts in July, August, September and October.

I think the person who told me it was boring had a point, “Same old horses running against each other again,” but I think you have to appreciate what you have

I think we need new blood.

I think Valdez will come over next year.

I think Ivy Mills ran huge to be third in just her second career start.

I think George Ohrstrom Jr. would have had a good laugh as his son Clarke won the maiden and finished second in the Peapack (disqualified from the win) and his widow Jacqueline won the Grand National and finished third in the maiden. The yellow was flying.

Speaking of yellow, I think Yellow Mountain ran great in the maiden. Of course, I’m biased.

I think the pace of the New Jersey Hunt Cup was farcical (I would have kept riding if we went that slowly) but I was impressed by the four horses who rated off the dawdling pace. Well-trained veterans, jumping out of stride. Hot Rize has polished his game.

I think it’s disappointing there were only five in the New Jersey Hunt Cup.

I think it’s commendable that Far Hills carded the non-winners-of-two allowance, basically giving away $50,000 for the good of the game.

I think HCP’s drone needs to speed up – or something.

I think Long House Saint was impressive in his American debut.

I think David Byrne needed a sandwich after doing 147 on Long House Saint.

I think I hated where Dr. Skip’s saddle was sitting through the Grand National. Teeter-totter, teeter-totter.

I think a jockey will forget to weigh in at some point, as the scale isn’t in plain sight.

I think there is no place to watch a race in America like the hill at Far Hills.

I think going out the back way and hitting 78 west is the only way to get out of Far Hills. Where have you been all my life?

I think Bernie Dalton was mad after the Grand National. Like hornet mad.

I think the $18+ million raised by Far Hills and given to the Somerset Medical Center should be publicized and communicated first, especially when there is criticism for our sport.

I think it was strange to see men in the unoccupied women’s jocks’ room.

I think I miss the pony races at Far Hills and I think they probably made the right call to stop them

I think it’s great see flat fans watching the races at Far Hills, the Brooklyn Cowboy at a hunt meet.

I think it’s great to see Michael and Anne “McDynamo” Moran at the races again.

I think it’s great they move the hurdles halfway through the day.

I think John Von Stade deserved the tribute.

I think it stinks that breeder/owner/trainer/jockey Ben Swope broke his collarbone.

I think it’s comforting that Anne Knoeller jumped in and drove Swope’s trailer home, all hands on deck all the time.

I think it’s cool to see Doug Fout and Peggy Steinman with a nice 3-year-old. Poppet Pitts as well.

I think it’s confusing – and slightly comical – when you hear an owner and trainer talk about the plan for the race – drop out the back and get some education – and then watch the horse go straight to the front.

I think Willie McCarthy clinched the title with a double.

I think standing on the hill watching the sun set in the distance, with a long, hard day of racing in the books is as good as it gets in our game.