Barbaro Updates: 113
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.