Barbaro Updates: 167
Posted December 31, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1267: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I remember one time, years ago, riding in the afternoon at Muirfield East Farm (Bob Levy's in Chesapeake City) in a T shirt in January, and just thinking that was incredible. I am sure if I was riding this afternoon it would be about the same! First set I again took Hawty Creek outback across the fields. The ground was a little crunchy after a light frost, but it was still good enough. It was another lovely sunrise, and so peaceful jogging round the outside of the field I use (about 2 miles around) up and down the small inclines.
Tim's Nonpariel again galloped very nicely on the dirt track. We went in company with Tim on Farouche. They galloped a mile and a half together. Nonpariel is really learning well when to switch leads and keep nicely balanced. The rest of the morning continued very pleasantly. Each of the young horses I ride just seem to be doing what they should be doing and learning how to become racehorses!
Update 1266: Barbaro remains comfortable. I had a short visit with Barbaro today. I had planned to pull his mane (shorten his mane). I started, but they were wanting to do some routine medical work with him. I did not want to interrupt so I just hung around for a while and then left. I hope I get to finish what I started, or his mane will really look odd. There were some cute baby goats in one of the "stalls" that I got a glimpse of on my way out. Very cool.
It looks like the Fog's connections have another speedster: Vicarino Gets Third Career Win in Stinson Beach.
Update 1265: The Eclipse Award finalists are known: Eclipse Awards Finalists Dominated by Breeders' Cup Winners. Barbaro, the Jackson's (in two categories) and Edgar Prado are all in the running. Unfortunately Michael Matz was not selected for the trainer category.
ESPN has a great article on the woes of horse racing: I am horse racing. It includes the following two excerpts:
I will stop burying my head in the sand when it comes to the issue of horse slaughter. I have the clout and the money to put an end to this reprehensible practice. I am truly ashamed that I have allowed thousands of retired race horses to perish in this grisly manner each year and I will do something about it. For an industry that generates $14 billion a year in business, there shouldn't be any problem coming up with the money to make this happen. I'm going to stop pretending this isn't a serious problem.
I will order that every racetrack that has a slots room also have a mutuel window in that area, television screens showing the races and, whenever possible, an unobstructed view of the racetrack. I've had it with racino managements who do everything possible to keep the slot players from even knowing that horse racing is going on somewhere else on the premises.
Update 1264: A nice article on Barbaro's journey: Going the Distance -- Barbaro's story was one of the year's best. The article notes this web-site, and includes the following excerpt:
To me, 2006 will always be the Year of Barbaro. Barbaro is an athlete in every sense of the word, giving his all wherever needed. He never asked for money, never sought performance enhancing drugs, never turned down an autograph.
All he asked for were caring humans and lots of baby carrots. Here's hoping he'll have many more years to live and green pastures in which to roam.
This article highlights the benefits on the new synthetic surfaces that US racing surely needs: Race Pros Hope Synthetic Tracks Save Horses. The article does note a downside to the new surface, it makes it harder to handicap a race, and thus could effect the handle. While this may occur in the short term, I assume once we get used to racing on these new surfaces we will understand better how to handicap the races. The new surfaces are attracting bigger fields, which in turn attracts more wagering (according to a couple of people I know who love to bet).
The new surface at Fair Hill (Tapeta) is riding very well at the moment. I have been on it for one set for each of the last couple of days and you really do feel you are floating across it. I imagine it might also help us older riders out a little with the better concussion on our own joints!
Update 1263: Another gorgeous winter morning this morning at Fair Hill, although very spring-like for sure! Hawty Creek went outback first set. It was still pretty dark but you could pick out the deer grazing. We also saw a fox scampering out of the way, which actually spooked Hawty Creek and she bucked so hard I almost went into orbit. Anyway, I landed in the right spot. I took a few to the gate today, including Tim's Nonpariel. She is doing everything right in her early training program. Behind the gate I caught up with Adrian Rolls, Graham Motion's assistant. He noted that Better Talk Now (best distance turf horse in North America) has resumed training and will be in light exercise for a couple of weeks at Fair Hill before heading down to Florida. He jogged a little in the shedrow this morning. When I was leaving Fair Hill (I went via the tack shop to get a mane comb) I saw Better Talk Now out in his paddock in the lovely sunshine.
Update 1262: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson's farm manager. He visited today and Barbaro remains comfortable. I am planning on visiting Barbaro again tomorrow with Tom.
Update 1261: New Bolton's Barbaro update: Barbaro's status remains unchanged:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's status is essentially the same. "The shoe on his right hind foot was further modified as his strength improved," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. "We are aware that there is some public concern about his abnormal motion on the right hind limb, however, this is not unexpected. His gait may be abnormal as he learns to adapt to having fusions of two major joints in his lower limb and to the special shoe. In addition, the fracture had some collapse on the medial (inside) part of the pastern region after he developed laminitis on the left hind foot. Although this is visually unattractive, the mechanics of the lower leg are not seriously affected because the pastern and fetlock joints are fused."
Our goal was to give him a leg that would be functional and comfortable enough to live happily. "The right hind has healed well enough that we are optimistic about that possibility," said Dr. Richardson. "However, Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, remains a more formidable long-term challenge. The foot must grow much more for him to have a truly successful outcome."
Barbaro, who has been in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals since his injuries at the Preakness on May 20, is eating well and has a bright eye and happy demeanor, according to his medical team.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, January 16, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
And here is the most recent video of Barbaro without his cast.
Update 1260: NoBiz was back to work on New Year's morning: Nobiz Like Shobiz gets back to work. It looks like it was a very easy work (half mile in 49 and change), and his first in a series of works designed to get him ready for the Holy Bull Stakes on February 3. The same race won by Barbaro last year in Barbaro's first start on the dirt. Yesterday's winner of the Tropical Park Derby may also point for the Holy Bull: Soldier's Dancer victory stirs memory of Barbaro. If he does they may need to find a new jockey!
Update 1259: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill, and somewhat quiet for me (five horses ridden). Hawty Creek shedrowed this morning, jogging for about ten minutes. While she came out of her work well I am just backing off her a little for the following couple of days so she can get her appetite back, she tends to back off her feed a little. When I was out grazing her later snow geese were flying overhead. They were cool to watch, I don't remember the last time I saw snow geese. Nothing wrong with canada geese, but we seem to have plenty of them all the time.
I rode Tim's Nonpariel who went very well. Tim reminded me that Chesapeake City Slew is coming back in the next day or so. He's cool, so am looking forward to (hopefully) start getting back on him. Tim's crew were busy washing down a few of the stalls, I guess in anticipation of a couple of new arrivals. All in all a relaxing morning.
The Barbaro update today will be late in the day. New Bolton are also scheduled to release an update. The discussion boards are currently down, this is a tech. issue, they should return soon.
Update 1258: Soldiers Dancer, the favorite, won the Tropical Park Derby. They were more than two seconds slower than Barbaro's time last year (1:46 3/5). The Tropical Park Derby was Barbaro's last race on the turf, and he won very easily. Many people actually think Barbaro was a better turf horse than dirt horse. What was brilliant about his racing career (and another reason he should be considered Horse of the Year) was he won on all surfaces in 2006, good dirt, slop, and turf.
Jazil is back in the entries: Jazil Entered in Aqueduct Allowance Race Friday.
Update 1257: Tom is still recovering from whatever derailed him yesterday so he asked me if I wanted to come over and help him with Barbaro this afternoon ... Yes! We were to meet in the ICU at 1 pm. When I arrived Tom was already there. Anyway, while he felt better it made sense for me to groom Barbaro. That was all we were going to do today. I put on his halter, tied him up (Barbaro not ...) and set to work. I started as usual by picking his front feet. I then gave him a good once over with the body brush. This again was followed up with a good currying and a wipe over with a cloth. I spongued out his eyes and nostrils. Once done Barbaro looked great. He really does have a very good coat and shines up brilliantly when he has been groomed. Once we were done Tom and I sat around chatting for a little while, while we fed Barbaro some carrots and apples. Tom had brought him his Lael grass, which he does really enjoy. All in all we were with Barbaro for about an hour, a lovely way to spend New Year's day afternoon for sure. Nine visits and as of yet, Barbaro has not bitten me!
Update 1256: Another good year-end wrap article: '06 was rich tapestry of triumph, tragedy. The article also includes the turf writer's picks for eclipse awards. Tim and I were discussing (on the way back from the track yesterday after breezing The Kielbasa Queen and Hawty Creek) the momentum Barbaro seems to be gaining for end of year honors. The article above has Barbaro as horse of the year! Here are my picks (for fun of course):
Steeplechaser: McDynamo (by default, no competition)
Juvenile Colt: A close call between Street Sense and NoBiz like ShoBoz. My bias pick is for the latter.
Juvenile Filly: Dreaming of Anna
Three year old colt / gelding: Barbaro. While there may be a little bias I am convinced the award should go to the horse that does the most impressive thing on the racetrack. For me that is Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby. His other races were notable in as much as he won them all until the fateful day of the Preakness. Bernardini had a great year, but I just don't see that he prooved he was better than Barbaro. Same with Discreet Cat.
Three year old filly: Pine Island. Wait a While was great on the turf, but Pine Island takes this one.
Older horse: Invasor. Aside from his early defeat in Dubai he was flawless. Great win in the Classic sealed this with ease.
Older female: No idea.
Sprinter: Thor's Echo. Special mention for Lost in the Fog for winning a stake while suffering from cancer (obviously undetected at the time).
Turf male: Who knows, they all managed to beat each other. Better Talk Now showed he's the best US based distance turf horse on Breeders' Cup day, but if I pick him you will know I am just biased!
Turf female: Film Maker ? .. OK, Ouija Board!
Horse of the year: Barbaro (of course). He ran the best race, he is running his most important race, and he has done more for the sport of horse racing than any horse in the modern era. (Mind you, the sport needs much more help going forward).
Trainer: A toss up between Michael Matz and Kieran McLaughlin. They both won a triple crown race and a Breeders' Cup race, with different horses. Since I don't know Kieran personally, I'll vote for Michael Matz.
Jockey: Edgar Prado. An elite horseman and human.
Apprentice: The french dude.
Owner: The Jackson's. They campaigned two of the best five three year olds of the year.
Breeder: No idea. Perhaps the Jackson's again.
Update 1255: Treat yourself to the sporting performance of 2006: And its all Barbaro, in a sublime performance ...
Update 1254: January 1, an important date in the horse racing calendar, everyone is a year older! So Barbaro, happy birthday! The barn was quiet this morning at Fair Hill. I shedrowed a couple, and took care of Hawty Creek. She seems to have come out of her work yesterday well. She had today off and will do something light tomorrow. I took her out for a pick of grass (although it was raining) and walked her for a little while.
Today is the Tropical Park Derby: Tropical Park Derby kicks off 2007 Triple Crown watch. While it is a turf race, its significance is heightened as it was a race that Barbaro won last year on his way to his dominant Kentucky Derby win. While Michael Matz does not have a runner this year, Graham Motion and Steve Klesaris both do.
Update 1253: Another (short) visit. I called Tom (the Jackson's farm manager) to get an update but Tom was sick and was unable to visit Barbaro today. I, of course, volunteered to run over and give him a quick groom (Barbaro, not Tom). I did. I spent about forty minutes with Barbaro, giving him a good grooming. He had just finished his dinner when I arrived. I put on his halter, tied him up and went to work. As usual, starting by picking his front feet. I then went over him with a body brush (with free hand on his halter and an eye out for him) and then a curry comb and a towel. I finished off just sponguing out his eyes and nostrils. He looked good. Before leaving I fed him some carrots and a couple of apples. His appetite appears strong, he would have kept eating if I had stayed to continue ... but its New Year's eve and I am off to dinner. Happy New Year!
Update 1252: Barbaro was ranked the number one sports story by the Wilmington News Journal readers: Barbaro's competition left at the gate. Looking at the quotes from the article it appears you influenced this ranking. Perhaps we can have the same impact to determine ESPNs top story for 2006 (Barbaro is currently ranked number 18): Rank 'Em: Which were the top stories of 2006?.
Update 1251: This morning Hawty Creek worked 5/8ths, with me on her, on the Tapeta track. We went in company with Tim on The Kielbasa Queen. It was a decent work, we ended up going in 1:03. I was on the outside on Hawty Creek and she did the work very comfortably, although I think she will also get a lot out of it. We started off a little on the slower side and picked it up throughout the work, finishing strongly down the lane. I had plenty of horse throughout the work, rating her early and just sitting on her and letting her run a little at the end.
I was discussing work times with someone last week, who relies on them for betting purposes. I always think work times are unreliable for a couple of reasons. Firstly you would not know who was riding the piece of work (I weigh considerably more than a jockey for instance); and nor would you know how easily the horse went in the work. Was the work full out with sticks up coming down the lane, or was it with considerable ease, without asking the horse to run (most of Bernardini's works were not much quicker than our work this morning for example).
Anyway, our work was comfortable. Assuming Hawty Creek comes out of her work well, and she does not back off her feed (which she sometimes does, and is why I spaced out her last work) I will work her back on saturday, and try to get Jesus Bracho to work her. Jesus has just come back from a stint in the middle east, and it is good to have him back at Fair Hill. He can work her, and then hopefully ride her when she runs.
After the work Hawty Creek's owner (Dave), who came to watch the work, cooled her out while I mucked her stall. We then went and grabbed breakfast, I then came back to Fair Hill to take Hawty Creek out for a pick of grass while currying her ... and then grooming her more in her stall to just finish her off. She will be off tomorrow, New Year's day!
Update 1250: Hall of Fame Trainer "Buddy" Delp died friday evening: Hall of Fame Trainer Bud Delp Dies. He will be best remembered as the trainer of Spectacular Bid, but was a dominant trainer in Maryland, and the surrounding racing jurisdictions for many years. His last runner in his name will actually be on monday, Crafty Bear, in the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel.
Barbaro's story was selected as one of the top ten sports stories by the Chicago Tribune for 2006: National: A run to make a father proud.
Edgar Prado's quote: "If tears could heal a wound, Barbaro would be healed by now." was selected as one of the best sports quotes of 2006: The Voices: Best quotes from 2006.
The Barbaro update will again be late in the day, after Tom's visit.
Posted by Alex at 12:22 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 166
Posted December 25, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1249: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson's farm manager, and Barbaro remains comfortable.
Here is another year-end wrap up of racing in the US: Barbaro's injury, racetrack safety dot memorable 2006.
Jay Hovdey wrote an nice article in the Daily Racing Form: Tough game still able to hit your soft spot. Unfortunately you need to be a paying member to read it. I read it as I paid for the hard copy version of course! He makes note of the horse slaughter bill and clearly comes out to support banning of horse slaughter in the US. Lets hope media coverage of this issue, a black mark on horse racing, continues as we move into the new year.
Update 1248: A nice article in the Wilmington News Journal on Mike Rea: Unbridled support gives Rea big lift. I had interviewed for this article a little while ago, so I am excited to see it published (thanks Cecily). Among other things the article focuses on Mercy Turano's efforts to get ABC interested in Mike for its Extreme Makeover Show. Very cool!
Update 1247: A gorgeous morning at Fair Hill this morning, it makes you glad to be alive! I had a quiet morning (five ridden) and it was nice and relaxing. I took Tim's Nonpariel to the gate. This was her second time for gate schooling. I walked her around the gate a few times, and then Michael led me through the gate four or five times. She was very good. Tim was with us on Medi Man. She was just standing in the gate. We chatted with Mike and Brian (the gate guys from Philadelphia Park) about the new slots they now have up there. My biggest concern is that horse racing simply becomes a legislative requirement and takes a backseat to the Casino's. I can see that seems to have happened somewhat at Delaware Park, anyway, we will see.
I took Hawty Creek outback. Its great we can still go outback this time of year. She had a light day today in anticipation of a breeze she will do tomorrow. The plan is to breeze her in company with Tim's Kielbasa Queen.
Tim had a few visitors this morning. A couple were here just to see Real Lace. She seems to be becoming a favourite of people. Tim is now giving her a little time off after her very nice fall campaign (two wins and two thirds). She is a nice prospect for next year I would think.
Of course I had to buy tomorrow's Daily Racing Form to see the article on this site in print. It was very cool. Everyone in the barn was impressed, which included George (the carrot man). George visits once in a while and it is always fun to catch up with him.
The Barbaro update will again be late in the day, after Tom's visit this afternoon.
Update 1246: A nice article on this site in the Daily Racing Form: Blog becomes the source for Barbaro. Thanks Glenye. Glenye called me up thursday evening to interview me for this over the phone. Very cool.
I also liked this end of year article from the Daily Racing Form: 2006: The Way It Was. A good summary / survey of everything that was for horse racing in the US for 2006. Barbaro is a big focus, and you will note other events which we covered here throughout the year.
Update 1245: I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson's farm manager, who visited (as usual) this afternoon (friday). Barbaro remains comfortable.
Many of you have followed, and supported, the horses involved in the accident in Missouri, as they were on their way to slaughter. Here is an article about "Stan" with a happy ending: Detour in trip to slaughterhouse: ACCIDENT SAVES ONE RACEHORSE FROM FATE OF THOUSANDS.
Update 1244: Here is the current view of the fence line outside New Bolton: New Bolton Fence Line: Dec 28.
Another Fan of Barbaro has a letter published on horse slaughter: Letter: Horse slaughter ban good for beef farmers.
I thought this was a nice review of horse racing in 2006 in the US: Seasons of 2006.
Update 1243: Here is the video created by Penn that was sent to media outlets last week: Barbaro video walking: December 20th.
This morning was a little quieter (no loose horses I think, and one less to ride). I took Hawty Creek outback today, it was a lovely sunrise first thing as we jogged around the fields. For Tim I rode Nonpariel (going very well galloping a mile and a quarter on the dirt, learning and improving each day) and Gator Nation, the former's older half brother. He jogged two miles and felt good. Real Lace looked good this morning after her creditable third yesterday at Laurel. Jaunty Gale, who won her first race, is now having a winter break, she left this morning to her owner's farm in Camden, SC.
Update 1242: End of year honors will soon be known, here is another sports writer's opinion: This Cat is Horse of Year. I think many of his picks are picks people here might agree with (3yo: Barbaro; 2yo NoBiz; Older female: Round Pond; Turf Male: Showing Up etc. etc.) His picks would give trainer Michael Matz two winners and the Jackson's two winners, I would suspect that would make them trainer and owner winners too!
Jerry Green provides his Most memorable sports moments of 2006. Barbaro's journey coming in at number two. Ironically his number one pick (Zidane in the World Cup final) took place during a low point in Barbaro's journey.
Today's Barbaro update will again likely be late in the day.
Update 1241: Barbaro remains comfortable (thursday afternoon). I know, I visited. It was an impromptu visit. I was planning to hang another poster on the outside fence line and meet Sabina Pierce, to get a couple of photographs of the fence line and have lunch. One thing led to another and I visited Barbaro briefly. It was the first time I had seen him with Dr. Richardson in attendance (as well as Tom, the Jackson's farm manager). It was a short visit, but great nonetheless. I helped out a little with Tom, and then stayed and chatted with Beth, who I had seen before but not someone I had met. I am not sure what Beth's official role / position is at New Bolton, but one of her tasks is to muck out Barbaro's stall. This is not an easy task given how deeply bedded the stall is for Barbaro. It is also somewhat of a mix of straw and shavings. Anyway, it was fun to learn more about another of Barbaro's care providers and fun to hang out with Barbaro, if only briefly. I did feed him some baby carrots and an apple or two.
Update 1240: Real Lace was third in her first race in her new condition (she moved up a condition after her last win). She ran a nice race and is cooling out well.
Update 1239: A lovely morning at Fair Hill this morning. It was quite crisp early, but soon warmed up. I rode seven, three of which were Tim's (Gator Nation, Nonpariel and Medi Man). I had not ridden Medi Man for a while, and she went very nicely, on the synthetic track. I took three to the synthetic track and it seems to be riding very well recently. Hawty Creek is training well, and will likely do her next piece of work on sunday. There were a few loose horses this morning, I was relieved not to have exited any of them myself! Tim is now on his way to Laurel to saddle Real Lace, running in the fourth race. Winning her last race she now moves up a condition, and the races do get tougher. Hopefully she will continue to run well. The Barbaro update today (and going forward for a few days) will be late in the day.
Update 1238: Jack Ireland has written a nice article on Dr. Kathy Anderson: Vet's link to Barbaro becomes more meaningful. It includes the following excerpt:
But watching as the colt recovered from a broken leg and then from a bout of a life-threatening hoof condition called laminitis affected Anderson personally.
"It has been totally humbling to me," she said. "I now have a lot of confidence and have been impressed with the concern the American public has shown for Barbaro. Here's this one horse, and there are so many people who don't follow racing or know anything about horses and they have taken great interest in this equine hero."
OK, off to Fair Hill (I was out of town yesterday).
Update 1237: Barbaro remains comfortable. I just spoke to Tom, the Jackson's farm manager, who visited Barbaro this afternoon (wednesday afternoon). Tom groomed Barbaro and took him outside to graze and walk.
A nice article on Dr. Richardson: Barbaro's doctor spent summer in the limelight. It includes the following excerpt:
Richardson lectures all over the world. Beyond orthopedics, his primary area of research is joint disease and the molecular biology of cartilage.
The surgeon has written 11 major textbooks that deal with equine-fracture repair. He has received the University of Pennsylvania's Distinguished Teaching Award two years running.
"Students are scared to death of him," said Liberty Getman, a third-year resident who assisted during Barbaro's surgery. "He wants his students to be learning all the time. He can be tough on people, but it's always well-intended. He's not that scary once you get to know him."
Update 1236: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Lucy, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson's daughter, just called to let us know after visiting Barbaro.
Update 1235: The Bloodhorse has a Barbaro photo gallery: Barbaro. I believe HRTV me be doing a piece on Barbaro during its Santa Anita coverage (that includes the Malibu Stakes and Brother Derek). The big race in the UK is the King George, won on more than one occasion by Desert Orchid.
Update 1234: My sixth visit to Barbaro: Christmas Day.
Today I was to help out with Barbaro in the absense of Tom, the Jackson's farm manager. The plan was for me to go over, groom Barbaro and take him out to walk and graze. I had planned to arrive at 1 pm to do this, but surveying the clouds I decided to go a little earlier. I had also another poster to hang on the outside fence line (the first from overseas most likely) so I arrived at about 12:15 pm to hang the poster and go and see Barbaro.
When I entered the ICU I noticed a few people were there. It was Tom and Lucy (Mr. and Mrs. Jackson's daughter) and their four children (the grandchildren who visit quite often). I had met Tom before, so it was nice to be able to meet their entire family who seem to be very nice people (no surprise there). On duty in the ICU was Kathleen, Ray was also helping out.
I entered Barbaro's stall, put on his halter and tied him up in preparation for grooming. My idea was to give him a quick groom before he went out, and then a more thorough job once he had been outside. I set to work as I chatted away with Barbaro's visitors. I started by picking his front feet, then I gave Barbaro a quick once over with a body brush. He seemed to really enjoy it as I was brushing his forlock, something I would not have entirely anticipated. Anyway, it did not take me long to get him ready. I put a blanket on him (not one of the new gifts), put a shank on him, and then led him outside. Barbaro's visitors then left, and I was one-on-one with Barbaro for the first time while we were outside. It was very cool. He is so well behaved when he is outside, just very happy to be in the different environment. In his stall you better keep an eye on him, and make purposeful moves. Outside he is just much more relaxed. After grazing for five minutes it started a very light rain. I thought I would have to bring him in pretty quickly so I decided to have him do his walking, just to make sure he got that bit of exercise taken care of. He was so intent on his eating that it took me a little while to convince him to walk on, but once walking we did our five minutes pretty easily. By that time the drizzle had eased off and Barbaro went back to grazing. He was very happy. It was very peaceful. After about 45 minutes in total I decided to bring him in. The drizzle had returned and there was no need to get wet.
Once back in the stall and tied back up I went back to work grooming him. This time I used a curry comb and body brush. It was a time to be very careful with him, so I spent most of the brushing time with one hand on his halter, and my eyes locked on his eyes. Anyway, he cleaned up very well. I then picked out his feet again, finally attended to his head (light sponguing out of his nostrils and eyes followed by a wipe over with a wrag) and let him loose. Along the way I fed him a couple of carrots.
All in all another very pleasant visit. Chatted away with Kathleen and Ray a little. I left the ICU at 1:45 pm, so in all I spent about an hour and a half with Barbaro on christmas day. Not a bad way to get ready for a lovely (I hope) christmas dinner with Sue, Niall, Jayne and Mick, in about 20 minutes! It is now raining hard.
Update 1233: Barbaro remains comfortable on christmas day. I left him at 1:45 pm, report to follow.
update 3:15 pm, monday, december 25
Posted by Alex at 8:11 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 165
Posted December 23, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1232: Merry Christmas! My christmas begins by heading in to Fair Hill to ride Hawty Creek. A couple of nice Christmas articles:
Jack Ireland writes: Here's hoping Barbaro is Horse of Year. Of course we would all like that here I think! Realistically its not too likely but I think he clearly performed most impressively on a single day (KY Derby) and is now capturing everyone's imagination with his performance in his most important race.
Steve Haskin writes: Merry Christmas, Barbaro. It includes the following excerpt:
"Barbaro's been receiving lot of Christmas cards and holiday cards," said Jennifer Rench, New Bolton's marketing and communication coordinator. "He received a beautiful winter blanket from Churchill Downs with his name and the Derby logo embroidered on it. And his fans sent a Christmas tree for Barbaro and for New Bolton Center with beautiful glass hand-painted ornaments on it. On each one is a fan's name and where they're from. The tree is in the lobby of the hospital.
"Gift baskets have been coming pretty much every day, filled with carrots, apples, peppermints, and horse treats for Barbaro, and for the other patients in the Intensive Care Unit. Barbaro loves peppermints. Last week, he received a gorgeous wreath made out of carrots. It was really incredible. Some people have also sent gift baskets for the staff, containing things like coffee and chocolate."
Update 1231: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Mrs. Jackson just called after her morning visit with Barbaro.
update 9:00 am, sunday, december 24
Update 1230: Japanese superstar Deep Impact is now retired after a facile win in his final start: DEEP MAKES LASTING IMPACT. Lets hope he can follow in his father's footsteps and become a sensational stallion.
Update 1229: This is the article Mike Jensen was working on when I caught up with him at New Bolton last week: Barbaro could receive the best present of all. It includes the following excerpt:
Sweeney pointed to a peppermint wreath in the corner of her office, and Churchill Downs sent a winter blanket for the recovering Kentucky Derby winner.
Other fans have written Christmas carols for Barbaro and sent them to New Bolton. Someone delivered a wreath made of baby organic carrots and a Christmas tree of green apples.
He has also received a custom-made halter, an embroidered blanket, a Santa hat, and even his own stocking.
And what else do you get for the horse who has everything?
"There's now a star named Barbaro and a star named New Bolton Center," Sweeney said. Both are in Constellation Hercules, named and paid for by "Grandma Bea" in the Poconos.
When I was visiting Barbaro yesterday someone mentioned a lovely bouquet of yellow roses had recently been delivered. As I was getting ready to leave I saw another gift arrive (more edible).
Update 1228: My fifth visit with Barbaro.
Today I was to meet Tom (the Jackson's farm manager) and make sure I am familiar with everything that needs to be done with Barbaro as the plan is for me to substitute for Tom on Christmas day. I got to New Bolton a little early so I could hang another poster on the outside fence. Once completed I went to the ICU. I was not sure if Tom was already inside so I put on the appropriate wear and went inside. Tom was not there yet, and Barbaro was fast asleep. I left him be and went back outside to wait.
Tom arrived shortly thereafter along with his wife Kathy. We had quick introductions and then went inside. Tom went to work with Barbaro, cleaning him up and getting him ready to go outside. Once he was ready I led Barbaro outside and we walked up to his grazing spot and he dropped his head to graze. Tom Kathy and I were chit chatting as Barbaro continued to graze (talking about Barbaro of course). I then led Barbaro around for about five minutes and then continued to let him graze. It was a nice bright afternoon with a bit of a breeze. Barbaro has a blanket on when he goes outside and is just very relaxed. We stayed out for about forty minutes in total, I then led him back inside to his stall.
Once inside I tied Barbaro back up and Tom went back to work tidying him up. Along the way I met a couple more of the staff working in the ICU, one of whom will also be there for christmas day. Another very pleasant visit with a very cool horse. We left Barbaro at about 2:45 pm (having arrived at just after 1 pm) and I am making this update from New Bolton before heading up to New York for the afternoon.
Gator Nation was fourth at Laurel today, only just beaten for third. Tim said he cooled out well after the race.
Update 1227: Mrs. Jackson called (11 am) after her morning visit with Barbaro. Barbaro remains comfortable. He was laying down when Mrs. Jackson arrived, he got up and enjoyed his Lael grass.
update 11:35 am, saturday, december 23
Posted by Alex at 4:33 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 164
Posted December 22, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1226: It is December 23rd ... the weather is balmy, it must be 60 degrees outside today! I galloped Who's Happy for the first time since her first race a couple of weeks ago. She felt great, and the synthetic track rode very well after all the rain we had last night. The dirt track was closed so the synthetic track was very busy, but the surface seems to have no problem handling the traffic. Nonpariel went outback to jog up and down some of the hills. She enjoyed that. I also shedrowed Jaunty Gale for Tim, the first time I had ridden her.
Hawty Creek had an easy day, she will have a day off tomorrow and basically I have decided to back off her a little bit, she will likely do her next work next weekend. There is possibly a race for her January 20, so we have a little time to let her "regroup".
Tim is now on his way to Laurel. Lets hope Gator Nation can get the job done today, he runs in the third race. I am planning to go to New Bolton a little later (early afternoon), and will hopefully have a Barbaro update after that visit.
Update 1225: Lots of rain overnight, which will surely impact training hours this morning. We shall see.
Barbaro fans send colt Christmas prayers. Another nice article highlighting all your support, and the posters on the fence line. The article also notes that $1.2million has been raised for the Barbaro Fund!
Barbaro's older half brother will be standing in Florida next year: Holy Ground, half brother to Barbaro, retired to Bridlewood in Florida.
Update 1224: A couple of comments posted:
From Alie at Kennett Florist (timestamp: 8:38 pm):
Rachel and I just got back from NBC. The mood there was festive and everyone was happy. Special thank you to the song writers. Everyone is still getting a kick out of the songs... No news other than stable (no pun intended), content & happy for our big boss horse. He's definitively getting loaded up with goodies and treats for Christmas. The Blanket arrived as we were getting ready to deliver his treats. We took a picture and Rachel will try to post it later today or tonight when she gets a chance.
With a couple of days left to go until Christmas, I wanted to check in one more time and tell everyone what an honor and pleasure these past few months have been. All of us here at Kennett Florist are so grateful for the lunches, cookies, fudge, candy, and assorted other goodies (now we all need gym memberships!) Thank you as well for all the lovely cards (with all that we received, not one duplicate) and holiday well wishes.
We've all been very busy here at KF and the girls are really working hard. We are so lucky to have such wonderful employees here and I don't know what I'd do without them.
Erin's illness is still on everyone's mind. Fortunately for all of is, she is like Barbaro- this kid's a fighter! From the latest report on Erin, the tumor (to everyone's surprise, especially the doctor) appears to be dying! Her treatment is ongoing, and we all hope and pray that Erin will continue to fight and that there will be a positive outcome for her and her family.
Thank you as well to Tim Woolley and Alex for letting us post on your site to keep everyone updated (and to let us thank everyone as well.) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you hardworking folks. Thanks again for your patience with us.
It's truly amazing how one horse could bring so many wonderful people together. With so many bad things happening in the world today it's so nice to know that there are people out there that do care. I feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful band of people and know that we are always here for all of you.
For all you have done for Barbaro, NBC, KF, & Erin, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
God bless all of you and may you have a great holiday season and a terrific New Year!
From Sabina (timestamp: 10:10 pm)
Hello Fans of Barbaro,
I just wanted to thank everyone that has supported and prayed for a speedy recover after my riding accident. Accidents happen, but my spill was a really bad one, even if I didn't believe it. But when the trauma doc and the neurosurgeon both say miracles were at work that my spinal cord was not severed I could only think of all the good vibes that you have sent out to Big B that must have rubbed off onto me. I am recovering well and only take motrin once a day and am exercising everyday to build back the atrophied muscles. I still have to wear my brace for one more month but is a small price to pay for a full recovery, The few times I was a little down I had only to think of how Big B patiently stood in his stall for months one end as he healed. His actions taught me patience.
And thanks for voting for my photo at Time.com. It was a real treat to find my photo as one of the Best of 2006. It was an honor for me, but more of an honor for what it represents in our society, of how we have come along to respect and love our equine friends and even more that the media realizes it too. Lets hope our congressman saw it and we can again get a law past the protects our horses. Thank you and Merry Christmas, Sabina
Update 1223: After a flurry of news stories over the last couple of days, mostly about Barbaro's plans away from New Bolton (not yet determined) things appear to be quieting down a little.
It was recently announced that Mrs. Jackson is on the board of R.A.C.E. Fund: RACE Fund Endorsed by Gretchen Jackson.
Here is the mission of R.A.C.E. fund:
To preserve the lives of thoroughbred racehorses and racetrack pony horses who can no longer race or work by providing a funding source to help pay for their care and well being during their transition to retirement and adoption. Uphold the integrity of racing by encouraging horsemen and the racing industry to give back to these gallant creatures who have given so much to them. Work to put an end to horse slaughter in the United States.
On the international racing scene, the Japan Cup winner, Deep Impact, is making his final start this weekend, and will meet the Melbourne Cup 1-2: Deep Impact set for career finale in Arima Kinen.
Update 1222: Mrs. Jackson just called and Barbaro remains comfortable. She had just visited Barbaro.
update, 2:35 pm, friday december 22
Update 1221: No Barbaro update yet today. The Channel 6 Action News piece that aired last night (noted in update 1218) is here: Barbaro Looking Good for New Year.
Fair Hill was a little grey this morning, and waiting for the expected rain. Hawty Creek went out back again today. Tim took Gator Nation out first set, he is running tomorrow at Laurel, and looks well. We took Nonpariel (me) and Medi Man (Tim) out together. As we were getting close to the track we heard over the PA system (Mike Goswell and a microphone) "Loose horse on the dirt" ... as we heard this we could hear the sound of pounding hooves along the inside rail (which is packed down for the winter with the dogs up). This definitely set our horses off a little, and made for a more exciting set, although they both did gallop well together. For my last set I had a first timer to the track ... and he actually went very well. The main track closed early in anticipation of rain, but aside from a little drizzle it has yet to arrive.
Kennett Florist visited Fair Hill yesterday to drop off cookies at each of the barns, thanks to Fans of Barbaro. I had already left, but fortunately a few cookies were left over this morning in our barn, so thank you very much for that. Cookies, coffee and donuts always go down well in the barns in the morning!
Posted by Alex at 5:17 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 163
Posted December 21, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1220: Another look at a piece of the Penn Video taken of Barbaro on wednesday, this time included in a story from KWTX.com: Barbaro Beats The Odds. Access the link "Raw Video: Barbaro Walks Again". You can also vote for the Top stories in Delaware: From Barbaro to Branner.
Update 1219: The World News Tonight piece (ABC) was very similar, if not the same, as the GMA piece this morning. Very cool coverage on national news!
A little about Showing Up and NoBiz: Tagg's two stars point for Gulf meet.
Update 1218: Channel 6 Action News (ABC affiliate) just aired their piece. It included an interview with Dr. Richardson and Kathy Freeborn "He's a loved horse", shots of the Christmas Tree and a poster from the outside fence line. A nice upbeat report which also included some of the video taken yesterday by Penn.
Update 1217: Mrs. Jackson just called to report Barbaro was again comfortable during her morning visit this morning.
I caught up with Mike Jensen (Philadelphia Inquirer) when I visited New Bolton to hang the latest posters I received (and I know there are more to come). He was there to try to get an interview with Dr. Richardson, which he did after I left. Channel 6 Action News was also there, so plenty of media coverage continuing.
Bloodhorse is running this story: Barbaro Update: Derby Winner's New Home Undecided, so while nothing has yet been finalised, it seems the Kentucky Horse Park has been ruled out as Barbaro's next home. The following is an excerpt:
Roy Jackson said no decision has been made on Barbaro's next stop on his road to recovery. He said it has not even been determined which state where he might end up, but that a major consideration is going to be a climate favorable to regular exercise for Barbaro.
"There is nothing concrete (about a new home for Barbaro) but everybody is on the same page that when we get into a period of ice and snow at the facility there, he won't be able to go outside and exercise. The best thing for him is to be able to move around and everybody feels that it would be best if he was at a location where he would be able to do that," Jackson said Thursday, Dec. 21.
Update 1216: No Barbaro update yet this morning, but it was good to see him on Good Morning America. I am assuming he will be on the local news later today with similar footage. I am off to New Bolton to hang another poster, and meet Mike Jensen for lunch.
I just updated Tim's horses on the site, it had been a while! Fair Hill this morning was slightly warmer than yesterday, when it was downright cold! It was a pretty grey day. Hawty Creek went outback again today, as she did yesterday. Nonpariel, which is one I am riding for Tim these days, galloped a mile on the dirt track with Tim on Medi Man. Basically Tim's horse was giving me company as Nonpariel is quite new to life in training. She went well!
I thought this was interesting: CW: Cultural Learnings of America.
Posted by Alex at 5:50 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 162
Posted December 20, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1215: The Good Morning America piece: Barbaro Recovers: A True Champion. This includes new video from Penn, filmed yesterday, as well as footage from last friday's visit (the New Bolton fence line and Christmas Tree etc.) of GMA.
Update 1214: I don't think anyone would argue with this: Barbaro...Simply the Best. To follow that up, in the Philadelphia area anyway, In 2006 horse race, Barbaro was the best.
Update 1213: A must read commentary by Dr. Richardson in the Thoroughbred Times: Lessons learned from Barbaro. It concludes:
When the four of us--the Jacksons, trainer Michael Matz, and me--were discussing the gravity of the situation, there were no dry eyes. But the nice thing is that there was one other individual there taking part in the decision who didn't have tears in his eyes. That was Barbaro! Because he was just standing there--looking like a great horse--telling us that he wanted to go on.
That is why we went on then and why we continue to go on now.
Update 1212: I just got the word Barbaro will be on Good Morning America tomorrow as well as World News Tonight:
The GMA piece will air around 7:30 - 7:40am tomorrow (they often change the air time depending on other late breaking news). It will also air on Worlds News Tonight tomorrow night, as well as various other networks around the country.
I know a Fan of Barbaro was interviewed for this piece when adding a poster to the fence line, lets hope that makes the news too!
Update 1211: I cannot imagine this is a good decision no matter how it is spun: Wire To Wire Cut from Revamped ESPN Lineup. And this is some of the spin:
"Wire to Wire is something that we can do without now, but even with all of the revisions, we feel that less is more," said ESPN senior vice president Len DeLuca. "We will be more committed on the jewel events, particularly now that the 'Breeders' Cup Challenge' is in place.
Update 1210: Three new Barbaro photographs from today: Barbaro Photo Album.
Update 1209: New Bolton's update today on Barbaro: Barbaro examined by podiatrist:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was examined yesterday by Dr. Scott Morrison, head of the equine podiatry service at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. "Barbaro is stable and comfortable although we remain concerned about the long term management of his left hind foot," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. According to Barbaro's medical team, Dr. Morrison did some minor work on Barbaro's left hind foot, and made recommendations concerning the management of that foot. "There is no timetable at this moment concerning Barbaro's discharge from the hospital," said Dr. Richardson. "His comfort on both hind limbs is good and his overall condition is excellent."
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, January 2, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 1208: Barbaro has a race named after him: Sir Barton Stakes renamed Barbaro Stakes. The Sir Barton is run on the Preakness undercard, and like the Preakness, is restricted to three year olds.
More confirmation that Hollywood Park benefited from the Cushion Track: Handle, field size increase, thanks to Cushion Track. The article concludes:
Showing Up, the winner of the Hollywood Derby on Nov. 26, was named horse of the meeting.
Update 1207: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (12:30 pm) to let us know, after her morning visit.
update 12:40 pm, wednesday, december 20
Posted by Alex at 5:36 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 161
Posted December 19, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1206: No update yet today for Barbaro (noon), but we know New Bolton is planning its update for today. A nice opinion article in the Bloodhorse from Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, Dean of Penn Vet: Seize the Moment. It includes the following excerpt:
We must use this opportunity -- we may not get another -- to raise funds to move forward on equine diseases such as laminitis. We must focus and invest more time, science, and funds in preventing and treating performance injuries. For complex animals with complicated diseases, we have only a tiny amount of money; despite historic highs, the total amount available at the two major equine charities is still less than $4 million. While everyone involved in raising these funds deserves applause, let me put this in perspective: These amounts are less than one National Institutes of Health award granted this year to the University of Pennsylvania for human clinical research. No one can expect to make progress in fighting a complex medical problem with this kind of insufficient funding.
Update 1205: A couple of articles that wrap up what we can learn from yesterday: Barbaro on the move? and No decision made after Barbaro sees foot specialist. The upshot being no one yet knows the plans for moving Barbaro. I met Sandra McKee yesterday for the first time while at New Bolton. I also spoke briefly to Mike Jensen on the phone.
One interesting excerpt from the Philadelphia Inquirer article:
Even without an exact timetable, she said, "things are moving along." Jackson reported that a catheter had been taken out of Barbaro's neck yesterday at the Kennett Square facility that has been the horse's home for seven months since he suffered catastrophic injuries in the May 20 Preakness.
"That's a major step," Jackson said.
It is seven months for Barbaro and New Bolton today. A couple more snippets from my visit yesterday. John and I commented on the quality of music Barbaro was listening to ... the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were playing on the radio, not country music! Peter Brette was happy to hear that when I spoke to him last night. Barbaro was also playing the game of getting the spearmint mints, stud muffins (which are also small) and sugar cubes off the stall ledge, without dropping them on the stall floor. He was very careful when doing it, moving his top lip like an elephant moves its trunk when seeking something! Very cool.
Update 1204: A nice editorial from the Bloodhorse: Beyond Barbaro. It includes the following excerpt:
The son of Dynaformer would have none of it. Roy and Gretchen Jackson's beloved colt demonstrated other-worldly intelligence, matched only in size and scope by his courage and heart. Barbaro could play the role of the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man -- after they'd been to see the Wizard of Oz.
Wouldn't it be nice if some of those attributes gravitated toward Thoroughbred industry leaders?
A few years ago I interviewed Ray Paulick for a class I was teaching: Internet Conversation with Raymond Paulick, Editor in Chief, Bloodhorse.
A couple of articles on Hard Spun's facile win yesterday: Hard Spun Draws Crowd, Raves in Nursery Win and Hard Spun ends local run with another win.
The Cecil Whig ran this story yesterday on Mike Rea: HOUSE WHISPERER WANTED *Horse trainer's family hopes for Extreme Home Makeover. It includes the follwing exerpt:
Someone clued her in to the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which renovates homes to meet families' various needs.
In October Rehm started a petition to rally for the show to feature her brother's family. So far she has garnered signatures from people around the world n many who know of Mike by association with Barbaro blogs. The petition has more than 3,000 signatures so far. There's no telling how many it will take for ABC to take notice, Rehm said, but every signature is another sign of hope.
Update 1203: From New Bolton: The December 19 update has been postponed until tomorrow. I assume this is simply because it got too late in the day.
Update 1202: My fourth visit with Barbaro.
So today I was to meet Mrs. Jackson and John Hennegan at 10 am at New Bolton. John and his brother are making a movie "The First Saturday in May" for which John is filming the epilogue, so following up with Barbaro. Peter Brette had mentioned this project to me a few months ago, and John and I had had a brief conversation in the summer about it and the state of horse racing in general. We had not met. Mrs. Jackson thought it would be good for us to meet (for which I was very grateful, as not only was I interested in meeting John, it meant a visit with Barbaro). Given I needed to be at New Bolton by 10 am I cut my Fair Hill work short this morning. Hawty Creek breezed yesterday so she was having a day off anyway. Another of the horses I ride also had (an unscheduled) day off! I arrived at New Bolton ten minutes early, which gave me just enough time to place another poster on the outside fence line at New Bolton.
Once I got into the lobby I chatted with Kathy Freeborn as I waited for John and Mrs. Jackson. Kathy has promised to take a couple of pictures of the outside fence line so everyone can see how it is looking with all the new posters.
John arrived first. We made our brief introductions, and Mrs. Jackson arrived very shortly thereafter, and right on 10 am. Mrs. Jackson had her usual bag of grass for Barbaro and led John and I back to the ICU. As we went back John began filming. We entered the ICU, put on our ICU garments and went in to see Barbaro. He has now been moved back to his old unit (I had not seen him in this unit) but is in a different stall. Both his old stall and this stall are similar in size, and both have windows, but Barbaro's current view is much more interesting (outside, fields etc. rather than the back of another building). Mrs. Jackson opened Barbaro's stall door (it is a sliding door) about a foot and placed the freshly cut grass close to the stall door. It took a minute or so for Barbaro to be encouraged to start to eat the grass, but once he did, he was very contented. All the while John was filming, he also asked Mrs. Jackson questions for which she was hooked up to a microphone. Barbaro also receives some carrots, spearmint mints, stud muffins etc. He did get a little fiesty from time-to-time and I put on his halter so we had a little control if needed. We basically hung out for about an hour while John was filming, Barbaro was eating, and moving around his stall, peering out of his window (which is closed of course as it is a temparture controlled environment). This was also the first time I got to see his right hind leg without anything on it. In the deep straw it looks great, its only when you see the leg raised do you notice it is a little different now after all the surgery he has had. He also has a pretty big shoe on the end of it! Towards the end Barbaro decided to lie down. It seemed to take him a little while to get in position to lie down, he is quite deliberate about things he does, in order to take care of himself I think. Anyway, John thought this was brilliant, and Mrs. Jackson illustrated to us how gentle Barbaro is when he is lying down (she went up to pet him and he looked so at peace.)
All in all a great visit, and the staff everywhere were great. John was planning to meet Tom (the Jackson's farm manager) later so he could get some footage of Barbaro outside grazing, and what a beautiful day it is this afternoon for that to happen. I went to lunch with Jennifer Rench (New Bolton PR) and we caught up an everything that is Barbaro!
Update 1201: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). I visited him with Mrs. Jackson and John Hennegan, from 10 am to about 11:30 am. John is making a movie / documentary, with his brother Brad, titled "The First Saturday in May". This movie follows the stories of Barbaro, Brother Derek, Laywer Ron, Jazil, Sharp Humor and Achilles of Troy. More on the visit in the next update. The New Bolton Update will likely not be much before the end of the day.
update 1:45 pm, tuesday, december 19
Posted by Alex at 6:43 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 160
Posted December 18, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1200: Another article on Barbaro's new visitor for today: Specialist from Ky. to examine Barbaro today. This article simply rehashes everything we know of today's visit, and adds:
Robin Murray, public relations director for the Rood and Riddle center, said the hospital is capable of housing horses with laminitis, but added that Morrison has treated cases at some Lexington-area farms that can handle such horses as well.
Sharonlynn (Fan of Barbaro) who had this article published on horse slaughter a little earlier has more recently had two more articles published: Letter: Senators must listen to the people and Guest Opinion: Stop inhumane slaughtering of our horses to feed elite Europeans. Please review and add your thoughtful comments.
There is more good news for synthetic tracks after the short Hollywood Park meet: Cushion Track Boosts Field Sizes, Purses, Handle at Hollywood Park.
The Barbaro update will likely be late morning.
Update 1199: The Daily Racing Form is running an article on the visit tomorrow of the foot specialist from Rood & Riddle: Barbaro gets checkup. This article does not suggest immediate plans for movement to Rood & Riddle, the following is an excerpt:
"I guess Dean feels Dr. Morrison is very good in his field as far as specializing in laminitis and hoof problems, and being a blacksmith as well as a veterinarian," Jackson added. "I guess it's to see if there is something different that should be done."
Richardson prompted speculation that Barbaro's release from the New Bolton Center could be imminent when he said on Dec. 13, "In my mind's eye, he can leave in the not-so-distant future."
Richardson did not elaborate and declined to give a timeline for the horse's departure when he made the comment at a press conference.
Jackson said that she and her husband, Roy, who bred and own Barbaro together, have been making plans for the day Barbaro leaves New Bolton Center. But she declined to say where they would send the colt after his release.
"As soon as it is possible to say anything, we will be happy to say," Jackson said.
Tonight I had dinner at the Whip (thank you) with Tom Finn, who recently returned from Milawi. Tom used to gallop Storm Cat (a few years ago). It was fun listening to those stories.
Update 1198: Hard Spun clearly showed he is a promising 2yo that is ready for the major leagues. He handled the seven furlongs quite easily and drew away by about eight lengths in the end (Pennsylvania Nursery). He still looked green, and just before the wire he looked like he was looking at something. It will be tough to really get a handle on how good he is, until he does face graded stakes company, but he has done nothing wrong so far in his three facile victories. Here's hoping for continued success for this gorgeous looking son of Danzig (who breezed at Fair Hill in preparation for this race).
Mr. Boxcar seemed to run well for about 5/8ths and then faded a little. It is tough to get a guage on the remainder of the field, as they each had their race taken away from them by the overwhelming Hard Spun!
Update 1197: The first media coverage I have seen of the failure to get the Senate to vote on the anti horse-slaughter bill: Anti-Slaughter Bill Still Awaits Vote in House. Lets hope for a better result on this next year. I know many people following Barbaro have been committed to helping push this legislation and worked very hard on this issue towards the end of this year.
On a more positive note: Christmas rescue: Faithful Tradition.
Update 1196: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (11 am) after her morning visit. She called as I was grooming Hawty Creek, who had a busy morning this morning. She got her new shoes at 6:30 am, and worked a half in 50 at 7:30 am. She went well. Probably 2 - 3 more works before she is ready to run. It is a gorgeous morning here, very warm. I can imagine this weather cannot last too much longer, but it is a pleasure for this time of year!
update 11:20 am, monday, december 18
Posted by Alex at 4:16 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 159
Posted December 16, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1195: A nice "Barbaro" article to start the week: A horse racing wish list. It begins:
This is my 2006 Christmas wish list for horse racing.
For Dr. Dean Richardson: Anything his heart desires.
Here is the web-site for Rood & Riddle, which may be Barbaro's next stop for his continued recovery (see update 1192).
It was another great afternoon yesterday for Russell Baze: Baze Wins Five Straight Races at Bay Meadows.
The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.
Update 1194: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (12:40 pm) to let us know. Barbaro was lying down when she arrived, he got up, looked out of his window and was in good humour. Ron (Hawty Creek's blacksmith) also called, so it looks like Hawty Creek will have a new set of shoes applied tomorrow.
update, 12:45 pm, sunday, december 17
Update 1193: I went into Fair Hill this morning (sunday morning) as I needed to train Hawty Creek (so she can breeze as soon she is reshod) and was also getting on one for Tim, Medi Man. It was a lovely morning, with a beautiful sunrise. The track was nice as quiet, as is usual for a sunday. Hawty Creek jogged two turns (cannot do too much with her as she is missing her right front shoe) and Medi Man galloped a mile and a half.
I had heard through the "Fair Hill grape vine" that Hard Spun had worked recently at Fair Hill on the tapeta surface, in preparation for his race on Monday: Hard Spun towers over Nursery rivals. Anyway, it turns out he has been at Fair Hill for a couple of weeks. I went over to see him, and he is an impressive looking individual. I saw him in his stall, and he just seemed very relaxed and contented. He will ship up to Philadelphia Park tomorrow morning for the race (its normal to ship the morning of a race for local racing). Of course many Fans of Barbaro will be rooting for Mr. Boxcar (whose daddy also trained at Fair Hill a few years ago.)
Update 1192: Kentucky foot specialist Morrison to examine Barbaro on Tuesday. It appears there is potential for Barbaro's recovery to continue outside of New Bolton. The following are excerpts:
"I just think they are coming to a point where they can't do anything more for him [at New Bolton]," Gretchen Jackson said. "He's ready to move on is, more or less, what Dean is telling us. But we don't have any dates. I'm under strict orders, things are in the making, but I just can't say anything until it's all solidified.
"They are just thinking that maybe [Rood and Riddle] can help him out more," Jackson continued. "Even though it has grown, it will never look like a normal hoof, I've been told. But it's definitely grown, and he walks on it fine."
"I could kick myself today, because he's been just wonderful for the last month, very gentle. ...My grandkids were in his stall [Saturday] morning and I didn't have a camera," Gretchen Jackson said. "He's lying down and they were walking right up to his head and kissing him and everything. I would have loved to have a picture of it, and I just hope I get the opportunity again to have the kids in there with him at the same time he's lying down. He's shown such a nice side to his personality and such a sweet side going through this whole ordeal."
Update 1191: Show Thoroughbred Times who you support for the Eclipse award for trainer of the year: Vote for Michael Matz.
Your friends at Kennett Florist want to thank you for their lovely banner, which is proudly displayed outside their shop: THANK YOU FROM KF.
Update 1190: Just spoke to Tim. Who's Happy was fourth on her debut this afternoon at Philadelphia Park. Graham Motion won the race, but his horse was disqualified to second. Tim said Who's Happy broke well, laid 5th or 6th down the backside, moved up around the turn and faded a little coming down the lane. She did not switch leads at the end so likely got quite tired. Anyway, she ran a little green and got a little tired, but a decent showing for her first start. She is cooling out well.
Update 1189: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night), and another upbeat report from Mrs. Jackson from her visit this morning. She had her grandchildren with her and Barbaro was laying down when they arrived. Barbaro was in good form and very gentle for his guests.
Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I took Hawty Creek out early this morning, outback, just as the sun was rising. One of the downsides of being first to go outback is there are always plenty of deer around to get your horse excited. Hawty Creek bucked a lot. As I was coming back I noticed an odd pattern in the sky, like the exhaust of an aeroplane, but in a squiggly pattern. I was told later in the morning, when I took a 2yo to the gate, that a rocket had been launched this morning ... and that was what created the odd exhaust. Apparently the rocket was cool to observe. Other than that, a nice uneventful morning, now I need to get hold of my blacksmith!
update, saturday morning, 10:20 am, december 16
Posted by Alex at 3:13 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 158
Posted December 15, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1188: At the Press Conference on wednesday I introduced myself to Jack Ireland who writes for the Wilmington News Journal. We discussed Mike Rea and his Homemakeover, and his need to get signatures for his petition. Jack said he would willingly sign so here's the link to sign Jack! As a result of the press conference Jack wrote this (very good) article: Barbaro's popularity continues to soar. It includes the following excerpt:
A big reason Barbaro has become so important to so many is the way he has continually beaten the odds. While he was getting the best care available, it became evident early on that this horse was special. He was a fighter, or as one longtime Delaware Park fan said, "He's a real trooper, isn't he?" People in this country like to root for the underdog -- human or equine.
"I think it's something of a miracle he is here with us," Roy Jackson said. "I don't know exactly what it is, but we have never dwelled on the negative.
You can now vote for racing's moment of the year.
This morning at Fair Hill will be quiet for me for a saturday. Hawty Creek's scheduled half mile work has been postponed. She lost a right front shoe yesterday while jogging down a hill outback. She can't work until I get her reshod, which I hope will be sometime in the next day or so. She'll go outback again today most likely. Tim is going to open gallop Gator Nation (my usual first horse) so it looks like only four to ride and a nice easy morning ahead!
Update 1187: Barbaro is featured in People Magazine this week (top five news story for 2006) as well as Time Magazine.
It is sad to report the passing of Scotty Schulhoffer: Hall of Fame Trainer Scotty Schulhofer Dead at 80. His most recent "big horse" was Lemon Drop Kid.
Let us remember: Remembering Our Champions.
Update 1186: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). Mrs. Jackson called (10:15 am) after her morning visit with Barbaro. She was very upbeat in her assessment of Barbaro.
Kathy Anderson also visited Barbaro yesterday. It was Dr. Anderson's first visit for a couple of weeks and she was also very happy with how Barbaro was doing. She noted that while Barbaro is back in his old "unit", he is in fact in a different stall, with a window with a view. He seems to like his new "digs".
These pictures were taken on wednesday of this week: Barbaro's new halter and NBC Tree. I saw the tree on my latest visit to New Bolton, it is very cool!
Posted by Alex at 3:36 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 157
Posted December 14, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1185: A couple more articles from the recent press conference here and here. According to Mary (comment timestamp: 2:43 am) there were 170 articles out within the last 24 hours about the press conference.
A couple of pieces of racing news. Slot money will soon impact racing in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Park implements 40% purse increase. Those with Pennsylvania bred horses will be particularly excited. Woodbine's meet is over, and the results from the time they implemented the synthetic surface are encouraging from a business standpoint, after a slow start to the meet (without the new synthetic surface): Woodbine Handle Slips, but Officials Optimistic.
The Barbaro update will likely not be until early afternoon.
Update 1184: I am now officially a reporter: Barbaro no longer under wraps.
Alie, from Kennett Florist, left this comment (timestamp: 8:38 pm):
It's a beautiful day here in Kennett Square. Nice & sunny, now that this morning fog has lifted. I just returned from NBC. All was happy & bright. Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day. I was NBC for the press conference. Afterward I gave Mr. & Mrs. Jackson Barbaro's bridle. They loved it and the mint wreath. The wreath of carrots looked really cool. Pictures were taken before the green tops wilted; it became horse food. The NBC Christmas gathering had a big turn out. I dropped off a centerpiece as they were setting up. The staff was treated to hot hors d'oeuvres, cheeses, meatball, and cake among other things. The cards were displayed on foam board for all to see. Dr Sweeney is off today, but will post a thank you at the UPENN site at a later time. Thanks to all who helped make this a nice party for them.
Update 1183: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). I just called Mrs. Jackson who let me know. She said Barbaro was lying down when she saw him, and he was in good form. He has now moved back to his old stall and had some form of bath today.
update, 2 pm, thursday, december 14
Posted by Alex at 6:59 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 156
Posted December 13, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1182: No Barbaro update yet this morning. It was very foggy at Fair Hill this morning, and again nice and warm for this time of year. I took Hawty Creek up "Goat House Hill" ... she basically had a nice gallop outback up a little bit of an incline. She is doing pretty well at the moment, and should likely work a half a mile on saturday. Gator Nation was again a pleasure to gallop first set this morning. He actually winnies at you when he thinks he's going to train, I swear I have never come across another horse that does that! His half sister also galloped on the track today. She's only been here a few short weeks but is really going nicely, learning how to switch leads and so forth as she gallops.
Here is a newscast from Mike Schuh from the press conference yesterday: Barbaro Makes More Improvements With Injured Legs.
Update 1181: The media at the press conference really picked up on the notion that Barbaro may be released from New Bolton soon. It is here, here, here, here, here, here and here (I am sure elsewhere too). Steve Haskin actually wrote about the purpose of the Press Conference: Barbaro Fund Receives Donation from Sale of Miniatures. I thought the big news was that Barbaro has no bandage on his right hind leg.
Here is a quick update on Ouija Board.
The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.
Update 1180: My New Bolton visit today (wednesday).
This visit had two purposes. To hang some more posters on the fence line of New Bolton, and to attend the press conference: Breyer Donating Portion of Barbaro Figure Proceeds to New Bolton Fund. I had arranged to meet Skyler at New Bolton to help me with the former task. Skyler called me as I began putting up the new posters and helped me finish up. Fortunately the rain was tapering off, so it became a nice pleasant task. We then drove (independantly) to the New Bolton parking lot as Skyler wanted to buy a couple of sweatshirts from New Bolton, and I was attending the press conference. As we walked in we met Tom, driving in to take care of Barbaro (groom, outside to graze etc.) It was a brief but fun meeting. Once inside New Bolton I said goodbye to Skyler and went into the press conference. I was quite surprised by the number of media in attendance, but I guess I should not have been, it is about Barbaro!
Before the press conference started I chatted with Mr. Jackson, and as we were chatting of course quite a few people would stop by and join the conversation (not because of me you understand ...) It was fun being introduced to some other media folk. Dr. Richardson stopped by, it was at this point he informed us that the new shoe was applied yesterday at around 4 pm. He also mentioned there was now no bandage on the right hind (when I heard that I was hoping to hear it again later, so I was not mistaken). Anyway, soon the press conference began.
Those "behind the table" at the press conference were Tony Fleshman, boss of Breyer, Dean Joan Hendricks (Penn Vet School Dean), Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and Dr. Richardson. Mr. Fleshman spoke first, and very eloquently about the horse, the mission of Breyer and how honored they were to raise money for the Barbaro Fund (or something like that anyway). Dean Hendricks spoke second. She highlighted the preparedness of work of a place like New Bolton, and the new spotlight Barbaro had placed on veterinary medicine and horse racing alike. Mrs. Jackson spoke on behalf of herself and her husband. Again she was very eloquent, humble and a little amusing. The final speaker was Dr. Richardson, whose remarks were also quite light-hearted and upbeat. There was clearly a very different atmosphere to this press conference than to the previous one in July.
Dr. Richardson then took questions. He confirmed Barbaro does not have a bandage on his right hind leg, and that the new special shoe was applied at about 4 pm yesterday. Dr. Richardson reiterated that Barbaro has hurdles in front of him; he has "a long way to go - we have come a fair distance" was a direct quote. When asked about his current condition he noted that he walks daily, and was likely out now (at the time of the press conference, and of course knowing Tom was there at the time I guess he was right). I am hoping some of the news organizations that were there today recorded the remarks as there was some interesting detail I could not capture. Basically his left hind foot is in a bandage (no shoe), the right hind the fracture has healed to the point where no additional support (bandage) is necessary. The leg does not look entirely normal, but he can get around on it, and he's a happy horse.
Dr. Richardson was asked how long Barbaro would remain at New Bolton. The answer: it depends on many things, but he could leave New Bolton "in the not too distant future". Dr. Richardson was asked to clarify what that meant, and with a smile he said sometime from after the press conference to when he retires (I am not sure who "he" refers to in this statement).
Dr. Richardson noted his weight was 1132lbs. It fluctuates a little. He is eating well, he has good flesh, all his vital signs are normal, and his coat looks beautiful (I can attest to that).
Dr. Richardson was asked how long it would take the for left hind foot to be normal. It could be years, and he will never have a completely normal foot. He has some hoof wall (fair amount I think was Dr. Richardson's term), but it will be a few months before he can get a shoe (glue on shoe).
I asked about the shoe applied yesterday to his right hind. It is "special" in the sense that it is designed to provide additional support and includes an extended heal (again, I hope this was recorded as there was some interesting stuff described). It is not a normal looking shoe. It is also a glue on shoe.
Dr. Richardson noted how smart the horse was, and how this has aided his recovery. He also noted how steadfast the Jackson's had been in supporting their horse, visiting twice a day. Dr. Richardson suggested (with a grin) that they were simply checking up on his work.
All in all, an upbeat press conference. I chatted with a couple of people before leaving. On my way out I met Lisa from NY, who was visiting with Kennett Florist. The tree looks very cool!
Update 1179: Barbaro remains comfortable. Although I did not hear directly from a visit, I was at a press conference at New Bolton Center for the Barbaro Breyer model. Dr. Richardson spoke, among others. He then took questions. I will provide a more detailed report on my visit in the next update, suffice it to say that the key things I learned:
a. Barbaro had his right hind shoe changed yesterday, 4 pm
b. Barbaro no longer has a bandage on his right hind leg (yes, you read that correctly)
c. The Barbaro Breyer model raised $114,710 for the Barbaro Fund.
Posted by Alex at 7:53 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 155
Posted December 12, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1178: No Barbaro update yet this morning. I will be heading over to New Bolton to afix some more posters to the fence line, so hopefully will have heard something by my return.
It became a rainy morning this morning at Fair Hill, although again unseasonably warm. Gator Nation, who has been my first ride for the morning for a little while, seems to be training really well at the moment ... or at least he is an absolute pleasure to gallop. My kind of horse, give him a long reign, and let him gallop along. Hawty Creek again went outback. The ground was nice so we galloped a little more up the hills. One thing she knows how to do is buck (Jen, who helps out with the site from time-to-time with updates, can attest to that ... she bucked her off one time last year). Anyway, she is in good form. The others I rode also went well, but as the morning continued the rain started coming.
Update 1177: Sue McMullen sent this e-mail about the returning Collier Hill:
Collier Hill is due home today. Speaking this morning about his stable star, trainer Alan Swinbank echoed the view of so many people when he said, "he's all class, isn't he? I don't think we'll ever have another one like him." Sadly the victory reception for Collier will be somewhat tempered by the fact that the yard have this morning suffered the kind of tragedy that reminds us that the euphoric highs of racing are so often followed by the desperate lows. A horse broke a leg on the gallops and had to be euthanised. Those outside racing sometimes underestimate how an event like this affects a training stable, how utterly demoralising and upsetting it is for all involved, not just the person closest to the horse. This much was evident speaking to Alan this morning as he expressed his pride of Collier in a voice still raw with the emotion of seeing another of his charges lose his life.
I have been fortunate in racing that this has not (yet) happened to me, a horse breaking its leg. It can only be an awful feeling. It happened to a friend of mine somewhat recently, I saw her in the Post Office a week later. She was mailing a letter, with a photograph, to the owner of the horse. She said she just could not get around to doing it any sooner it was so upsetting.
Del Mar has now received approval to go ahead with its Polytrack: Coastal Commission Approves Del Mar Polytrack.
It looks like another day of decent weather for Fair Hill, as long as the rain holds off. The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.
Update 1176: Sue McMullen sent this about our favourite lady:
Following a certain amount of speculation about where she would go, Gainsborough House Stables, Ed Dunlop's training base, have today confirmed they are expecting Ouija Board home tomorrow and she is reported to be fine form. They were obviously not expecting to see her again as she had been due to go straight to her new career in the paddocks, so this is a little bonus for all those who have been very close to her over the last few years. Her withdrawal from the Vase was said to be 50/50 and primarily on the basis of her own wellbeing, which rings true as her 'team' would never have done anything whatsoever to risk this most precious girl. They are also counting their blessings, just thankful that after the most glittering, globe-trotting career, they have her back in one piece. This is the most important consideration to them, which puts Hong Kong into perspective and she will be welcomed home like a returning Queen, from all at the yard and doubtless a few visitors keen to see her one last time before she leaves them. A date for her departure has yet to be decided by Lord Derby, her number one, loyal subject.
We have a couple more articles about Eclipse Award voting: The Eclipse Awards might hold some surprises and An Eclipse For Barbaro, It's Not Unprecedented.
Racing media were quick to pick up on New Bolton's latest update: Barbaro to get special shoe for right hind foot and Barbaro to Get Special Shoe for Right Hind Foot. Their obvious focus being the new shoe.
Update 1175: New Bolton's Barbaro Update: Barbaro gaining strength on right hind leg:
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is continuing to strengthen on his right hind leg since the cast was removed on November 6, according to his medical team. "Barbaro will need a special shoe on his right hind foot that will provide extra support for at least the next several months," said Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery. Barbaro's medical team plans to change his right hind shoe within the next day or two.
Barbaro's left hind foot, which had laminitis, continues to improve. "The left hind foot is progressing slowly although his comfort on that foot remains acceptable," said Dr. Richardson. "Most importantly, Barbaro's overall condition is continuing to improve and he weighs more now than at any time during his hospitalization."
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, December 19, unless there is a significant change in Barbaro's condition.
Update 1174: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Mrs. Jackson called after her morning visit to report (just after 11 am). I was actually at the post office when Mrs. Jackson called, picking up more posters for the New Bolton fence line. I think I have about four more posters to hang, so will either do that later today, or tomorrow mid morning.
Don't forget to vote for Time's Best Photo of the Year. Barbaro's photo (19) appears to have 5% of the vote, and is currently #3 in the voting as far as I am aware (which is pretty cool I think).
Fair Hill was beautiful this morning. Given the slightly warmer weather I took three of my horses across the fields (something we cannot do in the dead of winter as the ground gets too hard). Hawty Creek enjoyed it. The second, a 2yo of Tim's, it was her first time outback. She also enjoyed it, and as we were coming home there was a huge bird perched in one of the trees. It was either a Bald Eagle or a large Hawk. I have not seen a Bald Eagle since the spring, but since the bird did not fly off I could not be too sure what it was. The final ride outback, I was in company, and we saw a fox, trotting along without a care in the world ... with some dinner in his (or her) mouth.
Posted by Alex at 4:44 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 154
Posted December 11, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1173: A couple of perspectives for end of year honors: Vote Barbaro! and In Eclipse Award Nods, Lead With the Head, Follow Through With the Heart. I of course agree with the former article; the Kentucky Derby was the single outstanding performance of the year for a horse.
Regarding the latter article, it would be great to see either the Jackson's win an award or Michael Matz. Both are very deserving. Barbaro's accident did rob us of witnessing another attribute of this team, their sporting nature. There were early discussions of taking Barbaro to europe to race later in his career. These discussions have now moved to Showing Up (with Barclay Tagg). I was talking to Mrs. Jackson about this yesterday. She noted two things; they would love to take Showing Up to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next year, and the decision is entirely in their trainer's hands. Both very refreshing comments. As noted recently, not a single US-based runner ran in the Arc, the Melbourne Cup, the Japan Cup or the Hong Kong Vase.
Talking of international racing, the Bloodhorse has pictures of Ouija Board's exploits in her Breeders' Cups.
Finally, Skyler visited Fair Hill yesterday and left her visit report in the comments (timestamp: 3:07 AM). The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning. A New Bolton release on Barbaro is also scheduled for today.
Update 1172: A quick update from Hollywood Park. I called Andy Durnin and he told me he had been galloping a few horses for Madella, one of which just won: Late-bloomer Boboman wins Turf Cup. He also told me of a nice maiden win for Beau Greely (Le Cirque) and a half brother to Smarty Jones ... Speedy Jones, who is getting ready to run. Andy said the new track is now in good shape and handled a good amount of rain recently very well. Andy also mentioned that Warren Stute (legendary trainer) took a spill off his pony this morning and was taken to hospital, he had not heard anything further.
Update 1171: Bernie, from Kennett Florist, left this comment (timestamp: 8:09 pm):
Hi FOBs! Just wanted to let you all know that our big boy got his carrots and treats today and everyone was in the holiday spirit. I'm pleased to say the tree still looks great (I helped decorate it last week). Also, a heartfelt thanks from Libby to those of you who have been sending treats to her "kids" (the blood donor/research animals). She asked me to post that she and her kids are very grateful and are getting spoiled :) Thanks again to everyone. As always, we are pleased and proud to be a part of the wonderful Friends of Barbaro.
Susan E. left this comment regarding voting for Time's 2006 Photograph of the Year (timestamp: 7:40 pm):
Had a little trouble but finally got to view and vote on the TIME photos. I agree with Jake and Susan from Saratoga: Barbaro's photo is the one that stands out with a message of hope, recovery, affirmation of life, and fundamental humanity. Even if I wasn't an ardent FOB, I'd vote for it because it reminds us all of what can be and what should be. (The other photo in this category is the stark, black and white New Orleans Mardi Gras bar photos).
This is not to take away from the necessity of what is shown in and learned from in the grim, heartbreaking war related photos that comprise most of the selections; the Barbaro photo takes us through those horrors and brings us out on the other side.
Update 1170: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (11 am) and had just visited Barbaro.
You can vote for Time: Best Photos of the Year 2006. It is nice to see Barbaro featured (number 19), hence the gentle request to vote.
A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. We had a couple of visitors, Lyn and Skyler. Hawty Creek bit me, but other than that it was a great morning to be outside. Real Lace looks great after her win yesterday.
Posted by Alex at 4:38 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 153
Posted December 9, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1169: Now you can view Collier Hill's weekend exploits: Hong Kong Vase 10/12/2006 (understanding french will make a little more sense of it). You can see that Dean McKeown out rode the other jockeys by getting first run around the turn and up the stretch, and then just holding off the fast charging Kastoria by a nose. Very exciting, and nice to see a right-handed horse race!
Jeannine Edwards sent the following e-mail as she was covering racing from Puerto Rico over the weekend for Wire to Wire (ESPN2):
The Clasico Del Caribe was run today for the 39th time. 5 Caribbean nations had runners in the $300,000 race. It was a gorgeous day at El Commandante in Puerto Rico, warm with a light breeze, high clouds, and a passing shower or two, which is customary.
Before the 11 horses came to the paddock for the Clasico, a marching band complete with cheerleaders and color guard, came onto the track to perform and signal the big event. Then the procession began... each country had a flag bearer (jockeys from the Puerto Rican Jockey School) and a country sign carrier, and they led each runner down the track to the paddock. People were cheering and waving flags from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. The stands were completely full.... the attendance estimate was around 12,000.... that's alot for this little track that sits next to a 3000-acre rain forest.
Two American-based jockeys rode in the race, John Velazquez rode race favorite Tenochtitlan from Mexico, and Fernando Jara (BC Classic winner on Invasor) rode one of the Panamanian colts, Ay Papa. After a mad dash down the stretch in which it seemed like 6-7 horses wanted the lead, Fernando's perfectly timed ride on Ay Papa prevailed by about a half length over Dobil
Yack from Mexico. 18-year-old Fernando Jara won the Clasico in his very first ride. He's been on fire this year, also winning the Belmont Stakes on Jazil. Congratulations Fernando!
Puerto Rico's champ Criador, who had won 2 legs of Puerto Rico's Triple Crown, had to settle for third in the Clasico, and the lone filly in the race, Gran Estefania from Venezuela, was fourth. It was an exciting day of racing for Chris Lincoln and myself. We covered the event for Wire To Wire on ESPN2. The staff at El Commandante and the Caribbean Horse Racing Confederation could not have been more hospitable or gracious to us. It was a memorable day of racing, and we enjoyed meeting so many wonderful horsemen from places like Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, as well as the 5 countries represented in the Clasico. Each and every one of them was honored to have a horse racing on the Caribbean's biggest day. Chris and I would like to be staying longer and soaking up a little sunshine, but we're both leaving first thing tomorrow morning... back to the chilly winter in the States.
The Barbaro update will likely be later this morning.
Update 1168: Just spoke to Tim. He was very happy with Real Lace (of course). He said she is cooling out well after her race.
Alie, from Kennett Florist, left this comment (timestamp: 6:27 pm):
I haven't had time to post the last few days. Rachel is away at a family wedding. She will be back on Tuesday. We put the tree up at NBC Friday late afternoon. Finished around
5 pm. It looks great. The staff loved the ornaments. A couple FOBS' visited NBC sat and told Steve they loved it. He was making the sat deliveries. Since, I could not leave the shop. We took pictures of the tree with Rachel's digital she will send them on Tuesday. She had to leave as soon as I got back to the shop. The mood at NBC has been very happy & up, all week. Mr. J stopped by the shop sat. We had a nice little chat. He is so nice. Anne, Erin's mom & my husband Steve got to meet him for the first time.
Hope you all have a nice Sunday.
I opened the door to NBC for the person carrying the aforementioned tree into New Bolton.
Update 1167: Real Lace was the favourite in the seventh race at Laurel, an allowance race, and ran and won like a good favourite. Congratulations to Equivine Farm. That makes ten wins on the year for Tim.
Update 1166: A picture of the outside fence line at New Bolton with the new posters received by saturday afternoon: Help need posters for Barbaro.
Update 1165: Some pictures from the Hong Kong Vase: More pictures from Hong Kong.
Update 1164: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (saturday night). Mrs. Jackson just called (11:45 am) after her usual morning visit.
update 11:50 am, sunday december 10
Update 1163: A lovely bright sunny morning this morning at Fair Hill, although still very chilly. I went in to take care of Hawty Creek. I had her out grazing for half an hour while I read a book (Birdsong). Canada geese were flying overhead. Tim has a runner at Laurel today, Real Lace in the seventh. He was getting ready to breeze two horses as I left. A nice quick, quiet morning for me.
Update 1162: Sue McMullen also sent this follow up note:
Desperately sad about Takeover Target, who was withdrawn due to the continued problem of his sample testing positive. A real blow that he couldn't make history and one can only imagine how Joe Janiack now feels.
But we have little Collier, the 'David' of the Vase taking on and triumphing over the collective Goliath of some illustrious high profile horses and connections, including the Aga Khan's Kastoria and Ballydoyle's Scorpion. Dean's unwavering faith in this tough little horse is very touching and they certainly showed them the way home with Collier really digging deep to fight off Kastoria's late challenge. It's long been a source of annoyance for Dean that regardless of what he's achieved the horse hasn't been given the respect he so richly deserves. Surely that will now change.
Update 1161: I am very excited to report Collier Hill won the Hong Kong Vase. Sue McMullen sent this from the Hong Kong Jockey Club:
Collier Hill reaches new heights in Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase
The fairytale story of Collier Hill took yet another barely imaginable twist as the eight-year-old British stayer repelled the late thrust of Kastoria by a nose to win the HK$14m Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase.
The horse that cost GBP5,500 as a cast-off and was bought to win a bumper at Catterick before a spell over hurdles has now won over HK$31m, adding to wins in last year's Irish St Leger and the Canadian International in October.
Collier Hill raced prominently and took over the lead with over 300m to go and looked to have the race in safe keeping at the furlong pole but that was when Mick Kinane had extricated Kastoria from an awkward passage and unleashed a tremendous run that brought him to within an agonising margin of the winner. Shamdala, owned like the runner-up by the Aga Khan, ran third with Song Of Wind fourth for Japan.
While it was a tale of hard-luck tale for the Irish-trained runner-up, take nothing from Collier Hill, so boldly touted all week by his jockey Dean McKeown - a man better known for his exploits at tracks in the north of Britain as a horse that would not be beaten and one that excels when he travels overseas.
"I knew I had won turning for home!" the rider joked in the post-race media melee. "He picked up really well but near the line he turned his head at the crowd shouting and he started to ease up and when Kastoria came at him he really stuck his head out and just got in."
Trainer Alan Swinbank, who trains 120 horses in a yard of flat and jump horses in North Yorkshire, added: "He was a bit dehydrated on Thursday and for a time it was touch and go whether we would run, and it was only yesterday that he came right again. We have always had trouble his joints and now we can look after them when he gets home. He deserves a break now, doesn't he?"
"Long term, we might come back here next year, but you have to consider his age. In the meantime, he will go back to Dubai for the Sheema Classic in March when we will try to go one better than last year."
I just spoke to Dean and asked him what he was planning for this evening (sunday night in Hong Kong, sunday morning in the US). He said he was getting on a plane in four hours, he was pretty tired after being in Hong Kong all week. When I appeared surprised on the phone when I called to congratulate Dean, Dean was curious as to why I was surprised, he had had confidence all week. Anyway, I am very excited for Dean, a great horseman getting back into the spotlight. I will call in a couple of days to see how Collier Hill is after the race. Here is Sportinglife's report of the race: HILL TAKES VASE PRIZE.
Update 1160: For my visit I forgot to mention, another poster has been placed on the fence outside New Bolton, in Lael colors: "Believe in Barbaro".
Update 1159: My third trip to see Barbaro. Before seeing Barbaro I was told that there was no need to take him out to graze today. Perhaps it was combination of the wind, me being new to Barbaro in these circumstances etc. but it was fine with me. Either way I was looking forward to hanging out and grooming him. I took some goodies for those working in the ICU ... regifting a gift I received from Denise this morning from her visit to Fair Hill (cakes). I entered the ICU, put on the appropriate dress and went through to Barbaro's stall. I put on his halter and tied him up. I also bribed him a little ... carrots. Once tied up I started by picking out his front feet. I then began grooming him, trying to be gentle but firm. Wanting to get him clean but also stimulate him a little bit. He would tolerate this for a little while, and then pretend (perhaps) to flash his teeth ... from time to time I would get a couple more carrots to placate him a little. This went on for about fifteen minutes. During this time a gift arrived for Barbaro, which included bags of baby carrots. Apparently he had not had these for a while ... and take it from me, he quite likes them!
After the initial groom I took a break to apply his standing bandage on his left hind leg. Currently he has no bandages for his front legs. I of course do not mess with the bandage on his right hind leg. Once that bandage was in place I began grooming him again. This went on for another ten to fifteen minutes. All the while I met some of the people who are working in the ICU. Everyone just seemed super nice, and it was quite an international crowd too. I think they liked the cakes I brought them, although I did let them know I cherry-picked a few for myself before bringing them in. All in all I spent about an hour in the ICU with Barbaro. It was fun, nice and very mellowing for me. Barbaro also seemed in good spirits ... although I think I agitated him a little from time to time.
Update 1158: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (friday night). Mrs. Jackson just left me a voice mail as she was leaving New Bolton from her morning visit.
This morning started off very cold at Fair Hill (in the teens). Thankfully the wind had died down and Fair Hill did warm up a little through the morning. I rode six, which included open galloping Hawty Creek a mile. She went very well. Her owner was here to watch. He timed her, and told me I was seven seconds off (open gallop should be 15 seconds per eighth of a mile). I had to ask if I went too quick or too slow ... Despite the off timing, she went very well, very easily and was hardly blowing afterwards. Her next piece of work, next saturday if the weather cooperates and all remains well with Hawty Creek, will be a half mile work.
I am off to see Barbaro a little later, and will write a report on the visit.
update 11:35 am, saturday, december 9
Posted by Alex at 4:32 PM
| Comments (397)
Barbaro Updates: 152
Posted December 8, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1157: Ouija Board is no longer running in the Hong Kong Vase on sunday. Dean McKeown sent me a text to say she is reportedly lame. This is confirmed: OUIJA MISSES FAREWELL RUN. The following is an excerpt:
"We are beside ourselves with worry," said Derby.
"She was only going out for a brief trot this morning and she came back and just didn't look quite right and so we thought we would have a closer look at things.
"We decided to let her have a short canter on the racecourse this afternoon but we just weren't happy with her.
"It stems back to the problem she had in the early part of her four-year-old career and we looked at it and we all had only one thing in mind for a horse that we all love," he told At The Races.
Hopefully it is not quite as cold this morning at Fair Hill. It is likely there will be plenty of horses working if the tracks and weather conditions are suitable.
Update 1156: My second visit with Barbaro. Mrs. Jackson called me yesterday (thursday) and asked if I would be able to help out a little this weekend with Barbaro. Of course the answer was easy. I had intimated to her before that I would be happy to help out if needed. Tom, who works for the Jackson's, has basically been doing what Peter and Michael did before they left for Florida; visit, groom Barbaro and take him out to graze. Today the plan was for me to observe this, and to then do this tomorrow in Tom's absense.
This morning at Fair Hill I received a couple of packages; two sets of posters. I thought I would combine my trip to visit Barbaro with the task of hanging these new posters. Jennifer, who works at New Bolton in Publicity etc. had previously volunteered to help me with the posters. I arrived at New Bolton a little before noon and Jennifer and I hung the posters. It was a cold job, but fun nonetheless. Once done, we went for lunch, in the New Bolton canteen. I was then to meet Tom at 1 pm at the ICU. Jennifer and I got there and Tom arrived shortly thereafter. A few quick introductions and we went in to see Barbaro.
Tom set to work grooming Barbaro, I watched. As Tom was doing what he was doing we chatted away, he explaining a few things to me etc. Once Barbaro was groomed it was time to take him outside. Tom put a blanket on him and led him outside. I then grazed him for about thirty minutes as Tom and I continued chatting away. Barbaro was very easy to handle while grazing ... lets hope and assume he will be the same tomorrow. After thirty minutes he was not totally ready to come in ... I was. Back in his stall Tom set to work again grooming Barbaro a little more and then applying a standing bandage to his left hind leg (this is normal). Again, Tom was explaining a few things to me a long the way so when I get there tomorrow I should be able to find my way around and do what Barbaro has become accustomed to being done with him.
And how was Barbaro ... good, feisty while being groomed, tranquil while grazing.
Update 1155: Sue McMullen sent this e-mail in preparation for the Hong Kong races this weekend:
We're all set for the finale of the top Flat global racing fixtures, with Sunday's Cathay Pacific International races at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, which will be beamed to an estimated audience of one billion. And as with every finale, the scene is set for a nail-biting, dramatic conclusion and we've already had controversy, bitter sweet moments and speculation.
The controversy surrounds Takeover Target, or Archie as he is known to his friends, as reported here earlier today. His many followers, who he has gathered in his wake as he shuttles around the world notching up Group 1 sprint victories, now have just about everything crossed that Archie will shake off the residue of his medication and line-up on Sunday. If the life of this fairytale horse were a mere book or film script, you would revel in it, weep, and think it couldn't happen. But life is stranger than fiction and this year we've been blessed with so many larger-than-life horses, one of whom brought us together on this site and has been a focus for so much good. Back on the racetrack, there are so many fairy stories and Archie's is one of the most remarkable, as recounted here in a recent link to Bloodhorse.com. No horserace can ever be regarded as a walkover and certainly not at this level. Archie faces some very smart sprinters, including Hong Kong's wonder horse Silent Witness plus Desert Lord, Benbaum and Meisho Bowler, but the consensus is that despite his poor draw (12) if Archie is on form, the rest of the field will be fighting for the placings.
Trainer Joe Janiack is already planning Archie's campaign for next year (following what he describes as a good, well-earned break), which includes a return to the UK for another tilt at the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot and then the Nunthorpe at York, which he bypassed this year to head to Japan. Janiack says he won't go back there unless they 'improve training conditions'.
In many racing jurisdictions, including Europe and Hong Kong, there is zero tolerance over any form of medication regardless of its intention, so even minor transgressions with drugs administered for veterinary purposes are caught in the overall zeal to eradicate drugs from the sport. We applaud this and have to support the stance, but how cruel if Archie is denied his place in history. Let's hope it's washed through the system by Sunday morning.
The bitter sweet moments came yesterday when Frankie Dettori rode Ouija Board in her last ever piece of work and he expressed his sadness that it was the final time. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the peerless Ouija retires from the track and has a date with Kingmambo. Oblivious to her fate, Ouija worked well and looks in great form ahead of her bid to regain the Vase and finish her career on a high. As usual her connections are taking nothing for granted and there is an awareness that she has had a tough season with some real battles under her belt and this is a very high class field, which includes Shamdala, Kastoria, Scorpion, Maraahel and of course, Collier Hill. What can be said that hasn't already been written about Ouija Board? Much of the sentiment is expressed in the link from the previous page. Even her connections have added to the magic, remaining in the background and loving every minute of the adulation she has received throughout the world. Whatever the outcome on Sunday, there are sure to be many tears. Let's all enjoy seeing her on the track one last time.
The horse who plans to spoil the party is a bit of a fairy story himself, although much less well known. He is, of course, Collier Hill, whose partner Dean McKeown has been keeping us informed of his progress this week. As recounted here previously, Collier Hill was the proverbial 'ugly duckling, turned swan' whose career blossomed as he got older. Victor of this year's Canadian International at Woodbine, this grand old veteran of the track is a fresher horse than Ouija and Dean is confident of a big run from his frequently overlooked mount. A consummate horseman, Dean has always championed this horse, finding it difficult to believe he has never been given the accolades he richly deserves. Quietly shuttling around the globe, Collier Hill has gone about his business like a true professional. Always game and ready for a scrap, the 8 year-old Collier is bound to give a very good account of himself on Sunday. Riders transmit confidence to horses (or indeed the opposite) and this is a formidable partnership. Dean has total faith in his horse's talent, which is transmitted down the reins like old fashioned telegraph wires. If there are chinks in anyone's armour on Sunday, these two will find it. This is a tough one to call as the Queen of racing bows out and we all want her to go out on a high, but whatever happens she has had a hard year and would lose absolutely nothing in defeat. Her particular 'chink' could be the trip but if she has to get beaten, perhaps it would be fitting if it were Collier Hill. Nobody could deny that victory for this pair, the former 'ugly ducklng' and his 'unfashionable' jockey, would soften the blow.
Mention must be made of another wonderful mare who is also set to make her last appearance on Sunday, although there is speculation that she may stay in training next year. If Alexander Goldrun wins the Hong Kong Cup, trainer Jim Bolger is hoping to persuade owner Neil Callaghan to bypass her intended date with Galileo and keep her in training. Alexander won this race two years ago and although working well at Sha Tin, she faces top French mare Pride and last year's winner of this race, Vengeance of Rain, who is reported to be 'flying'. A consistent, tough winner at the very highest level, the five year-old Alexander Goldrun's stretch duel with Ouija Board for this year's renewal of the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, was one of the most exciting finishes of any horserace anywhere in the world. Neither mare wanted to give an inch and it was a great pity that one had to lose, with Alexander going down by a short head. Ridden throughout her illustrious career by Kevin Manning, the mare faces an arguably tougher task in this field to claim the honours than Ouija in the Vase.
Alexander is another globe-trotter and she has a phenomenal record, having run in 20 Group 1s, winning five and been placed in 10 of them, often short headed in real battles to the wire with some of the top 'boys', including Dylan Thomas, Hurricane Run and Japanese ace Heart's Cry. Ultra game and simply not knowing when she is beaten, Alexander will need all her resources on Sunday. We are definitely set to see the last of Ouija on the racecourse so how wonderful it would be if Alexander can claim the laurels here and be with us next year.
Update 1154: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (thursday night). I was with Barbaro this afternoon for just under an hour and a half. I will write more a little later.
update, friday, december 8, 3:12 pm
Posted by Alex at 8:11 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 151
Posted December 7, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1153: What is likely the coldest place in Maryland ? A place that was considered for a landing strip in the 1960s but it was determined the cross winds would make it inoperable ? Sure: Fair Hill. I rode three on the track after the break, and the wind coming at you as you gallop down the lane was strong ... you would almost think it could knock you off your horse. Anyway, hopefully the weather will improve in the next day or so. At least it is bright sunshine.
Update 1152: Well they were right (the weather people), its a chilly 20 some degrees with a blustery wind. I took Hawty Creek to the track, she jogged one and loped around one turn, the other two I have ridden (so far) were in the shedrow (out of the wind at least). I have to return to Fair Hill to get on two more. My back seems to be no worse than yesterday, which is a good thing. Thanks for all the remedies, I plan to take two advil after morning work today and hope that fixes it!
A couple more Barbaro posters have arrived at Fair Hill. I will head over to New Bolton later today to fix them to the outside fence. If more arrive later today I can add those tomorrow.
I imagine the Barbaro update will be later today.
Update 1151: More troubling news for Takeover Target and his connections. This just came from Sue McMullen via Hong Kong's press office:
Worrying news from Hong Kong concerning Takeover Target who was tested again this morning and the sample has once again shown to have what the Hong Kong Jockey Club continue to describe as an 'irregularity'. Takeover Target, known as 'Archie' to trainer Joe Janiack, is now in a race against time to make the field for the final leg of the Global Sprint Challenge for which he is currently red hot favourite and where a win would net a US $1 million bonus.
Commenting on the situation to Australia's Sky Channel, after the first test results were revealed and after his speed sensation had worked at Sha Tin in 26.9 sec, an emotional Janiack said:
"We-are starting to run out of time but at least we will know more this afternoon. It was administered in Japan to help him travel over here. Normally it is out of the system within two weeks but now we are at the seven weeks mark. It has secreted itself, I believe, in the ligaments of the neck somewhere and it won't release.
"We will see what sort of level it has gone down to and if we are pretty close to the mark we might have to sweat it out until Sunday.
"I have used this stuff before and I have never had any trouble with it. I gave myself plenty of time and I can't believe it hasn't gone out a month ago.
"It's such a shame because he was jumping out of his skin at his best weight of 514 kilos and Jay [Ford] said he was flat out trying to hold him today."
Hong Kong is incredibly strict about any form of medication, even something as innocuous as this so his fans throughout the world will join Janiack in 'sweating it out' until Sunday, praying he tests clear allowing the fairytale to continue and give globe-trotting 'Archie' the chance to make racing history, adding to his bag of Group 1s on yet another continent.
Lets hope things clear up very quickly.
A nice article in the timesonline: Ouija Board reaches final chapter of thrilling tale noting Ouija Board's final international start. It includes the following excerpt:
"In a few days it will be over and I will miss it terribly," the languid trainer confessed. "I am finding it a bit difficult. Coming here one last time has made me realise, if I didn't already, that she is a global phenomenon. She has put herself into so many people's hearts. Winning would be wonderful, but my primary concern is that she can retire gracefully. One thing I am not looking forward to is seeing her off on the plane on Tuesday. This time she is not coming home with me."
"We will all miss her," Dunlop reflected, "but for me, it has been absolutely amazing. It has been a life-changing thing, a rollercoaster, but above all, I feel only gratitude that I will be remembered as the man who trained her. She came into my life at exactly the right time from a career perspective. How can I ever forget her?"
As promised it appears cold and windy this morning. Lets hope the wind dies down a little for training hours!
Update 1150: A quick text exchange with Dean McKeown (9 pm est, sometime friday morning in Hong Kong) which began by me leaving a voice mail asking how Collier Hill trained this morning:
Dean: Everything went well. He (Collier Hill) will be ready for a big run.
Me: Did you work this morning (friday morning) ?
Dean: Yes, just a nice work. Very humid. Went nice.
Me: Best of luck!
Update 1149: Rachel from Kennett Florist left this comment (timestamp: 6:59pm):
All is well at NBC. It's a nice sunny day here. We brought up big boss horse some of his favorites today.
I wanted to say thanks to everyone for all their well wishes while I was out. I'm back and into the swing of things now, and ready for the holidays!! I put an update in the forum about Erin last night. Thank you for the prayers for her... we are seeing (another) miracle in the making.
Thank you to Debra for the wonderful cake (we are all on such a sugar high right now!! It is very yummy!) And thank you to the anonymous donor of pizza for lunch today. It was a really nice surprise! We're getting so busy that we forget to eat! You all are so wonderful!
We also received a wreath made out of spearmints, which we will bring up to NBC next week for the Christmas party.
Don't forget, Michael Dickinson is a chat guest at the Bloodhorse, its 7 pm this evening, you can ask questions ahead of time.
Update 1148: Nice. Arlington Park will now install a synthetic track: Arlington Park to Install Synthetic Surface; No Decision Yet on Material. The following is an excerpt:
"While we are confident the track's current dirt surface is one of the best, the fact is we lost horses last summer and that's not acceptable. If we lose one horse, it's one too many. We have been diligently monitoring other synthetic track installations and racing results, and now possess the knowledge necessary to move forward with a synthetic surface to ensure that Arlington Park remains one of the finest racing surfaces. We are investing $10 million to do this."
Update 1147: Sue McMullen sent this, courtesy of the Hong Hong press office:
Bargain buy Collier Hill can strike in CXHK Vase, McKeown says
If Collier Hill wins the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase on Sunday, it will be a rags-to-riches tale to rival even that of Takeover Target. And it might just happen for the remarkable eight-year-old, according to his jockey Dean McKeown.
"There must be a good chance that Ouija Board is a bit tired now. And anyway we've beaten her before in Dubai. My horse becomes a champion when he travels abroad -- he even changes colour into a deep chestnut. I knew we would win the Canadian International last time and I think we are the horse to beat on Sunday," says McKeown, who rode winners in Hong Kong during a stint in 1992.
In the intervening years, the 46-year-old has been better known for his exploits round the lesser British tracks. That is, until Collier Hill came along.
"I only wish he had happened to me ten years earlier," the jockey sighs.
The Collier Hill story starts in 2001 when, as an unraced cast-off from Classic-winning trainer John Gosden, he was sent to the Ascot Sales and fetched the equivalent of HK$75,000. But even that paltry price did not at first seem a bargain to his new trainer, Alan Swinbank, based in North Yorkshire.
"This little rabbit of a horse walks off the box -- he was very small and there seemed precious little scope about him. I wondered if I had made a mistake," Swinbank recalls.
For six months he was put into a field with a collection of other horses, waiting for a box to become available in Swinbank's then minor-league operation.
Collier Hill's first start was in a National Hunt Flat race -- more commonly known as a 'bumper' - designed for horses deemed too slow to win on the Flat en route to a career over jumps.
Starting as joint-second favourite, he won his debut at Catterick, showing enough ability to merit a try back on the Flat.
Swinbank says: "He started to do his work so easily, and we soon realised that he was a serious machine."
Then came the wins. Small ones followed by richer prizes such as the Old Newton Cup at Haydock. Next he switched codes again and landed a maiden hurdle at Kelso, but soon after reverted to his apparent niche as an above-average Flat handicapper. It was the summer of 2004 and Collier Hill was just getting started.
Meanwhile Mckeown had been campaigning persistently for the ride, and as trainer Swinbank later acknowledges: "Dean may not be a fashionable jockey but he was the one who took Collier Hill into a different league."
One of the team's most extraordinary wins came in Sweden in the 2004 Stockholm Cup. McKeown reminisces: "The ground was rock hard and most people thought he liked it soft. At one stage he was 20 lengths off [runner-up] Foreign Affairs, but then he just took off like he was on rails. It was amazing and he got home a nose in front."
Bizarrely, his richest paydays have come as a seven and eight-year-old. Big race exploits include a Classic victory in the Irish St Leger and he has twice been placed in successive Dubai Sheema Classics.
Back in Sweden two starts back, he trounced his rivals by nine lengths for another Stockholm Cup. But the greatest prize came with that superb Canadian International victory in late October, pushing the career earnings of this extraordinary horse to just short of HK$24 million.
Does this make Collier Hill racing's Sale Of The Century? Almost, but perhaps Takeover Target just shades that title for now. Who's arguing anyway?
How gratifying to witness at one of the richest meetings in the sport that global success and a lifetime of memories can still be found in the bargain basement.
Having worked with Dean many years ago, I know his success now is not without a lot of hard work and terrific horsemanship. I remember one time, on the grange at Wetherby, we were riding out a bunch of babies (probably early two year olds). The one Dean was on kept whipping around ... Dean never moved from the saddle, he was so well balanced.
Update 1146: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (wednesday night). Mrs. Jackson just left a voice-mail as she was leaving New Bolton after her morning visit (10:30 am).
After a couple of cold mornings this morning felt very nice (it began about 40 degrees and pushed through the 50s later in the morning). That being said the talk of the track was how cold it is going to be tomorrow (low 20s with a wind blowing through, they are predicting snow flurries later today). Perhaps tomorrow will be a lighter day of training. I have anticipated this a little with Hawty Creek. She only needs to do something easy (jogging most likely) as she will work on saturday.
The synthetic track again seems a little "tighter" this morning than it had been the first few days after it had opened. I am not sure if that is deliberate, or a consequence of the couple of cold nights we have had this week. We shall see. It does remain the more popular of the training tracks. Everything seemed to train well today (rode six), the only problem being me, and my lower back. Hopefully its only temporary.
Posted by Alex at 3:41 PM
| Comments (415)
Barbaro Updates: 150
Posted December 6, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1145: Today (thursday, December 7) is Harry Aleo's 87th birthday. Many on this site have learned much about Mr. Aleo through Lost in the Fog. Many congratulations! For those who want to do something to honor Mr. Aleo's birthday, I am sure he would be delighted with any support for GEVA.
More news from Hong Kong. Sue McMullen sent this e-mail:
The Hong Kong Jockey Club has just issued a release concerning samples from Takeover Target taken prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, indicating what they describe as an 'irregularity'. The statement also says that it is normal practice of the HKJC to obtain such samples from all horses participating in the Club's international races and occasionally they show irregularities, in which case further samples are taken for analysis leading up to the race. So Takeover Target will be subject to further testing with the analysis carried out at HKJC's own racing laboratory.
Let's hope the second test is nagative!
The Daily Racing Form highlights a couple of US-based horses running in Hong Kong on sunday, although neither are running in the Vase or the Sprint (the rest of the card is also very strong): U.S. hopefuls are second fiddles in Hong Kong.
Finally, Sue McMullen sent me a couple of pictures to post, one of Ouija Board, one of Dean on Collier Hill: Hong Kong Vase contender Pics.
Update 1144: A quick update from Hong Kong ahead of sunday's Hong Kong Vase. I just spoke to Dean McKeown, Collier Hill's jockey. The weather this morning (thursday morning / wednesday evening in the US) in Hong Kong is pretty humid so they did not work Collier Hill, but let him gallop a pretty strong six furlongs. Dean is very happy with him. I asked Dean what the ground was like, he said they had had a little rain, but the ground was on the fast side of good, which suits Collier Hill. The plan now is to work Collier Hill about a half mile tomorrow. Dean also let me know that Ouija Board looks good. He assumes she won't be doing too much work before the race, she's obviously very fit.
I asked Dean if he had ridden in Hong Kong before. He actually had a contract to ride there back in 1992.
Update 1143: It has been a month since Barbaro has had his cast removed. Another small milestone. Dr. Richardson has received an award for his openness with the media, and consequently enhancing thoroughbred horseracing: Richardson Named TPA's Big Sport of Turfdom Award Winner.
Update 1142: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (tuesday night). Mrs. Jackson left a voice mail as she was leaving from her visit (just after 12 pm).
I was showing someone around Fair Hill. It is fun to do, especially as Fair Hill compares to a typical person's frame of reference, a race track. As part of the "tour" we visited Graham Motion's barn. I did not realize, but Better Talk Now is still here. He was out grazing in the paddock, looking nice and relaxed after his 2006 exploits. They were considering him for this weekend's Hong Kong Vase (against Ouija Board and Collier Hill) but opted to give him a longer break so he can be fresh for his campaign next year. He's a star!
Posted by Alex at 6:22 PM
| Comments (395)
Barbaro Updates: 149
Posted December 5, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1141: Another chilly start to the day this morning. The radio said it was 20 degrees (F), but it actually felt a little warmer than yesterday. Everyone once in a while you will see a new "old" face at Fair Hill. This morning it was Tom Fynn, who seemed to appear out of nowhere to be galloping for Graham Motion. Tom was a jump jockey in Ireland (TV Fynn) and has been over here probably as long as me. The last time I saw him was a couple of Breeders' Cups ago, and I thought he was in San Francisco. It turns out he has been spending considerable time in Malawi, has just returned, and is heading to Florida to work for Graham Motion.
I took Hawty Creek to the gate. She has not run for a while, had had a couple of gate "issues" when she was last in training, so I planned to stand her in the gate and get her to relax. She was actually very good. I'll probably do that one or two more times before she runs. I open galloped one on the synthetic track. He went well, the track seemed a little firmer under these colder weather conditions. Almost like a turf track just tightening up a little. That being said, it is still by far the most popular track at Fair Hill at this point.
Seven ridden, busy morning, now to wait for the Barbaro update.
Update 1140: The Bloodhorse has a great article on Takeover Target: Takeover Target Has Taken His Owner/Trainer from Obscurity to the Top. After reading this you have to root for this horse on sunday in the Hong Kong Sprint. The article also gives a little insight into how Australian racing is set up. Here is an excerpt:
In 2003 the quality of horse in his barn changed. On a sunny day, Janiak went to a tried stock sale and bought an unwanted, unraced, knock-kneed 4-year-old with ordinary breeding who, he had been told, had bad knees and wouldn't run around a bend. This of course was going to restrict him dramatically, but Janiak liked him and paid just $1,100 for him.
Janiak nicknamed him Archie and that horse, who races as Takeover Target (Celtic Swing-Shady Stream by Archregent), has changed his life.
Thoruoghbred Times announces the opening of our new track: Fair Hill opens all-weather Tapeta surface, although the article suggests Fair Hill had been closed (not the case.)
The Barbaro update this morning will again likely be late in the morning. Keep calling!
Update 1139: I just spoke to Dean McKeown (8:15 pm east coast on tuesday, some time wednesday morning in Hong Kong), Collier Hill's jockey (who is running in the Hong Kong Vase, the last big global race on the 2006 calendar). He was walking Collier Hill as I was speaking with him after his morning exercise. (I could literally hear Collier Hill's footsteps on the obviously hard surface.) Dean had just exercised him (his wednesday morning exercise). He did two seven furlong canters. Dean said he was very well and is very happy with him. Dean noted that Collier Hill flew over very well (Collier Hill has been in Hong Kong for a few days). It always takes a few days for him to "find his legs" after his travel, but Dean noted he has found his legs and is in good shape.
Collier Hill will work tomorrow, a mile. I will try to catch up with Dean the same time tomorrow to see how things are progressing.
Update 1138: Just a quick note of thanks. The $500 gift included in my birthday present has manifested into four new tires for my truck. As I was waiting for the tires to be replaced I made a couple of calls. Sabina is continuing her recovery, and seems to be progressing well. She did mention some work she had done, so she is on some kind of light work schedule at this point. I also called Peter for the first time since they left for Florida. It seems they have all settled in well and the horses are now in their new winter "digs" at Palm Meadows. He told me it was raining, I noted the clear blue sky we had up here ...
For those interested in seeing Takeover Target ahead of his sprint quest on sunday in Hong Kong, you can view two of his races on Youtube.
Update 1137: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (monday night). Mrs. Jackson just called, and she had just visited. Barbaro was laying down when Mrs. Jackson arrived. As much as she tried to be very quiet Barbaro was soon up and ready for his Lael Farm grass.
update 11:30 am, tuesday, december 5
Update 1136: This morning may really be the first winters morning. It was a "balmy" 24 degrees (F) when I arrived at Fair Hill. Six horses ridden, one horse taken care of, and four hours later, my hands are still a little "numb". Everyone galloping is pretty well wrapped up this time of year. I had seven layers of clothing on this morning. Of the three places to train (dirt track, synthetic (Tapeta) track, outback) the synthetic track was by far the busiest. I only had one on this new track but it felt great. The fields were a little hard in spots and the dirt was "ok". I hope they keep the dirt open for a while as it is a good place to take the babies now the track is quiet due to the trainers' preference for the synthetic track.
Dean McKeown (Collier Hill's jockey for the Hong Kong Vase) arrived in Hong Kong a few hours ago. He sent me a text.
Eddie Kilroy left this comment (timestamp: 12:32 pm):
Good morning Barbaro and friends. I know everyone worked extra hard yesterday for B. and friends. Let's do it again today!!! I have to brag on my listeners, they really got on the senators. I'm asking them to keep up with you guys. By the way thanks for the mail. I'm on the air now, so I'll leave you with one request. Sic'em.
Update 1135: The Barbaro update will again likely be later in the morning. As we get ready to cover the Hong Kong Vase this weekend I want to note we will also cover the Hong Hong Sprint all because of a horse called Takeover Target: 'Target' ready for Hong Kong challenge, says Janiak. This horse is another global warrior (like Ouija Board and Collier Hill) and a true rags to riches story.
Posted by Alex at 11:02 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 148
Posted December 4, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1134: Michael Dickinson is a Bloodhorse chat guest this thursday: Talkin' Horses with Michael Dickinson. Feel free to submit your questions ... about the synthetic tracks and the Tapeta surface. Brian Meehan has been named international trainer of the year in England (for obvious reasons there is no similar award for US-based trainers).
Trivia question: what is the connection between Brian Meehan and Michael Dickinson ?
Update 1133: Another comfortable night last night for Barbaro (sunday night). Mrs. Jackson just called and she had just visited Barbaro. All remains the same.
update 12:10 pm, monday, december 4
Update 1132: No Barbaro update yet this morning. It was a chilly morning at Fair Hill, bright sky but a brisk wind. I rode six, which is a comfortable number in the winter I think. Hawty Creek went out back for a jog around, she felt good after her work over the weekend. I took one to the synthetic (Tapeta) track. The track just seems to get better.
Tim breezed a couple of horses yesterday on the synthetic track. This was the first time he had breezed on the track and he breezed Whos Happy and Real Lace. Both went very well I think. Tim thought the track felt great for the respective breezes (Tim rode both of them). Tim did mention Michael Dickinson was again at Fair Hill yesterday to see how the track was, as was someone from Philadelpia Park. This evening temperatures are supposed to plunge into the 20s so that will present a nice early test to the track in the morning.
Keep calling. Eddie Kilroy left this in the comments (timestamp 12:23 pm):
Hey HORSES!!! Today's the BIG ONE!!! CALL!! CALL!!
CALL!!! GET YOUR GRANMA TO CALL. SLAM the SENATORS! We have to get S1915 to the floor this week. Frist is getting heat from the Walking Horse people, which you know is strong in his home state, so work him hard, My listeners or pro active on this issue. I expect them to work hard today. You folks are so special, being FOBS, as I am. So let's do for Barbaro and his Buds. By the way Dean and Eric are looking at digital imagings of two of our horses that have some lameness problems. Your good thoughts are appreciated. Eddie Kilroy
XM Satellite Radio
Update 1131: The Barbaro update should be sometime later this morning. Not much horseracing news as things are definitely quietening down on that front this time of year. Our last major race coverage of the year will be the Hong Kong Vase, which is this weekend. Ouija Board looks in good order as she prepares for this race, which is her final race: BOARD FLYING AHEAD OF FINAL TEST.
I wanted to thank Jen for providing the Barbaro updates on sunday. After I quickly went into Fair Hill to take care of Hawty Creek, I took the day off and headed up to New York City. While doing that I was hoping the Jackson's would call with updates (thank you!) and Jen was very happy to post them to the site after I called them in. My visit to New York was great. Oddly as I was leaving I was on the subway, I looked over and thought I recognized someone. I leant over to my friend and said "I think I know that guy" ... just as "that guy" leant over and whispered to his wife "I think that's Alex Brown". Small world, Victor was an MBA student at Wharton when I used to work at Wharton.
Time is now very short, Congress is returning, the next few days are super critical in our quest to have congress vote and pass the anti horse slaughter bill. We are operating under the notion that today is a national call-in day, inspired by "Fan of Barbaro" Cathy, working with Eddie Kilroy. Please call, fax etc. and have your friends do the same.
Posted by Alex at 10:46 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 147
Posted December 2, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1130: Mrs. Jackson did visit Barbaro this morning (sunday morning) and all remains well. She had called to let us know.
Update 1129: Mr. Jackson called earlier this morning to say that he and Mrs. Jackson visited Barbaro Saturday afternoon after they had returned from Kentucky. Barbaro was able to get a chance to get outside to graze. Mrs. Jackson is planning on visiting Barbaro again this morning so I may get another update after that visit.
updated sunday 8:30am
Update 1128: Still no Barbaro update for the weekend. It is possible this may become the norm over the weekend at this stage. Of course I am still hoping for an update sometime today. Here is another article on the Jackson's from friday evening's charity auction: Jacksons Honored at Record TCA Auction. It includes the following excerpt:
"All we did this year was follow the leader, and the leader was Barbaro," declared Gretchen Jackson to great applause. "He has brought the horse community together and for its welfare."
Graham Motion has a nice graded stakes winner waiting for him when he himself moves down to Florida: Ballast makes the grade in Tropical Turf.
Emily writes an excellent (and somewhat amusing) post on How it feels to gallop on the new Tapeta. The Bloodhorse has an editorial on more global considerations of synthetic tracks: Spanning the Globe. The article actually finishes up discussing the issue that American horses rarely travel overseas to contest global racing events. We saw this in our coverage of the Japan Cup and Melbourne Cup (and likely the Hong Kong Vase which we are covering for next weekend).
Update 1127: Today's Barbaro update is prooving elusive, but I am still hopeful there will be an update later. I asked Jean (Fan of Barbaro, provider of the "Grow Hoof Grow!" poster that was hanging outside New Bolton, and featured in the ESPN piece prior to the Breeders' Cup) if she could replace the poster with a new one, as it was wearing out due to weather. She Fedex'd me a new version and I just drove over to hang it up. It looks great, although a little lonely (it is the only poster hanging on the gates at this point).
ShelleyA's Mr. Boxcar just ran second in a stake at Philadelphia Park (8th race), very impressive! I am glad to see Victor Molina was aboard (Red Aspen's regular rider). The Jackson's Stormy Kiss was third at Aqueduct. Ramon Dominguez, riding at Aqueduct, must think he is back at Delaware Park!
Barbaro Vigil 7 pm (east coast). Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, spare some time for Barbaro.
Update 1126: When I spoke to Mrs. Jackson yesterday, she was on her way to Kentucky. Of course I should have known why, but had forgotten! Here it is: Auction benefits equine charity. Thoroughbred Charities of America's annual event had moved to Kentucky for the first time this year. The article includes a nice photo of the Jackson's and the following excerpt:
Gretchen Jackson said it had been "an incredibly emotional year" for her and her husband, who live five minutes from the New Bolton Center where Barbaro is being treated. She visits him a couple of times a day, "just to see how he's doing."
Sometimes when she's feeling sad, she sits in the stall and talks to him, she said. "Just being around him is very calming," Jackson said.
The Jacksons and the "Barbaro team" of doctors and nurses from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine were honored last night. Accepting for the school's New Bolton Center was dean of Penn Vet, Joan Hendricks.
"Through and through a young stallion, a handful," Hendricks said of Barbaro. She described the look in his eyes after the injury: "If he hadn't had the bright eyes, everybody would have stopped."
Update 1125: Despite the dire predictions for the weather this morning, it turned out to be a beautiful morning. There were a few horses working for the first time on the synthetic (Tapeta) track. It looked like all worked well. The odd thing is, when you are on the dirt track you really cannot hear the horses galloping on the synthetic track. I assume that is a good thing. I galloped one over it a little later in the morning and the track was still quite consistent. It does not require a maintenance break, which is also a nice feature (you don't have to time your sets to avoid the break).
Hawty Creek worked 3/8ths this morning, and went very nicely. We had some visitors who were here to watch. Her owner (who used to be a trainer) and her breeder were also here to watch her go. She went in company with another horse of Tim's, it was a nice easy work. Anyway, all in all a very pleasant (suprisingly so given the weather forecast) morning to be outside and enjoying life.
Update 1124: As we know, Russell Baze broke Laffitt Pincay's record yesterday. This is of course well covered in the racing press:
9,531: Baze new No. 1
Baze Becomes Racing's All-Time Leading Rider!
Baze overtakes Pincay with record victory
Baze's record more Ripken than Rose
Here is the Barbaro "Life a Series of Small Steps" in China!
A "Fan of Barbaro" had this letter published: Letter: Save horses from slaughter. Feel free to comment.
I believe the Barbaro update today won't be until late in the day.
Posted by Alex at 10:58 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 146
Posted December 1, 2006
updates are now here.
Update 1123: It was nice to watch the winners' circle celebrations for Russell Baze on HRTV (not sure what they thought of Russell's headware). Both Greg Gilchrist and Harry Aleo were present for the celebrations. It just seems that everyone thinks very highly of Russell, a good person and a family person. As Tom Chapman put it "9531 and counting". Very cool.
Update 1122: Congratulations to Russell Baze, winning the fourth at Bay Meadows with an inspired "wait and wait and up the rail" ride on Butterfly Belle.
Update 1121: Russell Baze is currently 0 for 2 on the day, to break Pincay's record he needs one win. Follow Russell's progress here.
Barbaro is getting coverage in Jamaica. I also think this article was in a China paper. If anyone has the link, please post in the comments.
Update 1120: I just called Mrs. Jackson and Barbaro had another comfortable night (thursday night).
This morning was a little dreary (but warm), but it does seem the rain is now really starting to move in. Tim has a runner this afternoon at Laurel (Gatornation) so hopefully the weather is not too aweful. I rode a couple of horses on the new synthetic track this morning (Tapeta). It just simply feels good underneath you, and it is very consistent. It seems everyone's feedback remains positive, although a few have decided to wait to provide a more concrete verdict when we get some cold weather. Anyway, so far so good for sure. Michael Dickinson was again at Fair Hill to observe and get direct feedback.
Yesterday I mentioned that horsehats had a new Barbaro hat (update 1115): Barbaro Fund Hat. I noted the hats were limited edition, here is more detail (comment from superfecta 2:56pm):
In case you were wondering about the Barbaro hats, they are making 400 and we've already reserved 50 of them here at work, so ordering sooner rather than later is the way forward.
Keep up the good work!
Update 1119: The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase, to be run next sunday, December 10, is the final big global race we will follow. Among the runners are the globe trotting Ouija Board, third most recently in Japan, and (also the globe trotting) Collier Hill, who most recently won the Canadian International under regular jockey Dean McKeown. Ouija Board arrived in Hong Kong shortly after her third place in the Japan Cup, Collier Hill arrived this morning. I called Dean McKeown to catch up quickly on Collier Hill. He said he has been training well. Dean will actually arrive in Hong Kong on tuesday to help with the final preparations of Collier Hill, and assuming I can connect to his cell phone, will provide us some updates. Dean did mention that these two met in Dubai early in the year. Collier Hill beat Ouija Board in that race. Dean noted that Fallon came in for some criticism for his ride (Fallon won the Hong Kong Vase on Ouija Board last year) but Dean thought it was more to do with it being very early in the year for Ouija Board. Clearly we are now at the end of the season, and of the two, Collier Hill will be the fresher. It should be a great race. More information and updates on the race to follow.
I caught up with Barclay Tagg. Both Showing Up and NoBiz are now relaxing in Florida after their tremendous weekend exploits. They won't be running for a little while so will be kept ticking over under light exercise. Stormy Kiss, Jackson's runner tomorrow is ready, and as I called was being visited by the acupuncture lady.
No Barbaro update yet, but will endevour to get one later.
Update 1118: Russell Baze tied Laffitt Pincay's record yesterday: Baze Ties Pincay's All-Time Win Record! and here is the card for today. He has seven mounts including some favourites.
Fair Hill has Xchanger in today in a million dollar race: Officer Rocket, Xchanger to meet in $1-million Delta Jackpot.
It seems a bit dreary out this morning (although warm). I am guessing the weather will mean riding on the new Tapeta surface! The Barbaro update will be later this morning.
Posted by Alex at 10:18 AM
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