Posted by Avram Freedberg
We were worried ……so, when we arrived at Monmouth, we went right to the stable area. We found her in the receiving barn #5, stall #20. To our happy surprise, she seemed calm. She wasn’t wet from sweat and she was happy to receive our strokes and kisses. This was a good beginning. Cissy, Linda’s assistant trainer, credited the groom, Giovvani, who had accompanied her down from Saratoga.
We arrived at our box with 90 minutes left to the announced posttime. The Parterre Box, as it is called, is like being in your own cabana with a beautiful view of the racetrack. It can be very peaceful, unless the people in the box on either side of you are rowdy. Let’s put it this way, we were lucky we couldn’t spend much time in the box. Service was so slow, we only managed to get some tea and coffee before we had to get to the paddock.
Time further got compressed when the raetrack reduced the time between races which advanced the post times. Our race, originally scheduled for 4:15PM was now scheduled for 3:56PM. In retrospect, I think the track officals were trying to get the races in before the thundershowers arrived.
Ahvee’s Destiny arrived at the paddock still looking calm. We got to stroke her and speak softly to her while she was being saddled. Suddenly, it started to rain… heavier and heavier. Ahvee doesn’t like to run on and off track, so we were worried. After all, she was the 8-5 favorite (by post time, she was 6-5).
You’ve heard about lots of worrying. There are two words I would use to describe the racing experience: hope and worry. No matter how bad the situation may seem, you hope. No matter how good the situation may seem, you worry.
As post time nears, my body’s adrenaline flow increases substantially. Sometimes, it actually hurt. This time adrenaline yes, pain no. We went to bet and found Cissy at what she called her lucky TV post.
As we watched the screen together, the gate opened. Ahvee was in the 7 post. The horse in #3 was first out of the gate with Ahvee right behind and the #9 to her outside coming up to take the lead. Ahvee and Miss Kneehigh (the #9) raced together with Miss kneehigh maintaining a head lead and the tow of them separating from the rest by about three lengths. Coming around the stretch turn, Miss Kneehigh camein on Ahvee and they appeared to make contact, but Stewart Elliot, the jockey, cut the corner coming out of the stretch turn and Ahvee was free of Miss Kneehigh and the rest of the pack. As they ran down the stretch, no one could close the gap.
When I felt certain of the outcome, I pulled a “Red Auerbach.” When Red was sure his Boston Celtics had the game won, he took out a cigar. I don’t smoke but I quickly donned an extra-large size copy of the jockey silks with Cricket on the front and the back. Ahvee’s Destiny had won, Everything’s Cricket Racing had won and we had won! What an exhilirating experience.
We ran to the winner’s circle (I have some photos of Ahvee arriving that will be posted on Monday) where we posed for our winner’s photos and even got a trophy (that they took back. I guess it was just ceremonial). I stood next to Stewart Elliot for the photo. I can’t to see the two Cricket jopckey silks together.
Really glad we won. I can’t imagine how we would have made our 4-hr., traffic jammed road trip home after losing. The high from the win made it a lot easier. Now, on to Saratoga next Sunday for the last two weeks of the season.