08/21/2007 11:23PM

Dark Day #4


I didn't crunch a single number Tuesday and have yet to crack the cover on Wenesday's DRF. New York horseplayers aren't accustomed to this six-day-a-week racing, and we all face burnout from it during the six weeks of Saratoga, even those of us lucky enough to spend the first five of them in Saratoga Springs itself.
So today I slept in and then sampled some of the town's other pleasures.

There's a place on Broadway offering "New Age aromatherapy and waxing" but I wasn't quite that burned out, so instead the afternoon began with a stroll through Congress Park, where you can soak up a lot of fresh air, history and local flavor even without visiting the actual History Museum. But there's a working restored carousel, a crafts fair most Tuesdays, and lots of weird old monuments and fountains that will make you feel virtuous for having eyeballed them.

Then it was on to a screening of "The First Saturday in May," an unreleased documentary I'll write more about later this week. It's a wonderfully-crafted story of six horses (including Barbaro) and their roads to the 2006 Kentucky Derby, and it finished 2nd of 180 movies in the Tribeca Film Festival last spring in the voting for the audience favorite. (It's astounding to me that the film hasn't found a distributor yet, but neither did the funniest movie I've seen this year.)

A little shopping on Broadway followed, including a visit to Saratoga Saddlery, where the charming Australian proprietor charmed me into two unnecessary purchases. I'm a sucker for a salesman who keeps calling me "mate." He was inches away from also selling Mrs. Blog a new hat but then made the fatal mistake of telling her that the dashing chapeau was trimmed with genuine kangaroo. Talk about a deal-killer.

I won't belabor the very mediocre Mexican dinner at the new Cantina place on the former site of Professor Moriarty's, but the evening's dining was redeemed via a short walk across Broadway to Eugenio's Cafe Gelato, which does light lunches and dinners but where everyone goes for the homemade gelato, available in 15 to 20 flavors. Caramel, mango, capuccino and zabaglione varieties were sampled and met with voracious approval.

And now, at last, I feel sufficiently refreshed to ponder whether Chief's Lake can possibly get nine furlongs in Wednesday's featured Albany Handicap.