Think names aren't important? Sometimes they're everything. Stopshoppingmaria became an instant fan favorite at Saratoga even before she broke her maiden which she accomplished easily in her second start by over nine lengths. She became the talk of the two-year-old fillies. Not a bad second place finish in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf either.
Some of the owners of Turbulent Descent (there are several and some are first timers) came into my booth to see my artwork but I wasn't there (argh)! Michael did his best to coax them into returning to meet me. Their excitement of being at Saratoga with such a nice filly was understandable, but a few did come back. When we were in California many years ago, Michael galloped a couple of horses for Turbulent Descent's trainer Mike Puype - most notably, Old Trieste. The two of them had a few minutes to chat when Mike P. also visited my booth. The next day Turbulent Descent blasted the field in the Test Stakes. The gang had to be so disappointed with the trouble she experienced in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing fifth.
Early one morning I was photographing reference at the Oklahoma training track. A very amiable boyish-looking man walked up to me and introduce himself - George Bolton. Okay, I'm embarrassed that I didn't know who he was at first but quickly assessed his connection to Stonestreet Stable. We discussed The Factor and he invited me into the paddock that afternoon to photograph a filly he was extremely high on - My Miss Aurelia who was running in the Adirondack Stakes. In the paddock, George was too busy to talk to me as he was engaged in crowd control and ambassadorship, but I did manage to invite him to my booth. Unfortunately, he never made it. But his filly won the Adirondack and she also won the BC Juvenile Fillies convincingly.
My Miss Aurelia prior to winning the Adirondack Stakes.
Last year I had the honor of creating the commission of Big Drama as a gift for his owner, Harold Queen. Winner of last year's Sprint Eclipse Award and last year's BC Sprint, this year he didn't repeat and finished seventh. I still enjoy my personal connection and loyalty to this professional racehorse. Just love him.
BC Classic winner Drosselmeyer looked small and thin to me as he was brought to the paddock for the Sword Dancer Stakes.