Sixth Annual Finest Fillies + Some Colts Raises $37.500 for Jake’s Help From Heaven
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A wide-open contentious contest – with several lead changes, twists, turns and plot lines – ultimately came down to a test of stamina.
And the lesson learned on Wednesday Evening, July 19 is that – when stamina is key – you bet on the Colt with the trainer who has recent Boston Marathon experience.
Indeed, this proved to be the case as Justin Hogan, trained by his wife, long-distance runner Steph Cash Hogan, roared down the lane from an outside post position, to nip an extremely game Tammy Haarmann (trained by Erin Smith) and Johanna Friedman (trained by Julie Cox) in deep stretch. The Hogan team scored a measured, one-length victory, in the Sixth Annual “Finest Fillies and Some Colts” Gala, to benefit Jake’s Help from Heaven (JHFH).
In contrast to last year’s contest, which was a runaway victory by the team of Michael Billok and Todd Shimkus, there were several contenders in Wednesday’s race to glory. All nine post positions got their numbers called this year, speaking to the quality and balance of the entrants.
While Steph and Justin had the honor of raising the iconic trophy in triumph, all the participants and attendees, which filled Vapor Night Club at the Saratoga Casino and Hotel, got to share in the glory of a record amount of funds raised by their combined efforts – a whopping $37,500 was the total for the evening, which JHFH Co-Founder Heather Straughter noted was up well over $5,000 from last year.
While all the teams did a great job staging fundraising events (where their fans and friends could “bet” on them) in advance of the Gala, it was Mike and Susana Hoffman (above), who enlisted their worldwide network of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues for support. The two raised $8,560 alone, and ran away with the 2017 “Betting Champ” title. “They won by A LOT!” Heather noted. “They stated they were on a mission to win this year, so I’m grateful they did, and thank everyone for their support.”
And yes, they played the game. Let’s tune into some live action!
The early pace was contentious, with MC Skip Carlson slotted in for Tom Durkin, who was a late scratch due to laryngitis. Skip stepped in with his usual jovial, unflappable verve, and delivered the funniest line of the night when he declared, in response to Heather “Vanna” spinning the wheel to another ‘back one’ space “We’re not going backwards. We’re gonna end this baby!”
So let’s go – down to the fantastic finish!
But the poignant line of the evening came from JHFH Co-Founder Brain Straughter, who simply said:
“This is a town where everyone says yes!”
Amen to that.
July 20, 2017