By Gene Kershner
The end of the Saratoga and Del Mar meetings signals the end of summer and the lead in to the
Breeders' Cup World Championships to be held at Churchill Downs on November 4-5 in Louisville. The racing world will now turn to Santa Anita, Belmont Park and Keeneland for the final prep races before the season culminates with the Cup races under the Twin Spires.
As we exit summer racing at two of the most successful meets in the business, here are some
* Here's hoping both Havre de Grace and Blind Luck take their talents to the Breeders' Cup
Classic against males. It would give the race some needed luster after the retirement and
hoopla created with Zenyatta last year.
* It was an extremely difficult spot for Uncle Mo to come back and run a 7-furlong Grade 1
sprint after a four month layoff. His effort, in my eyes, gets better and better each time I
watch the replay. Here's hoping Team Repole takes a shot at one of the Breeders' Cup races.
* The Ladies Classic (Distaff), sans the two aforementioned super fillies, could set up the 3-
year old filly divisional championship should Royal Delta and It's Tricky face off.
* I'm a proponent of moving the Breeders' Cup after a rotation of the big three (Churchill,
Santa Anita and Belmont) to another venue every four years. Woodbine, Arlington, Lone Star and Monmouth come to mind as desirable locations.
* I heard NYRA head honcho Charlie Heyward on Steve Byk's satellite radio show At The Races
state that one of the reasons Belmont was passed over for the 2011 Breeders' Cup was the lack
of quality dining facilities/luxury boxes. He mentioned on air that during Belmont Stakes day
he had some of the BC board tour the current dining facilities upstairs on the second and
third floors. The Board members present were impressed but stated that they didn't realize
that these places existed within Belmont's infrastructure. I'm sure Charlie will sharpen his
pencil next time he submits a proposal.
* In four short years, since opening in September 2007, Presque Isle Downs has a Grade 2 race
on its schedule, the Presque Isle Masters, which will be run on Saturday afternoon at the
Erie, Pennsylvania track. I spoke with Jim Cornes, Stakes Coordinator at the track who told me
one of the horses was actually ‘FedEx'd‘ into Presque Isle on Thursday through Memphis. When
it absolutely, positively has to be there ...
* One of the most popular traditions at Fort Erie Race Track continued on Labor Day as
Francine Villeneuve took a jump into the infield pond after winning the Puss N Boots Cup on
Kettle Rapids. The race had been originally scheduled to run on the turf course but after
heavy rain over the weekend the event was moved to the main dirt track.
Total attendance for the Saratoga meet (39 days with racing canceled on Sunday, August 28 due
to Hurricane Irene) was 871,772, down 0.7 percent from 878,284 for the 40-day meet in 2010.
Daily average attendance of 22,353, however, was up 1.8 percent from 21,957 in 2010.
* Mark Oct. 1 on your racing calendar. Belmont Park will host Super Saturday featuring five
Grade 1 races, including the all-important Jockey Club Gold Cup, where some of the 3-year old
crop will face older horses for the first time.
* There is some great racing on tap this weekend from Presque Isle, Belmont and Turfway Park.
Here's to cashing some big tickets!