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HomeRacingNest Set to Return to Races; Litfin Celebrated at Spa

Nest Set to Return to Races; Litfin Celebrated at Spa

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The eagerly anticipated return of champion filly Nest  is right here.

The three-year-old champion filly of 2022 will make her first begin in eight months when she runs within the $200,000 Shuvee Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course July 23. She was last seen finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in November.

The daughter of Curlin , owned by Repole Secure, Eclipse Thoroughbred Companions, and Michael Home, had her last tune-up for the Shuvee with a 4 furlong breeze in :50 July 16 on the Oklahoma Coaching Observe. Ridden by train rider Nora McCormack, Nest was stuffed with vitality as she labored with a maiden runner from the Pletcher barn.

“It was just about what we anticipated from her,” Pletcher mentioned after the work.

The work initially was scheduled for the primary observe however Pletcher needed to name an audible—a well-known transfer in latest days. Heavy early morning rains had the Corridor of Fame coach monitoring the climate radar and he lastly determined the most effective plan of motion was to be on the Oklahoma.

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“It’s Saratoga and you sort of get used to it,” Pletcher said. “It seems like every day you have to call an audible.”

Pletcher said he thought there would be a break in the weather around 7 a.m. and he talked to Glen Kozak, the executive vice president of operations a couple of times.

“I asked him what his intentions were and he said he would try to harrow (Oklahoma) if it was good,” he said. “I called him after the first break and told him I thought he would be happy with the way the track looks.”

And Nest had a decent surface to do her work and now all systems are go to the Shuvee, where she will meet Stonestreet Stables’ Clairiere , winner of her past two starts, the Apple Blossom (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn Park and the Ogden Phipps (G1) June 10 at Belmont Park.

Family, Friends Celebrate Dave Litfin at Saratoga

A celebration of a life well lived was held for renowned national handicapper Dave Litfin July 16 at Saratoga.

Family and friends gathered in the second floor Paddock Suite to honor Litfin, who died of cancer at the age of 64 Nov. 17. This was the first time his wife of 40 years, Robin, had been back to the track since last year’s closing weekend.

Dave insisted they come to the track one more time. Even though he was very sick, the handicapper in him came through, like it had so, so many times before.

“He had to put money on his NYRA Bets card,” Robin said. “He bet a cold exacta and it came back like $600. Really?”

Those were the sort of stories circulating through the celebration, which served as a wake for Dave, who did not want any services when he passed.

Dave Litfin
Photo: Courtesy of Robin Markowitz-Liftin

Dave Litfin

The fifth race was named in his honor. Besides Robin, speakers at the ceremony included his son Sam, one of his daughters, Addy, and David Grening a long-time friend and former colleague at Daily Racing Form. Several others spoke when Robin invited anyone who wanted to talk about her husband to step up.

Dave was the New York handicapper for Daily Racing Form from 1991-2016 and later moved to South Florida where he was a chart caller for Equibase. He was also the author of a popular weekly handicapping column for BloodHorse titled “Litfin at Large.” In addition, he wrote several books on handicapping during his career.

“He didn’t care for the gossip, he didn’t care for the politics,” Robin said. “It was family and it was work. And the work he did was the air that he breathed. I think he would be humbled by today and embarrassed. He never wanted recognition; it was never about him.”

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