Monday, May 19, 2008

Finger Lakes- Victoria Day Weekend 2008

I can defiantly say that any trip is a good one. No matter what the duration is. I was off to reminisce about the incredible time I had working in the thoroughbred horse racing business, with long time friend Al S. We were off to Finger Lakes racetrack, located in Farmington N.Y for the holiday weekend. This racetrack is located about 20 miles from the city of Rochester N.Y. Al and I became friends working together for my parents at Woodbine, during the summer of 1986. We became friends right away. When we each realized that we were both big Jimmy Buffett fans. Now let me ask you the readers this question. What are the odds of two devout Jimmy Buffett fans meeting at a racetrack? The odds are astronomical for sure. So you can see why Al and I have remained great friends to this day.

This was exciting for me. Because it was the first time we were to travel on a trip together. I just knew it would be a great trip from start to finish. Al met me at my place in Brampton, and then we both bolted for the boarder in my 2001 Corolla. This is the third trip I have used my car for the transportation. Al and I arrived at the U.S. boarder around 9:30 am, and then continued on to Finger Lakes. A little history of me and Finger Lakes Racetrack. Back in the day when there use to be an "A" meet at the Ft. Erie racetrack. We all use to love going down the Q.E.W. from Toronto to Ft. Erie. To get away from Toronto, and the pressure and the rat race of Woodbine. For Toronto horsemen going to Ft. Erie. It was the same as New York horsemen escaping the N.Y.C. racetracks (Aqueduct, and Belmont) and heading north to enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty of Saratoga. While we were racing at Ft. Erie. We would always arrange an outing to visit the closest American track to Toronto. Which is Finger Lakes. I always enjoyed visiting and watching the races at this picturese and peaceful racetrack. The track lies only 7 miles north of Lake Canandaigua. This is the perfect area where thoroughbred horses should be running. Away from the hustle and bustle, and the air pollution of the modern cities of today.

The first day of betting was an enjoyment. I won the daily double. I will explain this term for people that read this blog and don’t know what a daily double is. It is picking the winners of the first and second race. The winner of the second race was strictly a hunch bet. The horse name was Schifty's Big Al. How could I possibly leave this horse out of my daily double picks. I was rewarded for using intuition instead of logic to make my picks. I'm sure I would have declined to select Schifty's Big Al. Because of his eccentric behavior in the saddling area before his race. Also he raced like a crazy horse during the early part of the running of the second race on Saturday. He frankly looked hopelessly beat 3/8 of a mile from the finish line. However his courageous jockey finally persuaded him to do some running, instead of acting like an idiot. From this point in the race, less then 1/4 mile from the finish. Schifty's Big Al started to run like a racehorse and quickly outclassed his competition. Winning the race by 4 lengths. Al and I were elated. I was really happy to back at Finger Lakes. Al was also very happy to be enjoying his first visit to the Finger Lakes racetrack.

The daily double was a repeat performance for me, on Sunday. Sometimes when you read the racing form. The winners just jump off the pages, and it comes right to you. It like you have already been told the results. I made the same bet as on Saturday. I selected 2 horses in race 1, and two horses in race 2. My favorite pick in race one was a horse named Dodwell who was coming off an impressive win in his previous start. In the second race. A horse named Lapin would be making his first race of 2008. However he was training extremely well for his debut. His best race would see him beat any of the competition he was running against. Both races were a treat to watch. Dodwell raced to the lead, and held it for most of this one mile and 70 yard race. Dodwell lost the lead momentarily approaching the 1/8 pole. However he had a kick left, and raced away from his challenger. To draw away and win, by 2 1/2 lengths. To complete the winning daily double for me. Lapin ran to his great workouts. He started his charge from the 3/8's pole. He stormed to the outside, and ran away from the field of 7 to win by 3 lengths. Both horses were sent off by the betting public at odds of 6 to 1, and set up a daily double payout of $142.50. It was my biggest daily double payout ever for me. I was thrilled! Thank you jockey Daniel Morales who did an excellent job riding both horses, and to Finger Lakes. It was great to be back enjoying the races in Finger Lakes country! All Photo's courtesy of Al Stiff Media.
Now to the highlights of this trip. Traveling with great friend Al S. The experience of watching the races at Finger Lakes racetrack. This 1962 racetrack still retains all the special qualities and the atmosphere that make watching live horses racing, a fun and thrilling pleasure. The buffet meal Al and I enjoyed at Finger Lakes on Saturday night, to celebrate Al's birthday. The quality of the food, and the price were both excellent. Visiting Fio Rito's grave. Fio Rito is the all time champion racehorse to ever run at Finger Lakes. Fio Rito is buried in the infield just opposite the finish line. It is rare and a great show of respect to bury a racehorse at the track. I will profile this prolific racehorse on my horse racing blog. He will appear in my fan of horse racing section. To remember and honour, my all time favorite horses, that I ever had the privilege to watch race.