Lisa's Booby Trap.
You know who she is. She's the horse that got its name for her owner/trainer's now deceased wife and a popular trackside "gentleman's club" in Florida.
It's the stuff Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote of. So rich with romance how can one not well up with tears.
OK. OK. I agree. Most of racing's greatest thoroughbreds and classic winners are generally named something a little more regal and a little less hooter. But in this case, for this story, it makes it a little funnier story and certainly worth paying attention to.
She's a gangly filly. The NY Post's Ed Fountain said "she's as big as a bull moose and kindly as a cow."
Oh, and she's blind in one eye.
Did I mention the club foot yet?
I grant you these are not the ideal specs for a winning race horse ... or a "gentleman's club" employee for that matter. But come on - racehorse or stripper - how can you not be intrigued? How can you not root for them?
Lisa's Booby Trap's owner and trainer is Tim Snyder. A fella from way upstate New York in Finger Lakes who lost his wife back in 2003 to ovarian cancer. She beat it once, but it came back and all her fight wasn't enough. She passed a week short of her 38th birthday.
He bought the filly for $4,500; but was short $2,500 and made a promise to pay the balance upon her winning. Fate was on Snyder's side and she won her first three starts by a combined margin of just under 37 lengths.
Snyder took a chance and shipped his filly and dreams of success to The Spa. He entered her in the $70,000 Loudonville Stakes on August 6 and Kent Desormeaux got the call to ride.
As if someone in Hollywood wrote the race's script, Lisa's Booby Trap came from off the pace and drew clear to a six length win.
Ever since then Lisa's Booby Trap and Snyder have made waves all across the country. There are rumors that a script is in the making for a movie and Dateline NBC is planning a one hour special on the pair. Snyder got a call from the folks at Simon & Schuster for a book also.
And get this...he turned down a half a million dollar offer on the horse.
Half a million bucks!
Now that's somethin' for a $4,500 Finger Lakes purchase.
I can't say I would have turned it down. Not $500 grand.
But I'm not Snyder and he has more than just a racehorse here. He has, so he feels, the spirit of his bride under the saddle.
Snyder admits to a connection with this horse with respect to his wife that, no matter who comes calling and no matter the price tag, she ain't for sale.
The NYRA news release offered this quote from Snyder:
"My wife was a good lady," he said. "She told her mother the last week she was alive that she was coming back as a horse, and now all this has happened.
"I'm having too much fun with her to ever sell her. I get cards and letters, people send over bushels of carrots and peppermints ... I could never have imagined anything like this happening. And now, winning five in a row with her would be something really special."
"I know it sounds crazy, but I do feel a connection to my wife through the horse," said Snyder. "Lisa's Booby Trap could never be a replacement. But I know what I feel, and it's real to me."
She'll have that chance on Thursday in the second division of the $70,000 Riskaverse Stakes, a one mile trek on the grass. She will be facing nine rivals on the tight turned inner turf - her debut on the lawn - and will be pressed with a few challenges for sure.
It is carded as the day's ninth race, she'll break from the two-hole and is listed as an early morning line favorite at 5/2 odds.
With a bit of luck on her side she'll get a clean trip...and no one will try to slip $2 Win tickets in her girth as she struts to the racetrack...'cuz that's just wrong, man.
With a bit more luck, Snyder's story will continue to flourish and this 56-year-old guy who doesn't have much will continue to live life as if it were a storybook.
I am such a sucker for a good racing story and I hope Snyder's good fortune continues, with or without Hollywood.
In short, God I hope she wins. I'd love to see Snyder in the winner's circle on Thursday.
As much as I love this game and love Saratoga and love to play the horses, I'll take a great racing story over it all any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Snyder and Lisa's Booby Trap is a great story about the little guy and his horse that do good. To cap it all, they're doin' good on the grandest stage of them all - Saratoga Race Course.
But I do ask one thing. If the ghosts that are responsible for Saratoga being the Graveyard of Favorites or the Graveyard of Champions (call it what you will) are listening - and if Lisa's Booby Trap goes off as the post time favorite - please have the decency to turn and look away.
This is one upset story that doesn't need to be written.
This is one story for the good guys that needs to continue.
Give 'em hell, Lisa.
Lisa's Booby Trap photo by Adam Coglianese, official NYRA track photographer
Lisa's Booby Trap and owner/trainer Tim Snyder by Shawn Dowd, Staff Photographer, Democrat and Chronicle