Barbaro Updates: 1118 – 1178

Barbaro, with Messaging, at Fair Hill Training Center

Posted December 12, 2006

Update 1178: No Barbaro update yet this morning. I will be heading over to New Bolton to afix some more posters to the fence line, so hopefully will have heard something by my return.

It became a rainy morning this morning at Fair Hill, although again unseasonably warm. Gator Nation, who has been my first ride for the morning for a little while, seems to be training really well at the moment … or at least he is an absolute pleasure to gallop. My kind of horse, give him a long reign, and let him gallop along. Hawty Creek again went outback. The ground was nice so we galloped a little more up the hills. One thing she knows how to do is buck (Jen, who helps out with the site from time-to-time with updates, can attest to that … she bucked her off one time last year). Anyway, she is in good form. The others I rode also went well, but as the morning continued the rain started coming.

Update 1177: Sue McMullen sent this e-mail about the returning Collier Hill:

Collier Hill is due home today. Speaking this morning about his stable star, trainer Alan Swinbank echoed the view of so many people when he said, “he’s all class, isn’t he? I don’t think we’ll ever have another one like him.” Sadly the victory reception for Collier will be somewhat tempered by the fact that the yard have this morning suffered the kind of tragedy that reminds us that the euphoric highs of racing are so often followed by the desperate lows. A horse broke a leg on the gallops and had to be euthanised. Those outside racing sometimes underestimate how an event like this affects a training stable, how utterly demoralising and upsetting it is for all involved, not just the person closest to the horse. This much was evident speaking to Alan this morning as he expressed his pride of Collier in a voice still raw with the emotion of seeing another of his charges lose his life.

I have been fortunate in racing that this has not (yet) happened to me, a horse breaking its leg. It can only be an awful feeling. It happened to a friend of mine somewhat recently, I saw her in the Post Office a week later. She was mailing a letter, with a photograph, to the owner of the horse. She said she just could not get around to doing it any sooner it was so upsetting.

Del Mar has now received approval to go ahead with its Polytrack: Coastal Commission Approves Del Mar Polytrack.

It looks like another day of decent weather for Fair Hill, as long as the rain holds off. The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.

Update 1176: Sue McMullen sent this about our favourite lady:

Following a certain amount of speculation about where she would go, Gainsborough House Stables, Ed Dunlop’s training base, have today confirmed they are expecting Ouija Board home tomorrow and she is reported to be fine form. They were obviously not expecting to see her again as she had been due to go straight to her new career in the paddocks, so this is a little bonus for all those who have been very close to her over the last few years. Her withdrawal from the Vase was said to be 50/50 and primarily on the basis of her own wellbeing, which rings true as her ‘team’ would never have done anything whatsoever to risk this most precious girl. They are also counting their blessings, just thankful that after the most glittering, globe-trotting career, they have her back in one piece. This is the most important consideration to them, which puts Hong Kong into perspective and she will be welcomed home like a returning Queen, from all at the yard and doubtless a few visitors keen to see her one last time before she leaves them. A date for her departure has yet to be decided by Lord Derby, her number one, loyal subject.

We have a couple more articles about Eclipse Award voting: The Eclipse Awards might hold some surprises and An Eclipse For Barbaro, It’s Not Unprecedented.

Racing media were quick to pick up on New Bolton’s latest update: Barbaro to get special shoe for right hind foot and Barbaro to Get Special Shoe for Right Hind Foot. Their obvious focus being the new shoe.

Update 1175: New Bolton’s Barbaro Update: Barbaro gaining strength on right hind leg:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is continuing to strengthen on his right hind leg since the cast was removed on November 6, according to his medical team. “Barbaro will need a special shoe on his right hind foot that will provide extra support for at least the next several months,” said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. Barbaro’s medical team plans to change his right hind shoe within the next day or two.

Barbaro’s left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. “The left hind foot is progressing slowly although his comfort on that foot remains acceptable,” said Dr. Richardson. “Most importantly, Barbaro’s overall condition is continuing to improve and he weighs more now than at any time during his hospitalization.”

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, December 19, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

Update 1174: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Mrs. Jackson called after her morning visit to report (just after 11 am). I was actually at the post office when Mrs. Jackson called, picking up more posters for the New Bolton fence line. I think I have about four more posters to hang, so will either do that later today, or tomorrow mid morning.

Don’t forget to vote for Time’s Best Photo of the Year. Barbaro’s photo (19) appears to have 5% of the vote, and is currently #3 in the voting as far as I am aware (which is pretty cool I think).

Fair Hill was beautiful this morning. Given the slightly warmer weather I took three of my horses across the fields (something we cannot do in the dead of winter as the ground gets too hard). Hawty Creek enjoyed it. The second, a 2yo of Tim’s, it was her first time outback. She also enjoyed it, and as we were coming home there was a huge bird perched in one of the trees. It was either a Bald Eagle or a large Hawk. I have not seen a Bald Eagle since the spring, but since the bird did not fly off I could not be too sure what it was. The final ride outback, I was in company, and we saw a fox, trotting along without a care in the world … with some dinner in his (or her) mouth.

Posted by Alex at 4:44 PM | Comments (423)
Barbaro Updates: 154
Posted December 11, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1173: A couple of perspectives for end of year honors: Vote Barbaro! and In Eclipse Award Nods, Lead With the Head, Follow Through With the Heart. I of course agree with the former article; the Kentucky Derby was the single outstanding performance of the year for a horse.

Regarding the latter article, it would be great to see either the Jackson’s win an award or Michael Matz. Both are very deserving. Barbaro’s accident did rob us of witnessing another attribute of this team, their sporting nature. There were early discussions of taking Barbaro to europe to race later in his career. These discussions have now moved to Showing Up (with Barclay Tagg). I was talking to Mrs. Jackson about this yesterday. She noted two things; they would love to take Showing Up to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next year, and the decision is entirely in their trainer’s hands. Both very refreshing comments. As noted recently, not a single US-based runner ran in the Arc, the Melbourne Cup, the Japan Cup or the Hong Kong Vase.

Talking of international racing, the Bloodhorse has pictures of Ouija Board’s exploits in her Breeders’ Cups.

Finally, Skyler visited Fair Hill yesterday and left her visit report in the comments (timestamp: 3:07 AM). The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning. A New Bolton release on Barbaro is also scheduled for today.

Update 1172: A quick update from Hollywood Park. I called Andy Durnin and he told me he had been galloping a few horses for Madella, one of which just won: Late-bloomer Boboman wins Turf Cup. He also told me of a nice maiden win for Beau Greely (Le Cirque) and a half brother to Smarty Jones … Speedy Jones, who is getting ready to run. Andy said the new track is now in good shape and handled a good amount of rain recently very well. Andy also mentioned that Warren Stute (legendary trainer) took a spill off his pony this morning and was taken to hospital, he had not heard anything further.

Update 1171: Bernie, from Kennett Florist, left this comment (timestamp: 8:09 pm):

Hi FOBs! Just wanted to let you all know that our big boy got his carrots and treats today and everyone was in the holiday spirit. I’m pleased to say the tree still looks great (I helped decorate it last week). Also, a heartfelt thanks from Libby to those of you who have been sending treats to her “kids” (the blood donor/research animals). She asked me to post that she and her kids are very grateful and are getting spoiled 🙂 Thanks again to everyone. As always, we are pleased and proud to be a part of the wonderful Friends of Barbaro.

Susan E. left this comment regarding voting for Time’s 2006 Photograph of the Year (timestamp: 7:40 pm):

Had a little trouble but finally got to view and vote on the TIME photos. I agree with Jake and Susan from Saratoga: Barbaro’s photo is the one that stands out with a message of hope, recovery, affirmation of life, and fundamental humanity. Even if I wasn’t an ardent FOB, I’d vote for it because it reminds us all of what can be and what should be. (The other photo in this category is the stark, black and white New Orleans Mardi Gras bar photos).

This is not to take away from the necessity of what is shown in and learned from in the grim, heartbreaking war related photos that comprise most of the selections; the Barbaro photo takes us through those horrors and brings us out on the other side.

Update 1170: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (11 am) and had just visited Barbaro.

You can vote for Time: Best Photos of the Year 2006. It is nice to see Barbaro featured (number 19), hence the gentle request to vote.

A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. We had a couple of visitors, Lyn and Skyler. Hawty Creek bit me, but other than that it was a great morning to be outside. Real Lace looks great after her win yesterday.

Posted by Alex at 4:38 PM | Comments (221)
Barbaro Updates: 153
Posted December 9, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1169: Now you can view Collier Hill’s weekend exploits: Hong Kong Vase 10/12/2006 (understanding french will make a little more sense of it). You can see that Dean McKeown out rode the other jockeys by getting first run around the turn and up the stretch, and then just holding off the fast charging Kastoria by a nose. Very exciting, and nice to see a right-handed horse race!

Jeannine Edwards sent the following e-mail as she was covering racing from Puerto Rico over the weekend for Wire to Wire (ESPN2):

The Clasico Del Caribe was run today for the 39th time. 5 Caribbean nations had runners in the $300,000 race. It was a gorgeous day at El Commandante in Puerto Rico, warm with a light breeze, high clouds, and a passing shower or two, which is customary.

Before the 11 horses came to the paddock for the Clasico, a marching band complete with cheerleaders and color guard, came onto the track to perform and signal the big event. Then the procession began… each country had a flag bearer (jockeys from the Puerto Rican Jockey School) and a country sign carrier, and they led each runner down the track to the paddock. People were cheering and waving flags from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. The stands were completely full…. the attendance estimate was around 12,000…. that’s alot for this little track that sits next to a 3000-acre rain forest.

Two American-based jockeys rode in the race, John Velazquez rode race favorite Tenochtitlan from Mexico, and Fernando Jara (BC Classic winner on Invasor) rode one of the Panamanian colts, Ay Papa. After a mad dash down the stretch in which it seemed like 6-7 horses wanted the lead, Fernando’s perfectly timed ride on Ay Papa prevailed by about a half length over Dobil
Yack from Mexico. 18-year-old Fernando Jara won the Clasico in his very first ride. He’s been on fire this year, also winning the Belmont Stakes on Jazil. Congratulations Fernando!

Puerto Rico’s champ Criador, who had won 2 legs of Puerto Rico’s Triple Crown, had to settle for third in the Clasico, and the lone filly in the race, Gran Estefania from Venezuela, was fourth. It was an exciting day of racing for Chris Lincoln and myself. We covered the event for Wire To Wire on ESPN2. The staff at El Commandante and the Caribbean Horse Racing Confederation could not have been more hospitable or gracious to us. It was a memorable day of racing, and we enjoyed meeting so many wonderful horsemen from places like Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, as well as the 5 countries represented in the Clasico. Each and every one of them was honored to have a horse racing on the Caribbean’s biggest day. Chris and I would like to be staying longer and soaking up a little sunshine, but we’re both leaving first thing tomorrow morning… back to the chilly winter in the States.

The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.

Update 1168: Just spoke to Tim. He was very happy with Real Lace (of course). He said she is cooling out well after her race.

Alie, from Kennett Florist, left this comment (timestamp: 6:27 pm):

I haven’t had time to post the last few days. Rachel is away at a family wedding. She will be back on Tuesday. We put the tree up at NBC Friday late afternoon. Finished around
5 pm. It looks great. The staff loved the ornaments. A couple FOBS’ visited NBC sat and told Steve they loved it. He was making the sat deliveries. Since, I could not leave the shop. We took pictures of the tree with Rachel’s digital she will send them on Tuesday. She had to leave as soon as I got back to the shop. The mood at NBC has been very happy & up, all week. Mr. J stopped by the shop sat. We had a nice little chat. He is so nice. Anne, Erin’s mom & my husband Steve got to meet him for the first time.
Hope you all have a nice Sunday.
God Bless
We Believe

I opened the door to NBC for the person carrying the aforementioned tree into New Bolton.

Update 1167: Real Lace was the favourite in the seventh race at Laurel, an allowance race, and ran and won like a good favourite. Congratulations to Equivine Farm. That makes ten wins on the year for Tim.

Update 1166: A picture of the outside fence line at New Bolton with the new posters received by saturday afternoon: Help need posters for Barbaro.

Update 1165: Some pictures from the Hong Kong Vase: More pictures from Hong Kong.

Update 1164: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (11:45 am) after her usual morning visit.
update 11:50 am, sunday december 10

Update 1163: A lovely bright sunny morning this morning at Fair Hill, although still very chilly. I went in to take care of Hawty Creek. I had her out grazing for half an hour while I read a book (Birdsong). Canada geese were flying overhead. Tim has a runner at Laurel today, Real Lace in the seventh. He was getting ready to breeze two horses as I left. A nice quick, quiet morning for me.

Update 1162: Sue McMullen also sent this follow up note:

Desperately sad about Takeover Target, who was withdrawn due to the continued problem of his sample testing positive. A real blow that he couldn’t make history and one can only imagine how Joe Janiack now feels.

But we have little Collier, the ‘David’ of the Vase taking on and triumphing over the collective Goliath of some illustrious high profile horses and connections, including the Aga Khan’s Kastoria and Ballydoyle’s Scorpion. Dean’s unwavering faith in this tough little horse is very touching and they certainly showed them the way home with Collier really digging deep to fight off Kastoria’s late challenge. It’s long been a source of annoyance for Dean that regardless of what he’s achieved the horse hasn’t been given the respect he so richly deserves. Surely that will now change.

Update 1161: I am very excited to report Collier Hill won the Hong Kong Vase. Sue McMullen sent this from the Hong Kong Jockey Club:

Collier Hill reaches new heights in Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase

The fairytale story of Collier Hill took yet another barely imaginable twist as the eight-year-old British stayer repelled the late thrust of Kastoria by a nose to win the HK$14m Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase.

The horse that cost GBP5,500 as a cast-off and was bought to win a bumper at Catterick before a spell over hurdles has now won over HK$31m, adding to wins in last year’s Irish St Leger and the Canadian International in October.

Collier Hill raced prominently and took over the lead with over 300m to go and looked to have the race in safe keeping at the furlong pole but that was when Mick Kinane had extricated Kastoria from an awkward passage and unleashed a tremendous run that brought him to within an agonising margin of the winner. Shamdala, owned like the runner-up by the Aga Khan, ran third with Song Of Wind fourth for Japan.

While it was a tale of hard-luck tale for the Irish-trained runner-up, take nothing from Collier Hill, so boldly touted all week by his jockey Dean McKeown – a man better known for his exploits at tracks in the north of Britain as a horse that would not be beaten and one that excels when he travels overseas.

“I knew I had won turning for home!” the rider joked in the post-race media melee. “He picked up really well but near the line he turned his head at the crowd shouting and he started to ease up and when Kastoria came at him he really stuck his head out and just got in.”

Trainer Alan Swinbank, who trains 120 horses in a yard of flat and jump horses in North Yorkshire, added: “He was a bit dehydrated on Thursday and for a time it was touch and go whether we would run, and it was only yesterday that he came right again. We have always had trouble his joints and now we can look after them when he gets home. He deserves a break now, doesn’t he?”

“Long term, we might come back here next year, but you have to consider his age. In the meantime, he will go back to Dubai for the Sheema Classic in March when we will try to go one better than last year.”

I just spoke to Dean and asked him what he was planning for this evening (sunday night in Hong Kong, sunday morning in the US). He said he was getting on a plane in four hours, he was pretty tired after being in Hong Kong all week. When I appeared surprised on the phone when I called to congratulate Dean, Dean was curious as to why I was surprised, he had had confidence all week. Anyway, I am very excited for Dean, a great horseman getting back into the spotlight. I will call in a couple of days to see how Collier Hill is after the race. Here is Sportinglife’s report of the race: HILL TAKES VASE PRIZE.

Update 1160: For my visit I forgot to mention, another poster has been placed on the fence outside New Bolton, in Lael colors: “Believe in Barbaro”.

Update 1159: My third trip to see Barbaro. Before seeing Barbaro I was told that there was no need to take him out to graze today. Perhaps it was combination of the wind, me being new to Barbaro in these circumstances etc. but it was fine with me. Either way I was looking forward to hanging out and grooming him. I took some goodies for those working in the ICU … regifting a gift I received from Denise this morning from her visit to Fair Hill (cakes). I entered the ICU, put on the appropriate dress and went through to Barbaro’s stall. I put on his halter and tied him up. I also bribed him a little … carrots. Once tied up I started by picking out his front feet. I then began grooming him, trying to be gentle but firm. Wanting to get him clean but also stimulate him a little bit. He would tolerate this for a little while, and then pretend (perhaps) to flash his teeth … from time to time I would get a couple more carrots to placate him a little. This went on for about fifteen minutes. During this time a gift arrived for Barbaro, which included bags of baby carrots. Apparently he had not had these for a while … and take it from me, he quite likes them!

After the initial groom I took a break to apply his standing bandage on his left hind leg. Currently he has no bandages for his front legs. I of course do not mess with the bandage on his right hind leg. Once that bandage was in place I began grooming him again. This went on for another ten to fifteen minutes. All the while I met some of the people who are working in the ICU. Everyone just seemed super nice, and it was quite an international crowd too. I think they liked the cakes I brought them, although I did let them know I cherry-picked a few for myself before bringing them in. All in all I spent about an hour in the ICU with Barbaro. It was fun, nice and very mellowing for me. Barbaro also seemed in good spirits … although I think I agitated him a little from time to time.

Update 1158: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). Mrs. Jackson just left me a voice mail as she was leaving New Bolton from her morning visit.

This morning started off very cold at Fair Hill (in the teens). Thankfully the wind had died down and Fair Hill did warm up a little through the morning. I rode six, which included open galloping Hawty Creek a mile. She went very well. Her owner was here to watch. He timed her, and told me I was seven seconds off (open gallop should be 15 seconds per eighth of a mile). I had to ask if I went too quick or too slow … Despite the off timing, she went very well, very easily and was hardly blowing afterwards. Her next piece of work, next saturday if the weather cooperates and all remains well with Hawty Creek, will be a half mile work.

I am off to see Barbaro a little later, and will write a report on the visit.
update 11:35 am, saturday, december 9

Posted by Alex at 4:32 PM | Comments (397)
Barbaro Updates: 152
Posted December 8, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1157: Ouija Board is no longer running in the Hong Kong Vase on sunday. Dean McKeown sent me a text to say she is reportedly lame. This is confirmed: OUIJA MISSES FAREWELL RUN. The following is an excerpt:

“We are beside ourselves with worry,” said Derby.

“She was only going out for a brief trot this morning and she came back and just didn’t look quite right and so we thought we would have a closer look at things.

“We decided to let her have a short canter on the racecourse this afternoon but we just weren’t happy with her.

“It stems back to the problem she had in the early part of her four-year-old career and we looked at it and we all had only one thing in mind for a horse that we all love,” he told At The Races.

Hopefully it is not quite as cold this morning at Fair Hill. It is likely there will be plenty of horses working if the tracks and weather conditions are suitable.

Update 1156: My second visit with Barbaro. Mrs. Jackson called me yesterday (thursday) and asked if I would be able to help out a little this weekend with Barbaro. Of course the answer was easy. I had intimated to her before that I would be happy to help out if needed. Tom, who works for the Jackson’s, has basically been doing what Peter and Michael did before they left for Florida; visit, groom Barbaro and take him out to graze. Today the plan was for me to observe this, and to then do this tomorrow in Tom’s absense.

This morning at Fair Hill I received a couple of packages; two sets of posters. I thought I would combine my trip to visit Barbaro with the task of hanging these new posters. Jennifer, who works at New Bolton in Publicity etc. had previously volunteered to help me with the posters. I arrived at New Bolton a little before noon and Jennifer and I hung the posters. It was a cold job, but fun nonetheless. Once done, we went for lunch, in the New Bolton canteen. I was then to meet Tom at 1 pm at the ICU. Jennifer and I got there and Tom arrived shortly thereafter. A few quick introductions and we went in to see Barbaro.

Tom set to work grooming Barbaro, I watched. As Tom was doing what he was doing we chatted away, he explaining a few things to me etc. Once Barbaro was groomed it was time to take him outside. Tom put a blanket on him and led him outside. I then grazed him for about thirty minutes as Tom and I continued chatting away. Barbaro was very easy to handle while grazing … lets hope and assume he will be the same tomorrow. After thirty minutes he was not totally ready to come in … I was. Back in his stall Tom set to work again grooming Barbaro a little more and then applying a standing bandage to his left hind leg (this is normal). Again, Tom was explaining a few things to me a long the way so when I get there tomorrow I should be able to find my way around and do what Barbaro has become accustomed to being done with him.

And how was Barbaro … good, feisty while being groomed, tranquil while grazing.

Update 1155: Sue McMullen sent this e-mail in preparation for the Hong Kong races this weekend:

We’re all set for the finale of the top Flat global racing fixtures, with Sunday’s Cathay Pacific International races at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, which will be beamed to an estimated audience of one billion. And as with every finale, the scene is set for a nail-biting, dramatic conclusion and we’ve already had controversy, bitter sweet moments and speculation.

The controversy surrounds Takeover Target, or Archie as he is known to his friends, as reported here earlier today. His many followers, who he has gathered in his wake as he shuttles around the world notching up Group 1 sprint victories, now have just about everything crossed that Archie will shake off the residue of his medication and line-up on Sunday. If the life of this fairytale horse were a mere book or film script, you would revel in it, weep, and think it couldn’t happen. But life is stranger than fiction and this year we’ve been blessed with so many larger-than-life horses, one of whom brought us together on this site and has been a focus for so much good. Back on the racetrack, there are so many fairy stories and Archie’s is one of the most remarkable, as recounted here in a recent link to No horserace can ever be regarded as a walkover and certainly not at this level. Archie faces some very smart sprinters, including Hong Kong’s wonder horse Silent Witness plus Desert Lord, Benbaum and Meisho Bowler, but the consensus is that despite his poor draw (12) if Archie is on form, the rest of the field will be fighting for the placings.

Trainer Joe Janiack is already planning Archie’s campaign for next year (following what he describes as a good, well-earned break), which includes a return to the UK for another tilt at the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot and then the Nunthorpe at York, which he bypassed this year to head to Japan. Janiack says he won’t go back there unless they ‘improve training conditions’.

In many racing jurisdictions, including Europe and Hong Kong, there is zero tolerance over any form of medication regardless of its intention, so even minor transgressions with drugs administered for veterinary purposes are caught in the overall zeal to eradicate drugs from the sport. We applaud this and have to support the stance, but how cruel if Archie is denied his place in history. Let’s hope it’s washed through the system by Sunday morning.

The bitter sweet moments came yesterday when Frankie Dettori rode Ouija Board in her last ever piece of work and he expressed his sadness that it was the final time. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the peerless Ouija retires from the track and has a date with Kingmambo. Oblivious to her fate, Ouija worked well and looks in great form ahead of her bid to regain the Vase and finish her career on a high. As usual her connections are taking nothing for granted and there is an awareness that she has had a tough season with some real battles under her belt and this is a very high class field, which includes Shamdala, Kastoria, Scorpion, Maraahel and of course, Collier Hill. What can be said that hasn’t already been written about Ouija Board? Much of the sentiment is expressed in the link from the previous page. Even her connections have added to the magic, remaining in the background and loving every minute of the adulation she has received throughout the world. Whatever the outcome on Sunday, there are sure to be many tears. Let’s all enjoy seeing her on the track one last time.

The horse who plans to spoil the party is a bit of a fairy story himself, although much less well known. He is, of course, Collier Hill, whose partner Dean McKeown has been keeping us informed of his progress this week. As recounted here previously, Collier Hill was the proverbial ‘ugly duckling, turned swan’ whose career blossomed as he got older. Victor of this year’s Canadian International at Woodbine, this grand old veteran of the track is a fresher horse than Ouija and Dean is confident of a big run from his frequently overlooked mount. A consummate horseman, Dean has always championed this horse, finding it difficult to believe he has never been given the accolades he richly deserves. Quietly shuttling around the globe, Collier Hill has gone about his business like a true professional. Always game and ready for a scrap, the 8 year-old Collier is bound to give a very good account of himself on Sunday. Riders transmit confidence to horses (or indeed the opposite) and this is a formidable partnership. Dean has total faith in his horse’s talent, which is transmitted down the reins like old fashioned telegraph wires. If there are chinks in anyone’s armour on Sunday, these two will find it. This is a tough one to call as the Queen of racing bows out and we all want her to go out on a high, but whatever happens she has had a hard year and would lose absolutely nothing in defeat. Her particular ‘chink’ could be the trip but if she has to get beaten, perhaps it would be fitting if it were Collier Hill. Nobody could deny that victory for this pair, the former ‘ugly ducklng’ and his ‘unfashionable’ jockey, would soften the blow.

Mention must be made of another wonderful mare who is also set to make her last appearance on Sunday, although there is speculation that she may stay in training next year. If Alexander Goldrun wins the Hong Kong Cup, trainer Jim Bolger is hoping to persuade owner Neil Callaghan to bypass her intended date with Galileo and keep her in training. Alexander won this race two years ago and although working well at Sha Tin, she faces top French mare Pride and last year’s winner of this race, Vengeance of Rain, who is reported to be ‘flying’. A consistent, tough winner at the very highest level, the five year-old Alexander Goldrun’s stretch duel with Ouija Board for this year’s renewal of the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, was one of the most exciting finishes of any horserace anywhere in the world. Neither mare wanted to give an inch and it was a great pity that one had to lose, with Alexander going down by a short head. Ridden throughout her illustrious career by Kevin Manning, the mare faces an arguably tougher task in this field to claim the honours than Ouija in the Vase.

Alexander is another globe-trotter and she has a phenomenal record, having run in 20 Group 1s, winning five and been placed in 10 of them, often short headed in real battles to the wire with some of the top ‘boys’, including Dylan Thomas, Hurricane Run and Japanese ace Heart’s Cry. Ultra game and simply not knowing when she is beaten, Alexander will need all her resources on Sunday. We are definitely set to see the last of Ouija on the racecourse so how wonderful it would be if Alexander can claim the laurels here and be with us next year.

Update 1154: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I was with Barbaro this afternoon for just under an hour and a half. I will write more a little later.
update, friday, december 8, 3:12 pm

Posted by Alex at 8:11 PM | Comments (280)
Barbaro Updates: 151
Posted December 7, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1153: What is likely the coldest place in Maryland ? A place that was considered for a landing strip in the 1960s but it was determined the cross winds would make it inoperable ? Sure: Fair Hill. I rode three on the track after the break, and the wind coming at you as you gallop down the lane was strong … you would almost think it could knock you off your horse. Anyway, hopefully the weather will improve in the next day or so. At least it is bright sunshine.

Update 1152: Well they were right (the weather people), its a chilly 20 some degrees with a blustery wind. I took Hawty Creek to the track, she jogged one and loped around one turn, the other two I have ridden (so far) were in the shedrow (out of the wind at least). I have to return to Fair Hill to get on two more. My back seems to be no worse than yesterday, which is a good thing. Thanks for all the remedies, I plan to take two advil after morning work today and hope that fixes it!

A couple more Barbaro posters have arrived at Fair Hill. I will head over to New Bolton later today to fix them to the outside fence. If more arrive later today I can add those tomorrow.

I imagine the Barbaro update will be later today.

Update 1151: More troubling news for Takeover Target and his connections. This just came from Sue McMullen via Hong Kong’s press office:

Worrying news from Hong Kong concerning Takeover Target who was tested again this morning and the sample has once again shown to have what the Hong Kong Jockey Club continue to describe as an ‘irregularity’. Takeover Target, known as ‘Archie’ to trainer Joe Janiack, is now in a race against time to make the field for the final leg of the Global Sprint Challenge for which he is currently red hot favourite and where a win would net a US $1 million bonus.

Commenting on the situation to Australia’s Sky Channel, after the first test results were revealed and after his speed sensation had worked at Sha Tin in 26.9 sec, an emotional Janiack said:

“We-are starting to run out of time but at least we will know more this afternoon. It was administered in Japan to help him travel over here. Normally it is out of the system within two weeks but now we are at the seven weeks mark. It has secreted itself, I believe, in the ligaments of the neck somewhere and it won’t release.

“We will see what sort of level it has gone down to and if we are pretty close to the mark we might have to sweat it out until Sunday.

“I have used this stuff before and I have never had any trouble with it. I gave myself plenty of time and I can’t believe it hasn’t gone out a month ago.

“It’s such a shame because he was jumping out of his skin at his best weight of 514 kilos and Jay [Ford] said he was flat out trying to hold him today.”

Hong Kong is incredibly strict about any form of medication, even something as innocuous as this so his fans throughout the world will join Janiack in ‘sweating it out’ until Sunday, praying he tests clear allowing the fairytale to continue and give globe-trotting ‘Archie’ the chance to make racing history, adding to his bag of Group 1s on yet another continent.

Lets hope things clear up very quickly.

A nice article in the timesonline: Ouija Board reaches final chapter of thrilling tale noting Ouija Board’s final international start. It includes the following excerpt:

“In a few days it will be over and I will miss it terribly,” the languid trainer confessed. “I am finding it a bit difficult. Coming here one last time has made me realise, if I didn’t already, that she is a global phenomenon. She has put herself into so many people’s hearts. Winning would be wonderful, but my primary concern is that she can retire gracefully. One thing I am not looking forward to is seeing her off on the plane on Tuesday. This time she is not coming home with me.”


“We will all miss her,” Dunlop reflected, “but for me, it has been absolutely amazing. It has been a life-changing thing, a rollercoaster, but above all, I feel only gratitude that I will be remembered as the man who trained her. She came into my life at exactly the right time from a career perspective. How can I ever forget her?”

As promised it appears cold and windy this morning. Lets hope the wind dies down a little for training hours!

Update 1150: A quick text exchange with Dean McKeown (9 pm est, sometime friday morning in Hong Kong) which began by me leaving a voice mail asking how Collier Hill trained this morning:

Dean: Everything went well. He (Collier Hill) will be ready for a big run.
Me: Did you work this morning (friday morning) ?
Dean: Yes, just a nice work. Very humid. Went nice.
Me: Best of luck!

Update 1149: Rachel from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 6:59pm):

All is well at NBC. It’s a nice sunny day here. We brought up big boss horse some of his favorites today.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone for all their well wishes while I was out. I’m back and into the swing of things now, and ready for the holidays!! I put an update in the forum about Erin last night. Thank you for the prayers for her… we are seeing (another) miracle in the making.

Thank you to Debra for the wonderful cake (we are all on such a sugar high right now!! It is very yummy!) And thank you to the anonymous donor of pizza for lunch today. It was a really nice surprise! We’re getting so busy that we forget to eat! You all are so wonderful!

We also received a wreath made out of spearmints, which we will bring up to NBC next week for the Christmas party.


Don’t forget, Michael Dickinson is a chat guest at the Bloodhorse, its 7 pm this evening, you can ask questions ahead of time.

Update 1148: Nice. Arlington Park will now install a synthetic track: Arlington Park to Install Synthetic Surface; No Decision Yet on Material. The following is an excerpt:

“While we are confident the track’s current dirt surface is one of the best, the fact is we lost horses last summer and that’s not acceptable. If we lose one horse, it’s one too many. We have been diligently monitoring other synthetic track installations and racing results, and now possess the knowledge necessary to move forward with a synthetic surface to ensure that Arlington Park remains one of the finest racing surfaces. We are investing $10 million to do this.”

Update 1147: Sue McMullen sent this, courtesy of the Hong Hong press office:

Bargain buy Collier Hill can strike in CXHK Vase, McKeown says

If Collier Hill wins the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase on Sunday, it will be a rags-to-riches tale to rival even that of Takeover Target. And it might just happen for the remarkable eight-year-old, according to his jockey Dean McKeown.

“There must be a good chance that Ouija Board is a bit tired now. And anyway we’ve beaten her before in Dubai. My horse becomes a champion when he travels abroad — he even changes colour into a deep chestnut. I knew we would win the Canadian International last time and I think we are the horse to beat on Sunday,” says McKeown, who rode winners in Hong Kong during a stint in 1992.

In the intervening years, the 46-year-old has been better known for his exploits round the lesser British tracks. That is, until Collier Hill came along.

“I only wish he had happened to me ten years earlier,” the jockey sighs.

The Collier Hill story starts in 2001 when, as an unraced cast-off from Classic-winning trainer John Gosden, he was sent to the Ascot Sales and fetched the equivalent of HK$75,000. But even that paltry price did not at first seem a bargain to his new trainer, Alan Swinbank, based in North Yorkshire.

“This little rabbit of a horse walks off the box — he was very small and there seemed precious little scope about him. I wondered if I had made a mistake,” Swinbank recalls.

For six months he was put into a field with a collection of other horses, waiting for a box to become available in Swinbank’s then minor-league operation.

Collier Hill’s first start was in a National Hunt Flat race — more commonly known as a ‘bumper’ – designed for horses deemed too slow to win on the Flat en route to a career over jumps.

Starting as joint-second favourite, he won his debut at Catterick, showing enough ability to merit a try back on the Flat.

Swinbank says: “He started to do his work so easily, and we soon realised that he was a serious machine.”

Then came the wins. Small ones followed by richer prizes such as the Old Newton Cup at Haydock. Next he switched codes again and landed a maiden hurdle at Kelso, but soon after reverted to his apparent niche as an above-average Flat handicapper. It was the summer of 2004 and Collier Hill was just getting started.

Meanwhile Mckeown had been campaigning persistently for the ride, and as trainer Swinbank later acknowledges: “Dean may not be a fashionable jockey but he was the one who took Collier Hill into a different league.”

One of the team’s most extraordinary wins came in Sweden in the 2004 Stockholm Cup. McKeown reminisces: “The ground was rock hard and most people thought he liked it soft. At one stage he was 20 lengths off [runner-up] Foreign Affairs, but then he just took off like he was on rails. It was amazing and he got home a nose in front.”

Bizarrely, his richest paydays have come as a seven and eight-year-old. Big race exploits include a Classic victory in the Irish St Leger and he has twice been placed in successive Dubai Sheema Classics.

Back in Sweden two starts back, he trounced his rivals by nine lengths for another Stockholm Cup. But the greatest prize came with that superb Canadian International victory in late October, pushing the career earnings of this extraordinary horse to just short of HK$24 million.

Does this make Collier Hill racing’s Sale Of The Century? Almost, but perhaps Takeover Target just shades that title for now. Who’s arguing anyway?

How gratifying to witness at one of the richest meetings in the sport that global success and a lifetime of memories can still be found in the bargain basement.

Having worked with Dean many years ago, I know his success now is not without a lot of hard work and terrific horsemanship. I remember one time, on the grange at Wetherby, we were riding out a bunch of babies (probably early two year olds). The one Dean was on kept whipping around … Dean never moved from the saddle, he was so well balanced.

Update 1146: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). Mrs. Jackson just left a voice-mail as she was leaving New Bolton after her morning visit (10:30 am).

After a couple of cold mornings this morning felt very nice (it began about 40 degrees and pushed through the 50s later in the morning). That being said the talk of the track was how cold it is going to be tomorrow (low 20s with a wind blowing through, they are predicting snow flurries later today). Perhaps tomorrow will be a lighter day of training. I have anticipated this a little with Hawty Creek. She only needs to do something easy (jogging most likely) as she will work on saturday.

The synthetic track again seems a little “tighter” this morning than it had been the first few days after it had opened. I am not sure if that is deliberate, or a consequence of the couple of cold nights we have had this week. We shall see. It does remain the more popular of the training tracks. Everything seemed to train well today (rode six), the only problem being me, and my lower back. Hopefully its only temporary.

Posted by Alex at 3:41 PM | Comments (415)
Barbaro Updates: 150
Posted December 6, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1145: Today (thursday, December 7) is Harry Aleo’s 87th birthday. Many on this site have learned much about Mr. Aleo through Lost in the Fog. Many congratulations! For those who want to do something to honor Mr. Aleo’s birthday, I am sure he would be delighted with any support for GEVA.

More news from Hong Kong. Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has just issued a release concerning samples from Takeover Target taken prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, indicating what they describe as an ‘irregularity’. The statement also says that it is normal practice of the HKJC to obtain such samples from all horses participating in the Club’s international races and occasionally they show irregularities, in which case further samples are taken for analysis leading up to the race. So Takeover Target will be subject to further testing with the analysis carried out at HKJC’s own racing laboratory.

Let’s hope the second test is nagative!

The Daily Racing Form highlights a couple of US-based horses running in Hong Kong on sunday, although neither are running in the Vase or the Sprint (the rest of the card is also very strong): U.S. hopefuls are second fiddles in Hong Kong.

Finally, Sue McMullen sent me a couple of pictures to post, one of Ouija Board, one of Dean on Collier Hill: Hong Kong Vase contender Pics.

Update 1144: A quick update from Hong Kong ahead of sunday’s Hong Kong Vase. I just spoke to Dean McKeown, Collier Hill’s jockey. The weather this morning (thursday morning / wednesday evening in the US) in Hong Kong is pretty humid so they did not work Collier Hill, but let him gallop a pretty strong six furlongs. Dean is very happy with him. I asked Dean what the ground was like, he said they had had a little rain, but the ground was on the fast side of good, which suits Collier Hill. The plan now is to work Collier Hill about a half mile tomorrow. Dean also let me know that Ouija Board looks good. He assumes she won’t be doing too much work before the race, she’s obviously very fit.

I asked Dean if he had ridden in Hong Kong before. He actually had a contract to ride there back in 1992.

Update 1143: It has been a month since Barbaro has had his cast removed. Another small milestone. Dr. Richardson has received an award for his openness with the media, and consequently enhancing thoroughbred horseracing: Richardson Named TPA’s Big Sport of Turfdom Award Winner.

Update 1142: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). Mrs. Jackson left a voice mail as she was leaving from her visit (just after 12 pm).

I was showing someone around Fair Hill. It is fun to do, especially as Fair Hill compares to a typical person’s frame of reference, a race track. As part of the “tour” we visited Graham Motion’s barn. I did not realize, but Better Talk Now is still here. He was out grazing in the paddock, looking nice and relaxed after his 2006 exploits. They were considering him for this weekend’s Hong Kong Vase (against Ouija Board and Collier Hill) but opted to give him a longer break so he can be fresh for his campaign next year. He’s a star!

Posted by Alex at 6:22 PM | Comments (395)
Barbaro Updates: 149
Posted December 5, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1141: Another chilly start to the day this morning. The radio said it was 20 degrees (F), but it actually felt a little warmer than yesterday. Everyone once in a while you will see a new “old” face at Fair Hill. This morning it was Tom Fynn, who seemed to appear out of nowhere to be galloping for Graham Motion. Tom was a jump jockey in Ireland (TV Fynn) and has been over here probably as long as me. The last time I saw him was a couple of Breeders’ Cups ago, and I thought he was in San Francisco. It turns out he has been spending considerable time in Malawi, has just returned, and is heading to Florida to work for Graham Motion.

I took Hawty Creek to the gate. She has not run for a while, had had a couple of gate “issues” when she was last in training, so I planned to stand her in the gate and get her to relax. She was actually very good. I’ll probably do that one or two more times before she runs. I open galloped one on the synthetic track. He went well, the track seemed a little firmer under these colder weather conditions. Almost like a turf track just tightening up a little. That being said, it is still by far the most popular track at Fair Hill at this point.

Seven ridden, busy morning, now to wait for the Barbaro update.

Update 1140: The Bloodhorse has a great article on Takeover Target: Takeover Target Has Taken His Owner/Trainer from Obscurity to the Top. After reading this you have to root for this horse on sunday in the Hong Kong Sprint. The article also gives a little insight into how Australian racing is set up. Here is an excerpt:

In 2003 the quality of horse in his barn changed. On a sunny day, Janiak went to a tried stock sale and bought an unwanted, unraced, knock-kneed 4-year-old with ordinary breeding who, he had been told, had bad knees and wouldn’t run around a bend. This of course was going to restrict him dramatically, but Janiak liked him and paid just $1,100 for him.

Janiak nicknamed him Archie and that horse, who races as Takeover Target (Celtic Swing-Shady Stream by Archregent), has changed his life.

Thoruoghbred Times announces the opening of our new track: Fair Hill opens all-weather Tapeta surface, although the article suggests Fair Hill had been closed (not the case.)

The Barbaro update this morning will again likely be late in the morning. Keep calling!

Update 1139: I just spoke to Dean McKeown (8:15 pm east coast on tuesday, some time wednesday morning in Hong Kong), Collier Hill’s jockey (who is running in the Hong Kong Vase, the last big global race on the 2006 calendar). He was walking Collier Hill as I was speaking with him after his morning exercise. (I could literally hear Collier Hill’s footsteps on the obviously hard surface.) Dean had just exercised him (his wednesday morning exercise). He did two seven furlong canters. Dean said he was very well and is very happy with him. Dean noted that Collier Hill flew over very well (Collier Hill has been in Hong Kong for a few days). It always takes a few days for him to “find his legs” after his travel, but Dean noted he has found his legs and is in good shape.

Collier Hill will work tomorrow, a mile. I will try to catch up with Dean the same time tomorrow to see how things are progressing.

Update 1138: Just a quick note of thanks. The $500 gift included in my birthday present has manifested into four new tires for my truck. As I was waiting for the tires to be replaced I made a couple of calls. Sabina is continuing her recovery, and seems to be progressing well. She did mention some work she had done, so she is on some kind of light work schedule at this point. I also called Peter for the first time since they left for Florida. It seems they have all settled in well and the horses are now in their new winter “digs” at Palm Meadows. He told me it was raining, I noted the clear blue sky we had up here …

For those interested in seeing Takeover Target ahead of his sprint quest on sunday in Hong Kong, you can view two of his races on Youtube.

Update 1137: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Mrs. Jackson just called, and she had just visited. Barbaro was laying down when Mrs. Jackson arrived. As much as she tried to be very quiet Barbaro was soon up and ready for his Lael Farm grass.
update 11:30 am, tuesday, december 5

Update 1136: This morning may really be the first winters morning. It was a “balmy” 24 degrees (F) when I arrived at Fair Hill. Six horses ridden, one horse taken care of, and four hours later, my hands are still a little “numb”. Everyone galloping is pretty well wrapped up this time of year. I had seven layers of clothing on this morning. Of the three places to train (dirt track, synthetic (Tapeta) track, outback) the synthetic track was by far the busiest. I only had one on this new track but it felt great. The fields were a little hard in spots and the dirt was “ok”. I hope they keep the dirt open for a while as it is a good place to take the babies now the track is quiet due to the trainers’ preference for the synthetic track.

Dean McKeown (Collier Hill’s jockey for the Hong Kong Vase) arrived in Hong Kong a few hours ago. He sent me a text.

Eddie Kilroy left this comment (timestamp: 12:32 pm):

Good morning Barbaro and friends. I know everyone worked extra hard yesterday for B. and friends. Let’s do it again today!!! I have to brag on my listeners, they really got on the senators. I’m asking them to keep up with you guys. By the way thanks for the mail. I’m on the air now, so I’ll leave you with one request. Sic’em.

Eddie Kilroy
XM Radio

Update 1135: The Barbaro update will again likely be later in the morning. As we get ready to cover the Hong Kong Vase this weekend I want to note we will also cover the Hong Hong Sprint all because of a horse called Takeover Target: ‘Target’ ready for Hong Kong challenge, says Janiak. This horse is another global warrior (like Ouija Board and Collier Hill) and a true rags to riches story.

Keep calling!

Posted by Alex at 11:02 AM | Comments (618)
Barbaro Updates: 148
Posted December 4, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1134: Michael Dickinson is a Bloodhorse chat guest this thursday: Talkin’ Horses with Michael Dickinson. Feel free to submit your questions … about the synthetic tracks and the Tapeta surface. Brian Meehan has been named international trainer of the year in England (for obvious reasons there is no similar award for US-based trainers).

Trivia question: what is the connection between Brian Meehan and Michael Dickinson ?

Update 1133: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called and she had just visited Barbaro. All remains the same.
update 12:10 pm, monday, december 4

Update 1132: No Barbaro update yet this morning. It was a chilly morning at Fair Hill, bright sky but a brisk wind. I rode six, which is a comfortable number in the winter I think. Hawty Creek went out back for a jog around, she felt good after her work over the weekend. I took one to the synthetic (Tapeta) track. The track just seems to get better.

Tim breezed a couple of horses yesterday on the synthetic track. This was the first time he had breezed on the track and he breezed Whos Happy and Real Lace. Both went very well I think. Tim thought the track felt great for the respective breezes (Tim rode both of them). Tim did mention Michael Dickinson was again at Fair Hill yesterday to see how the track was, as was someone from Philadelpia Park. This evening temperatures are supposed to plunge into the 20s so that will present a nice early test to the track in the morning.

Keep calling. Eddie Kilroy left this in the comments (timestamp 12:23 pm):

Hey HORSES!!! Today’s the BIG ONE!!! CALL!! CALL!!
CALL!!! GET YOUR GRANMA TO CALL. SLAM the SENATORS! We have to get S1915 to the floor this week. Frist is getting heat from the Walking Horse people, which you know is strong in his home state, so work him hard, My listeners or pro active on this issue. I expect them to work hard today. You folks are so special, being FOBS, as I am. So let’s do for Barbaro and his Buds. By the way Dean and Eric are looking at digital imagings of two of our horses that have some lameness problems. Your good thoughts are appreciated. Eddie Kilroy
XM Satellite Radio

Update 1131: The Barbaro update should be sometime later this morning. Not much horseracing news as things are definitely quietening down on that front this time of year. Our last major race coverage of the year will be the Hong Kong Vase, which is this weekend. Ouija Board looks in good order as she prepares for this race, which is her final race: BOARD FLYING AHEAD OF FINAL TEST.

I wanted to thank Jen for providing the Barbaro updates on sunday. After I quickly went into Fair Hill to take care of Hawty Creek, I took the day off and headed up to New York City. While doing that I was hoping the Jackson’s would call with updates (thank you!) and Jen was very happy to post them to the site after I called them in. My visit to New York was great. Oddly as I was leaving I was on the subway, I looked over and thought I recognized someone. I leant over to my friend and said “I think I know that guy” … just as “that guy” leant over and whispered to his wife “I think that’s Alex Brown”. Small world, Victor was an MBA student at Wharton when I used to work at Wharton.

Time is now very short, Congress is returning, the next few days are super critical in our quest to have congress vote and pass the anti horse slaughter bill. We are operating under the notion that today is a national call-in day, inspired by “Fan of Barbaro” Cathy, working with Eddie Kilroy. Please call, fax etc. and have your friends do the same.

Posted by Alex at 10:46 AM | Comments (373)
Barbaro Updates: 147
Posted December 2, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1130: Mrs. Jackson did visit Barbaro this morning (sunday morning) and all remains well. She had called to let us know.
updated 11:00am

Update 1129: Mr. Jackson called earlier this morning to say that he and Mrs. Jackson visited Barbaro Saturday afternoon after they had returned from Kentucky. Barbaro was able to get a chance to get outside to graze. Mrs. Jackson is planning on visiting Barbaro again this morning so I may get another update after that visit.
updated sunday 8:30am

Update 1128: Still no Barbaro update for the weekend. It is possible this may become the norm over the weekend at this stage. Of course I am still hoping for an update sometime today. Here is another article on the Jackson’s from friday evening’s charity auction: Jacksons Honored at Record TCA Auction. It includes the following excerpt:

“All we did this year was follow the leader, and the leader was Barbaro,” declared Gretchen Jackson to great applause. “He has brought the horse community together and for its welfare.”

Graham Motion has a nice graded stakes winner waiting for him when he himself moves down to Florida: Ballast makes the grade in Tropical Turf.

Emily writes an excellent (and somewhat amusing) post on How it feels to gallop on the new Tapeta. The Bloodhorse has an editorial on more global considerations of synthetic tracks: Spanning the Globe. The article actually finishes up discussing the issue that American horses rarely travel overseas to contest global racing events. We saw this in our coverage of the Japan Cup and Melbourne Cup (and likely the Hong Kong Vase which we are covering for next weekend).

Update 1127: Today’s Barbaro update is prooving elusive, but I am still hopeful there will be an update later. I asked Jean (Fan of Barbaro, provider of the “Grow Hoof Grow!” poster that was hanging outside New Bolton, and featured in the ESPN piece prior to the Breeders’ Cup) if she could replace the poster with a new one, as it was wearing out due to weather. She Fedex’d me a new version and I just drove over to hang it up. It looks great, although a little lonely (it is the only poster hanging on the gates at this point).

ShelleyA’s Mr. Boxcar just ran second in a stake at Philadelphia Park (8th race), very impressive! I am glad to see Victor Molina was aboard (Red Aspen’s regular rider). The Jackson’s Stormy Kiss was third at Aqueduct. Ramon Dominguez, riding at Aqueduct, must think he is back at Delaware Park!

Barbaro Vigil 7 pm (east coast). Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, spare some time for Barbaro.

Update 1126: When I spoke to Mrs. Jackson yesterday, she was on her way to Kentucky. Of course I should have known why, but had forgotten! Here it is: Auction benefits equine charity. Thoroughbred Charities of America’s annual event had moved to Kentucky for the first time this year. The article includes a nice photo of the Jackson’s and the following excerpt:

Gretchen Jackson said it had been “an incredibly emotional year” for her and her husband, who live five minutes from the New Bolton Center where Barbaro is being treated. She visits him a couple of times a day, “just to see how he’s doing.”

Sometimes when she’s feeling sad, she sits in the stall and talks to him, she said. “Just being around him is very calming,” Jackson said.

The Jacksons and the “Barbaro team” of doctors and nurses from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine were honored last night. Accepting for the school’s New Bolton Center was dean of Penn Vet, Joan Hendricks.

“Through and through a young stallion, a handful,” Hendricks said of Barbaro. She described the look in his eyes after the injury: “If he hadn’t had the bright eyes, everybody would have stopped.”

Update 1125: Despite the dire predictions for the weather this morning, it turned out to be a beautiful morning. There were a few horses working for the first time on the synthetic (Tapeta) track. It looked like all worked well. The odd thing is, when you are on the dirt track you really cannot hear the horses galloping on the synthetic track. I assume that is a good thing. I galloped one over it a little later in the morning and the track was still quite consistent. It does not require a maintenance break, which is also a nice feature (you don’t have to time your sets to avoid the break).

Hawty Creek worked 3/8ths this morning, and went very nicely. We had some visitors who were here to watch. Her owner (who used to be a trainer) and her breeder were also here to watch her go. She went in company with another horse of Tim’s, it was a nice easy work. Anyway, all in all a very pleasant (suprisingly so given the weather forecast) morning to be outside and enjoying life.

Update 1124: As we know, Russell Baze broke Laffitt Pincay’s record yesterday. This is of course well covered in the racing press:
9,531: Baze new No. 1
Baze Becomes Racing’s All-Time Leading Rider!
Baze overtakes Pincay with record victory
Baze’s record more Ripken than Rose

Here is the Barbaro “Life a Series of Small Steps” in China!

A “Fan of Barbaro” had this letter published: Letter: Save horses from slaughter. Feel free to comment.

I believe the Barbaro update today won’t be until late in the day.

Posted by Alex at 10:58 AM | Comments (634)
Barbaro Updates: 146
Posted December 1, 2006

updates are now here.

Update 1123: It was nice to watch the winners’ circle celebrations for Russell Baze on HRTV (not sure what they thought of Russell’s headware). Both Greg Gilchrist and Harry Aleo were present for the celebrations. It just seems that everyone thinks very highly of Russell, a good person and a family person. As Tom Chapman put it “9531 and counting”. Very cool.

Update 1122: Congratulations to Russell Baze, winning the fourth at Bay Meadows with an inspired “wait and wait and up the rail” ride on Butterfly Belle.

Update 1121: Russell Baze is currently 0 for 2 on the day, to break Pincay’s record he needs one win. Follow Russell’s progress here.

Barbaro is getting coverage in Jamaica. I also think this article was in a China paper. If anyone has the link, please post in the comments.

Update 1120: I just called Mrs. Jackson and Barbaro had another comfortable night (thursday night).

This morning was a little dreary (but warm), but it does seem the rain is now really starting to move in. Tim has a runner this afternoon at Laurel (Gatornation) so hopefully the weather is not too aweful. I rode a couple of horses on the new synthetic track this morning (Tapeta). It just simply feels good underneath you, and it is very consistent. It seems everyone’s feedback remains positive, although a few have decided to wait to provide a more concrete verdict when we get some cold weather. Anyway, so far so good for sure. Michael Dickinson was again at Fair Hill to observe and get direct feedback.

Yesterday I mentioned that horsehats had a new Barbaro hat (update 1115): Barbaro Fund Hat. I noted the hats were limited edition, here is more detail (comment from superfecta 2:56pm):

In case you were wondering about the Barbaro hats, they are making 400 and we’ve already reserved 50 of them here at work, so ordering sooner rather than later is the way forward.

Keep up the good work!

Update 1119: The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase, to be run next sunday, December 10, is the final big global race we will follow. Among the runners are the globe trotting Ouija Board, third most recently in Japan, and (also the globe trotting) Collier Hill, who most recently won the Canadian International under regular jockey Dean McKeown. Ouija Board arrived in Hong Kong shortly after her third place in the Japan Cup, Collier Hill arrived this morning. I called Dean McKeown to catch up quickly on Collier Hill. He said he has been training well. Dean will actually arrive in Hong Kong on tuesday to help with the final preparations of Collier Hill, and assuming I can connect to his cell phone, will provide us some updates. Dean did mention that these two met in Dubai early in the year. Collier Hill beat Ouija Board in that race. Dean noted that Fallon came in for some criticism for his ride (Fallon won the Hong Kong Vase on Ouija Board last year) but Dean thought it was more to do with it being very early in the year for Ouija Board. Clearly we are now at the end of the season, and of the two, Collier Hill will be the fresher. It should be a great race. More information and updates on the race to follow.

I caught up with Barclay Tagg. Both Showing Up and NoBiz are now relaxing in Florida after their tremendous weekend exploits. They won’t be running for a little while so will be kept ticking over under light exercise. Stormy Kiss, Jackson’s runner tomorrow is ready, and as I called was being visited by the acupuncture lady.

No Barbaro update yet, but will endevour to get one later.

Update 1118: Russell Baze tied Laffitt Pincay’s record yesterday: Baze Ties Pincay’s All-Time Win Record! and here is the card for today. He has seven mounts including some favourites.

Fair Hill has Xchanger in today in a million dollar race: Officer Rocket, Xchanger to meet in $1-million Delta Jackpot.

It seems a bit dreary out this morning (although warm). I am guessing the weather will mean riding on the new Tapeta surface! The Barbaro update will be later this morning