July 30, 2018

24th Annual Day at the Races is Another Winner

Thoroughbreds Again Compete for The SUNY Empire State College Cup

Image of Stoney Bennett, winner of the SUNY Empire State College Cup, in the home stretch of the fifth race at Saratoga.
Stoney Bennett, winner of the SUNY Empire State College Cup, in the home stretch of the fifth race at Saratoga.

All eyes were on the fifth race at Saratoga Race Course for the running of The SUNY Empire State College Cup, the highlight for the college’s 24th annual alumni day at the races.

Winning horse Stoney Bennett, owned by Roddy J. Valente, Darlene Bilinski and Richard Alfred, ridden by Manuel Franco and trained by Linda Rice, went off at 9-2, ran six furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.76, and took home The Cup.

A $2 bet to win on Stoney Bennett paid $9.

Charlie McCoy, the 3-1 morning-line favorite with John R. Velazquez in the saddle went off at 2-1, and finished second.

An 8-1 longshot, Bluegrass Express, with Joel Rosario aboard, placed.

Earlier that morning, during annual the morning breakfast and handicapping session, Officer in Charge Mitchell S. Nesler and Vice President for Advancement Walter Williams offered their selections for The Cup.

Williams proved to be the better judge of horseflesh.

His followers would have lost money on his pick of the seven horse, Neverindicted.

The 30-1 morning-ling longshot, who went off at 21-1, finished dead last.

However, Williams’ acolytes would have done much better with his two other choices, Charlie McCoy and Bluegrass Express.

Nesler also had Charlie McCoy to finish in the money.

Unfortunately, he also suggested Wrong Ben and Candy Zip.

Both finished well out of the money, at sixth and seventh respectively, in a nine-horse race.

For all other races, Mike Kane, co-author of "150 Years of Racing in Saratoga: Little Known Stories and Facts from America's Most Historic Racing City," (History Press, 2013), former columnist and sports reporter for the Gazette newspapers, and many other publications including “Blood Horse;” and alumnus Michael Kaufman ’14, who won a thoroughbred handicapping contest in 2012, provided information about the strengths and weakness of the horses, jockeys and trainers for those interested in making a sporting wager.

Back at the track, and just before the start of the third race, thunderbolts and sheets of rain sent patrons running for cover.

The storm quickly passed and the sun burst through for the fourth race.

Skies turned threatening soon thereafter, however, the fifth race went off and finished without it raining.

Thunder clouds and rain returned for the sixth race and exited immediately after that.

Saratoga patrons, including those from SUNY Empire, enjoyed sunny to partly cloudy skies for the rest of their day.

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