Barbaro Updates: 219
Posted February 28, 2007
updates are here.
Update 1541: Additional coverage leading up to saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes, which looks like it is shaping up to be a key early Derby prep: Relaxed Tagg ready for potential spotlight and Adore the Gold just may shine like his daddy.
Ramon Dominguez was back racing today (and was blanked): Dominguez back with eye on title, excerpt:
Dominguez galloped horses last week at the Fair Hill training center and was surprised at how well the knee responded.
"There were no problems whatsoever," Dominguez said. "I was expecting some discomfort but I felt absolutely great."
He also demonstrated some great balance when his horse ducked away from the gate right in front of me and Tim!
Update 1540: Some very interesting racing at Nad al Sheba (Dubai) tomorrow that will feature Discreet Cat, Kentucky Derby hopeful Day Pass and recently acquired sprinter Thor's Echo: Tough challenge awaits Discreet Cat in Burj Nahaar and Discreet Cat in unusual prep.
Update 1539: It felt like a lovely morning this morning to be riding horses at Fair Hill. We had bright sunshine and temperatures above freezing. The track opened at 7 am again this morning. I shedrowed Who's Happy before the track opened. She seems to be well after her race last week. Hawty Creek was my first to the track. She did three turns of the track, galloping about a mile and three quarters. She went well. I then decided to stand her in the gate. She stood perfectly. All appears well except getting her into a race. There is a small chance Philadelphia Park may let us back in, but I am not sure if and when that is decided. They have written an "extra" (race) for her for sunday, so we shall see.
Of the remaining five I rode, four went to the gate. Chesapeake City Slew went with Quick Quest and Tim. We galloped them out of the gate, and they did it very well. I think Slew may have some speed (I am sure QQ does too). Flash was another I galloped out of the gate later in the morning and he flew out, much like Slew did. Anyway, with the better weather and it being gate day there was plenty of action out on the track this morning, and the weather just made it a pleasure.
Update 1538: Real Quiet seems to be making some progress at New Bolton: Champion Real Quiet being treated at New Bolton, excerpt:
"The nuclear scan on Friday showed he was carrying heat on both of his hind feet, but no one really had the reason," Jester said. "As of Monday, he had good progress. They did get an abscess to pop out of his hind left foot on Sunday, and he's more comfortable on that now. I'm hoping we get the same thing out of his right foot and get him back 100% here."
Ray Paulick, editor-in-chief of the Bloodhorse writes: Won't Be Fueled Again, which discusses cheating in horse racing and the need for national oversight. The latter appears to be an overwhelming sentiment from those without a direct interest in the current (lack of) organization for horse racing in the US.
Posted by Alex at 9:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 218
Posted February 27, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1537: Three trainers with comments about their horses coming up to this weekend's Derby preps: Tagg, Gorham, O'Neill Discuss Upcoming Derby Preps. I like Doug O'Neill's description of Barclay Tagg's NoBiz:
"He kicked our butts (in the grade I Champagne where Nobiz finished second and Liquidity ran ninth)," he said. "I was standing right next to Barclay. They were so proud of that horse and they should be--he's a beast when you stand next to him. Not only does he have the look, but he has extremely fast numbers. If you can avoid that horse before the big dance, it would be good."
Real Quiet, sire of Tim's Real Lace (on winter break) is now at New Bolton: Real Quiet Sidelined from Stallion Duty.
Update 1536: This weekend things will get a bit more busy in terms of Derby preps: Busy Week on the 'Road to the Kentucky Derby'. Note: Chelokee has already run in 2007, who last I heard might run in an allowance race this weekend (but of course that might have changed). Steve Haskin provides his assessment of the state of affairs of the current Derby contenders: Kentucky Derby Trail: Derby Dominators on the Move, and provides some potential horses that may start to emerge.
Another article from Dr. Richardson's recent talk in Florida: Grief still grips Barbaro's surgeon.
Update 1535: It felt quite warm this morning, I am guessing it was close to 40 degrees by the time we were finished. The track was to open at 7 am, so I shedrowed one for Tim before it opened. It was Gator Nation, I think the first time he has been ridden since his second at Laurel the other day. He felt great. I then took Hawty Creek to the track to give her a good mile and a half gallop. her next race in the book is not until March 17, but now Philadelphia Park has shut us out due to the equine herpes virus, lets hope this issue is resolved quickly. At this point Laurel is the only place Fair Hill horses can run. Third set was Chesapeake City Slew, he galloped well today, the first time since his nice little breeze on sunday. I had three more to the track after that. All went well, the track is now back in great shape, and is inevitably busy. I saw one of Graham Motion's horses having to pull up from a decent gallop to avoid a horse that had shied into the inside rail. Coming to the track on another set I heard the PA system (Mike Goswell) . ... "Loose horse galloping the wrong way" ... anyway, all was well.
Update 1534: Dr. Richardson recently spoke publicly for the first time since the press conference on January 29 about Barbaro: Horse surgeon recalls Barbaro. The article concludes:
"We were following the rules that we set out in the beginning, which was we were not going to put him through undue pain and there was no realistic chance of him making it," Richardson said.
Richardson said he felt "privileged" to have worked with Barbaro.
"He was a really great, I think potentially a super, horse," Richardson said. "Beyond that, he was just a charming horse. Some horses just have a whole lot more than others and he had a lot of personality. He was a tough horse, a courageous horse and he tried his best. What else can you ask for?"
Posted by Alex at 10:50 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 217
Posted February 26, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1533: Discreet Cat is in the entries in Dubai for thursday: Discreet Cat to prep for World Cup in Burj Nahaar on Thursday. Lets hope he can start to fulfill the potential many believe he has. Win thursday and return to face Invasor in the Dubai World Cup!
Update 1532: Buffalo Man, who was emerging as a triple crown contender is no longer: Injury Knocks Buffalo Man Off the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
I feel empowered! Why ? I just called up The Week (which was my favourite magazine) and cancelled my subscription. Why ? They chose to run the T.J. Simers article from the LA Times. Poor judgment on their part running an article that was factually incorrect (among other things). I also just got off the phone with Sue McMullen. It is the first time we have talked. She will begin weekly "global" updates in the near future, I am psyched about that.
Update 1531: Another successful rescue effort from the Fans of Barbaro: URGENT: Feedlot Rescue deadline 2/26/07
Update 1530: The ice storm we were supposed to get was rather tame. There were plenty of people training on the Tapeta track, but we decided to stay in the barn. The horse paths had not been cleared of snow / ice, and while they were probably fine to walk through we decided not to.
I rode six, starting with Hawty Creek. I then shedrowed Nautical Agent and Mediman. This was the first time Mediman has been ridden since her first start last week. She was definitely full of herself. Thank goodness for the neckstrap. After Mediman I had three more to shedrow, and nice quiet straightforward morning.
Liz (UK) posted this article on the comments: Simon's simple victory fuels National dream for Rimell. My first job in racing was with Mercy Rimell many years ago!
Update 1529: Dreaming of Anna, 2006 Eclipse Award winning 2yo filly and Breeders' Cup champion is yet to win in 2007 and is now 0 for 2, this time her loss is on turf: Champion Dreaming of Anna defeated by audacious challenger in Gaily Gaily.
2yo in training sales are an opportunity to watch these horses work before you bid. Forestry Offspring Shine During Fasig-Tipton Calder Under Tack Show. Lets hope these Forestry offspring can proove they can do something on the racetrack. We are still waiting for Green Monkey to race after he sold for $16 million and went to Todd Pletcher's barn.
Posted by Alex at 10:22 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 216
Posted February 25, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1528: The weather system has moved in, now to wait and see how much snow / ice we get.
A nice survey of the state of implementations of synthetic racetracks in the US: Synthetic racetracks gaining converts, Golden Gate Fields set to make change to safer surface. Golden Gate Fields will be the first US track to adopt the Tapeta surface that we use at Fair Hill.
Brother Derek is going to have some time off: Brother Derek Out of Big 'Cap With Ankle Chip.
Update 1527: The weather at Fair Hill seemed fine this morning, although we are expecting an icestorm this afternoon through tomorrow. Given the pending weather I decided to get on Hawty Creek today and give her a good gallop, she galloped a mile and a half on the Tapeta track and went well. The track seems in great shape, although I am sure it will take a beating with this weather system coming in. I also rode Chesapeake City Slew for Tim, Tim was on Quick Quest. They were to breeze a quarter. Both went very well. Slew just picked his head up a little bit going into the work, but once we got going he levelled out very well and really stretched out. A nice work.
Laurel has already canceled racing today in anticipation of the bad weather moving in: Laurel Cancels Sunday's Live Card.
Update 1526: Aqueduct has now closed the doors on Fair Hill: NYRA bans some shippers to prevent herpesvirus. That makes three tracks at this point I think (Penn National and Charles Town). We had to deal with a quarantine last year and it was a very tense time for everyone. Here is an excerpt:
The restrictions were adopted after a mare that had been treated at the Marion duPont Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., had to be put down on a Virginia farm due to equine herpesvirus, said Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA's chief examining veterinarian.
"There's now a lot of potential exposures all over those four states," Verderosa said. "We're just doing this as a precaution to see if anything becomes apparent in those four states in the next week or two, and if it doesn't it'll just fizzle out."
If ever there was a horse race to get people on the edge of their seat it was the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf Stakes yesterday. A brilliant race won in the end by Jambalaya, who nosed out Honey Ryder: Jambalaya wins spicy Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf Stakes. Basically the fractions for the race were not ridiculously fast so you had about six horses all with a chance inside the sixteenth pole, all running strong. Much more attractive than a field that is strung out at the end with horses that are absolutely exhausted and under the whip.
Posted by Alex at 12:20 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 215
Posted February 24, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1525: Alie, from Kennett Florist, posted this comment (timestamp: 9:55pm):
It is still verrrrrrrry cold in Kennet Square. We have another storm watch for Sunday into Monday morning. I can't wait for it to warm up. We have been busy catching up form Valentines Day. I am getting close to seeing my desk again. Of course you know how to clean your desk is to put on someone else's. Like Rachel's, it our little joke. We are very excited about April 29th. It will be so cool to meet so many of you in person. It will be a busy weekend. We have kennett high's prom on Friday. Sat we are open as normal. If all goes well the art fundraiser will still be held for laminitis and I will be helping Marge & Shelia with that. Sunday we will be with you all at DE Park. I am trying to get the word out to local FOB who are not on the net and staff at NBC. I told the Jackson's about it. Gretchen called me to catch up, on Thursday morning. They are still away but will be back soon. It is funny how this week was so hard on me. It all hit me: nothing will ever be the same again. My car even wants to turn into NBC. I have been making that turn almost every day for 8 months. I miss talking to Dr Sweeney & staff daily. I also miss seeing Gretchen often. I talked to Dr Sweeney this week, even on her vacation; we needed to be in touch. I think that last week none of us had really talked. So this week we were missing the bonds that Barbaro had made in our lives. Not just to FOB's but each other. This whole experience has changed us all. I have never thought in my wildest dreams this could have happened. I have no words to describe it all but wow. I want to thank you all for being apart of this. We will away love and miss the boss horse. Good night from Kennett Square & KF
This is interesting: From Barbaro Fandom to Political Activism ...
and this is more interesting: Slaughterhouse opponents told Cavel has 3 months to make fixes.
Update 1524: Just spoke to Peter Brette in warmer Florida. They worked Aunt Henny, Chelokee and Round Pond today. Peter said they were very happy with how each of them worked. Chelokee went 5/8ths really well. Round Pond's work was very good, she sat in behind horses and switched to the outside and was very strong. Both Aunt Henny and Chelokee are likely to run next weekend.
Update 1523: Who's Happy was third this afternoon at Philadelphia Park. It was another sprint race, and on a speed favoring track, the winner went wire to wire. Happy ran well, but Tim now thinks it is time to stretch her out. She is a big filly and looks like she will go long.
Fans of Barbaro are gathering at Delaware Park on April 29: Fans of Barbaro plan DelPark celebration in April. While this event is still in the planning stages, I am pretty psyched about it. Delaware Park is a pretty race track. The grove, where the barbeque will be, is in a perfect spot right by the paddock area.
Update 1522: A brutally cold morning again at Fair Hill this morning. The wind drove the temperature to the single digits I assume. I ended up riding seven this morning. I started off by shedrowing Hawty Creek (I am now quite glad she did not get in for monday, we are in for some more bad weather over the next couple of days I think), and then rode Naughtical Agent around the horsepaths with Tim (on Lucky). I then went to the track with Chesapeake City Slew, Tim was on Nonpariel. They both galloped really well together, Slew was taking a very strong hold. For the next set Tim and I took Grandma (me) and Quick Quest. Again they both galloped well. I was in front on Grandma, and as we were galloping out of the turn coming down the lane a horse in front of us spooked at the gate, ducking in, the rider lost his irons and thankfully did not fall off in front of us (as Grandma would have surely then propped). Anyway, all was well, good to see a world class jockey (Ramon Dominguez) showing excellent balance! The rest of my rides on the track were reasonably uneventful. A few trainers (Motion and Lawrence for example) were breezing horses on the Tapeta track this morning. The track seemed to ride well.
It seems Jose Santos' injuries are worse than they first appeared after a spill at Aqueduct: More Bad News for Injured Santos; Dominguez Returning. On Dominguez, the article notes:
According to the jockey's agent, Steve Rushing, Dominguez suffered bruising to the bone which has healed in the past three weeks. He will begin exercising horses Saturday and is expected to be accepting mounts at Aqueduct by Wednesday.
Well he was exercising horses at Fair Hill, and thankfully did not fall in front of me which may not have helped in his recovery!
Tim's Who's Happy is in at Philadelphia Park this afternoon, the sixth race.
Update 1521: The University of Pennsylvania's Barbaro message board has now been closed, they have created this Barbaro page in its place: Remembering Barbaro. They have graciously included a link to our discussion forum from the page.
Smarty Jones had a small complication resolved quickly: Smarty Jones Treated for Minor Reproductive Tract Blockage.
On the work tab yesterday, aside from NoBiz, we also had Lava Man in California: Lava Man whistles in Big Cap workout.
Fair Hill's Tapeta track is scheduled to open at 8 am this morning. Hawty Creek did not get in for her race on monday at Philadelphia Park. They did not use the race. Her next race might not be until the middle of March at this point!
Posted by Alex at 10:54 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 214
Posted February 23, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1520: It appears Charles Town and Penn National will not allow horses from Fair Hill to ship in and run: Charles Town, Penn National Impose Restrictions Over EHV-1 Concerns
Update 1519: NoBiz worked today: Nobiz Like Shobiz in Sharp Work for Fountain of Youth. He went six furlongs (three quarters) in 1:11 and 1 ... that is smoking! Here is an excerpt:
"I told Cornelio (Velasquez) to go in :12s the whole way and he came pretty close," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "I got him the first three-eighths in :35 and change and caught him galloping out seven furlongs in 1:24 and a tick, so everything worked out well."
Street Sense's first race of the year has not yet been determined, but the Hutcheson is not on the cards: Hutcheson Ruled out for Champion Street Sense.
Intercontinental had her first foal: Champion Intercontinental Foals Filly. Intercontinental upset Ouija Board and Film Maker a couple of years ago in the Breeders' Cup, both of whom are now retired also. Chris Hinson, head lad for Ed Dunlop and almost daily partner of Ouija Board, won the stable lad of the year award Chris wins 2007 Stable awards.
Update 1518: The Tapeta track was not to open until 9 am this morning. I really needed to get a gallop into Hawty Creek (there may be a race for her on monday) so she was not going to be my usual first set. I went in a little later this morning, mucked her stall and then started shedrowing. I had four to shedrow, two of Tim's (Slew and Nautical Agent). This was the first time I rode Nautical Agent, she recently came into the barn. Both were very good. I then rode Bandit and Flash. 9 am rolled around and I took Hawty Creek to the track. I was not anticipating the track to be very good, but I did want to get more than a slow gallop into Hawty Creek. She was also going to be pretty fresh, going out at this unusual time of the morning for her. She came on to the track bucking away. We jogged off and the track actually felt pretty good. We started galloping at the half mile pole on the backside and I figured that I would let her two minute lick the last half a mile of the gallop (or perhaps a little quicker, but enough to get her blowing a little). Anyway, I did this, although coming down the lane the wind hit us so quickly I nearly fell off! She went well. Michael Dickinson, Tapeta inventor, was at Fair Hill to see the track and get feedback. Anyway, seems Hawty Creek trained well and the track is now getting back to where it should be.
Update 1517: The Bloodhorse is planning to contribute to the NTRA Charities Barbaro Memorial Fund as a result of sales from their Book (Barbaro: The Horse Who Captured America's Heart) and their special limited-edition magazine also commemorating Barbaro: Blood-Horse Charitable Foundation to Donate Funds to Barbaro Memorial Fund.
Shelley Mickle's Barbaro: America's Horse, is now shipping.
Fleet Indian's owner, Paul Saylor, was a guest for Bloodhorse's Talkin Horses, here is the transcript. The following is an excerpt:
Saylor: You are absolutely correct --- the long time viability of the horse racing industry depends on increasing attendance as well as increasing interest by various segments of the population. The key industry need is formation of an effective national organization and the cessation of fragmentation of the industry by conflicting state authorities and old guard determination to "stand pat." The Thoroughbred horse racing industry needs to be run as if profitability to all participants is the objective. An off the wall comment as to what is needed to "turn things around" --- ban the use of the whip.
I would agree with the above for the most part, racing needs central governance. As far as the whip goes, banning it might be a little drastic. OK, so some people will not appreciate that, but a whip rule needs to be in place as there is in Europe. I understand that Frankie Dettori was criticized in Europe for his ride on Red Rocks, when he won the Breeders' Cup Turf. His whip use was excessive in their eyes. In the US you see jockeys hitting horses that are clearly beaten.
Posted by Alex at 10:58 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 213
Posted February 22, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1516: Back at the barn for feed time (and Hawty Creek's papaya juice). Gatornation and Red Aspen were back from Laurel. All looks well and Tim was pretty upbeat. Emily stopped by, she is a guest panelist on equidaily.com's topic of the week: This Week: Synthetic surfaces. The time is right, or are we moving too fast? ... or perhaps not fast enough ?
New Horse Slaughter legislation has been introduced in Illinois essentially looking to ban horse transportation into Illinois for the purpose of slaughter: Horse Slaughter Legislation Introduced in Illinois. Illinois is one of two states to have horse slaughter plants, the other being Texas.
Update 1515: English Channel, who finished his 2006 campaign with a third in the Breeders' Cup Turf, won his 2007 debut, an allowance at Gulfstream. He won handily, in a ridiculously fast time. I guess his next race will be in Dubai. Better Talk Now, second in the Breeders' Cup Turf is also in training in Florida, and will have his first work shortly, perhaps this weekend.
Update 1514: Gatornation ran second today in Laurel's first race. Tim had his jockey take Gator well off the pace so he could use his speed late in the race. Watching the race he did seem to drop back quite far, but sure enough he came charging down the lane. It looks like he only got beat about a half a length in the end. A nice return to the races by Gator. Tim also worked Red Aspen at Laurel this morning. She worked 3/8ths, her first work back this year. Tim was happy with the way she worked. A good visit to Laurel today.
More early news for this year's triple crown, this time from Jay Privman: Sanders has seen classic stock before. Jamie Sanders is the trainer of Teuflesberg, "upset" winner of the Southwest Stakes. She worked for many years for Nick Zito, whose wife we featured yesterday in update 1508.
Update 1513: With temperatures at about freezing point this morning there was plenty of ice about after the big thaw yesterday. The main concern at Fair Hill is to get the track back now as soon as possible. It seems people are hard at work on that. I spoke to Sally Goswell (Fair Hill manager) briefly this morning and she said the plan was to have the track tomorrow. I know people are frustrated, but I also remember how good the track was in the wicked cold temperatures of a couple of weeks ago. Lets hope this issue passes by the end of the week and we can all get back to regular training.
I rode six today, Hawty Creek, Drop Kick Murphy, Nopariel and Bandit (Lynda Fox trainer) jogged around the horsepaths (which had a little bit of ice on them in spots so you had to be careful). The final two I jogged around the shedrow.
Tim left for Laurel early this morning. Gator Nation is in the first race, he also took Red Aspen with him, I am guessing to gallop at Laurel this morning.
Update 1512: Steve Haskins writes about the Kentucky Derby and trainers' strategy for getting horses ready for the first saturday in May: Kentucky Derby Trail: Two for the Road. I am not sure why Barbaro's five week gap between the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby is considered a "layoff". I am sure he was in full training and likely more trainers may try the same this year.
Santa Anita has now officially committed to a synthetic surface, and will put it in place during the Del Mar meet, no decision has yet been made as to which surface: Santa Anita to go synthetic this year.
Penn National is still struggling to get its live racing program back: Penn National cancels Wednesday's live racing (its been about three weeks). I would be curious how they have managed their training hours in the morning.
Posted by Alex at 10:08 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 212
Posted February 21, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1511: Tim's Farouche made her debut today at Philadelphia Park. She finished sixth after running close early. She seemed to hit the inside rail which stopped all her momentum. She appears fine after the experience. Fair Hill's Tapeta track will be closed again tomorrow in order to give the maintenance crew all day to work the track and presumably get the excess moisture out of it.
Jack Ireland wrote an article on Allison Hershbell: Former DelPark jockey Hershbell, 30, dies.
Update 1510: The AVMA has a nice piece on the increased awareness of Laminitis as a result of Barbaro: Increased research to follow in Barbaro's wake, excerpt:
"My hope is that the events over the last few months, and in particular Barbaro's unfortunate passing, have raised the public's awareness of the frustrating and devastating effects of laminitis and will catapult efforts to raise substantial research funding that can be used to advance our knowledge and understanding of this horrible disease through unified, collaborative research efforts," Dr. Moore said.
Fortunately Barbaro has also increased the public awareness of horse slaughter, something the AVMA does not support: It's back---Congress, again, takes up horse slaughter.
Update 1509: The Tapeta track was closed again this morning until 9 am, to the frustrations of a few trainers. It is winter training, and as such, I guess we need to be adaptable to the conditions. I rode four before 9 am, on the horsepaths. Again getting a good 2 mile jog into each (Hawty Creek, Slew, Nonpariel and Drop Kick Murphy). From 9 onwards I rode three on the track. The track was suitable for light galloping. The problem seems to be the quick thaw we are now experiencing (this truly is a heatwave), I am guessing the track is not draining as fast as it needs to drain. Lets hope things are back to normal tomorrow.
Xchanger was due to ship back to Fair Hill today (after the Southwest) but like all plans, things may be changing, and he may stay at Oaklawn Park for his next race.
Edgar Prado came to Laurel on monday and Sandra McKee interviewed him about Barbaro: Prado says Barbaro won him an Eclipse, the article ends:
"You don't become a champion just by winning for yourself," he said. "It's what you do for others that makes you special, makes you great.
"When Barbaro won in Kentucky, he didn't just win the Kentucky Derby, he won people's hearts. And in our hearts, he will forever be a champion."
Update 1508: Yesterday I spoke to Kim Zito, wife of trainer Nick Zito. They are both passionate about horse welfare. Kim has a simple idea that would enable any owner to attempt to keep track of horses they no longer own. An owner can write on the foal papers a note asking that they have first refusal of the horse once it is no longer wanted for racing ./ breeding, along with permanent contact information.
Kim does this, and has a recent case where it worked. She sold a racehorse Mill Reef Affair, about nine years ago, and lost track of the horse. She received a call a couple of years ago from someone who saw the papers when Mill Reef Affair was on its way to a kill auction. She acquired the horse and he has now been adopted out as a show horse. The horse spent time at New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program during its rehabilitation.
This is a simple idea, but one that can be very effective for those who want to know what happens to their horses.
Posted by Alex at 10:16 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 211
Posted February 20, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1507: English Channel, one of the top turf performers of 2006, is back in the entries on thursday, prepping for a possible race during the Dubai World Cup card: English Channel in far below usual level.
Jockey Jon Court has received the 2007 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award: Court to Receive Woolf Award, excerpt:
The Woolf Award honors riders whose careers and personal character reflect positively on themselves and on the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Since 1985, jockeys nationwide have voted to determine the winner and as such, it is considered by those that participate in the balloting to be one of racing's most prestigious awards.
On the breeding front: Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller to shuttle to Australia. It used to be stallions had a very limited book (40 mares I think) from one hemisphere. Now the top stallions seem to breed in excess of 100 mares. I wonder how this has impacted the supply and demand equation for the progeny of some of these stallions.
Update 1506: An excellent opinion piece from the Bloodhorse: It's the Horse, Stupid, a short excerpt:
If racing learns one thing from the spectacular outpouring of public emotion during Barbaro's eight-month ordeal, it should be this---it's the horse, stupid. Your fans love your horses. From a marketing standpoint, the horse is racing's greatest asset; however, the business does little to protect it, and in so doing, is risking everything.
Update 1505: Wow, it was more than 40 degrees before the morning began, it felt like a veritable heatwave! I rode six today. Hawty Creek jogged about two miles, around the horsepaths. The rest went to the Tapeta track. The Tapeta track opened at 7:15 am this morning, it was scheduled to open at 9. I guess with the milder night we were able to get on it earlier. Anyway, all the horses went well. I rode Quick Quest again for Tim, he does seem like a nice type of horse. Slew also went well, especially considering its been a few days since he has been on the track.
Mediman seems to have come out of her first race in good order. Tim also noted that a couple of people at Laurel yesterday came up to him and told him they enjoyed reading this site. Very cool (that's the first time someone has approached Tim because of the site I think.)
All in all a decent morning, which finished up with a quick conversation with a friend of mine in Dubai who has spent sometime running their Gallery. There may be some good ideas for the Museum the Jackson's are considering.
Update 1504: Mike Jensen reports on Hard Spun's race: Favorite Hard Spun hits tough times at Southwest Stakes. Its hard to find excuses for Hard Spun. They are speculating that he just did not like the track, yet he worked over the same track recently and it was a very impressive work. You can also consider that Hard Spun easily beat Teuflesberg (the winner) in his last start, but then in his last start they changed the tactics (apparently unsuccessfully) on Teuflesberg. No matter, Hard Spun had been impressive to this point, yesterday he was not. Lets see how he comes out of the race and assume they will still move forward to the Rebel.
On other triple crown news, Breeders' Cup winner Street Sense has his first serious work of the year: Street Sense starts to buckle down, excerpt:
"This is what we've been building to thus far all winter," said Nafzger. "He really kicked in down the stretch and hit the line good. We've hit every step perfectly with him up to now, but he's still a couple of more works away before he's ready to run. But a work like this gives us more options to consider as we get closer."
Posted by Alex at 10:40 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 210
Posted February 19, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1503: Regarding the article in the Lexington Herald Leader about the KY Equine Humane Center in update 1500 (A shelter from harm; Horses get care, retraining for possible adoption at new facility), I have discovered one of the ESPN producers who works with Jeannine is involved in the project. Joan Ciampi lives in Lexington and is on the board of directors of the shelter and has been part of the entire process, from concept to reality. Joan herself is a horse person and has taken several Thoroughbreds off the track and turned them into show horses, or just plain pasture pets. Joan told Jeannine the premise of the KY Shelter was such that no equine should be neglected, abused, or slaughtered. If the animals are not adoptable, (extremely and permanently lame, extremely old, or are in very poor health) they will be euthanized instead of being left to suffer. The organizers of the shelter hope that other facilities like it will eventually open across the country, and that the horrific practice of slaughter will become a thing of the past.
Joan said that since today's article ran, the response has been absolutely overwhelming! She said they are so touched, they can't believe it. A local vineyard has offered to cater their opening day benefit (April 15), and outfits like KBC Horse Supplies, Pinkstons, Sallee Vans, Rood & Riddle, Hagyard Davidson McGee, Darley, Dan Rosenberg, etc, have been so helpful and generous. Additionally, many, many people are calling and offering to volunteer at the shelter. Isn't that amazing? It seems the benevolent spirit that Barbaro inspired has truly swept the nation.
The shelter's website is www.kyequinehumanecenter.org.
Update 1502: Hard Spun was a dull fourth in the Southwest Stakes. He was rated off the pace, he was produced wide coming into the final turn but really had little kick coming down the lane. A well beaten fourth place finish. The winner, Teuflesberg, looked good!
Update 1501: Mediman made her first start today at Laurel. She ran a nice race, dualing for the lead early on, and just weakening a little down the lane. She finished fourth, beaten a neck for third place. Tim noted that she cooled out well. He was very happy with her first effort.
Update 1500: A nice story about a new equine shelter in Kentucky: A shelter from harm; Horses get care, retraining for possible adoption at new facility. Staci Hancock, president of the Board for this new facility, is very active in anti horse slaughter.
Update 1499: Another very cold morning this morning at Fair Hill. We are told this is the last day of this persistantly cold weather, I will believe it when I feel warm! The Tapeta track was closed until 9 am, they were working on it earlier. This will be the same tomorrow, and then things should return to normal.
Tim had the idea to use the horsepaths this morning (before 9) as our training track. It worked out quite well. I think we got a good 2 mile jog into each of them (for me, Hawty Creek, Nonpariel, Slew and two more) and it was nice to do it in the fresh air, even though it was thoroughly cold. At 9 I had three left, they each went to the track. They were pretty psyched about that, the first bronked its way onto the track, the second was a little better, as was the third. For each we did two circuits, galloping slowly from the 5/8ths to the quarter pole (a mile and a quarter). The track seemed fine for slow exercise.
It is sad to note that Alison Hershbell passed away last weekend. She was too young. As a jockey she provided Tim with his first winner, London Ice.
Update 1498: Mike Jensen writes an informative article on the breeding of Hard Spun: Hard Spun: Gifted son of breeder's beloved mare. I think Tim rode his mother when she was in training, Turkish Tryst!
Santa Anita has still not yet finalized the type of sythetic surface it plans to adopt: Breakdowns put spotlight back on synthetic surface. Also of note is the second article from that link: Hollywood offers retroactive purse increase. Hollywood experienced an increase in business in its short winter meet, and is distributing $300,000 as a result (with more being held over). Much of this increase is attributed to the Cushion Track.
Posted by Alex at 10:11 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 209
Posted February 17, 2007
updates are here.
Update 1497: Its nice to see international media covering Hard Spun in preparation for tomorrow's Southwest Stakes: Hard Spun out to join fleet. Mike Jensen is now at Oaklawn Park covering the race for the Philadelphia Inquirer, so we should see some stories from Mike early next week I think.
A nice opinion piece on Barbaro: MY TURN: Barbaro set example for people. This article reminds me to thank everyone who sent me cards and wishes after Barbaro's passing. Many of the cards included stories about how Barbaro had effected them deeply and persuaded them to action. Actions included directly rescuing a horse, contributing to group efforts financially for horse rescue or actively engaging with government. A friend of mine called yesterday, she is planning to open up her farm to rescue some horses. Very cool.
Update 1496: We have our track back! That's the good news this morning at Fair Hill. Its not ideal (its a little deep) but its a welcome relief to be able to get outside and train. I took Hawty Creek to the track and we jogged / hacked around three times. For the most part she was settled, but since I took her out a little later in the morning than usual she was a little fired up when horses came galloping by her, or were jogging at her on the outside rail. At one point she bucked so high her tail brushed the back of my neck (much to the amusement of Ricky Hendricks). I was safely stationed in the saddle secured to her neck strap. Anyway there were quite a few out training for a sunday; Tim sent some horses out, Barclay Tagg's crew were out there when I was out there, as were Graham Motion's, Bruce Jackson's and Dr. Fisher's riders. I imagine today, with a strong sun, they will work the track and begin to get it tightened back up. Anyway, a nice short day for me today.
Update 1495: The Daily Racing Form writes about NoBiz's work on saturday and the options for preparing for his next race (Fountain of Youth still favoured): One work down, two to go. They also write about Hard Spun's preparations for tomorrow's Southwest Stakes: A more savvy Hard Spun in Southwest. It appears they have been working him in behind horses in order to give them more options for his running style (he is used to being close to the lead and on the lead).
Ron Franklin, Spectacular Bid's jockey, is trying to get his career back on track: Ron Franklin to Seek Maryland License Reinstatement.
Now off to Fair Hill (late on a sunday) to get on Hawty Creek.
Update 1494: NoBiz Like ShoBiz worked this morning 5/8ths in 1:01. Barclay was very happy with the work, he did it easily, went very well. Barclay also noted that both Showing Up and Funny Cide are back to galloping a mile and a half every day. Both will need about a month's worth of breezing to get ready to run. I also spoke to Peter briefly this morning. He is very happy with how Chelokee came out of his allowance race, he galloped him this morning and he felt great. He will likely work again next weekend.
Jay Hovdey wrote a great article on the efforts of Fans of Barbaro: Chalk one up for online mission of mercy. Unfortunately you need to be a subscriber to read the article. I bought sunday's form to read it. Jay documents the story of this week's valentine's rescue with Grace Foundation. Brilliant.
Update 1493: Another chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill, and another morning in the shedrow. The Tapeta track is still under snow and ice, and the maintenance crew is tryng to determine how to remove the snow and ice without impacting the Tapeta surface underneath (which is apparently not frozen). Given that we will barely get above freezing today I am not sure what they can do.
That all being said the shedrow is fine with me in this weather. I rode seven again. Hawty Creek seems to be enjoying her shedrow training, her appetite is getting pretty good and she bit me twice today too! I jogged her a good fifteen minutes today. I shedrowed three for Tim, Slew, Nonparial and Quick Quest. This is the first time I have ridden Quick Quest and I had wanted to ride him for a while to see how he felt (I have seen him gallop many times when I have been in his company). He is a nice mover and very light on his feet. The other three I rode were all for Bobby (another trainer in Parlo 1, and trainer of Flash). They also all went well. The shedrow was nice and uneventful this morning.
Towards the end of the morning owner's of Drop Kick Murphy (a new horse of Tim's I have yet to update on the site) came to visit. They brought some nice goodies for us (crumb cake etc.) and the horses (carrots and mints) so were very popular all around. They are part of the Headless Horseman (I think) who supported Tim early in his career.
Jack Ireland wrote a nice piece on this site for today's News Journal: The man behind Barbaro's updates. The article includes a picture of me shedrowing a horse. Thanks Jack!
Posted by Alex at 3:44 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 208
Posted February 16, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1492: Bad weather continued to plague racing on friday with Turway Park canceling and Penn National has not run yet in February.
Hard Spun draws tough post in Southwest ... and Fair Hill's Xchanger draws the inside post. I am guessing neither is ideal, but something that should be over come by a triple crown contender ... And the Queen may come to watch the first leg: Queen Elizabeth II Might Attend Kentucky Derby.
The interview Jeannine Edwards did with Dr. Richardson will air mid March during ESPNs early coverage of horse racing. When I know the specific date I will alert everyone here. Last week I had dinner with a few "Barbaro people" including Dr. Richardson and his wife. I spent most of the evening talking with Dr. Richardson's wife which was a lot of fun. She noted that Dr. Richardson has really taken solace in all the wonderful messages of sympathy and support they have received over the past couple of weeks. They have really helped him through.
Update 1491: Peter Brette called earlier this evening. He wanted to write something to acknowledge all the wonderful support and wishes he and Michael had received over the past couple of weeks. This is what Peter wrote and sent:
Barbaro: What a beautiful difference, one single horse made.
Michael and I would just like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for all your good wishes, and kind words at what has been an extremely emotional time.
The fact that Barbaro has touched so many hearts all over the world is overwhelming.
Michael and I were extremely privileged to have been around such a special horse for the majority of his short life, he was everything you could ask for, kind, clever, talented and an absolute pleasure to train. Most of his battles on the racecourse lasted only two minutes; he won all of them, except the last one, lasting eight months. We will always dream and wonder what could have been but just have to accept it was not meant to be. God had other plans for him.
As proud of him as we were on the racecourse what he achieved after his accident is so much more and just emphasized what an amazing horse he was and he will always have a very special place in our hearts.
Although we have lots of wonderful memories of him on the racetrack, we were so happy to be able to spend some more time with him at New Bolton, to groom him, take him out for grass so he could feel the sun on his back and just to let him know how special he was and how much he meant to us.
We will never forget him, and will carry him in our hearts forever,
Thank you once again,
Michael & Peter
Update 1490: Premium Tap begins 2007 as he finished 2006 winning a grade one, but this time in Dubai: Premium Tap Wins in Saudi Arabia. It is not noted whether his tongue was hanging out for all to see, but I suspect it was.
Update 1489: It remains very cold at Fair Hill, and for the third day in a row we stayed in the shedrow for training. The Tapeta track is still under a cover of snow and ice. Lets hope they are able to get the track back for us soon. (Pictures of me and Tim coming on to the track the other day).
Again I shedrowed seven today, the same seven I shedrowed yesterday. At least we are able to get a good jog into our horses (about 12 minutes each which is about 2 miles). If a horse has recently run then this kind of exercise will enable us to keep them ticking over no problem. The shedrow was nice and uneventful today, again the largest set we had was a set of 5 which included the following riders, me, Tim, Robbie, Kelly and Lynda. The barn seems to be about 10 degrees warmer than the outside air, I realized this when I took my dog for a walk between one of the sets.
Update 1488: 2002 Horse of the Year, Azeri, had her first foal: Azeri's First Foal Is a Colt.
Hosting the Breeders' Cup outside of North America I cannot imagine happening: Dubai the only runner in the race. That being said, we know how much more popular horse racing is virtually everywhere else in the world (certainly in Europe and Asia).
Sean Clancy, who wrote: Barbaro: Horse Who Captured Amerca's Heart appeared on Talkin' Horses yesterday: Transcript.
Posted by Alex at 10:30 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 207
Posted February 15, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1487: Update 1486 noted some of the differences with respect to US and European racing, this article takes it much further: I'm not Barbaro, for lots of reasons.
The tongue-wagging Premium Tap, who finished a creditable third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, and followed that effort with a nice end of year win in the Clark Handicap, will make his 2007 debut on friday in Dubai: Premium Tap in desert debut.
Update 1486: Polytrack will make its debut on a racecourse in Ireland later this year: Coming Soon - Ireland's First All-Weather Horse Track. It is worth noting that there are major differences in the types of racing between the US and Europe. While US is principally dirt racing, with one or two turf races carded in the program, european racing is all turf racing with one or two tracks now synthetic (Polytrack). European racing typically only meets at a certain racetrack for 1 - 4 days at a time, hence their ability to rely solely on turf (which can detereorate quickly with adverse weather and excessive racing), whereas US racing meets for months at a time at each of its tracks (Philadelphia Park never closes) hence their need for a surface other than only turf. I don't think anyone would argue the best racing surface is good old turf.
Update 1485: A colder morning this morning, although with the layers of clothing I wear you can hardly tell. I am pretty sure the Tapeta track was shut for training, even if it was open the horsepaths were unpassable today. They did start ploughing the paths later in the morning so I am guessing they are planning to open up training again tomorrow.
Another day of shedrowing, this time I shedrowed seven. Started with Hawty Creek, then three for Tim (Nonpariel, Grandma and Slew), and three more for Bobby (including Flash). At one point we had a set of five jogging around the shedrow (me, Tim, Kelly, Joe and Robby), it was crowded! Three is really the ideal limit I think. The shedrow can also be a little dodgy, with other workers continuing what they need to get done (mucking stalls, going to the muck heap outside the barn, filling hay nets etc.) That being said we are fortunate in Parlo 1 that the shedrow is its own circuit outside the stalls etc. Anyway, so far this week no one has fallen off in our shedrow (it has happened)!
Update 1484: The Thoroughbred Times writes Barbaro's final resting place is still undetermined, it includes the following excerpts:
"We haven't decided anything," Roy Jackson said. "It will probably be a little while; we're still trying to weigh our options. We're just going to take our time and try to do what is best."
"We got thirty letters [on February 7]," Roy Jackson said. "It's amazing, they are from all over the place, and many of them were very well thought out. People took the time to sit down and write something, there are generally very uplifting. They just address them to West Grove, and somehow it gets to us.
"It's time to get on with our lives. It's sad, but we did the best we could and wouldn't change anything. It just wasn't meant to be. It was a great experience, really. I'm just sorry he didn't make it."
Another amazing horse rescue effort from Fans of Barbaro: URGENT: Valentine Feedlot Rescue.
Posted by Alex at 10:23 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 206
Posted February 14, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1483: Today's weather continued to have an impact on racing cancellations: Winter Storm Leads to Cancellations (my students thought it unfortunate it did not lead to cancellation of my class this afternoon).
It looks like Hard Spun will be taking on another Fair Hill horse (I say another as Hard Spun spent two weeks at fair Hill before his last start) in the Southwest: Xchanger ships in for Southwest.
Update 1482: A treacherous morning this morning. Not particularly cold, but ice everywhere. The track may well have been fine, but getting to the track was out of the question from Parlo 1. I ended up shedrowing eight this morning, starting with Hawty Creek, three for Tim (Nonpariel, Grandma and of course Slew) and four more (including Flash). The shedrow was pretty well organized so quite an easy morning really over all. A couple of the trainers in the barn did not made it in (one had no electric in their house etc.) but others there covered for them.
Frank DeFord of NPR discusses naming a race horse and the love of Barbaro: Barbaro's Baby Brothers: What's in a Name?
Update 1481: Bernardini has now begun his new career: Bernardini's First Breeding Is a Success. After reading Home Run Horse I recognize this is a big first step.
Hard Spun is now getting ready for the Southwest: Hard Spun in role of latest local hero. His recent work looks very strong, and of course we consider him local!
On Dubai World Cup news we have news on Discreet Cat: Discreet Cat may skip World Cup prep. Of course we are expecting a clash between Discreet Cat and Invasor in the World Cup.
The weather looks miserable outside, no doubt training will be impacted at Fair Hill.
Posted by Alex at 10:28 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 205
Posted February 13, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1480: From Upenn:
Roy and Gretchen Jackson Endow Chair for Equine Disease Research at Penn Veterinary Medicine School
Feb. 13, 2007
A $3-million gift from Roy and Gretchen Jackson, owners of Barbaro, will endow a chair in the name of Dean W. Richardson at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
In acknowledging the gift, Penn President Amy Gutmann said, "Gretchen and Roy Jackson have already done so much for veterinary medicine through their commitment to giving Barbaro every possible opportunity to recover from his catastrophic injuries. People throughout the world now understand that veterinary medicine --- and Penn veterinary medicine in particular --- shares in the advances that define today's biomedical science. Now, with this generous gift, Gretchen and Roy Jackson not only promote continued progress, but they pay tribute to the doctor who, like them, gave his heart to a magnificent horse."
"This endowed chair," said Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine, "is a strong recognition of the power of translating fundamental scientific advances into new real-world treatments. With a new faculty position dedicated to the study of equine disease, we will be better positioned to fight deadly conditions like laminitis."
The endowed chair is the cornerstone of a major new Penn Vet initiative to fight laminitis, which afflicted Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Laminitis is a severe, painful condition in horses that can be fatal. The laminitis initiative will foster training programs and studies for new treatments of equine diseases.
"We are very pleased to make this commitment in support of the School of Veterinary Medicine's research of equine diseases," Gretchen Jackson said. "Our close relationship with Dr. Richardson over the last eight months persuaded us to name the chair in his honor. We are indeed grateful to him, and we especially look forward to a future without laminitis."
Roy and Gretchen Jackson have a long and close connection with Penn and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Both are Penn graduates, and they have been dedicated supporters of Penn's athletic, medicine and veterinary programs for many years. In addition, Gretchen Jackson serves on the Penn Vet Board of Overseers.
"I am deeply honored by this generous and important gift," said Richardson, chief of surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital and leader of the team that treated Barbaro. "The Jacksons' remarkable philanthropy will translate into better outcomes for injured and ill horses in the future."
The Penn School of Veterinary Medicine is a leader in the development of new treatments and technologies to improve the health and care of both companion and large animals and is at the forefront of training students and veterinarians in diagnosing, preventing and curing animal diseases.
Update 1479: Horseracing lost a wonderful person yesterday: Trudy McCaffery, 62; horse breeder and owner worked to improve racing. Trudy McCaffery was also breeder of Round Pond.
Update 1478: It seemed relatively warm this morning first thing (low thirties I guess) but then a "wintry mix" descended upon us and made riding a cold task. First set was Hawty Creek, the weather was still decent and we did three laps of the Tapeta track. She basically ended up galloping about a mile and a half. She went well, but got a little steemed up coming home as the horsepath was pretty busy with horses by that time. I will likely start getting on her a little earlier over the next few days. I rode three for Tim, Chesapeake City Slew, Grandma and Medi Man. Each went well as the weather got progressively worse. The "moister" was horizontal and a mix of snow and sleet I guess. OK when it was on your back, but when coming right at you it was pretty miserable. My last three sets were shedrows in the barn (phew)! Anyway with the weather we are likely to have its likely the track may not be in use tomorrow. Wednesday is typically one of our gate days for gate schooling, that has already been cancelled.
I think I missed this article: Prado honors Barbaro for his 'courage, will to live', which quotes Edgar Prado, including:
"Barbaro was a very special horse, not only because he provided me with the greatest achievement in my career but also because he showed he was a horse with a lot of courage and a lot of will to live," Prado said. "He fought for eight months and nine days, but unfortunately the laminitis was just too strong."
Update 1477: Ed Fountaine writes a nice piece about NoBiz: 'BIZ' IS THE BUZZ. The following is an excerpt:
Recalling the first time he saw the "Biz" as a 2-year-old in Florida, Tagg - hardly a gushing, love-struck schoolboy-type, as we learned when he trained Funny Cide to win the Derby and Preakness four years ago - said: "Before he jogged three steps, I called (owner-breeder Elizabeth Valando) and told her 'this is the most gorgeous horse I've ever seen. If he's not a Triple Crown candidate, they've never made one.' "
I remember Ed relaying this comment to me when we had dinner a month ago. The Daily Racing Form has a nice recap of the Derby situation for those who ran in the stakes last weekend: First pieces of Derby puzzle fall in place.
An FOB created scrap book for NBC is under development, if you want your name listed please add here: Names for NBC Scrapbook.
Posted by Alex at 10:35 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 204
Posted February 10, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1476: Turfway continues to investigate its Polytrack issues: Temperature Believed to Have Impact on Polytrack. Various reasons are being put forward as to why the track is not performing as well as it had previously in terms of breakdowns (which still appear to be much reduced from the previous dirt surface). Temperature is one of the main issues put forward, but it seems the critical issue might stem from the change in the surface:
During the winter of 2006, when there were no catastrophic injuries, there were rampant complaints about "kickback" of the material during races. That in part led management to change the surface in August by adding Spandex and cabling material. The surface got much quicker--perhaps too much so--and apparently didn't play well when unusually cold temperatures set in over Kentucky.
The Tapeta track at Fair Hill seems to be handling the wicked temperatures we have had in the morning training hours. The only thing that seems to happen in extreme cold is the track gets tighter, and thus a little faster. I know horses have been breezing on the track this winter that would not have done so on the regular dirt track or the old wood chip track.
On weather and track conditions, Gulfstream cancelled today after one race: Gulfstream Cancels Monday Racing After First Race. I guess winter in Florida is not always the answer!
If you buy a horse with expectations of a big performance, its nice to see the seller offer to buy back when the horse does not perform up to expectations: Roman, IEAH Stables canceling Lawrence the Roman deal.
Update 1475: It felt warm this morning at Fair Hill, and for one set I even shed a couple of layers of clothing although I decided that that was only temporary and put them back on. Hawty Creek had the day off today. First set for me was Chesapeake City Slew, who seems to have come out of his weekend work well. We galloped around with Tim on Nonpariel. Then it was Grandma ... she weeled at one point coming on to the track, she was a little fired up after her day off and little work. We did survive. Next I breezed a filly 5/8ths from the gate. The initial plan was to breeze her from the pole on her own, but on my way to the track I saw a couple who looked like they were breezing, and they were ... from the gate. I asked my trainer if we could all go together ... yes ... so we could also get a gate card. Anyway my filly broke well on the outside of the group, she spotted the inside horse about a length and a half once we had gone about an eighth, the horse in the middle did not break so well. I was not sure whether to wait for the third horse or push my filly up to the leader ... which I then did. She went well the rest of the way, and was giving away serious weight (Nick Santagata was on the horse on the inside). Anyway, it turned out to be a decent work. The rest of my horses all went well which included taking one to the gate for its first time. She behaved beautifully and walked through the gate a couple of times. Again, I had managed to find company on the way to the track to do this. All in all, a decent monday morning.
Update 1474: There appear to be four books available on Amazon about Barbaro (and a Beanie Baby). My second book recommendation is for Barbaro: America's Horse by Shelley Mickle.
This book first came to my attention via Mrs. Jackson (it is authorized by the Jacksons). Mrs. Jackson had read the book and was very enthusiastic about it. I called up the author and asked if I could get a pre-print copy. Shelley obliged. It is a book for children, third grade I think. That being said I think anyone who wants to get a little more insight into the life of Barbaro will enjoy it, and of course it is a nice quick read. The most striking thing about the book is I think you get to really feel the personality of Barbaro, or at least a personality comes through that seems to be a good match for Barbaro. The book takes you through the life of Barbaro, beginning from where he was born (it includes a baby Barbaro picture). Anyway, all in all I really enjoyed it despite one or two facts not being absolutely on target (perhaps that should be a challenge, note two factual errors when reading the book). Again, these errors take nothing away from this book. It is cool and I think kids will love it too.
Also, some of the proceeds from the book will go to the Belmont Child Care Association and the riding camp at the Kennett Square YMCA.
Update 1473: A nice return to the races for Lawyer Ron. He rated a little off the pace (something he found tough to do last year), got shuffled back a little, came widest around the turn, and was still able to draw off. Lets see if he can repeat this kind of performance when he returns to graded stakes company.
Michael Matz's Chelokee was third in an allowance race at Gulfstream. He was well placed throughout the race, but it was a wicked fast race for a mile allowance race. I am guessing he will come on well for this test.
Update 1472: Another amazing rescue effort by the Fans of Barbaro: URGENT! LCC Foal Rescue!!!.
Update 1471: The track was busy this morning, whish surprised me a little being a sunday. Hawty Creek galloped a mile and a half. The last five eighths were an open gallop with the last quarter being close to a breeze. I wanted to get some air into her. She seemed to do it all well and cool out well. She will have the day off tomorrow. I saw Tim briefly. He breezed a bunch of his horses yesterday so they had a light morning today. I did get on one extra, a horse that will be breezing tommorrow, so needed to go out for a gallop today. Another chilly morning, but perhaps not quite as cold as early last week. Apparently we may be getting snow tuesday of this coming week.
Update 1470: Whoops, Silent Witness' last race was last week (Update 1469) not this weekend. Apparently he finished, but not well and is now well retired. A terrific career winning seventeen consecutive sprint races (Cigar's record was sixteen consecutive races).
Easy morning this morning at Fair Hill. I just have Hawty Creek to ride.
Update 1469: I was unable to watch any of the feature races today (HRTV covers other tracks). Here is a quick recap from a couple of races with possible triple crown implications...
The Risen Star went to Notional: Notional Gets Lucky Trip in Fall-Marred Risen Star, Circular Quay was compromised when taken up to avoid a fallen jockey. Apparently horses clipped heals in front of him (unseating the jockey), but did not go down. Lawrence of Roman's Derby trail may be over before it started for his new owners: Summer Doldrums scores first stakes win with convincing Whirlaway romp.
On the international scene, Good luck to Silent Witness who makes his last start in a few hours before retiring to "Living Legends," in Australia: Hong Kong Hero Silent Witness Bows Out Sunday.
Update 1468: Another lovely Barbaro tribute from a Fan of Barbaro: And it is All Barbaro.
Update 1467: This morning did not feel as cold, although I am sure the temperatures were still in the teens. The difference from yesterday, much less wind. As I had thought, plenty of action at Fair Hill this morning with lots of workers and plenty of horses breaking out of the gate.
I had Hawty Creek out first, and she was first on the track again. She galloped a good mile and a half. There was a race for her tomorrow, maiden special weight, non-PA bred. We did not enter ... it is an easier race than the PA-bred version that was canceled on tuesday, so a bit bummed about that. Oh well, hopefully a race will come up for her soon enough.
Next set I breezed Chesapeake City Slew an eighth in company with Tim on Grandma. They went well together, and he felt awesome. He's a quirky kind of horse to ride, I have found he goes best when I ride long and keep my hands down. He then concentrates much more on what he is doing. When we went to pick it up as we straightened down the lane he really did pick it up well. Once past the wire he also galloped out very strongly. Of the next four sets I took three to the gate, each of which broke from the gate, and broke well. Two were to get gate cards (successfully) and one was the first time to break (Flash!) Flash is definitely moving forward with his training.
Edgar Prado is at Aqueduct today ... this might mean something: 'ROMAN' TRUE TRIPLE THREAT ?
Posted by Alex at 4:07 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 203
Posted February 9, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1466: Turfway Park continues to struggle with its Polytrack surface since they "re-did" it: A crack in Polytrack shows up, excerpt:
Last fall, in an attempt to reduce kickback and slightly quicken the surface, Turfway altered the composition of the top two-inch layer of Polytrack to include more wax, sand, and smaller rubber bits. The original recipe, which still lies just beneath the top layer, used a higher percentage of carpet fibers and larger rubber bits and a lower percentage of wax and sand.
First Saturday in May star Lawyer Ron returns in an allowance race this weekend: Lawyer Ron plunges into allowance. Lawyer Ron won the Risen Star last year, this weekend's 3yo feature. Todd Pletcher, who took over training Lawyer Ron late in the year last year returns from his suspension sunday in time for this race.
Now off to Fair Hill for what is likely a busy and cold morning.
Update 1465: Kennett Square mourns the loss of Barbaro: Why I love Kennett Square.
Update 1464: The Risen Star is the key three year old race this weekend: Tough test for Circular Quay. Hard Spun was planning to run in this race, I forget now why he is not but don't think it was anything serious. Another interesting three year old in the entries this weekend is Michael Matz trainee Chelokee, sunday at Gulfstream.
A recent resolution adopted by the Pennsylvania state Senate honours Barbaro and his connections.
My heating appears to be working (THANKS!)
Update 1463: Another cold morning this morning at Fair Hill. The wind is not letting up. It really gets you walking back to the barn! I went in earlier than usual this morning and had Hawty Creek out on the track before anyone else was out there. She relaxes a little more when she is on her own, and I can let her gallop on a little without her getting too head strong. Anyway she trained well for sure and was more relaxed coming home. Chesapeake City Slew and Grandma , Tim's two I am riding this week, both went well. Grandma was my third set and by that time I was cold. I had forgotten my scarf, so for the fourth set I added a saddle towel to my clothing, and wrapped it around my neck so as to be able to use it as a make shift face mask. It worked very well and for the remainder of the morning I was warmer. I ended up riding seven, the Tapeta track remains a great surface despite the ridiculous weather conditions we are having.
I got home and the heat in my house is not working!
Update 1462: A couple more tributes to Barbaro:
Barbaro: His Greatest Legacy, Grieving "Barbaro Nation" Poised to Move Forward, excerpt:
But during his stay at NBC, they did a lot more. They mobilized hundreds if not thousands of ordinary folks to introduce anti-horse slaughter legislation. They brought the plight of abandoned and neglected horses to the web site to be read by people across the globe. By keeping Barbaro in the news, one way or another, they forced the issue of thoroughbred racing injuries into public view and saw tracks moving to safer polytrack surfaces as a result.
Requiem for a hero, In a vain fight against death, Barbaro became more than a stricken Kentucky Derby winner. Bred to win on a track, this horse - and its handlers - won over a nation's heart., excerpt:
There are those who will say that Barbaro was just a horse, but the truth is that to so many he was also a symbol of hope ... of courage ... and the selflessness of the man who trained him and rode him and the people who stood beside him in the winner's circle on Derby Day.
But maybe the shared joy of his survival that later turned to shared suffering when he couldn't make it is not really that hard to understand. He was an athlete with an athlete's heart. His courage was self-explanatory in an age when America grows weary of big-money athletes who have exhausted their intelligence with their whining.
Any way you look at it, an American hero died Monday.
Our friend Collier Hill was rated joint-top horse in Canada for 2006: Collier Hill, Go Deputy Lead 2006 Canadian Thoroughbred Ratings.
Posted by Alex at 10:30 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 202
Posted February 8, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1461: A couple more nice Barbaro articles:
Vet student remembers 'a special patient', excerpt:
"It was a little scary," she said. "We weren't sure what he was going to be like."
Though he was treated like any other horse that entered their care, Cornman said, it quickly became apparent Barbaro was a people person -- uh, horse.
"He had a good personality. He liked his carrots and grain and was always watching out his stall door," Cornman said. "He was just always interested in what was going on around him."
Former patrolman remembers Barbaro's greatness and courage, excerpt:
"This horse makes me shiver when I see him work on the dirt," he said.
Racing from the far outside, the colt captured a hard-fought victory in the Florida Derby. Matz knew he had something special.
"He went in as a boy and came out a man," Matz told me in early April.
Update 1460: Jazil was second again, to an impressive Corinthian. Jazil seemed to make an early move going into the turn, but was no match for Corinthian when Corinthian was asked to run a little. Corinthian won by more than ten lengths...
Here is a nice article on Kenett Florist: Kennett Florist carries on Barbaro effect. The following is an excerpt:
"Mrs. Jackson has asked us to continue our work for the anti-slaughter bill and to contribute to the Laminitis Fund," Berstler said, "so that's what we're going to do.
Update 1459: Mrs. Jackson just called and we had a nice long conversation about Barbaro and all the good things that seem to be happening. I alerted Mrs. Jackson to this rescue effort, she was thrilled! Mrs. Jackson obviously misses Barbaro a lot, he was so much a part of her life for sure, but she did emphasize she would not change a thing (other than the accident itself of course). She is very grateful of all the support and is very busy working on Barbaro's legacy.
Update 1458: Another cold morning this morning at Fair Hill, and with the wind picking up progressively through the morning it simply got colder. Tim described Fair Hill as desolate this morning ... I think it is an apt description. That all being said the Tapeta track was again good, and I saw at least one horse work on it this morning (and one horse running off with its rider, I was alerted to this when I heard someone holla "oh crap" as they came by me ... they soon regained control). Hawty Creek was my first as usual. She was pretty lively, I may need to work her this weekend to get a bit of wind into her and take the edge off her a little. She is sharp right now, but her race is now not until next weekend at the earliest. I rode Chesapeake City Slew and Grandma for Tim. Both went well, and in company with Tim each time. Flash galloped around nicely again, the others I rode also went well and thankfully my last set got cancelled ... making it seven for the day instead of eight. It was simply a cold morning.
Another tribute: Barbaro The Legend.
Update 1457: Sports Illustrated has a nice Barbaro story: A champion until the end, Barbaro touched us with his grace and fighting spirit. The following is an excerpt:
Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby in the manner of an athlete who is evolved beyond his peers. He cut a massive, striking pose in the Derby paddock before the race, taller and more muscled than the others in the race. The breeding industry buzz had been that Barbaro would one day do his best running on the grass. As Barbaro circled the Churchill paddock, Jill Baffert, the wife of three-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, turned to her husband and said, "You better hope he's a grass horse."
I remember that quote from Mrs. Baffert, in response to her husband's comment that Barbaro was supposed to be a grass horse.
Jazil is running today: Jazil, Corinthian meet again. Achilles of Troy, who appears in First Saturday in May along with Jazil, was scratched from a race at Aqueduct yesterday.
Posted by Alex at 11:00 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 201
Posted February 7, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1456: Jeannine Edwards interviewed Dr. Richardson today. The interview was for ESPN, but may also air on Good Morning America. Once I know where and when I will post. Jeannine called me this afternoon to let me know and shared some of the interview with me. She noted the interview was emotional, obviously this has been tough for Dr. Richardson, and there is now a huge void for him. There was a tear in his eye at at least one point of the interview. When Jeannine asked him about his favorite memory, it was walking outside with Barbaro in the grass. When Jeannine asked why, he said with a quivering voice "Because he was happy." Dr. Richardson noted that for the vast majority of time, Barbaro was a comfortable, happy horse. He wasn't being tortured or "experimented on". He also said the notes and messages from well-wishers have touched him. Jeannine shared more but I will leave it to the interview that is aired.
Jeannine was very grateful to Dr. Richardson and the New Bolton staff for allowing for this interview. Dr. Richardson is now Jeannine's favorite, most heartfelt and sincere interview subject, not Allen Iverson!! Apparently Dr. R. knows what that means.
Update 1455: A nice essay that helps explain what Barbaro means to his broad fan base: America's Pony. I would comment on the end of the essay when Barbaro's legacy is discussed. Shortening races will yield no benefit, but put further emphasis on speed, Polytrack is one of three brands of synthetic tracks, and there is no mention regarding the move to push through anti horse slaughter legislation.
Update 1454: Michael Matz has been named Overall Horseman of the Year by The Chronicle of the Horse (you need to get their magazine to read the article).
Update 1453: I just spoke to Barclay Tagg about NoBiz Like ShoBiz. He said he came out of his race well (Holy Bull) and trained today (jogging). It is usual to give a horse three days off after a race. It looks like the Fountain of Youth in early March is their current planned next race, but that is "not etched in stone".
It was a little warmer this morning, all things being relative, so no shedrowing, I took six to the Tapeta track. Hawty Creek was first out there, and there was about a two inch layer of snow covering the ground and track. I jogged / galloped her two turns, as I was coming off the track the next horses had just got to the track (Barclay's crew). The track was good first set and handled the many horses that trained on it today. For the most part my horses went well, but a couple of days training in the barn did get a couple of them stired up when getting back outside. It was also very bright outside, goggles were necessary. Chesapeake City Slew and Grandma were the two I rode for Tim, both are cool. As is Flash, who had a nice gallop around there, really extending himself. A decent morning, and things can only get warmer I think.
I asked Tim about The Kielbasa Queen, who ran a couple of days ago (fifth of six at Laurel). She came out of her race well but it seems they have now decided to retire her. A good decision, she did break her maiden, but just does not seem to be as competitive as you would like. Lets hope her owners can find a good home for her, she is cute.
Update 1452: Barbaro has clearly touched many of us, which in many cases has manifested into giving: Barbaro's Memory Spurs Retirement Program Donations, excerpt:
Two weeks ago, before Barbaro's recovery took a turn for the worse, the Friends of Barbaro, an Internet-based fan group presented Old Friends, an equine retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., that is home to 24 ex-racehorses including Breeders' Cup champion Sunshine Forever, with an unexpected gift in honor of trainer Michael Matz's birthday. Matz trained Barbaro.
"I called over to his farm and left a message and told him, 'If you're looking for your birthday presents, they're over here at Old Friends because these people raised nearly $700 for these old retired horses,' " said Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends.
And while opening the daily mail, Blowen was taken aback to find a check for $1,500 from a Maryland racing fan for a run-in shed.
I spoke briefly to Peter Brette yesterday. He noted that he and Michael had received many many kind expressions of good will over the last week. He also noted Chelokee worked well yesterday and Round Pond may be working this morning for a March return to the races. I also spoke to Gary Stevens. I wanted to thank him for writing the "letter to the editor" to the LA Times. He noted that others had also done the same (Eoin Harty's wife being one of them).
Now its time to really push forward on anti horse slaugher, calling your representative and congressmen, and encouraging others you know to do the same.
Posted by Alex at 10:52 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 200
Posted February 6, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1451: This is cool: More on Barbaro and horse slaughter, excerpt:
After your overwhelming response, I have decided to research slaughter more thoroughly and hopefully bring more recognition to this important issue. I will be doing a feature article on slaughter in the coming weeks and have decided to be a voice for the anti-slaughter activists. Any time there are so many people devoted to such a good cause, I want to be a part of it. With the help of NTRA.com, I look forward to bringing more awareness to this terrible practice. Thank you for all of your emails.
Update 1450: Glenye Cain, author of The Home Run Horse (my first book recommendation), sent me this article: Mepache, dam of leading Texas sire Valid Expectations, pensioned. It is nice to see someone looking out for this mare after all she has done for racing and breeding.
Update 1449: Michael Blowen, who runs Old Friends writes an open letter: OLD FRIENDS' MICHAEL BLOWEN ON THE DEATH OF BARBARO and makes some valid points. It would be nice to see, with the influx of slot money, monies set aside for horses that no longer can compete for their retirement.
Remembering Barbaro: 'America's Horse' Who Touched the World, from UPenn, includes the following:
After Barbaro was euthanized Monday morning, January 29, President Amy Gutmann issued the following statement: "We are truly heartbroken to learn of the death of Barbaro. He was a magnificent animal, who fought towards recovery throughout these past months with a grace and spirit that was an inspiration to us all. Our hearts go out to his devoted owners, Gretchen and Roy Jackson, to his brilliant and caring surgeon Dean Richardson, and to all the devoted staff at Penn's New Bolton Center who took such magnificent care of Barbaro all these months.
"Barbaro was a true athlete, whose unwavering spirit and will to live touched the hearts of thousands of people throughout the country and the world. He became 'America's horse,' and despite his injuries and illness brought joy to the hearts of so many. We will miss him."
Update 1448: Steve Haskin provides an update on those on the Derby Trail: Kentucky Derby Trail: Bizzy Weekend. NoBiz is top of the list following his Holy Bull win, the Daily Racing Form notes he has some flexibility in his schedule going forward: Nobiz Like Shobiz enjoys flexible schedule. I'll plan to follow up with Barclay Tagg in the next couple of days to see how NoBiz came out of his race. Steve Haskin's report also mentions Chelokee, who worked today (5/8ths in 1:01.2).
On the Derby Trail last year, and featured in First Saturday in May was Achilles of Troy. He was injured in the Gotham (New York Derby prep race), and has his first start back tomorrow: Achilles of Troy resurfaces.
It appears that pioneer Turfway Park is having some trouble with their Polytrack: Turfway examines injury rise on Polytrack. Lets hope this can be resolved very soon, meanwhile Arlington has decided to adopt the Polytrack surface: Arlington Park picks Polytrack.
Update 1447: Philadelphia Park cancelled racing today, sense prevails. Even if they had a good racetrack its just too cold to race.
I shedrowed six this morning. It was brutally cold outside, but the barn is about ten degrees warmer I think. The biggest pain is the water buckets, the snaps (that connect the buckets to the stall) were frozen and no matter how careful you are you get wet and cold cleaning them out.
The horses I rode were good for the most part. A couple were somewhat fractious at the beginning before we started jogging. It can get a little wild in the shedrow. A few riders did venture out to the Tapeta track (not from our barn) and I heard the track was actually quite good. Well if its good in this weather then it is being well tested for sure. Tomorrow I may venture out to gallop on it, but who knows how much warmer it is supposed to be.
A lovely tribute: You're Still You Barbaro, Forever in Our Hearts.
Update 1446: The seventh clip of Barbaro from the Hennegan Brothers: Derby morning, coming onto the track at Churchill. Sunday's Daily News had an article on the film they are making, its the second story: Barbaro legacy lives on in film.
It looks like it will be cold again at fair Hill this morning, meaning plenty of shedrowing!
Posted by Alex at 10:55 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 199
Posted February 5, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1445: From time to time I may recommend a book or other product, and the recommendation will be linked to Amazon.com If you buy via the recommendation I will make a little money (little). I just wanted to be transparent about this. Any money made over the cost of maintaining the web-sites will go to some horse-related cause of course.
My first recommendation is for The Home Run Horse: Inside America's Billion-Dollar Racehorse Industry and the High-Stakes Dreams that Fuel It . The author, Glenye Cain, has been covering Barbaro for The Daily Racing Form. She sent me her book after I had had a few conversations with her about Barbaro, a horse she adopted (indirectly) off the racetrack that had at one time been trained by Graham Motion, and horse related issues such as horse-slaughter. As someone closely involved in racing I enjoyed the book as it shed light on aspects of our industry in which I was less familiar (breeding / auctions etc). I do think, however, the book best serves those first learning about the thoroughbred industry and wanting to get a solid base of knowledge from which to then build. Anyway, I understand the book got decent reviews when it was first published, and I would be excited if someone read it because I wrote about it. It is excellent.
Update 1444: A chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill. I think the temperature was about 9 degrees ...sensibly we trained all ours in the shedrow this morning (jogging about ten minutes each) so we actually were able to remain somewhat warm. I jogged eight in the shedrow. The only time I really got cold was mucking out Hawty Creek (I took my gloves off so as to warm them up for riding) and doing her water buckets (water was frozen on top, but at least the snaps functioned, when they freeze its just a pain). There were reports of a few going out to the Tapeta track ... and I heard the reason for some of them was because their respective shedrows were frozen. The others out there ... well no reason for that at all!
We had a guest in the barn this morning, Carla, a photographer from the Wilmington News Journal. A story on this site may appear in the next week or so. I asked Jack Ireland if he would write a story since classes start this week at Delaware and I wanted my students to read about me in the paper ... Well that was the plan anyway.
Another article that defends the outpouring of support for Barbaro and the good that Barbaro can and has brought upon us: Going the Distance --- Barbaro reminded us that life is worth fighting for.
Update 1443: A nice commentary in the Baltimore Examiner: Brooke Gunning: Barbaro: Lessons from a horse's life, it ends:
Barbaro had a different destiny. Some winners have gone on to further fame and success in their racing careers or at stud. A select few have won the Triple Crown. All were victors in their day. A rarefied few achieve greatness. Through thousand of races over ever-increasing generations, the names of the truly great still resound. Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Man o' War and Native Dancer hear the hoofbeats of the newest legend to join their august racing ranks. Barbaro has earned his place.
Many will participate in a moment of silence at 10:30 am to pay their respects to Barbaro and his connections. Many will then continue to fight for all those things that are now important to sustain Barbaro's legacy.
450 horses have been nominated to this year's triple crown series: Record 450 horses nominated to Triple Crown.
We are anticipating it to be very cold this morning, I imagine all work will be in the shedrow today.
Posted by Alex at 10:49 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 198
Posted February 4, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1442: Another Barbaro tribute: A Tribute to Barbaro.
Mrs. Jackson sent me an e-mail this morning. In the e-mail she wanted me to thank everyone for their kind love and support. They have received many messages of support and are overwhelmed with how much Barbaro was loved by so many.
Barbaro touched a common chord, excerpt:
A country driven mad by partisanship found common cause in Barbaro - an utterly neutral reservoir of hope, beauty and determination. For a while, we were all in the race with a champion, and, for a while, we were champions, too.
Update 1441: The sixth clip of Barbaro is now available from the Hennegan Brothers: Barbaro and Peter, Messaging and Michael, walking back to the barn after exercise. The barn they pass in the background is where Tim is stabled. You also may notice a grey horse out in a round pen in the background, those following the site for a while may remember the piece I was interviewed re: anti horse slaughter, the grey is Carnival World who was featured for that piece. Carnival World is now at Freedom Hills enjoying a new career.
It was cold this morning at Fair Hill, but bright sunshine nonetheless. I only had Hawty Creek to get out so it was a nice and quiet morning. She galloped on the Tapeta track which continues to hold up well in this very cold snap of weather we are having. While I wanted a nice quiet gallop, because I did not get up so early the track was a little busier than I had hoped. Barclay Tagg's team turned around and galloped in front of me ... of course Hawty Creek thought that was cool ... we ended up passing one of them down the lane. Anyway, she seems in good form and had her head in the feed tub ten minutes after I got back to the barn which is a little uncharacteristic of her.
As I arrived in the barn Tim was leaving, off to Laurel with The Kielbasa Queen and his weekend team: Mike and Megan!
Update 1440: Sue McMullen wrote a nice piece on Barbaro (and mentioned this site) for today's Scottish Herald: A fight too far for champion.
Mike Jensen writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer about "First Saturday in May" from which we have benefited already with the barbaro clips the Hennegan Brothers have been posting on youtube: Barbaro makes it into the movies. The article notes they plan to do a separate documentary on Barbaro:
"We are going to pursue our own Barbaro documentary," John Hennegan said. "He's an important historical figure in the sport."
Posted by Alex at 12:34 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 197
Posted February 3, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1439: The fifth clip from the Hennegan Brothers (First Saturday in May): Barbaro grazing at Fair Hill after the Derby.
Update 1438: How much trouble did Invasor have to overcome? He clearly prooved a worthy horse of the year for 2006 in his 2007 debut. MUCH the best in a very troubled trip, winning going away with ease.
Update 1437: NoBiz Like ShoBiz won the Holy Bull by two lengths. He ran green, switched leads late and looked like he was lugging a little. If this horse learns to run straight and focused then we will see something very different perhaps. He is at the top of his division. Scat Daddy was off the bridle early. The field was strung out in the end.
Update 1436: NPRs Scott Simon: Barbaro Death Touches Admirers.
I am fascinated at how those who have reported on the Barbaro story have been directly effected by the story. Jeannine Edwards provided us her perspective. Jack Ireland, who has followed the story for the Wilmington News Journal provides his: 'Big Fella' showed class from start to finish. I had a nice phone coversation the other day with Jack, much of which is reflected in this article.
Hawty Creek is back in the entries, for tuesday at Philadelphia Park (I just returned from grazing her). Breeders' Cup and Eclipse Award winner Miesque's Approval ran a dull race in his 2007 debut, getting beaten by a never threatening four lengths.
Update 1435: There was a light layer of snow on the ground this morning, and on the Tapeta track. I was curious how the track would handle this throughout the morning especially since it is a saturday and saturdays usually mean plenty of horses working. My first set was Hawty Creek and she galloped across the track as the first horse to do so in the morning. The track felt fine and Hawty Creek felt great ... it was cold however. My second set was a work, 5/8ths no less ... I worked in company with Jesus Bracho and really the track was good. Subsequently I worked a couple more and my last horse was coming off the track at 10 am, and still the track was good. The one problem with the track is it is getting very busy and there are definitely a few near misses in the mornings with horses ducky and diving away from each other etc. but I don't think anything bad happened today. You did have to keep your goggles down for most of the morning to avoid snow blindness as once the sun got up it was very bright. No superbowl gossip (its hard to really think it is the superbowl this weekend) but a couple of comments about Brett Favre's return for one more go at another superbowl ring! Lynn and Denise visited, it was nice, but I was soooo busy (seven horses ridden and looking after Hawty Creek) I could have been a better host.
Here are a couple of must reads:
Horse racing community won't forget Barbaro ...lets hope not, there is much work to do!
Cohen: A champion dies, reflects on how Barbaro has effected us.
Update 1434: A Tribute to Barbaro from a Fan of Barbaro: Barbaro Tribute.
A couple of Fans of Barbaro are planning to visit Fair Hill this morning, wrap up! It looks like it will be a busy morning.
Update 1433: Here is the fourth clip of Barbaro from "The First Saturday in May": Peter on Barbaro galloping at Fair Hill. Very cool.
Gary Stevens speaks out in response to a very poorly written article in LA Times. I have met Gary a few times and he has supported this site with his comments.
Posted by Alex at 1:58 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 196
Posted February 2, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1432: While this has been a very tough week (we english guys are known for being a little understated at times), racing does continue and some standouts are running this weekend. 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor is at Gulfstream (Horse of Year Invasor Returns in Donn Handicap) as the highweight in the Donn Handicap. Also at Gulfstream NoBiz Like ShowBiz and Scat Daddy clash in the Holy Bull (won last year in the slop by Barbaro) and Eclipse Award winner Miesque's Approval returns. Finally "First Saturday in May" star Brother Derek tries again at Santa Anita.
A couple more recent Barbaro articles:
Derby Fever: 2006 Was All About Barbaro
Update 1431: From Dr. Kathy Anderson:
Dear Fans of Barbaro:
Although I have communicated with you indirectly through Alex and this blog I am writing to you now to share some of my thoughts and emotions at the end of Barbaro's journey through life. First, I would like to thank all who energized and galvanized our will to see this journey through --- your frequent messages and notes were very appreciated and a constant reminder of just how many people were touched by Barbaro, the warrior horse.
So, what of Barbaro? Please be reassured that throughout his hospitalization, and indeed his life, Barbaro remained in charge --- his eye did not dim nor did his spirit waver until the last. Most of you have come to know him intimately through your research but for me the best thing about him was he was first and foremost a horse, an equine hero to be sure, but always a horse with all that is so special of our equine friends. He was kind and talented as a two year old, he became increasingly confident as his fan base increased, and prior to the Preakness I believe there could be no happier horse ... nor human support team.
Following Barbaro's tragic misstep, we staggered with him, but like he, brushed ourselves off and carried on with the challenging task in front of us --- to bring Barbaro back into our lives healthy and happy. New members joined the team, Dr. Richardson becoming the visible "leader" with many behind the scenes caregivers. Despite the odds, Barbaro improved steadily, our hopes rekindled, our fears diminished and Barbaro remained constant --- day by day inspecting his kingdom and his servants with little patience for the slow or weak of heart. The critical week in July became the fork in the road --- he took the path less traveled and still managed to look challenge in the eye and gather momentum towards his future. In early January I took my children to see him, for I was sure that our next visit would be in a grassy paddock at the farm of his choice. He stood on that sunny afternoon, silhouetted against his large window with a panoramic view of nearby pastures, gazing intently at the lucky equines on the horizon, no doubt plotting what contortions and gyrations he would enjoy when he joined them in the not too distant future --- that is the memory I hold in my mind's eye. His inner peace and ever present confidence that all would be right in his world, his shiny healthy coat, his well muscled and conformed body, even his wonderfully naked legs with no wraps, casts or bandages --- just his badges of courage --- the healed but deformed right hind limb and the lightly padded left hind foot ... he was a portrait of health. True, he had lost his perfect body and the innocence of youth but now he stood as a battle seasoned wise warrior.
This is how I remember him, and although my heart weeps for his loss I know that he is now cavorting and challenging his cloud mates to those races that he was destined to win. I will see that bright spark in the eye of the racehorses I meet in years to come, and I will wonder if he is mischievously playing with me, challenging me to search for that intangible quality of "champion" amongst future generations. Certainly I am forever indebted to Barbaro for his gift of courage and grace which he bestowed upon us all from the moment he burst upon the racing scene in 2005. What a ride it has been "through sickness and health." Barbaro fans hail from around the world with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds but together we have found common ground and realize that heroes come in many shapes, sizes and species --- hail to the hero Barbaro!
Kathleen M. Anderson, DVM
Equine Veterinary Care, PC
Fair Hill Training Center, MD
Update 1430: Fair Hill felt warm this morning, I guess everything is relative! I rode six, the same six as yesterday. All went well. Hawty Creek is really doing well at the moment, there may be a race for her tuesday of next week, or the following weekend, so I just need to try to keep her ticking over. She galloped a strong mile and a half this morning. Chesapeake City Slew and Nonpariel also galloped well. They are both working an eighth tomorrow, together, so Tim will be riding one of them I guess. Flash was cool (he garners attention out there). My other two were also good. The Tapeta carpet was just that, like galloping on a carpet. As I was grazing Hawty Creek later in the morning Kathy Anderson stopped by. She wanted me to post something to this site about her reflections of Barbaro. That will be the next update.
Update 1429: Here are some more of the many articles that have been recently posted:
Barbaro's legacy positive
Kentucky horsemen recall Barbaro's early days
Vet: Barbaro was 'different horse' in final hours
Barbaro's birth stall stands empty
Lessons Learned From Barbaro
Barbaro's painter recalls horse's strength
Steve Haskin: Reflections on Barbaro and His Fight for Life
Barbaro's Plight Shined a Light on Advances
Matz soldiers on with Barbaro gone
The Barbaro Fund hats have raised $15,400 for the Barbaro Fund. I am not sure yet if more will be made available.
Posted by Alex at 10:30 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 195
Posted February 1, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1428: The Hennegan Brothers (First Saturday in May) have posted their third clip of Barbaro on youtube, we will call it Brief conversation with Michael Matz about the Holy Bull Stakes, in attendance, Barbaro, Alex Matz and Eduardo.
Mrs. Jackson just left a nice long voice-mail. The upshot of the call was to "Keep up the fight". Doing so is a good distraction from the sad events of this week I think. She also mentioned the museum idea that was reported by Mike Jensen.
Update 1427: Jeannine Edwards, of ESPN, has followed Barbaro's story and reported on Barbaro's story extensively over the last several months. I asked Jeannine if she would write about it, here is her essay:
Barbaro first hit my radar when he won the Laurel Futurity here in MD, late in 2005. In April, in the Florida Derby, we saw his athleticism and courage, as he proved he could run on dirt. For me it was cool because he was a Fair Hill horse. Two weeks later, I met the Jacksons for the first time at Keeneland when I interviewed them about Barbaro and their other rising 3-year-old star, Showing Up, before the Lexington Stakes. After spending some time with the Jacksons, Joan Ciampi, one of our producers, and I noted how genuine they seemed, and how utterly proud they were of their colts. They were beaming parents! Showing Up won the race and the Jacksons went to Churchill Downs with 2 undefeated Derby contenders.
I spent several mornings talking to Michael Matz at Churchill leading up to the Derby, and I was increasingly impressed with how Barbaro looked, and how quietly confident Michael was. Michael's story and background and his horse's charisma made them an appealling choice for a lengthy feature on our Derby day coverage. Joan did the taped interviews for that feature and put it together. It was really nice. Together she and I watched from the winners' circle and screamed as Barbaro flew down the stretch at Churchill. He was brilliant!
After the Derby I remember interviewing Michael and the Jacksons for our post-show and it all seemed very surreal.... Michael and the Jacksons were relatively unknown to the racing public at large, they lived not very far from me, and here their horse was still undefeated and left people agasp with his performance.
The next day Michael took Barbaro back home to Fair Hill to prepare for the Preakness. We spent several mornings there shooting (i.e. taping) Barbaro and the other Preakness runner, Diabolical. I brought my dogs in the car with me and they terrorized every passer-by. We put together a feature about Fair Hill and its unique offerings for horsemen. We were at Michael's barn several times, and because I used to gallop, he joked that he had a few horses for me to get on. I answered the one I want to ride is probably off limits!! We shot quite a bit of Barbaro.... The often-replayed footage of him rolling and bucking in his round pen and grazing in his paddock 2 days after the Derby was shot by our cameraman, Steve Martin. It was extremely exciting to watch Barbaro train each day, as a local person, you couldn't help but get caught up in Barbaro's aura. If Michael was quietly confident before the Derby, he seemed to be bursting with pride heading into the Preakness.
Derby and Preakness weeks are long and grueling for us, we do a total of about 26 hours of live programming in addition to all the research, interviews, and pre-taped stuff, so by the time we were off the air at 5pm Preakness day (to make way for NBC's coverage), I was ready to relax and enjoy a great race. I was standing in the infield, right on the finish line on the grass, near the Preakness winners' circle. When Barbaro busted through the gate early it was alarming, but he was pulled up by Edgar Prado and the outrider quickly. Then the race began and all I remember seeing was the blurred image of a horse being passed quickly by others, then gasps from the crowd.... Then silence. Barbaro was struggling to come to a halt on 3 legs not far from where we were standing, and the race continued on.... Virtually meaningless at that point. The air had literally been sucked out of Pimlico. You could hear a pin drop. It was like getting kicked in the stomach.
My producer Jody Patrovsky and I had tears in our eyes, and we were practically hyper-ventilating. We had to go do post-race interviews with the winners of the race, but we knew the real work was just beginning at that point.
I ran across the track and up into the jocks' room to attempt an interview with Edgar... he was too distraught to speak on camera. I then ran back down and interviewed Dr. Larry Bramlage, one of the foremost equine orthopedic surgeons and our "AAEP Vet On-Call" for our TV shows. He gave me an initial briefing and a very preliminary diagnosis... saying it appeared to be a catastrophic injury and the situation was critical.
Barbaro was taken away in the ambulance and we ran back to the stakes barn where his stall was. It was a mob scene.... Absolutely chaotic. They had backed the ambulance all the way up to the barn and Barbaro was in his stall.... Stall 40, where the Derby winner is housed. We waited with a sense of dread and disbelief. Other horsemen and racing employees were everywhere.... hovering, wandering around aimlessly. People were in shock. We were sure he would be put down. It was tough to get information at that point, but eventually a friend of mine, Dr. Dan Dreyfuss, a MD vet and surgeon who did his residency under Dean Richardson at New Bolton, emerged after assisting with xrays and splinting of Barbaro's leg, and agreed to give us an update. He said it looked bad...several fractures and that Barbaro's pastern was nearly "a bag of crushed ice". Even he appeared shell-shocked. Moments later the horse was loaded back into the ambulance and taken to New Bolton. We learned he would have surgery the next day.
The news desk at ESPN had called and said they wanted me to go to NB in the morning, it would be the first of many, many days I would spend at the facility. I had been there before, several times, with my own horses, so I knew my way around, but it was still an eery feeling. A producer from NY met me there, and we were there for nearly 10 hours that Sunday. Dr. Richardson arrived and addressed us in the press conference room by saying he was going to "attempt" a surgical repair on Barbaro, but that he didn't know what he was going to find once inside the leg. You could tell Dr. R. had some trepidation but was pumped up for the challenge.... He was blunt, assertive, and had that cocky Dr. R. persona that we've all come to know and love.
When Dr. R. did not return to us shortly after beginning the surgery, we took it as a good sign....If he was still gone and working, that meant Barbaro must still be alive. That offered hope. For nearly 7 hours we waited, starved for information. I did frequent updates on ABC (our parent network) and ESPN TV and radio throughout the day. Later that evening we finally got the news we had waited all day with bated breath for.... Barbaro WAS alive, his splintered leg had miraculously been reassembled, and he was back in his stall. I reported the much-anticipated news live on ESPN and finally, totally drained, I drove home around 11:00 that night. My phone never stopped ringing that day or the next with various coworkers, acquaintances, and TV and radio networks from around the country seeking updates.
I spent several days at NB after that reporting on Barbaro's progress. If it weren't for the generous staff at NB providing us with pizzas and coffee and doughnuts, many of us would most likely have wasted away! Michael came to a couple of the press conferences and looked gaunt and empty. The strain of it all became evident, he was taking it hard. Nonetheless we were all amazed at the horse's resolve, and at what a consummate patient he appeared to be. The most immediate threat from infection after surgery appeared to have been warded off, so things were looking pretty good.... The mood was cautiously more hopeful.
On May 30 I was priviledged to be part of ABC and ESPN's access to Edgar's visit with Barbaro. It was the first time Edgar had seen Barbaro since the Preakness, and we were in the ICU with our cameras, all done up in scrubs, as the reunion took place. I loved how Barbaro tried to push people around and wanted to march right out of his stall. It was heartwarming to say the least. Edgar told me it was comforting to see how bright and well his partner looked.
ABC televised the Belmont Stakes and so we did extensive coverage of Barbaro during our 2 days on the air. We had a comprehensive piece on him that featured Dr. R, Michael, Edgar, and the Jacksons. We did live hits (reports) from his ICU. He appeared to be holding his own, and though we contemplated what "might have been" as far as a Triple Crown, the fact that Barbaro was alive and demonstrating that dauntless, endearing spirit was reward enough.
We had a busy spring and summer with shows just about every week, but Barbaro was never far from our thoughts. I would see Michael, Edgar or the Jacksons at various venues and they would readily fill me in on how the horse was doing. The releases that were emailed to us periodically from Upenn kept us apprised of Barbaro's official status, but it was the daily updates from Alex that gave us our "fixes". The tidbits were invaluable.
In early July some of those "bad things" that Dr. R. kept warning us about started to happen. Barbaro wasn't comfortable, had an infection, underwent several cast changes, and I was sent to cover these developments. ESPN took a genuine interest in the horse's welfare and wanted to follow the story every step of the way. They felt because horse racing had such a large presence on the sports network, Barbaro was important to their audience. (As it turned out, Barbaro was important to every audience.) So the viewers were horrified and saddened, as we were, when Dr. R. told us Barbaro had foundered severely on his left hind, and his chances for survival were "poor". He could not have been any more direct... Barbaro had as bad a case of laminitis as you could get. I remember him looking not just troubled, but agonized. I felt sick to my stomach. But then Jennifer Rench came out to our satellite truck and showed us the video NB had just shot of Barbaro walking around the ICU, and it was relieving... he looked pretty good. I was there at NB for 3 days as we all kept vigil. On the 4th day I had to leave to go do a remote show from Delaware Park. Michael was there running a horse and was kind enough to give me an emotional interview. That's the interview from which we got the term "Michael's Miracle".
Barbaro plugged on and a month later I interviewed the Jacksons at Arlington Park in Chicago for our ABC telecast of the Million. It was then the world found out that Barbaro had been taken outside for grass. Outside!! It was uplifting, that's for sure. I remember a lot of the people on our TV crew were cheering. The Jacksons seemed so elated with how everything was going, the burden of constant worry seemed to have eased a bit. Over the summer ESPN gave Barbaro's story more air time than any other network, he became a regular. We even had weekly "Barbaro Updates" on our other remote shows. Everywhere I went, from the track to the airport to the grocery store, people would stop me and say "How's Barbaro doing?"
As far as we could tell things seemed to be improving for Barbaro. I would see Michael, Edgar, or the Jacksons at various places and the reports were always optimistic. In between horse racing assignments I was doing college football. It was getting close to Breeders' Cup time and ESPN wanted to do a major piece on Barbaro for its BC week coverage. We scheduled interviews with Michael, Dr. R., Edgar, and Barbaro fan Jean Mansavage... Alex suggested Jean as the ideal candidate for the interview, and he couldn't have been more right on. Jean was the one who put the "GROW HOOF GROW" sign at NB. We were on a deadline and I was in between football games, so my producer Amiel Weisfogel and I split up... I interviewed Michael and Dr. R, and Amiel interviewed Edgar and Jean. Michael was his usual self... heart on his sleeve, contemplative and sincere. He and I went in and fed carrots to Man In Havana and Chelokee (now residing in Barbaro's stall.) Dr. R. was great also, speaking candidly and spending quite a bit of time with us. He gave me a hard time (sarcastically) about a few things, but then again it wouldn't be a Dr. R. interview without a few chuckles. The feature ended up coming out pretty good.
BC day was long... we were on the air live for 8 hours (including SportsCenter). After the Distaff, the death of Pine Island robbed the day of its usual grandeur and electricity. What made it so ironic was that Michael won the race. He seemed a bit overwhelmed as I interviewed him in the winners' circle. He felt their pain.
Not too long after BC we were hearing talk of Barbaro possibly being well enough to move on to a new home. ESPN told me they wanted to cover it, whenever that day arrived. Little did we know, it never would.
Rather, I did a few phone reports when Barbaro's condition first started to detiorate, in December and again in January. When he lost another portion of that left hind foot it didn't look good. I spoke to Gretchen on the phone a couple of times and she was as gracious as ever, what lovely people the Jacksons are. She told me how concerned and anxious they were, how they had so been looking forward to moving Barbaro to a new home, and how they now had no way of knowing what was going to happen. But she also still sounded like they had hope. She called Barbaro "a trooper" and a "very special animal". I also spoke to Michael who said he was extremely concerned, because any setback was a real blow at that point. Dr. R. had called Barbaro's left foot a "formidable challenge" and "ongoing concern". Then on Wednesay, another complication... this time his right hind foot had an abcess. Now I had a sense of dread.
Amidst all of Barbaro's crises, not to mention juggling other surgeries, teaching classes, and accomodating the endless media requests, Dr. R. somehow found the time to operate on my dog Thurs night. Back in December he had graciously agreed to perform an ACL repair on her (through his wife's practice.) With all of this going on he could have postponed it. What an amazingly dedicated and compassionate man. On Friday I spoke to him about Jessie's leg, and then when I asked how Barbaro was, he said "He's not where I'd like him to be. It's terribly disappointing. He's up and eating his grass, but he's not where I want him to be. It's been a rough few weeks." He sounded dejected. Saturday, the external fixator was applied to Barbaro's leg and I spoke to Michael.... He was subdued and seemed ill at ease. That's when he told me "How many times can you get punched in the nose and keep getting back up?"
I got the news Monday morning that a press conference was coming, and that Barbaro had been put down. I rushed up to NB. I did several live reports and a taped piece for later. Once again, as we had done many times before, the media gathered in the amphitheatre. Back on May 21 the mood was one of foreboding, anticipation, and unknown. Over the next 8 months it would swing from cautious optimism to grim reality and back again. But always there was a glimmer of hope. On Monday, it was over.
The Jacksons were gracious, as ever, despite their grief. It was especially difficult to see the anguish in Dr. R's eyes as he choked up. He looked not just drained, but defeated. For the first time ever, Dr. R. looked like a broken man.
I'd like to thank everyone at NB for all that they did, and especially Alex for his tireless devotion to Barbaro, and his tireless, selfless work on behalf of the fans, who yearned for news that only he could provide. One thing I've come to realize through all of this is there are many, many beautiful people in the world.
Update 1426: I just spoke to Barclay Tagg to get an update on NoBiz Like ShoBiz, who is running on saturday in the Holy Bull (won last year by Barbaro in Barbaro's first win on the dirt). ShoBiz breezed a half yesterday very easily. He is doing great. He won't do much now going up into his race. He walked this morning and will be turned out to roll in the sand this afternoon. Tomorrow he will do a little jog / gallop, and saturday morning he may also do a little jog.
I asked Barclay his thoughts on Barbaro and this week. He noted that everyone did everything they could possibly do for Barbaro. Barclay said that Barbaro was surrounded by a fine group of people, the Jacksons, Michael Matz and his team, Edgar Prado, the New Bolton team, they all did everything they could possibly do for the horse. Barclay also noted the compassion the team had, indicated by the many visits they all made to Barbaro over the months.
I asked Barclay how Showing Up is doing. Barclay noted he had a tough campaign last year so they are still taking it easy with him, he is on a "semi vacation" at this point. He needs a little freshening up and will likely be back in the entries for April. Of course I had to ask about Funny Cide too. He is also on "semi vacation", but like Showing Up, going out for some exercise everyday. He may also return to the races sometime in April, Barclay noted he may try him on the turf as well as a synthetic surface!
From the Daily Racing Form: Tagg following familiar road.
Update 1425: Fair Hill was not too chilly this morning, but then flurries began and snow was horizontal for a while, and then the flurries stopped and it was quite nice. Michael Dickinson was at the gap, no doubt keeping an eye on the Tapeta track. It continues to handle the adverse conditions well (its a shame its no warmer actually galloping on it!) Hawty Creek was my first out there, Barclay Tagg's string (supervised by his Fair Hill assistant Tim) was first on the track just before me. Hawty Creek galloped around nicely. The two I rode for Tim, Nonpariel and Chesapeake City Slew also went well. Tim says Slew may have his first little eighth work since he returned to training on saturday. Flash also galloped nicely (that was when the weather was at its worst I think) and I also had a first time starter to the track. She also went well. All in all a busy morning, but not as brutally cold as yesterday for sure. I mentioned an idea to Tim and Kathy Anderson about perhaps doing something with the Clockers' Stand to include some Barbaro "memorabilia" etc. I think it would be nice. The pictures in there right now almost pre-date me!
Update 1424: Kim Brette forwarded these pictures of Barbaro's yearling full brother: Barbaro's Brother pictures. The New York Times writes about him: Can His Kid Brother Follow in Barbaro's Huge Footsteps?
Delaware Park is wanting to pay tribute to Barbaro and Dr. Richardson: DelPark wants to pay tribute to Barbaro and Gulfstream Park Establishes Barbaro Foundation.
Sabina Pierce has updated her photos of Barbaro.
Posted by Alex at 10:41 AM
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