Barbaro Updates: 119
Posted October 31, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 950: No Barbaro update yet, as usual for this time of the morning.
I just spoke with Ramon Dominguez, who is at the airport waiting to fly out to Kentucky. He currently has three rides in the Breeders' Cup races. He rides Better Talk Now, Rob Roy (Sir Michael Stoute) and Friendly Island (Todd Pletcher). He will get acquainted with Rob Roy tomorrow morning at Churchill when he will see him and gallop him for the first time. He won't be riding Friendly Island before saturday (the Sprint race), and he won't gallop Better Talk Now either, Lisa always does that. I will catch up with Ramon again tomorrow hopefully, after he has ridden Rob Roy and ask him how he likes each of his chances. Ramon will be leaving Kentucky to ride at Aqueduct on friday before returning to Kentucky for the big races on saturday.
I did ask Ramon who he thought would win the Classic (Ramon does not have a ride). He believes Bernardini is the real deal, and he seems to be improving with each race. Ramon does have a soft spot for Invasor, who he rode to win the Pimlico Special. Of course Invasor has been very consistent all year (and is Tim Woolley's pick). Lava Man has also been super consistent, but as Ramon noted, Lava Man's good form is all in California, and there are question marks about him when he travels.
Update 949: Again the Barbaro update will likely be late this morning.
So this is why Mike Jensen was at Fair Hill a couple of mornings ago: The Quest. Looking to the future of the current crop of two year olds in the area. The article concludes:
"Dreams are free," said Peter Brette, Matz's assistant trainer, as he watched Chelokee graze after a morning gallop, "and this time of year, it's quite nice to have a nice crop of 2-year-olds."
The article mentions Barbaro's younger half-brother. His older half-brother is now retired: Holy Ground, half brother to Barbaro, retired.
Don't forget, 3 pm east coast time, there will be a feature on Barbaro on "Inside the Lines" on ESPN.
Update 948: Peter did call, did visit Barbaro and Barbaro remains well. Peter took him out for a pick of grass, groomed him and changed his bandages. Another upbeat report.
Update 947: It looks like no update tonight for Barbaro, likely due to Halloween (Peter is probably tricking and treating).
A nice AP story: Matz Back at Scene of Barbaro's Triumph that includes the following excerpts:
One moment, Matz's voice breaks and tears well in his blue eyes as he talks about Barbaro, whose career ended with a devastating misstep in the Preakness. The Derby winner was supposed to be taking on Bernardini in the $5 million Classic on Saturday, with Horse of the Year honors at stake.
The next, Matz is composed and focused on saddling 4-year-old filly Round Pond in the $2 million Distaff.
"It's nice to be back having such fond memories from before," Matz said Tuesday, ducking inside the barn to escape rain drops. "I just hope we have the same results."
Barbaro will reunite his human handlers -- Matz, the Jacksons, Richardson and jockey Edgar Prado -- on Wednesday night when they're honored at the National Turf Writers Association awards dinner.
The Jacksons plan to attend, then return home and watch the Breeders' Cup on television.
"Coming back, it'll bring nothing but warm, good happy feelings," Gretchen Jackson said. "Once you've won an important race at a track, you feel like that track is always a part of your life."
Update 946: Lisa Davison just called to update us on Better Talk Now and Film Maker. Yesterday they walked and then shipped to Churchill from Keeneland. Today they galloped on the dirt track at Churchill, a light gallop. Tomorrow they will train on the turf. They both appear to have come out of their breeze on sunday in good order. I asked Lisa how it was at Churchill, she said there were plenty of photographers!
The Daily Racing Form has the following article on Graham and Film Maker: Last chance for Film Maker to reach the top. The following is an excerpt:
"I think Graham Motion is one of the fine young trainers, but he's one of the finest young men that I know," said Adam. "He's a great family man, a great father - he has all the traits I look for, and besides that, he's a heckuva horseman."
Update 945: Many of you have inquired how Sabina Pierce is doing after her accident. Well here it is (comment timestamp: 7:05pm):
I just wanted to Thank YOu and all of the Fans of Barbaro for all their support while I convalese from my injuries from my riding accident during a x country event 2 weeks ago. All of the flowers, cards and gift baskets cheered me up immensely. I was laid up in the hospital with a burst fracture of my t12 vertabrae with 50% compression into my spinal cord. I had some great care at U of Penn's hospital during my stay from the nurses, to the helicopter, to the trauma team and also a vey good surgeon. The surgeon fused 3 vertabrae with bone from my hip just like dr. Richardson did for Big B. I now have a fusion of bones, with rods and screws for support and a chiseled hip just like the big boy.. I feel closer to him now more than ever..and I just like big B, had a very serious injury, the drs told me it was a miracle that I was not paralyzed. That they had never seen anyone with that injury walk away. I find myself not just very lucky, but very blessed. Barbaro is my inspiration to get better now too! Thank you all for your support and love!
Bernardini had his final work at Belmont in preparation for his biggest race / challenge: Bernardini Has Final Work, Ready for Classic. The following are excerpts:
"I'll never get on another like him again," Harris said. "He's the complete package. He does everything you want him to. He was tough today. He gave me a hard time. I had to break my reins. I looked around to see if there was something coming, I didn't know what was going on. He's just full of himself. He's just that sharp right now.
"Once he got to the half-mile pole, he just settled in and it was easy sailing from then on," the exercise rider said. "He galloped out really strong. The farther he goes the stronger he gets. He has never been doing better than he is now. He's ready."
Two Tex Sutton planes will depart JFK Airport in New York Wednesday morning with Breeders' Cup horses. The first, to leave in the morning, will carry the horses trained by Albertrani, Jerkens, Shug McGaughey, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Rich Schosberg.
The second, slated to depart in early afternoon, will transport the Todd Pletcher-trained horses.
Update 944: I just spoke to Mrs. Jackson. She visited Barbaro (of course) today and all remains well. She will be on her way to Kentucky for an awards dinner tomorrow I think, the Barbaro team is being honored. On that note Mike Rea will also be heading out to Kentucky as a recipient of a White Horse Award nomination.
I spoke to Steve Willard. He shipped with Giacomo on a flight to Louisville today. There were about fourteen horses on the plane, including Brother Derek. Giacomo jogged yesterday, did not train today, and will likely jog / gallop a little tomorrow. As Steve said to me, Giacomo is back where he made history!
Update 943: I just completed an interview with Graham Motion, who runs both Better Talk Now and Film Maker in the Breeders' Cup on saturday. The interview follows:
Me: On the recent Keeneland Meet and the Synthetic Track:
Graham: This was my best Keeneland meet. I really like the synthetic track. It is very good for the turf horses, there was no need to scratch when a race came off the turf onto the polytrack. The polytrack just seems to level the playing field between the dirt and turf runners.
Me: I asked Graham if he thought synthetic tracks would be adopted more widely:
Graham: Yes, in the longrun. All the California tracks are mandated to adopt the track and it just seems momentum is building. Churchill may take a little longer given they are the home of the Kentucky Derby. This will change things if the Derby is run on a synthetic track, but a Breeders' Cup will inevitably return to California I guess.
Me: Better Talk Now and Film Maker, your two runners on saturday, have been consistent and good for a long time. To what do you attribute this?
Graham: A big part of the answer is they are both very sturdy horses. Fair Hill is also a huge part of it. They are away from the hustle and bustle of a regular racetrack. As they have gotten older, they have gotten better, and now we can pick our spots (i.e. Film Maker has run only three times this year with this upcoming race the season goal).
Me: And their chances on saturday?
Graham: I feel good about them both. Perhaps Film Maker has been a little more consistent over the year, but Better Talk Now has his best distance, a mile and a half, for the first time this year. For him he needs a race with pace up front, this was certainly not the case in the Arlington Million. Both these horses have done a tremendous amount for my career, and I am extremely fond of both of them. I have been pointing both for these two races since the beginning of the year, but you cannot expect this to happen.
Me: And who will win the Classic?
Graham: Bernardini has done nothing wrong. He has been very impressive. The only thing that would concern me is he has not been pressured. How would he respond if he was pressured? I think the english horse David Junior may be a live long shot. He has had this race as a target all summer, and he has a bit of an american dirt pedigree.
Update 942: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael. Peter will try to get to see Barbaro later today.
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Barbaro Updates: 118
Posted October 30, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 941: Still no Barbaro update this morning. It was a lovely morning at Fair Hill. There likely won't be too many more days like today. All horses seemed to train well. I took Hawty Creek to the track for the first time since she came in. She was pretty keyed up, but jogged around pretty well.
WGAL Channel 8 out of Lancaster (I think) came to do an interview about Horse Slaughter. They were at New Holland (auction) yesterday. The piece is scheduled to air thursday, November 9, either on the 6 or 11 pm news. I think I made some decent points, but we will see. Keep up the good work.
Update 940: A quick update from Sue McMullen re: the European Breeders' Cup horses:
Ahead of Wednesday's all important draw, a brief word about the euro raiding party, 11 of whom are now settled comfortably at Churchill Downs. The Ballydoyle horses travel today and if Aiden O'Brien runs true to form, they will not be seen on the track until the end of the week.
Connections of Ouija Board confirmed she had a trouble-free journey and they are delighted with her and the fact that the going on the Turf is fast, which she will relish. This wonderful mare is an old hand at the travelling game and nothing much bothers her. She apparently arrived at Churchill alone in the leading van in the convoy, as befits a visiting Queen! Watchers on the backstretch at Churchill might be fortunate enough to see her this morning. Last year's race, when she failed to retain her crown, just wasn't run to suit her as it was run at a muddling pace and she couldn't get going properly.
As predicted, Frankie Dettori has elected to ride Echo of Light in the Mile so Christophe Soumillon will ride Librettist, already a proven Group 1 winner.
Ramon Dominquez has been booked to ride Sir Michael Stoute's Rob Roy in the Mile. This talented four-year-old has been dogged with bad luck throughout his career but his good run in the Champion Stakes two weeks ago when he finished second might be a signal that the tide is turning for him. He is certainly a lot better than his form guide would suggest. Ramon is an experienced BC jockey, having ridden Better Talk Now to victory in the Turf at Lone Star Park.
Jamie Spencer, formerly stable jockey at Ballydoyle, will be reunited with Ad Valorem in the Mile, having ridden the horse for all three of his juvenile wins in 2004 and finished fifth on him two months ago in the Prix Jacques le Marois. Garret Gomez rides Aussie Rules, having won the Shadwell Turf Mile on him at Keenland and Mick Kinane rides Ivan Denisovich. Mick 'the ice man' Kinane also rides George in the Classic and as George will need all the help he can get for that much-debated engagement, Mick is the right man for the job as he has the coolest head for the big occasion and knows George well. He also rides Scorpion in the Turf.
Connections of David Junior, who also travelled well, await tomorrow's draw hoping for a good position in the Classic for the colt who retires to stud in Japan after the race in a deal said to be worth $8 million. In a surprising move to many, trainer Brian Meehan elected not to run David Junior after his victory in the Coral Eclipse at Sandown in July, preferring to give him one last roll of the dice in the Classic. So he goes into the race after a layoff and despite having dirt in his pedigree, he has less experience of it than his American rivals, but he's still as short as 7-1, such is his reputation and undoubted talent. Giving him a layoff will either look inspired or disastrous and we will know on Saturday, but if it works and he has luck in running and is happy on the surface, expect a very big run from him. The race should certainly be run to suit him as he likes a strong pace.
Stan Moore is confident of a great performance from his two-year-old filly Satulagi in the Juvenile. Winner of a Listed race at Ascot Satulagi is tough and has plenty of experience, which Moore hopes might give her an edge. She won't do much on the run up to the race, but they plan to put her through the gate a couple of times, possibly on Thursday, as although she has never given any trouble at home, our gates are different and we don't have a bell! It might seem a small thing, but preparation is everything with horses and the more that is done with the filly to show her how it works over there, the better chance she has of showing what she can do.
I plan to interview Ramon Dominguez before the Breeders' Cup, nice to hear he has picked up a European mount!
Update 939: Again, this morning's Barbaro update will be much later, due to Michael Matz being in Keeneland preparing Round Pond for the Breeders' Cup.
The Daily Racing Form has a nice article on Michael, Barbaro and Round Pond: Still in wonder of what could've been. The following are a couple of excerpts:
"It sure would have been nice having this horse running in the Classic or, who knows, running in Europe next year," Matz said. "It's just such a shame. Maybe it's a bigger thing what he's done, bringing the racing public together - not just the racing public, but people in general."
The interest in Barbaro remains intense. There are still signs of encouragement on the fence posts at the New Bolton Center. One reads, "Grow Hoof Grow." Another reads, "Believe in Barbaro."
"He's done an awful lot for me, this is the least I can do for him," Matz said following a recent visit with Barbaro. "I live 10 minutes from here. The kids go to school right alongside of here. [One day], I was grazing him and the school bus went by, and all the school kids yelled out for Barbaro."
Update 938: Just spoke to Peter (6 pm) and he visited Barbaro today. He took Barbaro out for a pick of grass, groomed him and changed his bandages. An upbeat report.
My Breeders' Cup tickets have arrived!
Update 937: Sue McMullen e-mailed to let us know "11 of the Euro runners have now arrived safely and are installed in the isolation barns at Churchill. It's only the Ballydoyle horses that have yet to arrive and all being well, they should be there tomorrow." With the contigent that were based in Keeneland also arriving at Churchill, and the Churchill meet opening yesterday, I am assuming there is quite a "buzz" at the racetrack.
While there were a lot of works over the weekend, today saw a few more Breeders' Cup horses on the work tab. From Belmont Premium Tap, under Edgar Prado worked: Premium Tap Drills Sharp Half-Mile for BC Classic. What is not reported in the article is whether his tongue was hanging out for the work (Premium Tap's, not Edgar's!)
While the racing world will focus on the Breeders' Cup this weekend, very shortly thereafter Australia will play host to its major race, the Melbourne Cup. Kieren Fallon is over there preparing Yeats. Sue McMullen had this to report on Kieren Fallon, Yeats, and a horse named Fields of Omagh:
As if he didn't have enough problems, Kieren Fallon was in danger of missing his ride on Yeats in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday following a 10 day ban imposed last week by stewards at Moonee Valley for his winning ride on California Dane. Happily for a relieved Fallon the ban will be lifted on the eve of the big race, for which Fallon, who cannot ride in the UK and elected not to apply to ride in the US, has been personally preparing Yeats and gaining experience of Australian tracks and style of racing. The ban was imposed as stewards decided he had cut across too quickly from the outside to the rail, a move that would have probably earned him a caution at home but Australian stewards are very strict. Although Fallon admitted he was guilty of the maneouvre, he also pointed out his good record with stewards around the world, which is true but he is also very lucky to have got away with 10 days under the Australian rules.
Yeats, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup (run at Royal Ascot) currently tops the betting for the race that is famous for 'stopping a nation' and Fallon reports the horse to be in great form.
Following Collier Hill's heroic win at Woodbine last weekend, it would be impossible to mention racing in Australia without reporting the victory of another 'old timer' whose win in the Group 1 Cox Plate had many observers in tears, including his trainer David Hayes. Fields of Omagh, now nine-years-old, has contested the race four times and never finished worse than fifth, in his first run in 2002. He won in 2003 and was second and third in the next two runnings. The horse enjoys celebrity status among racegoers in Australia and as a mark of respect to him he led the field out to the track but even his most ardent fans knew it would be a tough call.
In the year of so many fairytale racehorses it now seems almost inevitable that in his very last race, he was not going to be denied and fought all the way to the line, upside Pompeii Ruler. Fields of Omagh now joins the small and illustrious list of horses that have won the race more than once and, as a gelding, he heads to the 'Living Legends' retirement home for Australian champions.
The Bloodhorse on Fields of Omagh win: 'Omagh Goes Out a Winner in Epic Cox Plate.
Update 936: A nice article from the Thoroughbred Times: Better Talk Now, Film Maker prepare together for Breeders' Cup that not only discusses their work yesterday, but highlights the consistency these two have displayed over the years. I was talking about this with Tim this morning as we were jogging back on the track. Graham has two horses in the Breeders' Cup and between them they have won a cup race, finished second and third! As I noted earlier there is only one other horse running next saturday who has won a cup race (I think), one of Film Maker's biggest rivals, Ouija Board.
New York Post has this article on Bernardini: BERNARDINI FACES CLASSIC QUESTION which summarizes Bernardini's dilemma well. He has done nothing wrong, yet his competition has been relatively weak. Lets see how he performs on the big stage. Any price better than even money, and I may have to go to the window (although I know from past experience betting Breeders' Cup day at the host track is a nightmare).
Update 935: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael. Peter is planning to visit later today so I will try to get another update later.
I forgot to note earlier, Real Lace, Tim's Maiden winner at Laurel over the weekend, appears to have come out of her race well. I asked Tim about the race, it seemed she was much the best. The jockey was looking around with 3/8ths left to race. I know Tim has liked this filly for a while, lets hope she continues to move forward.
For anyone on myspace, check out Better Talk Now!
update 11:45 am, monday, october 30
Posted by Alex at 4:41 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 117
Posted October 29, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 934: No update yet this morning for Barbaro. Well its almost like someone turned on the lights this morning. First set it was bright, which was nice (although first set will now be pushed to 6 am rather than 6:30 am starting tomorrow).
A good morning for a monday morning. Nothing too exciting occured. I saw Fen, who was in Keeneland yesterday breezing Film Maker. She concured with Lisa assessment of the work (update 929). I asked Fen about the Polytrack, she said it was great. Film Maker loved it. Fen has also galloped on the synthetic track at Woodbine (when Better Talk Now was in Canada for his last win) and is a big fan.
Rocky galloped out of the gate, then breezed 3/8ths. He went well, it was his first breeze without company. He's learning. He went in about 38. Hawty Creek went out back again, I'll probably take her to the track in the next couple of days. Mike Jensen (Philadelphia Inquirer writer) was at Fair Hill this morning, so it looks like another horse racing article in the works.
Update 933: Again, today's Barbaro update will be likely to come late this morning.
The Keeneland meet is now over and records have been set: Keeneland Reports Record Attendance, Wagering. The following is an excerpt:
"This meet has been extraordinary for us in so many ways," said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. "While we are proud of the many records that were set, we are even more proud of how well the Polytrack surface performed. It remained very safe throughout the meet, despite getting more than twice the usual amount of rainfall during the month."
For those interested in the adoption of synthetic tracks, our focus now switches to Hollywood Park, that meet opens this week with the "Cushion Track". I spoke to Andy Durnin last night (exercise rider at Hollywood Park) and he said the backside at Hollywood Park is as full as it has been since he has been in California, a signal that horseman are supporting this new track. Andy has been very impressed with it during training hours.
Update 932: Just spoke to Peter, who visited Barbaro earlier today. Barbaro was actually sleeping when Peter visited, so he left him alone. All was well.
update, sunday october 29, 8:00 pm
Update 931: I spoke to Steve Willard, Giacomo's exercise rider, earlier this afternoon. Giacomo breezed 3/4s this morning in about 1 minute 14 and change / 1 minute and 15 (Steve was not sure). A good work designed just to keep Giacomo ticking over and get some wind into him. He worked with another horse which he passed at the end of the work. He cooled out well, he blew for about 5 minutes. After cooling out he was picking grass, his normal routine.
They are looking for a good race from Giacomo. Steve knows its an awfully tough race (Breeders' Cup Classic) but they expect he will run well based on how he is training. He will have tomorrow off and is shipping to Churchill very early tuesday morning. Steve will ride with him on the plane as will Frank, his traveling groom.
The Daily Racing Form reports on many other works for a busy Breeders' Cup preparation morning: DRF Clocker Report: Sunday, October 29. This will likely be the last busy morning for horses working in preparation for the Breeders' Cup.
Update 930: A nice article on Perfect Drift: Need a horse to cheer? Perfect Drift is a Classic. The following is an excerpt:
"Over the years, he's become more professional," Johnson said. "He almost knows exactly what we're doing. When he gets with (exercise jockey) Joe (Deegan), he knows when it's time to go and when it's time to whoa. . . . He's just a good horse who gives everything he has every time. He doesn't come from any royalty. But he just keeps going. . . . He's started 41 races. I'd like to think he could get another 20."
I know Perfect Drift is popular with many on this site, and am grateful for Joe Deegan providing us updates on this great horse. His longevity is necessary for the sport.
Update 929: I just spoke to Lisa Davison, who worked Better Talk Now in company with Film Maker, this morning. They went 3/4s in 1:12 and change. Lisa said the track was riding quite fast (sounds like it to me!) They traveled well across the polytrack, it was a good work.
It was amusing, as I was talking to Lisa she was watching her work on TVG. TVG said that the work was a positive for Film Maker and a negative for Better Talk Now (Film Maker was going slightly the better of the two at the end of the work) but Lisa told me that the work was typical for both horses, and Film Maker is just a better work horse. So all remains well for the Motion Breeders' Cup horses. They will walk tomorrow and ship to Churchill Downs for the final days before the big race day.
Update 928: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael. Peter had not yet visited Barbaro, so I will try to get another update later.
Jeannine Edwards e-mailed me to let us know the ESPN piece that will include a feature on Barbaro will air on Wednesday, November 1 at 3 PM. It should be about 5 minutes long. She also included a preview of the piece in this e-mail:
TRACK 9: As Barbaro continues to defy the odds, another more abstract question arises: What is it about this horse that has so captivated thousands around the world?
JEAN MANSAVAGE TAPE 2 He doesn't have the bad character traits that so many of our professional athletes have today 02 22 52 he's not getting caught with drugs, not getting caught with weapons in the back of his car, and he's not kicking somebody in the head on the football field. // He's a magnificent horse that represents something very fundamental to this country. 02 23 27
MICHAEL MATZ TAPE 2 // 02 27 03 // the day after we said that he was foundered, there was thirty five baskets of apples and carrots and flowers, the first day 02 27 45 (choked up) I mean, the support I think that's the main situation that I would say how this horse brought so many people together (choked up).
EDGAR PRADO TAPE 2 02 18 43 // the first time I got on him, he showed me that he was a great horse with a lot of talent and a lot of class. // 02 06 37 I think he really have a special place in my heart.
DEAN RICHARDSON TAPE 1 20 45 // There's a lot of people really deeply emotionally attached to this horse for good reason. It's not just because he won a lot of money it's more to it than that. 21:27 JEANNINE Q: What is it about him? // 21:29 R: He's a charismatic horse. // He seems a little bit bigger than life because he did some bigger than life things.
JEANNINE Q: What's the one derby moment that you think about more than the rest?
MATZ TAPE 2 I think 02 04 34 when I heard the announcer say "here comes barbaro!" (choked up)
Nat Sound Up: Kentucky Derby
JEANNINE Q: 2 02 20 35 how often does a horse like barbaro come around?
MATZ TAPE 2 I sure hope there's another one soon. It was a lot of fun having him that's for sure. Maybe never. I've gotten so many nice letters that say just think of the good times you had with him and not the bad times (REALLY CHOKED UP)
Posted by Alex at 4:32 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 116
Posted October 28, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 927: No update yet this morning for Barbaro, but all was well yesterday. I saw Peter this morning and he is planning on visiting Barbaro after work, so I will try to catch up with him later to get today's update.
I have a new project, her name is Hawty Creek. She is owned by a friend and came in to Judge's barn for a couple of months to get fit. I rode her out back today. Since she has not been ridden for a while we did not do too much. After she cooled out I turned her out in the porta pad, and of course she rolled. She got very muddy. Some of which I have now removed. The rest will come off tomorrow when i get her ready to train!
Update 926: Horseracing in the US faces many problems from a marketing standpoint. Perhaps the introduction of synthetic tracks will solve some of those problems and at least make the sport a little more attractive to the casual fan. Another problem is the economics of campaigning a top horse. It makes too much sense to retire them and breed from them. It has been speculated that this fate will end the brilliant, yet very short, career of Bernardini before he is likely to be at his very best: Enjoy Bernadini while you can.
The Fair Hill Halloween Party was fun. No update yet for Barbaro since yesterday morning, but I will endevour to get an update later this morning.
Update 925: An easy win for McDymano in the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase: McDynamo Does It Again In Breeders' Cup Steeplechase. I am now off to the Fair Hill Halloween Party, so no Barbaro update this evening, although that is not unusual for a weekend.
Update 924: A quick reminder, Barbaro vigil at 7 pm, every saturday. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, spare some time for Barbaro.
Update 923: A nice win today for Real Lace, who broke her maiden at Laurel. She had a nice confident ride from Luis Garcia. Here is the chart. She seems to have come out of her race well. Congratulations to Equivine Farm.
Update 922: Joe Deegan just called. He breezed Perfect Drift this morning, 5/8ths in 1:02 and change. It was what they wanted for the breeze, a nice maintenance breeze. Enough to keep him ticking over. He is obviously plenty fit enough. He cooled out well after his work. He will walk tomorrow, which is usual after a breeze. This was also reported in the Bloodhorse: Perfect Drift, the Old Warrior, Tunes Up for Classic.
Update 921: For images of horses getting ready for the Breeders' Cup go to HorsePhotos.com For the last two days they have featured Lisa Davison, yesterday on Better Talk Now, today on Film Maker.
Update 920: As we close in on the Breeders' Cup we should not forget there is actually a Breeders' Cup race today: McDynamo chasing history in Breeders' Cup Grand National Steeplechase. Of course McDynamo is by Dynaformer, father of Barbaro.
Update 919: I just spoke to Lisa Davison, who galloped both Better Talk Now and Film Maker this morning at Keeneland. All remains well with both, they galloped about a mile and a half - mile - 1 mile 5/8ths. They are both scheduled to work tomorrow. Lisa will work Better Talk Now, Fen is flying in to work Film Maker. Fen is Film Maker's regular exercise rider, but stayed behind at Fair Hill.
It was windy and brisk this morning at Keeneland after the rain had moved through. Of course the rain really had no impact on the training surface (as it would on a dirt track). Lisa said, if anything, it just makes the track a little tighter, which is a good thing. The other thing Lisa noted was the lack of a need for a renovation break. With a dirt track you need to have a break to harrow the track at some stage of the morning so the track is more usable. Since the synthetic track does not have any kickback, there is really no need to have it harrowed, it remains pretty much the same all morning.
It is interesting to note in this article re: horses working this morning at Keeneland, preparing for the Breeders' Cup that at least one horse shipped in from Churchill Downs: Keeneland's Polytrack Popular With Breeders' Cup Hopefuls on Saturday, an excerpt:
Trainer Dallas Stewart shipped Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Lemons Forever from Churchill Downs to work over the Polytrack instead of training on Churchill's muddy dirt surface. Coming off a fourth-place finish in the Oct. 8 Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, the 3-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid went five-eighths in :59 and 4/5 under exercise rider Lee Guidry.
"Her work was excellent," Stewart said. "She was crisp and clean; everything was perfect."
Update 918: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I went over to Michael Matz's barn and caught up with Peter Brette, he had heard from Michael.
Morning training was predictably pretty much a loss. I shedrowed four, I am guessing that's what most people did. It looks like the rain has blown over, the sun is trying to get out, and the wind is picking up. I guess decent Halloween weather. There is a Fair Hill Halloween Party tonight, I think I will go in my Eagles T. O. shirt!
Posted by Alex at 3:51 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 115
Posted October 27, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 917: Rain, rain, rain, rain, as predicted. I assume training will be a washout this morning at Fair Hill. Likely I will have a couple to shedrow, but that will be about it. The Barbaro update will again be later this morning at its earliest. I'll stop by Michael Matz's barn to see Peter after training hours.
Sue McMullen sent this early preview of the European runners for the Breeders' Cup:
A comprehensive round-up of European runners will follow next week, after the post draw on Wednesday morning, but in advance of that it's worth noting various bits of information on some of the horses. First, the awesome, globe-trotting mare Ouija Board is pleasing connections ahead of her attempt to reclaim her crown in the Fillies and Mares and she is described as 'thriving' and currently showing no sign that her very long season has taken its toll (this shouldn't be underestimated as it has indeed been a long one). This will be her final appearance in the BC, after which, all being well, she will follow last year's route and head to Tokyo then Hong Kong. But owner Lord Derby has stressed they will take it one race at a time and knowing his love and pride in this wonderful mare, the minute she shows signs of having had enough, they will call it a day. The ultimate test of whether a horse is 'over the top' is sometimes the race itself as it is only then that they are really stretched, but the signs are hopeful and she is currently regarded as the best chance of a European victory. Frankie Dettori will ride and after partnering her in a recent gallop, he was very bullish about her chances. Our horses certainly travel and I'm sure her fans in the US will be pleased to see her one last time.
Hurriance Run will be reunited with French champion jockey Christophe Soumillion in the BC Turf. This somewhat suprising news follows Soumillion's alleged falling out with Hurricane's trainer Andre Fabre, after which he was replaced by Mick Kinane for Hurricane's run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Neither have had much to say about this riding engagement and Fabre has been quite dismissive saying that jockeys are not his main concern and he's more interested in the horse's ability and the conditions he will face. Since winning the King George in great style (and it was the manner of Soumillion's victory celebrations that allegedly upset Fabre) Hurricane has been beaten three times, in the Arc trial, the Arc itself and the Champion Stakes. The first of these wasn't so much a race and more of a piece of work and the Arc was not run to suit him. In what is likely to be his last race it would be wonderful to see this top horse, who is a great favourite of Fabre's and who has been such a force over the last couple of seasons, return to winning form. He needs a good pace and plenty of cover, so hopefully he'll get both.
Alex Solis has been booked to ride John Gosden's Sleeping Indian in the Mile as regular pilot Jimmy Fortune will be serving a suspension. Alex has ridden for Gosden previously, when the latter was training in California and when he has sent horses to the US.
Without his adversary George Washington in the race, connections of Araafa are very confident of his chances in the Mile and he's been in great form, better it is said than before his good run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes when he ran second to George. He also had a good view of George's tail in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but managed to finish in front of him in the Irish equivalent when George pulled a muscle. John Valazquez rides and all trainer Jeremy Noseda now hopes for is that he travels well and gets a good draw in the race as it is likely to be a big field.
Watchers on the backstretch at Churchill shouldn't expect to see Araafa do any fast work, as he is set to do his final piece of serious work today and will just be ticking over on the run up to the race.
The Godolphin horses are all said to be doing well and of their two contenders for the Mile, Librettist and Echo of Light, Frankie Dettori is reported to be favouring the latter as he seems to be in particularly good form.
More to follow next week.
Update 916: I just spoke to Peter Brette, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Peter took Barbaro out for a pick of grass before the rain started. He groomed him, changed his bandages and fed Barbaro a couple of apples. Another good report. I asked Peter how Round Pond was doing in Keeneland. He said she was doing well, and likes the Polytrack, which they had suspected. She will likely work this weekend (Sunday) before they have to ship to Churchill Downs.
A couple of people have already answered my question in Update 915: Ouija Board. I think that places Better Talk Now in great company!
Update 915: Just spoke to Lisa Davison, who is at Keeneland with Graham Motion's two Breeders' Cup horses, Better Talk Now and Film Maker. They traveled (flew) to Keeneland on tuesday of this week, and will remain at Keeneland until they have to leave, which I think is the end of October, at which time they will head to Churchill Downs.
On wednesday they had an easy spin around the training track, thursday and friday they both galloped about a mile and a half / five eighths on the main track (both tracks are Polytracks). They will likely both work this weekend, most likely sunday. Lisa said both horses are doing well, and she was very positive about the Polytrack. They seem to bounce across it while getting very good footing. Lisa noted that turf horses seem to be doing pretty well on the Polytrack, something that we have heard before. There seem to be quite a few other Breeders' Cup horses at Keeneland, Lisa has seen both Lava Man and Gorella.
Graham has a few other horses at Keeneland and they are having a pretty good meet, including a winner today. Better Talk Now is a prior Breeders' Cup race winner. Do you know which other horse(s) fall in that category who are planning to run in this year's Breeders' Cup ?
Update 914: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael. Peter is again planning to visit Barbaro this afternoon, so I will try to get another update later.
I caught up with Joe Deegan, Perfect Drift's exercise rider. He says Perfect Drift is doing as well as ever. All is well. Today he galloped a pretty handy mile. Tomorrow he is scheduled to work (5/8ths) and that will be his last serious piece of work before the Classic. The plan would be then to walk him on sunday, jog monday and back to galloping tuesday.
Lava Man worked this morning in preparation for the Classic: Lava Man, Other O'Neill Horses, Work at Keeneland. The following is an excerpt:
"We had a great morning," O'Neill said. "Lava Man looked great, Tony did his job perfectly -- we just wanted a maintenance work for each of these horses, and that's exactly what we got."
Romero said he was thrilled with the way Lava Man is training off his seventh consecutive win for the year, the Oct. 7 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.
"He's put on some good weight here and he's stronger than ever," the exercise rider said. "I'm very happy with the way he's pulling; he feels better than he did before the Pacific Classic, even. Bernardini is a tough horse to beat, but he should watch out with the way our horse is training."
Posted by Alex at 4:34 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 114
Posted October 26, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 913: No Barbaro update yet. It was another chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill, although there was more cloud cover. A lovely sunrise, just a shame it was appearing coming back from the second set (ok, clocks really do need to change). As suspected, a pretty busy morning. Quite a few breezers, one loose horse and just plenty of things going on.
It is nice to see New Zealand continue its Barbaro coverage: Barbaro has a good week.
Sue McMullen sent this regarding the recent sale of Shirocco, and the less than spectacular success of Godolphin in Europe this year:
We reported earlier this week that a sale had been agreed between Sheikh Mohammed and Baron Georg Von Ullman for the purchase of Shirocco and this has now been completed following a satisfactory veterinary report. The five-year-old son of Monsun has been retired and heads to Darley Hall Stud at Newmarket. Sheikh Mohammed's racing operation regard this attractive horse, winner of four Group 1s and described as having a 'fantastic temperament', as a great stallion prospect. They must also be hoping he will bring them some good fortune in what is by their standards, a very lean time at the top level. This year they failed to achieve even one Group 1 victory in the UK, the first time this had happened since the establishment of Godolphin in 1994. They have also been very unlucky with the death of their top horse Electrocutionist and now Iffraaj is to retire to Kildangen Stud in Ireland following a minor injury, plus Shawanda, the dual Group 1 winner purchased from the Aga Khan has also retired through injury without representing Godolphin on the racecourse. This classy daughter of mighty Sinndar was to be another star in their line-up and had been due to make an appearance for them in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, but although she had been reported as training well she went lame only hours before the race. Her previous appearance had been in last year's Arc, when she finished a valiant sixth but suffered a leg injury in the process. Shawanda will prove an immensely valuable addition to the paddocks.
Of course in the US, Godolphin is represented by Discreet Cat, and Bernardini is owned by Sheikh Mohammed (under the Darley banner rather than Godolphin).
Update 912: A quick reminder, the Barbaro update will likely be late morning again. Fair Hill will likely be quite busy this morning in anticipation of some wet weather coming through tonight, which will leave the dirt track either closed or in grim shape tomorrow.
The Daily Racing Form provides a quick update on some Breeders' Cup contenders preparing for a week on saturday: DRF Clocker Report: Thursday, October 26. I will try to catch up with a couple of the contenders today to see how things are going.
The Cushion Track at Hollywood Park is preparing to play host to its first meet: New 'Cushion Track' Attracts Out-of-Towners. This will be the second major racetrack in the US to adopt a synthetic racetrack. Lets hope the favourable reports from training over the track persist during the race meet.
Update 911: Rachel, from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 8:33 pm):
All is quiet at NBC today... I think they are recovering from the Halloween parade last night! They entered the parade (it's a judged event) as they have in the past. They have a miniature pony that in the past has been Smarty Jones, etc. He was dressed in a blue drape with fake casts on his hind legs... yep a Barbaro stand in! It was so cute. They had a little boy dressed in scrubs that had "Richardson" across the front and "but cuter and nicer" across the back! There was a little girl dressed as Edgar in the jockey outfit. They had adults carrying picket fences with get well posters all over them (representing the main entrance of NBC). They were also pulling a cart of flowers and carrots that had our logo on it! What a hoot! I hope someone got pictures for NBC, because mine came out really dark. It was a great night, even as cold as it was. Love, love, love this town!
We brought the big guy all his favs today!
Update 910: Peter Brette visited Barbaro again today, which is looking like the routine while Michael Matz is overseeing Round Pond's training at Keeneland. Peter took Barbaro out for a pick of grass, groomed him and changed his bandages. All remains comfortable.
Update 909: Just spoke to Steve Willard, Giacomo's exercise rider. All remains well with Giacomo as he gets ready for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Steve is very happy with the way Giacomo feels. He is training well, jogging a mile and galloping a mile and a half each day. He will likely work one more time, sometime this weekend. He will ship to Churchill either on the 29th or 31st of October. Once at Churchill they will likely paddock school him a little just to help him get used to his new surroundings (of course they are not entirely new, he is one for one at Churchill).
Update 908: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael. Peter again plans to visit later today so hopefully I will catch up and get another later report too.
For those curious about the shipping plans for the Breeders' Cup for the european runners, here they are (from Sue McMullen):
I've just spoken to the IRB at Newmarket. The euro runners are travelling on three flights; two on Sunday, one of which carries the Godolphin horses and the other the rest of the euro runners apart from the Ballydoyle contingent, who fly on Tuesday (they usually travel a bit later than the rest).
So George Washington will be coming over on the tuesday flight next week.
Posted by Alex at 4:52 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 113
Posted October 25, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 907: As we wait for our Barbaro update, I wanted to post this commentary about the Breeders' Cup Classic, from a European perspective, and with obvious focus on the Jackson-bred George Washington (via Sue McMullen):
We are flagging up the BC Classic as one of the best in the history of the race. With Bernadini, Lava Man and George Washington currently level in the ratings, and you add to that David Junior, Giacomo and not forgetting Perfect Drift, it's an awesome prospect.
Commenting on the continued debate about running turf superstar George Washington in the Classic, the first time he'll face dirt, trainer Aiden O'Brien told the Racing Post they've never had a horse with pace like his out of all their good horses (which is some compliment): "Everyone says that Danehills won't go on the dirt and that's very possible, but we won't know until he runs. It's a gamble but we are hoping maybe he can overcome all this.
"George is so quick and has natural early pace. I have always thought he could get a mile and a quarter. He is a very rare horse. What we are hoping will help is that this horse travels so well in his races and he has never been stopping at the end, even over a mile.
"Not having raced on dirt will be a big disadvantage, but that's been the case for many horses and, if it's possible to overcome it, then this horse could do it. The circumstances are all a danger more than any horses.
"We haven't seen much of Bernardini. Everyone knows about him, he looks a good horse and Tom Albertrani knows what to do and what not to do. We're going in at a big disadvantage, but it's probably going to be his last race so we might as well explore.
"We know what he can do over a mile on grass. I don't want to blow him up but all I can say is we've never had anything like this before."
So George will take his chance and we must hope that he does indeed 'overcome it'.
Given the wealth of talent that Aiden O'Brien has had in his charge, to state "we've never had anything like this before" is incredible praise. What is equally intriguing is I think Tom Albertrani will say the same for Bernardini.
Update 906: Once again the Barbaro update will be later in the morning.
The following: Barbaro: We Believe in Miracles is a new, up to date, video. It is very nice, but there are a couple of shots from the Preakness.
The following article: Barbaro still the focus of much support, well-wishers is another that highlights Barbaro's persistant support through his long recover. The following are excerpts:
"He has a nice hair coat and he looks good," says Richardson. "Since he started grazing in August he has put on over 50 pounds. But he doesn't look like a racehorse. He has been on the equivalent of bed rest other than to go outside and get walked once a day."
The right hind foot remains encased in a fiberglass cast, primarily to help protect his left. "We're pretty sure that he could be out of the cast in his right hind, except that we don't want to take any risks of overloading his left hind," Richardson explains. "In some parts of the left hoof he has good growth but other parts are slower.
"He's bright and inquisitive. He seems to have a real desire to go on."
"This summer Barbaro received a beautiful wedding invitation with an RSVP and everything," relates Rench. "Dr. Richardson wrote a little note to the couple saying: 'Thank you very much for the invitation and best of luck. At this point Barbaro does not have any interest in remaining monogamous.'"
In Richardson's opinion, if Barbaro makes an optimum recovery he will be able to be used as a stallion. Given his pedigree and brilliant record in his brief racing career, he probably would become a multi-million dollar stud.
But the Jacksons' primary concern isn't for Barbaro to someday have a love life. Like countless others across America, they just want him to have a long and happy life.
Update 905: I just spoke to Peter Brette, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Barbaro remains comfortable. Peter groomed him, took him out to graze and changed his bandages. His usually routine when Peter visits.
Update 904: Alie from Kennett Florist left the following comment (timestamp: 9:19 pm):
Hope everyone is after the senators today. So just a quick upate, Beautiful but cool day here in Kennett Square. I Delivered treats for the big boss horse around 1:30. All was good at NBC. I felt a happy mood while visiting. Everyone in town is getting ready for the parade tonight. It is going to be cold. Our Christmas celebration parade is for Kennett square is Nov 24th. For a little town we have lots going on. That's all, for now. Good night & God Bless.
I have also made a few updates to the FAQ.
Update 903: Here are details on those pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup, saturday, November 4: Contention Runs Deep in 2006 World Championships; 127 Pre-Entered. From Fair Hill we have Round Pond (Michael Matz: Distaff), Film Maker (Graham Motion: Fillies and Mares Turf), and 2004 Breeders' Cup winner Better Talk Now (Graham Motion: Turf).
Sue McMullen sent this list of european contenders:
Juvenile - nothing
Juvenile fillies - Satulagi
Fillies and Mares - Ouija Board
Sprint - nothing
Mile - Ad Valorem, Aussie Rules, Araafa, Echo of Light, Librettist, Rob Roy, Sleeping Indian, Ivan Denisovitch.
Distaff - Nothing
Turf - Hurrican Run, Red Rocks, Scorpion
Classic - David Junior, Discreet Cat, George Washington
Note, Discreet Cat is only entered in case Bernardini does not run in the Classic.
Update 902: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I saw Peter after work. He had heard from Michael. Its likely Peter will again be visiting Barbaro today so I will try to follow up later.
The following is my interview with Dean McKeown, who just rode his biggest race winner in the Canadian International last sunday. Thanks to Sue McMullen for helping me get Dean's number. I used to work with Dean twenty years ago at Richard Whitaker's.
Dean On Collier Hill
A few years ago, 2002, I was riding Hugs Dancer and beat Collier Hill in the Cumberland Plate at Carlisle. I thought Collier Hill suited the way I like to ride, sitting just off the pace. I kept asking Allan Swinbank, Collier Hill's trainer, if I could ride him. Eventually he gave me the ride at York, this was in 2004, and we finished third in a group 3 race. He then ran poorly in the soft ground. He had bad joints so they preferred to run him on the more forgiving ground. If they (trainer and staff) could manage his legs I thought he would be a better horse on the firm going. We ran in the Stockholm Cup in September of that year, on good ground. The bends had been watered so there was a little give in the ground. When we jumped off from the start he was feeling the ground in the early stages, he sat last. This was not ideal, but they were going too quick. Foreign Affair made the running and I was 16 lengths behind. Collier Hill lengthened his stride around the final bend on the more forgiving ground (watered), he was 8 lengths behind at the eighth pole and just got in front at the wire. This was the first group win for Collier Hill, a group 3.
In 2005 we pointed him for the Irish St. Leger, 1 mile and 6 furlongs. He went to Dubai and won a group 3 again, he was then third in the Sheema Classic, a $3m race, he won $500,000 for third prize. He won a group race in Germany beating a Canadian International winner. He was then beaten a short head in a group 1 in Germany. Collier Hill kept improving all the time, and his joints seemed to also be improving. Collier Hill then won the Irish St. Leger.
In 2006 Collier Hill had two runs at the beginning of the year at Ascot, he then went to the Curragh to take on Kastoria. While he was beaten in a photo by Kastoria, he had had a significant hoof problem going into the race, he was also giving 6lbs. Going into the Canadian International his form looked good and it was surprising to see him at 12 - 1. It seems that because he is trained by a less fashionable trainer, and ridden by a less fashionable jockey his accomplishments are continually overlooked. I was convinced he would finish in the first three. The ground was on the soft side of good, which while not ideal for Collier Hill, is less ideal for north american-based horses which are used to only firm ground. I was in Canada to ride Collier Hill before the race, thursday - sunday (Collier Hill exercised the morning of the race). One thing I did notice was the turf close to the inside rail on the straight away was two inches shorter. This type of observation clearly helped in my tactics. The race set up very well for Collier Hill. He was allowed to sit just off a fast pace, we then kicked for home, he was perhaps headed a little by Go Deputy, but had enough to get his head in front on the wire.
Dean McKeown Background
This was the biggest win in Dean's quite long career. I joked with Dean that big wins are supposed to come early in one's career so you can parlay it into something special. That being said, if you look at Dean's career he has actually done very well. He was written off at the age of 21, at 24 he rode 3 winners the entire season. At 25 he came north to Richard Whitaker's to get a fresh start (this is where I met Dean). From that new beginning he did have a few years with a lot of winners. The fastest horse he ever rode was Orient (I rode Orient work once, her first bit of work as a 3yo. I was to never ride her again after that, and she blew away her work partner).
Collier Hill Background
As for Collier Hill. He was bought for $5,000 from John Gosden's stable, George Strawbridge was his owner. He won a bumper race at Catterick for his first start for his new connections, the idea was to take him hurdling. He was a "crap" hurdler. He switched to the flat and was a decent handicapper for a while. Once they figured out his preference for the going, and got his joints in order, the horse kept improving. He is now being pointed for a race in Hong Kong.
On racing on synthetic tracks.
I asked also asked Dean about synthetic tracks in the UK. Dean noted that initially they got it wrong in the UK in terms of the mix used for the tracks. There was kickback which was entirely unpleasant. The two polytracks they have now at Lingfield and Kempton are great. There is no track bias, a horse can win from anywhere, come from behind, sit on the front, wherever. I asked if the times were a little slower, and he noted that perhaps they were, but a track can control for that depending on how deep the surface is. The Lingfield times are generally quicker than the Kempton times. I mentioned that perhaps turf runners were enjoying this type of surface as much as, if not more than, the dirt runners. This did not surprise Dean. With no kickback, a horse can get a hold of the track much like they would a firm turf track. It will be interesting to see how these types of tracks get adopted in the US. Hollywood's meet opens shortly with the Cushion track.
Posted by Alex at 4:13 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 112
Posted October 24, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 901: Still no Barbaro update (as expected). I saw Peter on the track (he was on Chelokee) and he had not heard anything yet. It is another chilly morning at Fair Hill, yet quite pleasant. A couple of the two year olds I ride went to the gate for a little schooling. We seem to have plenty of Canada geese around, I assume they are in transit.
I spent some of my morning interviewing Dean McKeown, who won the Canadian International last weekend (Collier Hill digs deep to hold off Go Deputy in Canadian International). He gave some great insights on Collier Hill and his relationship with the horse, as well as racing on synthetic tracks, which has been a part of british racing for a few years now. It may take me a little time to post.
Today is national call in day! Get busy!
Update 900: Today's Barbaro update will again be later this morning.
Here is the race order for the Breeders' Cup: Breeders' Cup Race Order, Post Times, Wagering Menu Announced. For anyone planning to be there, please feel free to call me the friday before and we can arrange a time / place for everyone to meet up.
Update 899: I just spoke to Peter Brette. He visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon and all remains well. He groomed Barbaro and took him outside.
Update 898: Fred Stone may be the most famous equine artist, its certainly the only name I would recall without prompting (although that does not mean a lot). This Thoroughbred Times article: Barbaro's spirit provides latest inspiration to equine artist Stone discusses the struggles Mr. Stone went through before determining to paint Barbaro. The following is an excerpt:
"Emotionally, I was so hurt by what happened that I said to my wife [Norma] that I'm never going to paint another horse again, and I meant it," Stone said. "I painted a little dog on a surfboard, and I started painting other things."
Gradually, Stone's stance began to soften as he watched the courageous three-year-old Dynaformer colt battle for his life while his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and the staff at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center did everything in their power to save Barbaro.
Here is his work.
Update 897: New Bolton's Barbaro update for the day: Barbaro had another good week:
It has been a little over five months since Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was brought to the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center. "I am happy to report that Barbaro had another good week, and his appetite and vital signs remain excellent," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital.
Barbaro's right hind leg remains in a fiberglass cast. "We are being very conservative with the right hind (fractured) limb in order to help protect the foundered left hind foot." said Dr. Richardson. "The hoof is growing slowly and not uniformly so it has a long way to go before it is acceptably strong and functional," said Dr. Richardson. "The foot will require meticulous care for a long time and setbacks here and there are probable."
Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.
Due to Barbaro's continued improvement, the University will now be posting updates biweekly. The next update will be posted on Tuesday, November 7, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 896: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I just spoke to Peter, who had heard from Michael, who had heard from Dr. Richardson. Peter is also planning to visit later today, so I will try to catch up again later.
update, tuesday, 12:00 pm
Posted by Alex at 4:58 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 111
Posted October 23, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 895: Still no Barbaro update, but its a logistical issue, nothing more. Joe Deegan just called to give us an update on Perfect Drift as he prepares for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Perfect Drift worked last saturday, he went 5/8ths of a mile in 1:02 and change. He worked the last eighth in 10 and 4/5ths, so finshed very well in his work. He walked on sunday, jogged yesterday and galloped this morning. Joe says he is doing very well. He will likely work again on saturday, which will be his final serious work (he may do something mid week, but not as long / fast).
I asked Joe if he was getting on any other Breeders' Cup horses. While that would have been quite common as many horses ship in to prepare for the big day of racing, it seems many of the horses are actually over at Keeneland getting ready for the races. It seems that a few trainers are taking advantage of the Polytrack for their final preparations. I know this is where both Michael Matz and Graham Motion are preparing their horses.
Update 894: No Barbaro update yet. I saw Peter on my third set, he had not yet heard from Michael. This morning not only was it dark, it was cold! I have galloped a couple and shedrowed one. I am now getting ready to breeze one "over the road" on the turf track. It will be his first time breezing on the turf, and the trainer really hopes he likes it! We shall see.
Update 893: Much like yesterday, and for the near future, the Barbaro update will be later this morning at the earliest. There is of course also a New Bolton update for Barbaro scheduled today.
Sue McMullen sent me this e-mail with a piece of European Breeders' Cup news:
It is very unlikely that Shirocco, the reigning Breeders' Cup Turf champion, will be at Churchill Downs to defend his title as a sale has been agreed between owner Baron Georg Von Ullman and Sheikh Mohammed for an undisclosed sum. Subject this week to a satisfactory veterinary inspection Shirocco will retire immediately and head to Dalham Hall Stud at Newmarket. The five-year-old son of Monsun won seven of his 13 races, including four Group 1s and victories over track stars Electrocutionist, Ouija Board and stable mate, Hurricane Run who now looks as if he'll be Andre Fabre's only runner at the Breeders' Cup when he lines up for the Turf on 4 November. Shirocco's final engagement for this season, assuming he came out of the BC in good order, would have been the Japan Cup but it looks almost certain that we've seen him for the last time.
Update 892: Peter Brette just called. He visited Barbaro today, took him outside and gave him a good grooming. A positive report.
Update 891: Rachel from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 9:16 pm):
We had a nice trip to NBC today. A wonderful FOB came for a visit and supplied lunch and dessert to the very grateful (and hungry) staff at New Bolton. They were treated to pizza, salad, cake and various chocolates. Needless to say they were thrilled... they always are when food is involved!!
Big Boss was of course not left out of the festivities. Lots of green tops and stud muffins for him to enjoy... he's always thrilled with his treats as well.
It's turning cold here again, as we get ready for our annual Halloween parade in town... Kennett goes over the top for Halloween, all the area businesses put up scarecrows to decorate main street. Then they close the streets and have a big parade with all the bands in costume, of course. After which all the stores in town stay open and the kids get to go trick-or-trating. So instead of just having a scarecrow, we created a venus fly trap EATING a scarecrow... come on we are a flower shop, not just Barbaro's cafe!!
Update 890: Jeannine Edwards just called (4:45 pm). She was leaving New Bolton after interviewing Dr. Richardson for the "Outside the Lines" piece ESPN is putting together. While she did not visit Barbaro she noted Barbaro remains comfortable (thus our latest update).
The Outside the Lines piece will air a few days before the Breeders' Cup (once I know when I will post). It is about how Barbaro has effected those close to him. They have interviewed (or are interviewing) Dr. Richardson, Michael Matz (Jeannine said this was a wonderful interview, better than the Delaware Park "We only need one miracle" interview), a fan and Edgar Prado. It should be a five minute segment. Some of the Dr. Richardson interview will also appear on the Breeders' Cup telecast.
Update 889: I just spoke to Barclay Tagg and neither Showing Up or NoBiz like ShoBiz (I hope I got that name right) are running in the Breeders' Cup. Showing Up will be pointed for the Hollywood Derby and NoBiz the Remsen (New York). Barclay explained the decisions like this.
For Showing Up there really is nothing to be gained re: winning a championship for him by running in the Breeders' Cup (and there is no three year old Breeders' Cup race). While he ran his best race in his last start, this is a decision that will hopefully help the horse in the future.
For NoBiz it would have been tough to ask him to run his third race in six weeks in the two year old Breeders' Cup race. He is still green and has something to learn. By avoiding the Breeders' Cup he will likely benefit in the longer run. The Remsen will be run towards the end of November.
Basically I think both these decisions were made to help the respective long term future of the horses, rather than the short term potential financial gain. I equate these decisions to that of Bernadini's connections when it was decided not to run him in the Belmont. While they knew they had a good horse, they were thinking a little more long term and he was only just getting his career underway.
Update 888: An interesting article from the Washington Post on the introduction of synthetic tracks: On New Artificial Surface, the Difference Is Real. At first I thought the author seemed in favour of synthetic tracks, but his final comment leaves me wondering a little:
The people who have championed synthetic racing surfaces should take a careful look at Keeneland and decide if this bizarre, go-as-slow-as-you-can style of racing is what the sport really needs.
There are many good points made in the article that suggests that the new surface would be:
a. safer for the horse (and jockey)
b. more entertaining for the viewer watching the race
The obession we currently have with speed from the gate does not make for an attractive product when the horses tire badly towards the finish and are strung out the length of the stretch. Racing in europe has always appeared to me to be more attractive. Lets hope the Keeneland meet is a success, and then the Hoollywood Park meet is a success. I can only imagine what will happen when an important grade one race is run on this type of surface (a triple crown race or a Breeders' Cup event). Now that will be interesting. My limited knowledge thus far from people I have spoken to with experience with synthetic tracks is the horses seem to train on them with ease and they recover from their races more quickly. (I am guessing european horses tend to run more often that dirt running US horses, this is likely due to the ease of recovery from a race on the turf / synthetic track.)
Update 887: I just spoke to Steve Willard, Giacomo's exercise rider. Giacomo breezed today, 3/4s in 1:12 and 4/5ths. John (trainer) was looking for a work in 1:13 so only 1/5th of a second off, which is very good (I am lucky if i am within 2 seconds of the time a trainer is looking for and I certainly have never breezed a horse 3/4s in 1:13!). Giacomo breezed in behind another horse, was eased out at the eighth pole when Steve let his reigns out a little and went by. He did not need to be pushed out. Sounds like a nice work. Steve said he cooled out well, he quit blowing in about 8 - 10 minutes and drank a half a bucket of water.
Overall he remains very bright and alert, and is holding his weight well. They take him out for a pick of grass each morning after his exercise and he just seems to be doing very well. They are still in California, but will likely ship to Churchill Downs the very end of October. I will call to get another update in a couple of days.
Update 886: Here is the Today Show clip: Barbaro is beating the odds. The New Bolton footage was filmed October 12.
Update 885: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I caught up with Peter after the last set, he had heard from Michael.
update 10:20 am, monday october 23
Posted by Alex at 3:21 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 110
Posted October 22, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 884: Barbaro "mania" continues as Barbaro is on the Today Show, the front page of the Wilmington News Journal (update 883) and Channel 4 news in New York (I think from an e-mail I received). Five months!
A lovely morning at Fair Hill, and certainly crisp. For me work has quietened down considerably (phew). First set I galloped a 2yo in company a mile and a quarter. Both went very nice and evenly. This was after a day off after their first "work", so it could have been anything but relaxing. For the second set I just shedrowed a horse. She will do this for a couple of days before going to the track. The third set, well I could not wait for this. He was going to the gate. The gate crew are big Eagles fans. I wear my Brett Favre shirt with pride everyday day from fall to spring. Well all I can say is after yesterday's football the banter at Fair Hill this morning is quite fun! (and the horse was good in the gate, then worked a half).
As I was behind the gate I got to talking to Fen, who gallops for Graham Motion (and gallops Film Maker). Film Maker and Better Talk Now both worked yesterday on the turf (steeplechase track) and went well. They are due to ship to Keeneland tomorrow (fly) and will likely have one more work this weekend as they prepare for the respective Breeders' Cup races.
No Barbaro update yet, will know more about when that will happen when I get back from Fair Hill after my last set.
Update 883: A nice article on Barbaro and New Bolton Center in general: Kentucky Derby winner's spirit wins over medical staff. The following is an excerpt:
"He definitely has a personality," said Kasey McCafferty, the charge nurse in the intensive care unit and natal intensive care unit at the hospital. "He has bit me and kicked me. He can be feisty. He's not nasty and he's not trying to hurt anybody, but he's a stinker. He can get full of himself.
"Every time you see him, you have to pay attention because he's always messing with you. He makes you prove that you know what you're doing. Once you do that, he's fine."
McCafferty was laughing when she said that, as she looks forward to seeing him every day.
She watches him bend his ears back and scrunch up his face like a kid trying to avoid eating spinach when he doesn't like something. She said he breaks out in a sort of smile when he decides he wants to have some fun with the staff.
A quick reminder that today's update will be later today now that Michael is in Keeneland preparing Round Pond for the Breeders' Cup.
Update 882: Just spoke to Sabina Pierce, who is now out of hospital and back at home. Sabina is very grateful for all the support she has received from the site.
Update 881: No update for Barbaro this evening. I just spoke to Peter who had no further information since this morning. It is likely that as we approach the Breeders' Cup updates will likely be once a day now that Michael is in Keeneland.
Update 880: Collier Hill took the Sky Classic in Woodbine: Collier Hill digs deep to hold off Go Deputy in Canadian International. I have to confess I did not see the race, but I am so psyched Dean McKeown rode the winner. I worked with Dean many years ago at Richard Whitaker's. It was a time when Richard's stable was pretty decent. I am not sure of its status now, but then we had Orient, Clantime, Jo Sugden and Tobermory Boy. Basically some pretty good sprinters. Dean was the stable jockey, coming up from Newmarket where he could not buy a winner. When he came to Richard's he had his three horses to look after and basically rebuilt his riding career. He is also a great horseman, and a good guy. Anyway, I have not followed his career much since I have been to the US, but I assume this is a big winner for him. Another person working at Richard's that same year is my Beeders' Cup host, Bob Hatfield. Basically not only did we have a pretty good year at Richard's, but it was fun too.
I went to the Fair Hill Three Day event today for a couple of hours. It turned out one of the competitors was someone I knew when I was a kid in England, Robin Walker. Unfortunately he was eliminated before the final day so I did not get a chance to catch up (either that or he just decided not to compete in the final leg). May be I will get over there a little earlier next year!
Update 879: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I just spoke to Peter, who had heard from Michael, who had heard from Dr. Richardson.
update sunday, october 22, 11:00 am
Update 878: Today's big race is in Canada: Sky Conqueror aims to keep on rolling in Canadian International. As the name of the race suggests, it does attract plenty of international interest. Here is Sue McMullen's preview of the horses running in the race that have traveled from Europe:
Included in the European line-up for today's Canadian International at Woodbine are the Aga Khan's mare Kastoria, trained by John Oxx who wouldn't take a horse across the Irish Sea on a wild goose chase let alone the Atlantic, plus the daughter of Selkirk is in great form having won her last three including the Group 1 Irish St Leger (beating Yeats who is due to run in the Melbourne Cup), a Listed race and a Group 3, when she beat another in this field, the grand old veteran Collier Hill who at eight-years-old has won 13 of 43 races, including two over jumps and been placed 16 times (10 seconds) winning more than £1 million in prize money. This extraordinary and consistent individual is trained by Alan Swinbank in Yorkshire and although he doesn't exactly have a typical profile of a horse running at Group level nobody's told him that and he even mixes it occasionally with the 'big boys', including a valiant second to Japanese superstar Heart's Cry in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March. Good luck to the old boy and what marvellous fun his owners must have shuttling around Europe, Dubai and now Canada to watch him.
Blue Monday is a definite danger among the overseas raiders, having been only a length third behind David Junior (who heads for the BC Classic) in the Coral Eclipse, third in the Juddmonte International and won his last start, the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial at Newbury. Another to fly the flag for the UK is also the youngest horse in the field, the Galileo three-year-old The Last Drop who ran second to Sixties Icon in the St Leger.
Update 877: Today's update will be delayed. Michael is on his way to Keeneland (Round Pond is there preparing for the Breeders' Cup). I will call Peter later today to get an update. Its likely coming up to the Breeders' Cup updates will be later in the day.
While we are waiting I thought you might enjoy this quick conversation Michelle Matz had with Eduardo Hernandez, Barbaro's groom. I had asked Michelle if she could ask Eduardo a few questions for us as Michelle speaks great spanish. Here is the brief conversation:
Michelle: When did you start taking care of Barbaro, and what were your initial impressions?
Eduardo: I started taking care of him last year in December. He was a very happy horse.
Michelle: When did you realize Barbaro was "special" ?
Eduardo: I realized he was a great horse after he won the Tropical Park Derby at Calder.
Michelle: What were your thoughts when you won the Kentucky Derby?
Eduardo: I was very happy, and I wanted to keep on winning.
Michelle: What are your thoughts now as Barbaro continues his recovery?
Eduardo: I am very happy he is recovering well. I really just want him to keep getting better.
Five months and counting.
Posted by Alex at 1:02 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 109
Posted October 21, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 876: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. I just spoke to Peter (6:00 pm) who had spoken to Michael, who had visited.
Update 875: A quick reminder, there is a 7 pm vigil tonight for Barbaro. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, spare some time for Barbaro.
Sue McMullen sent this report of the Racing Post Trophy:
Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam is enjoying great success with his two-year-olds and has much to look forward to next season as he has now added the winner of the Racing Post Trophy to his line-up. Authorized, under Frankie Dettori, was an emphatic winner of the race that always seems to throw up a very good horse and has been won three times in recent years by horses who have gone on to win the Epsom Derby.
Run on heavy ground the first three horses home were all above 20-1 in the betting market and it has to be said that the going was too soft for many who appeared to be finding conditions underfoot just too much, including favourites Eagle Mountain and Regime.
Sometimes heavy ground throws up an odd result, which is quickly discounted by form experts, but although the winner is now being described as a 'surprise victory' at 25-1, the surprise is only to those who overlooked the horse in the market and nobody told Authorized that he was a longshot and unlikely to be a maiden winner in this race. His performance was less of a surprise to the owner and trainer who knew he had the talent as he has continued to improve. Frankie Dettori tried to persuade the owner not to run as although he knew the horse didn't lack talent, he thought he needed more time to mature mentally before tackling such a big race.
The Montjeu colt proved him wrong in the nicest possible way and also vindicated Chapple-Hyam's last minute decision to let him take his chance as he was nearly withdrawn due to the testing conditions. He heads to the Dante at York, then the Epsom Derby for which he's now earned himself a quote of 12-1. For this observer, he won in spite of the ground and not because of it as he moved like a very good horse and this was no fluke victory due to heavy going.
By the way, the winning trainer, and Michael Bell (a trainer who was mentioned in yesterday's report from Sue) both worked for the same trainer many years ago. So did I. Anyone know the name of the trainer (not very likely).
Update 874: The rest of the morning at Fair Hill was reasonably uneventful. Lydia Williams was at Fair Hill taking pictures. She has contributed some pictures to this site (Lost in the Fog, Miraculous Miss etc.).
Annie (Michael Matz exercise rider) let me know how excited Eduardo was to receive his gift baskets (we were walking back from the track after our last set). Yolanda, his wife, was also thrilled. They wanted Annie to make sure to let me know to say thank you. This is yet another outcome of everyone's generosity on this site.
On the Breeders' Cup front it looks like Graham Motion will be represented by Film Maker and Better Talk Now. Both are still at Fair Hill. Michael Matz has shipped Round Pond, along with Messaging, to Keeneland (I think).
A great day for the Fair Hill International. Today is the cross country phase, always the crowd favourite.
Update 873: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I saw Michael as I was walking to the track for my third set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael also noted that when he visited yesterday he took Barbaro out to graze, within five minutes had to bring him back in. I guess the wind was getting him a little excited (Barbaro, not Michael).
It is looking like a beautiful day at Fair Hill. First set was a little lighter than yesterday morning given the clear sky, but only a little lighter! For the first set I opened galloped a 2yo, in company, for three eighths of a mile. His first open gallop at Fair Hill. They went well together, and picked it up nicely down the lane. No one clocked us, and even if someone wanted to, they would not really have seen the work. The second set was a quarter mile breeze, Rocky (Holy Bull 2yo) with Grandma (one of Tim's 2yos). They went a very nice 26 and change together. Rocky has not yet learned how to carry me through the breeze. I need to hussle him a little to get him to cruise, but then when I just sit on him, he eases himself back. He's just learning. He does share some of the same characteristics as Giacomo, who is also by Holy Bull. I was talking to Steve Willard (Giacomo's exercise rider) to get a report the other day and he noted that unless you really get hold of him to gallop, he tends to hop up and down a little galloping. Well, that's Rocky too! Would be nice if he shared more characteristics with him down the road!
Posted by Alex at 1:08 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 108
Posted October 20, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 872: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. I just spoke to Peter, who had heard from Michael, who had visited.
Funny Cide is running tomorrow: New York-breds at center stage. Here is an excerpt:
While Tagg said he's been pleased with Funny Cide's training and soundness, he admits he's not sure what to expect from the gelding.
"When he wants to run he can run with anybody," Tagg said. "When he doesn't want to run it doesn't matter what the hell you do with him."
Update 871: Rachel, from Kennett Florist left this comment about their visit to New Bolton today (timestamp: 8:36 pm):
What a day we've had here. The wind and rain have been crazy here... thankfully we still have power, not so much down the road.
But even with the horrible weather, in came Martita... our lovely little dancer from NY. She had quite a trip but I will let her post about that later. She had us bring apple cider donuts and hot apple cider for all the folks up at NBC. She even did a bit of dancing for Dr Sweeney, Dr Richardson and some of the staff as they snacked. What a lovely treat for us all. What a doll Martita is and I'm sure that she brought everyone at NBC a bit of joy to their day.
And of course, Big Boss Horse couldn't be excluded, we brought him a couple of baskets of his favorites so that he could enjoy... he didn't get to see the dancing, but I think maybe he and Dr Dean do a little two stepping when no one's looking! Have a great weekend!!
Rachel at Kennett Florist
Update 870: The key two year old race tomorrow in England is the Racing Post Trophy. Sue McMullen sent this report:
14 colts are set to line-up for tomorrow's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy for two-year-olds, another useful pointer to the following season's Classic generation. Relocated to Newbury this year due to refurbishment at Doncaster, the race is subject to a 7.30 am inspection following very heavy rain that led to today's racing at Newbury being abandoned. Parts of the course are currently waterlogged and even if racing goes ahead, conditions are likely to be fairly testing and there may be a few late withdrawals.
Included in the field are four from Aiden O'Brien, who has won this race four times in the last ten years, most notably with High Chaparrel in 2001, and this year's challenge from the formidable Ballydoyle armoury is led by Eagle Mountain, son of the imperious Rock of Gibralter, known to all here as 'The Rock'. Following his impressive win at the Curragh 12 days ago, the highly regarded colt has been installed as favourite for tomorrow's race and although soft ground won't inconvenience him, heavy going is an unknown quantity for all the field. He is also seen as very much a serious contender for the Epsom Derby. Great Sphinx, Red Rock Canyon and Malacara complete the Ballydoyle team.
Another useful performer to face Eagle Mountain is Regime, trained by Michael Bell who won this race with Motivator two years ago. Regime has impressive credentials and demonstrated his disregard for mud at the Curragh when he beat all except Group 1 performer Miss Beatrix in the Goffs Million, including the very good filly Finsceal Beo who won at Longchamp and has won since. By Golan, Regime is also seen as an Epsom Derby candidate and his training has focussed on an autumn campaign ready for the serious business next year. One colt who has proved himself on heavy ground is Prince Golan, trained by Kevin Ryan who won this race last year with Palace Episode. If the race goes ahead, the going underfoot is inevitably going to play a part in the result as some will handle it better than others. Even horses that perform well in soft ground sometimes don't handle heavy going. This year's renewal is seen as tough, not just in terms of the going, but the quality of the field.
Oddly I used to work with Michael Bell, many many years ago. So long ago that when I saw him at the Arlington Million a few years ago he had obviously forgotten!
I also asked Sue about the pending retirement of George Washington. Her response:
George Washington is to retire after the BC Classic. It always seemed unlikely they would keep George in training next year. He's shown his brilliance and the rationale will be that whatever happens in the Classic it won't tarnish his reputation as he's proven himself so emphatically on turf. Ad Valorem and Aussie Rules will also retire, after the Mile.
Hurricane Run, also a Coolmore stallion, retires to stud at the end of this season. Shame he didn't hit winning form again after his victory in the King George but he's a truly awesome, imposing individual and as a son of Montjeu, he will be a valuable asset to their line-up.
Update 869: I just spoke to Mrs. Jackson. I wanted to see if she would sign some Barbaro prints that would then be auctioned for Freedom Hills. More importantly, she had visited Barbaro this morning and all remains well. She is also very grateful for everyone's work and commitment for the anti-slaughter legislation. Please keep up the great work.
Update 868: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was driving out of Fair Hill after a pretty unproductive freelance morning (no worries about that though, its nice to have a break). Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. It looks like the rain is easing off, although the dirt track was closed this morning. With the woodchip track finished, there were no racetracks available to train. Likely a few horses trained outback, but the ground has got to be getting pretty soft. I hope this weather does not seriously impact the Fair Hill three day event, which is just getting underway.
update 8:25 am, friday, october 20
Update 867: This morning's Barbaro update may well be delayed to mid morning. Its raining pretty hard which will impact training. I'll likely stop by Michael Matz's barn after training.
Nice to see Sweetnorthernsaint back at the races: Sweetnorthernsaint Wins in Return at Laurel. The field scratched down to three runners, I am guessing no one wanted to take on the luke warm Kentucky Derby favourite. Here is an excerpt:
"I wanted to get a race under him and I didn't want a big one today," Trombetta said. "He isn't ready for that. I didn't want to do too much. He worked four times and then he got this under him. Now I am going to see how he trains next week. Hopefully this didn't take anything out of him -- I don't think it did -- and then we'll move on. This was my plan and it went well. I am happy with it. It was what we wanted to see."
There is also a nice article in the Washington Post about this comeback: Sweetnorthernsaint Wins Easily.
Posted by Alex at 10:54 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 107
Posted October 19, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 866: Steve Willard just called to give us an update on Giacomo as he prepares for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Giacomo breezed on tuesday, a half mile in 49 seconds. A nice easy breeze. He usually gets the day off after a breeze but apparently the breeze took nothing out of him as he jogged yesterday, and did a light gallop today. Steve said he is moving very well and appears to be just doing very well right now. I asked Steve about their plans for going to Kentucky (they are based in California). Steve was unsure yet when they were going to go, but of course they know Giacomo is comfortable with Churchill Downs (home of his Derby win) so they are not concerned about getting their too early. All is well in the Giacomo camp.
Update 865: Just spoke to Peter (6:10 pm), and Barbaro had a comfortable day. He had heard from Michael who visited Barbaro this afternoon.
Update 864: I just spoke to Sabina, who is continuing her recovery. She sounded a little less groggy and more lucid than the last time we spoke (she also stayed awake through the entire conversation!) She thinks she will be leaving the hospital tomorrow. She received gifts today from Kennett Florist and elsewhere, she was pretty psyched about that. Anyway, she seems to be doing well all things considered.
Tech. note: Prospero, which gave us a free license for our discussion boards for two months, is allowing us to continue.
Update 863: The use of drugs in racing is another of the contentious issues racing needs to face. While I am not offering, nor have, any real opinion, there are racing jurisdictions with a zero tolerance for drugs. The following e-mail from Sue McMullen notes that Deep Impact was caught foul of France's zero tolerance policy:
Japanese racing has been rocked with news that Deep Impact, their wonder horse and son of the late Sunday Silence, is highly likely to be disqualifed from his third place in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe having tested positive for Ipratropium, often used to treat respiratory problems. The Japanese Racing Authority is currently awaiting a decision about his disqualification. The authorities in Europe have zero tolerance of any medication (eg, we don't run on Lasix), even that which is administered purely for genuine, veterinary purposes and not designed to enhance or aid performance. Both the A and B sample have tested positive so the French authorities will now determine the level of punishment. It should be understood that the medication in question was administered legitimately but sadly not withdrawn sufficiently early for him to test clear.
The Japanese are still on a learning curve in terms of racing at this level outside their own country, hence the curious decision to run Deep Impact in the Arc without a prep race, and especially a run in one of the Arc trials which would have given him some experience of Longchamp. His third placing was therefore all the more impressive and a case of what might have been. This news, attached to their most high-profile, flagship horse, will inevitably cast an unfortunate shadow at home, especially among his legion of fans, but it should be put into context. Due to the policy of absolute zero tolerance, it sometimes happens that harmless medication isn't withdawn in sufficient time for race day when random testing will take place. There have also been high profile cases here where miniscule traces of a banned substance have been found in feed, subsequent to the horse being disqualified from a big race, even where such tiny traces could have no effect on performance. Some consider this harsh but aside from any other consideration, equine athletes unlike their human counterparts, have no control over what is given to them and their welfare should be of paramount importance. Laboratories have become so sophisticated in the testing procedures that even innocent and minor transgressions, such as Deep Impact's, are sometimes caught up in the overall battle to eradicate more sinister, deliberate drug abuse.
The four-year-old colt is due to retire at the end of the season, having earned in excess of £5 million on the track.
Update 862: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I walked back from the track with Michael Matz, coming back from my second set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael also mentioned Barbaro seems to have gained some weight (about 1100 lbs, I think he is weighed very regularly) and might have actually grown a little during his recovery. He was never actually measured while in training, but Michael thinks he might be about 17 hands now.
This morning it was dark, dark going to the track on my first set, and dark coming back from the track. The clocks need to change, and hopefully soon.
Update 861: Lost in the Fog's cancer appears to have been more extensive than first thought: Fog's Cancer Extensive, Necropsy Reveals. The following is an excerpt:
"What absolutely amazed me was how tough this guy was and how well he tolerated everything," Wilson said. "It just floors me; the extent of this cancer and how he handled it with a minimum of discomfort. He had to have had it for at least several months."
What a wonderfully gifted, and incredibly tough, racehorse.
The Thoroughbred Racing Association is hosting a simulcast conference in Philadelphia to discuss racing issues, of which racehorse safety is obviously a big concern: Equine safety essential to ensuring fan confidence. The following is an excerpt:
"Barbaro was a wake-up call," said trainer Michael Dickinson, who invented Tapeta Footings, which Golden Gate Fields will install for use next year. "The industry had taken a blind eye to safety issues but no longer. If it had moved any slower on [safety issues], then it would have moved backwards."
Turfway President Bob Elliston said that racing benefited from having a ready-made answer to the question, "What is racing doing about safety in the wake of Barbaro and breakdowns at racetracks?"
"We needed to show that we were taking steps to improve the situation," Elliston said. "If we don't make an effort, then we risk alienating our fan base, and we need new fans to support the economics of the game: owning horses and betting on them."
Sorry, I think the fan base is pretty alienated already. Aside from the very big race days (triple crown, breeders' cup etc.) you see few fans. Belmont Park had five grade one stakes a couple of weeks ago, the crowd was very thin. Go to your local racetrack on a regular race day, if you do it twice they will know you by your first name. Racing has huge problems, and things need to happen very differently I think in order to build a new fan base. OK, off my soap box ...
I was talking to Andy Durnin, who is an exercise rider in California, and currently at Hollywood Park. He loves the cushion track they have recently installed. He said there has been nothing but positive feedback from everybody at the track. Horses get a great footing on the surface, no slipping, its very consistent. Their meet will open in a few weeks I think, it will be interesting to see how it fairs during the races.
Posted by Alex at 10:38 AM
| Comments (601)
Barbaro Updates: 106
Posted October 18, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 860: No update tonight, which is not unusual. I did think this comment from Brandi was amusing (timestamp: 4:45 pm):
Last week, while on a cruise in the Caribbean, I was making my way to the ship's computer area to check on Barbaro when I happened to pick up the ship's single page "newspaper". There, to my pleasant surprise, was the news of Barbaro's cast change and the update from New Bolton Center. I was thrilled to see that his story continues to make headlines and capture the hearts of an international audience - even onboard a ship!
Update 859: I just spoke to Joe Deegan, exercise rider of Perfect Drift, who is getting ready for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Perfect Drift breezed last saturday, 5/8ths in 1:02. His final eighth was a sharp 11 seconds. Joe says Perfect Drift is training really well. He will breeze again this coming saturday, and they are looking for a similar kind of move. He galloped a mile and a half today, galloping on a little bit the last part of the exercise. He will likely jog tomorrow, and gallop again on friday before his breeze.
Overall Joe says that Perfect Drift is in good form. He came out of his last race (Kentucky Cup, close second, bad trip) very well, better than the previous race (Pacific Classic). Without Bernardini Joe thinks Perfect Drift has as good a shot as anyone, if the race sets up right for him. A fast early pace and a patient ride from the jockey.
I wanted to note that Mike Jensen, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, Inquirer duo honored for racing coverage was honored for his Derby coverage. Mike did a great story on this web-site (To check up on Barbaro, check out his blog for which he was not nominated for anything!)
Update 858: ESPN (Jeannine Edwards) was at Fair Hill this morning, with Michael Matz's crew. They are doing an in-depth piece on Barbaro that will air right before the BC on "Outside The Lines". They will also be intervewing others connected to Barbaro. Very cool. I saw a couple of Matz's riders at breakfast and was asking about the shoot. Michelle (Matz) apparently did some broadcasting of her own last week, covering the Maryland Million for Fox. I have Michelle on "special assignment" for this site, she speaks fluent spanish.
Ali, from Kennett Florist left this note in the comments (timestamp: 2:04pm):
Jen is going to take stuff down to Sabina early tomorrow morning. She will pick up here this afternoon. If you want to sent anything to the hospital. Sabina is doing well jen said.
Will post again later
Update 857: I asked Sue McMullen (our Euro racing correspondent) to comment on the decision to run (the Jackson-bred) George Washington in the Breeders' Cup Classic. This is her e-mailed response:
There is quite a bit of negative comment about George's proposed run in the Classic. The consensus is that it is due to Coolmore's commercially-motivated desire to produce a 'dirt Danehill'. George is American bred, but his pedigree is Turf, unlike Giant's Causeway who could claim dual credentials. Danehill hasn't produced a serious dirt horse. The obstacles George will face cannot be overestimated. In addition to the journey and the overall differences in how things are done, even relatively minor differences such as the loading into the gate, he will run on a surface that is totally alien to him. After Friday's abortive attempt (due to fog) to fly him to Southwell to work (gallop) on the nearest surface we have in the UK and Ireland to an American dirt track, we are told he's now worked well on the Polytrack at home. The only similarity is they are both artificial surfaces. Horses bounce off the Polytrack and there is no kickback. Many of our turf horses work on artificial surfaces such as this as trainers have laid them to aid training when the weather is bad or when the ground is hard in the summer, but they are NOTHING like dirt. Kieren Fallon knows the horse well and even he says that until they race on dirt, you don't know how they'll take to it.
The rationale appears to be that even a gallant, two length defeat to the brilliant Bernadini in the Classic would better enhance George's credentials to stand at the Coolmore stud at Kentucky than an outright win in the Mile, where Ballydoyle is already represented with Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem. The cynics say he isn't seriously expected to beat Bernadini at his own game and in his 'backyard'. Even his style of racing doesn't enhance his chances. George is a hold-up horse and in his last two races has dwelt in the stalls allowing him to be ridden in that way. He can't dwell in the stalls in the Classic and our horses don't have the best record for breaking out of the gate in the Breeders' Cup. It's worth noting here that our horses are ridden differently from the start of a race so missing the kick at home doesn't always prove disastrous. But if he's to come from off a likely very fast pace he'll be chasing it from the start and, with a possible inside draw, he'll have to face significant kickback for the first time in his life behind a wall of horses, ploughing through an alien surface and his 'action' (way of moving) doesn't suggest he'll enjoy a switch to dirt. The hope must be that a brilliant George, at his best on the day, will somehow cope with all this.
This site has addressed the ongoing furore over George's alleged 'fragile' temperament and the belief by some that too much has been made of it. Indeed Aiden O'Brien himself expressed appreciation to the author at Ascot that it had been put into a sensible context on this website. For many of his fans who watched George's exemplary behaviour at Ascot when he was victorious in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, it was hard to see what the fuss was about. But in the ongoing debate about the widom of sending him for the Classic, it is inevitable that his alleged 'fragility' has cropped up and sited as yet another reason that he will struggle in the US.
Many of us here were saddened to see Dylan Thomas struggling on an alien surface (in the Jockey Club) and questioned the merit of asking a seriously good Turf horse to try and switch for what appears a largely commercial decision. And yes, racing is a business but you couldn't escape the sneaking feeling that he'd been let down. Horses know nothing of their value and just give the best they can, which makes it even sadder when too much is asked of them. Dylan has now retired for the season as it has been decided he's had enough hard races this year.
On the same day in May two Jackson-bred, bay horses blazed equally impressive trails on both sides of the 'pond'. One in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill and one in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Not only was this a first for breeding, but we also witnessed the emergence of two great racehorses, one on dirt and one on turf. Barbaro now has a greater fight ahead of him, just to survive, and George, by a curious quirk of fate, now heads for Churchill Downs.
If George does run in the Classic his fans will be praying fervently that he copes with it all and returns none the worse for it. He is a turf superstar and brilliant at his best, but with just about everything stacked against him, does it really seem fair?
Update 856: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was heading to the track on my second set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. It is a very foggy, and somewhat humid, morning this morning. The track is sealed after all the rain we had yesterday. A quiet day for me this morning, only three - four to ride.
update 7:50 am, wednesday, october 18
Update 854: A nice article from the Thoroughbredtimes: Jacksons still wonder about Barbaro versus Bernardini which notes the rivalry that never was. The following are excerpts:
The second jewel of the Triple Crown could have been quite a battle between the two talented colts, and would have likely determined the Eclipse Award for the three-year-old division.
"It would have been great; I would have loved to have seen that," Jackson said. "It would have been interesting, and who knows? Obviously, both camps feel like they have the best horse.
"I think Barbaro had a tough race in the Kentucky Derby … and the fact that he won by 6 1/2 lengths and the fact that he galloped out ahead like 15 lengths--he put on a performance. That was one race, and all of the races Bernardini has compiled, gosh, it's amazing what he's done."
Jackson said she and her husband have not thought about winning an Eclipse Award so much as just wishing Barbaro had the opportunity to compete against Bernardini, and hoping he is able to continue to overcome a dire set of circumstances.
Posted by Alex at 10:51 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 105
Posted October 17, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 853: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. I just spoke to Peter Brette, who had heard from Michael who had visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon.
Update 852: New Bolton's Barbaro update for today: Barbaro remains comfortable, continues to improve:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve a week after his right hind leg cast change. "Barbaro is wearing his new cast comfortably and his vital signs and appetite remain excellent," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital.
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had a large portion of the hoof wall and sole removed because of severe laminitis, is gradually improving. "The hoof is growing slowly, but he has a long way to go, especially along the front of the hoof," said Dr. Richardson. "We still have many months of healing ahead of us. The foot will require meticulous care for a long time."
Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, October 24, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
I visited Sabina Pierce at about lunchtime. She had surgery yesterday, which I assume was a success. Her mom is with her. She is pretty groggy, but also in pretty good spirits. She should be out by the end of the week. I told her she had a lot of well wishers here, so she will get to appreciate that when she leaves the hospital. A short, but good, visit.
Update 851: Just spoke to Barclay Tagg, who is currently down in Ocala. I asked Barclay about both his stakes horses that ran at the weekend. He thought it was Showing Up's best race. He settled much better. He thought Nobiz Like ShoBiz was unlucky. He got compromised coming out of the gate, and ran a winning race. Both horses are doing well after their respective races, although they have not trained yet. Barclay usually gives horses three days off after a race and then jogs for a day. At the moment the two year old is being pointed for the Remsen, and Showing Up for the Hollywood Derby. The Breeders' Cup has not been completely ruled out for either horse, there is another week to go before they need to enter for the Breeders' Cup.
Funny Cide breezed 5/8ths this morning in a minute. He is scheduled to run in a New York bred stake race on saturday.
The Daily Racing Form had this article on the same topic from yesterday: Tagg considering BC for two.
Update 850: Barbaro continues to be popular in main stream media (more so than in racing media these days I think). This time it is the turn of the Washington Post: Diminished Body, Persevering Spirit. A must read, here are a few excerpts highlighting some of the staff at New Bolton:
DeFazio, 27, works the midnight to 5 a.m. shift at New Bolton every other week. She was scheduled to work that night. After the race ended, DeFazio took a nap -- missing further coverage of the tragedy on the evening newscasts -- then got ready for work. When she arrived at New Bolton at 10 p.m., she learned that the horse in her care would be Barbaro.
"When I got in and saw him, I was just awestruck," she said. "He looked like an athlete in his prime. I half wanted to cry and half was excited. You didn't know how to explain it: He's a horse -- one of our patients -- but he's Barbaro, and he won the Derby, and he's all over the news, and he's right in front of me, and I need to make sure he makes it through the night."
"It's kind of odd because we've gotten used to it now, but it's very surreal," said Liberty Getman, a third-year resident physician who fills in for Richardson when he is elsewhere. "You can't go anywhere wearing a New Bolton shirt. You can't go to the grocery store or anywhere without being stopped and asked how he is. When you leave here, it becomes more obvious."
Sweeney said. "No one wanted this tragedy to occur, but once it did occur an awful lot of good things happened."
And they continue to happen to Barbaro, the odds-defying patient who happens to be a star.
"I will be able to look back," McCafferty said, "and say to my children and grandchildren, 'I worked with Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner.' "
Update 849: Another comfortable night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was heading up the horsepath on my second set on Rocky. Rocky was supposed to breeze this morning but the track was sealed in anticipation of a bucketload of rain. So, we jogged a mile and galloped a mile instead. I am just pulling Chappy out now for my third set.
Updated 7:40am tuesday morning
Update 848: Another great Barbaro article: His crowning success. It includes the following excerpts:
But it was Barbaro's attitude, his will to survive, that inspired them all to continue with treatment and with efforts to save him, Matz said. If Barbaro was still fighting, they would.
It was never about saving him to be a stallion, never about money. It was only about saving life, about saving what Richardson described as a "magnificent" creature.
The goal and hope, Jackson said, is to allow Barbaro to be a healthy normal horse again, so that he can survive without pain or discomfort. If he's ever able to be a stallion, "that would just be a bonus," he said.
And if not, well, he's already accomplished much, even without racing. Because of Barbaro, Jackson said, people are more sensitive to equine safety, more aware of the need for research into laminitis and other conditions. And because of Barbaro, thousands and thousands of people who never followed the sport suddenly found themselves investing their emotions in a racehorse's wellbeing.
Posted by Alex at 10:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 104
Posted October 16, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 847: Peter Brette just called, Barbaro remains well. He had heard from Michael who had visited today.
Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 9:17 pm):
Just got back from NBC. We had carrots and treats for Barbaro and the research horses today, to get the week started off right.
I talked to Jennifer at New Bolton. She said that Sabina was going to have surgery this afternoon. She is going to visit her tmorrow, and I will stay in contact with her. I will pass along updates as we get them. Please pray that her recovery goes smoothly.
Also, please, please if you have not done so already, please sign Mike Rea's petition for the Extreme Home Makeover. Now more than ever they need to make this happen and soon! Thank you everyone for all your love and concern for all beings great and small (2 or 4 legged)!!
You can send your virtual good wishes to Sabina: Good Wishes for Sabina Pierce's Recovery
Update 846: I see George Washington is now being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic: George Washington Definite for BC Classic. I can only think this decision is simply the result of Dylan Thomas' clear dislike for the dirt, and not in the best interests of Georgeous George. I would love to see him win the Classic, but to run against Bernardini, for his first race on the dirt, on a different continent ...
Update 845: I just visited Mike Rea, with Shell (pinkwellies on the discussion board) and Allan. He was in good sprits, even if a little emotional at times. He is slightly frustrated at not seeing his own progress, but there is clear progress. We sat around and chatted for about 45 minutes. He is actually going home this weekend (for good), and will start new therapy on monday at another facility. I think that is a clear signal he is doing well. He is also scheduled to go to the Breeders' Cup as part of being nominated for the White Horse award. As I was leaving his sister, Cathy, arrived. She was talking about all the work Mercy and others are doing for Mike's nomination for the Extreme Home Makeover competition. Very cool. More information is on Mike's blog.
My last set this morning, I took a 2 year old out back for the first time. He refused to cross from some grassland to the road. Not wanting to get too "agressive" I decided to back him onto the road (this usually works quite well). Anyway, as we were backing up he anchored his hind legs, and basically sat down! With few options remaining, I dismounted! It still took me five minutes to coax him onto the road. Once we got going I think he quite enjoyed himself.
Update 844: Sabina Pierce, Barbaro's photographer, had a nasty horse riding accident over the weekend. She damaged her back quite considerably and will undergo surgery today at UPenn's hospital. I spoke with her yesterday, and she seemed in pretty good spirits. She gave me details of which I don't remember other than its not a situation where they are concerned about Sabina being paralyzed. She will be out of hospital before the end of the week, and I plan to visit tomorrow. I just thought I would let everyone know as Sabina has not only done a wonderful job photographing Barbaro during his recovery for everyone to see, but she has also been a contributor to this site. If you want to send wishes, please send them to New Bolton, care of Jennifer Rench.
Update 843: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael Matz on my first set, he had heard from Dr. Richardson. While it is another chilly morning at Fair Hill, it was a gorgeous sunrise and looks like it will be a lovely day. So far I have ridden two horses (a Carson City 2yo gelding and Chappy), probably three to four more to go. Nice easy morning for the beginning of the week.
update 7:40 am, monday, october 16
Update 842: The Daily Pennsylvanian has a story about Barbaro and you 'Colt' of personality surrounds star horse. Some really good quotes, the following is an excerpt:
While the Barbaro Maniacs - people of all ages with widely varying levels of experience with horses - initially frequented the Tim Woolley Web site primarily for Barbaro, they have since turned the site into an activist page for horse-related issues. Among their many initiatives: They recently planned and financed a surprise birthday party for a horse trainer named Mike Rea, who incurred severe brain damage in a horse-riding accident, sent gift baskets to a horse - Lost in the Fog - who was battling cancer in California and "adopted" horses that had survived a tragic trailer accident in Missouri and had been bound for a slaughter house.
I asked a(n ex) colleague at Wharton how often the Daily Pennsylvanian comes out (after they interviewed for the story), you wonder why I no longer work at Penn!
Posted by Alex at 10:27 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 103
Posted October 14, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 841: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. Peter just called (6:30 pm), and had heard from Michael.
Update 840: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I saw Michael Matz in his barn sunday morning, he had heard from Dr. Richardson. He also showed me some print outs he had about Barbaro, this was the most amusing: Indian Charlie: October 14.
update 8:00 am, sunday, october 15
Update 839: The following are the racing media coverage of the major stakes yesterday from Belmont and Keeneland:
Daily Racing Form: Scat Daddy gives Pletcher another record
Bloodhorse: Pletcher's Scat Daddy Pops Champagne Cork
ThoroughbredTimes: Pletcher breaks stakes win record with Scat Daddy
Daily Racing Form: Sutra pulls upset in Frizette
Bloodhorse: Surprising Sutra Sews Up Frizette
ThoroughbredTimes: Sutra rallies with powerful kick to capture Frizette Stakes
Daily Racing Form: Showing Up finishes fast in Jamaica
Bloodhorse: Showing Up Sparkles in Spirited Jamaica Win
ThoroughbredTimes: Showing Up dominates in Jamaica Handicap
Daily Racing Form: Gorella's victory wins BC Mile berth
Bloodhorse: Gorella Holds Off Karen's Caper in First Lady
ThoroughbredTimes: Gorella holds off game Karen's Caper to capture First Lady
Daily Racing Form: Vacare 4 for 4 after QE II victory
Bloodhorse: Vacare Stays Perfect With QE II Cup Upset
ThoroughbredTimes: Vacare rallies to win Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
Update 838: A nice article: Barbaro's Journey that includes an interview with Mrs. Jackson. The following is an excerpt:
Cures cropped up from all points across the globe. Barbaro was given a sacred silk cloth that was hung near him in his stall. Someone sent the colt holy water from Lourdes. One sheik involved in racing shipped holy water from the River Jordan.
When the medical staff was changing the bandages on the colt's leg, Jackson knelt down and sprinkled on the holy waters.
"I'm sure they (the staff) probably think I'm a little bit nuts," she said with a laugh.
The massive outpouring of public support and love continues.
One of the times I went over to New Bolton Center with Peter, he was taking over some of the holy water from the River Jordan.
Update 837: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. I spoke to Peter Brette earlier this evening (6:15 pm) who had heard from Michael, who had visited Barbaro.
Update 836: Nice win by Scat Daddy, but sorry, NoBiz Like ShowBiz looks like the one with the future. To me he ran very green, and in "snatches". A nice second. A much better run race than the ridiculous Frizette. Slower early fractions (24 for the first quarter) and thus ultimately a faster time (by more than 3 seconds I think). No disgrace for NoBiz Like ShowBiz.
Update 835: An impressive performance by Gorella. While she only just got up and won, it was a stakes record performance (a minute and 34 and change), and the last eighth of a mile was run in eleven and change.
Update 834: Showing Up took the Jamaica by five lengths. A very professional performance, settling just off the early pace. He started to close around the turn, when he was asked a little he just galloped past the leaders. Congratulations to the Jackson's and Barclay Tagg!
Update 833: The Frizette Stakes, sorry, in my mind it is reflective of everything that is wrong with racing in america. They went waaaaaaay too fast early, and collapsed in a heap. They ran the mile in 1:40 after a first fraction of 22 and change. An aweful race. Congrats to the winner, Sutra.
Update 832: Su McMullen sent us this report from today's key races at Newmarket:
Those fortunate enough to be at Newmarket today weren't disappointed. The clash between Holy Roman Emperor and the unbeaten Teofilo lived up to expectations with one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the Dewhurst Stakes, Europe's top race for two year-olds.
He might have got closer this time, but Teofilo yet again fought off Holy Roman Emperor in a thrilling duel to the line, beating Aiden O'Brien's colt by a head. Commentators were quick to highlight the narrower margin of victory compared to the last time these two met, in the National Stakes at the Curragh, when Teofilo scorched to win by a length and a quarter. But at the end of the day, it's all about winning and on ground that didn't entirely suit either colt,Teofilo found that bit more when challenged by Holy Roman Emperor. These are two extremely good colts, with Teofilo remaining at the top of the betting for next year's 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. We look forward to seeing these two next year and Teofilo, described by Jim Bolger as the best colt he's ever trained (praise indeed) and mentally like a four-year-old, looks very much like a two-year-old physically so will grow even stronger over the winter.
Champion Stakes - She was the bridesmaid in last year's race when beaten by David Junior and bridesmaid to Rail Link in the Arc just 13 days ago, but this time the rain fell and six-year-old Pride, the oldest winner of the race, took full advantage of her preferred ground and scorched home by three lengths beating Rob Roy with Hurricane Run in third. Pride's victory was all the more impressive coming so soon after the Arc, a very tough race to bounce back from and go on to win at this level. The Hong Kong Cup is being considered as a finale to her career as she won't race next year. Once again, the lack of pace and small field might have accounted for Hurricane Run's defeat but trainer Andre Fabre wasn't making excuses for him or taking anything away from the gallant mare. His next outing is likely to be either the Japan Cup or the Breeders' Cup Turf, but the need for pace will continue to concern Fabre. The long-awaited comeback of Epsom Derby victor Sir Percy proved disappointing for some but perhaps too much was expected as he hasn't run since June and although travelling well he faded on the run in beating only one home. This wasn't a true indication of a horse that won the Derby in very impressive style and it will be interesting to see how he comes out of the race. Rob Roy might stay in training next year as he put up an enouraging performance following some disappointing runs this season.
Update 831: Rachel, from Kennett Florist, just left this note (timestamp: 7:33 pm):
Afternoon Barbaro Family!
All is quiet at NBC, our usual Saturday report. As Alex mentioned we made an early morning run to Fair Hill. We had two big baskets to deliver to Eduardo, thanks to a lovely group that got together to honor him for his love and dedication to Barbaro. One basket was filled with all sorts of Mexican goodies. The other basket included two beautiful pictures of Barbaro, one from Sabina and another gorgeous shot of Eduardo giving B a bath; A beautiful statue of St. Francis, jewlry for Senora Hernandez; the brush with the engraved plaque; the Breyer Barbaro model has not come in yet, but we will bring it down as soon as it comes. I'm sure that he will be very touched. Thank you to everyone involved, you are such an amazing group! Thank you Alex for taking good care of this for us! Have a wonderful weekend!
Update 830: Races on ESPN begin at 4pm. The two major races at Newmarket were won by Teofilo (narrowly) and Pride (easily).
We will have a 7 pm (east coast) vigil for Barbaro, and do the same each saturday. There are two things we know currently about Barbaro's condition, he is doing well BUT it remains serious and day-to-day.
Update 829: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I saw Michael Matz on my second set when he gave me the news, I was on Chappy. It was a chilly beginning to the morning, but it now looks like a beautiful day. We had three visitors and Kennett Florist also stopped by to drop off two baskets of gifts for Eduardo.
update, 11:00 am, saturday, october 14
Posted by Alex at 3:58 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 102
Posted October 13, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 828: The Barbaro update may be delayed this morning to after training hours (10:30 am) unless I can find a few minutes to get to the clocker's stand at Fair Hill (where there is a computer). I think I have a full morning of horses to ride, and a couple of visitors coming. So if it is delayed, that is the reason. It also seems like it will be chilly again this morning!
Another nice Barbaro article: Barbaro still year's top feel-good story, which includes the following excerpt:
What we can enjoy, however, is the slow, meticulous recovery of Barbaro. No, we never saw Bernardini and Barbaro charge down the stretch in tandem, and that's a shame. But we can appreciate that the same courage that made Barbaro a champion on the race track is still prevalent as the son of Dynaformer battles for his life every single day.
Update 827: Just spoke to Peter Brette (6:10 pm) who had spoken to Michael who had visited Barbaro today. Barbaro remains comfortable, another good day.
Update 826: Rachel from Kennett Florist just left this message in the comments (timestamp: 9:24 pm):
Just back from NBC. They are definitely in Friday mode. Everyone's spirits seem very good, and when I asked about the big guy, they said he was in a really good mood today. We had some carrots to bring him today along with something for Dr Dean. I also had printed out a very nice letter from the forum that was addressed to him and left that. He was not there when I stopped up today, but I know he will get them later. It is the most perfect fall day here. We had a really nice visit from a few FOB's at the shop today. We love getting a chance to meet some of the folks we've gotten to know through this site! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
The letter to which Rachel refers is here: Open letter to Dr. Richardson.
Update 825: This morning I discovered it was Kathy Anderson's birthday today. A party to celebrate was scheduled for noon. It was a very nice party which included the following attendees, Michael Matz, Michelle Matz, Peter, Kim and Nicholas Brette, Tim and Penny Woolley, Tim (Barclay Tagg's Fair Hill assistant), Steve and Lil Klesaris, among many others. What did I learn from the party ?
Sweet Talker (Graham Motion's very cool mare) is scratched from tomorrow's stake at Keeneland, she has a temperature (bummer).
Steve Klesaris is sitting on 96 wins for the year, their goal for this year is 100 wins and one grade one win. The former looks very achievable (they have a 31 or 32% strike rate, and about 50% strike rate with their Fair Hill runners). The latter might be very tough, but they have one more shot tomorrow in the Frizette at Belmont: Ticket to Seattle.
Anyway, it was a nice gathering, which ruined my plans to run this afternoon (they served some champagne).
Update 824: Sue McMullen just e-mailed this in anticipation of Newmarket's racing on saturday as well as a further update on Breeders' Cup news:
Fondly referred to as 'HQ' by the British racing community, Newmarket is the heart of racing in the UK, a unique concentration of the sport and entirely synonymous with racing. Located near Cambridge, the small town of Newmarket is the home of the National Stud and has the most extensive training grounds, with the world's largest expanse of maintained grassland. Some 70 licensed trainers operate in this area, with more than 2,500 horses in training at any time and over 60 stud farms. Originally the home of the Jockey Club (racing's original ruling body in the UK), Newmarket is also the home of several national and international racing organisations. There are two racecourses, the 'Rowley Mile' and the 'July Course', both of which host some of the UK's premier racing, including the first Classics of the season, the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas. This is the largest of the concentrated pockets of racehorses in the UK, the others being Lambourn in Berkshire and Middleham in Yorkshire.
The first race under written rules was run at Newmarket more than three hundred years ago, when King Charles II, who spent much of his time there, rode his own horse to victory (who was going to pass him?). Since then some of the finest horses in the history of horseracing have graced the Newmarket turf and tomorrow the Rowley Mile hosts one of its premier days with 'Champions' Day', so named as it includes the all-aged Group 1 Emirates Airline Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs and the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes for two-year-olds, one of the main pointers to the following season's Classics.
This year's renewal of these two races are exciting huge interest here as the Champion Stakes sees the long-awaited reappearance of the Epsom Derby hero, Sir Percy, who faces older horses for the first time, including Hurricane Run, Pride and Maraahel. Sadly, the field will be without two intended runners, the fabulous, globe-trotting mare Ouija Board who bypasses this race to head straight for Churchill Downs where she will attempt to regain her crown in the Fillies and Mares Turf, which was always her main target for this part of the season. Her absence means that British fans have seen her race here for the last time. The other absentee is Araafa, winner of the St James's Palace Stakes and the Irish 2,000 Guineas, and second to George Washington in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, who heads straight for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Trainer Andre Fabre will be hoping Hurricane Run can regain winning form tomorrow after his defeat in the Arc trial and lacklustre showing in the Arc itself when he finished fourth. While the muddling pace of the Arc can provide one plausible explanation, Hurricane has a reputation to defend tomorrow and he will be ridden by Mick Kinane, who replaces Christophe Soumillion, the darling of French racing (he's actually Belgian) as he has lost the ride on Hurricane, allegedly as a result of Fabre himself after tension between the two surfaced recently. The precise reason has not been disclosed but it is known that Fabre disapproves of Soumillion's 'showman' antics.
Pride's gallant second to Rail Link in the Arc was her second defeat of Hurricane Run and it is difficult to see the form reversed over this trip as Hurricane has not run below 11 furlongs since his juvenile days but you could never discount such a talented individual. Sir Percy suffered with various problems prior to the Derby and Marcus Tregonning and his team worked a minor miracle to get him there, never mind win it and it says a great deal for the horse that he won, and in good style. A mere 16,000 gns as a yearling, the modestly-purchased Sir Percy was an impressive winner of the Derby, a real test for any young horse due to its camber and unique undulations. A horse must demonstrate great balance and co-ordination in addition to speed and stamina, to win the 12 furlong event. Sir Percy also had to show a real turn of foot to make up ground in the home stretch and was asked to go through a very narrow gap by jockey Martin Dwyer, an invitation that many horses would have declined. In the words of the lad who looks after him, 'he's tough and never gives up'. His problems resurfaced after the Derby and he was given a good break, with the intention to bring him back for the Arc, but he wasn't quite ready. In a race usually trawled by some of the wealthiest owners in the sport with seven-figure colts, Sir Percy is a fairystory and enjoys a big following here. Many will be rooting for him tomorrow and he certainly has the pace for this trip.
The Darley Dewhurst Stakes will probably determine the season's champion two-year-old and the highly impressive and unbeaten Teofilo will attempt to frank the form of his last meeting with Holy Roman Emperor, when he beat Aiden O'Brien's colt at the Curragh. Holy Roman Emperor will have the services of a pacemaker, Naigani, to ensure a decent pace and the line-up also includes the useful Hamoody, but Teofilo is likely to go off favourite. The eagerly anticipated rematch between these two looked uncertain as O'Brien was considering withdrawing Holy Roman Emperor but thankfully the rain bypassed Newmarket. Two mouth-watering races in prospect.
On the Breeders' Cup front -- Sheikh Mohammed's unbeaten Discreet Cat is unlikely to run, unless Bernadini suffers a setback. The rationale for this decision is that Bernadini retires at the end of this season and Discreet Cat remains in training next year so Sheikh Mohammed would have little reason to run both colts in the Classic.
George Washington was due to work (gallop) at Southwell today to give him a prep for his possible run in the Classic. Southwell's Fibresand surface is the closest available in the UK and Ireland to an American dirt track. Aiden O'Brien also took Giant's Causeway there for a spin before his attempt on the Classic but the 'iron horse' was bred for the job and there is continued debate here about the wisdom of running George on dirt. Aside from the different feel of the track underfoot, George has never faced kickback. But Coolmore likes to market stallions in the US for which they must have dirt credentials on their resume, hence George's agenda is motivated by a commercial decision that some here regret. George was due to fly from Ireland with a handful of other horses from Ballydoyle but fog at the airport appears to have foiled the plan, at least for today.
News from Japan is that wonder horse Deep Impact, son of Sunday Silence, will retire at the end of this season. Despite never having run at a track anything like Longchamp, without the benefit of a prep race and being used to finishing off a fast pace, Deep Impact nevertheless managed to claw his way into the frame finishing third, a mere length or so off the winner. It was a case of what might have been and many here believe that with a run in one of the Arc trials, he would have taken the Arc in his stride.
Update 823: I just spoke to Barclay Tagg about his two horses running tomorrow in the graded stakes at Belmont: Showing Up and Nobiz Like Shobiz. He said they were both in good order coming into the race (would not be running them otherwise were his actual words).
I asked Barclay about running Nobiz Like Shobiz in a grade one, coming directly out of his only start, an impressive maiden win. Barclay said that it is very unusual for a 2yo to win first time in a mile race, and on top of that win as impressively as Nobiz Like Shobiz won. He said while they got a late start with him, it is now three weeks since his win. This race (winning it) will determine whether they move forward to the Breeders' Cup. (Barclay actually asked me what I would do with him under the circumstances, my response ... you're the trainer, i can only gallop them, and sometimes can't get that right).
Update 822: A must read from today's Philadelphia Daily News (Barbaro and Dr. Richardson are the front cover of the paper): DOC STEADY. The following is an excerpt:
"I was in tears by the end of that day, at home," said Richardson, whose eyes were getting moist during the telling. "I almost get emotional just thinking about how upset I was about that day, because I thought we were going to lose him.
"Then, I was exhausted, physically and mentally. I don't even like to think about that day.
"Getting him up was so stressful. Getting him up out of the pool and not having him stand and then fight us.
"It's one thing for everybody else who was there, because there were tons of other people involved in this. They were all stressed. But I'm sure that on that one day, as stressed as everybody else was, that's the one day I would say I'm sure I was more stressed than anybody else, because I knew that every decision that was made basically was mine - good decisions, bad decisions were my responsibility.
"That was an awful day. That's when he was foundering. At that point, I knew we were in trouble. You second-guess every single thing you did from the day after the Preakness."
Update 821: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was on the track for my second set ... jogging Chappy, after her breeze the other day. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. It is positively chilly here this morning (my hands are still a little cold as I try to type) although it is also a cloudless sky, so hopefully a nice day ahead.
update 7:38 am, friday, october 13
Posted by Alex at 12:35 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 101
Posted October 12, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 820: I hope to have a Barbaro update by about 8 am. Of course I will post if things are otherwise (like yesterday). In the meantime I thought I would highlight a couple of posts from our discssion boards: the first, a note from Stephanie at Miracle Horse Rescue SPONSORING MHR RESCUES, SUPPLIES NEEDED and the second, an update from those of you who have sponsored horses from the MO tragedy List of MO Mommies & Horses.
It is also nice to see New Zealand continues to follow Barbaro's progress: Barbaro healing 'surprisingly well'.
Update 819: I have been a little lax lately in keeping up with the big races. Barclay Tagg is running his recent, and very impressive, maiden winner in the Champagne on saturday: Nobiz Like Shobiz Ready for Close Up in Champagne. If he performs well I guess he is considering the Breeders' Cup. This race is one that is being shown by ESPN. With Showing Up also slated to run at Belmont on saturday (All Eyes on Showing Up in Jamaica) lets hope for a big day for Barclay.
Update 818: Rachel, from Kennett Florist just left this comment (timestamp: 8:51 pm)
Sorry we haven't posted in a few days, it's been busy and we're still a bit short handed. It was a beautiful trip up to NBC today. Looks like we get one more nice day before the cold snap hits. I had a chance to talk to Dr Sweeney when I went up to drop off the big guy's carrots and stud muffins. She said he's doing well. He's really enjoying his time outside to graze and she commented on how remarkable he's doing. Of course we all know he's a remarkable horse, with amazing spirit!
Update 817: Jeannine Edwards just sent this e-mail, which includes a nice anecdote concerning Tom Albertrani and Bernardini as well as a quick preview to ESPNs racing coverage on saturday:
Last weekend at Belmont it was great to witness the breathtaking performance of a champion in the making, Bernardini. In the paddock before the race, Bernardini just stood out... he was like Adonis. He was a man among boys, even though he was competing against older horses. One touching moment was when he paraded around the walking ring of the Belmont paddock, and the large crowd that had assembled started applauding him, as if he were a rock star. It was something to see. Tom Albertrani, his trainer, is truly in awe of the horse. He says each race the colt seems to get stronger, and it just seems to get easier, he does everything effortlessly. I think Tom was nearly in a state of shock after the race. What was cute the day before the race, was Tom brought his wife Fonda (who used to gallop Cigar) and his two daughters Teal and Noelle, to our TV truck. I gave them a tour of our "production unit/control room on wheels" and they loved it. Tom's 13-year-old daughter Teal would like to get into broadcasting one day, so she was truly amazed at the whole setup and how everything comes together. I asked the girls if they missed Dubai, where they were born and raised, and they said, rather melancoly, "Oh yes!!" Let's wish them the best of luck on Nov 4 in the BC Classic! They are wonderfully genuine people who deserve all the success in the world.
This weekend is our last regular show of our summer horse racing series. (ESPN, 4-6pmET) We just have the BC telecast left after this. We have a 2-hour show that features 4 live races, the Queen Elizabeth and First Lady, both for F&M on turf at Keeneland, and the Champagne and Frizette, for 2-year-olds at Belmont. We also have a feature on female turf standout Gorella, and on the latest European runners pointing for BC. We also have planned a feature on the new Polytrack and other changes here at Keeneland, a preview of Todd Pletcher's numerous and talented BC runners (he may set a record for number of starters), taped coverage of the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes from Newmarket Sat morning, as well as various interviews. It's a packed show!
Update 816: Peter just called (1:45 pm) and had just visited Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable. He groomed him and changed his bandages. Michael is now on his way over to take him out grazing etc. Its a lovely breezy and sunny afternoon.
update, 1:45 pm, thursday, october 12
Posted by Alex at 6:51 PM
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Barbaro Update: 100
Posted October 11, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 815: Peter just called, and he is on his way over to visit Barbaro. Once he has visited I will endevour to get an update.
Update 814: Still no update. I just spoke to Michael (10 am) and he still had not heard. Since we operate under the notion that no news is good news, there is no concern. Of course when I do get an update (will call Peter later) I will post it. I did speak to someone from New Bolton about the possibility of an interview with someone there. I think that is my next interview project.
Update 813: No update yet this morning. I saw Michael Matz as they were returning from the track. Michael had not yet heard from Dr. Richardson (not unusual for the time I saw Michael). Michael did mention Barbaro was well yesterday evening. It will be a few hours now until I do get an update, probably around 10:30 ish. In the meantime, here is an update on Stephanie's (Miracle Horse Rescue) work via Michelle: IN HONOR OF BARBARO RESCUE CHALLENGE.
Update 812: Another Barbaro article, this one the October edition of the Mid Atlantic Horse: Barbaro's Road to Recovery. Some nice pictures too. Cheryl (comments timestamp: 2:58 AM) highlights some of the material from the article. This is pretty funny:
"He's a public figure now," said Richarson, who also has become something of a media celebrity himself. Apparently word leaked out that Richardson was taking dancing lessons. Next thing he knew he was invited to dance on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, much to the mirth of Matz and Richarson's colleagues at New Bolton."
The Barbaro update should again be around 8 am.
Update 811: If you are reading this, we are live with the new dedicated server!
And more importantly, another comfortable day for Barbaro. I just spoke to Peter Brette (6:45 pm), who had heard from Michael, who visited Barbaro as usual. Barbaro did also get out to graze.
Update 810: Off to the dentist, shutting the comments down during the visit (see update 808 for an explanation). In the meantime enjoy the article in update 809.
Update 809: A great article from the UPenn Bellwether: How New Bolton Center Staff Joined Forces to Help Barbaro. It really details pretty much everything that has occured thus far.
Posted by Alex at 6:56 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 99
Posted October 10, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 808: The USA Today story I highlighted this morning is actually on the front page of their paper today, along with a lovely headshot. I was talking to someone about another project I am supposed to be working on (have not started) and she noted Barbaro was on CNN this morning. I love that he is in the main stream media.
OK, those of you who have a fear for their dentist will empathize with this. Imagine you have a toothache, which comes and goes. At times it gets pretty bad, but then it goes away. You know you need to go to the dentist, but you keep putting it off. Now you have made your mind up, and you are committed to your trip to the dentist. You know it may hurt, and actually may be quite painful, but you hope it will cure the toothache you have been experiencing. OK, that is how I feel about needing to move this site to a dedicated server, which is going to happen, I hope, over the next 24 - 36 hours. There may be glitches, but I am hoping that after the move, all will be well, and the problems we have had will be behind us. Therefore if the site behaves badly over the next 24 - 36 hours, you know why (or at least you will know it is a result of us trying to fix the site more permanently).
Update 807: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I saw Michael Matz and his crew coming to the track after I had finished my second set. While they were approaching me Michael and others in his set were making light hearted remarks about some (hurdle) schooling efforts of Michael McCarthy (x Delaware jockey) that was going on outside a neighboring barn. This light hearted banter was a good signal things were well with Barbaro.
Another warm morning this morning at Fair Hill, although it seems rain may be coming in a little later. My first set was a mile gallop, after a 3/4 mile jog. The second set we went to the gate. The 2yo I was on had been to the gate before, but not at Fair Hill, and thus not with me. We cantered out of the gate, he was pretty good really.
update 7:55 am
Update 806: A nice article in the USA Today: Against all odds, Barbaro perseveres, it also includes some new pictures. The following are a couple of excerpts:
A surgical resection was done July 12, resulting in the removal of 80% of the hoof wall from Barbaro's left hind foot. That also explains the white sign with blue lettering that greets visitors at the entrance to the facility: "Grow Hoof Grow."
The sign is the first indication, but hardly the last, of an unwavering show of support for Barbaro.
The New Bolton lobby is filled with tributes, including 12 oversized cards from Churchill Downs. Beneath the heading "Once a Derby winner, always a Derby winner" are greetings from scores of fans:
"Hi, Barbaro. I hope you get well soon. Love, Mia."
"Best wishes, Barbaro. You're a winner and you'll pull through. Much love, Jim."
"He loves pushing people around. He absolutely knows he's the big boss horse," Richardson says. "He's got lots of star power -- and he knows it."
Barbaro has not required pain medication for close to six weeks. His right hind leg, with 27 screws used to repair fractured cannon, sesamoid and long pastern bones, is becoming increasingly stable. His cast was changed Monday. His left hoof is growing gradually.
If it's too soon to declare Barbaro a medical marvel, his comeback is further evidence of the fortitude that helped him to the largest Derby winning margin, 61/2 lengths, since Assault's 8-length rout in '46.
I was actually interviewed for this article, but did not make it to the final piece. The Daily Pennsylvanian (University of Pennsylvania's School paper) called up last night for a brief interview, so that piece might be coming out later this week. They were looking for others to contact them for the story: Daily Pennsylvanian Article. Now that will be fun to be in, I worked at Penn for about seven years.
The Barbaro update should be about 8 am again.
Update 805: I just spoke to Peter Brette (6:15 pm), Barbaro had a good day after the cast change yesterday. Peter had spoken to Michael who had visited. Barbaro had been out and looked comfortable.
I spoke to Steve Willard (Giacomo's exercise rider) earlier today. They were happy with his race in the Goodwood, especially the way he finished (he was third to Lava Man and Brother Derek). The extra eighth of a mile in the Breeders' Cup Classic may well suite him. They are looking to that race for now. Giacomo seems to have come out of saturday's race well.
Update 804: The rest of this morning at Fair Hill went well. I breezed Chappy on the turf, across the road on the steeplechase track. It was actually the first time I had breezed one on the turf for many years. She went well, she stretched out nicely coming up the hill from the quarter pole to the wire.
As I was going over to the turf track I passed Graham Motion's set coming back. Better Talk Now galloped over the turf course. There is still no decision as to his next start (Canada or the Breeders' Cup.) It seems Film Maker came out of her Belmont race well. She has yet to train, but will likely tomorrow. Round Pond, Michael Matz's mare, actually did train today. I think Peter took her out back, and also appears to have come out of her race well.
Barclay Tagg was at Fair Hill this morning. He said Showing Up will likely race on saturday at Belmont, in the Jamaica. Funny Cide is being pointed for a race the following saturday, a New York Bred stake: Empire Classic.
Update 803: New Bolton's update regarding the cast change yesterday Veterinarians change Barbaro's right hind leg cast:
Veterinarians at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital changed Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's cast yesterday, Monday, October 9. "We placed Barbaro under general anesthesia to remove the old cast on his right hind limb and took new radiographs to assess the continued healing of the original injuries," said Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "I was pleased with the continued progression of healing and the overall condition of this leg." Barbaro had another successful pool-recovery, and was resting comfortably in his stall after the procedure. In addition to replacing the cast, doctors trimmed his feet and applied a new shoe on the right hind foot. A few hours after recovery, he was taken back outside to graze and was comfortable on both hind legs.
"There are no signs of infection and the primary incisions have healed surprisingly well," said Dr. Richardson. "Because he has had a cast on for so long, there are a few cast sores, but nothing serious."
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to gradually improve. "There is good growth along the quarters (closer to the heel) but there will need to be much more healing along the front of the hoof," said Dr. Richardson, who cautioned that "we still have many months of healing ahead of us."
Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, October 17, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Posted by Alex at 2:51 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 98
Posted October 9, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 802: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz on the track for my second set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. Again, another beautiful morning at Fair Hill. A lovely sunrise with a very thin layer of mist close to the ground, it is also warm! For my second set I breezed Rocky (Holy Bull 2yo) with Tim (on Grandma). Judge (Rocky's trainer) caught me galloping out in 24 and change (breezed an eighth, galloped out an eighth). I thought they went well, but sometimes I wonder about the clocking accuracy of the trainer!
Quick funny story. Judge (who also ships horses) was shipping a horse to New Bolton. He took his son with him (little Judge). He asked Little Judge if he wanted to see Barbaro. Little Judge was pretty non-commital about it. When Judge got to New Bolton, he asked someone there if his son could go and see Barbaro. As he was asking his son said "Daddy it was you who wanted to see Barbaro, not me". Of course they were not allowed to see Barbaro anyway, but it was pretty funny the way Judge told it to me.
update 7:45 am, tuesday, october 10
Update 801: Again, this morning's update should be around 8 am. New Bolton will also be publishing an update later today, which I assume will detail yesterday's cast change.
Update 800: A very interesting Breeders' Cup update from Su McMullen:
Breeders' Cup update - there is a possibility, as it has yet to be discussed with all involved, that the brilliant and charismatic George Washington (bred by the Jacksons) might be rerouted to the Breeders' Cup Classic now that Dylan Thomas, who was key to Ballydoyle's BC plans, will be switched to the Turf. Ballydoyle have Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem as likely candidates for the Mile so they are tempted to send Gorgeous George for the Classic. But it would be his first run on dirt. It's an interesting prospect, with Sheikh Mohammed's Bernadini lining up against the Ballydoyle standard bearer but many of George's fans might deem it unfair to send another turf superstar to an untried surface against an awesome individual like Bernadini. It would be a sad day for the sport to see George suffer the same, and equally unnecessary, humiliating defeat as Dylan who to suggest didn't like dirt is as much an understatement as suggesting the Pope is slightly religious. The best horse wins on the day, but you at least want the competition to have the chance of running a race and go down fighting.
Meanwhile, an understandably elated Sheikh Mohammend watched Bernadini's casual stroll to victory in the Jockey Club from a TV feed to Dubai. His racing manager John Ferguson told the Racing Post: "It's fantastic for us all, for the farm here in America where we bred the horse and for Sheikh Mohammed. It's such a wonderful day. It was simply awesome. It's an honour to be involved but just as a racing fan it's so wonderful to watch such a special horse. It's fantastic for us all, for the farm here in America where we bred the horse and for Sheikh Mohammed. It's such a wonderful day."
Having lost his great favourite, Dubai Millennium (as a result of grass sickness), a horse who was very close to his heart and given the fact that they are not enjoying their best season in Europe in terms of the top level victories, it is especially pleasing to see Sheikh Mohammed, a true horseman, bask in Bernadini's glory. It is an odd feature of racing in the UK that the ruling family of Dubai have been so prominent for so long they are as much a part of the racing scene here as the Newmarket Heath. Impossible to imagine racing life without them.
Update 799: As noted earlier Barbaro did have his cast changed. New Bolton will provide detail in their scheduled update for tomorrow. My understanding is all is well with Barbaro from a brief conversation with Peter.
Update 798: Sorry, we have had terrible site problems today. Its a silly thing that caused the problems, but I am hoping that within the next couple of days all silly things will be over with as far as the site is concerned! I am planning to get a Barbaro update a little later.
Update 797: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael on the horsepath as I was going out on my second set, Chappy. Michael also noted there is a planned cast change for this morning. It is a beautiful morning at Fair Hill. A lovely sunrise during the first set. For the second set Chappy actually went to the gate for a little gate schooling. We just stood her in the gate, make sure she is calm. Next time she will break from the gate. She has done that once or twice before. She is a real pro in the gate, and should soon get her gate card.
For those following Mike Rea's recovery, you can sign Mike's petition for his Extreme Home Makeover entry.
updated 7:36 am, monday, october 9
Posted by Alex at 12:00 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 97
Posted October 8, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 796: This morning's Barbaro update will hopefully be around 8 am. Just an FYI.
Update 795: Sue McMullen just sent this e-mail about Dylan Thomas and ...:
Needless to say, Aiden O'Brien has now confirmed that Dylan Thomas will not go for the Breeders' Club Classic but he might go for the Turf.
John Valazquez told O'Brien that Dylan didn't handle the dirt at all and it was obvious to everybody that after only a furlong the horse was very unhappy. This was always going to be an experiment and it didn't pay off. Dylan had worked on the Polytrack before shipping to Belmont but that particular artificial surface is completely different to a dirt track.
It is curious to note that as Bernadini grows in strength and seeming invincibility, he also looks increasingly lonely up front as if there is something missing, which of course there is. The better Bernadini becomes and the more imperious his performances, serve as an even greater reminder of how much the sport misses Barbaro, the horse who could have joined him in battle. Even in has absence from the track, Barbaro casts a long shadow.
Update 794: No later update for Barbaro, which is not unusual for a sunday. It was reported on the discussion boards that Michael interviewed on TVG yesterday and noted a cast change for Barbaro tomorrow, monday. While I cannot confirm this (I forgot to ask Michael this morning) the timing for a cast change tomorrow appears to make sense. Things may yet still change however. A nice maiden win today at Delaware for Michael, Chelokee, in his second start.
Update 793: More on my visit to Belmont yesterday. I had the pleasure of meeting Ernie and Grandma Bea. As Ernie explains, it was very easy to get around and see everything you wanted to see (the advantage I guess of a poor crowd attendance). I also met Teresa from this site. She and her friends we hung out with for the last couple of races. They were cool, and there was an added incentive! Emily, who I went with, was a great host. She seemed to know everybody. We met up with Barbara Livingston, I also saw Lydia Williams.
I took an opportunity to thank Edgar Prado for the interview he provided (I had him sign a picture of him with Barbaro out grazing.) I also saw Tom Albatrani, and thanked him for the interview. He was also very gracious. All in all, a very fun trip.
Another article on the opening of the synthetic track at Keeneland: Barbaro's Injury Gives Synthetic Surface Urgency. It ends:
"We've always been thought of as traditionalists, sometimes for the worse," Nicholson said. "But we're glad we've honored the tradition of giving anything we can back to the horses and the sport. Horses are what we're here for, and we believe this surface is going to go a long way in keeping them safe."
This is a positive sentiment. We are here for the horse, not the business of the horse.
Update 792: I just saw Lil Klesaris in the local store (Prizzios). I asked her about Miraculous Miss' fourth. Lil thought MM needed more pace in the race so she would have something to run at. I think the fractions were a little slow (49 and change for the half). She was also happy with Diabolical, who aside from the Kent at Delaware, which was run on an aweful turf track, remains unbeaten since the Preakness. He won his sprint in 1:08 and change. Clearly he is fast.
I received this e-mail from Sue McMullen which covers the performance yesterday of the Jackson's 2yo filly Enticing, as well as covers some european Breeders' Cup news:
Enticing finished a creditable third, two lengths off the winner, in the Cordwallis Stakes at Ascot, a Group 3 for two-year-olds. The winner, Alzeera, has earned herself a 25-1 quote for the 1,000 Guineas. The Jackson's filly travelled well off a strong pace in the first three furlongs but she was running up the stands' rail and had to squeeze through a gap and couldn't quite match the speed of the first two home. She's clearly a talented filly and it will be interesting to see what plans they have for her.
On the Breeders' Cup front - the Coral Eclipse winner David Junior has pleased trainer Brian Meehan with a piece of work (gallop) at Manton and he will ship to Kentucky the Sunday before the BC Classic. The American-bred David Junior, by Pleasant Tap, is a very attractive 4 year-old chestnut colt with flaxen mane, who bypassed the Juddmonte International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes as they wanted to give him a break so he would be fresh for the Classic. This is something of a departure for European horses who usually go to the BC off the back of a tough, championship season. Despite his successes, which included last year's Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket when he beat the very good mare Pride and this season's Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Nad Al Sheba, beating The Tin Man, David Junior hasn't quite been given the credit he fully deserves, for some unaccountable reason. His fans would love to see the gamble to keep him fresh pay off enabling this tough little horse to run a big race in the Classic.
Oddly I was talking to someone after the races yesterday at Belmont about who can possibly compete with Bernardini. This guy was pretty high on David Junior.
Update 791: Here are how the main racing press are reporting some of the key races from yesterday:
Jockey Club Gold Cup
Daily racing Form: Bernardini makes it look easy
Bloodhorse: Bernardini Easiest Kind of Jockey Club Gold Cup Winner
Bernardini rolls into Breeders' Cup with easy Gold Cup victory
Sportinglife: BERNARDINI ROCKETS TO CLASSIC FAVOURITISM
Daily Racing Form: Lava Man remains perfect on year
Bloodhorse: Lava Man Cements His Classic Credentials
Thoroughbred Times: Lava Man continues California dominance with clear Goodwood win
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Daily Racing Form: English Channel outclasses Hirsch foes
Thoroughbred Times: English Channel dominates Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Daily Racing Form: Henny Hughes highly impressive
Bloodhorse: Henny Hughes Sizzles in Vosburgh
Thoroughbredtimes: Henny Hughes continues to dominate with Vosburgh victory
Daily Racing Form: Honey Ryder noses out Film Maker
Thoroughbredtimes: Honey Ryder wins Flower Bowl Invitational
Bloodhorse: Fleet Indian Game Victor of Beldame for 8th Straight Win
Thoroughbredtimes: Fleet Indian keeps win streak alive with Beldame victory
India takes Cotillion; Miraculous Miss fourth
Bloodhorse: India Cruises to Victory in Cotillion Handicap
Thoroughbredtimes: India easy winner of Cotillion Handicap
Update 790: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I just saw Michael Matz, who had heard from Dr. Richardson. It is a gorgeous morning this morning at Fair Hill.
update 8:20 am, sunday october 8
Posted by Alex at 12:47 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 96
Posted October 7, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 789: Bernardini was his usual impressive self today. I watched Dylan Thomas galloping by warming up for the race and he clearly did not like the dirt. Bernardini was brilliant. A nice round of applause after the race. We didn't see Dylan Thomas run today though as he did not handle this racetrack.
On to the Breeder's Cup now for Bernardini. We can't fault him for the lack of competition. The only question for Bernardini is we don't know what will happen when another horse stares him in the eye but try to find a horse that's running now who can do that!
Update 788: Three Grade I races run so far. Round Pond looked to run a good race, was very close to the pace early on but seemed to get a little tired. She came home a respectable third.
What can you say about Film Maker? She was awesome. Beaten on a head bob but to me, the best horse in the race. A massive performance. Honey Ryder won. For the sprint, heading for home Henny Hughes was absolutely galloping, he came past us two lengths ahead at the 1/16th pole. A nice performance. They are now loading in the gate for the turf classic.
Update 787: I just spoke to Peter Brette and Barbaro had another comfortable night last night (Friday night). Peter took Bobby out for a graze and then groomed him. I called Peter just as Round Pond was leaving the paddock. I was guessing he'd timed his visit to Barbaro in order to get somewhere afterwards to watch Round Pond run. She looked lovely in the paddock. Five Grade I races coming up and a very disappointing crowd in terms of numbers but the weather is nice.
Update 786: Arrived at Belmont...I went to the backside and saw Round Pond and Film Maker (the Fair Hill contingent). Both looked well and relaxed after their early morning van ride from Fair Hill. It's a little overcast here in New York but nice and breezy. I just bumped into Steve Jordan who used to be a trainer at Fair Hill. He now manages the Detention Barns at Belmont.
I'm still waiting for an update from Peter on Barbaro. He was a little late leaving the barn this morning to go for his visit. I'm hoping to hear from him shortly.
Update 785: Still no update. Michael has left for Belmont. I will see Peter before I leave, and I know Peter is planning to visit Barbaro today so I will get an update at some point. I'll have it posted here by a friend.
The rest of the morning was mostly the shedrow, which is actually probably the most dangerous of the "training tracks". A couple of the horses I shedrowed were pretty wild, I guess getting a little stir crazy from less exercise recently! Anway, we did survive, just.
For those going to Belmont, feel free to call me. It would be fun to meet up. I am not sure how busy Belmont will be, but I will have a Breeders' Cup hat on (Fusaichi Pegasus).
Update 784: No update yet this morning, Dr. Richardson has been away for the last couple of days and I assume that is still the case. Michael did say Barbaro was good last night when he visited, so last night is now the current update. Well the rain has not totally eased up. It is pretty drizzly. Nevertheless most horses will go out and train today, given tomorrow is sunday a day many like to take off. Thus far I have jogged two, two miles each. I'll likely have three - four more to do the same.
Update 783: I am not entirely sure when the Barbaro update will appear this morning. It seems the rain may have eased off. I imagine the dirt track will be sealed, so there won't be a lot of the usual saturday activity (breezing), but no doubt the track will be busy.
The Polytrack surface made its debut yesterday at Keeneland: Opener finds room for past. It appears to have received positive reviews from horsemen, here is an excerpt:
"I like it," jockey James Graham said after riding in the first two races Friday. "The horses seem to be getting over it okay. No problems. They might be going a little slower than they used to, but slow ain't so bad, is it?"
Veteran trainer Merrill Scherer, who sent out Tequila Party to a fourth-place finish in the second race, said he likes Polytrack because of the way it seems to keep horses sounder, but he added: "It's one-dimensional. You never get slop or mud or anything but the same old thing. That's good, I guess, but I kind of like the variety. This way, it's just, boom, here you go, same thing every day."
Posted by Alex at 10:18 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 95
Posted October 6, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 782: Rachel from Kennett Florist posted the following (comment timestamp: 9:50 pm):
All is well at NBC today. We were there early this morning with bagels and fixin's, juice and coffee and tea. They were so excited to have hot bagels on such a dreary, cold day... we're smack dab in the middle of a noreaster. There was a line behind us before we finished setting up, and eveyone kept saying "thank you, thank you;" before they even got to the food!
Of course the big guy had his breakfast of green tops that were taken right up to him... and we headed back in the afternoon with a nice basket of goodies. Hope the weather improves so he gets his grazing time. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Rachel at Kennett Florist
Well we know he got some grazing time.
Ashley posted this poem (timestamp: 1:04 am):
BECAUSE OF YOU
Because of You
I have known the highest of highs
As you effortlessly won the Kentucky Derby
In a sublime performance
and remained the Undefeated Champion.
Because of You
I have felt the deepest sorrow
As I watched you take that fateful step in the Preakness
Your Triple Crown dream faded
and you began to fight for your life.
Because of You
I have seen the wonders of medicine
As you were put back together by doctors at NBC
in the most difficult of circumstances
and given the chance to live.
Because of You
I have witnessed the power of prayer
As a nation came together and prayed
to heal your left hind leg when you foundered
as you once again fought for your life.
Because of You
I believe in miracles
As you began to enjoy daily grazing outdoors
you continue to defy the odds against you
and still remain the Undefeated Champion.
Thank you Barbaro
And finally, Stephanie, from Miracle Horse Rescue is now leaving for her trip to Eugene, OR. Thanks to your wonderful support she will have at least $9,835 to spend to rescue horses. Best of luck!
Update 781: Another comfortable day for Barbaro. I spoke to Peter Brette (6:15 pm) who had heard from Michael, who had visited this afternoon. I asked Peter if Barbaro had been out, and despite the weather we have had, Barbaro had been outside for a short while (I guess there was a little break in the weather).
Update 780: A nice article on synthetic racing surfaces: Sport of kings has its eye on fake dirt, celebrating the opening of Keeneland. The following is an excerpt:
Trainers and jockeys familiar with synthetic surfaces say they provide a better cushion for pounding hooves. They also present a more uniform surface than dirt tracks, which are usually a loamy mix of sand, silt and clay.
"The feeling is like if you were to run across a lawn after running across a sidewalk," said longtime trainer John Ward, whose horse Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby. "This is not grass but it has the same feel that a good, rich lawn has."
I will try to get an interview with a jockey riding at Keeneland. I asked my Breeders' Cup host, Bob Hatfield, an exercise rider at Churchill Downs, what he knew about the synthetic surfaces. He said he had yet to gallop on one, but each time one of his horses runs at Turfway Park (Polytrack), it seems to come out of its race better than when they would run on a regular dirt track.
Update 779: I just spoke to Steve Willard (Giacomo's exercise rider) to get a final update on Giacomo going into the Goodwood tomorrow. Steve said all is well, Giacomo jogged his usual mile and a quarter, and then galloped his mile and a half. It sounds like they could not be happier going into this race. They are looking for a good gallop early so Giacomo can close, and hope he does not get stuck on the inside. Anyway, all seems well. The Goodwood is a seven horse field, and also includes Lava Man (Pacific Classic winner in his last start) and Brother Derek: Streaking Lava Man Tackles Six in Goodwood.
Steve and I also talked about exercise riding in general. It turns out Steve is the other side of 60, and still enjoys galloping horses. He says he has remained pretty healthy, and as long as he can avoid the more crazy horses he will continue to enjoy the business. I asked him at what point does someone lose his nerve (a common problem for exercise riders), Steve said the day it happens to him is the day he would retire.
The Goodwood is one of six races to be televised on ESPN 2, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm tomorrow. The others: Vosburgh (G1) - Bel, Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (G1) - Kee, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Inv. (G1) - Bel, Shadwell Turf Mile (g1) - Kee, The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) - Bel.
Fair Hill's key runners tomorrow include a trio of fillies / mares, Round Pond (Michael Matz), Film Maker (Graham Motion) and Miraculous Miss (Steve Klesaris: at Philadelphia Park).
The Jackson's Enticing is also scheduled to run tomorrow at Ascot.
Update 778: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I just wandered over to Michael's barn to get the update. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael also mentioned he visited twice yesterday (quite usual, Michael's schedule permitting) and Barbaro was in good order. Michael's crew still had another set to shedrow. I was done after four horses to shedrow. The weather is wet, and pretty chilly.
update, friday october 6, 10:25 am
Update 777: It has rained, rained and rained all night. This will play havoc with training this morning. Typically the dirt track will be closed with this kind of weather. Now that the woodchip track is finished (it is being redone for the Tapeta surface) I am not sure whether they will open the dirt today. If they do it will be sealed and only good for light jogging. But likely it will remain closed and packed down so that it does not take in too much moisture, and will be usable in the coming days once the rain stops. Thus today, it is likely many horses will have the day off, or just shedrow (under a rider, walking and jogging). This will also play havoc with getting an update on Barbaro, as I will likely have to go over to Michael's barn, after training, so don't expect anything until later in the morning.
I have not seen the forecast but I really hope the weather improves for the great racing in New York tomorrow (a couple of articles: Henny Hughes, Silver Train Head Vosburgh and Bernardini Faces Elders for First Time in JCGC). I tried to get a press pass for tomorrow's racing, to no avail.
Runners are also starting to arrive, for their quarantine period for the Melbourne Races: First Batch of Shippers Arrive for Melbourne Races.
Posted by Alex at 10:12 AM
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Barbaro Update: 94
Posted October 5, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 776: Just spoke to Peter Brette (6:30 pm), who had heard from Michael, who visited Barbaro later today. Barbaro remains well. Another comfortable day.
Update 775: The following is a brief phone interview I have just completed with Mrs. Jackson. She was very gracious to agree to the interview, and very apologetic when she was not available when I initially called this afternoon. She called me back shortly thereafter. I have enjoyed all the interviews I have conducted so far, but I have to admit, this was the first one in which I was nervous! That being said, Mrs. Jackson gave me no reason to be nervous. Anyway, I am rambling, here it is!
Me: Yesterday was the anniversary of Barbaro's first win, what were your impressions?
Mrs. Jackson: We sure did not think much beyond the moment. It was a nice exciting win, but who knows? We were celebrating after the win, but it was for that nice win. We got a little more excited when Michael (Matz) brought up the Laurel Futurity (for his next race). We take each race at a time, first it was his maiden, then a listed stake, and another stake, and each is a step up, and you get more excited with each step. We were amazed when Michael thought about the Kentucky Derby, which was mentioned maybe before the Holy Bull Stakes. We really needed to switch to dirt to see what we had.
Me: What was the emotional experience like, to win the Kentucky Derby?
Mrs. Jackson: It was unbelievable, and it is hard to explain. It is every bit as exciting as you can imagine it is going to be. We are so lucky, thanks to Barbaro.
Me: Are you surprised at Barbaro's continued following?
After his surgery, at New Bolton, when things started arriving, from all parts of the US and around the world, we realized he had touched a lot of peoples' hearts. People were standing on the overpasses of I 95 when he was in transit from Pimlico, and then they followed up with notes and gifts at New Bolton. It was amazing. The unidentified donor who began the Barbaro Fund in Barbaro's honor started a momentum all of its own. The momentum has continued, it is just amazing how wide reaching it has become. We are honored.
Me: And visiting Barbaro?
Mrs. Jackson: Today (9 am) We had a great visit, he was nickering for his grass, which I pick from our farm. I will be returning again this evening. It is no big deal for me to visit, I live so close and usually visit twice a day. Bringing the grass gives Barbaro something to do while I visit, and of course he likes it a lot. I like to visit, he has done so much for us, it is the least I can do.
Update 774: I just spoke to Steve Willard, to get a quick update on Giacomo going into saturday's race, the Goodwood. He said Giacomo is doing very well. Since his work he had a day off, jogged a day and has now galloped the last two days. For his gallops he has had his usual training routine, jogging a mile and a quarter, turning around and galloping a mile and a half. Steve seems very happy with him. I will follow up with Steve again tomorrow. On the east coast, Bernardini has drawn post one for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
I also wanted to note the availability of Barbaro wristbands, approved by the Jackson's. All proceeds go to the Barbaro Fund.
Update 773: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night.) Peter just called to let me know (1 pm) and Michael is now on his way over to visit.
update 1:10 pm, thursday
Update 772: Still waiting for today's Barbaro update. I saw Peter at about 11 am. He had not heard anything which he assumed was a good thing.
Sabina Pierce, Barbaro's ICU photographer, posted this in the comments, timestamp: 2:42 pm:
HI Everyone, Just wanted to let you know that Ryerss farmed for aged equine (ryerss.org) the oldest and a local retirement/rescue farm based in Chester cty, Pa is trying with the help of the local Spca coordinator to take in 2 horses from the tractor trailer crash in Missouri of the horses destined for slaughter.
It would be great . I came up with the idea after checking them out on the web, and as I'm
connected to Ryerss, and have a horse that was destined for slaughter as a PMU foal, my Toby.. (which just happens to live at Ryerss).. I put the bug in the right ears over there. So wish us luck that we can get them here where they can live out their lives knowing they will get lots of love and a stall to keep warm and green fields to graze in.
Update 771: The update for today is going to be delayed, Dr. Richardson is out of town. Michael did note that Barbaro was well yesterday evening. Thus far I have ridden two horses. The first, a new 2yo, went out in company with another new 2yo. Both seemed pretty sensible, which is all you can ask for at this early stage. The second was Chappy, galloping a mile and a quarter. Coming off the track I asked to Lil (Klesaris) about the change in jockey for Miraculous Miss on saturday (Pino is named on her). She confirmed Ramon Dominguez is scheduled to be in New York that day. It must be tough for the jockeys when their top horses are running the same day, at different racetracks. I know Ramon worked Miraculous Miss her last two works at Fair Hill.
update 7:40 am, thursday
Update 770: An encouraging move at Woodbine: Horsemen start fund for LongRun. The following is an excerpt:
"There are a lot of horses a year that are no longer able to compete at a racing level but just need some time for rehabilitation before being fostered into a new kind of life," said Leslie. "It's a huge cost. Even with this funding, there are going to be a lot of horses that we're not going to be able to help. But there are going to be a lot of horses we can help."
It was Leslie, acting on LongRun's behalf, who initiated the chain of events that led to the HBPA windfall.
I thought this was an interesting story from Australia, a $1374 (AU) purchase has turned into a likely sprint champion: Joe's new Takeover Target: the world's greatest galloper. An excerpt:
From the day his trainer Joe Janiak, father of Ben (and at the time a taxi driver in Queanbeyan), paid $1375 for the galloper at a tried-horse sale in Sydney four years back, to his first win on his home track, to his first Group 1 win in the 2004 Salinger Stakes at Flemington in Melbourne Cup week to international success in London and Japan this year.
And for racing this weekend at Belmont, the Daily Racing Form includes an article on Dylan Thomas and Fair Hill's Film Maker: Classic audition for Dylan Thomas. A couple of excerpts:
By sending Dylan Thomas to Belmont Park for Saturday's $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, O'Brien will find out not only if Dylan Thomas can handle the dirt, but if he can handle it against Bernardini, North America's premier dirt runner. If Dylan Thomas can handle this assignment, O'Brien may have a candidate for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic next month at Churchill Downs.
Film Maker has made only two starts this year, winning the Grade 3 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs and finishing second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park, where she wound up in traffic turning for home.
"I don't know if steadied is the right word," said trainer Graham Motion. "She had to wait, and that gave Gorella a chance to get the jump on her."
Posted by Alex at 10:10 AM
| Comments (635)
Barbaro Updates: 93
Posted October 4, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 769: Just spoke to Peter Brette who had spoken to Michael, who visited Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable. Another good day. Given it is the anniversary of Barbaro's first win I asked Peter about his thoughts that day and what he knew of Barbaro going into the race. He said he figured Barbaro was a very good horse going into the race, and the result was more a relief than anything. He proved that day he was a good horse. Peter has ridden plenty of good horses to compare Barbaro with given his time in Dubai and Europe.
Update 768: Well you all now own an Appaloosa Gelding, congratulations and may he be one of many!
A couple of items on the racing front.
Miraculous Miss is back in the entries: Miraculous Miss Heads Cotillion Field. This is Philadelphia Park's biggest race this year. Miraculous Miss is stretching out for the first time (I think), but her running style should suit this race. I know she has worked the last couple of weekends, good 7/8th mile works in preparation for the longer race. The article notes that Mario Pino will take the ride, I must then assume Ramon Dominguez will be at Belmont.
I spoke to Joe Deegan, exercise rider for Perfect Drift. I mentioned to him how unlucky I thought they were last weekend in the Kentucky Cup. He agreed. It was a muddling kind of race, slowly run, and Perfect Drift had nowhere to go. He said he came out of the race well, and they are pointing for the Breeders' Cup Classic. I believe Perfect Drift is the current leading money earner, and if he starts in the Classic he will have set a record for the most consecutive starts in the race. When I spoke to Joe he was actually at Timonium Sales, less than an hour from here!
Alie, from Kennett Florist left this note in the comments, timestamp: 8:01 pm:
It's a beautiful day in Kennett Square. I just returned from NBC. Delivered Barbaro's
Treat basket. All seemed well. Dr Sweeny had someone in her office, so I didn't get to see her. Kathy at the front desk is always a joy to see & talk to. They were very busy. People were running around every where. I hold them about breakfast coming on Friday; you can't image the excitement that made. NBC is just a wonderful place for animals & people. Today we are celebrating; 1 year ago was Barbaro's first win. Wow how time goes bye. We can't wait to celebrate Barbaro being well & leaving NBC. We are so lucky to have found this wonderful world at TWR that B has opened up to us. We are truly blessed. God Bless Barbaro, the Jackson's, NBC, Michael, Alex, & all connected.
Update 767: A mixed bag of racing updates. Belmont Stakes winner Jazil will not be pointed for the Breeders' Cup. While he is currently in training, it does not appear he has yet worked and clearly won't be ready: NO BC CUP FOR JAZIL. Henny Hughes and Michael Matz's Round Pond are scheduled to run on saturday at Belmont: Henny Hughes has McLaughlin upbeat. And finally a Jackson bred horse fetched the top price on the opening day at Tattersalls: George Washington's Half-Brother Tops Tattersalls October's First Session.
A challenge has been established to raise funds for the Missouri Horses: MISSOURI HORSES NEED OUR HELP CHALLENGE. Here are instructions for the challenge.
Update 766: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I just saw Michael Matz as I was coming onto the dirt track for my second set, to gallop Chappy a mile and a quarter. He had heard from Dr. Richardson.
update, wednesday, october 4, 7:35 am.
Update 765: Again, the Barbaro update will be after 8 AM. That is looking like the new standard time to expect an update. Many of you following Barbaro have realized today marks a special anniversary, one year since Barbaro made his debut, and of course one year since his undefeated record began. Here is our interview with Jose Caraballo, who rode Barbaro that day.
Bernardini did his final piece of work on tuesday, before the Jockey Club on saturday: Bernardini Breezes for Jockey Club Gold Cup. He went five eighths in 1:03 1/5th, which seeme to me like a simple maintenance breeze and nothing more. I am planning on going to Belmont for the races on saturday. And now for something slightly amusing.
Posted by Alex at 9:52 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 92
Posted October 3, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 764: Peter Brette just called (7pm). Barbaro continued to have a good day today. Peter had heard from Michael who had visited. He was out of his stall for about an hour. No doubt a great day for grazing.
Update 763: I have just returned from visiting Mike Rea. I am amazed at how well he seems to be doing. He is kind of emotional, and gets a little frustrated he is not progressing faster, but I think he seems to be progressing very well. We had long chats, his lovely mum was there, I think she has basically moved to Elkton! Mike is so touched at everyone's support. Anyway, just as I was leaving he (or his mum) mentioned he may be up for an award. I had heard something about this in Fair Hill this morning (Tammy, who along with Mike rescued four horses from the terrible barn fire, mentioned something to Tim). Anway, he and Tammy have been nominated for the White Horse Award. They are two of five nominees (I think it is five altogether), and as a nominee have been invited to this year's Breeders' Cup for awards ceremonies and prizes etc. And then of course, they might win! Anyway, I was pretty excited for Mike. I am not sure if he can get to Kentucky early November, but I think its great that he (and Tammy) have been recognized for their heroic actions.
During the visit we also talked about Barbaro. I mentioned to Mike that it is one year tomorrow since his first win. Of course Mike mentioned that he was there that day ... had a runner in the race. I asked him where his horse was when Barbaro crossed the wire ... Anyway, all in all a very good visit.
Rachel from Kennett Florist left this quick report in the comments of their visit to NBC, timestamp: 9:17 pm:
Not only ACN, but a "very, very well" from Dr Dean! Way to go Big guy... of course we know how well his appitite has been.
Spirits were good at NBC today. We dropped off some treats for our boy as well as some for the beloved donor horses. It's a good day to graze, I think we're getting out Indian Summer here this week, it's warm today and supposed to be crazy hot tomorrow. I'm sure Big B is enjoying the sun on his back!
Rachel at Kennett Florist
Update 762: This afternoon I think I will go over and see Mike Rea. I have not seen him since his birthday party, and I have a couple of bracelets that Lisa and Skyler wanted me to pass along. Catching up with his blog it seems he is able to get out and about a little, so he might not even be there when I visit. Anyway, if he is, it will be good to see him.
Sabina Pierce (Barbaro photographer) left the transcript of Andy Rooney's 60 minutes piece in the comments, timestamp: 2:02pm.
Update 761: New Bolton's weekly update: Barbaro had another good week:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro had another good week, and continues to please veterinarians with his progress. "He is doing very, very well," said Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "His appetite and vital signs continue to be excellent."
Veterinarians plan to change the colt's right hind leg cast within the next week, if needed. Barbaro's left hind hoof remains in a protective bandage, which is changed daily. He still goes out to walk and graze each day.
While pleased with Barbaro's progress, Dr. Richardson is cautious about his prognosis. Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, October 10, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 760: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz when I was on my second set (Chappy), Michael was on Messaging, stood by the gap on the dirt. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. It is another beautiful day here at Fair Hill.
It is also the end of an era, the last day of the woodchip track, Fair Hill's original training surface. It will be replaced by the Tapeta surface (synthetic track) which will hopefully be ready in a couple of months. Chappy was my last horse to gallop on the woodchip, and she was in great company. Graham Motion was breezing a few of his horses, they included Film Maker and Sweet Talker.
update, tuesday october 3, 8:25 am
Update 759: The update for Barbaro this morning will again be after 8 am.
NPR did a piece on Precisionist yesterday on "All Things Considered": Precisionist Nears a New Pasture, you can now go to the link and listen to the audio online.
Steve Haskins (Bloodhorse) writes a nice summary of last weekends' racing activities and the implications for the forthcoming Breeders' Cup: Countdown to the Cup: Where Will the Cat Strike Next? A very good read for those getting ready to enjoy the Breeders' Cup.
Posted by Alex at 10:20 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 91
Posted October 2, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 758: Just spoke to Peter Brette (6 pm). As far as he is aware, all remains well with Barbaro. He did note Michael was on his way over to see him after the races at Delaware (they had a second in the stake).
I also spoke briefly with Steve Willard, Giacomo's exercise rider. Giacomo breezed yesterday, his final work coming up to the Goodwood on saturday (Lava Man Ready to Glow in Goodwood BC). Steve said Giacomo worked well (although Art, another exercise rider actually rode Giacomo in the work). Today he had a day off (usual after a work) and looks good, eating well. Tomorrow he will jog either a mile or two miles, and be back to galloping on wednesday. I'll catch up with Steve again then.
Much discussion here and on the discussion boards has centered around horse slaughter and rescue issues. MSNBC's week in pictures features a very poignant image of a horse that survived a crash in MO, the horses were in transit for slaughter (image is slide 12).
Update 757: A few interesting posts in the comments today.
The first, from Eddie Kilroy, timestamp: 11:30 am:
Let me introduce myself. I do the morning show On XM satellte Radio channell 13, or 811 if you ahve Direct TV. I haven't posted before but reall look forward to the updates on the "Big Guy". Dee Mullins was kind to post my horse "Chief" when he was in PN. Tim Parente did a tie back with super success. And thanks to Staci Hancock for arranging through Gretchen for my wife and I to meet Barbaro. That was a special moment. I trust we all have the dedication to reach out to our respective Senators to shut down the slaughter houses.
The second, from Cate Kane, timestamp 4:22 pm:
On Saturday, four friends and I visited Fair Hill.I feel like I have spent time in another world - what a great place! It was awesome to see and feel so much horsepower assembled in Tim's barn. The horses themselves are magnificent. It was fun to see those who were formerly just names to me. Luke is my special! Alex didn't lose a minute, going back and forth from his riding to spending time showing us the highlights.What most impacted me was being close enough to the track to hear the hooves strike and the horses breathe. The perfect end to the day came when we drove to NBC to find no obstacles to our entering the lobby area to view the many tributes to Barbaro.
And finally, from Janice Palmer, timestamp 5:56 pm:
hi bobby and family, this is my first time typing.
I read this site everyday and pray for Bobby.
I met Barbaro in Kentucky two weeks before the Derby. There is a vibe he exudes and you know you are standing next to greatness! I wished him luck, told him I knew he would win the Derby and then petted him. Just as I was having my picture taken with him, he bit me on the arm.
It is the day I will always remember.
Glad to be aboard. I love him!
Keep up your miraculous fight, Bobby!
Posted by: Jan of Wor.
Update 756: I just spoke to Mrs. Jackson, who visited Barbaro this morning. She said Barbaro remains comfortable. His status is unchanged, a good thing. When I called her I interrupted her working on the anti-slaughter issues that have become so important to all of us who are following Barbaro's recovery. Not surprisingly I tried to get off the phone pretty quickly.
Update 755: Another report from a visit to the Lost in the Fog tribute.
Over the weekend I updated the FAQ. Keep the questions coming.
Update 754: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael Matz on our third set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. It is another beautiful morning this morning at Fair Hill. A little crisp, but a lovely clear sky for the sunrise. The morning for me thus far has been uneventful, but a guy did fall off right in front of me as I was pulling up after my first set. He managed to keep a hold of his horse, which was a good thing, she was a filly, I was on a colt, it could have been ugly. All seemed ok from the fall.
update, 8:15 am, monday morning october 2
Update 753: The Barbaro update this morning will again be sometime after 8 am. Just a quick FYI. We had some very exciting racing yesterday. Here's a review of the Belmont race: Discreet Cat Wins Jerome Under Wraps (OK, so this race was not exciting, but it did include one exciting horse). The review does include the following:
"We'll keep our options open for the Breeders' Cup or Cigar Mile," bin Suroor added. "This horse has the class to run in big group I races. Everything we've asked, he's done so easily. That gives us a lot of confidence for the future. We'll probably give it 10 days, and then decide with Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid al Maktoum)."
So perhaps there is a small chance of seeing Discreet Cat in the Breeders' Cup.
The racing from Longchamp was terrific, Sue McMullen provided us a great review (update 751). Here are a couple of other reviews: Rail Link Gives Fabre Seventh Arc Victory and LINK DERAILS ARC RIVALS.
Posted by Alex at 10:24 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 90
Posted October 1, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 752: The Thoroughbred Times reports on the Fog tribute: Golden Gate Fields honors champion Lost in the Fog. Robbie in Fresno reported her experience at the tribute (comment timestamp: 5:41 pm), the following is an excerpt:
And my final special moment to share - I had noticed a small flock of geese flying in and out of the ponds and water features in the center of the field. Just as the service for LITF ended, that small flock of geese came out of nowhere and flew down low right over the winners circle. It was as if they were doing a flyby. And instead of an even 10 (geese mate for life) there were 9 - one was missing. For me it was magical - and truly a day to remember.
Discreet Cat crushed the short field in the Jerome Handicap at Belmont this afternoon. I think after the first half a mile the remaining runners had just had their hearts' broken! He galloped home the rest of the way, and won very easily. He only beat allowance horses, but it was a grade two so you cannot blame him that no one really showed up.
Update 751: Sue McMullen's Longchamp report from today's racing action:
Yet another Arc win for the Maestro trainer, Andre Fabre and his seventh winner of this race, but perhaps not with the horse most thought would come out top of his three, which included Shirocco and Hurricane Run. You have to discount the run of these two as Shirocco clearly wasn't himself and Hurricane Run got boxed in and wasn't suited by the muddling pace. But you can't take anything away from the winner, Rail Link, who was the most improving horse in the race. Ironically, this Arc had been criticised for the small field, which, although containing superstars, was lacking the usual mix of the top three year-olds from the Classic generation (the Epsom Derby winner had been due to run but had a minor setback) but it was an improving three year-old who won it and he has now shown himself to be a very good horse. The mare Pride ran the race of her life finishing very fast to take second and the Japanese hero Deep Impact ran well but couldn't shake off Rail Link when he made his challenge. The slow early pace made it a bit of a messy race, run in a style that Deep Impact was not used to and which didn't help his chances, but trainer Yasuo Ikee is already talking about coming back next year.
Five other Group 1s on the card included a very, very emotional victory for British racing fans as Sergeant Cecil won the stayer's race, the Cadran, coming with a very late run from last to first in the home stretch, to a roar from the crowd that his jockey Frankie Dettori described as 'never having known anything like it.' This 7 year-old, bought as a youngster for a few hundred pounds, is a great favourite in the UK and was voted last year's 'horse of the year' having won all three of the big staying handicaps. This year he stepped up to Group company and this was his first victory in a Group 1. Tears were shed as he was led back to a the sort of reception usually reserved for the Arc winner.
Mandesha won the Prix L'Opera in fine style and, according to owner Princess Zahra Aga Khan, may go for the Arc next year. Jim Bolger is a man to be envied as he trains the current ante-post favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas and the Derby with Teofilo and now adds the filly Finsceal Beo (which means Living Legend) to those at the top of the betting for the first fillies' classic, the 1,000 Guineas after her emphatic win in the Prix Marcel Boussac. Desert Lord won the Prix de L'Abbaye, in the second fastest running of the race and continued a long history of this race being farmed by British or Irish sprinters, just getting the better of Reverence who was not suited by the lively ground. Ballydoyle's Holy Roman Emperor paid a compliment to Teofilo, who defeated him when they last met, by winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for two year-old colts. These two might meet again later this month in the Dewhurst Stakes.
Update 750: The racing from Longchamp today was special. I noticed how relaxed the horses appeared, both in the paddock, cantering down to the start, and loading in the starting gate (stalls). I will look forward to Sue McMullen's report, but it was nice to see the festival of racing. I was really rooting for the Japanese horse Deep Impact, he looked awesome. Perhaps two months away from the races was his undoing, he was traveling soooo well close to home, and just seemed to flatten out a little. Anyway, will wait for Sue's report.
Another report from a visit to Golden Gate Fields yesterday for the Fog's tribute, from Shelley, CA, timestamp: 4:23 pm. Here is an excerpt:
I had ordered a Foggy Forever T-Shirt from Ernie (Covino) here, and it arrived in 2 days from NY, just in time for me to take it with me to GGF for the other Fan of Barbaro I was meeting to wear (I already had my Delgado Fog T-shirt). After the touching ceremony for Fog, (many ears were wiped away, which may not have shown on the TV coverage) during which Greg thanked everyone for the cards, letters, carrots - and he said even songs - we were walking around when an usher in the upper areas spotted Ernie's Foggy T-shirt with the beautiful photo, and said we had to show Harry. He literally dragged us to meet Harry, and we had a wonderful conversation with him and his wife. He said he still cannot believe all the cards and letters he has received, and his wife asked if we knew he answered all of them. I told them, WE KNEW, and thanked him again for their careful and compassionate guardianship of Fog. They loved this horse without reservation, and said again they just cannot believe this journey they have been on with Fog. They were very happy about Quite a Rush, but the bittersweet nature of the day was obvious. Over and over, we heard from everyone - including the USHER, who must have been at GGF for 110 years - that these are very real, very down to earth, wonderful people. For the last two races, Harry and his wife sat alone in their box in the upper stands, looking directly at the finish line and the beautiful wreaths with the banner celebrating Fog from the Fans of Barbaro.
Update 749: The following is a REPORT FROM MEMORIAL FOR THE FOG from Nancy. Margaret actually went to Golden Gate Fields yesterday, while she did not stay for the tribute, she reported her experience in the comments (timestamp 3:12 pm). An excerpt:
I was at the saddling paddock and learned something about schooling in the paddock. I learned that if a horse comes in without a number hooked to their bridle they are just "schooling". But I saw at least one horse come from the isolation barn (?--the one where they put horses before their race.
I saw one of the prettiest grays ever. I have a pic of this horse and it just doesn't do justice to this horse.
Update 748: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I saw Michael Matz coming back from the track. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. He also noted that Barbaro was well when he visited yesterday.
HRTV is covering the Arc card this morning: HRTV to Air Arc and Entire Longchamp Card, an excerpt:
HRTV's duo of Jon White and Becky Witzman will anchor the network's morning coverage, which begins at 8:30 a.m. (all times Eastern). The network's coverage will encompass the entire Longchamp card, which also includes three other stakes contests. The Arc has a scheduled post time of 11:30 a.m.
Check update 747 for an Arc preview.
Posted by Alex at 12:30 PM
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