Justify Triple Crown winner
Justify updates Belmont Replay Belmont Results Triple Crown Winners

HRN Original Blog:
SaratogaScenes's Blog
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2018
Let me take you through the backstretch as the track awakens and riders and horses prepare for the upcoming summer meet at Saratoga
Posted Monday, July 02, 2018
HRN photographers go behind the scenes at Saturday's Queen's Plate.
Posted Monday, June 11, 2018

The final day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was parts exhausting, energizing and exhilarating.

If I took you through the day starting with the morning activities and leading up to the final crescendo, it would not do the conclusion justice. So why don’t we relive the day in reverse, beginning with the sheer joy of Justify's 2018 Belmont Stakes win.

 


Like an artist applying the final brush stroke on his master painting, Bob Baffert gently adjusts the Triple Crown blanket on Justify.



Touches of joy in the winner’s circle:

 


You can sense Mike Smith’s pride and feeling of accomplishment as he takes Justify past the stands.
 

 

After 1 1/2 miles around the "Big Sandy" of Belmont, Justify crossed the wire still full of energy.

 

Justify jumped out of the gate of the Belmont Stakes and took an early lead, with Free Drop Billy, Bravazo, Hofburg, and Restoring Hope to his right side. 


Spring Quality, with Edgar Prado on the far left, narrowly edged out Sadler’s Joy with Javier Castellano and Hi Happy with Luis Saez at the wire of the 1 ¼-mile Manhattan on the inner turf.


Edgar Prado enjoyed smelling the sweetness of success as he heads to the winner’s circle on Spring Quality.

 

Spring Quality and his groom seem to breathe a sigh of relief as they head out of the winner’s circle.


Bee Jersey, with Ricardo Santana, along the rail narrowly beat Mind Your Biscuits and Joel Rosario in the Met Mile. Joel seemed to turn his head left towards Bee Jersey in disbelief as he crosses the finish line.

 

Ricardo Santana soaked in the moment as he enters the winner’s circle on Bee Jersey.


Ricardo Santana and Bee Jersey enjoyed the attention in the winner’s circle with their connections, including trainer Steve Asmussen.


You can tell the energy and determination with which Irad Ortiz rode the Just A Game mile on turf as he lets out a roar while flying across the finish line on A Raving Beauty.

 

Irad Ortiz is still pumped with adrenaline as he returns to the winner’s circle for the second time that race day.


Sheer joy by the connections of A Raving Beauty as they turned into the winner’s circle.

 

Monomoy Girl putting in some distance between herself and second-place Talk Veuve To Me in their Acorn win.

 

Monomoy Girl receives her blanket of roses.


 


Florent Geroux savors the moment in the winner’s circle on Monomoy Girl



And as the day ended, so it begins: Mike Smith rode Bob Baffert-trained Abel Tasman to a victory in the Ogden Phipps.
 



Mike Smith at his first visit of the day to the winner’s circle, and during his interview with NBC's Britney Eurton.
 


 


In the crowd were hats and some exquisite wardrobe, which at times had to be literally ditched in the dirt for the Belmont two-step for the crossing of the track.




To emphasize the significance of the day, even the guide ponies are adorned with elaborate braids




At the Belmont Steakhouse, a chef diligently prepares his carving knives

 


Cassandra Jonas is proud to showcase the Justify crown, which so many spectators wore with excitement to show their support.

 


In the morning, visitors streamed into the grandstand building as soon as the gates open at 8:30.

 


... and were welcomed by a barbershop quartet dressed in red, white and blue.



The day started long before the main gates opened, as track workers walked past still empty betting windows.
 

 


It was the pursuit of trophies, and their award to the best athletes that day, that made it a truly memorable day.






So beyond this tremendous accomplishment by Justify of earning the Triple Crown, the next question: Where will he race next? Will he follow the path of American Paroah, but this time conquer the Graveyard of Champions at Saratoga as well?

Posted Friday, June 08, 2018
Let me give you a quick update from my first 24 hours at the 2018 Stakes Festival at Belmont
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2018
lets check in on Hofburg's final prep before the Belmont Stakes
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2018
Let me take you through the daily workout routine of the Derby runner Hofburg
Posted Thursday, May 03, 2018
Let me show you around the historic Oklahoma Training Track in Saratoga on the first warm and sunny morning of the year
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2018
I will take you behind the scenes of the closing weekend of the Aqueduct spring meet in which Irad Ortiz Jr earned the riding title under gorgeous summer, not at all spring-like weather.
Posted Friday, April 13, 2018


Saratoga reserves its most magical moments for the morning workouts! And for me, that certainly means heading out to the Oklahoma Training Track to capture the sunrises above the morning workouts of racehorses and their exercise riders.

Even though the racing season does not start until later in July, the training track will open Monday. This track is located across from the main track on Union Avenue, and the Whitney Viewing Stand provides expansive views. The public can watch, and hear, the horses from the rail every morning during track season. 
In anticipation of the opening of the Oklahoma track, I’d like to share a few of my favorite photos from this little paradise.

As the racehorses move into their barns in April, the backstretch is still a barren, almost moonscape-like. But the thoroughbreds warm the place with their radiant grace and energy, like this lone racehorse being hot-walked after training last April.


Contrast this with the lush greens on a summer morning: Christophe Clement exercise riders, led by Jordan Erwin, cooling down their horses after a workout ....



Outrider Natalie Rutigliano peeking into the rising sun to check on the racehorses while her pony is still half asleep:



A Rudy Rodriguez exercise rider flying by in a blur, transitioning from dawn into the sunrise, wheels up, with just his face and the chest of the horse being touched by the sun's first rays:
 

 

Gun Runner loved his early morning training, getting onto the track often before sunrise. Here this 2017 Horse of the Year is heading into one of his regular early morning gallops:

 

Exercise riders following the glowing guide rails through the thick morning fog into the rising sun on a golden Saratoga morning:



A James Jerkens exercise rider demonstrating some flying team work with his guide pony:



A Peter Pugh exercise rider is released into the thick morning fog by her pony rider just before sunrise:



A stunning Saratoga Sunrise at the track fills your heart for a whole year, or at least the long winters up here in the Northeast. So when you are in town for the racing season this summer, don’t miss to go to the Oklahoma track, not just for parking, but especially to watch the magic unfold each morning ….


Posted Friday, April 06, 2018

As I am soaking in a tub of bubbling mineral bathwater at the Roosevelt baths in Saratoga Springs on a still cold afternoon of this prolonged winter, my mind is drifting to the upcoming racing season. While the stakes races are gearing up in the south heading into the Triple Crown series, we still have mountains of snow on parking lots, and the frost is not out of the ground yet. But within less than two weeks the Oklahoma training track will opening for the season, welcoming the thoroughbreds and their entourage back to town with wide open arms.

For me, a favorite part of the season is watching all the pre-race work -- the training, prepping and pampering the animals receive both before and after their workouts. And yes, that includes bath times, too, not just for people, but for the most magical athletes around.

I am starting this blog to share some of this magic that is happening at and around the track here every season. This first blog takes you through the motions of the daily bath time ritual at the barns of Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown after morning workouts around the Oklahoma track. I do hope that you enjoy these behind the scenes shots, and the moments of passion they capture. As you browse through the photos, let me know your thoughts.

So when (not if) you are in town for the racing season this summer, do check out those baths yourself: they are the only naturally carbonated mineral springs east of the Rocky Mountains. Either relax after your own workouts with the horses, or soothe your wounds after a tough day at the betting window, or maybe pamper yourself with a fancy massage after a day of winning at the track …. because, after all, you are at The Spa!














 


 

 

 


 

 




 

  

 


 


Meet Konrad Weeber

In his photography, Konrad captures the beauty of equine sports. His photos take the viewers behind the scenes of horse racing and allow them to experience the daily passion at backstretches, training tracks and horse barns. Horse people are motivated by their seemingly limitless dedication to the animals. Konrad aims to capture this in his photos that often explore the changing light between dawn and sunrise. His goal is to photograph the poetry in motion of horses in flight, the intersection of sunlight and athleticism, and the caring passion of riders and caretakers for the equines in their charge.

Konrad is a lifelong photographer who started with black and white photography of modern dance performances for a journal in his hometown of Vienna, Austria. He has followed his passion for photography as he travelled the world and transitioned to travel, outdoors and sports photography. After settling in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2015, he started to explore horse racing photography and picked up horseback riding himself to develop a better appreciation for and connection with horses. He now specializes in equine photography as a freelance photographer.

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