Posted by Avram Freedberg
We were at Belmont today to watch Aldebutante’s first race. Haven’t heard the name before? Well, here’s the story.
I listen to a radio show, “At the Races,” hosted by Steve Byk. He started some horse racing partnerships with his listeners as partners. I signed up for a tiny piece of one of the partnerships several months ago before our Saratoga experience.
You see, when I was a little younger we “ boys” watched the “big” races together on TV and went to the track together. For us, ”the track” was either Belmont or the Big A, Aqueduct. We even went to Roosevelt Raceway or Yonkers to further our attempts to become the best handicappers known to mankind and be able to make so much money at the track that we could always be surrounded by the combination of magnificent animals running down the stretch and not so magnificent animals smoking cigarettes, cigars and some sweet smelling tobacco who took pride in spitting and cursing at the losers and especially their jockeys, whose bad rides inevitably cost them their hard earned money at the pari-mutuel windows. Actually, I think we may have joined them!
Win or lose, we had each other. Sometimes cheering together. Sometimes cheering for different horses. In the end, we could count on each other for support, even when we kidded each other about how poorly one or the other had done on any particular day. I MISS THIS CAMARADERIE! So I thought joining one of these partnerships would help me find this unique type of love and friendship.
Don’t get me wrong. Even though my best friend and life partner started out with an unfavorable view of the cost of my passion, she has been the best support I could ask for. The horses have become her pets and our time with them in Saratoga allowed her to bond with them. Well if you don’t know how she treats her pets… let’s just say our friends all want to come back as one of our pets. But again, I joined up before our Saratoga summer.
Anyway one of the horses in the partnership is named Aldebutante and her first race took place today at Belmont. Don’t look for her in the list of today’s winners. She only beat two horses in the race. But I hate to admit that my main motivation in going to Belmont today was to meet the other partners and do some bonding.
I first saw Steve who gave us tickets to seats in a section overlooking the finish line. I was struck by the ghost town appearance of what was my favorite venue for thoroughbred horse racing. But there were a couple of dozen partners, relatives and friends of partners. Darren and Chris came from Maryland. Mark and Karen from upstate New York. That’s the kind of commitment to the horse biz I hoped to find. It’s not that they or the others were unpleasant when I approached them. There just didn’t seem to be any synergy. Frankly, I had hoped Byk would introduce us all but no such luck.
Well, maybe it’s just the focus of the horse player busy handicapping the next race or shyness or their own lonesomeness (as opposed to loneliness). No matter what the reason, we left right after the race, realizing that we had each other and the relationships with the other owners we’d met in Saratoga.
So, we figured we’d go to see Rexy who was supposed to be the only one of our brood stabled at Belmont. Imagine our surprise when we got to Linda’s stable and she was nowhere to be found. Turns out she’s still in Saratoga with Ahvee’s Destiny and Arielle’s Song. However, we did get to snuggle Meriwether Jessica, the horse who “snuggles around” and loves to be surrounded by people. She’ll be running in a stakes race on Thursday when her owner will fly up from Florida and we’ll join her rooting section and then have dinner together (with the owner, not the horse).
In the meantime, Ahvee’s Destiny had a speedy “bullet” workout on Friday (that means she was fastest of the horses working at that distance). Tomorrow we’ll find out how many horses have been nominated to the Turf Amazon Stakes in Philadelphia. We won’t know if she gets into the race until next week.
BTW, I must admit that hearing from so many of you who enjoy reading these tomes makes me feel accepted and my heart fill with love. Thanks for your support.