Barbaro Updates: 145
Posted November 30, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1117: Russell Baze won the sixth at Bay Meadows to draw level with Pincay. Tim won the third race at Laurel with first time starter Jaunty Gale. Congratulations to Gerry Goswell.
Update 1116: Russell Baze has one winner to equal Laffitt Pincay's record. Check his progress here.
Update 1115: Horsehats have been working closely with the Jackson and Churchill Downs to create a limited edition hat with all profits to the Barbaro Fund. Here is the offer: Barbaro Fund Hat. Although the site does not mention the number of hats available, I do know it is limited.
Big plans for Showing Up highlights not only Showing Up (his plans for next year and some troubles they experienced at Hollywood Park on sunday), but also ShoBiz and Stormy Kiss (another Jackson horse scheduled to run this weekend at Aqueduct).
Update 1114: Eddie Kilroy has returned and left the following comment (timestamp: 12:28 pm)
Good Morning Barbaro and all of you. Sorry I've been absent for so long. The move from N. VA to the new ranch in Texas was long. So happy to hear the great reports on big guy. Also, I'd like to urge everyone to fight for S1915. Take a page from Barbaro, DON'T GIVE UP!!! Remember, so many thought HR503 would never get a vote. We showed them a trick, and we can do it again. We have to stay comitted and SLAM THEM SENATORS!!! I have a fire burning with my listeners, and come Monday we'll be adding more fuel. Willie, Bo Derick, and you can be the voice for all equine. I know you won't weaken. Let's KICK BUTT Monday!!! God Bless.
Eddie Kilroy, "WILLIE PLACE" XM Radio
Monday has been designated FOB call-in day.
Update 1113: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). Mrs. Jackson called, and she had just received a call from Dr. Richardson. I was heading to the track as Mrs. Jackson called, on my second set. I was on Real Lace going to the newly opened Tapeta track. Graham Motion's string were just coming off as I was going through the tunnel to the track. I asked Graham what he thought. He said it was "good". I asked his riders who were equally positive. Others I asked were also positive in the praise for the new surface. I galloped Real Lace a mile and a half on the surface and was impressed. It was nice and even, and had nice spring to it (not too much) ... like riding on a great grass surface. We will of course see how it responds to adverse weather in the next day or two (rain, rain). Michael Dickinson was at Fair Hill this morning asking trainers and riders alike for their feedback. He asked me, I responded positively and expressed my wish that dirt tracks were going to be a thing of history.
Update 1112: Going local, we have this from Delaware Online: Barbaro improving, to get special shoe. It quotes Kathy Anderson in places, including:
Anderson said she is starting to see the old Barbaro come through.
"His disposition has actually improved so much," said Anderson. "He has a lot more confidence and can walk around so much better. He is a happy horse. He was very unhappy, yet courageous, there for a while."
Going global (New Zealand) we have: Barbaro has helped many other horses. This includes quotes from this site regarding Edgar Prado's most recent visit.
The Barbaro update should be later this morning. Keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:41 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 144
Posted November 29, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1111: Maybe not today for Russell Baze ? Through race 7 he has been blanked.
Kathy left this message in the comments (timestamp 11:31 pm):
Thank you for the Pretzels,
Thank you for the homemade yummy candy,
Thank you for the delicious cakes and brownies today!!!
What a wonderful treat for all the staff at New Bolton!
Thank you for all the nice baskets and bags for Barbaro and all the animals at New Bolton Center
I am guessing (actually I know) gifts arrived today for the staff at New Bolton. Kathy Anderson was unable to visit Barbaro today.
Update 1110: This is cool: Barbaro as an SI Sportman of the Year candidate, and this is not so cool: Kieren Fallon in further trouble.
Update 1109: This morning was very foggy, and almost muggy. Seven sets. For my last set I took another "first time starter" to the track ... Gator Nation's two year old half sister. She was very well behaved doing one turn of the track. The synthetic track, which I had heard was to open today, is now scheduled to open tomorrow at 6:30 am. This opening I guess may be dependant on a noon inspection by Michael Dickinson.
Kathy Anderson said she might be going over to visit Barbaro later today. If I can, I will try to catch up with Kathy later to see if she was able to visit.
Update 1108: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I heard from Mr. Jackson, who had heard from Dr. Richardson. The Jackson's also visited last evening, as usual, and Barbaro was comfortable.
update 9:30 am, wednesday, november 29
Update 1107: Russell Baze is three wins from setting an all-time record for number of wins by a jockey. Here is a transcript of a chat Russell had with Bloodhorse yesterday. It includes the following excerpt:
Russell, first of all I'd like to say you are a great jockey. You've ridden many winners obviously. Who is the best horse you have ever ridden?
Baze: I've been on a lot of really great horses. Lost in the Fog was the one who did the most outstanding things for me.
Fair Hill has a runner in a million dollar race on friday: Officer Rocket, Xchanger to meet in $1-million Delta Jackpot. Good luck to Xchanger!
Here are some more pictures of Showing Up at Hollywood Park.
Again, the Barbaro update will be after training hours. Keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:10 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 143
Posted November 28, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1106: As noticed by a few people in the comments, the New Bolton release notes only a light cotton bandage supporting Barbaro's right hind leg (makes no mention of splints). When I visited Barbaro I also noticed this. I decided not to mention it at the time, I thought I would wait for New Bolton to make this information available.
Update 1105: The New Bolton update for Barbaro: Barbaro steadily improving
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve following the removal of his right hind leg cast on November 6, according to his medical team. "Barbaro is steadily gaining strength on his right hind limb now that it is out of the cast," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "He is only wearing a very light cotton bandage on that leg and both walks and stands well on it." Barbaro's lower right hind leg had been in a cast since surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20. "Radiographs of his fractured lower limb were taken yesterday and look excellent," said Dr. Richardson.
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. "The left hind foot is improving gradually and has a long way to go although his comfort on that foot remains surprisingly good," said Dr. Richardson. "Barbaro's attitude and appetite remain excellent, and he still takes short walks outside to graze each day if the weather permits."
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, December 12, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 1104: For Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, would you vote for Barbaro or Dr. Richardson ? Both appear to have compelling cases. December 4 we will know.
Update 1103: It has taken a long time, and who knows, it might be temporary, but as I type this site is on the first page of search results on google for both Barbaro and barbaro.
Alie, from Kennett Florist left this upbeat comment (timestamp: 5:36 pm):
What a beautiful day here in Kennett Square. I just returned from NBC. They were very busy. Lots of people coming in and out. The mood was extremely up. I was greeted by happy faces & even a couple hugs. Mrs. Jackson was visiting & had her bag of grass, for the boss horse. She is just a wonderful lady. I talked to Dr Sweeney we decided where the tree is going to go, in the lobby. Have a great day.
Update 1102: Mrs. Jackson just called. Barbaro remains comfortable. Mrs. Jackson had just visited. He was laying down as she was leaving. Of course she brought him his cut grass. There will be an update today from New Bolton.
I did see Peter early this morning before he left for Florida. He will take a couple of days off as he, Kim and Nicholas get re-situated for the "winter". It is a lovely day today again at Fair Hill (and New Bolton I assume). I don't think it could be warmer for this time of year. Seven sets, and I was wishing I had not had the long johns on later in the morning.
update 12:30 pm, tuesday, november 28
Update 1101: Sue McMullen is keeping up with Ouija Board's travels:
Ouija Board has arrived in Hong Kong safely and is reported to be in fine fettle ahead of her bid to win the Hong Kong Vase, one of the Cathay Pacific International races on December 10. She won this race last year and it will be her final appearance on a racecourse. Ouija's amazing run to claim third in the Japan Cup behind what is for many people the world's best turf horse, Deep Impact, adds yet another glittering result to her resume and when she bows out in a couple of weeks time, racing will certainly miss her. Described as positively thriving on all the travelling she does and being in new places, this incredible mare is now on her last jaunt and it will be interesting to see how she eventually settles down to a serene life in the paddocks.
Update 1100: Another great article, this one documenting Barbaro's journey: Barbaro: America's Horse Continues to Beat the Odds Six Months Later. It includes the following excerpt:
Regardless of whether Barbaro is able to recover sufficiently to cover a mare and produce colts and fillies, his sad injury has brought about some remarkably positive events. Through Alex Brown's postings on Fair Hill trainer Tim Woolley's website at http://www.timwoolleyracing.com, thousands of the popular bay colt's fans check in each day hoping to read of any change, positive or negative, in his condition. They maintain a lively comment board and refer to themselves as "Friends of Barbaro"--FOBs. This band of fervent animal lovers has become a force to reckon with as far as mobilizing the public and elected officials regarding animal-friendly issues such as recent anti-horse slaughter legislation. And the horrific and highly-publicized injuries of Barbaro and dozens of other thoroughbreds recently have led track owners to consider using new, improved materials such as Polytrack.
Keep up the good work "Fans" of Barbaro and keep calling!
Jeannette received a Call from Harry J. Aleo--Lost in the Fog.
The Barbaro update will again be after training hours.
Posted by Alex at 10:31 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 142
Posted November 27, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1099: Arlington may go with a synthetic track as soon as their next summer meet: Arlington may go synthetic. This would be fantastic! Fair Hill's sythetic track (Tapeta) may open on wednesday. A tractor keeps going round and round on it during morning training (its inside the dirt track which we are currently using), lets hope it is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Speaking of wednesday, that may also be the day Russell Baze breaks the record: Baze Collects Two Wins in Rain Sunday.
Finally, Delaware Park had a bad meet: Delaware has drop in handle. Some might suggest if they had a sythetic track, it would help with their entries, which in turn helps with their handle ...
Update 1098: I just spoke to Peter, who visited Barbaro after work today. He was upbeat. He groomed him etc. I am guessing this will be Peter's last visit before he heads to Florida, which is as soon as they get the remaining horses loaded onto the horse van tomorrow morning.
Lor in PA wrote this article for the Patriot News: Horses were never meant to be raised for food.
For those having trouble with the previous Japan Cup video, here is another: JRA Japan cup Nov.26.2006 (well worth seeing).
Sue McMullen sent this e-mail regarding Kieren Fallon's attempt to acquire a jockey's license for the last major international race meet (which we will cover) in Hong Kong:
As anticipated, the Licensing Committee of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club has now turned down Kieren Fallon's application to ride at the Cathay Pacific International race meeting on December 10.
Kim Kelly, Stipendiary Steward and Secretary to the Licensing Committee said in a statement to media that 'although it was not appropriate for them to comment on Kieren Fallon's pending criminal proceedings relating to horse racing integrity in the UK, the decision not to grant him a license was consistent with HKJC's previous decisions not to permit jockeys who were subject of law enforcement investigations to ride in Hong Kong pending the outcome of those investigations.'
So one of Flat racing's finest horsemen will have to sit it out for the last major meeting of the year and this decision, although not a surprise, saddens many of his admirers in Europe who believe a man is innocent until proven guilty.
Update 1097: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called, and she had just visited. Of course I had to congratulate her on their wonderful victory yesterday! They took the "red eye" back last night.
update 12:10 pm, monday, november 27
Update 1096: No Barbaro update yet this morning. It was a busy morning this morning at Fair Hill. Eight horses to ride, a couple of new ones (green two year olds). It was also a gorgeous morning, withe a lovely sunrise mixed with a low lying fog.
Redaspen looks well after her race this weekend. I also caught up with Lil Klesaris who said their horses came back from their exploits in good fettle. Miraculous Miss will now have some time off. She has had a long season, interrupted by the horrific gate incident in the Acorn. Diabolical will also have a couple of months off (I think). They were very happy with him, he ran huge (just getting beaten by the Breeders' Cup sprint champion), and came out of the race well. Kong is King also ran well, with blinkers on. Of course he had to face what might be the best two year old in the country in NoBiz! I'll try to catch up with Barclay in the next day or two to get reports of his two massive runners over the weekend.
Update 1095: Here are a couple of reports of Showing Up's dazzling performance in the Hollywood Derby yesterday where he shattered the Stakes record on the turf at Hollywood Park:
Showing Up Good as Billed in Hollywood Derby
Showing Up continues turf dominance in the Hollywood Derby
We also have pictures: "Showing Up" wins the Hollywood Derby.
For those (many) of us who missed the Japan Cup late saturday night, early sunday morning, here it is (found on equidaily.com). I just love listening to the roar of the crowd as Deep Impact begins to make his move. Ouija Board ran a fantastic race in defeat (update 1090).
The Barbaro update will be after training hours again this morning. Keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:28 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 141
Posted November 25, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1094: Showing Up bolted up! Perhaps he made a move a little too soon, switched back off at the quarter pole for a few strides, then fired up again and went by them. By far the best! What a weekend for Barclay Tagg, and congratulations to the Jacksons!
Update 1093: Unfortunately Brother Derek had to scratch out of today's Hollywood Derby: Brother Derek Scratched Due to Colic Attack. Sounds like just unfortunate timing, but nothing too serious. Linnie posted in the comments (timestamp: 9:53 pm) an experience at Calder races yesterday with other Fans of Barbaro.
Wonder if racing is popular in Japan, check this photograph from yesterday's Japan Cup. About 115,000 were in attendance to watch Deep Impact's win.
Update 1092: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I just received a call from Mr. and Mrs. Jackson's daughter who was on "visit duty" while the Jackson's are in California for Showing Up's race. Michael was also visiting at the same time, and Barbaro got to go outside to graze.
update, sunday, 12:15 pm, november 26
Update 1091: A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I went in a little late (7 am), rode a couple on the track, and then grazed Hawty Creek. Very peaceful. As I was grazing Hawty Michael Matz was spreading grass seed close to his barn. Likely one of the last things to be done as they begin to wrap everything up at Fair Hill and head south. Michael only has a few horses left here, and I assume many of those ran yesterday. He will close up his barns early next week and head south. He did mention to me he was going to visit Barbaro this morning.
Redaspen looked well in her stall. Tim said she ate up everything last night and is pretty perky this morning. All good signs. When I was on the track I saw (the other) Tim, Barclay's Fair Hill assistant. I asked Tim what Barclay had to say after NoBiz's performance yesterday. Tim said Barclay was happy! Of course another big day for their stable today in California.
Here are a few links to the big races yesterday:
Discreet Cat stays perfect in Cigar
Discreet Cat Fired Up in Record Cigar Mile
Discreet Cat impressive winner of Cigar Mile
'Nobiz' dominates Remsen
Nobiz Like Shobiz Hits Big Time in Remsen
Nobiz Like Shobiz romps in Remsen
De Francis Dash:
Thor's Echo helps Eclipse chances
Thor's Echo Makes Case in De Francis Dash
Thor's Echo adds De Francis Dash score to burgeoning resume
Update 1090: Sue McMullen reports on Ouija Board's third in the Japan Cup:
What can you say about this mare? Even her most ardent fans knew it was a tough call for Ouija to take on not only Japan's best boys, but a 'boy' who is arguably the best in the World, just a few short weeks after regaining her crown in the BC Filly and Mare. Deep Impact restored his reputation with an emphatic win, sending a one hoof gesture to those who said this scintillating son of Sunday Silence might have lost his zest for the game. The poor tactics and abysmal management of his attempt on the Arc were not his fault. Even a superstar needs a good support crew. He will have one more run in Japan before heading off to stud.
Ouija ran her heart out as usual, putting her head down, battling all the way to the line to finish a very gallant third and just missing out on second place to Dream Passport. Dettori heaped praise on her saying she just found the long uphill finish too much in the dying strides. To run third in this race so soon after her victory in the BC is an accolade in itself and she loses absolutely nothing in defeat. It only serves to show what an amazing creature she is. You may recall in our preview of this race that it is extremely tough to win with a gruelling stretch and sticking to her task in this company to claim third is awesome. If she comes out of this race well and continues to look good, she heads to Hong Kong and will make her final appearance on the racecourse on December 10.
Heart's Cry trailed in tenth and was clearly not himself.
Here is Sportinglife's report: IMPACT CLAIMS CUP GLORY.
The final big race of the weekend of interest is at Hollywood Park today (sunday): Showing Up has much to live up to. Let's hope the Jackson's Showing Up can continue his tremendous year. The "interesting" contender will be Brother Derek, in his first attempt on the turf. They last met in the Kentucky Derby, watching Barbaro gallop down the lane! Clearly Showing Up has shown he loves the turf.
Update 1089: Some great racing this afternoon as we thought. I will only note a few of the races here, and will gather some internet links to some of the races in the morning.
Redaspen I thought ran a very good race in the April Run, finishing fourth. It seemed the pace was slow up front which did not particularly suit her. She tried to come up the inside going down the backside, and that was not going to happen. She then needed to hold up and then make a run around the outside. She made up a lot of ground late to finish a very respectable fourth. She cooled out well and I believe that is it for her this year. She will get the winter off and come back for a spring / early summer campaign once the turf season reopens. She has had two wins this year, including a stakes win, and pushed her earnings over the $200,000 mark with her fourth today. A great prospect for Tim and Equivine Farm next year.
Diabolical ran a great race for Steve Klesaris to finish a very close second to Thor's Echo in the Grade 1 Francis Dash. Thor's Echo is the first Breeders' Cup winner to run back and win, but he really had to dig in to hold off Diabolical. That was close to being Steve Klesaris' first Grade 1 winner!
Michael Matz's Street Sounds was impressive in her win in the Selima Stakes.
NoBiz Like ShoBiz, very impressive in his win in the Remsen. To me he still looks big and green, which only bodes well for his future.
Discreet Cat, what can you say ? He shipped here from Dubai, got sick and missed the early races in the US this year. If he had not, his campaign could have been entirely different. He won impressively today in a short field, but the fractions were ridiculous, and he accomplished them ridiculously easily. He was just very impressive.
Tonight we have Ouija Board running in the Japan Cup, lets hope she can follow Thor's Echo's lead and become the second Breeders' Cup winner to return to the winners circle.
Update 1088: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). Mrs. Jackson called about about 10:30 am this morning as she was leaving New Bolton. She had her usual morning visit with Barbaro delivering hand cut grass from the farm. I was grazing Hawty Creek when Mrs. Jackson called. Hawty had her first little work this morning, it was untimed but close to an open gallop for 3/8ths of a mile. She handled it very well.
As I suspected it was a busy morning this morning. I rode eight, five of which did some kind of work. Two went to the gate. When I was on Hawty Creek a loose horse was galloping at us. Fortunately no harm was done. I also watched Red Aspen getting ready and being loaded on to the van to ship down to Laurel. Lets hope she runs her race, I think running her race will make her very tough. She seems to always get overlooked in the bigger races, and no doubt this is her biggest test, but her beyer of 93 last time, and 91 the time before that she ran on the turf makes her fit righ in there. Good luck Victor Molina.
Update 1087: The Barbaro update will again be after training hours this morning. This morning is likely to be quite busy, a combination of good weather (good track) and a saturday means there will be a lot of horses breezing etc.
The big race yesterday, The Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, was won by the tongue-wagging Premium Tap: Premium Tap dominant Clark Handicap winner.
Posted by Alex at 10:58 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 140
Posted November 23, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1086: I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael after his afternoon visit with Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable and Michael did get him outside (it was a lovely afternoon).
A nice profile on Ouija Board's "lass".
Update 1085: This weekend is turning out to be another full of great racing interests. Sue McMullen highlighted the major global race, the Japan Cup, which features Ouija Board and Deep Impact among its 11 entries (update 1083). Here is a short update from Dunlop's yard.
Barclay Tagg has a cross country double attempt with NoBiz Like ShoBiz in the Remsen on saturday ('Nobiz' running with eye on Derby) and Showing Up in the Hollywood Derby on sunday (Showing Up Not Alone in Hollywood Derby). I just spoke to Barclay and both horses are training well, looking good and feeling good.
Closer to (our) home Laurel has a tremendous card tomorrow. Highlights include Tim's Red Aspen in the April Run Stakes, Diabolical taking on Thor's Echo in the Dash and Miraculous Miss in the Stefanita.
Michael Matz has Chelokee in the 5th at Churchill Downs on saturday (he also has a few running at Laurel) and Discreet Cat meets a short, but decent, field in the Cigar Mile (Discreet Cat primed for hardest test.)
Update 1084: Another comfortable night last night for barbaro (thursday night). I just spoke to Peter who confirmed. Michael is on his way over to New Bolton as I type (1:05 pm) to visit Barbaro.
update 1:05 pm, friday november 24
Update 1083: The latest Barbaro update is proving elusive, although I did talk to Peter and either he or Michael will visit today, so I will be able to follow up later. Peter did assume all was well.
Sue McMullen sent this commentary on this weekend's major global race, the Japan Cup:
There's a fascinating clash in prospect in Sunday's Group 1 Japan Cup, the most prestigious race in Japan, run over 12 furlongs on turf, with the reigning queen of racing fillies, Ouija Board hot foot from her victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare, once gain taking on the boys, as she will face Japan's top colts Deep Impact and Heart's Cry.
Beaten in this race last year, suffering the same bad luck as she had experienced in the BC, the team have changed tactics for Ouija this year and sent her direct from the US to Japan, rather than taking her home first. It made sense as she would hardly have had time to unpack her suitcase before setting off again. But she's had plenty of time to settle at Fuchu, Tokyo's racecourse and as reported here already, via a link to trainer Ed Dunlop's website, she is looking very well and up to her racing weight. She certainly pleased Frankie Dettori in a recent piece of work, and was bucking and squealing afterward demonstrating her wellbeing.
This year's time lapse between the BC and the Japan Cup is a week less than normal, but as Ed Dunlop himself said, she is a 'strange horse' in how she seems to bounce back from some gruelling battles and with the usual caveat that she will tell them when it's time to call it a day, she is certainly giving every impression she will serve it up to the boys on Sunday. But Team Ouija know the task she faces and although Ed Dunlop is confident she is well in herself, he cannot be entirely confident of the outcome as her main rivals are two of the world's best colts, arguably the very best.
Deep Impact was stripped of his third place in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe having tested positive for a prescribed medication to help a minor respiratory problem, which his handlers had not withdrawn in time. The Sunday Silence colt ran brilliantly to finish third on a course that was totally unlike anything he had experienced and off a slow pace unsuited to his style of running. Many observers wondered why they had not given the horse the benefit of a prep race at Longchamp, to give him a feel of the track and a 'pipe opener', which might have seen a different outcome at the finish. But how much worse it would have been to be stripped of a victory in the Arc and it has to be said that his connections let him down. So Japan's top horse has a point to prove on Sunday.
Joining him in the line-up will be another son of the peerless Sunday Silence, Heart's Cry, who went down a whisker in a photo to Alkaased last year. On their home territory and a familiar track, these two will be tough nuts to crack and Deep Impact is showing renewed zest for the game and training very well now he's shaken French turf off his hooves.
First run in 1981, the Japan Cup was established as an invitational event to attract the best horses in the world to take on their best horses, a bold move at a time when Japan's racing empire was in its infancy in terms of being a world player. The first two runnings were won by American horses, Mairzy Doates and Half Iced, followed by Pay The Butler in 1988. America's fourth and most recent Japan Cup victory came in 1991 when the legendary Charlie Whittingham saddled Golden Pheasant to win, a fitting victory given the dominance and influence one of his most famous charges has had on Japanese racing, with a son of Sunday Silence, Special Week, winning in 1998. The race is now firmly established as one of the premier fixtures at the end of the season, along with the Arc and the BC and is the penultimate leg of the World Series Racing Championships, attracting runners from all over the world with a reputation for being a tough race to win. Other notable victors include the English-trained Jupiter Island, Singspiel, Pilsudski and Alkaased, Japanese victors El Condor Pasa and Zenno Rob Roy, Italian-trained Falbrav (before he relocated to England), New Zealander Horlicks and Better Loosen Up from Australia. Underlying the race's reputation it is interesting to note that aside from talent, a prime characteristic of the winners is they were known to be very tough as the race has witnessed some real battles in the long stretch finish.
Only 11 contest this year's renewal, with Ouija joined from Europe by Freedonia, trained by John Hammond (an English trainer based in France) who, like Deep Impact, will want a fast run race. A late maturing filly, Freedonia has quite a bit to find to live with Ouija but she stays well. Ed Dunlop is hoping for a steadier pace than last year so the brilliant mare can show her closing speed. The word at the course is that Japanese Tosen Shano O will act as pacemaker for stablemate Swift Current, so he could set a good pace.
What a prospect. Good luck and safe racing to all of them. Currently third in the market here behind hot favourite Deep Impact and Heart's Cry, Ouija has it all to do in arguably her toughest race to date.
Update 1082: Coverage of Barbaro in the UK continues: Life a series of small steps for Barbaro. The following are a couple of excerpts:
"It's amazing," she said. "I could say he's a splendid-looking horse. He has a presence to him. He has a very noble, gallant look about him when he's on the track, but it has to be more than that.
"I think people saw everybody support the horse and love it through its injury rather than discarding it," said Jackson. "Everything is disposable in society now and maybe people saw this as something that isn't disposable. It's valued."
Richardson remains guardedly optimistic about Barbaro's chances of survival.
"He's in the process of regrowing his hoof," he said. "And that's not a sure-fire proposition that it occurs adequately on any horse at any time. He has a long way to go. He is certainly not out of the woods. But we're hopeful."
For those new to horse race handicapping, this will help. The Barbaro update should be available after training hours this morning.
Please read this poemTwas the Night Before the Auction, and keep calling!
Update 1081: Pictures that go with the two most recent Philadelphia Inquirer articles:
A visit with Barbaro (taken sunday november 19. Note the grass bag I tried to describe in update 1080)
Fair Hill's New Track (these images accompany the synthetic track article from tuesday of this week).
Update 1080: My visit with Barbaro from yesterday (wednesday, november 22, 5-6 pm):
I was to meet Mrs. Jackson at 5 pm in the lobby area of New Bolton. I had not yet met Mrs. Jackson, so not only was this my first visit with Barbaro since the Preakness, but also the first time to meet his owners. I got their five minutes early, and waited a short time in the lobby area rereading many of the get well wishes that are ever present. Right at 5 Mrs. Jackson arrived. She knew who I was, and of course I knew her immediately. No awkward moment and very quick introductions. Mrs. Jackson gave me a signed win picture of the Kentucky Derby and was just effusive in her praise for our site and all that we have done (basically she put me at ease straight away). We went in the direction of Barbaro (a quick hello to Kathy Freeborn) and passed by Dr. Sweeney's office. Mrs. Jackson introduced me to Dr. Sweeney and we had a very short (nice) chat. We reached the ICU and had to put on our ICU clothes at which time Mr. Jackson arrived. He then signed my win picture (it is signed by Mr. Mrs. Jackson, Edgar Prado and Michael Matz ... i'll get Peter to sign it too before he leaves to Florida). As we got ready to see Barbaro we continued a conversation that actually went on for the entire hour. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were just very easy to talk with and we talked about many things, ranging from travel (I described my love of New Zealand) to horse-related issues (horse slaughter etc.)
We entered the ICU and the first thing we did was attend to a baby goat, with its mother. It was tiny and precious. Anyway, that did not take long, we ventured over to Barbaro's stall (I may get this wrong but the ICU seemed to include about four stalls, two on either side, with a large middle ... kind of like a hospital with a large reception area in the middle and private rooms on the outside.) It is a well lit area and seems (obviously) very clean etc. Mrs. Jackson had brought with her a large carrier-type bag full of freshly cut grass. We got to Barbaro's stall and opened the door a little ... Barbaro was turned away from us, and it took a little coaxing to get him to turn around and come to us. Once he did, he was very happy to see the grass. He munched away, and we stood watching him while also intermittently petting him on the head etc. You can imagine he would pin his ears back, pretend to flash his teeth a little, and then get back to munching on his grass ... then look up to us, prick his ears etc. etc. Basically you have to be careful with him, but when careful, and showing him the respect he requires, he is very happy. He also got to eat a red apple (crunch, crunch, crunch and it was gone) and a few spearmint mints (the green ones). He clearly loved those and was not happy about waiting until the wrappers were removed! We must have stood next to him at the front of his stall for a good 30 - 40 minutes as we chatted away. Barbaro then moved to another part of his stall. I got to see the what are now almost white markings on his near (left) side. Nothing to worry about there. His tail is still short, but again, this is simple cosmetic stuff, and the tail will grow out. Michael had clearly already visited as his bandage on his left hind leg was clean and had been recently reset. Shortly before we left Barbaro did lay down, conveniently close to where the remainder of the grass that Mrs. Jackson had gathered was laid. You can tell he really looks after himself by the way he was laying down. Barbaro is clearly a smart horse who seems to understand his current predicament and what he needs to do to get through this.
Overall Barbaro looked well. His coat is clean, shiny and almost summery. I know he is groomed regularly and this must help. His eye is clean and his weight looks great. I really think he looks like a horse in a race barn when you simply look at his body and up. He is big! I know Michael Matz thinks he has grown taller, but simply put, he is a big horse. He is also smart. Adapting to his current situation is pretty amazing for a three year old colt who only knew about running (and running very well). Simply put, I am in awe of Barbaro and all he has endured.
A couple of other notes about our conversations. We mentioned the Florida Derby, apparently Edgar told the Jackson's Barbaro was only playing in that race. He saw some construction (I guess on the inside) and was not focused on what he should be doing. In the Kentucky Derby Mrs. Jackson said Barbaro hardly sweated in his effort, he did it so easily. Mr. Jackson agreed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were curious as to how I would continue the updates once Michael and Peter head south. They volunteered to help me get updates if necessary. We also discussed the relationships both Michael and Peter have with their horse, and how things will be different when they leave for Florida.
All in all, this was an experience. I met two people and a horse, each of whom seems to be all that is good about life.
Update 1079: It is unlikely there will be a Barbaro update today. I went over to Michael Matz's barn after I was finished this morning (no dirt track today, so work was in the shedrow) and Michael was already on his way to Kentucky to saddle Sangrita. I chatted with Peter for a while. Peter is not planning to visit and does not anticipate hearing anything (assuming all remains well). Peter did note that Chelokee is running on saturday, at Churchill. They also have plenty of runners at Laurel on saturday, and I think maybe Aqueduct. I shedrowed a couple for Tim earlier in the morning. Red Aspen (who I do not ride) is also in on saturday, in the April Run Stakes at Laurel. The Laurel card looks awesome!
Russell Baze is getting close to setting the record for most wins by a jockey: Four-Bagger Moves Baze to Within 7 of Record. It is nice to see the current record holder supporting Baze in his quest: Jockey Baze deserves to break all-time win record, Pincay says. This article also notes Baze's best horses:
Baze called 2005 champion sprinter Lost in the Fog the best horse he ever rode, while also mentioning graded stakes winners Hawkster, Super Moment, Simply Majestic, Great Communicator, and Event of the Year.
"Because of the campaign [Lost in the Fog] put together, few horses would have been able to ship as much as he did and run as well as he did on so many different surfaces," Baze said. "He was just a fantastically talented animal."
Finally the Jackson's Showing Up is in California: Showing Up Ready for Hollywood Derby; Derek Confirmed. The following is an excerpt:
"He's laid back in his stall but aggressive in his races," said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, after jogging the chestnut colt once around the main track. "He's not hard to ride, but wants to get it done."
Lael Stables' Showing Up, victorious in six of eight starts - including three-for-four on turf - can enhance his reputation among the nation's turf elite in the 1 1/4 mile-mile grass test.
The colt, seeking his second grade I victory after accounting for the Secretariat at Arlington, has won in five different states.
"He's well-traveled and handled the flight well," said Smullen. He is scheduled to school at the gate Thursday.
Robin is another x Fair Hill rider. I will plan to put together something about my Barbaro visit yesterday a little later.
Update 1078: A great way to start thanksgiving: Few limits for Barbaro's many fans. This Mike Jensen article notes a few of our regular visitors and contributors. The following are excerpts:
A "classical modern" dancer with several choreographed works reviewed in the New York Times, Martita Goshen has an idea for her next solo performance already percolating.
She doesn't yet know what form it will take. She just has a theme.
"I'm deeply inspired by the horse Barbaro, and his integrity, and the people around him caring for him," Goshen said. "That's a big tableau. How I pull it all together in less than an hour, it will be fascinating."
"Everybody talks about Barbaro's will to live," Smoliak said. "Well, guess what, there are horses standing on the slaughter line, they have the will to live, too. We just don't know them."
He is still a full-throttle fan of Barbaro's, looking for news about the horse every day. But he watches more C-Span, too.
"Barbaro has had an effect on people," Smoliak said. "The bottom line, I'm a better U.S. citizen because of him."
"The energy field of a horse is as big as a barn - compared to most of us lowly humans with our fields out about a 'wingspan,' " Somano said in an e-mail.
She started doing distance healing on Barbaro the day of the Preakness, she said, and has continued it every day.
"I know it might sound 'out there' to those not familiar with this work and the credentialing back of it," Somano said. "I assure you, though, I am about as conservative and levelheaded as any practitioner can be working in an unconventional field.
The Barbaro update this morning will hopefully come sometime mid-morning.
Posted by Alex at 11:25 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 139
Posted November 22, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1077: Another comfortable day for Barbaro today. I know, I saw! My first visit thanks to Mrs. Jackson. I spent more than an hour with Barbaro, talking with Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. I will post more tomorrow about the visit, but most importantly he (Barbaro) does look great. His coat is shiny, he has a clean eye and great weight.
Update 1076: WGAL Channel 8 did a follow up piece last night on horse slaughter: Follow Up: Horse Slaughter (usual warnings apply, but well worth seeing). It includes a great profile on Lost and Found Horse Rescue to which many of you contributed for my birthday last week. I am also in it very briefly. Thanks again to Lor in PA for helping get this coverage and to Susan Shapiro for making it happen. Keep calling.
Update 1075: Sue McMullen just sent this e-mail regarding European runners at Hollywood Park this weekend:
Friday's Citation includes Rob Roy, formerly with Sir Michael Stoute, who is now in training with Neil Dysdale in the hope he will have better luck in the US. Rob Roy missed the kick in the BC Mile but finished very strongly and should have gone closer. Also in the Citation line-up is Godolphin's Ashkal Way, plus some former English-trained horses, Three Valleys, Rebel Rebel and Bravo Maestro.
The Hollywood Derby includes the improving Dark Islander, son of Singspiel who got better with age and scored his greatest victories, including a Japan Cup, as an 'older' horse. Trained by John Hills, who saddles Clinet for the Matriarch Stakes, Dark Islander won the Grade Two Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita and it will be interesting to see if he can step up again and run well in this field.
Ivan Denisovich, who missed the cut in the BC Mile, also runs in the Derby and Ballydoyle will be hoping for a big run from him to pay for all the air fares as he travelled home after his abortive attempt at the BC, then went back to the US to run in California. This will be another encounter with Showing Up who has already beaten him, in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington.
As noted Neil Drysdale now trains Rob Roy. Neil is one of the leading trainers in the US (trained Fusaichi Pegasus etc.), an englishman and also a new father! Neil once had a string of horses at Fair Hill. I freelanced for him a little. His assistant trainer, John "the quiet man", who ran the shed at Fair Hill and is still with Neil, also worked for Mercy Rimell, just before I joined Mercy's stable for my first job in racing.
I saw Michael Matz in the local sandwich shop (Prizzios). He is planning to see Barbaro this afternoon and take him outside. He will be at Fair Hill in the morning before heading out to Kentucky to saddle Sangrita tomorrow afternoon.
Update 1074: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night) and chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill. I saw Michael Matz coming on to the track for my second set. Michael also noted Barbaro is now weighing in at 1,135 pounds. As I suspected it was a pretty busy morning, and it also looks like the guys working on the Tapeta surface (the track inside the main dirt track) are moving right along too. About 2/3rds of the track now has the new surface laid on top of whatever else they needed to put down. I am wondering if they will finish it before the rain comes!
updated 10:30 am, wednesday, november 22
Update 1073: I am guessing Michael Matz will be heading back to Churchill Downs this week: Prep win good sign for Sangrita. If Sangrita can win this grade two stake for Michael's wife, D.D., then Michael will have had a great year at Churchill Downs. Actually I guess he already has had a great year there, but this would be icing on the cake.
Del Mar has gone with the Polytrack. It will be installed in time for their summer meet, which like Hollywood Park, is ahead of their mandated schedule (end of year, 2007). A short excerpt:
"Polytrack is going to make our racing surface a safer place for our horses and riders," said Joe Harper, Del Mar's president and general manager, in a statement. Work is expected to begin on the one-mile main track in January, pending final approval.
The Barbaro update will likely again be after training hours this morning. It is likely to be busy this morning in anticipation of some very wet weather coming through later today and tomorrow. Lets hope we do not get all the rain they expect so racing can stay on the turf this weekend (Red Aspen).
Posted by Alex at 10:34 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 138
Posted November 21, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1072: I just spoke to Peter (5:40 pm) and while he had not heard from Michael yet this afternoon he knows Michael was visiting Barbaro. Peter assumes all is well given that he had not heard anything.
Fleet Indian has undergone surgery: Fleet Indian Has Fetlock Fused, Injury Occurred in Breeders' Cup and it is sad to report that Diesis has been euthanized: Champion and pensioned sire Diesis euthanized at age 26. Diesis was a great racehorse and sire.
Update 1071: A few links of interest. The first looks at the journey of Mike Rea. It provides much background of Mike's life, and is within the broader context of the Barbaro connection: Beyond Brokenness.... The second contrasts Fair Hill and Philadelphia Park. And finally, here's Barbaro's Baby Brother (note: a couple of months old I guess).
Update 1070: I just spoke to Andy Durnin at Hollywood Park. He breezed a few horses this morning on the Cushion Track and was happy with the surface. Lets hope the woes of the weekend are behind them.
Alie from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 6:01 pm):
I just return from NBC. All was great. Everyone happy & excited to see treats for man & Horse. There was a stampede by the staff, for the carrot cake, and chocolates. Corrine & I served it up.
I talked to Mrs. Jackson as I was going in. What a wonderful lady. The weather is sunny but a little cool. I would think the big guy will get out today. Have a good day. God Bless.
Update 1069: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was leaving the track from my first set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. It was a chilly morning this morning for sure. Long johns are now required wear.
I caught up with Barclay Tagg by phone. Showing Up boarded a plane at 8:30 am this morning to head to California for the Hollywood Derby on sunday. He worked yesterday, I think in about 1: 02. A nice easy work to set him up for the weekend. NoBiz worked on sunday for his race on saturday (The Remsen). Barclay said it was a good work, he walked yesterday and galloped this morning.
update tuesday, november 21, 10:45 am
Ouiji Board is now in Japan getting ready for her race this sunday, the Japan Cup. Our final piece of stakes news for the weekend races, Red Aspen worked yesterday in preparation for the April Run Stakes at Laurel. She worked well (under Tim as usual). The April Run Stakes will likely be her biggest test to date.
Update 1068: A great article on synthetic tracks by Mike Jensen: Barbaro injury a 'wake-up call'. Much of the article includes quotes from Fair Hill people Kathy Anderson, Michael Matz and Graham Motion. (Michael Dickinson used to train at Fair Hill and owns the tapeta surface which Fair Hill is putting in place.) Here are a couple of excerpts:
Asked about the possibility of local tracks such as Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park going to an all-weather artificial surface, Motion said, " They'd be foolish not to jump on the bandwagon. Delaware has struggled with their entries all year. It changes it around. All of a sudden, if they get a Polytrack surface, they become the track that everybody wants to run at. It's that simple, really.
"I can't believe it wouldn't be worthwhile for them to do it. They go from being a place that's struggling to fill the entries to a place where everybody is going to want to be."
"Bigger fields means bigger handles," said Matz, who conditioned Round Pond to a victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, becoming the first trainer since D. Wayne Lukas in 1999 to have a Kentucky Derby winner and a Breeders' Cup winner in the same year. "Bigger handle means more people coming out to watch the races. And eventually, more people go to the casino. I just wish they would look at it that way."
There are a lot of angles to consider - tracks in England tried a number of surfaces before hitting on the preferred one - but Motion said he sees one ultimate bottom line. He pointed to a newspaper on his desk at Fair Hill with a photograph of Pine Island off her feet rolling on her back during the Breeders' Cup. It was an image used in newspapers all over the country.
"Look," Motion said, "this is what we're trying to get away from."
The Barbaro update this morning may be delayed to after training hours, I am not sure yet. Please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 9:45 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 137
Posted November 20, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1067: I spoke to Peter Brette earlier this evening who had heard from Michael who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Michael had Barbaro outside. It was another upbeat report.
Update 1066: A thorough article on the problems Hollywood Park is having with its Cushion Track :Track maintenance problems persist. It is refreshing to see how open they are about the problems they are having and how they believe the problems are attributed to their own efforts at maintaining the track, rather than the product itself. Lets hope they move up the steep learning curve quickly. I was told this morning the track was in good shape for training.
Update 1065: A wonderful article from the Baltimore Sun celebrating Barbaro's six months of recovery: Still legging out life as long shot. It includes the following excerpts:
When the demands that come with owning Barbaro become too much, Gretchen Jackson simply goes to see her horse.
"I go there and just sit down in the bedding in his stall and talk to him," she said last week. "He's a very gentle stallion. He allows me to be able to do that, and I find it very relaxing. I look at those legs and think about what they were able to do, to think how they carried him to victory in the Kentucky Derby."
"He bit me accidentally one day. I know it was an accident. He was as surprised by it as I was. He tried to put his head on my chest to say he's sorry."
McCafferty paused and smiled a little sheepishly.
"People say, 'What is she talking about?' But it was in his eyes. It was, 'Oh my gosh, I didn't mean it.' ... He's just a cool horse with a unique personality."
As for today, on the six-month anniversary of Barbaro's arrival at New Bolton, Jackson said nothing special is planned.
"It's the same as any other day," she said. "We're all just going to keep plugging along."
...but of course Edgar surprised everyone with a visit!
Update 1064: Mrs. Jackson just called to thank everyone for your continued efforts to move the anti-slaughter bill forward.
I did ask her about Edgar's visit. She mentioned that when she was with Edgar visiting Barbaro Barbaro was lying down, feet forward eating the grass Mrs. Jackson brought along. Edgar was able to sit down next to Barbaro and talk to him. In Mrs. Jackson's words ... he loves the horse, its a true relationship!
Update 1063: Its six months since the Preakness, six months of recovery, and Barbaro had a special visitor this morning ... Edgar Prado. I believe this was Edgar's fourth visit, and Edgar actually provided me with this morning's update. Edgar noted Barbaro had put on a little weight (since his last visit), had a bright eye, and was actually trying to bite him a little! Edgar then waited around to meet with Mrs. Jackson, who visited Barbaro with cut grass etc. Barbaro was more tranquil during that visit (according to Edgar). I actually drove over to New Bolton to meet Edgar. He was with his wife Lillian and son Luis. He was very relaxed and happy to see Barbaro.
Update 1062: The early update is again from Michael's visit last night (sunday 6 pm visit). Michael was again positive in his assessment of Barbaro when he visited. I saw Michael as I was finishing up my first set and coming off the track.
It is a nice crisp morning this morning. As I was coming out on my first set I noticed a heron wanting to share the pond, adjacent to the horsepath I use, with the many geese. Of course this created quite a lot of noise. Red Aspen is scheduled to work after the break. She is pointing for a stakes race at Laurel this coming weekend.
Update 1061: The Hollywood meet did race sunday after problems with the track were addressed saturday morning: Hollywood Races Sunday After Addressing Cushion Track Complaints. Lets hope this is a problem that is resolved. The Fair Hill Tapeta track should be in place within the next couple of weeks, especially if we have some dry weather.
Russell Baze is now only eleven winners shy of Laffitt Pincay's all time mark of 9,530 winners: Baze Teams With Hollendorfer for Triple. Barring accidents I am guessing Baze will eclipse the record before I gallop my first horse on the Tapeta surface!
We had a Fair Hill visitor on saturday, although I confess she did not visit the barn. This is her report (posted in Barbaro Updates: 136 timestamp 5:10 am):
I spent a magical morning at Fair Hill Training Center Saturday. (Sally, the manager and Alex were both so patient and helpful with emailing me regarding a possible visit). As I was driving to the Center during a crimson sunrise, I drove past woodlands, ponds with geese, meadows, heard morning birdsong....and that was only the beginning. As I arrived and looked down the hill in the early morning light, I could see two horses and riders on the track for their morning workout. I walked down towards the track and found a nice spot to absorb the incredible privelege of this experience. This spot happened to be where each set entered the track from their barns. I was so close, I could look into the horses' eyes as they walked within a foot of me, I could hear the horses breathing, their hooves hitting the plush deep cushion of dirt track and I even had the privelege of hearing the riders talk with their mounts. I was struck by the beauty of these magnificent creatures...their athleticism, unique personalities and amazing training. Each rider greeted me with 'Good Morning' despite their busy workday and it was easy to discern their proficiency and how incredibly tuned into their mount each rider was. It was like watching the horse and rider move smoothly as one. It was so amazing to be so welcomed and able to get so close to such incredibly talented horses and people. One trainer asked me if I was cold because it was a bit colder than it had been recently. My honest answer was "I am too awestruck to be cold". I stayed until the track equipment came out to groom the track after the morning workouts were over and it seemed like I was there five minutes at most. I bet it sounds like I am totally enamored...I will simply have to go back again soon before I suffer withdrawl!
I was spotted on TV in Oklahoma (posted in Barbaro Updates: 136 timestamp 4:36 am):
Hey, Alex! Our local ABC affiliate just ran an anti-h/s story. They mentioned Barbaro, and you, Alex, were interviewed.
Afterwards, they ran the 2 OK senators' numbers for people to contact. Fantastic!
I am not sure when the Barbaro update will be this morning, but hope it will be before 9 am.
Posted by Alex at 10:47 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 136
Posted November 18, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1060: Peter called, he visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon (sunday afternoon). Another upbeat report. Peter changed Barbaro's bandages, took him out to graze and gave him a good grooming. Barbaro remains comfortable.
Update 1059: Another lovely tribute to Barbaro.
Update 1058: Trouble at Hollywood Park with its new Cushion Track: Hollywood track closed for training. It is apparently uneven in patches. A Todd Pletcher-trained horse broke down on the track this morning (it was open for training for the first hour, until about 7am). A grader is currently on the track (8:40 am California time). My understanding is the track was great up to the point the meet was opened, at which time it was rolled to get more speed.
Update 1057: I caught up with Michael Matz as I was grazing Hawty Creek. He confirmed Barbaro had another good day yesterday (saturday). I think it was a pretty good week all around for Barbaro. I am not sure when today's update may appear, Dr. Richardson is still away. Of course as I was grazing Hawty Creek I spotted Round Pond getting turned out in the paddock. She sure does act like a champion, very full of herself!
This is the time of year that many of the racing outfits migrate south. Michael and Graham Motion are two outfits that set up stables at Palm Meadows, in Florida. Michael ships his entire stable down there, Graham leaves a barn of horses at Fair Hill (splits his stable). Vans have been leaving Fair Hill all week shipping horses down to Florida. Some of Michael's help are also already down in Florida. I believe he will remain at Fair Hill for about another week and then all will be done at Fair Hill for Michael until the spring. Of course I will need to figure out a new means of getting Barbaro updates when they do finally leave, but anticipate getting a once a day update to not be a problem.
It is sad to report the fatal injury of Mountain General, who ran in the first race at Aqueduct yesterday (saturday). He had served racing well.
Tributes for Desert Orchid continue in Britain over this weekend.
Update 1056: Peter Brette just left a voice message that he did visit Barbaro today (saturday afternoon) and all was well. He took him out for a nice pick of grass. Basically, it was another upbeat message.
A nice day at Delaware Park this afternoon. Good to watch Ramon Dominguez ride three winners (one was an easy win for Michael Matz). I saw Ramon's wife sharon and had a quick chat with her. Also saw and thanked Ramon for his support of the website. While I knew Sharon because she used to gallop for Graham Motion at Fair Hill, I had never met Ramon until today.
It was good to get to Delaware Park for the final weekend and got to say good-bye to people heading south for the winter. I am now in the Delaware Handicap Room (bar) where all the colors and names of the winners of the Delaware Handicap are displayed. This includes Blessing Angelica who won in 1971 and 1972. She is the grand dam (mother's mother) of Hawty Creek.
Update 1055: No update from Peter Brette yet but he is planning to visit Barbaro sometime this afternoon. I'll try to get a report later after Peter's visit.
Update 1054: As suspected the rest of the morning (except Hawty Creek) were all works, and each horse actually worked pretty well. It is a lovely morning. I went to see Round Pond grazing in her paddock and Better Talk Now, as he was going out hacking. I believe this is the last time he will be ridden for a little while. I am now planning to go to Delaware Park, a friend has a runner in the stake, and it is Delaware Park's closing weekend. I will also endevour to get a Barbaro update sometime either late morning or early afternoon.
Update 1053: I saw Michael Matz as I was going on to the track on Rocky, my second set. Michael said that when he saw Barbaro last night, he was in good order. So, another upbeat day to report yesterday. It's a crisp, gorgeous morning...a little cooler but looks like it's going to be a bright, sunny day. The dirt track has recovered nicely from all the rain and there are lots of horses out working this morning. When I saw Michael I was on my way to work Rocky from the gate. He broke out nice and sharp in company and then worked 3/8ths without breaking a sweat. A very nice work from the gate.
updated saturday 7:30am
Update 1052: This week we had the passing of a true champion, who was loved by a nation: Dessie in the famous five. Russell Baze also continues to close in on a remarkable record: Baze 15 From Pincay After Friday Night Win. I am still amazed he spoke to us about Lost in the Fog (LITF) on the night LITF was diagnosed with cancer and while Russell had just ridden seven consecutive winners without mentioning the feat.
It looks like Brother Derek is taking a liking to the turf: Turf seems to agree with Brother Derek. He is due to work on sunday in preparation for the Hollywood Derby, which will include the Jackson owned, and Barclay trained Showing Up (who we know loves the turf).
Here is the web version of my most memorable birthday gift, and again, the Barbaro update this morning will be a report from last evening.
Posted by Alex at 10:38 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 135
Posted November 17, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1051: I just spoke to Peter who had spoken to Michael, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. Barbaro remains comfortable and got to go out today and graze. Another good report.
Alie from Kennett Florist had this to report in the comments (timestamp: 6:30 pm):
NBC is a great place today. Everyone was in good moods. The cupcakes were a big hit. The weather today is soooo nice. You don't even have to wear a coat. Barbaro & the donor horses got treats too.
Alex, have a great birthday- cheers.
Alie ... I did! I spent most of the afternoon reading the many birthday cards I have received. Some very kind words, thanks.
Update 1050: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I just spoke to Peter (12:05pm) to confirm.
Fondmort continues to improve: Fondmort up and on the mend. This short article includes a nice photograph of Fondmort, his trainer Nicky Henderson and the staff at the equine hospital. It remains a day-to-day situation.
Bernardini versus Barbaro for three year old of the year. The topic of conversation is heating up. Here is one vote for Barbaro (from someone who does not get to vote but ...): Vote here is for Barbaro.
Update 1049: Dr. Richardson is at a conference for a couple of days so the morning update will be from Michael's visit the evening before. I saw Michael coming off the track from my first set and he said Barbaro was well last night. Michael also got to see his left hind foot and expressed satisfactioon with what he saw. The rain seems to have cleared out and there is a nice cloudless sky this morning. Lets hope we have some dry weather now. I am about to get on Chappy.
update friday, 7 am
Update 1048: My birthday party was fantastic, what a great surprise last night, and your generosity appears unbounded! Included in the gifts was a lovely album which I am sure will take me a nice long time to read through, a Fred Stone print of Barbaro, and very generous cheques for Freedom Hills and Lost and Found Horse Rescue Foundation. The latter I am particularly psyched about given their recent needs noted here: Help needed now. I'll need to call them this morning and alert them to your funding. Wendy took pictures.
As I noted yesterday, Graham Motion trained his 1,000th winner: Trainer Motion reaches 1,000-win milestone. Here is the quote from Graham:
"It was nice to have it happen here," Motion said. "It is pretty nostalgic because this is where I started. I was actually driving around the backside earlier on and went by my old barn.
"It was nice to do it here with Adrian, who has been with me from the start," Motion added. "It is not something you aim for but it is neat to do it. I have had backing of some tremendous owners throughout the years and the owners that got me started were right here in Maryland."
I also wanted to note there is a charity auction this saturday being held to support the MO horses that many here have also been supporting. The following is some text that explains what is happening with the auction:
The St. Louis Horse Heroes Charity Benefit will be held Saturday November 18th at the Lakeside Cafe at the St. Louis Zoo. Doors open at 6:30pm with a live auction at 9:00pm. ALL proceeds from this special event will benefit the Humane Society of Missouri, Missouri Equine Response Service, and the Eureka Fire Department Mounted Search and Rescue Team. Call Dawn or Lori at Homestead Equine 636-451-4655 to RSVP, make a donation, or to bid on any of the donated items available. Charity dinner and auction event tickets are $65 per person.
On September 27th a double decker semi carrying 42 horses bound for slaughter over- turned in the median on I-44 near St. Clair, Missouri. The Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch was called and immediately dispatched a team of veterinarians and volunteer rescue workers from Missouri Emergency Response Services to help free the severely injured horses. Twenty six horses were rescued and all have experienced severe trauma, including cuts, lacerations of their legs, head trauma and partial paralysis. They are being medically cared for and rehabilitated so they will now have a second chance at life. St. Louis Horse Heroes is a non-profit organizations formed by a group of veterinary professional in the St. Louis area including Homestead Veterinary Hospital, Foxcreek Veterinary Hospital, Equine Medical Associates, and Mid-Rivers Equine.
Subsequent to receiving the above notice I am told that they are at capacity with the attendance of the event (great news). If you want to see a list of items and bid, contact Dawn or Lori at the above number.
Dawn had sent me a couple of Barbaro hats for Michael to sign, they will be auctioned off. I also contacted a friend of mine who works for Godolphin. They sent over a jacket (signed by Frankie Detorri), a pen and hat. I have bid on those gifts!
The Barbaro update should be before 9 am.
Posted by Alex at 10:29 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 134
Posted November 16, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1047: Wendy's report from her visit to Fair Hill this morning. Make sure to check the photos.
Update 1046: I just spoke to Peter who had spoken to Michael who visited Barbaro earlier this afternoon. Peter said Barbaro remains comfortable. Peter was pretty upbeat.
Update 1045: When I was at Graham Motion's this morning Sue noted Graham was two winners shy of the 1,000 mark. Well according to Sue's News Graham has now reached 1,000 winners with two more winners today, Everyman and Lucky Bachelor. Both winners ridden by Ramon Dominguez. Congratulations to everyone at the Motion barn!
Update 1044: A quick update on the Fair Hill Breeders' Cup horses. As I was grazing Hawty Creek, Round Pond was turned out in one of Michael's paddocks. She looked very calm and happy with her head down grazing. All was peaceful ... until someone came to catch her and bring her in. Then she started performing, I am guessing she just was not yet ready to return to the barn.
I went over to Graham Motion's barn once I was done. Lisa was finishing tacking up Better Talk Now and took him out for a very light jog in the fields out back. I walked out to watch along with Sue, Graham's office manager. He was very relaxed and happy, picking grass along the way as he was walking out and back from his short exercise. Sue actually maintains a news section on Graham's site: Sue's news. The november 14 entry includes pictures of the now retired Film Maker!
Update 1043: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming on to the track for my second set on Chappy. He had heard from Dr. Richardson. I was the first out this morning on the track just after six am and the moisture laying on top of the sealed track reflected the moon and a bit of the sunrise which in turn provided a nice source of light. I did also see Barclay Tagg as I was coming off the track on my first set. He is pleased with both Showing Up and NoBiz as they prepare for their respective stake races next weekend. Barclay said NoBiz is scheduled to fly to Hollywood Park on Tuesday.
updated thursday 7:15am
Update 1042: The weather will determine the timing of the Barbaro update this morning. While it does not appear to be raining this minute, it is forecast to do so. If training is not effected by the rain, the Barbaro update should be before 9 am.
Noting the weather impacting training, we are still awaiting the completion of our synthetic training track (Tapeta). It should be complete by the end of this month, but of course the weather may also impact the completion date. The surface has recently been introduced at the Godolphin training center in Dubai: Godolphin opens synthetic training track. I am really looking forward to not having to gallop on a sloppy hard dirt race track!
It is nice to see the traveling queen Ouija Board has been voted European Horse of the Year: Ouija Board Honored With Second Cartier Horse of the Year Award. She is now preparing for the Japan Cup, to run a week on sunday.
Posted by Alex at 10:36 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 133
Posted November 15, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1041: No update this evening. I was out for dinner when I usually get an update. I did want to mention that Ramon Dominguez, who rode five winners from five rides on monday actually extended it to a seven race win streak early on tuesday. That was his record for consecutive winning rides, so congratulations to Ramon.
Update 1040: I caught up with Kathy Anderson this morning, who visited Barbaro yesterday. She also gave an upbeat assessment. She was present when they were changing his bandages (on his right hind) and thought Barbaro looked good. She also noted Barbaro has been moved to a new stall, a little larger, which he seems to appreciate. Michael also told me this morning that Barbaro did go out yesterday.
Update 1039: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I saw Michael Matz on my second set jogging Rocky. In fact, when I came on the track, Michael said he hadn't heard yet. But as I completed my first turn, he was able to relay the positive news. I am now jogging my second mile on Rocky and watching Graham Motion's horses gallop by. It's a foggy, soupy day at Fair Hill.
updated wednesday 6:55am
Update 1038: Hard Spun won his second race at Delaware: Hard Spun's victories get colt some attention. This will be his last start at Delaware, the meet is all but over. I had neglected to mention that Kentucky Derby favourite Sweetnorthernsaint also ran at Delaware a few days ago: Sweetnorthernsaint glides and again the field was short. I am sure Steve Klesaris did not expect to have to face the Derby favourite with Master of Disaster. Final piece of racing news, Brother Derek may try the turf, I assume they know who may be Showing Up for that race!
Hopefully the Barbaro update will be before 9 am again.
Posted by Alex at 10:30 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 132
Posted November 14, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1037: I just spoke to Peter, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. He was upbeat (Peter). He gave Barbaro a good grooming, although he did not take him outside as it is still pretty damp around here.
Here is an update on Fleet Indian: Fleet Indian Continues Stall Rest. Ouija Board has now arrived in Japan as she now prepares for the Japan Cup, a week on sunday: Ouija arrives in Japan.
Update 1036: New Bolton's Barbaro update: Barbaro doing well after cast-removal:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro continues to improve following the removal of his right hind leg cast last week, according to his medical team. "Barbaro's strength on the right hind limb has been gradually improving," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "It is normal to be a bit stiff and weak after being in a cast for a long time; however, he is capable of bearing full weight on the previously fractured right hind leg even without the supporting soft bandage."
Barbaro's lower right hind leg had been in a cast since surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20.
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. "The left hind foot continues to slowly grow but still has a very long way to go," said Dr. Richardson. "Barbaro's attitude and appetite remain excellent, and he still takes short walks outside to graze each day if the weather permits."
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, November 28, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 1035: A quick update from Delaware Park. Ramon Dominguez had five rides yesterday, and five winners! The two year old Hard Spun is running today at about 3:30 pm. He is being touted as a horse to follow by the media, who will likely be in attendance today.
Update 1034: New Bolton will have a release out on Barbaro today. I just called to confirm.
Here is Desert Orchid's 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup win, that was so lovingly described in update 1028 by Sue McMullen. It goes without saying that the media coverage he has been getting on the national news in the UK (and BBC America last night) is a strong signal this horse was loved by a nation.
Update 1033: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming out on Hawty Creek to take her out back as my third set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson.
I caught up briefly with Graham Motion while on my second set jogging Chappy back before her gallop and while they haven't made a final decision, it looks very unlikely that Better Talk Now will run again this year. It is more likely that he will take the winter off before beginning his campaign again next year.
updated tuesday 7:25am
Update 1032: Another lovely tribute to Pine Island: Pine Island, and her legacy will continue: Phipps Reinforces Commitment to Research Following Pine Island's Injury.
Following Desert Orchid's passing yesterday, he is in all the national newspapers in england this morning, making the front cover of a few. Here is a piece from the Daily Mail.
The Barbaro update should be before 9 am this morning. Keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:36 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 131
Posted November 13, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1031: I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael who visited Barbaro this afternoon. While he was not able to go outside (due to the dreary weather) he does remain comfortable.
Update 1030: Frank DeFord offers his vote for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year: My Sportsmen: Roy & Gretchen Jackson, Michael Matz. The article ends:
But in saving Barbaro, the Jacksons and their trainer made so many people care -- even people who never paid much never mind to horse racing. They embroidered their sport with goodness and nobility and made us all see that sometimes dreams can come true -- even if it wasn't the dream we first had in mind. Barbaro didn't win the Triple Crown. Because of the people who loved him, he won life.
Update 1029: Barbara Livingston has created a Pine Island Album. She sent me the link along with this message:
This album was so tough to put together...
I'll never forget photographing this large, kind lady. People who didn't see the beauty in her face didn't look closely. Her brilliant, large eyes were so trusting and content, reflecting the love she felt from those around her. Her actions were proud and comfortable, her manner quiet..and all wrapped in a most beautiful oversized package.
A girlfriend who worked with her called Pine Island "Big Moose" in the affectionate way possible. I thought of her as a gentle giant. Everyone at her barn adored her and showered her with affection - which she happily accepted. While her long ears swept forward for peppermints, they also pricked at any gesture of kindness.
It's amazing to think of what she accomplished this year - and, to think, she was still learning about the game. She was such a shooting star.
We are heartsick for the Phipps' family, Claiborne Farm's staff and the McGaughey crew.
Update 1028: Britain will morn the sad lose of Desert Orchid who passed away at the age of twenty seven today. Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:
There will be tears shed today all over the UK and beyond with news of Desert Orchid's death. Mercifully, he died peacefully in his sleep, aged 27 and wouldn't have known anything about it. He leaves so many indelible images having made National Hunt racing in the UK his personal stage and since his retirement in 1991 he made numerous personal appearances, at racecourses that were the scene of his greatest triumphs and at charity events to raise money.
It would be impossible to do him justice in a few short paragraphs and there will be numerous tributes to him in the trade press outlining his versatility, the different distances he won over, his four King George chases and Cheltenham Gold Cup, Whitbreads, the weight he carried, his bravery and the following he had. So I thought I would share my own, favourite memory.
He lived a good life, doing what he loved to do, but I nevertheless feel very emotional today as he has been part of my life for so many years. I was at Cheltenham in 1989, the day he won his Gold Cup. I recall shaking with nerves beforehand as 'Dessie' always hated Cheltenham. His greatest victories, apart from that one, were at right-handed tracks and the big question was, how would he cope being there again? It was desperately cold and grey, with the snow-capped hills of Prestbury in the background providing a natural amphitheatre to the drama that was about to unfold on the course. It was so wet they had to inspect at noon to see if racing would go ahead, even the fire service had to pump water from the course. 50,000 people packed the stands, straining to see what the iconic grey horse could do but what a dilemma for his adoring owner Richard Burridge. This was no longer just about a course Dessie hated, but horrendous conditions that would make it even worse for him.
Those of us who were there that day will never forget it and I swear that when he jumped the last fence, upsides the mud-loving Yahoo, 50,000 people gave Desert Orchid wings and carried him up that gruelling, Cheltenham hill. Always flamboyant and a show-off over his fences, he responded to the greatest cheers and screams that Cheltenham racecourse has ever witnessed, before or since, and it was purely Dessie's iron will, bravery and total inability to allow another horse to be ahead of him, even at home, that gave him the strength to dig deeper than he had ever had to and overcome his hated course and the mud. People who had backed Yahoo because of the desperate conditions and Dessie's known dislike of the course, started screaming for Dessie in tribute to his brave attempt to do what so many thought impossible for him, hats were thrown in the air and afterwards, grown men were in tears. I have never experienced anything like it on a racecourse and suspect I never will.
Years later, when I became a trustee of a racehorse charity, Dessie came to stay with us before appearing at our open day, and I got to meet the 'great one' himself, the first of many such, highly cherished occasions. There were none tougher on the racecourse, none as competitive and nothing could leap like him at the penultimate fence at Kempton (where he knew the cameras were) and yet, put him next to a person in a wheelchair or out hacking accompanying a child on a pony, when he was retired, and he was a lamb. I truly believe there will never be another one like him.
A couple of articles from the media: DESERT ORCHID DIES AGED 27 and British Steeplechasing Star Desert Orchid Dies at Age 27.
Update 1027: Mrs. Jackson just called to thank everyone for their support today, and over the next few days, as we continue our efforts re: the anti horse-slaughter bill.
Update 1026: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). I saw Michael as I was coming on to the (very grotty) track on Chappy for my fourth set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson.
It is raining in spots this morning, but enough to turn the track to a mess. Today was a mix of track, outback (Hawty Creek) and Shedrow.
Today is national call in day for anti-horse slaughter. Debra, WI (timestamp 1:27 pm) details the plan for the day.
Update 1025: I was curious to see how popular the Melbourne Cup is in Australia, when compared to the Breeders' Cup in the US. The Breeders' Cup attained a TV audience of about 770,000. The Melbourne Cup: 2.272 million. I guess if you did a percentage of total population viewing the difference would be much greater. The Melbourne Cup meet also broke attendance records: Melbourne Carnival Breaks Attendance Mark. So while racing in the US seems to be a waining sport at the present, with plenty of problems to fix, this is not the case elsewhere.
I did watch the ESPN broadcast yesterday (over a lovely sunday dinner). A few observations; Ouija Board is wonderful; Trevor Denman was not (and he usually is); Churchill Downs let Fleet Indian down desperately; Pine Island soooo sad; Edgar Prado looked so sad after his win; Fair Hill had a great day.
The Barbaro update this morning may be delayed, the weather looks grim, and if that is the case we will be in the shedrow and I'll get the update after training hours. I say "if that is the case" as it may be clearing up.
Posted by Alex at 10:34 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 130
Posted November 11, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1024: No Barbaro update tonight. Peter decided not to visit (it is his day off). While Michael was planning to visit on his way back from the races, when I spoke to Peter it was a little early to have heard. I will wait until the morning report.
Update 1023: Indian Charlie's final edition includes a piece on Barbaro: Indian Charlie: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
The Daily Local has a nice article on Barbaro: Barbaro gets his cast off which effectively summarizes most of what we know. Nice to see quoted from Mr. Jackson:
"That's great news, now isn't it," said Roy Jackson, the colt's owner. "The cast was replaced by a padded-splinted bandage for support. He's gained back the weight he lost this summer. Still, Barbaro's day-to-day routine is going to be the same until the (left hind) hoof grows back."
"Each horse is different," Jackson explained. "It's a slow process. The hoof grows, then it slows, then grows again. It's guesswork."
Barbaro will remain at New Bolton until the hoof is healed, Jackson said. He noted that they have been contacted by Kentucky breeding farms.
"They are mainly just checking in, seeing how he's doing," Jackson related. "It's way too premature to have any type of discussions."
Update 1022: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was grazing Hawty Creek adjacent to Michael's barn. Peter told me last night he may go and visit Barbaro today, if he does I will try to catch up with him later.
Could Barbaro be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year ? He's certainly got the beating of at least of the athlete's listed!
update 9:15 am, sunday, november 12
Update 1021: Barbaro's morning update will be later in the morning, much as this first update is late (I just got up).
In the meantime, Daryl Smoliak wrote a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune: Letter of the day: Senate should put an end to horse slaughter. A very concise argument against horse slaughter. Very well done.
Update 1020: I spoke to Peter Brette who had spoken with Michael who had visited today. Barbaro remains well as he is getting used to his new legware. Michael had not taken him out to graze, but I believe was planning to on his return visit later today.
Kathy Anderson also called, and had visited yesterday and a couple of times over the last week. She noted that when she visited yesterday evening Barbaro was munching away and had a good eye. Barbaro is in a phase of adjustment to his splint (he has been laying down a little bit more lately), but that is to be expected as he gets used to putting a little more weight on his uncasted leg.
Update 1019: A couple of quick articles.
Barbaro gets plenty of support while recovering. Well we know that! The article notes that Penn's message boards had received more than 50,000 messages by early August. Impressive. I thought it was worth adding that this site has received over 74,000 comments to date (we might have had 4 comments pre-Barbaro), and the discussion boards have had over 33,000 messages posted. Barbaro is having an effect!
I am sure I mentioned this in one of my Breeders' Cup updates, but here it is all official: Derby Winner Giacomo Retired to Adena Springs. I am grateful to Steve Willard for not only providing us updates on Giacomo throughout the late summer and leading up to the Breeders' Cup, but also allowing me to visit with Giacomo right after his final race. He's a dude (Giacomo ... and Steve).
Update 1018: Congratulations to Michael Golden on the win of Kielbasa Queen (Queenie). Here is the chart. I just spoke to Tim, he is very happy. Queenie also cooled out well. I did ask Tim the other day how many wins this year he would need to consider it a good year. Well eight was the answer, and we now stand at eight.
Tim told me a nice story this morning which I will cut very short. A couple of days ago, when he was at Laurel, he caught up with Larry King a guy we used to know many years ago from Fair Hill. Anyway, Larry now works on a farm, I think essentially as a private trainer. His boss ended up with a horse I used to own, and gave away (to someone else) on the promise she would receive a good home, for life. Well for whatever reason the owner I gave her to was unable to keep her. Larry's boss ended up with her (they were neighbours). Jilladella is now 24, and living a lovely life somewhere in Maryland (I think) with her own personal paddock, coming in everyday after 2 - 3 hours of being outside. I was very happy to hear.
Update 1017: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was coming off the track for my third set. He had heard from Dr. Richardson.
It is another beautiful morning this morning at Fair Hill. A gorgeous sunrise with very mild temperatures. For my first set I was coming away from the barn to go to the track, and the Canada geese that have been sitting on the pond to the right of the horsepath started making a big noise (there must be 500 of them) and my horse weeled to the left. Naturally I grabbed for the neckstrap ... it was not there! Note to self, check tack more thoroughly before going to the track. Fortunately I did not fall off.
update 8:35 am, saturday morning, november 11
Posted by Alex at 1:32 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 129
Posted November 10, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1016: The Barbaro update may be a little later in the morning this morning.
The following is a summary of what occured during a Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in Lexington, held in October: Racehorse Welfare and Safety Recommendations Released. It is obviously good to see members of the industry working hard to find some well needed solutions. However the piece of the article that concerns me most is this:
As the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit does not have any authority to implement these recommendations, the proposed strategic plan will be forwarded to potential responsible parties for their consideration.
Update 1015: I just spoke to Peter, who had spoken with Michael. Michael visited Barbaro this afternoon and took him out to graze. Barbaro remains comfortable.
Here is the piece on Horse Slaughter that ran last night on WGAL, Channel 8 (NBC): Horse Slaughter: This video may be disturbing to some viewers. Thanks to Lor in PA.
Update 1014: A good commentary on the state of horse racing in the US as illustrated by the recent Breeders' Cup: Vantage Point: Fragile racehorses deserve protection. The following is an excerpt:
Goodman also argued for Polytrack, a blend of recycled rubber, sand and pieces that look like carpet remnants.
Who could be opposed to better footing? Some thrifty track owners, for sure. But gamblers may scoff, too. How do you handicap one race on a Polytrack versus another on a dirt oval?
Gamblers are the financial feed of horse racing, but safety is a blue chip to the bottom line when it comes to product protection.
The only comment I take issue with is the recommendation to shorten races. Shorter races simply asks the horse to run faster, it won't make things safer I think.
I had been trying to get an interview with Michael Dickinson leading up to the Breeders' Cup. He was in Dubai, so I was unable to do so. Now I know why: Godolphin replaces Al Quoz dirt surface with Tapeta.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Al Quoz. A beautiful training establishment.
Update 1013: Sue McMullen has e-mailed this follow up of the European contenders for last week's Breeders' Cup (as well as a note on the Melboune Cup 1-2 and Collier Hill):
From the trainers available to comment (some are enjoying well-earned vacations) there are no adverse reports on any of the euro runners, so here's a bit of news on some of them.
Her legion of fans will be delighted to hear that following Ouija Board's minor injury in the Filly and Mare when she was struck into, she has recovered very well and is due to fly from New York to Japan tomorrow. The injury never gave cause for concern, merely requiring a dose of antibiotics, so plans for her are unchanged. The globe-trotting superstar is set to contest the Japan Cup on 26th of this month, following which she will make her final racing appearance in the big international meeting in Hong Kong on December 10th. What a truly remarkable horse she is, shuttling around the world, on and off aeroplanes, so often in strange stables and unfamiliar surroundings yet she continues to produce brilliant performances. News of her will be reported here on the approach to both these races.
Following his gallant fifth after missing the break in the Mile, Rob Roy will be enjoying a sunnier climate as he is due to continue his career in California with Neil Drysdale. The belief is that the US style of racing will suit him better and his supporters here will be rooting for him in his new home. He truly deserves to win a big one.
Juvenile filly Satulagi has returned in good order. Hopefully they brought back the right filly as she was so covered in dirt after the race they might have mixed her up with another one. She is reported as being well after her game attempt on dirt and will continue her career in Dubai, where the racing season has just started.
A number of the BC runners were due to retire after the event, including our wonderful, charismatic George Washington. There will be more news of him when trainer Aiden O'Brien returns from his much-needed vacation. Also off to stud are Hurricane Run, Aussie Rules, Ad Valorem, David Junior, Araafa and Librettist, the Godolphin Miler who didn't regain winning form after his two classy performances in France earlier this year. He missed the entire season as a three-year-old due to various problems so did well to return at four and win big races. Stablemate Echo of Light was another disappointment in the Mile and is now in Dubai where he will be aimed at the Carnival and World Cup Meeting. This four-year-old son of Sheikh Mohammed's favourite horse, the late Dubai Millennium (died of grass sickness), is a very impressive looking individual and has scored in Group 2 and 3, but has yet to win a Group 1.
Turf hero Red Rocks will, as already reported, return next year to defend his title, all being well, and his early season target will be the Dubai Sheema Classic. Our horses certainly clock up the air miles.
A quick note about the two Japanese raiders, Delta Blues and Pop Rock, who took first and second in the Melbourne Cup. Both horses will be aimed at the Hong Kong Vase on December 10, where they will meet with that grand old warrior and hero of the Woodbine International, Collier Hill.
As I was grazing Hawty Creek, I looked across to Michael Matz's barn. Michael was in one of his paddocks removing the rug from one of his horses who was busy grazing. I had to ask, but I already knew, it was Round Pond.
Update 1012: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (thursday night). I saw Michael Matz on the track on my second set as I was jogging 'TV star' Chappy back before her breeze. It's another gorgeous morning here at Fair Hill...no cloud cover yet warm. I'm about to take Hawty Creek out back; she can get a little too excited on the race track. So going out back is good mental and physical therapy.
Tim's horse Real Lace ran a troubled third last night at Laurel Park in her first race against winners. She cooled out well and looks good in her stall this morning.
updated friday 7:20am
Update 1011: A nice article that discusses the global impact of the Breeders' Cup: Global Impact. 'Course as a Fair Hill resident I would have prefered Ouija Board and Red Rocks stay at home! That being said (in jest of course) I am hoping Sue McMullen will provide us a wrap up of how the European contigent is doing after the Cup.
The Barbaro update should again be sometime early this morning. The piece on Horse Slaughter did air last night on WGAL (Alex on Lancaster, PA TV). I have not seen it yet, but hope it appears on the internet.
Posted by Alex at 10:34 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 128
Posted November 9, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1010: Peter visited Barbaro this afternoon and gave an upbeat report. Barbaro was laying down when he arrived. He got up, and Peter gave him a good grooming. Barbaro went out later in the afternoon for a pick of grass.
Update 1009: CBS Early Show this morning: Barbaro's Cast is Removed.
Update 1008: Its turning into a beautiful day! I just visited Graham Motion's barn and saw Better Talk Now in the porta pad. I was chatting with Sue about how well he looks, and she remarked that he is the best turf distance horse in the country. And that he is! I was actually escorting Mike Jensen (Philadelphia Inquirer) around, he is doing another story. It should be (another) good one.
The horse slaughter piece for which I was interviewed will run tonight, 11 pm, WGAL Channel 8 (NBC) out of Lancaster. It may repeat on their 5 am newscast. Apparently a trailer for the piece ran yesterday, and I was in the trailer!
Chicago did a piece last night: Special Report: Out to Pasture (note: includes some disturbing video).
Update 1007: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (wednesday night). Just saw Michael Matz as I was coming up to the track on Chappy for my second set. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. It's a pretty warm, almost muggy morning. I hear that Better Talk Now arrived back in Fair Hill yesterday. Film Maker was turned out in a big paddock somewhere, due to her retirement she's not coming back to Fair Hill. This is one time Film Maker beats Ouija Board...to the retirement shed!
updated thursday 7:10am
Update 1006: Steve Haskin writes this wrap-up article on this year's Breeders' Cup: Steve Haskin's Breeders' Cup Wrap-Up. It was nice to see Steve highlight Graham Motion's horses:
Unsung heroes -- It's about time we pay tribute to stablemates Film Maker and Better Talk Now, who have run in the Breeders' Cup (Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf and John Deere Turf, respectively) the past three years and have quietly compiled a record of one victory, three seconds, and one third. And despite their success on Breeders' Cup day, as well as the rest of the year, they rarely receive a mention.
The 6-year-old Film Maker has now run 16 consecutive races without finishing worse than fourth, and only two of those races were fourth-place finishes. She's also never been worse than fourth in nine grade I attempts. In her career, she's been in the money in 23 of 27 races, while being ridden by 11 different jockeys, and in her last six starts, the only fillies to finish in front of her have been Ouija Board, Gorella, Honey Ryder, and Intercontinental.
The 7-year-old Better Talk Now has now finished first and second in the John Deere BC Turf (gr. IT), has won the grade I Man o'War, United Nations, and Sword Dancer, and the grade II Dixie, Sky Classic, and Knickerbocker, and yet still was 18-1 in this year's Turf, with hardly anyone writing or saying a word about him. It's time these two old warriors receive their due. These kind don't come around very often.
The article then goes on to praise Giacomo!
I did catch up with Joe Deegan who mentioned Perfect Drift appeared to have some kind of lung infection coming out of the Breeders' Cup Classic, hence his dull performance. This is explained here: Breathing problem sidelines Perfect Drift, likely out for Clark Handicap.
Here is the outcome of the White Horse Award for which Mike Rea was a finalist: Heroic assistant starter receives White Horse Award.
The Barbaro update should be getting closer to an earlier time this morning. It seems the rain has gone away, although I am sure the dirt track will be sealed and hard as a consequence of the weather.
Posted by Alex at 9:57 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 127
Posted November 8, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1005: Just spoke to Peter, who had spoken with Michael. Another comfortable day for Barbaro.
Alie from Kennett Florist left this message (timestamp: 8:36pm):
Just got back from NBC and found out Barbaro is craving red apples lately :) Everyone at NBC is in a great mood despite the nasty weather here. There was a photographer following Dr. Dean around today. Dr. Dean and the staff of NBC were pleased and amused by the fact that Barbaro got one write-in vote for congress here in Kennett Square. Diane who works here volunteers at the polls every year, and as a matter of public record, we found out first that Barbaro has one vote for congress!
Hope all is well with you.
Update 1004: The ratings are in for the Breeders' Cup and the TV audience was at an all time low: Final Breeders' Cup TV Ratings Slump 53%. While some of the decline can be attributed to a move to a cable network, I think it is safe to say a significant decline is due to the sport itself. The article suggests other ESPN media products may have also eroded the audience; sorry, I just don't buy that one. If you have a TV, and an internet connection, you watch live racing on TV. I thought this quote from the article was simply odd within the context of a significant decline:
John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content said, "We are off to a very successful start in the first year of our partnership with the Breeders' Cup. Our multi-media coverage allowed racing fans to follow all the Breeders' Cup racing on numerous ESPN platforms. We gratified with the results and look forward to a many more years working with our Breeders' cup partners."
I would be very interested in what the first year goals were for the TV audience if this was a great start! Rather than be pleased with this, why not try to fix the product (horse racing as a form of entertainment) ?
Update 1003: Sue McMullen sent the following e-mail in response to Ramon Dominguez's comments about his Breeders' Cup rides (update 1001):
I was interested to read Ramon's comments about the luckless Rob Roy missing the break and how he would have made (I think at the very least) second. I was gutted for the horse and was really rooting for him. Presumably Ramon knows Sir Michael asked the starter to allow the horse in the gate without an attendant, which was ignored and certainly caused him to miss the break. The presence of a man looming over him would seem odd to a horse who has never experienced it and Sir M was very unhappy. I guess it brought back memories of a similar situation at the gate with Zilzal back in (I think from memory) '89 when the starters were pulling him around despite Walter Swinburn pleading with them to just leave him alone to settle for a minute. If ever a horse deserved to win a big one it is poor Rob Roy. It isn't clear whether Sir M's request on Saturday was ignored, declined or in the heat of the moment, simply overlooked. But it was very unfortunate nevertheless.
Unfortunately for Ramon, he was not aware of any gate instructions until after the race.
Update 1002: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I just stopped by Michael Matz's barn and Michael gave me the update.
update 10:20 am, wet wednesday november 8
Update 1001: It is a miserably wet day (although warm). So training has been pretty much limited to the shedrow, I will venture over to Michael Matz's barn later this morning for the update.
In the meantime Ramon Dominguez called and I asked him about his Breeders' Cup. He had three rides, two seconds and a fast closing fifth. Here are his remarks.
Friendly Island: second.
Ramon was not surprised he ran so well (finished second) as he was a Todd Pletcher-trained horse. He was very happy with the way he ran, the horse really tried hard to put in a great race. Each time Ramon asked for more the horse was able to give it to him. He was able to track around the inside most of the way. A very good result. (he paid $50 to place).
Rob Roy: fifth.
Rob Roy also ran very well. He completely miss the break, and broke very flat, this was very unfortunate. All his past performances suggested he needed to be closer to the pace. Despite this he came charging down the lane, he finished fifth, but was probably only beaten a half a length for second. It is likely the break cost him a second place finish.
Better Talk Now: second.
He ran an awesome race. He relaxed well early like he has been doing all year. He ran huge. He had an excellent trip, and coming down the lane he really dug in. Turning for home I did not think we had a chance to win. At the eighth pole I then thought we did have a chance to win. The other horse was able to pull out a little extra when we got close to him. It was a great race.
Overall I had a great day. That night I needed to get to bed early, the following morning drive to Cincinatti airport and fly back to ride at Delaware Park on sunday.
I asked Ramon if he had yet to ride on a synthetic track (Keeneland etc.) While he had not, he had heard nothing but good things about the surface from all those he had spoken to about the new tracks. No kickback, more consistent footing, keeping horses more sound etc.
Thanks Ramon for everything. A class guy, and second leading rider in the country!
Update 1000: A great NPR interview with Dr. Richardson: Barbaro's Cast Removed; Recovery Continues.
I am sure the Barbaro update this morning will be delayed. Its raining pretty hard outside so I am anticipating a morning of shedrowing. If that is the case, I will stop by Michael Matz's barn once they are done to get the update.
This Racing Post article by David Ashforth is very interesting in the wake of the Breeders' Cup: Polytrack could be the way forward at future Cups (Thanks Sue McMullen for finding it). It mentions that Churchill Downs may be looking at Synthetic tracks. Here is an excerpt:
Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs, explained the racetrack's position on Polytrack and other synthetic surfaces. He said: "Polytrack looks like a surface that is working out well.
We would like to see how it performs in a summer climate because we race here quite a lot during the hot summer months. We may get the chance when Hollywood Park races on Cushion Track next spring and summer.
"We also want to see how these synthetic surfaces react over time. Do the components sustain over a period of time? So we want to look for at least one year. If it is still performing as well as it seems to be at the moment, then we will give it very serious consideration. Safety is number one. If we can, we want better conditions for horses and riders. California may give us an indication of which way to go."
Posted by Alex at 9:59 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 126
Posted November 7, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 999: I just spoke to Peter, who had heard from Michael, who visited Barbaro this afternoon. All remains well.
Michael's take on the eclipse awards: Matz: Bernardini still deserves title. An excerpt:
"I'm obviously prejudiced, but I think it would probably be a little hard for them to give Barbaro champion 3-year-old and not Bernardini," Matz said. "It'd be nice if they could be joint 3-year-old champions, but I don't know if that could be possible and I don't think you could give Bernardini nothing for campaigning all year. Bernardini campaigned all year. He was second to Invasor; it wasn't like he ran a bad race."
Update 998: Barbaro radiographs taken on November 7 (cast removal) are now online: Barbaro Photo Album
Update 997: A quick update on Mike Rea from his sister: FINALLY - AN UPDATE FROM CATHY. It appears he and Tammy were runners up for the White Horse Award, so congrats! It would be great to help push Mike's Homemaker Petition: here is a hard copy, you can also sign online at the bottom of Mike's site.
Update 996: I have been waiting to see if the sythetic track discussion would be accelerated by the tragic loss of Pine Island and injury of Fleet Indian. Andrew Beyer seems to think so: Breakdowns to Sharpen Surface Debate.
I hear they have packed down the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park, I guess to get better times. I am really not sure why we are obsessed with times. When I was in england, I had no clue how fast races were being run!
Update 995: An article that illustrates how tough it is for Pine Island's owners to have see her succumb to tragedy when their hopeful expections were to emulate other horses they have owned, and win another Breeders' Cup: Breeders' tragedy hits Phipps hard. The article also connects Phipps to Michael Matz, I am guessing the horse they are referring to is Dancinginmydreams.
Update 994: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I walked to the track with Michael Matz's set while on my fourth horse. Michael had heard from Dr. Richardson. Michael also visited Barbaro last night after racing at Delaware. He was happy with how Barbaro was handling his new legware. There was certainly an upbeat mood as we walked to the track.
It was a lovely crisp morning again this morning at Fair Hill, with a crimson sunrise. Barclay Tagg is here, and seeing him, Michael and Graham Motion in the clocker's stand makes you realise that perhaps Fair Hill is the place to be!
update 8:40 am, tuesday, november 7
Update 993: Pine Island was buried at her home in a quiet ceremony: Pine Island Buried Monday at Claiborne Farm.
A Japanese one-two finish in the Melbourne Cup: Delta Blues holds off stablemate to win Melbourne Cup. Sue McMullen sent this report:
You've really got to hand it to the Japanese. They keep bringing their horses out of Japan and taking on the best. With Deep Impact so unlucky in this year's Arc and Heart's Cry running a blinder in the King George at Ascot, they've now hit the jackpot with an incredible one-two at the Melbourne Cup, with Delta Blues first and Pop Rock second. Both horses are trained by the same man, Katsuhiko Sumii, and Delta's jockey,Yasunari Iwata had never ridden before in Australia, which is another amazing feature of this victory.
It will come as little surprise that both horses carry the blood of the horse that put Japan on the racing map, whose untimely death rocked their bloodstock industry. Delta Blues is by Dance In The Dark, who is by the one and only Sunday Silence. And Pop Rock is out of Pops, a Sunday Silence mare. What a great tribute all these horses pay the great one himself.
This is a very important victory for Japan and will be celebrated for a long time. Yasunare Iwata had tears streaming down his face when he was led back and there would have been plenty more tears shed in Japan.
Yeats finished seventh, having missed the kick, but Kieren Fallon reported that having experienced the race for himself he realises they had the wrong horse for the Melbourne Cup as that type of race is run very differently to a European race. The best European finisher was Land'N'Stars who finished fifth, having showed his usual fighting spirit and a very proud trainer Jamie Poulton says he might return next year.
Posted by Alex at 9:58 AM
| Comments (753)
Barbaro Updates: 125
Posted November 6, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 992: A couple of reports from the Breeders' Cup. The first from Julia B (timestamp 11:25 pm) includes the following excerpt:
Guess who came up to me and asked about Barbaro - Lillian Prado - she just walked up to us on the way out of Churchill with her kids and liked our Barbaro sign - got to meet them and she showed me a picture of Barbaro kissing Edgar ! I was so excited ! I asked her for her autograph and she was tickled !! She is a beautiful lady and very kind !
The second from Debbie B. (timestamp: 12:19 pm) includes the following excerpt:
The races were a mixed bag of nuts. A lot of the favorites did not win and I bet them. The betting lines were crazy long. I was really hoping for a safe race for all, that was not to be. I was so happy for Ouija Board, Film Maker, Better Talk Now and Premium Tap. Most especially to Round Pond!! I wish that Berni had a better ride. I wonder if Alex is correct about the ride he got, what a shame if so. He was so great to watch in action. Invasor is incredible, they both looked amazing. I was very happy that George did not have a bad race. Glad to see that Giacomo is retiring, wish that Perfect Drift was going to be as well.
For me, I had a lot of fun meeting quite a few "Fans of Barbaro".
Update 991: New Bolton's update on today's cast: Barbaro's cast removed today:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's right hind leg cast was removed today, according to his medical team. "Barbaro was placed under general anesthesia for the cast removal," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "In addition, his foot was trimmed and a new shoe glued on. A padded bandage with plastic and fiberglass splints was placed on his lower limb for support."
Barbaro's lower right hind leg had been in a cast since surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20. "He had a perfect pool recovery and immediately stood; he walked easily back to his stall," said Dr. Richardson. "He used all of his legs quite well."
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, was also fully evaluated while he was under anesthesia. "There are no signs of new problems with that foot, but the hoof needs several more months of growth before we will know how much foot structure and function will be recovered," said Dr. Richardson.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, November 14, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 990: I just spoke to Mrs. Jackson. She told me that Barbaro had his cast replaced today (I did not ask what with) and all was well with the process (pool recovery etc.) She was pretty upbeat about it. I assume more details will be forthcoming in the New Bolton release tomorrow!
Update 989: Sue McMullen sent this e-mail that previews the European and Japanese runners for tuesday's running of the Melbourne Cup:
First run in 1861, the two mile Group 1 Melbourne Cup, at Flemington Park, is an institution in Australia and a national holiday. Here's a brief word on some of the European and Japanese challengers.
It will be a very emotional victory for Coolmore if Yeats wins the race that 'stops a nation', not only because of their disappointing performance at the Breeders' Cup, but due to Kieren Fallon's ongoing problems. Currently banned from riding in the UK and France, awaiting trial for alleged race fixing, Fallon told The Times newspaper that if his trial is not resolved by the start of next year's Flat season, he will have no choice but to retire as Ballydoyle will be forced to replace him as senior jockey. Without that job, giving him access to top horses in all the top races, he would be confined to riding in Ireland and that just isn't enough for a man who has ridden at the top level in the UK and around the world. Fallon opted not to apply for a licence to ride at the BC and headed straight for Australia where he has been helping to prepare Yeats for tomorrow's mission, an unusal situation for a jockey as they usually fly in very close to the race. Yeats is reported to be in good form and Fallon is keeping quiet about how he will ride the race, whether to be up with the pace or ride for a closing finish. Some believe Yeats is a stayer and too slow for the Melbourne Cup but Fallon insists that as a Group 1 winner over a mile and half, he has both speed and stamina. He is regarded as Europe's best hope in the race.
Geordieland will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, bubbling with confidence after his BC double and trainer Jamie Osborne is hopeful of a big run from the five-year-old. Another British contender Glistening, trained by Luca Cumani, has been given the worst draw in the race, 24 of 24, but is in good form.
Despite finishing last in the Caulfield Cup, Jamie Poulton says Land'N'Stars should do better over the longer trip and wider track and that Caulfield came a bit soon after his trip to Australia. Locals have dismissed him as a complete outsider but Poulton says his horse loves a fight and if it becomes a test of stamina he will give a good account of himself.
The two Japanese contenders Pop Rock and Delta Blues are reported to be in good form but the latter's jockey, Yasunari Iwata, has never ridden in Australia and that would be a concern for punters. Pop Rock attempts the trip for the first time but was staying on well at Caulfield, which suggests this distance won't inconvenience him. David Hayes, trainer of Caulfield Cup winner Tawqeet, owned by Sheikh Hamdan, says he wouldn't swop him for anything else in the race. Efficient attempts to become the first three year-old to win since 1941 and on just his seventh run.
Here is additional coverage from the Sportinglife:
AUSSIES FEAR YEATS, and the final list of the twenty four runners: Final field with barriers for 2006 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
I went to the Melbourne Cup a few years ago when Makybe Diva won her first cup. It was a fantastic day of racing. The race has a deep traditional, and is known as the 'race that stops a nation' as everyone in Australia pays attention and enjoys the festivities and has a bet. I think the same can be pretty much said for those in New Zealand too!
The US has yet to send a horse over to compete in this race. A few possible reasons ... two miles is very long for US horses, the potential to receive a high handicap weight, and the logistics of being there so close after the Breeders' Cup (i.e. if you have a good horse, you will need to forgo a run in the Breeders' Cup Turf). Better Talk Now was being seriously considered for this race. Ultimately they decided not to go, and run a race in Canada and then the Breeders' Cup Turf instead. That decision is looking very good now.
Update 988: Sue McMullen sent this report of the European runners in the Breeders' Cup and some additional European perspective:
What can one say about Ouija Board? Following her second victory in the Filly and Mare, she is reported to have come out of the race very well, ate up on Saturday night and now heads for Japan. As stated here last week, her wellbeing is of paramount importance and although they plan to retire her after Hong Kong in December, they will take it a day at a time. It might be worth a brief mention that her immensely proud owner Lord Derby is a class act and not because of his title. It takes more than that nowadays to earn respect and 'Teddy' as he is known to his friends is held in huge regard by the media here. Some owners of top horses hog the limelight, as if they are the ones up before dawn, mucking out, grooming, exercising and training the horse. But Lord Derby has continually stood apart, praising the efforts of the team at Ed Dunlop's and most of all, his cherished mare who he is so proud to have followed around the world, always in her shadow and sharing her victories with her many fans.
Turf hero Red Rocks will head to Dubai for the Sheema Classic in March and another prime target for next year will be to defend his title at the BC. Hurricane Run's performance underlined concerns that Churchill wouldn't suit him as jockey Christophe Soumillon reported the horse struggled to keep himself balanced on the turns. A tall horse, Hurricane needs long stretches to show his best, but it is also possible he is now over the top as he has struggled to regain winning form after his King George victory at Ascot, although it is also true that he has been unlucky at times.
The Mile was a disaster for the Euro camp. Favourite Araafa ran no race at all and felt flat according to John Valazquez. The real hard luck story of the race was poor Rob Roy, who has been dogged with back luck all year. Despite missing the break, Rob Roy was a fast finishing fifth, from dead last turning into the stretch. A frustrated Sir Michael Stoute blamed the poor start on the presence of an attendant in the gate. Our horses are not used to this and Sir Michael had personally requested that the horse be left alone. The Ballydoyle horses failed to show their best and the Godolphin pair were very disappointing.
Juvenile filly Satulagi appeared to hate the kickback and ran flat. She's had a hard season but it's probably also fair to say she was punching above her weight in that company.
Ballydoyle reported satisfaction with George's sixth in the Classic, on a surface that was totally new to him. It is testimony to his aggressive approach to racing that he tried his best on what must have felt so alien underfoot. He showed his customary reluctance to load into the gate, but it was a shame to see him dragged by the ear. David Junior finished stiff and sore from the race, in which he didn't show his usual zeal and now heads to stud in Japan. A great 1-2 for the Maktoum family, who are as much a part of our racing scene here as Newmarket itself, but they have apparently been subject to criticism by one leading US racewriter complaining they just buy everything and could ruin the sport. We heard similar views here years ago but they are now integral to our racing and it's worth making a couple of points. They have pioneered keeping horses in training when the custom for many years was to whisk top horses off to stud as quickly as possible. They are great sportsmen and never shirk a challenge and whilst they sometimes try to buy the best, they are sometimes turned down. Money doesn't always buy everything. Plus this year we have seen many 'small' owners winning top prizes and Godolphin hasn't done so well. Racing is cyclical, that's the beauty of it and I'm sure the Maktoums presence in the US will enhance the sport, not detract from it. But they certainly don't need me to defend them.
Having said they keep horses in training it is therefore surprising that having run second in the Classic, Bernadini is set to retire. This is a great pity as it would have been wonderful to see him next year. He didn't have the best run of the race and was possibly unlucky but you can't take anything away from Invasor and, at risk of sounding like the Maktoum PR officer, Sheikh Hamdam is a kind, gentle individual who has done so much for the sport.
Another memorable Breeders' Cup but marred by the tragic death of Pine Island. Let us hope this will add fuel to the gathering momentum for track changes in the US. Aside from the unkind nature of this surface, we were of the opinion here that there was a track bias, which favoured the rail, and there are surely questions to be answered.
Update 987: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (sunday night). I saw Michael Matz as I was going to the track on my third set. A beautiful, crisp morning this morning here at Fair Hill. The moon provided a nice source of light for the first set at quarter of six. Right now I am walking back from the track on my third set, a horse I just broke from the gate to get his gate card.
Michael returned from Kentucky yesterday and visited Barbaro in the evening. He was happy with how Bobby was doing.
Round Pond has also returned from Kentucky and Michael said that as soon as the sun is up, she'll be turned out in the paddock.
(monday November 6th 7:20am)
Update 986: The Barbaro update this morning may come at anytime. I say this because I think Michael Matz flew back from the Breeders' Cup yesterday, so is likely going to be in Fair Hill this morning. I would not anticipate it coming too early though.
For extensive Breeders' Cup coverage you can visit one of the big three online racing media:
Daily Racing Form
I am also hoping to hear from Sue McMullen sometime today for a review of the European runners, as well as a preview for the Melbourne Cup (Tawqeet Favored to Win Melbourne Cup Ahead of Northern Raiders and Foreigners hoping to steal Melbourne Cup), which is tomorrow (or actually later today I guess).
Posted by Alex at 10:16 AM
| Comments (574)
Barbaro Updates: 124
Posted November 5, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 985: jfrank17 has posted a lovely Tribute to Pine Island.
Alie, from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 12:12 am):
It was a great day in Kennett Square. We just got home from Erin’s fundraiser. And I am happy to report. Thanks to help from many of you. We raise 19,568.00 for Erin & her family, today. We are all beat. But it was worth it. Thank you all so much. Anne & Terry are beyond words.
Also Rach received a call from her doctor at the benefit. She is now in the hospital. No measurable trace of iron in her blood. She is getting a transfusion. I will keep you up to date.
Good night & God Bless.
P.S. Peg thanks for driving down to help us. Hope you got home safely.
I am now home. Thank you again!
Update 984: Peter Brette visited Barbaro this afternoon. Dean Richardson had already taken him out for his pick of grass so Peter just groomed him and changed his bandages. Another upbeat report. As we heard from the press coverage late last week, they are planning to replace Barbaro's cast likely early this coming week.
I'm on my way back home from the Philadelphia airport. Thankfully, US Air honored my November 6th ticket for November 5th...apparently I had booked the wrong date and was oblivious to this until I'd arrived at the airport!
Update 983: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (saturday). I just spoke to Peter Brette who had heard from Michael Matz. Peter may be visiting Bobby later today so I'll try to catch up with him after I land in Philadelphia.
I went over to the backside this morning to check on the Fair Hill contingent (Round Pond, Better Talk Now, and Film Maker). All three looked very relaxed in their respective stalls, munching on hay from their hay nets hung by their doors. I hung out with Raphael who works for Graham Motion for a few minutes. So all looks well after their great performances yesterday.
I do think this might have been Film Maker's last race. Her Breeders Cup record of two seconds and a third is outstanding. It's just unfortunate for her that she ran in the era of Ouija Board. I think it's fair to say that Ouija Board is the best mare to have raced in many, many years. Good luck to her in her final starts this year in Asia.
I'm now in the airport waiting to come home. (sunday 11:45am).
Update 982: The morning after the Breeders' Cup. I am planning to go to the backside and try to catch up with the Fair Hill horses. Last night I caught up with Steve Willard and hung out with Giacomo, who is now retired to stud. He looked great after the race, not a care in the world. I also watched Premium Tap getting his bath after his race. I asked his connections about his tongue habit. Apparently he carries his tongue out all the time! I also saw Invasor and Bernardini cooling out. This morning Calvin Borel, who won on Street Sense, was first out galloping at six this morning. I guess after winning one of your biggest races, its work as usual the next day for Calvin.
It was a great day of racing yesterday, and of course Fair Hill really showed itself well on the national stage. Pine Island's tragic accident is a stark reminder racing in this country has a long way to go in terms of investing in horse safety, to become an attractive sport. As a horseman, you can never get used to seeing a horse lose its life doing what it is doing.
I will try to get a Barbaro update later this morning before I fly out.
Posted by Alex at 1:46 PM
| Comments (391)
Barbaro Updates: 123
Posted November 4, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 981: We are operating on the assumption, as always, that no news is good news. Alex didn't get a Barbaro update this evening...understandably with the Breeders Cup today but likely all is well. Alex will have lots more news regarding his day at the races when he gets back tomorrow.
Update 980: A great win in the Breeders Cup Classic by Invasor. However, I was severely disappointed with the ride Bernardini got. It looked like Castellano panicked and he went too soon. It's a shame if this is Bernardini's last race...going out on what appeared to be nothing more than a jockey error.
I just walked over to the backside with Invasor and am stood outside the receiving barn. I saw and congratulated Lord Derby on his nice win today (Ouija Board). I also saw John Sherrifs and congatulated him on Giacomo's nice fourth. A great day of racing that was tragically marred by Pine Island's fate. I am very grateful to everybody who made this possible for me. Thank you.
Update 979: Better Talk Now, clearly the most underrated horse in North America, showed that he is the real deal just getting beaten by Red Rocks. Another great ride from Ramon Dominguez who must have thought he had the race won at the quarter pole but Red Rocks is the real deal too. Just stood at the paddock waiting for Bernardini and those who wish to challenge him.
Update 978: A brilliant win by Round Pond but obviously, hearts go out to Pine Island and all her connections.
Update 977: A great ride by Ramon Dominguez second in the Sprint on Friendly Island, his first ride on the horse. Clearly no one was going to beat the winner but a nice result for Ramon.
Update 976: Great tickets at the Breeders Cup! Just been screaming and hollaring Ouija Board and Film Maker down the lane. It's a shame one of them had to beat the other...two world class mares. Maybe I can start to forgive Frankie for his terrible ride on Swane.
Update 975: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). I spoke with Peter Brette who had heard from Michael Matz this morning.
I am just now walking into Churchill Downs for the Breeders Cup. Absolutely gorgeous day- a little crisp but excellent horse racing weather. Anticipating probably the best day of racing I have witnessed since Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer in the 1988 Breeders Cup Classic. I am psyched ! (saturday 11:45am)
Update 974: A short article with a nice picture of Redaspen's win last night in the Navajo Princess Stake. She cooled out well and went home for a few days to her farm.
Posted by Alex at 1:35 PM
| Comments (858)
Barbaro Updates: 122
Posted November 3, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 973: Tim's horse Redaspen won a nice stake race last night at the Meadowlands. Congrats Tim! Barbaro update will be later today as has been routine lately.
Update 972: Peter Brette visited barbaro today (friday) and all remains well. An upbeat report.
I just arrived in Louisville, KY and am waiting for my host, Bob, to come pick me up at the airport. Really looking forward to tomorrow. (friday 6:10pm)
Update 971: Another comfortable night for Barbaro last night (Thursday night). I just spoke to Peter Brette. Peter may visit Barbaro later today so I'll try to catch up with him again for another update.
Update 970: Just caught up with Doug O'Neill, trainer of Lava Man. I asked him:
Me: Why did you come to Kentucky early and your thoughts on the Polytrack at Keeneland and how Lava Man is doing:
Doug: I wanted to get the plane ride out of the way. I wanted to get Lava Man settled. He had trained in California on the Cushion Track and he was happy training on that surface so it made sense to train on the Polytrack. He worked really well over it. Lava Man could not be doing any better right now. His typical training routine is to jog a mile and gallop about a mile and a half.
Me: Thoughts on the Classic:
Doug: Many people are calling it a two horse race, but I think it is wide open. Lawyer Ron has a huge chance. The turf miler from europe (George Washington) scares me, this is a much deeper field that people give credit.
Me: What is it like to train a horse like Lava Man?
Doug: Its great being around a champion. He does something special all the time, every time you lead him over there. Everyone wishes they would have a horse like this.
Me: On Barbaro
Doug: It was obviously very unfortunate, but Barbaro has really brought a lot of good to the sport. Many people now looking at racing can see we are caring people, and technology has really moved forward.
Doug: Say high to Andy for me.
Note Andy Durnin provided me Doug's cell phone number (and Steve Willard's, Gary Steven's etc. etc.).
Update 969: Eight horses ridden. Now waiting for the shuttle to the airport, flight to Pittsburg and then on to Louisville, to arrive about 6 pm.
Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:
It would be unfair to omit French filly Germance (Christophe Soumillon) who slipped under the radar for my preview of Euro runners as she was already in the US, having shipped from Keeneland after her fourth to Vacare in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget the Silver Hawk filly is very good, winning five of her starts this year including a Group 1 at Longchamp but she will need to improve to get past an in-form Ouija. Reports on the latter are bullish as she is doing very well at Churchill but they have taken each race at a time with her waiting for her to show that she's had enough of a long season shuttling around the world and some hard battles. Trainer Ed Dunlop this week told journalists who expressed these fears that she is "no ordinary horse."
A final word on our 'Gorgeous George', Aiden O'Brien this week told journalists at a press conference that they believe they have absolutely nothing to lose going for the Classic as they would have expected George to win the Mile. With the absence of Barbaro it would be wonderful if George can overcome everything and reproduce his talent on the dirt and able to take on Bernadini. What a race that could be.
Update 968: Lots of articles, in no particular order.
Racing: Shadow of Barbaro stalks Bernardini's march to greatness
Meaningful win for Matz, Prado
Bernardini awaiting his biggest challenge
Bernardini Still In Barbaro's Shadow
Matz's return trip already a winner
A dark day Matz can't forget
Michael Matz wishes Barbaro could be here
I may have one more short interview before I leave for the Breeders' Cup. The Barbaro update will be later this morning - early after, and I will continue to post Barbaro updates as I have them while in Kentucky.
Posted by Alex at 9:31 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 121
Posted November 2, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 967: Just spoke to Peter Brette. He was busy in the barn today, so was unable to visit Barbaro. Sue Danner visited in his place. While Peter had not heard, he had just spoken to Michael so assumes all is well. They just had a nice stakes winner at Churchill, which Peter was pretty psyched about. Sangarita, a really nice filly. Oddly enough my Breeders' Cup host had $50 on her to win!
I asked Peter about Round Pond's chances on saturday. He reported that they are really happy with the way she is doing. The draw (close to the inside) is not ideal, but Peter says she should make a very strong showing. Peter's Breeders' Cup Classic pick: Bernardini, although he has heard they do really like George Washington (Aiden O'Brien's crew).
Update 966: I just spoke to Lisa Davison. Both Better Talk Now and Film Maker galloped about a mile and five-eighths / a mile and three quarters today. She said that while the turf was soft (they were off the turf this afternoon at the races) she thinks it may dry to good by race day. Both horses went well and she says that neither could be doing any better right now. Both will likely have the same training routine tomorrow.
Lisa said she saw Bernardini, Ouija Board and Lava Man on the track today. They all looked great. I asked Lisa for her Classic pick: Bernardini (who knew ?) She likes Invasor as a possible upset.
I had e-mailed Michael Dickinson on another matter (track surfaces) and asked for his Classic pick: Bernardini!
Update 965: A new update from new Bolton: Barbaro's cast may be removed soon which confirms reports we heard from the press this morning:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's right hind leg cast may be removed soon, according to his medical team at the George D. Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center. "Barbaro had radiographs taken through his fiberglass cast on November 1," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "The healing appears substantial enough that we plan to remove his cast and replace it with a splinted bandage some time next week." Barbaro has been in a cast since surgery at the hospital following his accident at the Preakness on May 20.
"We'll decide whether to remove the cast while Barbaro is under general anesthesia, after we evaluate additional radiographs," said Dr. Richardson. "If we change the cast, it will be done under general anesthesia, followed by another pool recovery."
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, November 7, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 964: I just caught up with Gary Stevens who many would regard as one of the best jockeys in North America over the last twenty years. He also rode for a short while in Europe. Here are Gary's thoughts on synthetic tracks, Barbaro and the Breeders' Cup.
On synthetic racetracks:
This may be the saviour to racing here in America given what we have seen in the brief introduction we have had so far from meets at Turfway Park, Keeneland and now beginning at Hollywood Park. It seems to show that speed is not as important as stamina, and our over focus on speed has not been good for racing. More of a focus on stamina has to be a good thing.
The story is still heartbreaking. My hat goes off to his owners, the vets, Michael Matz and his staff, everyone around this horse. It is very unfortunate to happen to any horse, but to happen to Barbaro, on the national stage, it was awful. This year we have had two exceptional horses (Barbaro and Bernardini), I would love to have seen them face each other in the Breeders' Cup Classic. It would simply have been a great rivalry, and great for our sport. I couldn't pick one over the other. The performance of Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby was as good as a performance as I have ever seen.
Biggest Breeders' Cup Moment:
First win aboard In the Wings in 1990
Breeders' Cup Classic Pick:
Update 963: I just caught up with Steve Willard (Giacomo) and Joe Deegan (Perfect Drift).
Steve: Giacomo is in terrific form. He went to the shute today, jogged around for a while. When on the track he jogged to the 3/4 pole, turned in and stood. He then galloped a mile and three quarters. Steve is extremely happy with the way he is doing. Giacomo was taking a nice hold, pulling Steve without being out of control. Likely his training will be similar tomorrow.
Joe: Perfect Drift is also in good form. Joe let him stretch his legs a little, not quite at an open gallop. This afternoon he is coming over to Churchill Downs to "paddock school" (he is based at the Sports Spectrum, which is close to Churchill). He will train at the Sports Spectrum tomorrow and then ship to Churchill after training. Joe figures Perfect Drift is ready for a big effort.
Me: The race will have plenty of speed up front (Brother Derek, Suave, with Bernardini within 3 - 4 lengths). This sets up well for both these horses, Giacomo and Perfect Drift. I want to thank Steve and Joe for their pre-Breeders' Cup insights. I will follow up with both post Breeders' Cup with their thoughts on the big race.
Update 962: Barbaro has been nominated for Performance of the Year award by SouthernSportsAwards.com. I am sure Barbaro would appreciate your vote!
Update 961: A quick review of the awards dinner last night for "Team Barbaro": Team Barbaro, Richardson, Crist Honored at NTWA Dinner. The following is an excerpt:
Upon accepting the award, Roy Jackson joked that Barbaro had asked him to make some remarks on his behalf. "He wants to first honor you men and women of the press for your honest and straightforward reporting of this whole event. You've done a great service to the racing industry," Jackson said, citing the subjects of laminitis and the anti-slaughter bill.
"Barbaro also wants to thank the multitude of people that sent notes, carrots, you name it," he continued. "Lastly, he wanted to thank Dean Richardson and the whole staff at New Bolton for the care they've given him."
Update 960: Another comfortable night last night (wednesday night) for Barbaro. I just spoke to Peter Brette, who had heard from Michael.
Ramon Dominguez just called from Kentucky. This morning he rode Rob Roy for the first time, one of his three mounts for saturday. He galloped him on the turf and let him blow out 3/8ths of a mile. He was very happy with him, he went very easily, he was relaxed and then eager when asked. Ramon did note the turf was pretty soft and likely by saturday the turf will be soft, or good at best. This is not really drying weather. This type of turf should suite both Rob Roy and Better Talk Now. Ramon met Sir Michael Stoute for the first time today (Rob Roy's trainer).
Ramon did not ride Better Talk Now today, but is looking forward to a good ride on saturday (While Ramon has ridden Better Talk Now many times in races, Lisa always gallops him etc). He should like the distance, the ground and hopefully will get an eager pace up front. If that happens he has to have a chance. He is never given the respect he deserves, and has won this race before.
Ramon also did not ride Friendly Island, and has not partnered this horse, so saturday will be the first time. Ramon is used to riding horses for the first time in big races. As long as he handicap's the race well, that is usually all the preparation a top jockey needs.
I asked Ramon what it was like to ride on the biggest day of racing. He said that he tries to keep things normal. He obviously gets a little "pumped up" but that is a good thing. It is important for a jockey to deal with any pressure well, because if they don't it can directly effect the horses he is riding. Ramon said on saturday morning he will go to the barn area and meet with the trainers of his horses. He will discuss tactics then so as not to leave everything to the last minute in the paddock. In the meantime, Ramon is flying to New York to ride Aqueduct's friday card.
Posted by Alex at 4:30 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 120
Posted November 1, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 959: No update yet this morning (as has been typical this week) but news last night from the awards dinner suggests they are contemplating removing Barbaro's cast and replacing it with a splint: Barbaro's vet says cast on injured leg could come off next week, excerpt:
Dr. Dean Richardson said Wednesday night that Barbaro has been walking so well lately, that "we're probably going to be removing the cast next week."
The cast would be replaced by a splinted bandage. The 3-year-old colt's left hind foot continues to grow back after 80% of the hoof was removed when laminitis struck in mid-July.
"He still does not have a normal left hind foot," Richardson said. "He still needs a normal hind foot before he can live a normal life as a horse. He still has a long way to go."
I caught up with Barclay Tagg briefly. Showing Up is preparing for the Hollywood Derby (November 26) and NoBiz for the Remsen (November 25). Both are doing well. Funny Cide is having a couple of months off, and will be brought back to the races in the winter. I asked Barclay for his Breeders' Cup Classic prediction, no question, Bernardini!
Update 958: The Barbaro update will again be later this morning.
Tragedy has struck during preparations for the Melbourne Cup (tuesday, televised on HRTV), Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:
A sad reminder that we are never far from tradedy with our racehorses. Tragedy has struck the Melbourne Cup, following news that UK trainer David Elsworth's contender Wunderwood had to be euthanised ater a training incident in which he sustained multiple fractures to his pastern during a warm up for a gallop at Mornington racececourse. Initially it was thought he'd merely pulled off a shoe but it soon became apparent that the damage was much worse and they had little choice but to end his suffering as he was in a lot of pain.
A distraught David Elseworth told www.racingvictoria.net.au: "It's the worst kind of thing that can happen. We live with these horses and we get very close to them. It's upsetting and it's like losing a friend or a member of the family."
The new synthetic track at Hollywood Park was tested for the first time under racing conditions yesterday: Cushion Track Praised as Hollywood Opens, and looks to have been well received. The following is an excerpt:
Trainer Richard Mandella has 32 stalls at Hollywood and is having to keep part of his large stable at Santa Anita. He said that not only does he like the new surface, he feels it is keeping jockeys from rushing horses early.
"It's obvious you don't want to let them go running off the first quarter for no good reason," Mandella said. "We've been doing that in California for too long, and it makes for boring racing and injury to the horses. I think that in itself is going to be a safety factor. Letting them get their legs under them and then get going, I think, is going to make for safer, more exciting racing."
Obviously Richard Mandella's words are high praise indeed for this type of racing surface. While I have never raced on dirt, I have breezed many horses on it, and been on the losing end of many breezes. Having the dirt hit you in the face is really unpleasant, so I can see how jockeys will gladly change their racing tactics without the kickback.
Update 957: Sue McMullen provides this update on the european contingent for the Breeders' Cup:
A mixed reaction from the European camp following the post draw, but most of the major contenders have fared well, including Ouija Board (Frankie Dettori) who drew 2 in the Fillies and Mares. However, it is not the draw that is the worry now but the weather and trainer Ed Dunlop will be watching the skies over Churchill with some trepidation following today's rain and wintry conditions. While the mare will act on yielding going (she won at Lone Star on ground that was less than ideal for her) she does prefer fast ground so it is a concern. In contrast, her European opponent in the race, the French filly Satwa Queen (Thierry Thulliez), drew 9 and will relish the ground. In her most recent outing she ran second to useful filly Mandesha in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp and she is also fresh having been lightly raced this year, in contrast to Ouija Board who has had a hard season. But even Satwa Queen's trainer Jeande Roualle acknowledges she is an outsider and unlikely to beat an in-form Ouija, who is a champion mare and he would be happy to finish second to her. Whether or not Ouija is beginning to feel the effects of a long season we will find out on Saturday.
Gorgeous George drew 4 for the Classic and goes eyeball to eyeball with Bernadini who drew 3, so he's got one heck of a pacemaker to aim for when he closes. Aiden O'Brien is sticking to the party line and insisting that if George can overcome just about every obstacle under the sun, he has the ability to pull it off as he is such a gifted horse. We all know how gifted he is but we also know that the nearest Danehills' get to dirt is crossing the track to reach the turf, but George won't know this and we're all hoping there's a first time. Most important of all, we want him back in one piece and after that, we don't want him to suffer the same humiliation as Dylan Thomas who just couldn't handle the dirt and trailed in last. This would be a sad end to the career of such an imperious individual and ironically, on a track that many in the US would like to see replaced.
David Junior (Jamie Spencer) drew 7 in the Classic and following the change in weather, trainer Brian Meehan is fatalistic about the going conditions for both him and his Turf runner Red Rocks (Frankie Dettori).Trainers can do a great deal to prepare a horse, but they can't do anything about the weather. David Junior has been schooling at home to help him break well from the gate, which is critical for this race, and they've even used a bell to get him used to the sound. Everything has gone according to plan for him since his arrival and it remains to be seen if his long layoff (not run since July) was inspired. He has little experience of dirt but he has it in his pedigree, which Brian Meehan has probably told him as part of his meticulous preparation. Red Rocks, from 9 in the Turf, should be fine on easier ground and he might be taken around the bends prior to the race to familiarise him.
The draw for the Turf is not quite so critical but Hurricane Run (Christophe Soumillon) nevertheless shortened in the betting when he drew 7 and Ballydoyle's Scorpion (Mick Kinane) is in 4.
Stan Moore's Juvenile Filly Satulagi (John Egan) drew 11, which isn't the best position but he remains hopeful as she is tough and experienced. She twice finished four lengths off two of Europe's best fillies this year so is some way short of that level, but she has credible form. Expect to see her ridden from off the pace and although she won't be the first out of the gate the hope is that she will still be there battling down the stretch when those in front are fading. There had been some concern about her wellbeing, as although she travelled and settled in well, she hadn't eaten up properly which is always a concern with horses but once on the track she seemed happier and is reported to be in good form. She will school in the gate tomorrow and do a bit of gentle exercise on Friday, with friends of the trainer doing their utmost to prevent him wrapping her in vast sheets of cottonwool. The nerves are mounting now for his first runner in the BC.
Europe's number one hope in the Mile, Araafa, was shortened here in the betting following news that he'd drawn 3, a good position and one favoured by his jockey John Valazquez who tried to get the ride on him when he found out just how good he is. His only concern is whether Araafa will handle the tight turns. Araafa has had to play bridesmaid to George and in any other season would have been a very worthy winner of two Guineas and a Champion Stakes, but he had the misfortune to contest his Classic season with the Gorgeous one and only beat him when George was injured in the Irish Guineas. But he is an extremely good horse, the best of the Europeans in this race, which according to Valazquez makes him the best horse in the race, so with luck in running he will take all the beating.
The Ballydoyle runners in the Mile haven't fared quite so well, with Ivan Denisovitch (Mike Kinane) not even getting in due to Super Frolic defecting from the Classic to the Mile and Aussie Rules (Garret Gomez) drawn out in the parking lot at 14. But Ad Valorem (Jamie Spencer) is on the rail having drawn 1. Godolphin expressed satisfaction with 9 for Echo of Light (Frankie Dettori) but were disappointed that Librettist (Christophe Soumillon) is out at 13. Sir Michael Stoute's Rob Roy is at 9 and there will hopefully be news of him when Alex speaks to Ramon Dominguez. Rob Roy has been dogged with bad luck but ran a very big second to George in the Champion Stakes. John Gosden's Sleeping Indian (Alex Solis) is at number 4 and faces a very tough task in this field.
The Ballydoyle runners all arrived safely and are currently in isolation awaiting the results of blood tests, which is the normal procedure.
If anything significant occurs with the Euro runners between now and Saturday, I will update, but all being well, all go to post. The Breeders' Cup is always a rollercoaster of emotions, so highly charged it just grabs you by the throat from the minute it starts and there is nothing quite like it. On a personal note I am already a bag of nerves in anticipation. I wish everybody the very best of luck and most important, that every horse returns safe and sound.
A quick note from Jeannine Edwards, Hurricane Run looked really fantastic galloping in the slop this morning... floated over the track with great energy.
Update 956: I just spoke to Peter Brette who visited Barbaro this (wednesday) afternoon. He took Barbaro out to graze, groomed him and changed his bandages. Another upbeat report.
Update 955: Another Breeders' Cup inspired Barbaro article: Barbaro's influence won't go away. Some of the quotes are familiar. Michael does comment on Bernardini:
Matz will watch the Classic too, wondering what a race between Barbaro and Preakness winner Bernardini would have been like.
"You think about it, but it will never happen, so ..." he said. "It's sort of a shame that rivalry never took place, because I think it would have been a good one. I just think that after Bernardini got real good, there was really no one that could challenge him. Whether these older horses now can do that, we'll see on Saturday. I think he's a wonderful horse."
Barbaro will be in his intensive care stall in Pennsylvania, where get-well cards still arrive.
Bernie, from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 8:40 pm):
Hi everyone! I got back from NBC and everyone there was happy! I saw Dr. R. and he looked relaxed and happy. Barbaro is doing very well and everyone is upbeat.
A word on Rachel- she stopped in today briefly. everything is a little better and she plans to come back to work tomorrow, at least part time (we may kick her out early). Love to you all!
Update 954: The ESPN piece on Barbaro (Outside The Lines) was terrific. Hopefully it will appear on the internet.
History is being made today in California, as the Hollywood Park meet opens: New surface attracts Eastern trainers. Lets hope the positive introduction at Keeneland is emulated in California.
Update 953: I caught up with Joe Deegan (Perfect Drift), Steve Willard (Giacomo) and Lisa Davison (Film Maker and Better Talk Now).
Joe Deegan: Perfect Drift continues to train well, it seems they could not be happier with him at this point. He galloped today, and will likely do the same again tomorrow. The track was not great (due to lots of rain) but other than that, no problems. Its possible he may gallop a little stronger tomorrow, but it is something they will decide before training tomorrow. His post draw of 6 is good. It will allow his jockey to see the early part of the race while then settling Perfect Drift.
Steve Willard: Giacomo was full of himself this morning, bucking and playing. As a horse went by him he thought it was time to go, he galloped strong the first part of his gallop, then settled down. An easy day for him, jogging a half a mile and galloping an easy mile. This afternoon he "paddock schooled", he went over for the second race and walked around the paddock with the runners. He was nice and relaxed.
Lisa Davison: Both horses (Better Talk Now and Film Maker) trained well this morning, on the turf, which Lisa rated as good-to-soft. While rain has been hitting Churchill it is supposed to clear out later today. That being said the turf is probably not likely to dry out too quickly / much. Some give in the ground may suite both horses. Anyway, both Film Maker and Better Talk Now are doing well. Lisa also noted Graham (Motion) is now in Kentucky.
Update 952: The fields have been drawn for the Breeders' Cup: Breeders' Cup: The Fields
Update 951: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). I just spoke to Peter who had heard from Michael.
Given the pending Breeders' Cup there seems to be an uptick in the media coverage of Barbaro. This one is excellent: Remarkable Barbaro still beating the odds. A must read, here is a small excerpt:
Earlier in his career, Prado had ridden regularly at Pimlico. As at most racetracks, everyone gets to know everyone, and Prado knew Dreyfuss.
"He was saying to me, 'Doctor, please save him. Do what you can, please save him,'" Dreyfuss recalled.
Posted by Alex at 4:53 PM
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