Barbaro Updates: 119
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.