Saratoga time ends summer doldrums

Even the British Open didn’t feel like working this week.

Even the British Open didn’t feel like working this week.

The one member of the sports construction crew we thought we could count on tossed its shovel in the tool shed and put its hands in its pockets. It was too windy out.

The hellacious gales in Scotland notwithstanding, we’re experiencing a perfect anti-storm, a black hole of sports nothingness in which an item about the Jaguars cutting their punt returner sits near the top of the homepage.

As a long-time Washington Wizards fan, I was pumped that rookie Kelly Oubre scored 30 points on Friday. As a rational human being with at least the minimal semblance of perspective, that summer-league performance already rests at the bottom of the junk drawer.

Last week while on vacation, I made a pitstop at the Buffalo Sabres development camp to catch a glimpse of super phenom Jack Eichel on my way to Fort Erie Race Track on the other side of the Peace Bridge. Eichel was in the second group, so I missed him; a heavy rainstorm cancelled a free concert at Fort Erie.

They hollered “break’s over” to major league baseball, but based on the Cardinals-Mets game on Friday, the sport that is supposed to carry us through the gap from June to September while the other three hibernate is hitting the snooze button. Or maybe it’s just the Mets.

All that said, this lull is misleading because the people who count down the days to the Saratoga Race Course meet have reached single digits.

The 147th meet begins on Friday, at which point you can kiss weeks like this one goodbye.

Before you know it, the other sports will come cascading one after the other until we’re quickly back wondering how we’re supposed to pay attention to all the stuff spinning around our heads.

Remember that sensation?

With everything on hiatus and baseball muddling through the dog days of July, when it’s difficult to muster much meaning from the games, Saratoga will rev up the Capital Region sports scene soon enough.

And the Spa could get an additional Mad Max nitrous boost of acceleration if American Pharoah’s connections decide they’re going to run in the Travers.

For now, the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years is training at Del Mar in California for the Aug. 2 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

As is always the case in horse racing, any number of ailments or setbacks could emerge that pull American Pharoah back from competition.

But an story by Tim Layden last week revealed more than a glimmer of hope that at least the Travers is a prime target for the colt.

Owner Ahmed Zayat said that his arrangement with Coolmore Stud, which purchased breeding rights to American Pharoah earlier in the year, includes a schedule of cash “kickers” for winning specific races.

Within that context, running in the Travers is a “decent possibility,” Zayat told Layden. Trainer Bob Baffert will have final say, based on American Pharoah’s condition and a fierce desire to avoid compromising his legacy by getting beat in a race for which the colt isn’t 100 percent prepared.

Well before Saratoga ends, high school football will start cranking up, and the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers will start the NFL regular season on

Sept. 10, three days after Saratoga closing day.

Then it’s less than a month before the NHL regular season and another three weeks for the NBA, at which point will be back in full immersion.

Until Saratoga gets going, however, we’re stuck in this rut.

Hey, if you’re not doing anything on Monday, the British Open, which hasn’t had a Monday finish since 1988, will conclude. We think.

On the NFL front, new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan jumped out of an airplane over Niagara Falls on Friday.

On Wednesday, Eichel and his Sabres development camp teammates played paintball.

Walt “Clyde” Frazier has left the hallucinatory Technicolor nightmare sportcoats in the closet and is calling Knicks summer league games in a blue polo shirt with a white MSG logo on it.

And the Nationals-Senators game was suspended on Friday night, because, you know, the lights at Nationals Park just didn’t feel like it.

Can’t anybody here play this game?

Any game?

Categories: Sports

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