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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Saratoga will be in the pink

By Bob Ehalt

Spending a day at a racetrack can hardly be considered an act of charity -- unless you’re talking about “donating” to the track’s bottom line with your wagering dollars.

Yet a day before the meet’s signature stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Saratoga’s focus will fall on a charitable endeavor that will benefit women in a manner which will extend far beyond the grounds of the historic racetrack.

Friday, on the eve of the Alabama Stakes, the Spa will celebrate “Fabulous Fillies Day” with a full slate of “think pink” events to heighten awareness and raise funds to fight breast cancer.

As part of the day’s events, the first 25,000 customers will receive a pink wristband, courtesy of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which will be the beneficiary of the day’s events.

For a day, Saratoga’s traditional red colors will be replaced by shades of pink as the track will be cloaked with pink bunting, ribbons and flowers. There will be a full slate of races for fillies and mares and grooms will wear pink jackets.

Meanwhile, the track’s backyard will be the venue for B95.5’s “What Women Want -- Saratoga Style” event, presented by Time Warner Cable. It’s billed as a lifestyle expo and will feature displays from health, wellness and beauty vendors, interactive games, prizes, and a Chinese auction.

Can’t say I’m that familiar with a Chinese auction, but if the prize is a pint of shrimp with lobster sauce, I’m there.

Pink drinks, including pink lemonade, as well as pink t-shirts will be sold, with a share of the proceeds going to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The highlight of the day will be the “Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon,” which will start at 11:30 a.m. in the track’s Upper Carousel dining area.

Larry Norton, the deputy physician-in-chief for breast cancer programs at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, will speak at the luncheon, which will also feature a St. John Boutique fashion show and a silent auction.

The luncheon will also honor Dogwood Stable’s Anne Campbell for her efforts in the field of community service.

Tickets for the benefit luncheon are priced at $150 and are available by contacting NYRA’s director of community relations Joanne K. Adams at (718) 659-2262 or jadams@nyrainc.com.

So if you’re in the vicinity of Saratoga, stop by and do your part to help the cause. Donations are welcomed on one of those rare days where even if you go 0-for-9 at the betting windows, you can head home a winner.

The ‘Mo’-mentum builds

The Travers is two weekends away and it’s looking more and more like it will be New York’s most exciting day of racing in 2011. Aside from the Mid-Summer Derby, Uncle Mo keeps taking giant strides in his comeback from a liver ailment and remains on target to run in the King’s Bishop, one of the stakes on the Aug. 27 undercard.

Last year’s 2-year-old champion has reeled off five-furlong workouts of 1:00.22 and 1:00.34 in the past week, giving off more hope that he’s returning to the form that made him a heavy favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.

With The Factor scheduled to greet Uncle Mo in the seven-furlong sprint stakes, the one-two punch of the King’s Bishop and Travers promises to have the Spa aglow with the kind of star power the 3-year-old division has sorely missed this season.

“Uncle Mo is looking like the Uncle Mo we saw before the illness. All I can say about his recent workouts is ‘wow,’” said owner Mike Repole, whose colt has not raced since early April when it finished a shocking third in the Wood Memorial. “It doesn’t matter who runs against him in the King’s Bishop. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”

The Travers promises to bring together Repole’s Stay Thirsty, Haskell winner Coil and Preakness winner Shackleford in a duel for division leadership at the Kentucky Derby distance of a mile-and-a-quarter.

If you’re looking for some early insight into how those three match up, the Ragozin speed figures the trio registered in their last races paints a picture heavy with Repole’s orange and blue colors. On a scale in which lower numbers are better, Coil notched an 8 in the Haskell, Shackleford a 7 in finishing second to Coil at Monmouth and Stay Thirsty had a far superior 3 in the Jim Dandy (figures are rounded off).

Using that measuring stick, even if Stay Thirsty slips a little bit off the Jim Dandy he could still win the Travers unless the other two or someone else takes a big jump forward.

Stay tuned.