09/08/2012 10:42AM

A look back at Saratoga 2012 - part 1

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I'm finally getting the chance to catch up on some Saratoga images.  Below, find photos from just before the meet began and opening week.  In coming weeks, I'll post other photos from the recently wrapped-up 2012 meet at 'the Spa.'  Enjoy!

Above:  Two days before the meet, toteboards are put in place...

...and stables are shipping in, such as Bobby Barbara's outfit (above).

Above:  The clouds before sunrise on opening day, July 20.

Above:  The first race at Saratoga 2012 was won by Nine O Wonderful and Rosie Napravnik.

Above:  Rosie Napravnik not only won Saratoga's first race in 2012 but also the season's finale.

Above:  Rosie also won the 5th race on opening day, a maiden event, aboard Kauai Katie.  Kauai Katie won by 12 lengths, and on August 12 she followed this with a win in the G2 Adirondack.  

Above:  Joel Rosario spent the season at Saratoga...

...as did trainer Charles Lopresti.  Rosario's agent, Ronnie Ebanks, at right.  Morning means photos of people with coffee cups.

Above:  Tammy Fox, Shaun Bridgmohan and Eddie Kenneally chat away, as Archie waits patiently by.  And not only are coffee cups everywhere in the mornings...

...but so, too, are golf carts.  It's getting harder and harder to take good trainer portraits, as it seems almost every trainer spends mornings zooting about in golf carts (often on cell phones, to boot).  Above, Angel Penna, Jr., watches a set train - and that sure looks like a coffee cup in his hand.

Above:  Getting back to Archie for a moment.....this face just has to make you laugh!  Archie shares a household with Tammy Fox and Dale Romans.

Above:  Uh......that's going to take a while to straighten out.

Above:  Among the horses to make noise early in the meet was Bern Identity, ridden above by Chase Miller, who won the G2 Sanford on July 22.

Above:  Multiple Grade I winner Awesome Maria, shown with her friend Isabel Escobar, trained at Saratoga and ran third in the G2 Delaware Handicap on July 21.  

Above:  Awesome Maria working out with Jake Nelson aboard.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a better-dressed exercise rider than Jake (on August 11, Awesome Maria's retirement was announced).

Above:  Tony Dutrow visits with the lovely So Many Ways.  On July 20, So Many Ways won the opening day feature, the Schuylerville (G3).   She added the Spinaway (G1) on closing weekend.

Above:  So Many Ways and the Dutrow pony Ne Ne, eye to eye, the morning of the Schuylerville.

Above:  A 'typical' Saratoga sunrise.....  While not actually typical, we had several beautifully foggy mornings during the meet this year.  The fog tends to be best, by far, on the Oklahoma training track (above).

Above:  Chad Brown had a fantastic meet, taking second in the trainer standings while winning 29 races.  Over 50% of his runners finished either first or second.

Above:  Among Chad's Saratoga starters was the elegant millionaire Zagora, who added the G2 Ballston Spa to her impressive resume.

Above:  In second place in the Saratoga '12 jockey standings, Javier Castellano won 51 races.

Above:  2-year-old filly Can't Explain, second in the Schuylerville, enjoys her down time.

Above: The multiple stakes winning 5-year-old Jackson Bend, with Carlos Correa up, enjoys his up time....

...and Bill Mott's pony Paintball enjoys his upside-down time.

Above:  The powerful stakes-winning duo of Disposablepleasure (left, Jake Nelson up) and In Lingerie (Nick Bush) share some head-to-head time.

Above:  A Jimmy Baker set shares some head-to-head-to-head time (Ashley Heclo closest to camera).

Above:  The legendary Angel Cordero, Jr., called 'the King of Saratoga' and now agent for Johnny Velazquez, spent the meet like seemingly everyone else did....in a golf cart.  Where's his coffee cup?

Above:  Hey, John Terranova...where's your golf cart?

Above:  A morning backstretch scene that lacks either a golf cart or coffee cup.... B.G., the very friendly goat, with Kathy Ritvo (left) and rider Nick Petro, Jr.  

Above (and below!):  The delightfully cranky Lady Rizzi - now 9 years old and a winner at the Spa on July 23.  This stakes-winning mare showed displays like this morning....

....after morning....

....after morning.

Above:  Closeup of rider Neil Poznansky's leggings.  Neil cuts a dapper figure both in the mornings and afternoons.

Above:  The beautiful G1 winner Zo Impressive, with Joe Green, in Tom Albertrani's shedrow.

Above:  Zo Impressive's hooves and reflections.

Above:  In an effort to ruin any chance for a successful remote photo, Questing heads to the outside fence on her way to victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21.  Zo Impressive, right, was second.

Above:  Bill Mott studies his Lunar Victory winning the Evan Shipman on July 23....via the race replay, with binoculars.  That's why he's a Hall of Famer! 

Above:  Gate guard's reflection, after a rain, race day.

Above:  The immensely popular Winter Memories emerges from the fog the morning of July 21.  One week later, she won the G1 Diana Stakes.  On August 9, she was retired.  Countless fans will miss her....

More photos to come in subsequent blogs - and, to those who enjoy photos, my apologies for not having time to post them during the meet!