Barbaro Updates: 1073 – 1117

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted November 30, 2006

Update 1117: Russell Baze won the sixth at Bay Meadows to draw level with Pincay. Tim won the third race at Laurel with first time starter Jaunty Gale. Congratulations to Gerry Goswell.

Update 1116: Russell Baze has one winner to equal Laffitt Pincay’s record. Check his progress here.

Update 1115: Horsehats have been working closely with the Jackson and Churchill Downs to create a limited edition hat with all profits to the Barbaro Fund. Here is the offer: Barbaro Fund Hat. Although the site does not mention the number of hats available, I do know it is limited.

Big plans for Showing Up highlights not only Showing Up (his plans for next year and some troubles they experienced at Hollywood Park on sunday), but also ShoBiz and Stormy Kiss (another Jackson horse scheduled to run this weekend at Aqueduct).

Update 1114: Eddie Kilroy has returned and left the following comment (timestamp: 12:28 pm)

Good Morning Barbaro and all of you. Sorry I’ve been absent for so long. The move from N. VA to the new ranch in Texas was long. So happy to hear the great reports on big guy. Also, I’d like to urge everyone to fight for S1915. Take a page from Barbaro, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Remember, so many thought HR503 would never get a vote. We showed them a trick, and we can do it again. We have to stay comitted and SLAM THEM SENATORS!!! I have a fire burning with my listeners, and come Monday we’ll be adding more fuel. Willie, Bo Derick, and you can be the voice for all equine. I know you won’t weaken. Let’s KICK BUTT Monday!!! God Bless.
Eddie Kilroy, “WILLIE PLACE” XM Radio

Monday has been designated FOB call-in day.

Update 1113: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). Mrs. Jackson called, and she had just received a call from Dr. Richardson. I was heading to the track as Mrs. Jackson called, on my second set. I was on Real Lace going to the newly opened Tapeta track. Graham Motion’s string were just coming off as I was going through the tunnel to the track. I asked Graham what he thought. He said it was “good”. I asked his riders who were equally positive. Others I asked were also positive in the praise for the new surface. I galloped Real Lace a mile and a half on the surface and was impressed. It was nice and even, and had nice spring to it (not too much) … like riding on a great grass surface. We will of course see how it responds to adverse weather in the next day or two (rain, rain). Michael Dickinson was at Fair Hill this morning asking trainers and riders alike for their feedback. He asked me, I responded positively and expressed my wish that dirt tracks were going to be a thing of history.

Update 1112: Going local, we have this from Delaware Online: Barbaro improving, to get special shoe. It quotes Kathy Anderson in places, including:

Anderson said she is starting to see the old Barbaro come through.

“His disposition has actually improved so much,” said Anderson. “He has a lot more confidence and can walk around so much better. He is a happy horse. He was very unhappy, yet courageous, there for a while.”

Going global (New Zealand) we have: Barbaro has helped many other horses. This includes quotes from this site regarding Edgar Prado’s most recent visit.

The Barbaro update should be later this morning. Keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 10:41 AM | Comments (598)
Barbaro Updates: 144
Posted November 29, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1111: Maybe not today for Russell Baze ? Through race 7 he has been blanked.

Kathy left this message in the comments (timestamp 11:31 pm):

Thank you for the Pretzels,
Thank you for the homemade yummy candy,
Thank you for the delicious cakes and brownies today!!!
What a wonderful treat for all the staff at New Bolton!
Happy Holidays!!!!!!
Thank you for all the nice baskets and bags for Barbaro and all the animals at New Bolton Center

I am guessing (actually I know) gifts arrived today for the staff at New Bolton. Kathy Anderson was unable to visit Barbaro today.

Update 1110: This is cool: Barbaro as an SI Sportman of the Year candidate, and this is not so cool: Kieren Fallon in further trouble.

Update 1109: This morning was very foggy, and almost muggy. Seven sets. For my last set I took another “first time starter” to the track … Gator Nation’s two year old half sister. She was very well behaved doing one turn of the track. The synthetic track, which I had heard was to open today, is now scheduled to open tomorrow at 6:30 am. This opening I guess may be dependant on a noon inspection by Michael Dickinson.

Kathy Anderson said she might be going over to visit Barbaro later today. If I can, I will try to catch up with Kathy later to see if she was able to visit.

Update 1108: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I heard from Mr. Jackson, who had heard from Dr. Richardson. The Jackson’s also visited last evening, as usual, and Barbaro was comfortable.
update 9:30 am, wednesday, november 29

Update 1107: Russell Baze is three wins from setting an all-time record for number of wins by a jockey. Here is a transcript of a chat Russell had with Bloodhorse yesterday. It includes the following excerpt:

Russell, first of all I’d like to say you are a great jockey. You’ve ridden many winners obviously. Who is the best horse you have ever ridden?
Baze: I’ve been on a lot of really great horses. Lost in the Fog was the one who did the most outstanding things for me.

Fair Hill has a runner in a million dollar race on friday: Officer Rocket, Xchanger to meet in $1-million Delta Jackpot. Good luck to Xchanger!

Here are some more pictures of Showing Up at Hollywood Park.

Again, the Barbaro update will be after training hours. Keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 10:10 AM | Comments (599)
Barbaro Updates: 143
Posted November 28, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1106: As noticed by a few people in the comments, the New Bolton release notes only a light cotton bandage supporting Barbaro’s right hind leg (makes no mention of splints). When I visited Barbaro I also noticed this. I decided not to mention it at the time, I thought I would wait for New Bolton to make this information available.

Update 1105: The New Bolton update for Barbaro: Barbaro steadily improving

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve following the removal of his right hind leg cast on November 6, according to his medical team. “Barbaro is steadily gaining strength on his right hind limb now that it is out of the cast,” said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. “He is only wearing a very light cotton bandage on that leg and both walks and stands well on it.” Barbaro’s lower right hind leg had been in a cast since surgery at Penn’s George D. Widener Hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20. “Radiographs of his fractured lower limb were taken yesterday and look excellent,” said Dr. Richardson.

Barbaro’s left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. “The left hind foot is improving gradually and has a long way to go although his comfort on that foot remains surprisingly good,” said Dr. Richardson. “Barbaro’s attitude and appetite remain excellent, and he still takes short walks outside to graze each day if the weather permits.”

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, December 12, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

Update 1104: For Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, would you vote for Barbaro or Dr. Richardson ? Both appear to have compelling cases. December 4 we will know.

Update 1103: It has taken a long time, and who knows, it might be temporary, but as I type this site is on the first page of search results on google for both Barbaro and barbaro.

Alie, from Kennett Florist left this upbeat comment (timestamp: 5:36 pm):

Hello All
What a beautiful day here in Kennett Square. I just returned from NBC. They were very busy. Lots of people coming in and out. The mood was extremely up. I was greeted by happy faces & even a couple hugs. Mrs. Jackson was visiting & had her bag of grass, for the boss horse. She is just a wonderful lady. I talked to Dr Sweeney we decided where the tree is going to go, in the lobby. Have a great day.
God Bless
We Believe

Update 1102: Mrs. Jackson just called. Barbaro remains comfortable. Mrs. Jackson had just visited. He was laying down as she was leaving. Of course she brought him his cut grass. There will be an update today from New Bolton.

I did see Peter early this morning before he left for Florida. He will take a couple of days off as he, Kim and Nicholas get re-situated for the “winter”. It is a lovely day today again at Fair Hill (and New Bolton I assume). I don’t think it could be warmer for this time of year. Seven sets, and I was wishing I had not had the long johns on later in the morning.
update 12:30 pm, tuesday, november 28

Update 1101: Sue McMullen is keeping up with Ouija Board’s travels:

Ouija Board has arrived in Hong Kong safely and is reported to be in fine fettle ahead of her bid to win the Hong Kong Vase, one of the Cathay Pacific International races on December 10. She won this race last year and it will be her final appearance on a racecourse. Ouija’s amazing run to claim third in the Japan Cup behind what is for many people the world’s best turf horse, Deep Impact, adds yet another glittering result to her resume and when she bows out in a couple of weeks time, racing will certainly miss her. Described as positively thriving on all the travelling she does and being in new places, this incredible mare is now on her last jaunt and it will be interesting to see how she eventually settles down to a serene life in the paddocks.

Update 1100: Another great article, this one documenting Barbaro’s journey: Barbaro: America’s Horse Continues to Beat the Odds Six Months Later. It includes the following excerpt:

Regardless of whether Barbaro is able to recover sufficiently to cover a mare and produce colts and fillies, his sad injury has brought about some remarkably positive events. Through Alex Brown’s postings on Fair Hill trainer Tim Woolley’s website at, thousands of the popular bay colt’s fans check in each day hoping to read of any change, positive or negative, in his condition. They maintain a lively comment board and refer to themselves as “Friends of Barbaro”–FOBs. This band of fervent animal lovers has become a force to reckon with as far as mobilizing the public and elected officials regarding animal-friendly issues such as recent anti-horse slaughter legislation. And the horrific and highly-publicized injuries of Barbaro and dozens of other thoroughbreds recently have led track owners to consider using new, improved materials such as Polytrack.

Keep up the good work “Fans” of Barbaro and keep calling!

Jeannette received a Call from Harry J. Aleo–Lost in the Fog.

The Barbaro update will again be after training hours.

Posted by Alex at 10:31 AM | Comments (524)
Barbaro Updates: 142
Posted November 27, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1099: Arlington may go with a synthetic track as soon as their next summer meet: Arlington may go synthetic. This would be fantastic! Fair Hill’s sythetic track (Tapeta) may open on wednesday. A tractor keeps going round and round on it during morning training (its inside the dirt track which we are currently using), lets hope it is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Speaking of wednesday, that may also be the day Russell Baze breaks the record: Baze Collects Two Wins in Rain Sunday.

Finally, Delaware Park had a bad meet: Delaware has drop in handle. Some might suggest if they had a sythetic track, it would help with their entries, which in turn helps with their handle …

Update 1098: I just spoke to Peter, who visited Barbaro after work today. He was upbeat. He groomed him etc. I am guessing this will be Peter’s last visit before he heads to Florida, which is as soon as they get the remaining horses loaded onto the horse van tomorrow morning.

Lor in PA wrote this article for the Patriot News: Horses were never meant to be raised for food.

For those having trouble with the previous Japan Cup video, here is another: JRA Japan cup Nov.26.2006 (well worth seeing).

Sue McMullen sent this e-mail regarding Kieren Fallon’s attempt to acquire a jockey’s license for the last major international race meet (which we will cover) in Hong Kong:

As anticipated, the Licensing Committee of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club has now turned down Kieren Fallon’s application to ride at the Cathay Pacific International race meeting on December 10.

Kim Kelly, Stipendiary Steward and Secretary to the Licensing Committee said in a statement to media that ‘although it was not appropriate for them to comment on Kieren Fallon’s pending criminal proceedings relating to horse racing integrity in the UK, the decision not to grant him a license was consistent with HKJC’s previous decisions not to permit jockeys who were subject of law enforcement investigations to ride in Hong Kong pending the outcome of those investigations.’

So one of Flat racing’s finest horsemen will have to sit it out for the last major meeting of the year and this decision, although not a surprise, saddens many of his admirers in Europe who believe a man is innocent until proven guilty.

Update 1097: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called, and she had just visited. Of course I had to congratulate her on their wonderful victory yesterday! They took the “red eye” back last night.
update 12:10 pm, monday, november 27

Update 1096: No Barbaro update yet this morning. It was a busy morning this morning at Fair Hill. Eight horses to ride, a couple of new ones (green two year olds). It was also a gorgeous morning, withe a lovely sunrise mixed with a low lying fog.

Redaspen looks well after her race this weekend. I also caught up with Lil Klesaris who said their horses came back from their exploits in good fettle. Miraculous Miss will now have some time off. She has had a long season, interrupted by the horrific gate incident in the Acorn. Diabolical will also have a couple of months off (I think). They were very happy with him, he ran huge (just getting beaten by the Breeders’ Cup sprint champion), and came out of the race well. Kong is King also ran well, with blinkers on. Of course he had to face what might be the best two year old in the country in NoBiz! I’ll try to catch up with Barclay in the next day or two to get reports of his two massive runners over the weekend.

Update 1095: Here are a couple of reports of Showing Up’s dazzling performance in the Hollywood Derby yesterday where he shattered the Stakes record on the turf at Hollywood Park:
Showing Up Good as Billed in Hollywood Derby
Showing Up continues turf dominance in the Hollywood Derby

We also have pictures: “Showing Up” wins the Hollywood Derby.

For those (many) of us who missed the Japan Cup late saturday night, early sunday morning, here it is (found on I just love listening to the roar of the crowd as Deep Impact begins to make his move. Ouija Board ran a fantastic race in defeat (update 1090).

The Barbaro update will be after training hours again this morning. Keep calling.

Posted by Alex at 10:28 AM | Comments (511)
Barbaro Updates: 141
Posted November 25, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1094: Showing Up bolted up! Perhaps he made a move a little too soon, switched back off at the quarter pole for a few strides, then fired up again and went by them. By far the best! What a weekend for Barclay Tagg, and congratulations to the Jacksons!

Update 1093: Unfortunately Brother Derek had to scratch out of today’s Hollywood Derby: Brother Derek Scratched Due to Colic Attack. Sounds like just unfortunate timing, but nothing too serious. Linnie posted in the comments (timestamp: 9:53 pm) an experience at Calder races yesterday with other Fans of Barbaro.

Wonder if racing is popular in Japan, check this photograph from yesterday’s Japan Cup. About 115,000 were in attendance to watch Deep Impact’s win.

Update 1092: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I just received a call from Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s daughter who was on “visit duty” while the Jackson’s are in California for Showing Up’s race. Michael was also visiting at the same time, and Barbaro got to go outside to graze.
update, sunday, 12:15 pm, november 26

Update 1091: A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I went in a little late (7 am), rode a couple on the track, and then grazed Hawty Creek. Very peaceful. As I was grazing Hawty Michael Matz was spreading grass seed close to his barn. Likely one of the last things to be done as they begin to wrap everything up at Fair Hill and head south. Michael only has a few horses left here, and I assume many of those ran yesterday. He will close up his barns early next week and head south. He did mention to me he was going to visit Barbaro this morning.

Redaspen looked well in her stall. Tim said she ate up everything last night and is pretty perky this morning. All good signs. When I was on the track I saw (the other) Tim, Barclay’s Fair Hill assistant. I asked Tim what Barclay had to say after NoBiz’s performance yesterday. Tim said Barclay was happy! Of course another big day for their stable today in California.

Here are a few links to the big races yesterday:
Cigar Mile:
Discreet Cat stays perfect in Cigar
Discreet Cat Fired Up in Record Cigar Mile
Discreet Cat impressive winner of Cigar Mile

‘Nobiz’ dominates Remsen
Nobiz Like Shobiz Hits Big Time in Remsen
Nobiz Like Shobiz romps in Remsen

De Francis Dash:
Thor’s Echo helps Eclipse chances
Thor’s Echo Makes Case in De Francis Dash
Thor’s Echo adds De Francis Dash score to burgeoning resume

Update 1090: Sue McMullen reports on Ouija Board’s third in the Japan Cup:

What can you say about this mare? Even her most ardent fans knew it was a tough call for Ouija to take on not only Japan’s best boys, but a ‘boy’ who is arguably the best in the World, just a few short weeks after regaining her crown in the BC Filly and Mare. Deep Impact restored his reputation with an emphatic win, sending a one hoof gesture to those who said this scintillating son of Sunday Silence might have lost his zest for the game. The poor tactics and abysmal management of his attempt on the Arc were not his fault. Even a superstar needs a good support crew. He will have one more run in Japan before heading off to stud.

Ouija ran her heart out as usual, putting her head down, battling all the way to the line to finish a very gallant third and just missing out on second place to Dream Passport. Dettori heaped praise on her saying she just found the long uphill finish too much in the dying strides. To run third in this race so soon after her victory in the BC is an accolade in itself and she loses absolutely nothing in defeat. It only serves to show what an amazing creature she is. You may recall in our preview of this race that it is extremely tough to win with a gruelling stretch and sticking to her task in this company to claim third is awesome. If she comes out of this race well and continues to look good, she heads to Hong Kong and will make her final appearance on the racecourse on December 10.

Heart’s Cry trailed in tenth and was clearly not himself.

Here is Sportinglife’s report: IMPACT CLAIMS CUP GLORY.

The final big race of the weekend of interest is at Hollywood Park today (sunday): Showing Up has much to live up to. Let’s hope the Jackson’s Showing Up can continue his tremendous year. The “interesting” contender will be Brother Derek, in his first attempt on the turf. They last met in the Kentucky Derby, watching Barbaro gallop down the lane! Clearly Showing Up has shown he loves the turf.

Update 1089: Some great racing this afternoon as we thought. I will only note a few of the races here, and will gather some internet links to some of the races in the morning.

Redaspen I thought ran a very good race in the April Run, finishing fourth. It seemed the pace was slow up front which did not particularly suit her. She tried to come up the inside going down the backside, and that was not going to happen. She then needed to hold up and then make a run around the outside. She made up a lot of ground late to finish a very respectable fourth. She cooled out well and I believe that is it for her this year. She will get the winter off and come back for a spring / early summer campaign once the turf season reopens. She has had two wins this year, including a stakes win, and pushed her earnings over the $200,000 mark with her fourth today. A great prospect for Tim and Equivine Farm next year.

Diabolical ran a great race for Steve Klesaris to finish a very close second to Thor’s Echo in the Grade 1 Francis Dash. Thor’s Echo is the first Breeders’ Cup winner to run back and win, but he really had to dig in to hold off Diabolical. That was close to being Steve Klesaris’ first Grade 1 winner!

Michael Matz’s Street Sounds was impressive in her win in the Selima Stakes.

NoBiz Like ShoBiz, very impressive in his win in the Remsen. To me he still looks big and green, which only bodes well for his future.

Discreet Cat, what can you say ? He shipped here from Dubai, got sick and missed the early races in the US this year. If he had not, his campaign could have been entirely different. He won impressively today in a short field, but the fractions were ridiculous, and he accomplished them ridiculously easily. He was just very impressive.

Tonight we have Ouija Board running in the Japan Cup, lets hope she can follow Thor’s Echo’s lead and become the second Breeders’ Cup winner to return to the winners circle.

Update 1088: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). Mrs. Jackson called about about 10:30 am this morning as she was leaving New Bolton. She had her usual morning visit with Barbaro delivering hand cut grass from the farm. I was grazing Hawty Creek when Mrs. Jackson called. Hawty had her first little work this morning, it was untimed but close to an open gallop for 3/8ths of a mile. She handled it very well.

As I suspected it was a busy morning this morning. I rode eight, five of which did some kind of work. Two went to the gate. When I was on Hawty Creek a loose horse was galloping at us. Fortunately no harm was done. I also watched Red Aspen getting ready and being loaded on to the van to ship down to Laurel. Lets hope she runs her race, I think running her race will make her very tough. She seems to always get overlooked in the bigger races, and no doubt this is her biggest test, but her beyer of 93 last time, and 91 the time before that she ran on the turf makes her fit righ in there. Good luck Victor Molina.

Update 1087: The Barbaro update will again be after training hours this morning. This morning is likely to be quite busy, a combination of good weather (good track) and a saturday means there will be a lot of horses breezing etc.

The big race yesterday, The Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, was won by the tongue-wagging Premium Tap: Premium Tap dominant Clark Handicap winner.

Posted by Alex at 10:58 AM | Comments (700)
Barbaro Updates: 140
Posted November 23, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1086: I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael after his afternoon visit with Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable and Michael did get him outside (it was a lovely afternoon).

A nice profile on Ouija Board’s “lass”.

Update 1085: This weekend is turning out to be another full of great racing interests. Sue McMullen highlighted the major global race, the Japan Cup, which features Ouija Board and Deep Impact among its 11 entries (update 1083). Here is a short update from Dunlop’s yard.

Barclay Tagg has a cross country double attempt with NoBiz Like ShoBiz in the Remsen on saturday (‘Nobiz’ running with eye on Derby) and Showing Up in the Hollywood Derby on sunday (Showing Up Not Alone in Hollywood Derby). I just spoke to Barclay and both horses are training well, looking good and feeling good.

Closer to (our) home Laurel has a tremendous card tomorrow. Highlights include Tim’s Red Aspen in the April Run Stakes, Diabolical taking on Thor’s Echo in the Dash and Miraculous Miss in the Stefanita.

Michael Matz has Chelokee in the 5th at Churchill Downs on saturday (he also has a few running at Laurel) and Discreet Cat meets a short, but decent, field in the Cigar Mile (Discreet Cat primed for hardest test.)

Update 1084: Another comfortable night last night for barbaro (thursday night). I just spoke to Peter who confirmed. Michael is on his way over to New Bolton as I type (1:05 pm) to visit Barbaro.
update 1:05 pm, friday november 24

Update 1083: The latest Barbaro update is proving elusive, although I did talk to Peter and either he or Michael will visit today, so I will be able to follow up later. Peter did assume all was well.

Sue McMullen sent this commentary on this weekend’s major global race, the Japan Cup:

There’s a fascinating clash in prospect in Sunday’s Group 1 Japan Cup, the most prestigious race in Japan, run over 12 furlongs on turf, with the reigning queen of racing fillies, Ouija Board hot foot from her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare, once gain taking on the boys, as she will face Japan’s top colts Deep Impact and Heart’s Cry.

Beaten in this race last year, suffering the same bad luck as she had experienced in the BC, the team have changed tactics for Ouija this year and sent her direct from the US to Japan, rather than taking her home first. It made sense as she would hardly have had time to unpack her suitcase before setting off again. But she’s had plenty of time to settle at Fuchu, Tokyo’s racecourse and as reported here already, via a link to trainer Ed Dunlop’s website, she is looking very well and up to her racing weight. She certainly pleased Frankie Dettori in a recent piece of work, and was bucking and squealing afterward demonstrating her wellbeing.

This year’s time lapse between the BC and the Japan Cup is a week less than normal, but as Ed Dunlop himself said, she is a ‘strange horse’ in how she seems to bounce back from some gruelling battles and with the usual caveat that she will tell them when it’s time to call it a day, she is certainly giving every impression she will serve it up to the boys on Sunday. But Team Ouija know the task she faces and although Ed Dunlop is confident she is well in herself, he cannot be entirely confident of the outcome as her main rivals are two of the world’s best colts, arguably the very best.

Deep Impact was stripped of his third place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe having tested positive for a prescribed medication to help a minor respiratory problem, which his handlers had not withdrawn in time. The Sunday Silence colt ran brilliantly to finish third on a course that was totally unlike anything he had experienced and off a slow pace unsuited to his style of running. Many observers wondered why they had not given the horse the benefit of a prep race at Longchamp, to give him a feel of the track and a ‘pipe opener’, which might have seen a different outcome at the finish. But how much worse it would have been to be stripped of a victory in the Arc and it has to be said that his connections let him down. So Japan’s top horse has a point to prove on Sunday.

Joining him in the line-up will be another son of the peerless Sunday Silence, Heart’s Cry, who went down a whisker in a photo to Alkaased last year. On their home territory and a familiar track, these two will be tough nuts to crack and Deep Impact is showing renewed zest for the game and training very well now he’s shaken French turf off his hooves.

First run in 1981, the Japan Cup was established as an invitational event to attract the best horses in the world to take on their best horses, a bold move at a time when Japan’s racing empire was in its infancy in terms of being a world player. The first two runnings were won by American horses, Mairzy Doates and Half Iced, followed by Pay The Butler in 1988. America’s fourth and most recent Japan Cup victory came in 1991 when the legendary Charlie Whittingham saddled Golden Pheasant to win, a fitting victory given the dominance and influence one of his most famous charges has had on Japanese racing, with a son of Sunday Silence, Special Week, winning in 1998. The race is now firmly established as one of the premier fixtures at the end of the season, along with the Arc and the BC and is the penultimate leg of the World Series Racing Championships, attracting runners from all over the world with a reputation for being a tough race to win. Other notable victors include the English-trained Jupiter Island, Singspiel, Pilsudski and Alkaased, Japanese victors El Condor Pasa and Zenno Rob Roy, Italian-trained Falbrav (before he relocated to England), New Zealander Horlicks and Better Loosen Up from Australia. Underlying the race’s reputation it is interesting to note that aside from talent, a prime characteristic of the winners is they were known to be very tough as the race has witnessed some real battles in the long stretch finish.

Only 11 contest this year’s renewal, with Ouija joined from Europe by Freedonia, trained by John Hammond (an English trainer based in France) who, like Deep Impact, will want a fast run race. A late maturing filly, Freedonia has quite a bit to find to live with Ouija but she stays well. Ed Dunlop is hoping for a steadier pace than last year so the brilliant mare can show her closing speed. The word at the course is that Japanese Tosen Shano O will act as pacemaker for stablemate Swift Current, so he could set a good pace.

What a prospect. Good luck and safe racing to all of them. Currently third in the market here behind hot favourite Deep Impact and Heart’s Cry, Ouija has it all to do in arguably her toughest race to date.

Update 1082: Coverage of Barbaro in the UK continues: Life a series of small steps for Barbaro. The following are a couple of excerpts:

“It’s amazing,” she said. “I could say he’s a splendid-looking horse. He has a presence to him. He has a very noble, gallant look about him when he’s on the track, but it has to be more than that.

“I think people saw everybody support the horse and love it through its injury rather than discarding it,” said Jackson. “Everything is disposable in society now and maybe people saw this as something that isn’t disposable. It’s valued.”


Richardson remains guardedly optimistic about Barbaro’s chances of survival.

“He’s in the process of regrowing his hoof,” he said. “And that’s not a sure-fire proposition that it occurs adequately on any horse at any time. He has a long way to go. He is certainly not out of the woods. But we’re hopeful.”

For those new to horse race handicapping, this will help. The Barbaro update should be available after training hours this morning.

Please read this poemTwas the Night Before the Auction, and keep calling!

Update 1081: Pictures that go with the two most recent Philadelphia Inquirer articles:

A visit with Barbaro (taken sunday november 19. Note the grass bag I tried to describe in update 1080)

Fair Hill’s New Track (these images accompany the synthetic track article from tuesday of this week).

Update 1080: My visit with Barbaro from yesterday (wednesday, november 22, 5-6 pm):

I was to meet Mrs. Jackson at 5 pm in the lobby area of New Bolton. I had not yet met Mrs. Jackson, so not only was this my first visit with Barbaro since the Preakness, but also the first time to meet his owners. I got their five minutes early, and waited a short time in the lobby area rereading many of the get well wishes that are ever present. Right at 5 Mrs. Jackson arrived. She knew who I was, and of course I knew her immediately. No awkward moment and very quick introductions. Mrs. Jackson gave me a signed win picture of the Kentucky Derby and was just effusive in her praise for our site and all that we have done (basically she put me at ease straight away). We went in the direction of Barbaro (a quick hello to Kathy Freeborn) and passed by Dr. Sweeney’s office. Mrs. Jackson introduced me to Dr. Sweeney and we had a very short (nice) chat. We reached the ICU and had to put on our ICU clothes at which time Mr. Jackson arrived. He then signed my win picture (it is signed by Mr. Mrs. Jackson, Edgar Prado and Michael Matz … i’ll get Peter to sign it too before he leaves to Florida). As we got ready to see Barbaro we continued a conversation that actually went on for the entire hour. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were just very easy to talk with and we talked about many things, ranging from travel (I described my love of New Zealand) to horse-related issues (horse slaughter etc.)

We entered the ICU and the first thing we did was attend to a baby goat, with its mother. It was tiny and precious. Anyway, that did not take long, we ventured over to Barbaro’s stall (I may get this wrong but the ICU seemed to include about four stalls, two on either side, with a large middle … kind of like a hospital with a large reception area in the middle and private rooms on the outside.) It is a well lit area and seems (obviously) very clean etc. Mrs. Jackson had brought with her a large carrier-type bag full of freshly cut grass. We got to Barbaro’s stall and opened the door a little … Barbaro was turned away from us, and it took a little coaxing to get him to turn around and come to us. Once he did, he was very happy to see the grass. He munched away, and we stood watching him while also intermittently petting him on the head etc. You can imagine he would pin his ears back, pretend to flash his teeth a little, and then get back to munching on his grass … then look up to us, prick his ears etc. etc. Basically you have to be careful with him, but when careful, and showing him the respect he requires, he is very happy. He also got to eat a red apple (crunch, crunch, crunch and it was gone) and a few spearmint mints (the green ones). He clearly loved those and was not happy about waiting until the wrappers were removed! We must have stood next to him at the front of his stall for a good 30 – 40 minutes as we chatted away. Barbaro then moved to another part of his stall. I got to see the what are now almost white markings on his near (left) side. Nothing to worry about there. His tail is still short, but again, this is simple cosmetic stuff, and the tail will grow out. Michael had clearly already visited as his bandage on his left hind leg was clean and had been recently reset. Shortly before we left Barbaro did lay down, conveniently close to where the remainder of the grass that Mrs. Jackson had gathered was laid. You can tell he really looks after himself by the way he was laying down. Barbaro is clearly a smart horse who seems to understand his current predicament and what he needs to do to get through this.

Overall Barbaro looked well. His coat is clean, shiny and almost summery. I know he is groomed regularly and this must help. His eye is clean and his weight looks great. I really think he looks like a horse in a race barn when you simply look at his body and up. He is big! I know Michael Matz thinks he has grown taller, but simply put, he is a big horse. He is also smart. Adapting to his current situation is pretty amazing for a three year old colt who only knew about running (and running very well). Simply put, I am in awe of Barbaro and all he has endured.

A couple of other notes about our conversations. We mentioned the Florida Derby, apparently Edgar told the Jackson’s Barbaro was only playing in that race. He saw some construction (I guess on the inside) and was not focused on what he should be doing. In the Kentucky Derby Mrs. Jackson said Barbaro hardly sweated in his effort, he did it so easily. Mr. Jackson agreed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were curious as to how I would continue the updates once Michael and Peter head south. They volunteered to help me get updates if necessary. We also discussed the relationships both Michael and Peter have with their horse, and how things will be different when they leave for Florida.

All in all, this was an experience. I met two people and a horse, each of whom seems to be all that is good about life.

Update 1079: It is unlikely there will be a Barbaro update today. I went over to Michael Matz’s barn after I was finished this morning (no dirt track today, so work was in the shedrow) and Michael was already on his way to Kentucky to saddle Sangrita. I chatted with Peter for a while. Peter is not planning to visit and does not anticipate hearing anything (assuming all remains well). Peter did note that Chelokee is running on saturday, at Churchill. They also have plenty of runners at Laurel on saturday, and I think maybe Aqueduct. I shedrowed a couple for Tim earlier in the morning. Red Aspen (who I do not ride) is also in on saturday, in the April Run Stakes at Laurel. The Laurel card looks awesome!

Russell Baze is getting close to setting the record for most wins by a jockey: Four-Bagger Moves Baze to Within 7 of Record. It is nice to see the current record holder supporting Baze in his quest: Jockey Baze deserves to break all-time win record, Pincay says. This article also notes Baze’s best horses:

Baze called 2005 champion sprinter Lost in the Fog the best horse he ever rode, while also mentioning graded stakes winners Hawkster, Super Moment, Simply Majestic, Great Communicator, and Event of the Year.

“Because of the campaign [Lost in the Fog] put together, few horses would have been able to ship as much as he did and run as well as he did on so many different surfaces,” Baze said. “He was just a fantastically talented animal.”

Finally the Jackson’s Showing Up is in California: Showing Up Ready for Hollywood Derby; Derek Confirmed. The following is an excerpt:

“He’s laid back in his stall but aggressive in his races,” said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, after jogging the chestnut colt once around the main track. “He’s not hard to ride, but wants to get it done.”

Lael Stables’ Showing Up, victorious in six of eight starts – including three-for-four on turf – can enhance his reputation among the nation’s turf elite in the 1 1/4 mile-mile grass test.

The colt, seeking his second grade I victory after accounting for the Secretariat at Arlington, has won in five different states.

“He’s well-traveled and handled the flight well,” said Smullen. He is scheduled to school at the gate Thursday.

Robin is another x Fair Hill rider. I will plan to put together something about my Barbaro visit yesterday a little later.

Update 1078: A great way to start thanksgiving: Few limits for Barbaro’s many fans. This Mike Jensen article notes a few of our regular visitors and contributors. The following are excerpts:

A “classical modern” dancer with several choreographed works reviewed in the New York Times, Martita Goshen has an idea for her next solo performance already percolating.

She doesn’t yet know what form it will take. She just has a theme.

“I’m deeply inspired by the horse Barbaro, and his integrity, and the people around him caring for him,” Goshen said. “That’s a big tableau. How I pull it all together in less than an hour, it will be fascinating.”


“Everybody talks about Barbaro’s will to live,” Smoliak said. “Well, guess what, there are horses standing on the slaughter line, they have the will to live, too. We just don’t know them.”

He is still a full-throttle fan of Barbaro’s, looking for news about the horse every day. But he watches more C-Span, too.

“Barbaro has had an effect on people,” Smoliak said. “The bottom line, I’m a better U.S. citizen because of him.”


“The energy field of a horse is as big as a barn – compared to most of us lowly humans with our fields out about a ‘wingspan,’ ” Somano said in an e-mail.

She started doing distance healing on Barbaro the day of the Preakness, she said, and has continued it every day.

“I know it might sound ‘out there’ to those not familiar with this work and the credentialing back of it,” Somano said. “I assure you, though, I am about as conservative and levelheaded as any practitioner can be working in an unconventional field.

The Barbaro update this morning will hopefully come sometime mid-morning.

Posted by Alex at 11:25 AM | Comments (562)
Barbaro Updates: 139
Posted November 22, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1077: Another comfortable day for Barbaro today. I know, I saw! My first visit thanks to Mrs. Jackson. I spent more than an hour with Barbaro, talking with Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. I will post more tomorrow about the visit, but most importantly he (Barbaro) does look great. His coat is shiny, he has a clean eye and great weight.

Update 1076: WGAL Channel 8 did a follow up piece last night on horse slaughter: Follow Up: Horse Slaughter (usual warnings apply, but well worth seeing). It includes a great profile on Lost and Found Horse Rescue to which many of you contributed for my birthday last week. I am also in it very briefly. Thanks again to Lor in PA for helping get this coverage and to Susan Shapiro for making it happen. Keep calling.

Update 1075: Sue McMullen just sent this e-mail regarding European runners at Hollywood Park this weekend:

Friday’s Citation includes Rob Roy, formerly with Sir Michael Stoute, who is now in training with Neil Dysdale in the hope he will have better luck in the US. Rob Roy missed the kick in the BC Mile but finished very strongly and should have gone closer. Also in the Citation line-up is Godolphin’s Ashkal Way, plus some former English-trained horses, Three Valleys, Rebel Rebel and Bravo Maestro.

The Hollywood Derby includes the improving Dark Islander, son of Singspiel who got better with age and scored his greatest victories, including a Japan Cup, as an ‘older’ horse. Trained by John Hills, who saddles Clinet for the Matriarch Stakes, Dark Islander won the Grade Two Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita and it will be interesting to see if he can step up again and run well in this field.

Ivan Denisovich, who missed the cut in the BC Mile, also runs in the Derby and Ballydoyle will be hoping for a big run from him to pay for all the air fares as he travelled home after his abortive attempt at the BC, then went back to the US to run in California. This will be another encounter with Showing Up who has already beaten him, in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington.

As noted Neil Drysdale now trains Rob Roy. Neil is one of the leading trainers in the US (trained Fusaichi Pegasus etc.), an englishman and also a new father! Neil once had a string of horses at Fair Hill. I freelanced for him a little. His assistant trainer, John “the quiet man”, who ran the shed at Fair Hill and is still with Neil, also worked for Mercy Rimell, just before I joined Mercy’s stable for my first job in racing.

I saw Michael Matz in the local sandwich shop (Prizzios). He is planning to see Barbaro this afternoon and take him outside. He will be at Fair Hill in the morning before heading out to Kentucky to saddle Sangrita tomorrow afternoon.

Keep calling.

Update 1074: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night) and chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill. I saw Michael Matz coming on to the track for my second set. Michael also noted Barbaro is now weighing in at 1,135 pounds. As I suspected it was a pretty busy morning, and it also looks like the guys working on the Tapeta surface (the track inside the main dirt track) are moving right along too. About 2/3rds of the track now has the new surface laid on top of whatever else they needed to put down. I am wondering if they will finish it before the rain comes!
updated 10:30 am, wednesday, november 22

Update 1073: I am guessing Michael Matz will be heading back to Churchill Downs this week: Prep win good sign for Sangrita. If Sangrita can win this grade two stake for Michael’s wife, D.D., then Michael will have had a great year at Churchill Downs. Actually I guess he already has had a great year there, but this would be icing on the cake.

Del Mar has gone with the Polytrack. It will be installed in time for their summer meet, which like Hollywood Park, is ahead of their mandated schedule (end of year, 2007). A short excerpt:

“Polytrack is going to make our racing surface a safer place for our horses and riders,” said Joe Harper, Del Mar’s president and general manager, in a statement. Work is expected to begin on the one-mile main track in January, pending final approval.

The Barbaro update will likely again be after training hours this morning. It is likely to be busy this morning in anticipation of some very wet weather coming through later today and tomorrow. Lets hope we do not get all the rain they expect so racing can stay on the turf this weekend (Red Aspen).