08/17/2011 10:25PM

Saratoga Seen: more from the 2011 meet

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Saratoga has been bombarded by rain in recent days, resulting in mud, mud, mud!  Yet, odd as it might sound, the change of weather was a welcome relief and a fresh inspiration.  Here are a few recent photos from the Spa.....

Above:  Splash me a river...a St. John's River, that is.  The Alabama-bound filly makes her way through the morning goo.

Above:  The Oklahoma training track after being sealed and, below, the main track after the same.

Above:  A reflection of Chad Brown's Grade I winning turf specialist Zagora.

Above:  Tizway and Andres Rojas, who before the Whitney were 5:30 a.m. regulars, have since joined the daylight crowd.  Kevin Bond and Pleasant Breeze accompany the Whitney winner.

Above:  Foggy sunrises and Saratoga...  I love the life of the fog, how it drifts and slides and soon disappears....

Above:  Wait a While's first foal, a Distorted Humor colt, stood tall in the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale's show yard.  Unfortunately, the handsome grey didn't get to stand tall in the ring.  He was scratched before the sale.

Stakes winner Convocation and Jimmy Jerkens' employee Leroy Rickards share a backstretch discussion.

Above and below:  The intriguing Banner Bill came down from Canada with his friendly trainer Ralph Biamonte, a startling blue eye, and an undefeated record.  The 2-year-old colt finished fourth in the Saratoga Special on Monday.

Above:  Thunder Lilly (2008 Thunder Gulch - Lilly Capote) casts a shadow in Ralph Nicks' barn.

Above and below:  Bob Baffert's Coil (above, with Simon Harris up) is in the house for a possible Travers appearance.

Above:  'LITTLE RED' reads the off side of Coil's halter.  Coil's sire Point Given, also trained by Baffert, was nicknamed the Big Red Train.

Above and below:  The changes' board is one of my favorite old-fashioned touches here.  Behind it, stacks of boards - painted with various names and conditions - sit in waiting.  For some, the wait is likely to be forever, such as R. Migliore's.

Above and below:  Tom Proctor's beautiful Snow Top Mountain is one of my favorites.  Just looking at her, it's obviously why.

Above:  Union Rags inspired thoughts of roses, black-eyed susans and carnations when powering home in the Saratoga Special.  For now, however, he received this junior wreath.  

Above:  Chase On Home (Wheelaway - The Demon Chaser) tries to be the tallest in the class for Arch Kingsley.

Above and below:  Arch Kingsley's most popular mount nowadays here is the wonderful 9-year-old Here Comes Art (Royal Anthem - Heirloom Wish, by Lyphards Wish).  The flea-bitten campaigner ran third in a steeplechase early in the meet and runs back on Thursday.  Go, Art!

Above:  Here Comes Art creating art.

Above:  Apparently, it's 'blinkers off' on a recent dreary morning.

Above:  Crazy Party, a 2-year-old A.P. Indy filly for Todd Pletcher, views a lovely Saratoga morning.  Crazy Party broke her maiden at first asking here July 28.

Above:  Winchester's connections were all smiles after his Sword Dancer victory this past weekend.

Above:  Causality, a 3-year-old filly by Whywhywhy, paints a small part of a lovely Saratoga scene.

Above:  Todd Pletcher's binoculars, which are IDed by both TAP and TODD PLETCHER.  If those made their way onto eBay, I'd bid!  And yes, Todd's fingernails are well-manicured.  

Above:  The Pletcher white bridles are leading the way home often these days.

Above:  R Heat Lightning, shown on a recent morning, is on the comeback trail.

Above:  Caixa Eletronica (center) toted 127 pounds - not common nowadays - while winning a starter allowance Monday.  His rivals carried between 117 and 119 pounds.  Afterward, Pletcher assistant Whit Beckman proudly said, "If you had an X-ray on that camera, you'd see a heart as big as a basketball."

Above:  A victorious Caixa Eletronica (translated, basically, as 'Cash Machine/'ATM) (thanks, Val Buck!), heads to the test barn.

Above:  Shhhhhhh!

Above:  Eben Alsafa absolutely hated the saddling process before a maiden race August 13.  As if to add insult to injury, the 3-year-old Pulpit colt then got hung up in the starting gate and trailed from start to finish.  Here's hoping for better days ahead.

Above: Old gate, Saratoga.

Above and below:  Pocket Cowboys has sure earned his oats for breeder/owner/trainer Scott Schwartz.  The hard-knocking 5-year-old Wild Event gelding has won three stakes and earned nearly $430,000.  He runs in the West Point Thursday, 8/18.

Above:  Uncle Mo, Hector Ramos up, accompanied by Michael McCarthy, are just a small piece of a busy scene on the Oklahoma track Wednesday.

Above:  Shackleford, the immensely popular 2011 Preakness winner, enjoys a roll at Dale Romans' barn.

Above and below:  Roger Attfield's Simmard, a stakes-winning Dixieland Band 6-year-old, is a walking fashion statement before a recent stakes appearance.

Above and below:  "If Larry Jones can ride, I can ride," quipped David Fawkes from aboard his stakes performer Apriority on Wednesday morning.  Among Apriority's stakes placings are the G1 Carter and G2 Churchill Downs Handicap.  

Above:  Even ponies apparently admire money.  This curious gelding admires a shiny red BMW during sales week.

Above:  Sassy Image is certainly one of the fastest fillies in the country - and she's also a beauty while standing still.

Above:  Trainer Will Phipps and his ever-popular Joker set the scene on the Oklahoma track.

Above:  The shadows are growing longer, earlier, at Saratoga these days.