Barbaro Updates: 295
Posted May 31, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1976: Sean Clancy provides some perspective re: the decision not to run Street Sense in the Belmont. I agree with his analysis (and he writes it much better than I would) but I would replace Sun King's name with The Tin Man: Good for the Game.
Update 1975: I just spent another nice afternoon with Mike Rea at Freedom Hills. I really do think the riding is helping him, he is also enjoying it very much. He looks good on a horse ... not too much has changed there. Anyway, he walked and jogged around the riding ring. I neglected to mention this morning we had a barn visitor, Victor Molina stopped by. He was in great form after his win on Red Aspen. He is pretty excited about her I think.
Update 1974: Chestnut Hill College is having a reunion tomorrow. As part of that event (3:30 - 4:40 pm), Mrs. Jackson and Pat Chapman will be talking about Barbaro and Smarty Jones. This is open to the public, if interested please e-mail email@example.com. This event is not at capacity, but may fill quickly.
Update 1973: Street Sense is to skip the Belmont and point to the Travers at Saratoga, with a possible prep race along the way: Street Sense to skip Belmont.
Update 1972: A little warmer at Fair Hill this morning, looks like we will hit 90 degrees. As Tim noted, we have four months of this! I had four to ride today. First out was Gator Nation. We went to the Tapeta track along with Tim on Grandma. We galloped a mile and a quarter, me leading the way with Grandma tucked in just behind. Gator was a little kean, but not overly so. Certainly having a horse just behind him sparked him up a little. Penny came out with us on Luke to observe the training. A good start to the morning. Next out was Nonpariel, her first outing since her nice debut at Fair Hill races on saturday. She jogged / hacked around the fields. She went very well, no steering issues there Carl (Fair Hill joke). My next for Tim was Nautical Agent, we went to the Tapeta track with Tim on Mediman. As we were walking down the hill towards the tunnel two Canada Geese and five goslings were high tailing it down from the dirt track to cross the horsepath in front of us to get to the pond. It was funny to watch, geese are not well designed for fast walking! On the track we galloped a mile and a half, again me leading the way with Mediman sat right behind us. They both went well. Of course Nautical Agent then high-stepped it all the way home. My final set was Linda's Pistol. He went to the Tapeta track to gallop a mile and a quarter. I saw Mark Shuman as I was coming onto the track. He reported Xchanger is not going to the Ohio Derby this weekend. Pistol galloped nicely, although again I was riding long ... no styling it for me!
You may notice the top right of this page now has a header "Support This Site". From time-to-time people have offered a means to support the site. It is not necessary as long as good horse-welfare things continue to happen. That being said Fair Hill people (friends) are often doing good things and looking for support. I will highlight them there.
No movement yet today for the Barbaro picture on eBay, still $14,200.
Update 1971: Bidding ends tomorrow for the Barbaro painting on eBay, proceeds to the NTRA's Barbaro Fund. The current high bid is $14,200, with 30 bids. Those at Delaware Park's Barbaro celebration and those not but interested, you can purchase a DVD of the event, proceeds to support New Bolton's Fund for Laminitis Research. Both these fundraisers and others are at: Fundraisers.
Sedgefield, who was being considered for the Belmont, worked on monday and is now out: Injury knocks Sedgefield out of Belmont Stakes.
Plans are being made for The Tin Man's next start: Could Gold Cup Be On Tap for The Tin Man?, excerpt:
"The Tin Man came back real good," said Mandella. "I'm tempted to run him in the Hollywood Gold Cup, as well as he has trained on the synthetic here, but most likely will run him in the American (gr. IIT) here and then go back to the Arlington Million (gr. IT) like last year."
The $250,000 American Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf is scheduled on the Gold Cup undercard. The Tin Man won both the American and the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million last year to begin his current four-race winning streak.
Posted by Alex at 11:02 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 294
Posted May 30, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1970: HBOs screening of its Barbaro documentary, scheduled for monday, is now at full capacity. I look forward to seeing those of you there that have signed up.
The Barbaro Memorial Bench, a project supported by many FOBs, was dedicated at New Bolton this morning: BARBARO MEMORIAL BENCH UPDATE #8. It is beautiful.
Update 1969: A quick update on The Tin Man. I just spoke to Janeen (thanks Andy Durnin), who works for Richard Mandella and is The Tin Man's work rider. She said he came out of his race "super good", does not look like he lost an ounce and had more dapples on his coat the next day than prior to the race. (Andy actually said it was like being in the presence of greatness being in the barn the next day.) The Tin Man will likely walk in the shedrow for 3 - 4 days after this race, and perhaps follow that up with a few days of ponying. Janeen shares the riding responsibilities of The Tin Man with Crystal, who has recently returned to work after a break. Janeen did ride him beginning the Del Mar meet last year all the way through to the Arlington Million win.
I have also created a page for The Tin Man (I am hoping Janeen will help keep it updated) which includes a few links to enjoy, for example: ESPN: The Tin Man, it begins:
THE TIN MAN CAME IN AS AN EARY 2 YEAR OLD IN THE BARN...WHEN HE CAME HE WAS A NONDESCRIPT AVERAGE LOOKING LITTLE COLT THAT DID ALL RIGHT, BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY GREAT ASPIRATIONS OF WHAT HE SHOULD BE.
Update 1968: Street Sense breezed under Calvin Borel this morning at Churchill: Street Sense breezes; Belmont decision Thursday, excerpt:
Over a fast track, Street Sense proceeded smoothly through splits of 12.80, 24.60, and 36.60 before hitting the wire in 49 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.80.
"Carl has him on the right track," Borel said afterward.
*Earlier Wednesday, Curlin, the Preakness winner and a definite Belmont starter, galloped a mile in his first day back on the track since a Monday breeze in which he went five furlongs in 1:03.20.
This appears to be a positive move forward for horseracing, lets hope more tracks jump on board: Equine Injury Reporting System to Begin at 30 Tracks.
Update 1967: Another gorgeous morning at Fair Hill, and I only had two to ride! First out was Gator Nation, and he went to the Tapeta track for his first gallop since his race at Pimlico. He galloped a mile and a quarter and went quite nicely. As I was jogging around, before the gallop, I passed Dr. Fisher's team, who were turned in ready to gallop (they jog back the wrong way, turn around, wait, then gallop off). Gina, who is one of Dr. Fisher's exercise riders, also helped us during Fair Hill's open house as part of the weekend of celebrations for Barbaro, April 29. Gina is getting ready to run in a marathon in as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. If you would like to support Gina's efforts (we used to run 5k races together before I quit running) it would be brilliant: Racing to Save Lives. OK, back to Gator ... he's a cool guy to gallop, but you have to give him a nice long reign. Much like Nautical Agent, who was my second and final ride of the day. She went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half. And guess what she did all the way home ... "high stepped" it! We did pass Xchanger coming through the tunnel, he is running either this weekend in the Ohio Derby or next weekend on the Belmont undercard I think, but Mark was on the phone when I passed them so I was unable to ask. Anyway, a gorgeous morning to be outside!
Update 1966: HRTV will be airing interviews with Dr. Richardson this sunday, June 3, at 9 pm. It is their "Inside Information" program: HRTV's 'Inside Information' Features Barbaro, Richardson, excerpt:
"Dr. Richardson granted us a series of four interviews over the course of Barbaro's struggle," said Amy Zimmerman, HRTV's executive producer. "The first was in August, the next in October, the third in January and the last in early February. What ultimately happened to Barbaro came as a shock to a lot of people, but in fact, Dr. Richardson was brutally honest since the beginning as to what a tough fight this was going to be.
Chelokee is not running in the Belmont and Imawildandcrazyguy completed his penultimate breeze for the Belmont yesterday: Imawildandcrazyguy works before shipping, excerpt:
"I took him out at 5:30 and walked him," Kaplan said. "The plan was to give him an easy day today, travel on Wednesday, and gallop him at Belmont on Thursday. I didn't want to work him because he's already very fit. But he made me do it. He was kicking the walls down later in the morning, rearing up, and throwing himself around the stall, so I figured I better work him before he hurt himself."
Imawildandcrazyguy was scheduled to fly to New York on Wednesday along with stablemates Storm in May and Emma's Candy.
Chelokee is heading to the Northern Dancer Stakes on June 16 at Churchill Downs, according to Don Little Jr., whose Centennial Farms partnership owns Chelokee.
Posted by Alex at 10:46 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 293
Posted May 29, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1965: Street Sense is scheduled to work tomorrow at Churchill, with a Belmont decision the following day: Street Sense connections to make Belmont decision Thursday, excerpt:
"This will be a work we can go either way with," Nafzger said. "Whatever Mr. Tafel's decision is, we can come off of that work and go either way. He's doing good and he's getting around there okay, but you've just got to see where you are."
Curlin, who is among the likely contenders for the Belmont Stakes, walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen's Churchill barn one day after working five furlongs in 1:03.20 under regular exercise rider Carmen Rosas.
Asmussen's assistant, Scott Blasi, said the muscular Smart Strike colt appeared to be strong on Tuesday morning.
"He came out of that work super," Blasi said.
Update 1964: Racing's Hall of Fame inductees this year include five horsemen and three horses: Eight Set for Induction into Racing Hall of Fame, excerpt:
Jockeys Jose Santos and John Sellers; trainers Henry Forrest, Frank McCabe, and John Veitch; and the horses Mom's Command, Silver Charm, and Swoon's Son are this year's inductees. Santos, Veitch, Mom's Command, and Silver Charm were elected in the contemporary categories, while Sellers, Forrest, McCabe, and Swoon's Son were elected by the Historic Review Committee, which considers candidates who have not been active in 25 years.
The ceremony takes place in Saratoga in August.
Update 1963: A stunning morning this morning at Fair Hill. Three to ride. First was Fortuna (aka "New Horse") and she went across the fields with Tim on Grandma. We had a nice jog / hack around. Tim was excited, his football team won yesterday and are now back in the premiership. We chatted about that and the horses who ran this weekend, who all seem in good shape after their races. Second out was Gator Nation. He also went across the fields, this time we went solo. He was happy. Tim went to the track on Mediman along with Penny on Luke. Finally I had Nautical Agent, and she went to the Tapeta track along with Tim on Quick Quest. We galloped a mile and a quarter, Tim sitting in just behind me. Once we were done Nautical Agent "high stepped" it off the track, much to the amusement of onlookers including Michael and Peter. A few people still congratulating Tim on his great weekend.
Update 1962: Racing may have a star it so desperately needs. The Tin Man returned to the races yesterday after an eight month break and won another grade 1 race at the age of nine, a feat not accomplished since John Henry in 1984: The Tin Man Still Chopping in Shoemaker Return, excerpt:
"He's better now than he has ever been, loves what he's doing, he's confident and luckily he is healthy and sound," Mandella said. "We turned him out a while back because he just got tired and stiff. After two months he came back fine. We might try the Arlington Million again, but we're also thinking of trying him on the synthetic surface because he has trained very well on it, every work has been good. Anything this horse does is extra satisfactory right now."
In other racing news yesterday, Lawyer Ron finished third in the Met Mile behind Corinthian: Jerkenses Post Met Mile Upset and Sweetnorthernsaint found Bob and John to be a little too tough in Texas: Bob and John Turns Back 'Saint in Lone Star Handicap.
Monday, June 4 (next monday), there will be a special screening of HBO's Barbaro Documentary, at Unionville High School. Reception at 5pm, screening at 6:30 pm. Dr. Richardson will be present. FOBs are invited to attend, on a 'first come first serve' basis, tickets are limited to two per caller. If interested, please call 1-888-873-4574. Hope to see some of you there.
Posted by Alex at 10:46 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 292
Posted May 26, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1961: Gloria (IL) won the quiz (update 1960) and Horse Feathers Equine Rescue Inc. will receive $100. Gloria recently visited.
Sightseeing is no longer being considered for the Belmont: Curlin back to work; Sightseeing drops out
Update 1960: The Daily Racing Form covers Red Aspen's win yesterday. $100 to the horse welfare charity of choice of the person who can identify two errors in the article: Monmouth: Redaspen takes Politely
Street Sense galloped at Churchill this morning, a decision re: the Belmont will be made on wednesday. Curlin breezed 5/8ths at Churchill and is on schedule for the Belmont: Easy Work for Curlin at Churchill; Asmussen 'Very Pleased', excerpt:
"I was very pleased with him," said Asmussen. "I just try to be pretty rhythmic with where we're at with him. I feel that the familiarity for him with what we're doing keeps his state of mind where we want it to be -- nice and relaxed. With everything that's been asked of him over a short period of time, I want to keep everything as close to normal as I possibly can."
Update 1959: The mood at Belmont Park was sombre on saturday morning in the wake of Andrew Lakeman's accident: Breakfast at Belmont. My tire is fixed thanks to Dave, Hawty Creek's owner. Hawty is doing well on the farm. A long anticipated arrival arrived last night!
Update 1958: A somewhat muggy morning this morning at Fair Hill. I had a flat tire so had to call Tim to see if he could come and pick me up. No problem there. Red Aspen and Who's Happy looked good in the barn when I saw them this morning. My first to go was Gator Nation, he went out to the fields with Tim and Whip Smart. We jogged around the outside, chatting the whole time about yesterday's events. Tim was thrilled in the manner of Red Aspen's victory and Victor Molina's ride. He was also very enthusiastic about how Who's Happy is progressing. She is growing into a very big filly. Second out was "New Horse", she went to the dirt track to gallop a mile, jogging back to the 5/8ths first. Tim came with us but continued jogging back when I turned around and went to the gate, he was on Quick Quest. New Horse galloped very nicely. Finally I took Nautical Agent across the fields. She loved it, we spied a fox. All very tranquil. I then had to find a way home, which meant walking to the starting gate, and finding someone willing to give me a ride to the gas station (needed milk and coffee) and home. Thanks Kirsty.
A nice pre-race article on Red Aspen yesterday: Redaspen poised for Politely, excerpt:
Woolley, a native of England, moved to the United States in 1988 and obtained his trainer's license in 1995. He has a 14-horse string at Fair Hill, where he put the finishing touches on Redaspen's Politely preparations.
"She had a nice 6-furlong breeze last Saturday, and she is doing very well," he said. "I am very happy with her."
...and I know he is now _really_ happy with her.
Update 1957: Pletcher worked some of his stakes horses on Sunday, including his filly Rags to Riches. No final decision has been made with regard to the Belmont: Rags Breezes, No Final Decision Yet On Belmont. A filly that can beat the boys, Vodka: Vodka First Filly Since 1943 to Win Japanese Derby.
Update 1956: From Monmouth Park's web-site and including a photo: REDASPEN RALLIES TO TAKE POLITELY ON TURF AT MONMOUTH; JERSEY GIA OUTDUELS PURE DISCO TO WIN OPEN MIND HANDICAP, excerpt:
"She loves Jersey turf," Woolley said. "Everything went right today. In turf racing, you never know if you'll get all the breaks. We'll be back in a few weeks for the Eatontown Stakes (Grade 3 on June 16)."
Today's charts: Red Aspen and Who's Happy.
Update 1955: Who's really Happy ... Red Aspen rolled! What a day for Tim and his owners! Red Aspen, under an exceptional ride from Victor Molina, showed she was for real ... She came by and won by two lengths in the co-feature at Monmouth. Her third stakes win, first for 2007.
Update 1954: Who's Happy ? We are, with another nice win for Happy, three in a row. The pace of the race was a little slower, she was thus kept closer to the pace and won by a length. She dumped her jockey coming back after the race, but all is well. Tim has now just arrived at Monmouth to saddle Red Aspen.
Update 1953: A busy day for Tim today, he has two runners at two different tracks. Who's Happy runs first, in the seventh race at Philadelphia Park (3:07 pm). Red Aspen runs in the co-feature race later in the day at Monmouth (5:23 pm). Lets hope for good running and that Tim is able to be in attendance for both races!
Update 1952: Two 2006 Derby contenders are in the entries on monday. Sweetnorthersaint is in Texas: 'Saint Plays Favorite in Lone Star Park Handicap and Lawyer Ron contests the Met Mile, a banner race at Belmont: Met Mile perfect fit for Lawyer Ron.
Takeover Target returned to winning ways yesterday in Australia, ahead of his plan to return to the UK and defend his King Stand Stakes win of last year: Takeover Target returns to form in Doomben 10,000, excerpt:
"He's a great little horse," owner-trainer Joe Janiak said of the seven-year-old Celtic Swing gelding. "I can't tell you how I feel, I'm so excited. He galloped at Coffs Harbour [his new stables on the New South Wales northern coast] last week. The track was very heavy, but I thought he'd improved two lengths on his last start."
Update 1951: Great Hunter is out of the Belmont after his good work: Injury KO's Great Hunter From Belmont Stakes as is Mario Pino: Gomez Replaces Pino on Hard Spun for Belmont.
Andrew Lakeman apparently has no brain damage, but spinal trauma. It will be a few days before we know the extent of the trauma. He arrived at hospital with an immediate need for a blood transfusion, which he received. Ed Fountaine (New York Post) let me know, he had heard from Charlie Haywood, president of NYRA.
My day at Fair Hill races was fun (although I did not see any of the races). I hung out and chatted with FOBs and others while selling Barbaro merchandize and Robbie Walsh raffle tickets. Nonpariel ran second in the first race, I then convinced both Carl (her jockey) and Tim to buy a raffle ticket. The trainer of the winner of the race (who was also the owner) donated the purse to the cause. All in all it was a fun day hanging out, even trying to pursuade someone who was pro-slaughter that it was simply not right (but what would we do with the 500,000 horses slaughtered a year ?... I guess an example of the misinformation that is out there!)
Update 1950: Today is going to be hot, and it was a little muggy at Fair Hill this morning. I had five to ride, three for Tim, bookended by two breezers for Linda. First was Linda's Pistol, and he breezed a half a mile on the Tapeta track with Tim on Quick Quest. I was on the inside, setting the tempo. We went nicely together quickening up a little the whole way. A nice "in hand breeze". Second to go for me was Mediman, she galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta track. She went nicely. Tim was on Real Lace and flew by me down the backside. My third was "New Horse", she is a nice grey filly and she also galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta track. She was a very kind horse to gallop, a nice easy way about her. Finally for Tim I took Gator nation across the fields. He enjoyed it, just jogging and hacking around. My last horse breezed 3/8ths on the Tapeta track. I was instructed to go easy, about 38. I went easy ... in 40! Oh well, close enough.
Carl 'rider error' Desormeau, riding Tim's Nonpariel this afternoon, took a fall off his first set this morning. He blamed it on his tack. Lets hope this is not repeated this afternoon!
Andrew Lakeman is still with us, I understand his injuries are very serious. Positive thoughts. Tim knows him, he used to work for Michael Dickinson down here.
OK, off to Fair Hill Races, hope to see a few of you there to catch up! Thanks Jack: Injured steeplechase rider on mend. I also think Sean Clancy may be doing a book signing.
Update 1949: Andy Durnin, freelance exercise rider at Hollywood Park for Richard Mandella, told me The Tin Man was looking great in training (he does not gallop him) after an extended break. The nine year old is now back in the entries: The Tin Man seeks to make history in Shoemaker Mile.
Chelokee is unlikely to contest the Belmont Stakes: Chelokee unlikely for Belmont Stakes excerpt:
"He's been back galloping the last couple days and he looks good, but I don't think we're going to run," Matz said. "There's still a lot of racing left to go this year and I want to try and keep this horse going the right way."
A new Affirmed exhibit is to be opened at the Kentucky Horse Park on June 7: Affirmed exhibition to open at Kentucky Horse Park.
Posted by Alex at 10:39 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 291
Posted May 25, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1948: Thoughts for jockey Andrew Lakeman: Jockey Lakeman in critical condition after spill at Belmont. A friend of mine called me as I was out for dinner. Andrew galloped horses for them. This is what they said:
I hope you'll join me in sending out well wishes for Andrew Lakeman. He's the 32 year old English jockey who clipped heels and fell in the 4th at Belmont today. He has a head injury and is on life support. Norbert Arroyo fell over Andrew's horse and is also hospitalized with shoulder pain but seems O.K. I haven't heard about the fallen horses. Andrew mostly gallops horses for Allen Jerkens and occasionally rides races. He is one of those good souls who has a gentle touch with horses and would always go out of his way to help with a problem horse or fill in if another rider didn't show up.
Update 1947: Steve Haskin provides his final thoughts on the Preakness, and strong praise for the front three: Steve Haskin's Preakness Wrapup: Final Thoughts. When I asked Mike Rea his thoughts on the race yesterday, he noted that he thought Borel moved too soon on Street Sense. My initial reaction was that Pino also moved too soon on Hard Spun. A rematch would be exciting.
Update 1946: Excellent article: A Good Week for Horses, it concludes:
It is about time that lawmakers and judges and lobbyists coalesced around the cause of stopping our horses from being brutally killed and then sold as meat to foreign consumers. What people were doing to those horses in those plants--what our government in our name was allowing those people to do- was beneath us as a nation. Hyperbole? Maybe. But did you see the Preakness preview on Saturday about the legacy that the great Barbaro has had on horse rescue efforts in this country? It was proof enough for me that there are more people who care about horses than there are those who don't.
So a bad week for Street Sense, and a bad week for Triple Crown enthusiasts, turns into a great week for other horses everywhere. That's a perfectly sound trade-off if you ask me. And I bet that even Street Sense's connections would have to agree.
Update 1945: Memorial weekend at Fair Hill means Fair Hill Races, steeplechase racing and just a fun day out. The races are tomorrow (saturday) and I will be there manning a booth marked "Robbie Walsh ..." where raffle tickets will be available to benefit Robbie's recovery (winner wins a motorbike). The booth will be close to the paddock and I will be selling Riding with Barbaro wristbands and a few other Barbaro goodies that all benefit Barbaro's causes. Please stop by the booth and say hello if you plan on being there. Tim also has Nonpariel in the first, which is actually a flat race.
Update 1944: Five out today during another lovely morning at Fair Hill. First out was Farouche, she galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta track. She galloped in company with Quick Quest and Tim. On my way back from the track I caught up with Peter who was riding Chelokee. Good conversation, much of which was about the Hennegan Brothers' The First Saturday in May (and the impact Barbaro is having on equine initiatives). Second set was Gator Nation, his first time out since his decent performance at Pimlico last friday. We went across the fields, Tim was with us on Nautical Agent. A nice jog / hack around. Gator felt well after his most recent effort. Next was Grandma, and she went to the Tapeta track with Tim on Real Lace. Coming to the track we passed Xchanger leaving the track. Mark Shuman reports he is in great shape after the Preakness and they are looking closely at the Ohio Derby, I think a week from saturday. Grandma galloped nicely. My last for Tim was Mediman, she went out with Tim on Who's Happy and Penny on Luke. Penny and Luke observed as we galloped with me a length and a bit behind Who's Happy. Another good set. My final one was Pistol for Linda. He also went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half. I ride long on him and its not a pretty site ... but Pistol gallops well like that.
Mrs. Jackson left a nice long voice-mail. The upshot of it was her gratitude for all the work FOBs are doing for horses. She was particularly effusive in her praise for yesterday's efforts in Illinois. Everyone should be proud.
Update 1943: Showing Up is on the sidelines for at least three months with a tendon tear: Showing Up out with torn tendon, excerpt:
"I'm not going to run him for three months," Tagg said. "I'm going to see if I can get it better. It's pretty minor right now, and if I can get it better I'd like to get it better.
"I'm not even going to think about the Breeders' Cup; I'm not going to think about his year. I just want to get it better first. A lot of those things can heal up in three months. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, I don't know. We're going to give it every chance."
Barclay breezed NoBiz yesterday, he is likely to skip the Belmont. Great Hunter, who also breezed yesterday (in California), is pointing to the Belmont: Nobiz Like Shobiz doubtful for Belmont.
Posted by Alex at 10:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 290
Posted May 24, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1942: This update was going to be all about my afternoon with Mike Rea, I was really impressed with his progress as he rode around the riding ring at Freedom Hills ... small stuff, but progress nonetheless. Then driving home I heard the news we have been waiting for and working very hard for, no horse slaughter in the US tomorrow. You helped make a difference. Horses were lost this morning (Activists seek to head off horse slaughter), it was a tough day, but we have now helped accomplish what we needed at the state level. Tonight we need to celebrate.
Update 1941: We just had a trainers and riders meeting at Fair Hill. I really think it was the first one that has been scheduled since I have been there. Anyway, things were discussed. The winter was debriefed, some good discussion. I think the most interesting aspect were the statistics released for Fair Hill runners over the winter months (January 1 - March 31):
445 Runners; 81 winners (18%) w/ 46% 1, 2 or 3. I think that says good things about the Tapeta track which was the only track open this winter!
Update 1940: Another lovely morning at Fair Hill. Nice and sunny, no humidity (yet). I had three to ride, first out was Grandma. She went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a quarter with Tim on Real Lace. They both went nicely. Second set was Farouche, she also went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half, Tim was with us on Quick Quest. These two went head and head most of the way. On our way back from the track we spied Xchanger going to the track, I am guessing his first outing since blazing the trail in the Preakness. We also saw Better Talk Now on the track, he seems to be doing well. Final set was Mediman, and she also went to the Tapeta track and galloped with Tim on Whip Smart. Tim led the way and I sat one and a half lengths behind, schooling Mediman a little getting her in close. This is something you can do on the synthetic track that you are less likely to want to do on the dirt track when dirt gets kicked back at you. Mediman went nicely. All in all, a pleasant and quick morning.
Update 1939: Santa Anita has selected its new synthetic surface which will be in place for its fall meet: MEC Selects Cushion Track for Santa Anita.
The NTRA is auctioning of an original Barbaro painting on eBay to raise money for its Barbaro Memorial Fund (Barbaro Painting Doing Well on eBay), we have linked to this auction and other FOB fundraisers on a new FOB fundraising page. If you are planning a fundraiser, or selling items for FOBs that raise money for related equine causes, feel free to use this page.
Posted by Alex at 10:46 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 289
Posted May 23, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1938: Curlin is back at the track and scheduled to work on monday: Preakness winner Curlin gallops at Churchill, excerpt:
"It wasn't anybody backing off--it was everybody going forward," Asmussen said. "If they continue to do this in their careers, I think we can look back on that chart in amazement and say, 'Look who was in this race.' It's a situation with the top three horses that they are this good and worthy of classics. It's something everybody should be very proud of and very fortunate to be associated with."
Street Sense walked the shedrow at Churchill on Wednesday and is slated to gallop on Thursday at Churchill.
Update 1937: The Hennegan Brothers' The First Saturday in May is showing in the DC area in June (from comments timestamp 3:38 pm):
WE WILL BE SCREENING THE FILM IN THE DC METRO AREA (SILVER SPRING, MD) ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17TH AT THE AFI/DISCOVERY CHANNEL FILM FESTIVAL aka SILVERDOCS. TICKETS ON SALE TODAY! SEE INFO BELOW. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Tickets available at http://silverdocs.com/attend/tickets/
For those wanting to see the clips of Barbaro they created for us on Youtube, I added them to a new Barbaro page. My favorite is the first clip.
Update 1936: Another lovely morning at Fair Hill (I have to wonder why I rode 7 - 8 during the brutal late winter and now I am getting on 3 - 4!) Today it was four. Nonpariel was first to go, and she went out back across the fields. She was in good spirits. Tim has entered her for her first race, which will actually be a flat race at the Fair Hill races on saturday. This should serve as a nice introduction for her. Second out was Grandma. She went to the gate with Quick Quest and Tim. We stood them both in the gate, and they both behaved very well. They then galloped a mile on the dirt track. Following Grandma was Farouche. She went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half in company with Nautical Agent (under Tim). All went well. My final ride was Linda's Pistol. He also went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half. He literally drug me around there and I was riding two holes longer than John Wayne ... so not very stylish! On my way back from the track I caught up with Michael and Peter. They reported Chelokee in good order. They trained him yesterday and as we were speaking he was out in a paddock. At breakfast afterwards I caught up with Steve Klesaris, he had been busy at Timonium the last couple of days (Fasig-Tipton sales) and you would not know he had been in a bad car wreck late last week. Tim was also down at Timonium and one of his owners bought a horse so hopefully I'll get to see that one in a few weeks after it has had a little "down time" at the owner's farm. All in all a decent morning for sure.
Update 1935: California racing, traditionally speed favoring, is changing thanks to synthetic tracks: Value of speed has diminished. In Northern California Bay Meadows, which was scheduled to close at the end of 2007, may now reopen: Bay Meadows Could Race in 2008.
The two day Fasig-Tipton sale has been completed, the top price was $575,000 for a Broken Vow colt: Median Sets Record at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale.
Today is our third media blitz day!
Posted by Alex at 11:13 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 288
Posted May 22, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1934: Tiago worked today in preparation for the Belmont, he will have at least one more work: Tiago works for Belmont, excerpt:
"His big work is coming up," Shirreffs said. "He had just worked five days ago, but because of the shipping arrangements we had to make to get him to New York, I couldn't wait and work him later. It just wouldn't have come out right. Things would have been out of synch. So I gave him a little work. This way, he can have a longer work when I want him to at the end of the week."
Update 1933: A great Preakness summary with lots of background information on Curlin: Steve Haskin's Preakness Recap: Crafty Curlin..
Update 1932: Another gorgeous morning this morning to be riding horses. Three for me again today. First was Whip Smart, who went out across the fields. She seemed to enjoy herself but does not yet seem to be sensitized to the deer population we have (she whipped around very smartly when confronted with a deer that waited until we were 10 feet away before moving off.) Anyway, that's what neckstraps are for. Second out was Farouche. She galloped a mile and a half on the dirt track, leading Quick Quest and Tim. Going to the track I saw Steve Klesaris walking back from the track. He apears to be OK after his car crash on friday. Finally, Cover Girl (OK, that will be my last reference to Grandma's new nickname, but here it is). Grandma went to the Tapeta track, along with Tim on Who's Happy. She galloped around very nicely for a mile and a quarter. A lovely, short morning to be outside.
Update 1931: Street Sense is not entirely ruled out of the Belmont: Big 3 showdown in Belmont?, excerpt:
"Right now, I'd say I don't think we're going to run in the Belmont, but there's a couple of factors that have come up, so we're going to put that decision off for a week," Nafzger said.
Nafzger said he had spoken to owner Jim Tafel on Sunday, and would do so again at mid-week.
"What we have to decide is what we want to do with him the rest of the year, because what we do regarding the Belmont will determine what we do the rest of the year," Nafzger said. "The main factor is, how did he bounce out of the Preakness? That will take a week."
Fair Hill trainers were the underbidders on the top two from monday's Fasig-Tipton sale: Chief Seattle Colt Tops Opening Session of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale. Tim is planning to head down there for today's session.
Posted by Alex at 10:53 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 287
Posted May 21, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1930: Rags to Riches, a half sister to Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, worked today for the first time since her Oaks win. She is being considered for the Belmont, Sightseeing is looking less likely to run: Pletcher filly may try Belmont.
Update 1929: Just spent an hour catching up with Andy Durnin, who is in town visiting family. Andy used to gallop horses at Fair Hill, he now works as a freelancer at Hollywood Park. He works for three outfits, including Dick Mandella and Beau Greely. Andy was telling me that for the first time since he began working at Hollywood Park, the backside is completely full. There are temporary stalls constructed for additional horses. He attributes this to one thing ... the synthetic track. The trainers love it. He said there are trainers at Hollywood Park now who always used to be based at either Santa Anita or Del Mar. We also talked about this site and the issues we were covering, and how bad horse slaughter is for those of us who have made a career with the horses. Anyway, if anyone knows Andy, they know there is not much of a better class of a person. It was good catching up.
Update 1928: A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I had three to ride. Nautical Agent was first to go, and she jogged around the fields out back. It was a great start to the day, and we got to see a few deer who were out grazing. Farouche was second, and she went to the gate with Quick Quest and Tim. They were both there just to stand. No problems. We then galloped a mile on the dirt track. My final horse was Cover Girl (AKA Grandma ... you have to wonder how many horses have made it to the front cover of the Washington Post ?) She also went out back and jogged around the fields, Tim came with us on Nonpariel. Another nice set. Tim was also telling me he received a letter from the girl who now has American Jet (a horse Tim used to own and train) and he is doing well in his new career and his owner absolutely loves him. Very cool. A brief but lovely morning to be at Fair Hill.
Update 1927: Sightseeing won his first stakes race yesterday to enter the fray for Belmont consideration: No Stroll for Sightseeing in Peter Pan Win. Today and tomorrow horsemen in the area will be at Timonium for their post-Preakness 2yo in training sale: More Than Ready Filly Among Fastest Workers for Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale
Posted by Alex at 11:15 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 286
Posted May 20, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1926: Pimlico's sunday Preakness update:
CURLIN -- Just under 12 hours after winning the Preakness, the Smart Strike colt -- healthy, but showing signs of being a bit weary - was on his way early Sunday morning to trainer Steve Asmussen's barn at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.
Asmussen watched as Curlin left the Preakness Stakes barn at 6 a.m. and was walked onto a van to be taken to Baltimore-Washington International Airport for the flight to Kentucky.
"He looked good as he was loaded on the trailer, but he definitely knows he ran (Saturday)," Asmussen said.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense ran past Curlin at the top of the stretch of the Preakness and appeared to be on his way to victory when Curlin rallied again under jockey Robby Albarado. Curlin surged in the final few yards and beat Street Sense by a head while matching the stakes record of 1:53.46 for the 1-3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Curlin picked up his fourth victory in five lifetime starts with a performance that Asmussen said was the most stressful of the colt's short career.
"I think that was obvious from the race," Asmussen said. "He had to dig down deep and find more."
While Asmussen did not commit to going on to the Belmont Stakes or the Travers at Saratoga, he said Curlin is headed to racing's marquee events.
"This is the stage this horse deserves and those are the caliber of races he is intended for," Asmussen said. "It will all be up to him physically, but that is the stage that he deserves to be on. Our job is to make sure he is prepared for it."
Curlin had a troubled trip in the Derby, but showed interest in the later stages of the race and was able to finish third. Asmussen and his staff quickly realized that Curlin was fresh and could handle the quick turnaround from the Derby to the Preakness.
"He came out of the race unlike any of my other previous Derby starters," Asmussen said. "With the possibility of running him back in two weeks, if you're going to run one, he was the one you wanted to run."
By Sunday morning, Asmussen, who scrapped a plan to return home Saturday night, had seen video of Curlin's run in the Preakness.
"He wasn't away as clean as we were hoping for," Asmussen said. "He was off the bridle early. Personally, I was worried about a replay of the Derby. Robby got him in position. Street Sense, and he's an excellent horse, kind of got the jump on him. He dug down deep and found more and is a deserving winner of a classic.
"I couldn't be any prouder of the horse or for the horse. It's just a grand stage for everybody to see what everybody involved with the horse believed all along."
From his vantage point, Asmussen couldn't be sure whether Curlin would be able to catch Street Sense.
"I watched the race from well up the racetrack, pretty close to the starting gate," Asmussen said. "As they came around the turn Robby was having to navigate him. The horse drifts out a bit and he was having to guide him quite a bit. So you knew that wherever he was in the stretch and was able to go back to his right lead that he'd be able to find more. How much more, obviously, was in question. I didn't feel that he was done, but whether it would be enough or not was the question to be asked at that point."
As a record crowd of 121,263 people at Pimlico roared, Curlin and Street Sense turned in a classic battle to the wire.
"The last three-sixteenths goes in 18 (seconds) and change," Asmussen said. "Covering that much ground, they both came home extremely well."
The Preakness was Asmussen's first victory in an American classic race and turned out to be a well-timed personal milestone.
"I'm extremely proud that my family was able to enjoy it with me," he said. "It's a very special feeling, having my parents being able to be here. My father's mother passed away this week. It prioritizes what family means to you, for them to be a part of a very special moment for me.
STREET SENSE -- The Preakness runner-up flew back to Churchill Downs early Sunday morning before trainer Carl Nafzger and wife Wanda began their long car ride back to Kentucky.
"He's good; he's already home," Nafzger said by phone shortly after 11 a.m. "There won't be a decision on the Belmont until Mr. Tafel and I have a meeting. That will probably take place two or three days or maybe a week. Right now, I don't think we probably will. There's not really any reason to go there right now. These three horses ran their guts out the last two races. I don't know what Curlin’s gonna do and I don't know what Hard Spun's gonna do."
Street Sense appeared destined to be on his way to the Belmont with a chance to become racing's 12th Triple Crown champion and first since Affirmed in 1978, but Curlin nailed him in the final stride to win by a head and end the dream of the Kentucky Derby winner's camp.
"This was one of the Preaknesses to remember," said Nafzger, who also finished second with Derby winner Unbridled in the 1990 Preakness. "It was a spectacular race. Winning isn't everything in this game. That was a field of very nice horses. You don't want anybody to get beat, but there's got to be a winner. I thought Curlin ran an unbelievable race, but you've got to remember Asmussen ain't never won the Derby. I have twice. He got a Preakness."
HARD SPUN -- Trainer Larry Jones reported that his third-place finisher in Saturday's Preakness Stakes emerged from the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown in good order.
"Everything looks good. He ate well, his legs are cold. He's seems like he's OK. He's tired, but he came out of the race OK," said Jones, Sunday morning before putting his colt on a van bound for Delaware Park.
Hard Spun took over the lead leaving the backstretch and showed the nine-horse field into the stretch before being passed by eventual winner Curlin and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.
"We got beat by two really good horses who tied the stakes record (1:53.46) in order to do it. We're disappointed because we wanted to win, but I'm disappointed that I had two thirds at Delaware (Saturday). I wanted those horses to win, too," Jones said.
"But we sure don't have anything to be ashamed of. When you run third in one of the classics, you've got to be happy. It wasn't our day, but we don't know if we'll get a day. But Carl and Steve are both very nice guys, and I'm sure if all three go to Belmont, they're going to feel sorry for him and let me have one."
Jones said the Belmont is a distinct possibility for his colt's future, depending on how he bounces back from his Preakness effort in the next week.
"When we saw (1:09 4/5) for three quarters, it started to look like we were in a dangerous situation," said Jones of Saturday's fast fraction Hard Spun had put on the board while wresting a two-length lead from early pace-duelers Xchanger and Flying First Class.
Jones said the way the race set up put Hard Spun and jockey Mario Pino in a tough spot, with C P West and jockey Edgar Prado making their presence felt along the backstretch.
"We had schooled the horse eating dirt, and as soon as we'd tip him out from behind the horses and show him racetrack, we'd sort of gun him to go. So, I think it probably was what the horse may have been thinking with Mario (Saturday). He said he knew those horses were going to stop. He could tell they were starting to slow down, and he didn't want to take a chance of Edgar race-riding him up to a blocked spot," he said.
"As soon as he tipped him out to make sure that he had a place to go when Edgar comes, I think the horse just took off on him, the way he talked. He said he took all the hold on him that he could without starting to fight with him."
Hard Spun, who finished a solid second behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby, is the first Triple Crown campaigner of Jones' career, which took a decided upturn when Fox Hill Farm's Richard Porter transferred Hard Spun to his stable shortly after the Western Kentucky native ventured to Delaware Park for the first time last year.
"The chances of getting the second one are far greater than getting the first one. It's like making a million dollars. It's making the first million is the hardest; the other million comes around a lot easier," Jones said. "That's kind of the way it is with these classic horses. You've got to get there with the first, before anyone's going to give you a shot."
C P WEST -- Trainer Nick Zito was packing up for the trip back to New York shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday, still more than pleased with his colt's fourth-place finish and ready to reward him with a rest. Zito said the son of Came Home will bypass the Belmont Stakes.
"He came out of it very good," said the Hall of Fame conditioner. "He's a different type of horse. He shouldn't be a Belmont Stakes horse right now. We took a giant step with a horse that just ran two races (this year), one a mile race. He didn't even have a two-turn race before a classic race like the Preakness."
Zito said the next target in terms of major stakes for C P West would be the Travers at Saratoga on Aug.. 25.
"Everything we hoped would happen happened," Zito said. "Street Sense beat us bad in the Juvenile, but he beat everybody bad in the Juvenile. I wanted to see how much he improved and if he could stay with these horses, and he did. Now we should handle him correctly. Running him a mile and a half wouldn't be correctly."
CIRCULAR QUAY, KING OF THE ROXY -- Trainer Todd Pletcher's two Preakness runners arrived "no worse for the wear" back at his Belmont Park barn shortly after 9:30 a.m., according to assistant trainer Tristan Barry.
Both horses finished off the board, leaving the three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer with a lifetime 0-for-28 record in Triple Crown events.
Barry said Pletcher gave no indication about his future plans with Circular Quay, who was fifth in the Preakness and sixth in the Kentucky Derby or sixth-place Preakness finisher King of the Roxy. He indicated on Saturday that both would likely get some rest before their next starts.
Pletcher had much more success with his two 3-year-old fillies during the first two legs of the Triple Crown, winning both the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks with Rags to Riches and the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan with Panty Raid. Pletcher has not ruled out the possibility of Rags to Riches against males, possibly in the Belmont Stakes.
Another Pletcher 3-year-old, Soaring By, was one of the favorites in Sunday's Peter Pan at Belmont Park, considered a significant prep for the Belmont Stakes.
MINT SLEWLEP -- Trainer Robbie Bailes said Sunday morning he was happy with the manner in which Mint Slewlep came out of his seventh-place finish in the Preakness Stakes.
"He's doing well," said Bailes, who vanned Marshall Dowell's Mint Slewlep back to his Bowie Training Center headquarters Saturday night.
Bailes has no immediate plans for the son of Slew City Slew, who was bumped off stride shortly after the start of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
"We'll sit back for seven or eight days and talk it over with Mr. Dowell to see what's the best way to get him back (on track)," Bailes said.
XCHANGER -- Trainer Mark Shuman knew Xchanger was in trouble when he saw the early fractions his eighth-place finisher had set while being pressed by Flying First Class during the early going of the Preakness Stakes.
"Nobody goes 1:09 and change and has a shot of finishing up," said Shuman, who vanned his Preakness starter back to his Fair Hill Training Center barn Saturday night. "We didn't give a fair shot by going that fast early."
Shuman, who reported that his colt came out of his effort in good order, said it would be 30 days before he would decide where Xchanger will race next.
"There are so many races for 3-year-olds, we'll have a lot of options," he said.
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and his colt were back in Kentucky before noon on Sunday. Lukas said the colt came out of the race fine.
After Flying First Class dominated the field in the Derby Trial on April 28, Lukas decided to try the Preakness and see if the colt could carry his speed around two turns. That plan did not work out, though, when Flying First Class and Xchanger dueled through fast early fractions before Flying First Class tired and finished last in the nine-horse Preakness field.
"We'll just stay under a mile now for the rest of his career. That little experiment is over," Lukas said by telephone. "We'll just point for the better sprint races and see if we can't get him to the Breeders' Cup."
Along the way, Lukas said the colt might run in races like the King's Bishop at Saratoga.
During the week leading up to the Preakness, Lukas touted Curlin and Street Sense, who finished a head apart at the finish of the race.
"That they're the two best horses is pretty obvious," Lukas said.
Update 1925: One of the benefits of my media credential at the Preakness was interacting with many of the members of the media. I had the pleasure to meet and talk with William Rhoden. He wrote a great piece today: Even After Death, a Horse's Impact Is Felt.
I also caught up with John Hennegan, we literally ran into each other. No word yet on a distribution deal with The First Saturday in May, but lots of "buzz".
Update 1924: Here is the ESPN piece that aired over Preakness weekend on Fans of Barbaro. There is also a nice video of Barbaro and Ruffian: Barbaro's Legacy Lives On.
Baltimore Sun: Barbaro remembered.
Update 1923: Racing media coverage of the Preakness and Barbaro Stakes:
Curlin catches Street Sense in last jump
Curlin Derails Street Sense in Preakness
Curlin denies Street Sense's Triple Crown bid
Chelokee and Matz take Barbaro Stakes
No Surprise: Matz Colt Wins Inuaugural Barbaro Stakes
Jacksons, Matz celebrate following Barbaro Stakes
Posted by Alex at 12:20 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 285
Posted May 19, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1922: From the Preakness, trainer and jockey quotes:
Carl Nafzger (trainer, 2nd-place finisher Street Sense) - "Heartbreaking, that's what it was. We only needed a nose. Curlin ran a hell of a race, but we had Curlin. We should have never let him come back and get us. There's nothing you can do about it until he decide he wants to go on. Or wait a little longer to squeeze the trigger; that's all. "I really thought when Hard Spun made his move he might not be catchable. We caught him and we got to the lead. We were two and a half (lengths) in front and we let the horse win. A good horse kept running and nobody else came running. He beat us at the wire, and that's where they take the picture. I told (owner) Jim (Tafel) we're home free. Then I saw Curlin and I said, wait a minute. I saw Curlin was really moving. When I saw it I thought we just got nailed. I'd have taken a dead heat. "I think Robbie rode Curlin great and I think Steve Asmussen did a hell of a job on him. We don't know how good this horse is. We have two good horses here; we might have an Alydar-Affirmed thing. Hard Spun, we can't get rid of him either. We keep trying."
(On Belmont Stakes) "I'll talk to Mr. Tafel, but if I was a betting man I'd take some bets against it. Winning isn't everything in this game. I don't have any animosity against Curlin beating me. I want to beat him the next time I run against him, but this horse beat us and he beat us fair and square."
"I just think he's (Street Sense) as good a horse as he ever was. We've gotta see what happens. I don't want to make any excuses why I got beat. I think my horse got to the lead and thought 'I won.' He's that kind of a horse. Curlin is a racehorse. If he wasn't a racehorse, he wouldn't have overcome the lead that we had on him. He proved he's good. How good is
he? Hell, that's why we run them."
Calvin Borel (jockey, 2nd-place finisher Street Sense) -- "I thought it was all over when I got by Hard spun turning for home. I thought he was just going to gallop. But things happen. He just got to gawking 40 yards from home and he just got outrun. I went up on the inside of him, and (Robby Albarado) was riding already and I was sitting, so I thought he was finished. I kept hearing him, and I looked under my arm and saw him. I thought I rode a perfect race, and Carl did too. It's far from over. If he comes back good, we'll be alright.
"I'm glad (Albarado) beat me, if anybody had to beat me. We're like family. This is how we came up. I told him, "Congratulations," pulling up. I'm sure he feels a little bad for me, but this is what we do."
Larry Jones (trainer, 3rd'place finisher Hard Spun) -- "(C P West's Jockey Edgar) Prado was coming up on the outside and we pretty well had to go. He wasn't going to let us set there and go. That probably hurt us as bad as anything. We'd have loved to put that move off for another eighth of a mile, but he did well. I’m pleased. We'd love to win it, especially being here at
(jockey Mario Pino's) track, but good horses ran. The top three finishers in the Derby were 1-2-3 here.
"The next time, let's see, third went to first. Yeah, it's my turn the next time.
"We'd have loved to finish up with them, but it was a great horse race. This is what makes horse racing. The top three in the Derby are the top three in the Preakness.
"I don't know (about the Belmont). We’ll discuss it. His mother was a stakes winner at a mile and a half. There is no reason to think he can't do it because he sure won't have to run this fast early next time. We'll discuss it. As we said when we started, we had plans of running three races, all three of them. We'll see. This race sure doesn't make me think that we can't do it. We'll see in the next day or so and we'll make our plans.
"After the first quarter of a mile, I felt very good that they were running easy and then when I saw the second quarter run as quick as it did and we were still off of them, I thought we were well within ourself, and we were. I started getting a little more concerned when I saw the :09
and four (1:09 4/5) after three quarters and I knew that would be tough.
"Speed has been holding here. It's the spot to be. If Nick's horse hadn't come to us so early, I would have loved for both of them to set a little longer, because they both finished well. It's not like either jock really moved so prematurely that they ran themselves out of horse. They just got
beat by two horses that could really finish up well."
"We felt good, but I knew the cavalry was coming. It was just depended on how long we could keep outrunning them. It was a good horse race. Curlin was top-notch and was the favorite in the early Derby going and then it was Street Sense. And all three of them keep showing up to compete and go at each other. We're good. Hopefully, next time we'll get our turn."
Nick Zito (trainer, 4th-place finisher C P West) -- "He didn't have enough bottom, but he ran his (behind) off. The beauty part about this race is that the three top horses were right there. This makes me feel absolutely great.
"What we need to do is just wait for the summer and see how good he can be, give him a chance to develop."
"You salute the winners and you keep trying to beat them all the time."
"He tried his (behind) off and you can't ask for anything more. The thing I'm happy about is that it was a legitimate race. Those three top horses finished right there, 1-2-3. That's what it's about.
"A lot of my friends hit the superfecta, so I'm happy for them."
"Boy, they really went fast. I didn't think they would go that fast, but they did. I actually was a little surprised. But we had a shot to win. We took that wild shot. That was beautiful. We all got excited. That's what it's about. These people put up money in the sales and that's what they
want to do, so you give them a little thrill.
"(Curlin)'s a good horse. No question. I feel sorry for Street Sense. It was a tough thing. It would have been great to see him win, but that's why they play the game."
Mario Pino (jockey, 3rd-place finisher Hard Spun) -- "When I made my move, I didn't want to wait and let them get on top of me. It could have really worked out for us right there. They were really coming hard, and there was nothing I could have done about it. I thought Street Sense was going to win when he went by me. I really had the support of everyone around here. They
were the three best and they ran 1-2-3."
Edgar Prado (jockey, 4th-place finisher C P West) -- "My horse broke beautifully. It was fast up front and I tried to stay right behind them. I didn't want to let them get too far ahead of me, but my horse finished up fine."
Todd Pletcher (trainer, 5th-place finisher Circular Quay) -- "I haven't seen the replay yet, so I'm sorry I can't give you more information. Circular Quay was back early. He put in a middle move, kind of kept trying. I haven't talked to John yet.
John Velazquez (jockey, 5th-place finisher Circular Quay) -- "No Excuses. The race set up the way it should have on paper. He didn't fire, that's all I can say."
Todd Pletcher (trainer, 6th-place finisher King of the Roxy) -- "Garrett told me he took the dirt well going into the first turn, which we were sort of concerned about. Garrett said he's a nice horse, but he probably needed a little more experience. I thought he stayed on pretty well. Down the road, maybe he will handle this type of distance against this type of horses."
Garret Gomez (jockey, 6th-place finisher King of the Roxy) -- "We broke sharp and I was very happy with him. We were in good shape from the start. I found a good spot. I was a little worried because this horse mostly runs on the outside. But he was fine today when the dirt came back in his face. We were running pretty good, until the three-eighths pole when Curlin went by him. This was a step up in competition for him, and he had to go a little farther than he liked."
Robbie Bailes (trainer, 7th-place finisher Mint Slewlep) -- "This sport is about taking on challenges, big challenges. Today demonstrated that."
Alan Garcia (jockey, 7th-place finisher Mint Slewlep) -- "We broke slow and we got squeezed back at the three-eighths pole. From there we kept a steady pace but couldn't pick them up."
Mark Shuman (trainer, 8th-place finisher Xchanger) -- "I guess we should have gone three-quarters (of a mile). No, really, He was just high strung today. Cutting out those kinds of fractions realistically you can't go a mile and three-sixteenths. You just can't. We'll fight another day.
"I just told (jockey) Ramon Dominguez to use your head. See where you think he should be and he put him there. We'll go back and regroup. We'll see what our next spot is. The only horse we beat was one horse, the one that tried to go with us (Flying First Class). The same thing happened when he tried to run with us at Oaklawn (they finished seventh and eighth respectively in the Grade 3 Rebel on March 17)."
Ramon Dominguez (jockey, 8th-place finisher Xchanger) -- "He broke inward and when I corrected him, he took off with me. He was going a little quicker than we wanted and I tried my best to squeeze him. But at the three-eighths pole he was pretty much empty."
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, 9th-place finisher Flying First Class) -- "Our horse ran a pretty fair race, nothing to complain about. You just never know how a race will be run or how it will be won. That's why we continue to play and enjoy this game. This was an exciting race to watch. While I could have enjoyed it more, congrats to the winner."
Mark Guidry (jockey, 9th-place finisher Flying First Class) -- "The pace went a little quicker than I wanted. We were going OK, until the '2' came inside of us, and when he hooked us, that was pretty much it."
Update 1921: Leaving Pimlico after a roller coaster day at the races. Having a press pass (thanks Pimlico) enabled me to linger as I pleased throughout the day where ever I wanted to be. I managed to catch up with a lot of media I had met through the Barbaro experience which was fun and an opportunity to talk about the positive legacy of Barbaro that persists. Clearly the highlight of the day was Chelokee's easy win of the Barbaro Stakes. It was fun after the race standing around among all the connections and listening to the interviews regarding the poignant nature of the moment. It was, however, a terrible blow to follow the Barbaro Stakes with the tragic loss of Mending Fences.
Subsequent to the Barbaro Stakes I did a radio interview reviewing the Barbaro Stakes and previewing the Preakness. I told them that Street Sense and Hard Spun were a lock in the exacta and to throw out Curlin (my Derby pick). He had a hard race in the Derby and didn't have the seasoning for it. I then headed over to the stakes barn and hung out to wait for the horses to come over for the Preakness. Following the horses over to the paddock the atmosphere started to build and the rain started to fall. Hard Spun was as alert and fired up as Street Sense was relaxed and sleepy. I can't remember how Curlin felt. Anyway, the rest is pretty well documented. Xchanger led them in a pretty fast early pace. Hard Spun made an early move which then drew Street Sense into battle and Curlin got up by a nose. Clearly the Curlin camp are ecstatic and probably feel vindicated by his win. Street Sense loses nothing in defeat. If the wire were two foot sooner he would have won and Hard Spun may have moved too soon. All in all the top three Derby horses are the top three Preakness horses and now let's see if they throw Chelokee into the Belmont mix.
Update 1920: Another lovely morning at Fair Hill, while there is rain predicted you would not think it looking around. I had four to ride. The first and last were breezers for Linda. Pistol (the first) breezed 3/8ths, Tim was with us on Farouche. They went nicely together, I was on the outside. Graham Motion observed the breeze and noted that "I still had it!". Second up was Mediman. She jogged two miles, and seemed in good spirits. Third was Quick Quest. I took him to the gate to stand. He stood very nicely and relaxed. He then galloped a mile. Last was Precious Partner (Linda's) and she breezed a half mile. She also breezed well (both breezes were on the Tapeta track.) I saw Michael this morning and wished him luck. The same with Steve Klesaris' crew. It will be an emotional day for sure, and Fair Hill is well represented throughout the afternoon in many of the big races (Chelokee, Aunt Henny, Grigorieva, Diabolical, and Xchanger).
Update 1919: Preakness day.
The top three from the Derby all have a legitimate shot of winning the Preakness, which is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby. Keys to the race include how well each horse came out of their Derby effort (reports are all positive at this stage) and how they adapt to a race that will be run slightly differently. The Preakness will likely have more speed up front (will Hard Spun be fine slightly off that lead?) and the slightly shorter distance may favor those closer to the pace. Many predict this will be the harder of the three races for Derby champion Street Sense, if he wins this the Belmont should be a breeze (some say). Curlin had a tough trip in the Derby, if he had a trip like Street Sense he would have been much closer, but did that trip take too much out of him ? Does he have the most opportunity for improvement (this is only his fifth start) or will his lack or race experience and tough Derby race come back and haunt him in the Preakness (lack of foundation to handle the rigors of the triple crown races)? All in all the top three are legitimate for sure and make this a very interesting race. Joining them are six others, here are the post positions and the original morning line:
1. Mint Slewlep 30/1
2. Xchanger 15/1 (Fair Hill)
3. Circular Quay 8/1
4. Curlin 7/2
5. King of the Roxy 12/1
6. Flying First Class 20/1
7. Hard Spun 5/2
8. Street Sense 7/5
9. CP West 20/1
My pick: Street Sense, 'cause I know he had a good nap yesterday afternoon!
Daily Racing Form: Round 2 has same top three.
Bloodhorse: Steve Haskin's Preakness Report: Looking For a Hot Toddy
Thoroughbred Times: Preakness videos!
The Washington Post wrote this story (thanks Steve Hendrix): Out of Preakness Tragedy, a Legacy
Barbaro Is Gone, but Good Is Being Done in His Name, short excerpt:
"In the spirit of Barbaro, I recently bought a neglected 3-year-old who the owners were going to send to a low-end auction," reads a letter to Brown from a California participant. "Barbaro's spirit lives on in horses such as this. Without him, they would be either dead or living a terrible life."
Posted by Alex at 10:14 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 284
Posted May 18, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1918: Friday's Pimilico Preakness update:
On a cool and cloudy Friday morning at Pimlico, trainer Todd Pletcher seemed much less anxious than his critics about his prospects for getting his first Triple Crown victory in Saturday's 132nd running of the Preakness. Pletcher appeared relaxed and confident after sending his two charges out for their morning exercise: Circular Quay galloped a mile, while King of the Roxy galloped 1-3/8 miles during their first visits to the Pimlico main track.
"They've settled in well," said the 40-year-old Pletcher, who will be saddling only his second and third Preakness starters ever. "They seem happy and had uneventful mornings."
Circular Quay is a confirmed closer, whose finishing kick in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds on March 10 was visually one of the most impressive 3-year-old performances of the season. Sent off at 11-1 in the Derby, the son of Thunder Gulch came from far back for a non-threatening sixth after encountering some bumping.
"He didn't run a bad race in the Derby," said Pletcher, who sent out a record-tying five horses in Louisville on May 5. "I think with a little different trip he could have been a little closer. I think maybe because he had eight weeks before the Derby, now it may pay dividends in this race. Hopefully, he's one of the fresher horses coming out of the Derby. He seemed to bounce out of the race pretty well. Like everybody else, he was tired, but when we got him back to New York, I could tell after four or five days he bounced out of the race pretty well."
If a pace battle materializes in the Preakness, Pletcher thinks both of his colts can play a role in the final outcome.
"Most likely, he'll (Circular Quay) be last going into the first turn, unless Street Sense is really far back," Pletcher said. "King of the Roxy should be sitting sort of in the garden spot. Then we'll see what happens."
Pletcher agrees with most of his colleagues that there is plenty of quality in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown's nine-horse field.
"Any time you take the first three finishers from the Derby and bring them back, that obviously adds depth to the field," he said. "Then you add a Futurity winner like King of the Roxy and Circular Quay, the Louisiana Derby winner, it's a pretty solid group,"
John Velazquez rides Circular Quay and Garret Gomez has the mount on King of the Roxy -- both jockeys seeking their first victories in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Gomez' best finish in two previous mounts was a third aboard Concern (1994). Velazquez will be making his Preakness debut.
C P WEST - Trainer Nick Zito gave C P West a little local education Friday morning in preparation for the biggest race of his colt's young career in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
"He went to the gate and schooled," said the Hall of Fame conditioner, whose Louis Quatorze equaled Tank's Prospect's 1985 Preakness record for 1-3/16 miles (1:53 2/5) over a drying-out track in 1996. "He did very good there."
The son of Came Home is 20-1 in the morning line in a race where favorites have prevailed nearly 52 percent of the time. Despite last year's post-time choice (Barbaro) failing to finish the race, the favorite has won 68 times in 132 previous races (the Preakness was run in two divisions in 1918) . Zito hopes that percentage will shrink. "It's a tough race, as everybody knows," Zito said. "You've got the first three finishers from the Derby, which is unusual to come to the Preakness. "You never know when the gates open up. It looks like (trainer D. Wayne) Lukas' horse (Flying First Class) is going to show a lot of speed and Hard Spun should do his thing. Those two, I'm sure, will be out there something like that."
The Preakness at 1-3/16 miles is an eighth of a mile farther than C P West has ever run, but Zito believes he has a solid chance to at least hit the board.
"I think he can go the distance," he said.
Zito has finished second in this race twice, third once and fourth three times with his 17 Preakness starters.
CURLIN -- Assistant trainer Scott Blasi was upbeat Friday morning after the chestnut colt schooled in the gate and galloped a mile under exercise rider Carmen Rosas.
"Everything is great," Blasi said. "The horse has a lot of energy. I like his enthusiasm right now. I think we're going to run great."
Blasi was part of the Asmussen team that handled the stable's two previous Preakness starters, Snuck In (2000) and Easyfromthegitgo (2005). Both finished fifth in their Preakness appearances.
"They both ran really respectable races here," Blasi said, "but I don't think either one of those experiences compares to leading over a horse like this."
Blasi, who handles a division in Asmussen's sprawling operation, has been in charge of Curlin this week while Asmussen attended his grandmother's funeral. Asmussen was scheduled to arrive in Baltimore at midday Friday.
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Friday that he could see Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense completing the sweep of the Triple Crown series.
Street Sense, trained by Carl Nafzger and ridden by Calvin Borel, is the morning-line favorite in the Preakness, in which he will face the Lukas-trained Flying First Class and seven other 3-year-olds. The Belmont Stakes on June 9 is the final leg of the Triple Crown. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.
"I think if he can get by this one, he's got a good shot," Lukas said. "I think he fits the Belmont a little bit better. He's obviously not going to have a distance limitation. He's got that stalking position and he's got that extremely good turn of foot and acceleration. I think you need that.
"And Calvin is smart. Most of the riders who lose the Belmont move too soon. If Calvin can sit and sit and get that acceleration, he'd have a great shot in the Belmont. I wouldn't want to take him on in the Belmont. I think we have a better chance to beat him here. If he gets by this one, we're going to anoint him."
Lukas said racing could use the attention that a Triple Crown victory would generate.
"We need to get that kind of exposure. A Triple Crown would bring the fringe player in," Lukas said. "Those hard-core bettors in New York and Maryland could care less about the frills. We've got to get the guy who wants to bring his family out here. That's the thing we need to do. We need to let the people know it's a beautiful sport."
Flying First Class signaled he was ready to try the Preakness by winning the Derby Trial. The colt is 20-1 on the morning line.
"We've got to come with a career best, but I think we've got a shot," said Lukas, whose colt schooled in the starting gate and galloped 1-1/4-miles under exercise rider Stacy Prior Friday morning.
Flying First Class has shown he is fast and Lukas said horses with speed are dangerous.
"Whenever you get in these classics, it's good to have a horse that can have something to say about the outcome." Lukas said. "There's always a certain number of horses in the race that have to have certain things happen to be very effective. I like horses that can maybe dictate a little bit of the pace, go on offense if you will, right away and have something to say about the outcome. We train that way. Most of our horses have always done that."
Lukas acknowledged that it was possible that this Preakness could be a rider's race, in which jockeys play a major role in the outcome.
"It might be a little bit and if it is, I feel good about our guy," said Lukas, whose colt will be ridden by Mark Guidry. "There is a set of world-class riders and then you've got the local guy, too.
"I always thought in the classics, the Preakness or any other race, that the rider becomes more important. Normally, I think they're worth about five percent on Wednesday afternoon, but in the classic I think they become more important and you need that experience. This is game of experience."
Though Hard Spun's jockey Mario Pino is the winningest rider in Maryland history, Lukas said the veteran does not have a home-court advantage.
"I think it might make a difference to him, but I don't think it's going to make any difference to Edgar Prado and John Velasquez and that bunch," Lukas said. "I think it makes a difference having the feel of the racetrack, but we're talking about guys who ride all over the country and are world-class riders. Edgar Prado and John Velasquez and Garret Gomez are not going to look over at him and say, 'Gosh, he's got an edge.' They're going to be intimidating to him, if anything."
HARD SPUN -- When Fox Hill Farm's Richard Porter decided to part ways with trainer John Servis last year, he engaged the services of Larry Jones, among others, to train his horses.
"This horse was one of the slower ones to come around, and it seems like those were the ones I ended up getting," Jones said Friday morning. "(Porter) had placed a lot of horses earlier with some of the other trainers, and I guess they got all the extra horses they could handle."
Picked out by Servis, who saddled Smarty Jones for victories in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Hard Spun is a well-bred son of Danzig. However, it would have been extremely optimistic of Jones when he first took over the training of Hard Spun to expect him to be among the top contenders during this year's Triple Crown campaign.
"I don't think this horse was highly thought of, from some of the reports we got," he said. "They had told me they had grouped all of his horses in groups 1, 2 and 3, and this was a group 3 horse, and that was what I got, the group 3 horses."
Jones made headlines when Hard Spun ran the race of his lifetime in the Kentucky Derby, in which he set the pace to hold a three-length lead into the stretch, finishing second behind Street Sense, five lengths clear of third-place finisher Curlin. His colt's impressive showing gives his trainer hope that he can turn the tables on Street Sense in the 1-3/16-mile Preakness under hometown hero Mario Pino.
"This would be great, and what would make it so special right now with this particular horse in this particular deal is Mario Pino. This is his home country. I know how special it would be for Mario to win it," Jones said. "If I could be just a part of that team, I don't have to have the limelight in this one. This one's for Mario, and we'd love to get it done.'
Jones has taken every opportunity to kid with Calvin Borel, warning Street Sense's jockey that he was entering Pino Country. Jones, who was based in Kentucky year-round before venturing to Delaware Park last year, has had a long-time association with Borel.
"There isn't a jock who works harder than Calvin. He's just as down to earth...but I haven't talked with him since he's been at the White House," Jones quipped. "It might have changed him."
Jones revealed after the Derby that he had always thought that if Hard Spun was going to win only one Triple Crown race, it probably would be the Preakness.
"This horse showed a fondness for this type of track. It's very similar to the Delaware surface, a little deeper than most tracks, but he gets to the bottom of it well," he said. "Plus, it's a little shorter and in years past it favored horses with a little turn of foot who lay closer to the pace than maybe sometimes the Derby does."
Under Jones, Hard Spun galloped about seven furlongs and jogged the rest of the way during his 1-1/4-mile visit to the track Friday morning.
"Considering we've only had two weeks, I couldn't ask him to do better," said Jones. "I really don't know how he'd do better if we had three or four weeks."
MINT SLEWLEP -- Mint Slewlep galloped once around the Pimlico oval Friday morning under exercise rider Christy Knorr in preparation for his start in the Preakness Stakes.
The Robbie Bailes-trained long shot, who has won two of seven lifetime starts, will break from the No. 1 post position in his quest for his first stakes victory. Mint Slewlep didn't break his maiden until his fourth-lifetime start, a mile race at Laurel in his juvenile finale last October.
"We knew all along that he wanted to go long, but the main thing were were shooting for with him was the (six-furlong) NATC Futurity at Monmouth, so we kept him sprinting," explained Bailes. "He ran pretty good in that race, which had no pace, but we knew he wanted more distance."
New York-based rider Alan Garcia will have the mount aboard the son of Slew City Slew.
STREET SENSE – The winning team from the Kentucky Derby was reunited at Barn 40 Friday morning at Pimlico when jockey Calvin Borel arrived at approximately 8:30 to join Street Sense and trainer Carl Nafzger.
Borel, who has never ridden a horse at Old Hilltop, seemed every bit as confident on the eve of the Middle Jewel of Triple Crown as he was before the Derby two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. He was scheduled to ride in three races on Friday's card to acclimate himself to the track.
"Right now, I don't think he can get beat," Borel said shortly after checking in on his first Triple Crown race winner. "As good as he's doing, I'm positive he'd have to fall or have something happen bad for him to get beat, because after I worked him this week it was unbelievable. I couldn't believe he would go forward after running in the Kentucky Derby, with the race that he run there, and come back and work that good (five furlongs in a minute flat on Tuesday at Churchill). If he don't fall, there's no way he'll be getting beat."
The son of Street Cry owned by James Tafel is 2-for-3 this season, losing the Blue Grass by a nose in an extremely slow-paced race over the Polytrack at Keeneland. His two races at Churchill Downs were his best with perfect inside trips to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall and the Derby on May 5. Borel said it's not imperative to get a rail-skimming ride for his colt to succeed.
"He's the kind of horse that makes his own trips," said the 40-year-old Louisiana native, who lives in Louisville. "I think he's just much the best horse and that's why he puts you in the position to have a good trip. He's an amazing horse. When I want him to run 100 yards, he'll run 100 yards. When I want him to run 200 yards, he'll run 200 yards and then he'll drop the bit. If the speed's hot, he'll be way back; if it's not, he'll put me in the game."
Borel had a pretty nice trip of his own after winning the Derby, being invited to the White House by President George W. Bush to attend a reception with England's Queen Elizabeth II, who attended at the Derby.
"It's been a little hectic, but not bad," he said of all the demands put upon him since the Derby. "I'm trying to love it, trying to have fun and trying to enjoy myself with my family and a couple of other things. Going to the White House was kind of a surprise. It got a little hectic for a while, but we got through it."
Borel, who has won riding titles at Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park and the Fair Grounds, said he wasn't too concerned about being on a strange track this weekend for the first time.
"I'm going to ride three or four today, then, I'll ride three before the big race tomorrow," he said. "It's the same thing: just turn left. It's a race track. There's nothing different but the turns. They're a little shorter, but I was born and raised on a track like this at Delta (Downs). There's no difference."
Street Sense galloped 1-1/4 miles under exercise rider Mark Cutler on a chilly Friday morning under overcast skies in his first visit to the Pimlico main track.
"Everything's good," said Nafzger, who will be saddling his third Preakness runner while seeking his first win in this race. "We're ready. I'd like to run today, yes. Can we move it up?"
Nafzger saddled 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled for a second-place finish behind Derby runner-up Summer Squall in the Preakness Stakes.
XCHANGER – It's been a year since trainer Mark Shuman first set eyes on Xchanger at the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-olds-in-training sale at the nearby Timonium Fairgrounds. He liked what he was seeing while the son of Exchange Rate breezed a quarter of a mile.
"He just had a real efficient stride. He's the kind of horse that goes fast but doesn't look like he's going fast," Shuman said Friday morning from Fair Hill Training Center. "After he worked in 21 (seconds) and change, we went to look at him as an individual and were happy with what we saw there, too. We fell in love with him."
The gray colt became Shuman's sole focus at the sale.
"After we saw him, we didn't look at anything else before we got a chance to bid on him," he said. "We didn't want to blow our budget and not be able to afford him."
Shuman needn't have been concerned about his budget, since he only had to bid $40,000 to buy Xchanger.
"We thought we'd have to pay double what we ended up paying for him," he said. "We were surprised, but there was a lull in the sale at that time. If he came into the ring an hour later, we'd have had to pay double for him. We thought we missed something, because we got him so cheap.
"We were so pumped about getting him, we didn't even look at anything else that day. He was the only one we bought."
As is his trainer's custom on the day before a race, Xchanger walked the shedrow Friday morning in preparation for his start in Preakness 132. Shuman plans to ship the Circle Z Stable's star from Fair Hill to Pimlico early Saturday morning.
Xchanger will be ridden Saturday by Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for his handy victory in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico in his most recent start.
Update 1917: I went down to Pimlico today with Tim, who was saddling Gator Nation. We arrived as the first race was about to get underway (it was delayed as one of the jocks got smacked hard as his horse balked going into the gate and reared backwards a little i think). Once arrived I walked over to the front side to have a look around. I had a press credential so I wanted to see how useful that would be. It took me a while, but I did find the press box. Hung out there for a (short) while, watching the second race from high above. Back on the grandstand level I ran into a few Fair Hill people (and a Black Eyed Susan) and they told me Curlin was paddock schooling during the third race. I went over and watched him. He looked good, calm and quiet (note this will not be the paddock he will be using tomorrow). After that I decided to look for the Stakes Barn and see if I could find any more of the Preakness horses. Located, I thought I would try to ID stall 40, and there he was Street Sense napping (course I did not go into the barn, just observed from the outside). I met an attorney from Louisville who was also serving as a Nafzger hot walker, currently on Street Sense duty. We chatted away for a good forty minutes. He is a huge Barbaro fan. He mentioned that as early as February last year he made a note on his whiteboard in his office ... Barbaro to win the Kentucky Derby. He followed Barbaro through his time at New Bolton (via this site) and has done other things FOBs have done (contributed to Laminitis research etc.) It was just great hanging out and chatting about Barbaro while relaxing outside Street Sense's barn.
Gator Nation ran, and while he was seventh, I thought he actually ran very well and was only half a length off the third horse. I watched the race with a couple of FOBs, Paul and Jennifer. Gator cooled out well and now we are back home. ESPN2 is broadcasting from Pimlico and will include a Barbaro legacy feature at about 5:20 pm. Further coverage of the feature is:
"Breakfast at Pimlico" special on ESPN2 6am - 7am (piece is scheduled to air 6:35 ish)
10am SportsCenter on ESPN (formatted to air after 11:40)
"The Preakness Special" on ESPN - 2pm - 5pm (it's scheduled to air between 3 - 5, I don't have an exact time for that one yet...)
Update 1916: Calvin Borel hosted a press conference at 9 am this morning at Pimlico (he flew in last night). He is confident, and believes Street Sense has moved forward since his strong win in the Derby. His rival, Mario Pino, hosted a press conference yesterday: For Pino, It's All About Contentment, Confidence.
Fair Hill has a few runners tomorrow at Pimlico. Mark Shuman has three, including Xchanger in the big race. Michael Matz has three, including Aunt Henny who will be facing a Graham Motion charge in the Gallorette, and of course Chelokee in the Barbaro. Steve Klesaris has Diabolical, lets hope Diabolical provides Pino the confidence he will need going into the Preakness. Anyway, should be a fun card all day tomorrow.
Update 1915: A dull grey and chilly morning at Fair Hill. We are hoping the rain stays away, Gator Nation is in on the turf at Pimlico and we need it to stay on the turf. I had four to go today. Farouche was first and she went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a quarter, her typical training routine all week. All well. Second was Whip Smart, she went to the dirt and galloped a mile and a half in company with Tim on Quick Quest. They both galloped nicely. Next up was Nautical Agent, and I took her across the fields, Tim was with us on Nonpariel. We jogged around for a couple of miles. Very pleasant, they will both be working tomorrow. Finally I took Grandma across the fields, this time on my own. It was very relaxing and uneventful.
Excellent Mike Jensen article: Barbaro's owners to return to Pimlico but don't want to remember Preakness, excerpt:
They do feel like caretakers of Barbaro's legacy now, the Jacksons said. They talk of all the issues that have cropped up, regarding anti-horse slaughter and laminitis research and even safer racetrack surfaces. They recently donated $250,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association to start The Lael Stable Fund endowment, going toward helping backside workers. They hope the movement started at Belmont Park goes national.
The Jacksons also speak of preserving Barbaro's legacy on the track.
"I think the whole injury really overshadowed what he did as a race horse," Roy Jackson said.
Boiling down that legacy, Gretchen Jackson simply said, "Six and a half lengths," referring to his margin of victory in the Kentucky Derby, the largest in six decades, accomplished without the need of a whip by jockey Edgar Prado. And she added that he was a champion on any surface or track condition. "Grass to dirt, slop, dry - anything. He could run."
Update 1914: Yesterday's quiz was won by Judy (Ontario, CAN), Miracle Horse Rescue is the beneficiary of her win (thanks to FOB quiz sponsor Lori (CA)). Judy is also matching that and sending $100 to Wild Rose Equine Rescue in Alberta.
Make sure to tune into ESPN2's Pimlico coverage today. Not only do they have the Black-Eyed Susan (Pimlico: Friday Afternoon Delights) but there will be a feature on FOBs!
Posted by Alex at 10:31 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 283
Posted May 17, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1913: Another cool afternoon hanging out with Mike Rea at Freedom Hills. We went on another trail ride and it was just a beautiful day to do that. We just have to remember the neck strap next time (it helps Mike's center of balance when he is jogging). Very cool. Mike's tip for the Preakness ... Hard Spun, although he did used to work for Carl Nafzger, many years ago, many many, as a freelance exercise rider.
Dr. Richardson was among the honorees at Pimlico this morning: Tribute Held For Barbaro At Alibi Breakfast.
Update 1912: Thursday's Pimlico Preakness update:
Trainer Todd Pletcher supervised gallops for both of his entrants in Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Belmont Park Thursday morning and then put them on a van for Pimlico at about 9 a.m.
"Both horses are doing very well," said the three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, who is looking for his first victory in a Triple Crown event. Circular Quay was sixth in the Kentucky Derby and King of the Roxy has been idle since finishing second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
"The only other horse that we did run back in two weeks is Impeachment (third in 2000)," Pletcher said when asked about the decision to enter Circular Quay. "Both of these horses have somewhat similar running styles. They're both horses that fall well out of the race early and make one run. The bottom line is I needed to see how the horse is doing, how he's training."
King of the Roxy was targeted for the Preakness immediately after the Santa Anita Derby, but Circular Quay had been widely expected to bypass the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, along with the four stablemates that joined him in the Churchill Downs starting gate two weeks ago.
"My original thought was we'd probably wait and not run him back in the Preakness, but he came out of the race really well and he sort of was touting himself to me in the morning," Pletcher said. "I said, 'Maybe I'll keep an open mind about it and breeze him on Monday (May 14) and see how that goes.' He breezed very well on Monday. I think if the race unfolds the way it looks on paper, the race should set up for a horse to come from off the pace. That's obviously where he'll be."
John Velazquez will be aboard Circular Quay, his first choice in the Kentucky Derby. Garret Gomez, the leading money-winner among the nation's jockeys, will ride King of the Roxy for Pletcher, the nation's leading money winner among trainers.
Pletcher said the 1-3/16-mile distance of the Preakness isn't a concern for Circular Quay, a son of Thunder Gulch, but it may be for King of the Roxy. He is a son of Littleexpectations, who was primarily a sprinter/miler.
"A mile and three-sixteenths is a concern," he said. "It's shorter than the Derby, but it's still a long way. He should sit a good trip; he's tactical enough. He should be able to position himself on the first turn. He's not so headstrong that he would be involved in the first tier. I would say that on paper it looks like he (King of the Roxy) could fall into the garden spot."
King of the Roxy is 3-for-7 lifetime, including wins in the Grade 2 Hutcheson in March at Gulfstream and the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park last fall. He was a well-beaten eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
When asked if he preferred coming to the Preakness a bit more under the radar than in Louisville with his five runners, Pletcher didn't hesitate: "No, I'd rather be there with the Derby winner."
C P WEST -- Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito made his first appearance at the Preakness Stakes Barn Thursday morning, hours after arriving with the van that brought the son of Came Home from Belmont to Pimlico on Wednesday evening.
"He galloped a mile and a half," Zito said before addressing an enclave of media at his traditional corner on the track side of the Stakes Barn.
Robert LaPenta's C P West, who hasn't won in four starts since winning his maiden debut at Saratoga last summer, is 20-1 on the morning line with jockey Edgar Prado assigned the mount.
"What we're trying to do is get into the Triple Crown picture," Zito said of the runner-up in the Grade 3 Withers in his last start. "That's how you can do it, in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Mr. LaPenta would have liked to have run in the Derby because that's what they're in the business for, but I told him it's impossible. I told him to be patient and hopefully we'd get to Baltimore, which we did."
C P West has finished second in four of his five career starts, his only off-the-board effort coming in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall. He was sixth in the field of 14 with a troubled trip, but he never mounted a serious threat. C P West will be the 18th Preakness starter for his trainer, who saddled Louis Quatorze for a dominating victory in 1996.
"Right after the Juvenile he had some ankle issues that we had to take care of and obviously we did," Zito said. "He's progressing nicely. If he can get a good spot Saturday, it will put him in the picture."
Zito and D. Wayne Lukas, the conditioner of another 20-1 long shot in Flying First Class, have won all three legs of the Triple Crown during their careers. Zito, who captured the Kentucky Derby with Strike the Gold (1991) and Go for Gin (1994), completed his classic trifecta with Birdstone in the 2004 Belmont Stakes.
"It's a measure of your success, and you're always trying to prove yourself in sports and life," Zito said.
C P West, who ran second in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park last September, drew the far outside post in the field of nine
"There's nothing you can do," Zito said. "It could help. Everybody likes to be on the inside, but I don't think it'll bother him. He'll be in the clear."
CURLIN -- The son of Smart Strike will be trainer Steve Asmussen's third Preakness starter, but the first to come to the Preakness after running in the Kentucky Derby. Curlin finished third in the Run for the Roses after encountering some traffic.
Asmussen finished fifth in his Preakness appearances with Snuck In (2000) and Easyfromthegitgo (2002).
"Those were nice horses, but those horses weren't capable of doing what we feel this horse is capable of doing," Asmussen's assistant, Scott Blasi, said Thursday morning.
Blasi is handling Curlin this week while Asmussen attends the funeral of his grandmother. Asmussen is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore Friday.
Curlin shipped from Kentucky Wednesday morning. He made his first trip to the Pimlico track Thursday morning and galloped a mile under regular exercise rider Carmen Rosas. The colt was scheduled to school in the paddock before Thursday's sixth race.
Regular jockey Robby Albarado will ride the colt in the Preakness.
The Preakness horses are saddled on the turf course prior to the race. Since he probably will not have a chance to school Curlin on the turf course, Blasi said Asmussen will probably opt to saddle the colt in Pimlico's enclosed paddock and walk him to the turf course. That is the procedure Curlin followed at Oaklawn Park -- where the Arkansas Derby starters are saddled in the infield -- before his smashing victory in the Grade 2 stakes.
Blasi said he agreed with the analysis of some veteran trainers -- including Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense's trainer Carl Nafzger -- that Curlin is likely to improve from his Derby experience. The Derby was the fourth race of Curlin's career and followed three decisive victories.
"Street Sense ran a brilliant race on that day," Blasi said. "Hopefully, our horse found out that it wasn't going to be a cakewalk every time he went over there. He's won three races by 28 lengths. He found himself in a position he'd probably never been in before.
"I think Robby brings a lot to the table as far as he learned as much about Curlin as Curlin learned that he's going to have to run. I think it's going to work out well."
Curlin found trouble early in the Derby, but managed to get free and finish well.
"He was definitely running at the wire," Blasi said. "That's not an easy thing to do as far as horses going a mile and a quarter and horses getting tired. I like the direction he had at the end of the race, as far as how green he was early on."
Blasi said that Curlin has shown his connections that he is ready for the difficult assignment in the Preakness two weeks after the Derby.
"The thing I loved about the Derby and why I thought we were in such good shape to come here is 20 to 30 minutes after the Derby in the test barn this horse felt great," Blasi said. "He was walking around and he drank about three-quarters of a bucket of water and gave all the signs that that race really hadn't stressed him out. That's a very positive sign for all of us."
Blasi said the colt appears to be mentally fresh, too.
"I've seen horses sulk after a race, but this horse was very upbeat and very energetic," Blasi said. "Just watching him around the barn and stuff, I think he's even shown a little more life."
While top stakes horses rarely are asked to run in major events 14 days apart in this era, Blasi said the sprawling Asmussen operation has experience with quick turnarounds.
"From having 200 head, I think we've been in a lot of different scenarios with horses, as far as running them back in two weeks," he said. "We feel very comfortable with doing that."
Blasi said the decision to bring Curlin to the Preakness after the Derby came after careful examination of the colt.
"We're running in the Preakness because we think we belong and we think we can win," he said. "That's the only reason to run anyway."
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he hasn't thought much about his five previous Preakness victories as he prepared Ellwood "Buddy" Johnston's colt for the 132nd Preakness.
"This is a new day and a new horse, a new client and a new spot," Lukas said. "All I can say on those five is you draw on your experience."
Lukas noted that unlike college basketball, in which coaches conduct clinics, trainers do not share strategy. He said the Preakness provides a different scenario because most of the runners are stabled in the stakes barn.
"It's kind of fun, though, to have us all in the same locker room," he said. "I get to see everyone's horse walk around here and the condition of them. Some of these horses look damn good. I flew in with Curlin, he looks damn good."
Lukas watched Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense train at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning.
"He looked good on the racetrack," Lukas said.
Lukas said that Flying First Class has settled into the routine at Pimlico after shipping from Kentucky Wednesday morning. Flying First Class and the other Lukas-trained horses jogged over the Pimlico track Thursday morning.
"They had worked on Tuesday and shipped on Wednesday," he said. "They normally would have jogged on Wednesday, but with the ship I moved the jog a day."
At this point, Lukas said fitness is not the issue.
"What we do now is kind of like an athletic team, all you want to do is keep them healthy and eating," he said. "There is no way to get them fit in one day. Whatever it is, it is, for every one of these guys. We're just trying to get them over there now. Pack them in bubble wrap and get them over there."
Flying First Class is the first horse Lukas has trained for Johnston, a breeder-owner, who operates Old English Rancho, near Sanger, Calif. Lukas trained the colt's sire, Perfect Mandate, and suggested to Johnston that he consider buying the horse as a stallion prospect.
HARD SPUN -- Larry Jones is savoring every second of his Triple Crown campaign with Hard Spun, who finished a strong second behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.
"I never dreamed I would ever be a part of it, especially with a live horse. This horse here, he's for real," said the 50-year-old native of Western Kentucky, whose colt is rated second at 5-2 in the morning line for Saturday's Preakness Stakes. "It's a good feeling that you figure in, factor in."
Jones embraces his humble past, cherishing every minute he's spent in the thoroughbred business.
"When I think back on what I started with, it's a dream come true. I got started with an $800 horse (Ala Turf) that my dad thought I could outrun. I've come a long ways," said Jones Wednesday morning before taking Hard Spun to school at the starting gate and for a light once-around gallop at Pimlico. "I started out as an owner because no one really wanted to give me a shot. I just bought them and trained them myself.
"We started with what we could afford, and we've been very fortunate. The fourth or fifth year I was in, we had another $800 horse (Capt. Bold) that was my first stakes winner," he added. "We've been blessed. It's been good. It's been a long road. But we sure didn't start into it with a silver spoon in our mouths."
His humble beginnings in the business have prepared him well for thoroughbred racing's main stage.
"We've worked our way up, and it's helped me with these (horses). You know, all horses have issues and problems," he said. "I've got to work enough with claimers and cheap horses along the way to know if it's serious or minor and something you can work through.
"I'm kind of glad I didn't get to start at the top, because if you achieve something too quick, you really don't appreciate it. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us. We hope it's not," he added. "We hope we can start doing it on a somewhat more often basis than every 27 years, because I've figured it out... I might not have more than three or four more shots at this if we don't."
Mario Pino, the winningest rider in Maryland history, will have the return mount aboard Hard Spun.
MINT SLEWLEP -- After having the Preakness Stakes Barn to himself since shipping into Pimlico last Sunday, Mint Slewlep didn't mind the company of his Preakness rivals Thursday morning.
"He's handling everything fine," trainer Robbie Bailes, as his Preakness hopeful seemed unfazed by the drastically increased shedrow activity. "That's what we were hoping. We wanted him to get familiar with his surroundings, and it's worked."
Mint Slewlep, who'll be ridden by Alan Garcia, galloped 1-1/2 miles under exercise rider Christy Knorr before the renovation break Thursday morning.
STREET SENSE – The Kentucky Derby winner seemed to enjoy his public bath outside the Preakness Stakes Barn after walking the shedrow on his first morning at Pimlico Thursday.
It was 17 years ago that Carl Nafzger brought another Kentucky Derby winner to the Preakness (Unbridled). It didn't work out for the 65-year-old trainer that May afternoon when he finished second to Summer Squall, but he'll have the favorite again in the cool and composed Street Sense.
"He takes a couple looks around like Unbridled, then he says: 'OK, this is where we're at. I wonder what's gonna happen now,' " said Nafzger Thursday morning after Street Sense was returned to Stall 40, the stall traditionally reserved for the Derby winner.
Nafzger said Street Sense shares a lot of attributes with his 1990 Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old.
"Mentally, yes; soundness, yes; immune system, yes; ability, yes; the way he performs, they're different horses," he said. "Unbridled was a big horse and he'd get his machine rolling and he could really, really cover the ground. But if he got in traffic ... This horse can check -- hit it, cruise; hit it, cruise, hit it."
The 65-year-old Texan, who also trained Eclipse winner Banshee Breeze (1998 3-year-old filly), has written a book about training entitled "Traits of a Winner: The Formula for Developing Thoroughbred Racehorses." On this morning, he was minimizing his role in Street Sense's success.
"It's really very simple," he said. "When you get a good horse, don't mess him up. If he can really run, I can really train. Have you ever noticed with a good running back, you don't just change his style? You just sort of help him adjust it and do a little better what he wants to do."
Nafzger, a good friend of Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator Jim Bates, said that if Street Sense would be compared to a running back it would be a scat back because he's "quick."
In the Preakness, Street Sense will try to become the seventh horse since 1977 to head to the Belmont Stakes with a chance to sweep the Triple Crown, last won in 1978 by Affirmed.
"Let's just put it this way," Nafzger said. "I've only got to beat eight horses Saturday. If we get that done, we've done it. If we don't, well, we got beat. It's easier than 19 and a lot better than 30,000 (foals born in this generation) when we started." Nafzger said Street Sense will gallop Friday morning over the Pimlico strip for the first time.
Jockey Calvin Borel will be making his first Preakness appearance when he takes Street Sense to the starting gate Saturday.
XCHANGER -- The Federico Tesio winner gave his trainer reason for optimism Thursday morning during his 1-5/8-mile gallop at Fair Hill Training Center in preparation for a start in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
"Everything's good to go," trainer Mark Shuman said. "I had a nice, relaxed gallop. Everything's good."
Shuman plans to ship Xchanger from Fair Hill to Pimlico on Saturday morning, subject to a late change, he said.
"I think we'll let him get a good night's rest in his own bed, then bring him there Saturday," Shuman said.
Fair Hill, where he is building a 32-stall barn, gives Shuman a lot of options.
"It's the best place to train a stable. It has such a central location," said Shuman, who currently leases 20 stalls at the northeastern Maryland facility. "There are so many tracks that we can ship to really easily."
The 3-year-old son of Exchange Rate will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez.
Update 1911: Quiz time as we get ready for the Preakness. Who was D. Wayne Lukas' first Preakness starter. When was it, and how many starters will Lucas have after saturday's race ? This quiz is sponsored by Lori (CA) and she will donate $100 to the equine welfare charity of choice.
Update 1910: Another lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I was joined by Ricky, a Washington Post photographer. First out was Farouche and she went to the Tapeta track to gallop a mile and a quarter. On my way back from the track I walked with (another) Ricky who was on Diabolical, who is running on the Preakness undercard. He looks great (the horse). Second set was Nautical Agent, and by this time Ricky (the photographer) had arrived and followed us to the track, I was with Tim who was on Quick Quest. We galloped them a mile and a half, hopefully some nice shots came out from that. Nautical Agent galloped very nicely, as she seems to do! Finally I rode Grandma, and we went across the fields with Tim on Nonpariel. They both broke out of the gate yesterday across the shoot, so today was to be an easy day for them. It was. We spied an eagle sitting high up in a tree, we also saw a couple of young foxes scurrying around. All very beautiful. Once done I hung out with Ricky (photographer) so he could get some pictures of Michael Matz' team, which included Peter on Chelokee. A nice pleasant and short morning's work.
Update 1909: Channel 8 WGAL (NBC)'s piece on Barbaro last night (and I believe there will be a follow up piece tonight): Barbaro: A Look Back at the Legacy.
Update 1908: The Jackson's recently donated $250,000 to The Belmont Child Care Association (Anna House) to establish the Lael Stable Fund endowment. Anna house is also hosting a benefit Bar B Que on June 3, Edgar Prado will be in attendance. For those in the area, it may be a fun event to support. Edgar's birthday is forthcoming and Fans of Barbaro are planning a gift for Edgar (EDGAR'S 40th B'DAY TRIBUTE!) that will support Anna House.
Invasor had his second work on wedneday after returning from Dubai and Funny Cide is back in the entries for friday: Invasor cranking up for Suburban.
Posted by Alex at 10:04 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 282
Posted May 16, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1907: Preakness draw and morning line:
1. Mint Slewlep 30/1
2. Xchanger 15/1
3. Circular Quay 8/1
4. Curlin 7/2
5. King of the Roxy 12/1
6. Flying First Class 20/1
7. Hard Spun 5/2
8. Street Sense 7/5
9. CP West 20/1
Update 1906: My NPR piece I recorded this morning that was broadcast this afternoon: Fans of Barbaro Unite Against Slaughter .
Update 1905: USA Today ran this story today which also included responses from Fans: Assessing Barbaro's impact a year down the road, excerpt:
Assistant trainer Peter Brette, who rode Barbaro every day, is content knowing he will be treasured as much as any horse. "People will forget my name," he says. "They won't forget Barbaro, which is really nice."
Update 1904: Wednesday's Pimlico Preakness update:
Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed on Wednesday that Garret Gomez will have the mount on King of the Roxy and first-call rider John Velazquez will stay aboard Circular Quay for Saturday's 132nd Preakness Stakes.
"Both horses galloped a mile and a half," Pletcher said from Belmont Park, where the duo will remain until Thursday. "They'll train Thursday morning and then get on a van to Pimlico."
The 40-year-old trainer elected to stay with his colts and skip Wednesday's Preakness draw for post positions at the ESPN Zone at the Inner Harbor.
The three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer said the decision to run Circular Quay off his sixth-place finish behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby was based on his light prep schedule and the fact that he had been doing well since returning to New York.
"After the Derby I didn't really plan to run him back in two weeks, but it's been 10 days now and he's been training well," Pletcher said of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby winner who first drew attention as a juvenile with a pair of stakes wins last year. "I think this race sets up for him. There's a lot of speed."
Pletcher is confident Circular Quay wasn't overused in the Derby, and he’s hoping for a different outcome this time. This will be the fourth meeting between Street Sense and Circular Quay. Street Sense defeated him handily in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but Circular Quay finished a nose in front of him in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity about a month earlier at Keeneland.
"Clearly, (Street Sense) is the horse to beat," said Pletcher, who has saddled only one previous Preakness runner (Impeachment, third in 2000). "I think what we all have to hope for, those of us who are running against him, is that he's not as good away from Churchill as he is at Churchill Downs."
King of the Roxy has won three of his seven starts for Team Valor, his most recent effort being a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. This will be the first time Gomez has been aboard the son of Littleexpectations, who will have his sixth different jockey when he goes to the gate in the Preakness. Velazquez rode him to victory in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont last fall.
C P WEST -- Assistant trainer Tim Poole said that the Withers runner-up completed his conditioning at Belmont Park Wednesday morning and was on his way to Pimlico.
"He galloped this morning, then we put him on the van," Poole said. "He'll gallop Thursday."
Poole said that the Nick Zito-trained C P West was one of four horses traveling south to Baltimore on the van scheduled to arrive Wednesday afternoon.
The son of Came Home, who had his final Preakness work on Monday (four furlongs in 47 1/5 seconds), will be making his first start on the one-mile Preakness oval. His only previous two-turn experience came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall, a distant sixth behind eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.
Edgar Prado, a perennial riding champion at Pimlico before moving to New York, has the mount on C P West.
CURLIN -- Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said he did not have any problems shipping the colt from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Wednesday morning.
Curlin, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby on May 5, was on the first of two flights from Kentucky to Maryland Wednesday. Blasi walked the colt off the van at Pimlico at 10:40 a.m. and led him to his stall in the Preakness Stakes Barn.
Though he has made only four career starts, Curlin is an experienced shipper.
"He's taken it well," Blasi said. "After he broke his maiden, he flew from Gulfstream to New Orleans. Then he vanned to Hot Springs (Arkansas) for the Rebel and won it. Then we flew him back to Keeneland. From Keeneland he flew back to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby. He's done quite a bit of traveling."
Blasi said the colt will gallop on the track at Pimlico at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Curlin is scheduled to visit the starting gate for a schooling session Friday morning.
Curlin's trainer Steve Asmussen will attend his grandmother's funeral Thursday and arrive in Baltimore on Friday.
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- After his Preakness entrant, Flying First Class, was safely in his stall at Pimlico following the flight from Kentucky Wednesday morning, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas assessed the chances of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in Saturday's Second Jewel of the Triple Crown.
"He's the horse to beat," Lukas said. "He's deservedly the favorite. You'd be foolish to leave him out of your exacta, in my opinion. But he has to go out there and do it."
Lukas nodded at the next question and acknowledged that he was not saying Street Sense and jockey Calvin Borel were a lock in the Preakness.
"I think he's beatable because it's a different race, a different surface, but I don't think I would bet against him either," Lukas said. "They're all beatable. This is a very humbling sport. It really will bring you to your knees just about the time you've got it figured out."
Lukas has won the Preakness five times and is tied with "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons for the most Triple Crown race victories, 13. He said Street Sense's talent trumps his looks.
"It's not a horse show or a beauty contest, and he's probably not the most attractive horse, but he's the best horse," Lukas said. "That's what we're after.
"He is a very, very gifted horse. The thing that makes him so effective is the fact that he's got that extreme acceleration. He gets from going at a cruising speed into wide-open (speed) in about two strides. When Calvin sees a hole, like he did in the Derby and like he did in the Breeders' Cup, this little horse really accelerates.
"I saw him on the track (Tuesday). I worked a half-mile and he came right behind me and I watched him work. He gets over the ground beautifully. You're impressed with him under saddle, without a doubt. I like his acceleration. It's kind of like, I guess, driving an Indy car or a NASCAR, when you can just sit and draft and then all of a sudden you tromp on it and they shoot into that hole. He takes advantage of it. Calvin is excellent at doing it."
Mark Guidry has the mount aboard Flying First Class.
HARD SPUN -- Trainer Larry Jones didn't schedule an official workout for Hard Spun between the Kentucky Derby and Saturday's Preakness Stakes, but he did give his Derby runner-up a little extra exercise Wednesday morning at Delaware Park.
"We let him ease down the lane a bit," said Jones, whose colt was ridden by regular jockey Mario Pino. "We galloped him a mile, then let him breeze about a quarter of a mile."
Jones said he didn't time Hard Spun in the stretch.
"He probably went in 24 (seconds) and change. For him, it was more or less an open gallop," said Jones before loading his colt onto a Pimlico-bound van that arrived at 1:30 p.m.
Pino, the winningest rider in Maryland history, will retain the mount aboard the son of Danzig in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
MINT SLEWLEP -- On the last day that Mint Slewlep had the Preakness Stakes Barn to himself, trainer Robbie Bailes sent his colt to the track Wednesday morning for a one-mile jog at Pimlico.
Prior to the arrival of several Preakness entrants later in the day, Bailes expressed satisfaction with how Mint Slewlep had settled into his new surroundings.
"Everything is fine with him," he said. "He's happy."
The Bowie Training Center-based trainer was asked if he had any memories of past runnings of the Preakness that stood out in his mind.
"You mean other than the one with Scrappy T.?" asked Bailes, a wide grin spreading across his face as he recalled his first and only Preakness starter's eventful journey in 2005.
Scrappy T. moved to the lead on the turn into the homestretch before suddenly veering out into the path of onrushing Afleet Alex, who fell to his knees but somehow kept his feet under him to go on to win by nearly five lengths. Despite blowing the turn and making contact with the eventual winner, Scrappy T. easily held second by five lengths.
"I remember the first Preakness I’d seen live was Codex and Genuine Risk and the deal at the top of the stretch," said Bailes, referring to the 1980 Preakness in which Codex survived an objection lodged by the rider of Genuine Risk after coming out into the path of the Kentucky Derby-winning filly at the top of the stretch. "Maybe that was some kind of karma that went on with me. I really didn't think about it until (Wednesday) morning. I said, 'Maybe that had something to do with Scrappy,'" laughed Bailes, who reported that Scrappy T. is slated to be back in training in June and likely to return to action in the fall.
Alan Garcia has the mount aboard Marshall Dowell’s Mint Slewlep.
STREET SENSE -- Trainer Carl Nafzger checked with his staff at Churchill Downs to get a report on Street Sense Wednesday morning while heading north by car for a trip to Baltimore with his wife, Wanda. The Nafzgers arrived at Pimlico shortly after 1 p.m., a couple horse ahead of the Kentucky Derby winner.
"He jogged a mile this morning," Nafzger said. "He looked good; everything's good with him. I just hope he has a smooth flight."
A number of horses departed the airport at Louisville just before 8 a.m., but Street Sense was scheduled to be on a second flight that was scheduled to arrive at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at approximately 1:45 p.m. Pimlico will be the fifth different race track that Street Sense has competed on since his 2-year-old debut at Churchill last July. He began his 3-year-old campaign by winning the Tampa Bay Derby before getting nosed for the win in the Blue Grass at Keeneland in his final Derby prep. He has also raced twice at Arlington Park, site of his maiden victory last August.
Veteran jockey Calvin Borel will be aboard Street Sense, his first-ever Preakness mount.
XCHANGER -- Trainer Mark Shuman couldn't be more pleased with the manner in which his Preakness contender, Xchanger, galloped 1-1/2 miles over the all-weather surface at Fair Hill Training Center Wednesday morning.
"He went as good as he could go," Shuman said. "He's a happy horse. All we need to do now is keep the zip in him. He showed a lot of zip this morning."
Shuman currently leases 20 stalls at Fair Hill.
"It is second to none. It's a great place to train any horse, not just a great place to prepare a horse for a major stake," said Shuman. "It's a fabulous place. Now that we have the Tapeta (all-weather) surface, it makes my job much easier."
Shuman is in the process of building a 32-stall barn at Fair Hill.
"I bought the last property left on the grounds," said Shuman, who expects the barn to be ready during the summer.
Shuman, who currently has 27 horses in training, won titles at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park while training for owner Michael Gill. Fortunately, Shuman was prepared when Gill decided to get out of the racing business.
"Mike made it nice for me by backing out of the game gradually," he said. "Mike gave me the heads up. He started to get out of the business in July '05 and didn't get out until January '06. So, I had six months to build up."
Shuman said he'd decide Thursday whether he will ship Xchanger to Pimlico on Friday or Saturday morning. He has entered three other horses for Saturday's card, and he said he might ship Xchanger on Friday to avoid too much confusion if all of his stablemates get into their respective races.
Ramon Dominguez will ride Xchanger in the Preakness.
Update 1903: As decided yesterday, Hard Spun did do a little breeze this morning: Hard Spun Completes Preakness Preparations, excerpt:
During the blowout, the son of Danzig changed leads on cue, going along easily with his ears up. Passing the eighth pole he started to get into the work, pinned his ears and began pulling Pino, before stretching out in the final eighth where the rider had to take a firm hold of the reins and then just let him gallop out slowly.
"He was starting to get into it in the last part and I had to go 'Whoo' and he kind of came back to me," Pino said. "He was getting his juices flowing coming to the wire and felt really strong. He felt just like he did going into the Derby. He didn't get much out of the gallop out because we didn't want him to do too much because there was a lot of traffic out there.
"It was a good idea to blow him out. Larry wanted to change his mind a little and stretch him out a notch, and he felt happy doing it."
Update 1902: A nice AP story on Hard Spun that sheds some light on his character / disposition: Hard Spun's Nature Belies Preakness Odds, excerpt:
If he were to be judged on his personality, Hard Spun might be considered a long shot. If it were up to Hard Spun, he'd probably be walking on a worn path with a stranger on his back.
"He's just an extremely nice horse. There's not an aggressive bone in his body," Jones said. "The other riders that see us, they say, 'That's Hard Spun?' They can't believe it. I told them, in his next career, he thinks he's going to be a trail-riding horse. He's almost people!"
Hard Spun has had very little time to socialize this week while nestled in Stall 50 of Barn 8 at Delaware Park. Given the attention he received before the Derby, a little quiet time is probably a good thing.
"The only time he's in a bad mood is from 11 o'clock to 3 o'clock, when it's his nap time and people won't leave him alone," Jones said. "Other than that, you can take him on a picnic with you and he'll be happy."
A quick update on ESPNs coverage for the Preakness:
4:30 pm today: ESPN2 (draw)
4 - 6 pm friday: ESPN2
12 - 5 pm saturday: ESPN
Update 1901: Another lovely morning at Fair Hill, and only three to ride. I also had a visitor (Washington Post) and an interview with NPR from Lexington to complete at about 9 am (to air this afternoon). Real Lace was first to go out. She jogged two miles around the dirt track. She had a visit yesterday from the acupuncture lady, and as is usual the day after such a visit, had a nice and easy day today. Second out was Whip Smart, and she went to the gate to stand, along with Tim on Quick Quest. They both stood quite well. We then galloped a mile together on the dirt. My final ride was Farouche, and she went to the Tapeta, Tim came along with Who's Happy. Steve (Washington Post) had arrived and walked out with us. As we were coming up to the track from the tunnel we passed Xchanger, who is now equipped with a Preakness saddle towel (being a grey he really did not need much more to identify him). Anyway, Farouche galloped a mile and a quarter and she went well.
Steve and I continued to chat up until the time I did the NPR phone interview (regarding today's media blitz). I then took Steve around Fair Hill, visited the Therapy Center, and then went to Prizzios for breakfast as we continued our "interview".
Update 1900: Rumours were rife yesterday morning that Hard Spun had been sold, not so according to Mike Jensen: Owner: Hard Spun isn't for sale. Hard Spun is due to work a little this morning at Delaware for his final Preakness preparation.
Lester Piggott, arguably the best jockey to ever ride anywhere, was hospitalized yesterday but appears to be out of danger: DECISION EXPECTED ON 'PIGGOTT DAY'.
Today is our second Media Blitz day. Note, the letter being used has a new addition!
Posted by Alex at 10:43 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 281
Posted May 15, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1899: Hard Spun may now breeze a little tomorrow at Delaware Park, Pino is scheduled to ride: Hard Spun could breeze Wednesday morning.
Update 1898: Steve Haskin looks at the decision to run Circular Quay in the Preakness and also notes his poor trip in the Derby: Steve Haskin's Preakness Report: Late Quay Decision a Smart One.
Update 1897: Pimlico's Preakness update for tuesday:
The Pimlico horsemen's relations office has been informed by the connections of Circular Quay that their Louisiana Derby winner will run in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
Circular Quay's owners, Michael and Doreen Tabor, and bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne have made arrangements to attend the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has started only one horse in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown (Impeachment, third in 2000), will saddle Circular Quay, the sixth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, as well as King of the Roxy, for Preakness 132.
Prior to the Derby, Circular Quay had been off the board only once in seven career starts, coming in fifth in the Grade 3 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 10. His finish was compromised when his rider was forced to alter course to avoid a fallen rider. Circular Quay was second in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which he finished 10 lengths behind this year's Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.
Jockey John Velazquez is expected to maintain the mount on Circular Quay, allowing Garrett Gomez to pick up the mount on King of the Roxy.
"I'm on one of them," said Ron Anderson, Gomez's agent. "I'm assuming it is King of the Roxy because we worked him over the weekend, but I haven't been given the final word."
Circular Quay won his first three starts as a 2-year-old. Following his Risen Star disappointment, he made a sweeping move to capture the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 10 in his final prep before the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher had initially hoped to get another race into him (the Wood Memorial) before the Derby, but later decided to train up to the May 5 engagement.
King of the Roxy has won three of seven lifetime starts, winning the Grade 2 Hutcheson in his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream before finishing second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in his last start on April 7.
King of the Roxy originally sold for only $8,000 as a yearling, but was purchased by Team Valor for $350,000 after breaking his maiden at Hollywood Park. In his first start for Team Valor, King of the Roxy was a close second in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He won the Futurity at Belmont next out, before finishing eighth behind Street Sense in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Both Circular Quay and King of the Roxy are scheduled to arrive by van at Pimlico on Thursday.
C P WEST -- The son of Came Home is scheduled to arrive Wednesday at Pimlico for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito seeking his second career victory and first as a 3-year-old.
"He just walked under tack today," said assistant trainer Tim Poole from Belmont Park. "He jogged a little around the shedrow and he'll gallop tomorrow. That's pretty much all there is to do right now."
C P West worked four furlongs in 47 1/5 seconds at Belmont Park Monday morning.
Zito and D. Wayne Lukas have the distinction of being the only trainers in this year's Preakness to have won all three legs of the Triple Crown. Zito won the Preakness with Louis Quatorze in 1996 and has had three other runners finish in the money among his 17 starters. Go for Gin was second in 1994; A P Valentine second in 2001; and Hemingway's Key was third last year. Zito saddled two Kentucky Derby winners, Strike the Gold (1991) and Go for Gin (1994), as well as Belmont Stakes victor Birdstone (2004).
Owner Robert LaPenta is trying to win his first Triple Crown event with the colt, a $425,000 purchase at the 2005 Keeneland September Sale.
CURLIN – Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said Tuesday morning that the Smart Strike colt was looking good after breezing a half-mile at Churchill Downs Monday.
"He came out of his work great," Blasi said.
As is typical the day following a breeze, Curlin's exercise was limited to being hand-walked.
Blasi is handling the colt for the next few days for trainer Steve Asmussen, whose grandmother died this week.
Curlin is scheduled to leave the Asmussen barn at Churchill Downs at 7 a.m. Wednesday for the flight to Baltimore. Jockey Robby Albarado, who rode the colt to wins in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby and a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, will ride Curlin in the Preakness.
Blasi said everything is progressing smoothly with Curlin.
"He's been a joy to train," Blasi said. "There's been no glitches in the road yet. All is well."
Following the breeze on Monday, Asmussen said Curlin is quite mature despite a small resume of only four races.
"Experience is the word everybody uses; he had a lack of racing," Asmussen said. "But I've had horses who have run 20 times that don't know what he knows. So I don't think that's an accurate description of it.
"I think he's a horse that ran third in the Kentucky Derby in his fourth race. I expected him to win, but credit to the horses who beat him. He beat 17 of the best 3-year-olds at one time in his fourth race. Gotta figure out how to beat the other two."
Derby winner Street Sense and the runner-up, Hard Spun, are both headed to the Preakness.
Asmussen said he did not look at the Middle Jewel in the Triple Crown as a rematch with Derby winner Street Sense.
"We're trying to win the Preakness," Asmussen said. "We're not taking a shot at anybody. We've got an outstanding 3-year-old that's very healthy at an extremely important time of the year, with an opportunity of winning a classic. That's the focus."
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was more than satisfied with his colt's half-mile work Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
"We got exactly what we wanted," Lukas said by telephone. "The one thing I told Stacy Pryor, the exercise girl, is 'Please do not break 49 (seconds).' I just wanted him to stretch his legs a little bit. I told her to stay on the north side of 49. She went 49 4/5, which was perfect.
"We were real pleased with it. I actually slowed him down a little bit in the lane. It was good."
As Pryor was approaching the finish of the breeze, Lukas motioned to her to not allow Flying First Class to gallop out strongly.
"I thought he had done enough," Lukas said. "We're Tuesday going on a Saturday and we've got a dead-fit horse. I didn't want to do any more."
Flying First Class, bred at owner Ellwood Johnston's Old English Rancho in California, rebounded from losses in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park to win the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 28.
Lukas said that the Perfect Mandate colt performed in the Derby Trial the way he hoped.
"I was extremely confident in the Derby Trial that he'd win," Lukas said. "I didn't expect him to run 1:08 and change and keep on going. He validated all my faith in him."
Flying First Class completed the 7-1/2 furlongs of the Derby Trial in 1:29 1/5 and won by nearly four lengths.
Lukas, 71, will accompany the colt on a flight from Louisville, Ky. Wednesday morning.
HARD SPUN -- Larry Jones has been inspired by the performances of Hard Spun this spring, particularly his colt's second-place finish behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. The 50-year-old trainer will have another source of inspiration when he and his colt arrive at Pimlico from Delaware Park tomorrow.
He and Hard Spun will be sharing space in the Preakness Stakes barn with trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will be arriving from Churchill Downs with Preakness hopeful Flying First Class.
"Wayne Lukas has always been my idol, my hero," Jones said. "This winter, we were both at Oaklawn and we became good acquaintances and friends. I really respect what he's achieved.
"We share the same birthday, September 2nd," Jones said. "He's just a year or 21 older than me."
Jones, who conditioned Hard Spun for his impressive Kentucky Derby performance off just two prep races and a six-week layoff, likes Lukas' style.
"Wayne is never afraid to step up to the plate and do something out of the ordinary," Jones said. "Maybe, that's why I am the way I am, why I do some things that maybe others don’t."
Hard Spun, who will not have an official workout between the Derby and Preakness, jogged a quarter of a mile and galloped a mile and a half at Delaware Park Tuesday morning. Hard Spun, who'll be ridden by Mario Pino in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, will be vanned to Pimlico Wednesday afternoon.
MINT SLEWLEP -- Mint Slewlep walked the shedrow at Pimlico Tuesday morning, one day after pleasing trainer Robbie Bailes with a five-furlong workout that was timed in 59 4/5 seconds. With most of the Preakness horses scheduled to arrive in Baltimore Wednesday, Tuesday was the last day Mint Slewlep had the Preakness Stakes Barn to himself.
"When they start feeding in, he'll already be used to everything. He's already used to the cameras," said Bailes, who reported that the son of Slew City Slew came out of his work in good order. "That's the one advantage of getting here real early."
Mint Slewlep will be making only his second start around two turns in the Preakness, the first coming in a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct in his 2007 debut.
"The more distance the better for him," Bailes said. "In the Gotham, the pace was so slow and he got hung up in the back of the field and a horse almost fell in front of him. It may not have cost him a win, but he probably would have been fourth or third."
Alan Garcia will ride Mint Slewlep in the Preakness.
STREET SENSE -- The Kentucky Derby winner had a final breeze at his favorite track Tuesday morning, clocking five furlongs in a minute flat under jockey Calvin Borel at Churchill Downs. Street Sense is scheduled to be on a flight to Baltimore that is expected to arrive Wednesday at 1:45.
"The horse worked perfect," said Nafzger, who will drive to Pimlico and be on hand for the nationally televised draw for post positions Wednesday at the ESPN Zone at the Inner Harbor. "It was a little faster than we wanted, but he was very comfortable and did it well. He did it without any effort. He wasn't trying to work; that's his gait."
The breeze was almost identical to Street Sense's final work before the Derby when he went in a 1:01 1/5, also four days before the first leg of the Triple Crown. Street Sense went in a moderate first quarter-mile of 25 seconds, a half-mile in 48 3/5 and galloped out in 1:12 3/5.
"He worked super good," said Borel, who will be riding his first Preakness. "The horse is going forward in every trip."
Nafzger, a 65-year-old Texas native, had the favorite in the 1990 Preakness with Derby winner Unbridled and finished second behind Summer Squall. Street Sense, a slight 9-2 betting choice in this year's Derby, will be the morning-line favorite for Saturday's race.
"He looked great," said a bubbly Nafzger, who is looking for his first Preakness victory with only his third starter. "Everything's on target."
XCHANGER -- The Federico Tesio winner walked the shedrow at Fair Hill Training Center Tuesday morning, reported trainer Mark Shuman.
"He walked today. He'll train two more days, then walk on Friday," he said.
Shuman regards the decision to pass on the Kentucky Derby with Xchanger as a key to his Florida-bred colt's chances for an upset in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
"I respect the top two finishers. They ran their eyeballs out in the Derby," said Shuman, referring to winner Street Sense and runner-up Hard Spun. "But that's why it could work in our favor. I don't wish anything negative on anyone else, but I think it's only going to help that they're coming back in two weeks after running a hard race and we're coming in fresh with four weeks (between races)."
Xchanger, who'll be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, will ship from Fair Hill to Pimlico on Saturday morning.
Update 1896: Street Sense worked this morning at Churchill, going 5/8ths in 1:00: Derby Winner Street Sense Quick in Final Preakness Workout, excerpt:
"He worked a lot faster than we thought, but he did it the right way and it didn't hurt him," said Nafzger, adding that the work was in line with the :58 2/5 five-furlong work for Street Sense prior to winning the Derby. "The horse did it without any effort. He wasn't charging the bit. He wasn't trying to work...He looked very happy coming off the track. I don't think he even took a deep breath. He did it easy. He didn't come unraveled. He didn't stress."
Borel agreed that the work was not too fast. "He worked super good. He is going forward every trip, work-wise."
It is a tough decision whether to work or not, and how far to work, when there is only a two week break between the Derby and the Preakness. At this point the decision is not to work Hard Spun, although that could change quickly. Others have already worked (Curlin and Circular Quay). Works need to be simply for maintenance and stretching their legs, nothing more.
Update 1895: Another gorgeous and breezy morning this morning at Fair Hill. A great day to be riding horses ... and I only had three to go (again). First was Real Lace. She went to the Tapeta track (as did they all) along with Tim on Who's Happy. Real Lace galloped a mile and a quarter. Very uneventful. Second to go was Grandma, who appears to be really starting to mature nicely, both physically and mentally. She galloped a mile and a quarter in behind Tim on Nautical Agent. I layed about a length and a half behind the whole way and both went very nicely. My final ride was Farouche, and she led Tim on Nonpariel around the Tapeta track for a mile and a quarter. Again both went well. The track was a little busy this morning, but it is all down to timing. If you are on the track the same time as either Graham Motion's or Michael Matz's strings its going to be busy. I would guess that between the two trainers they employ half the Fair Hill exercise riders! I saw Mark Shuman (Xchanger trainer) as I was coming back from the track on Farouche, he was all smiles and all is well with Xchanger.
Update 1894: Godolphin's Discreet Cat and Day Pass are now returning from Dubai: Discreet Cat returning, excerpt:
Mettee said Discreet Cat is in light training overseas and that the earliest he would most likely return to the races would be at Saratoga, a track over which he won a maiden race at 2 and an allowance race at 3.
"We'll get a pretty good gauge on him when we get him up there," Mettee said. "That's an easier track to get an idea where he is at than [Belmont] or Aqueduct. I'm not going to get in any big rush with him."
I am planning on rolling out a new wiki-based "platform" to compliment this site and the discussion boards to help to continue to grow this community. If you are an avid wikipedia person (reader / editor) and would be willing to preview and provide feedback for me, please e-mail me.
Posted by Alex at 10:54 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 280
Posted May 14, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1893: Preakness week will honor Barbaro, which will include the Barbaro Stakes: Pimlico to Honor Team Barbaro During Preakness Week, the article ends:
On Preakness day, the inaugural running of the Barbaro Stakes Presented by the Maryland State Lottery will take place. Prior to the race will be an appearance of the Wings of Blue, the United States Air Force's elite parachute jump team. One jumper will carry a flag designed with the colors of the Jackson's Lael Stable and commemorating Barbaro, which the Air Force will present to the Jacksons in a special winner's circle ceremony.
Update 1892: Breaking news from Pimlico:
Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Monday afternoon that he was considering a possible start in Saturday's Preakness Stakes for Circular Quay, who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.
Doreen and Michael Tabor's Circular Quay was timed in 48 2/5 seconds for four furlongs after working in company with graded-stakes-winner A.P. Arrow Monday morning at Belmont Park.
"I worked him this morning with the Preakness in the back of my mind," said Pletcher, who had already confirmed King of the Roxy for the 132nd running of the Preakness at Pimlico. "I'll talk to Mr. Tabor and we'll make a decision tomorrow morning."
Circular Quay finished sixth at odds of 11-1 in the Derby. The colt ran at Churchill Downs off an eight-week layoff since winning the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 10.
The son of Thunder Gulch was ridden in the Derby by John Velazquez, who had been expected to ride King of the Roxy in the Preakness, but some suspicions were aroused about Pletcher's plans for both horses when Garrett Gomez worked King of the Roxy over the weekend at Belmont.
Update 1891: Pimlico's Preakness report for monday:
C P WEST -- Trainer Nick Zito said all systems are go for Saturday's Preakness Stakes after C P West's half-mile workout at Belmont Park on Monday morning. The colt and his team will arrive at Pimlico on Wednesday prior to the post-position draw.
"Everything went well," said Zito, who will be saddling his 18th Preakness starter. "He went in 47 1/5 (seconds) and finished up in 59 and change (for five furlongs). It was pretty much what we wanted."
C P West hasn't won since his maiden debut at Saratoga last August, but second-place finishes in his two starts as a 3-year-old have given Zito enough encouragement to take on Street Sense again. The Derby winner distanced C P West in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall, but he did manage to outfinish more than half the field in the Grade 1 season finale while finishing a troubled sixth.
"Street Sense impressed me in the Juvenile and the Derby, but they still have to run around the track," said Zito, who won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze. "He (C P West) ran in the Breeders' Cup and he was second in the Futurity at Belmont. He acted like a promising 2-year-old, and we're hoping he continues to improve as a 3-year-old."
Edgar Prado will ride C P West Saturday.
CURLIN - Trainer Steve Asmussen watched the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby turn in a methodical half-mile work Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
After Curlin covered the four furlongs in 51 seconds under regular exercise rider Carmen Rosas -- the split times were 13 1/5, 26 1/5 and 38 4/5 seconds -- Asmussen said he was pleased with way the colt handled the work.
"He was nice, smooth and relaxed," Asmussen said. "Still, Curlin's a great big horse who covers a lot of ground; galloped out real loose; seemed to come back very easy."
Curlin entered the Derby with decisive victories in each of his three career races, and Asmussen has been paying close attention to the way the colt has acted since losing for the first time.
"He came out of the race really well," Asmussen said. "He gave us no signs that he wouldn't come out of it well. But it was curious to see, with him never getting beaten before, how he would go back to the track. He was very patient. That was one thing I was wanting to see, that he didn't tighten up or get nervous or being somebody he hasn't always been."
Curlin, a son of Smart Strike and out of the Deputy Minister mare Sherriff's Deputy, is owned by Stonestreet Stables, Padua Stables, George Bolton and Midnight Cry Stable. He is scheduled to be shipped to Pimlico from Kentucky on Wednesday.
Asmussen, 41, began his training career in 1986. He has developed a large and successful operation and is annually among the national leaders in starts, victories and purse money earned. In 2005, Asmussen set a national record with 555 victories.
Through Sunday, he ranked second in victories with 154 and purse money, $6,195,293.
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- The Perfect Mandate colt galloped at Churchill Downs Monday morning and is scheduled to work Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
"I'm going to want him to go a half-mile in 51 (seconds), just go out and stretch his legs," Lukas said by phone. "He'll probably go a little faster than that because he is very gifted."
Flying First Class, a homebred colt owned by Ellwood W. "Buddy" Johnston, is coming to the Preakness following a 3-length victory in the Derby Trial on April 28 at Churchill Downs. While both of Flying First Class' two career victories in five starts have come in races under a mile, Lukas said the colt is versatile and can be effective at long races around two turns.
"I think the Preakness is within his scope," Lukas said. "I wouldn't say he is just a sprinter. He has fooled everyone who has ever gotten on him. I wouldn't say that I'm thinking about the Belmont Stakes for him, but I do think the mile and three-sixteenths of the Preakness is within his scope."
When Flying First Class goes to the gate Saturday, he will extend Lukas' record of Preakness starters to 32. Lukas won with his first Preakness starter, Codex in 1980, and is tied for second on the Preakness career victory list with Thomas J. Healy with five, two behind R. W. Walden. Lukas' other Preakness winners are: Tank's Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).
HARD SPUN -- The Kentucky Derby runner-up galloped 1-1/2 miles and jogged 3/8ths of a mile at Delaware Park Monday morning. Trainer Larry Jones was aboard Hard Spun, although he had pondered using an exercise rider in order to get a ground-level view of his colt's morning exercise.
"The guy I was going to put up on him -- I had a horse that needed him more than Hard Spun needed him," said Jones, who will saddle his first Preakness starter Saturday.
Hard Spun, who set the pace before finishing a clear second behind Street Sense at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, was Jones' first Derby starter. The son of Danzig's impressive performance was achieved with only two prep races this year and with six weeks between his final prep, a strong triumph in the Grade 2 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park.
“"I've always been one of those guys who marches to the beat of his own drummer. My teachers always complained about that, which is not to say that I was rebellious," said Jones, when asked about his untraditional pre-Derby training program for Hard Spun. "I always fly by the seat of my pants. You just do what you think it right."
Jones said that exercising his horses gives him the confidence to do things his way.
"I've been riding horses for the better part of 46 years on a very constant basis," said the Kentucky native. "I was lucky to come from a family who has always been involved with horses. Horses are just a way of life."
Hard Spun's jockey Mario Pino, the winningest jockey in the history of Maryland racing, rode a winner at Delaware Park on Sunday that moved him ahead of Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey to rank 15th on the all-time list in North America with 5,894 victories.
KING OF THE ROXY -- The heavy lifting is over for the Santa Anita Derby runner-up, and trainer Todd Pletcher sent him to the track Monday morning for a leisurely 1-1/2-mile gallop at Belmont Park.
"Everything looks good; he's in good form," said Pletcher, who will come to Baltimore on Wednesday for the draw and ship the colt on Thursday. "He's a good-looking, well balanced horse that's pretty efficient with his action. I think that's what allows him to do well."
Pletcher, who saddled five 3-year-olds for the Kentucky Derby, said King of the Roxy's campaign included the Preakness since his second-place finish behind Tiago in the Grade 1 race at Santa Anita on April 7.
"Barry Irwin (Team Valor's managing partner) and I spoke right after the Santa Anita Derby and we felt like -- with the time he had missed at the beginning of the year being sick and having only the one mile-and-an-eighth race -- that was the right plan," Pletcher said. "Pedigree-wise by Littleexpectations, a son of Valid Appeal, it's not really a pedigree that suggests a mile and three-sixteenths. He's out of a Bold Forbes mare, and he won the Belmont at a mile and a half and the Derby, so perhaps he gets some of his stamina from there."
King of the Roxy was purchased by Team Valor for $350,000 after breaking his maiden at Hollywood Park last July in his second start. He had originally sold for only $8,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September Sale.
MINT SLEWLEP -- In preparation for a start in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, Mint Slewlep worked five furlongs in 59 4/5 seconds at Pimlico on Monday morning. Exercise rider Christy Knorr was aboard the son of Slew City Slew for his 6:30 a.m. visit to the track.
"I thought he was walking. In fact, (Christy) said she thought he was going in 1:04. That's what's so deceiving about him. He's does things so easy," trainer Robbie Bailes said. "That's the reason I didn't want to put a jockey who didn’t really know him on him, because the next thing I know he's going down there in 57 (seconds). I got what I wanted from him."
On a clear, crisp morning, Mint Slewlep had the Preakness Stakes Barn to himself. Although Bailes is stabled at the Bowie Training Center, he was anxious to bring his colt to Pimlico.
"When they start feeding in, he'll already be used to everything. That's one advantage of getting here real early," he said. "I really wanted to get a work over the track. You got the tents; you got the seats; everything's new to him."
Mint Slewlep will be the second Preakness starter for his trainer, who saddled Scrappy T. for an eventful second-place finish behind Afleet Alex in the 2005 running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
"It's a little bit different. With Scrappy, I really thought we had the horse to win the race. With him, I'm not really sure," Bailes said. "I don't mean to say he doesn't have the talent. I believe the colt's got the talent, if he's got enough racing experience under him."
Mint Slewlep was purchased for $200,000 last year at the Ocala Breeders' Sale for Marshall Dowell, a retired Harley-Davidson dealer who lives in Virginia.
"This colt doesn't have much breeding under him. The only horse his father ever threw was Lava Man. But when I go to the sales looking for horses, I don't really look at the pedigree first. I look at the horse," Bailes said. "This colt really caught him eye. There was something about him, and it all worked out."
Alan Garcia will ride Mint Slewlep Saturday.
STREET SENSE -- The Kentucky Derby winner galloped 1-1/4 miles at Churchill Downs for trainer Carl Nafzger, who is hoping for a better outcome than the last time he brought a Derby winner to Pimlico.
"I feel good about him," said Nafzger, who had to settle for second with Unbridled in the 1990 Preakness behind Summer Squall. "This is a tough race, though. This is going to be one of the best Preaknesses we've had in a long time."
Street Sense had a clear affinity for Churchill Downs, where he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby with the best performances of his eight starts, but Nafzger seems confident he'll be able to handle the demands of Pimlico.
"I never thought about it that way," said Nafzger, whose colt is now 4-for-8, with two seconds and two thirds. "I just think (Pimlico's) got a little tighter turns. It was a harder track for Unbridled to run over than for this horse to run over this year."
Unbridled would go on to finish fourth in the Belmont Stakes, before going on to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont to secure an Eclipse Award for his trainer, as well as claiming the 3-year-old championship.
Calvin Borel, who has been aboard for all of Street Sense's races, will ride in the Preakness. The son of Street Cry is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.
XCHANGER -- The Mark Shuman-trained Xchanger will attempt to win his second race in a row over the Pimlico racetrack in Saturday's Preakness, having captured the $100,000 Federico Tesio on April 21.
"It's nice to know that he's won at Pimlico, but I really don't think Pimlico is a track you need to run one over. Not too many horses have trouble handling the track," Shuman said. "If you say your horse didn't like the track, you're probably just making up excuses. The Maryland tracks are safe surfaces and fair surfaces."
Xchanger, who galloped 1-1/2 miles under exercise rider Anissa Butler at Fair Hill Training Center Monday morning, was considered a Kentucky Derby prospect, contingent on a possible sale of the Circle Z Stables' star to an owner with Derby Fever. When a sale wasn't consummated, the son of Exchange Rate was pointed toward the Preakness.
"The timing wasn't there. It wouldn't have been fair to the horse to run him back in the Derby in two weeks against that caliber of horse," Shuman said. "And if he ran good (in the Derby), to run him back in two weeks in the Preakness wouldn't have been fair to him."
Ramon Dominguez, whose services became available when trainer Michael Matz withdrew Chelokee from Preakness consideration Sunday, will have the return mount on Xchanger.
Update 1890: A gorgeous morning at Fair Hill. A little on the chillier side early, but I was not too early, only having three to ride. Nautical Agent was first, and she went out to the fields and jogged / hacked once around (two miles). She was nice and quiet and enjoyed her stroll around. Grandma was next, I took her to the dirt track, she was to jog two miles and also stand in the gate (Tim is planning on doing more gate work with her in the next week or so). She stood nice and quietly in the gate, very professional and relaxed. She also jogged around the track well without getting too stirred up, which she can do. Nonpariel was my last horse, and she did the same as Grandma, jogging a couple of miles and standing in the gate. I saw both Mark Shuman and Michael Matz who both appeared in good form this morning, but no word on their horses for the weekend (Chelokee and Xchanger)... I did not ask. Just a pleasant morning to be riding racehorses.
This is Dick Jerardi's piece following his visit to Fair Hill yesterday: Matz' return to Pimlico is bittersweet: Chelokee may run in Barbaro Stakes.
Update 1889: It was a lovely late afternoon yesterday at Willowdale races and the Robbie Walsh benefit. I got there about 5 pm thinking the races would be over and was pleasantly surprised there was still a flat race left. Music was playing in the background, so the party was getting underway. After the race I wandered over and the gathering was getting quite sizable (free food, drink and music). Anyway, it turned into a pleasant evening, Tim and Penny were there, as well as the Brettes, Sean Clancy, and many riders from Fair Hill, all out to support Robbie. The silent auction items seemed to be well bid (I left before I could see if I won anything) but it did look like a good event that was well supported. Congratulations to Gus Brown for putting it together.
And congratulations to Hard Spun's jockey, Mario Pino for eclipsing Jerry Bailey's number of winners yesterday at Delaware Park: Pino surpasses Bailey on jockey all-time win list. Mario has two brothers in racing, one a trainer (for whom I have freelanced) and one a blacksmith, who does work at Fair Hill.
Posted by Alex at 10:39 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 279
Posted May 12, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1888: Sunday's Pimlico Preakness update:
CHELOKEE - Centennial Farms' Chelokee will probably not compete in the Preakness but is headed to another race on the program, trainer Michael Matz said Sunday.
"Right now, I think that we're leaning toward going in the Barbaro Stakes," Matz said.
The Sir Barton was renamed the Barbaro by the Maryland Jockey Club during the winter to honor Matz' ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, who was injured in the Preakness.
Chelokee has not raced since finishing third after a troubled trip in the Florida Derby on March 31 at Gulfstream. Matz said the Cherokee Run colt has recovered from a foot abscess and turned in a good workout Sunday morning at the Fair Hill Training Center.
"He went 5/8ths of a mile and did it very nicely," Matz said.
Chelokee covered the five furlongs under jockey Ramon Dominguez in 1:01 while working in company with Wood Be Willing, a 5-year-old stablemate.
Matz has until entries are due for the Preakness on Wednesday to change his plans, but he indicated it wasn't likely that he would run the colt in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
"I would say unless something happens where some of those top three horses scratch out, we'll probably go in the Barbaro," Matz said.
C P WEST -- Inclement weather in New York Sunday morning forced Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito to postpone a final workout for the son of Came Home until Monday.
"We galloped him today because the track was off," Zito said from Belmont Park. "It rained a lot last night, a lot of unexpected rain, so we rescheduled for tomorrow."
C P West has run second in both his starts this season, an allowance at Gulfstream Park in March and a second in the one-mile Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct on April 28. He was a troubled sixth behind Street Sense in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, beaten 22 lengths at Churchill Downs.
Edgar Prado has the mount aboard C P West.
CURLIN - During a national teleconference last week, Curlin's trainer Steve Asmussen talked about the challenge that the Preakness presents for horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby.
Curlin, who won the first three starts of this career, finished third in the Derby, eight lengths behind the winner, Street Sense.
"The uniqueness is (coming back in the Preakness) two weeks off the toughest race of your life," Asmussen said.
While the Preakness distance of 1-3/16 miles is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby distance, Asmussen said the short time between the races is a problem.
"The Derby, you get to run when you want -- your last prep being eight weeks or a week, your choice," Asmussen said. "Going into the Derby, you know graded earnings, and you know whether you're going to get in or not. The Derby to the Preakness: Here it is. You're making travel arrangements."
Curlin is scheduled to ship from Kentucky to Baltimore on Wednesday. Robby Albarado, who has ridden the colt in all four races in his career, has the mount.
FLYING FIRST CLASS -- Hall of Fame D. Wayne Lukas is scheduled to ship Flying First Class from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Wednesday.
Lukas confirmed Saturday that the Perfect Mandate colt will run in the Preakness. Flying First Class, owned by Ellwood W. Johnston, won the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 28 in his most recent start.
The addition of Flying First Class may affect the pace scenario in the Preakness. Both of the colt's victories in his five-race career have been in races under a mile in distance in which he set or attended the pace. Flying First Class received a high speed figure while breaking his maiden by eight lengths in a six-furlong race at Oaklawn Park in 1:09 4/5 on Feb. 19. In the Derby Trial, he covered the first six furlongs in 1:08 3/5 and completed the 7 ½ furlongs in 1:29 1/5 while winning by 3 ¾ lengths.
Veteran jockey Mark Guidry rode the colt in the Derby Trial and will ride Flying First Class in the Preakness. Guidry, who announced his plan to retire later this year, recorded his 5,000th career victory during Derby week.
HARD SPUN – Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun galloped 1-1/2 miles and jogged another 3/8ths of a mile at Delaware Park Sunday morning. Trainer Larry Jones was aboard for his colt's morning exercise, but he may let another exercise rider take the son of Danzig to the track Monday morning.
"I'm thinking of using an exercise rider (Monday), so I can watch him go -- to see if there's anything that needs to be worked on," Jones said. "Or I might just sit back and grin."
Jones reported that Hard Spun has come out of his strong Derby effort in great shape.
"He's very special horse. He handles everything so well, mentally. It's like he knows what he has to do. It's like he wants to succeed at everything he does," said Jones, who trains Hard Spun for Richard Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
Jones, who reported that Hard Spun felt invigorated on a cool Sunday morning at Delaware, does not expect to schedule a workout for his Preakness hopeful, just as he had indicated the morning after the Derby.
Jones marveled at the high cruising speed of Hard Spun, who set the pace in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby before being overtaken by Street Sense in the stretch.
"He's just a little faster than the other horses. If you want to run with him early, if you want to commit suicide, he'll make you run much faster than you want to," said Jones, whose stable star will be shipped to Pimlico on Wednesday. "I'm not saying he's the fastest horse in the world, but he's got a great cruising speed."
Maryland's all-time leading rider Mario Pino made his first Kentucky Derby appearance aboard Hard Spun and will ride the Jones-trained colt again in the Preakness.
KING OF THE ROXY -- Trainer Todd Pletcher left the door open Sunday morning for a possible second Preakness Stakes entrant after his Santa Anita Derby runner-up King of the Roxy jogged 1-1/2 miles at Belmont Park the morning after his final Preakness workout.
"That's my decision as of this moment," Pletcher answered when asked if King of the Roxy would be his lone starter in racing's Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. When asked if that decision was subject to change, Pletcher responded, “Always.” Pletcher, who saddled five 3-year-olds in the Kentucky Derby, would not identify his possible second Preakness entrant, but he said that decision would be made on Wednesday. Post positions will be drawn that day. The former D. Wayne Lukas assistant said King of the Roxy looked "outstanding" on the track Sunday morning as he prepares for only his third start of the season. "We'll just basically gallop up to the race."
King of the Roxy won the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park in his belated seasonal debut on March 3, before finishing only a half-length behind Kentucky Derby also-ran Tiago in the Santa Anita Derby.
MINT SLEWLEP – Trainer Robbie Bailes sent Mint Slewlep to the track for a leisurely jog the wrong way around the Pimlico oval Sunday morning. The 3-year-old son of Slew City Slew will have a more eventful Monday morning, when he is scheduled to work five furlongs under exercise rider Christy Knorr in preparation for a start in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
Although Mint Slewlep was a surprise candidate for Preakness 132, Bailes has been targeting the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown for a while.
"We've had it on the back burner. We just wanted to wait to see how many horses in the Derby were going to come to this race," Bailes said.
Mint Slewlep will be making his first start at Pimlico in the Preakness, but the Kentucky-bred colt has won both of his starts in Maryland, a maiden-breaker last fall and an allowance score last month, both at Laurel Park.
New York-based Alan Garcia will ride Mint Slewlep Saturday.
"Alan has been riding horses for me for a while," said Bailes, whose colt finished fourth under Kent Desormeaux in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in his most recent start. "He's a good young rider. He's very underrated."
Garcia rode the Bailes-trained Scrappy T. for a victory in the 2005 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct. Scrappy T went on to finish second behind Afleet Alex in the 2005 Preakness Stakes.
STREET SENSE – Trainer Carl Nafzger took the Kentucky Derby winner to the gate Sunday morning at Churchill Downs and then supervised a 1-1/4-mile gallop.
"We stood him in the gate and backed him out," said Nafzger, who plans to give the son of Street Cry a final breeze on Tuesday and ship to Pimlico on Wednesday. "He's doing great. He's damn near ahead of schedule. We're just trying to keep him happy. That's all you can really do between the Derby and the Preakness."
The Preakness will be the fourth start this season for Street Sense, the first winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to add the Derby to his resume. He is 3-for-4 as a 3-year-old, losing the Blue Grass by a nose in his lone defeat.
Street Sense will be ridden by Calvin Borel, who attended a reception for Queen Elizabeth II at the White House following his first Kentucky Derby victory.
XCHANGER -- Circle Z Stables' Xchanger walked the shedrow at Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning after breezing five furlongs in 59 2/5 seconds on Saturday.
"He's super. He didn't miss a beat, didn't miss an oat," trainer Mark Shuman said.
Shuman has been keeping the mount aboard Xchanger open for Ramon Dominguez, who has had a commitment to ride Chelokee if the Centennial Farms' colt was entered in the Preakness. After trainer Michael Matz's revealed his decision to point Chelokee to the Barbaro Stakes on the Preakness undercard instead of the main event, Shuman awaited word from Dominguez's agent, Steve Rushing, Sunday.
Note: Fair Hill also suffered a lot of rain last night, that did not effect Chelokee's work as the Tapeta track handles rain no problem.
Update 1887: Baltimore Sun notes the critical moments shortly after Barbaro's injury and how decisions were made: The Decision, the article concludes:
"We've had people tell us it's going to be a long time before the Barbaro story goes away," Roy Jackson said last week. "We hope the emphasis is on using that to try to solve some of the critical issues in our business. We would like to see that be Barbaro's legacy. The fact that he fought so hard, we just hope down the road it helps other horses."
Update 1886: I met up with Dick Jerardi for breakfast, Dick spent more time with Michael Matz this morning after Chelokee's work. It looks like a decision on where / when to run Chelokee may be made tomorrow. Mike Jensen spent time with Dr. Richardson last week, including attending his lecture on wednesday: Failing to save Barbaro is doctor's only regret, it concludes:
When he talks, Richardson always tries to make the point that the vast majority of Barbaro's days were good ones. He doesn't deny that he got extremely close to this patient. His best memories, he said, are of being alone with him as Barbaro grazed.
"It's like people. Some are nice, but kind of dull," Richardson said. "Others are just mean as snakes. . . . Barbaro, he was always interacting with his surroundings."
Barbaro's surgeon added, "He seemed a little larger than life, because he did some larger-than-life things."
Update 1885: A gorgeous sunday morning at Fair Hill. I had none to ride but thought I would go in and hope to time it to see Chelokee work. I got lucky, he was scheduled to work about 9 am. I went over to the clockers stand to watch. A couple of other trainers were there watching, as was Dick Jerardi (Daily News). Chelokee was under Ramon Dominguez and breezed 5/8ths in company with Wood be Willing under Peter Brette, they were on the Tapeta track. Chelokee started off a little behind (length and a half) and they worked together from about midway through the turn. It looked like a nice work for both horses, neither of which were under any pressure. I went back to Michael's barn afterwards with Dick and we hung around and chatted a little with Michael while Chelokee cooled out. Eduardo, who is Chelokee's groom, was there so we chatted about the Barbaro celebration day at Delaware Park. Michael was in good form showing us some of his new 2yos, lets now see what decisions are made for Chelokee's next start.
Update 1884: There was a third update from Pimlico yesterday, Michael Matz won the stake and Ramon Dominguez is due to work Chelokee this morning:
Hidden Creek Farm's Street Sounds left the starting gate as the 1-5 favorite, quickly spurted to the lead from her outside post and raced on cruise the rest of the way to score an easy victory in the $80,000 Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies contested over the firm turf this afternoon at Pimlico.
Michael Matz trains the bay daughter of Street Cry, who was winning her third straight added money race. She captured the Selima Stakes on the turf at Laurel Park and the Grade II Beaumont at Keeneland in her previous two outings.
Ramon Dominguez, who has won three of four starts aboard Street Sounds, was at the controls as she sped under the finish line in 1:36.66 over the firm turf. Ethan's Car chased the leader throughout and finished a clear second, 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Cabbage Key ran third.
"That was very easy," said Dominguez, who earned his 3,000th career victory earlier this week. "I was very pleased with the way she did it. She took me to the lead and I felt like she was going pretty quick early on but at the same time she was very relaxed. I was very happy with her."
Street Sounds paid $2.40. The exacta returned $9.80 and the triple came back $19.60.
Martin Paramo, assistant trainer for Matz said, "She is a very nice, classy filly. She trains so good. Our last race was terrific on the Polytrack at Keeneland. It was really nice because she had four months off and she returned to be the same filly."
Earlier in the day Dominguez learned he would ride in his sixth Preakness Stakes a week from today but the 30-year-old does not know what three-year-old he will be aboard in the $1 million classic just yet. Agent Steve Rushing secured the mount on Chelokee if Matz decides to run his colt in the Preakness. If not, then Dominguez will ride Xchanger. The pair teamed up to win the Tesio Stakes at Pimlico three weeks ago.
Dominguez will work Chelokee Sunday morning at the Fair Hill Training Center. Matz has indicated he'll decide whether to run the son of Cherokee Run in the Preakness, Barbaro Stakes or wait for the Ohio Derby after the breeze. Dominguez would also have the mount if Matz opts for the Barbaro.
"You hate to wait until the last minute to let either party know," added Dominguez. "But I feel very fortunate to be in the position where I will have a chance to ride in such a big event."
Update 1883: A second update today from Pimlico:
Trainer and co-owner Jamie Sanders announced Saturday afternoon that Teuflesberg will not run in next Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I). The son of Johannesburg, who finished 17th in last weekend's Kentucky Derby (Grade I) was originally scheduled to leave Kentucky tomorrow for Pimlico.
"We need to do what is right for the horse," said Sanders. "He has given us everything leading up to this spot, including the Derby. It was a tough decision but it is a long campaign and we have a lot of races in store for him."
Teuflesberg has raced 16 times in his career with four victories, including the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February.
The defection leaves the Preakness with seven confirmed starters. The connections of two other horses are still considering the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown.
Update 1882: Pimlico's Preakness update for saturday:
Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas confirmed this morning to Pimlico officials that he will be sending Flying First Class to the $1 million Preakness Stakes, which will be contested one week from today at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Flying First Class was an impressive winner of the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 28 after a pair of off the board finishes in the Arkansas Derby (Grade II) and Rebel Stakes (Grade III) at Oaklawn Park earlier in the year. Mark Guidry, who was aboard for the Churchill score, retains the mount.
"We think he is coming up to the race in good order and he's been doing what we've asked of him," said Lukas, who has started a record 31 horses in the middle jewel to date and has lifted the Woodlawn Vase five times. "I think he merits the chance. He's earned it."
Starbase has been removed from consideration for the Preakness, but could start in the Barbaro Stakes on the Preakness undercard. On December 20, 2006, the Maryland Jockey Club announced that the former Sir Barton Stakes had been renamed The Barbaro Stakes to honor last year's Kentucky Derby winner who was injured in the 2006 Preakness.
Ramon Dominguez will ride in his sixth Preakness a week from today but the former Maryland star does not know what three-year-old he will be aboard just yet. Agent Steve Rushing informed the Pimlico media relations staff that his rider has secured the mount on Chelokee if trainer Michael Matz decides to run his colt in the Preakness. If not the 30-year-old Dominguez, who won his 3,000th race earlier this week, will ride Xchanger. The pair teamed up to win the Tesio Stakes at Pimlico three weeks ago. Dominguez will work Chelokee Sunday morning at the Fair Hill Training Center. Matz has indicated he'll decide whether to run the son of Cherokee Run in the Preakness, Barbaro Stakes or wait for the Ohio Derby after the breeze. Dominguez would also have the mount if Matz opts for the Barbaro.
Xchanger worked five-furlongs in 59 and 2/5th seconds with exercise Anissa Butler over the Fair Hill Training Center's all weather surface. Trainer Mark Shuman remains confident the Tesio winner is sitting on a big race.
"He did it as easy as a horse could do it," said Shuman. "He cooled out great, scoped good. We are 100 percent ready for next week. We are just waiting for a confirmation on Dominguez which I am expecting tomorrow. Then we are good to go."
Todd Pletcher moved up King of the Roxy's final work one day and the Santa Anita Derby runner-up breezed six-furlongs in 1:14.92 at Belmont Park Saturday morning. King of the Roxy will ship into Pimlico Thursday.
Matz's decision to ride Dominguez opened the door for Nick Zito to name Edgar Prado as the rider on C P West. A final decision on whether or not the son of Came Home will start will be made Monday morning after the Withers runner-up breezes but Zito is expecting to have a Preakness starter for the 14th time in the last 17 years.
"It is good karma to secure a jock in advance," Zito said. "And Edgar certainly knows his way around Pimlico." Prado won 14 riding titles at Old Hilltop in the 1990's.
The Preakness will include the top three finishers from last week's Kentucky Derby and is shaping up to be the deepest field since 2004. Many Pimlico historians are comparing Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin to Silver Charm, Free House and Captain Bodgit who in 1997 duplicated the trifecta in Louisville two weeks later in Baltimore. This year's 1-2-3 finishers will arrive at Pimlico Wednesday.
This morning at Churchill Downs, Street Sense galloped a mile and a quarter under the watchful eye of trainer Carl Nafzger who said, "He went great."
Meanwhile at Delaware Park, trainer Larry Jones reported Hard Spun galloped a mile and a half.
"He went pretty strong," Jones said. "Everything is good in our camp. We could not be happier."
"The horse (Street Sense) is a very deserving horse," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Curlin. "At the same time, we're going to the Preakness. Planning on winning it."
The first two Preakness starters will arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn tomorrow. Mint Slewlep will be vanned from the Bowie Training Center and be on the track at 6:30 a.m., while Teuflesberg will leave Louisville after training hours and arrive in Baltimore after dark.
SportsCenter at Preakness Draw will take place live on Wednesday at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and will be broadcast on ESPN 2 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Update 1881: A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. Less humidity and a nice breeze. We also had ESPN here (Brooke, Kevin and Kevin), they took some video of me on Gator Nation, it might be part of their Preakness telecast about Fans of Barbaro! Three to ride today. Gator Nation was first out. He galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta track. He went nicely (I hope he looked good!) Tim was with me on Who's Happy. She looked to gallop well also. Second set I was on Farouche, she jogged two miles. Tim was on Nautical Agent and she open galloped a turn on the Tapeta track. All looked well. Xchanger was out that set and he worked, I think 5/8ths. He started a few lengths behind his work companion, seemed to pull upsides with ease around the turn and pull away by 4 - 5 lengths by the end of the work. It looked good to me to set him up for the Preakness next saturday.
My last set was Pistol ... for Lynda. He galloped a mile and a half, breezing the last quarter. He also went nicely. All in all a nice pleasant morning to be outside! I also ran into Mr. and Mrs. Jackson after I was finished, they were visiting their horses and seemed in good form.
Update 1880: Jay Privman writes on Michael Matz: One year later, Matz has moved on. I admire Michael's ability to look forward and not let the past define who he is. I had actually thought he would make a great speaker for a leadership program (I used to work at Wharton) for this very same reason.
Breeders' Cup winning Sprinter Thors' Echo is returning to O'Neill's barn: Thor's Echo returning. Since his late season successes in the US he has had two unsuccessful starts in Dubai.
Monmouth racing opens today and this is their big year with the Breeders' Cup closing out their season: Refurbished Monmouth Begins Biggest Season.
Posted by Alex at 10:23 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 278
Posted May 11, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1879: Preakness update from Pimlico:
Todd Pletcher won three stakes races on the Preakness undercard a year ago and often runs horses in Maryland. However the nation's top conditioner has only saddled one starter in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I) with Impeachment, who was third in 2000. That will change in eight days when he brings Team Valor's King of the Roxy to Baltimore for the 132nd running of the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown.
King of the Roxy has finished first or second in five of his seven career starts, including a second place finish in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby last month at a mile and an eighth. The son of Littleexpectations has a pair of Grade II wins sprinting: The Futurity last September and Hutchinson at Gulfstream Park in March.
"We started focusing on the Preakness immediately after the Santa Anita Derby," Pletcher said this morning from his Belmont Park office. "He has only been long a couple times and in the one start at Churchill (Breeders' Cup Juvenile) it wasn't his best effort. He lost some training time when we first got to Florida over the winter so we felt we didn't want to rush him and pointed to the Preakness."
John Velazquez will make his Preakness debut aboard King of the Roxy, who will work at Belmont Sunday and ship into Pimlico Race Course Thursday with three or four other Pletcher horses who will run Preakness weekend. Owner Barry Irwin will represent King of the Roxy at Wednesday's Post Position Draw.
King of the Roxy is one of seven potential new shooters who will face four horses who competed in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (Grade I), including the top three finishers: Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin.
Trainer Carl Nafzger reported Street Sense walked the shedow at Churchill Downs this morning and will gallop tomorrow. The Derby winner will arrive at Pimlico Wednesday on the second Tex Sutton flight out of Louisville and will be stabled in Stall 40 of the stakes barn, which is reserved for the Derby winner.
"Now the pressure is on me," joked Nafzger, who has saddled two career Preakness starters, including Unbridled, who finished second in 1990.
Calvin Borel, who has never ridden at Pimlico, has the mount.
It was back to business as usual for Derby runner-up Hard Spun according to trainer Larry Jones. The son of Danzig galloped a mile and a half and jogged a quarter-mile at Delaware Park.
"It was vintage Hard Spun," Jones said. "He is as normal as normal can be. We have total confidence in him. We do not have any plans to breeze him. As well as he's doing we'll just have to play it by ear. If he acts like he needs to we'll let him blow off a little steam, but we do not plan to schedule a work for him, but we'll do as we've done all spring, we'll let him tell us what we need to do and hopefully we'll be able to understand what he's saying and do right."
Mario Pino, the winningest rider in Maryland history with nearly 4,900 victories at Pimlico, Laurel Park, Bowie and Timonium, has his third Preakness mount.
"I know I've got a great horse and Street Sense is a great horse. That's going to give me a lot of confidence," said Pino, who is one win shy of tying Jerry Bailey for 15th on the all-time win list. "Now Calvin's coming to my country. He beat me at Churchill and he knows that track and you can see the way he moved in the Derby he knew every nick and cranny of that rail. He had to have a lot of confidence. I can ride Pimlico with confidence. I know every nick and cranny at Pimlico. I know how the turns are. I know sharp they are and when to drop in. At Churchill I was kind of a little skeptical. At Pimlico it's going to give me a slight edge. It's always good to get a trip around the track and I have many, many trips around Pimlico. If I can bring that into how I ride Hard Spun and I can bring out a winner that would be a plus."
When trainer Steve Asmussen announced yesterday that Curlin would be Preakness bound it meant the second time in the last three years that the top three finishers in the "Run For The Roses" came back two weeks later. Unlike Street Sense and Hard Spun who had perfect trips in Louisville, the lightly raced son of Smart Strike was steadied early and rallied from 14th to finish third while five-wide.
"I don't know that he'll improve but I don't expect any drop," Asmussen said yesterday on an NTRA conference call. "I think his inexperience will now refer to the fact that he's a fresher horse than anybody simply because he doesn't have the miles or the races in him. An adage in racing that I truly believe in is 'get paid for what you do but also you pay for what you do'. We're looking at a horse with four lifetime races and a million dollars. It puts him in elite company."
Two starters will be in the Pimlico stakes barn Sunday. Jamie Sanders will van Teuflesberg, who finished 17th in the Derby, from Churchill Downs after training Sunday morning while Robbie Bailes will have a shorter trip with Mint Slewlep, vanning the 37 miles from the Bowie Training Center in time to train at Pimlico after the renovation break.
Bailes said his charge who was fourth in the Grade I Withers last month will tentatively work Monday and named New York-based Alan Garcia as his pilot for Maryland's signature race.
Mark Shuman continues to look for a rider for Tesio winner Xchanger, who galloped two miles at the Fair Hill Training Center this morning.
"We are planning a five eighths of a mile workout tomorrow morning, weather permitting," Shuman said. "I'm just looking for a nice maintenance workout. He's very fresh so I don't want him getting too speedy. Our plans now are to come to Pimlico late the day before the Preakness or early Preakness morning. We don't have a confirmed rider yet but Ramon Dominguez, Edgar Prado or Garrett Gomez will likely ride him."
Prado and Dominguez, both former Maryland riding stars, are also considering mounts aboard Chelokee, a potential new shooter from the Michael Matz stable. Matz, who will saddle the morning line favorite in tomorrow's Hilltop Stakes at Old Hilltop, has indicated a decision will be made on the third place finisher of the Florida Derby (Grade I) after the son of Cherokee Run works this weekend at Fair Hill.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito will also make a final decision on whether to start Withers runner-up C P West. However the popular New Yorker is leaning towards saddling his 18th starter in the Preakness, which would move him into a third place tie with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons on the all-time list.
Fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas leads that list with 31 Preakness starters. Lukas has committed to at least one Preakness starter, either Derby Trail winner Flying First Class or Starbase, who finished second in the Lexington Stakes.
Update 1878: Tapeta track, the same we use at Fair Hill, has now been adopted by a new Pennsylvania racetrack: New Pennsylvania Track to Install Tapeta Surface.
Steve Haskin makes interesting observations about Curlin's trip in the Derby, and Tiago's gallop out after the Derby (and the need to work at Churchill to win the Derby): Steve Haskin's Preakness Report - Curlin's Derby Better Than it Looks.
Update 1877: Another pleasant and quiet morning for me this morning at Fair Hill. It was again a little muggy, but not too hot. I had three to ride. Gator Nation was my first. He went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a quarter. He's a cool dude to ride, and fits me quite well as I am a little tall. He feels good after his nice win last week. My second set was Nautical Agent. She did the same as Gator and also went nicely. She is a little on the slighter side, but really reaches her head low, so you need to ride her off a long reign. As I was galloping down the backside of the track Tim came "gliding" by me on Red Aspen, who was working 5/8ths. This is her final work before her next race which is planned for thursday of next week. She looked good! Coming home from the track I saw Xchanger, being led to the track by Mark Shuman. All is well in their camp, although they are still trying to engage a jockey. Final set was Grandma, and she went out back across the fields with Tim on Whip Smart. We had a nice easy jog around for two miles, they will both be breezing tomorrow.
Update 1876: Sean Clancy is doing a local book signing for his book: Barbaro: The Horse Who Captured America's Heart later today (4pm - 7pm) at the Beresford Gallery in Unionville PA. Sean will also be doing the same at Willowdale races on sunday.
After the Willowdale races a fundraising benefit is being hosted for Robbie Walsh, a steeplechase jockey who was badly injured (lots of broken bones, all recoverable) a few weeks ago. The event should be fun (band, food, beverage and silent auction), Tim and I plan to be there. Robbie is also a freelance exercise rider for Tim.
Off the triple crown news, last year's Horse of the Year had his first work since winning the Dubai World Cup: Invasor Turns in First Work Since World Cup. A nice easy half mile in 50 4/5ths on wednesday.
Posted by Alex at 11:05 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 277
Posted May 10, 2007
updates are here.
Update 1875: I just spent a pleasant afternoon hanging out with Mike Rea at Freedom Hills. A lovely afternoon to go for a trail ride, and I really believe Mike is showing more progress.
Here is today's Preakness release:
BALTIMORE, MD. 05-10-07---For the first time since last Saturday's Run for the Roses, trainer Steve Asmussen confirmed in an NTRA Teleconference that Curlin, the Kentucky Derby morning line favorite and third place finisher, will start in the Preakness Stakes. With his announcement, the 1-2-3 finishers from the Kentucky Derby along with seven possible new shooters, will line-up at Pimlico to run in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
Asmussen said, "We do plan on running him in the Preakness. The only hesitation was waiting for him to go back to the track. Heading off of his first defeat, I was very curious were he would be mentally. You would expect them to be nervous, in little things but he's not shown any indication of that. His appetite has stayed good. He's a big strong horse. Very pleased with how he came out of the race physically and very relaxed going onto the track. Just wanted to make sure it was still him.
"The Derby is an experience like no other. Not only do you have to be good enough, you have to be very fortunate. I think the race Street Sense ran was worthy of a Derby victory and the race Hard Spun ran was worthy of being second. When you look at the race after the fact you beat seventeen of the best three-year-olds in the country at one time. We just didn't beat the other two."
Asmussen also confirmed that jockey Robby Albarado will retain the mount on Curlin.
At Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense galloped a mile and a quarter. The Carl Nafzger trainee will work Tuesday and ship into Pimlico on the second flight out of Louisville Wednesday morning. The son of Street Cry will be stabled in Stall 40 of the stakes barn, which is reserved for the Derby winner.
"He'll walk tomorrow and we'll go from there," said Nafzger about his training plans leading up to the Preakness. "Once we get to Pimlico he'll walk Thursday and gallop on the track Friday morning."
Hard Spun continues to rebound from his stellar Derby performance at his home at Delaware Park. Trainer Larry Jones said, "I couldn't be more pleased. He jogged three-eighths of a mile and galloped a mile and a quarter. He's very happy and relaxed right now. It's amazing. This horse ran a mile and a quarter, rode ten hours in a van and now we're in the vicinity of Baltimore and he's doing this well, this early. It's very encouraging. I wouldn't have expected him to be back to this stage until next Monday or Tuesday."
Trainer Todd Pletcher has named John Velazquez to ride King of the Roxy in the Preakness. King of the Roxy has made seven lifetime starts and Velazquez has ridden him twice, to a second place finish in the Saratoga Special and to victory in the Futurity at Belmont Park.
Word from the Fair Hill Training Center continues to be upbeat on the status of Federico Tesio Stakes winner Xchanger. Trainer Mark Shuman said, "He's doing super. He galloped a mile and three-quarters this morning. He's really getting sharp. This horse couldn't be doing better right now. Hopefully today, we'll have a better idea of who will be riding him. It's really become a day to day thing now."
Trainer Jamie Sanders told staffers in the Pimlico racing office that Teuflesberg will van from Churchill Downs Saturday, accompanied by four other horses pointing to added-money events on Preakness weekend.
Bowie-based Mint Slewlep will add the finishing touches to his Preakness preparations when he ships to Pimlico this weekend. Trainer Robbie Bailes said, "Everything is going very well. He jogged two miles this morning. Our plans are to get him into Pimlico very early Sunday morning and train over the track and give him a chance to get familiar with his surroundings. We haven't made a decision on a rider, but that should happen within the next two days."
Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas will start either Derby Trial winner Flying First Class and/or Starbase, second in the Lexington Stakes.
Others considering the Preakness are Withers runner-up C P West, from the Nick Zito barn, and the Michael Matz trained Chelokee, who finished third in the Florida Derby.
Sedgefield, who finished a surprising fifth in the Run For The Roses, has been dropped from consideration from next Saturday's headliner according to Daily Racing Form.
Update 1874: Congratulations to Ramon Dominguez for passing the 3,000 winner career mark: Dominguez gets 3,000th career victory.
Don't forget, Dr. Richardson is on Talkin' Horses today at 2 pm.
Update 1873: Another nice quiet morning for me at Fair Hill, with three to ride. It was a little foggy and muggy, but with recent memories of winter (and a short morning) I was not complaining. First was Grandma. She went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half. Tim was with us on Mediman. Grandma was a little wound up before she galloped, but settled down nicely in her gallop and walked home very quietly. Second set was Nautical Agent, she galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta, Tim was on Who's Happy, doing the same thing. Both went well. Finally I took Gator Nation across the fields with Tim on Nonpariel. We had a nice hack around the outside of the (2 mile) field, and both were very relaxed. We met another set of horses coming the other way around the field, but no wildlife! Finally I did a short interview with WGAL Channel 8 (NBC), it should air either next wednesday or thursday. It seems they are at Fair Hill all morning, and were at New Bolton Center yesterday. I was being asked about this website and the Fans of Barbaro phenomena, of course I can talk about that all day!
Update 1872: Mike Jensen writes about Chelokee's (not yet determined) near term plan, and also notes Hard Spun is back galloping at Delaware Park: Matz might run Chelokee in Barbaro Stakes, excerpt:
"He'll gallop every day," said Jones, who isn't planning on breezing Hard Spun before the Preakness. "We'll plan on going out there every morning. I actually did a little more with him than I intended to when I went out there because he just felt like he wanted to do a little more. We jogged a half-mile, galloped a mile. Everything went well."
Over at Fair Hill, a few miles away, Matz said he would be watching his horse carefully over the coming days.
"My horse has been taking little steps forward all the time, and I want to keep him that way," Matz said. "And it's a long year and there are some big races coming up. I don't know if he's as good as those first three [Derby] horses. But I don't know that he isn't."
I ran into Mike Jensen last night, attending Dr. Richardson's lecture. It was a great event. Dr. Richardson, a man who is clearly at the very top of his profession, still carries guilt that comes along with failing to save Barbaro, it was evident throughout the evening. His presentation was very interesting and provided some back content that helped me understand a little more some of the "behind the scenes" work that went on throughout the months (pool recovery process etc). Dr. Richardson entertained many questions with ease. We were also able to make a couple of presentations. I presented some cheques from Delaware Park from the Laminitis Fund drive, and Jessica presented the artwork created by Anna (and cheque): Update #4 Dr. R's Artwork Gift. All in all a great evening, meeting and seeing again some wonderful FOBs!
Posted by Alex at 11:20 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 276
Posted May 9, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1871: Today's Preakness press release:
BALTIMORE, 05-09-07---The top three finishers in last Saturday's Kentucky Derby (Grade I) were on the track this morning beginning preparations for the $1 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I) at historic Pimlico Race Course on May 19.
Trainer Carl Nafzger reported that Jim Tafel LLC's Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense galloped about a mile and an eighth at Churchill Downs at 7 a.m. The owner, meanwhile, is still basking in the glory of winning the first leg of the famed Triple Crown.
"It is a tremendous experience," Tafel said this morning. "There is nothing like it. I can't describe it-you have to live it. It will get even better if we happen to win the Preakness."
An hour earlier at Churchill Steve Asmussen took Curlin, the third place finisher in the "Run for the Roses" out for a one-mile jog. A decision on whether the morning line favorite in the Derby will run in Baltimore is expected to be made tomorrow according to co-owner Bill Gallion.
Meanwhile at Delaware Park, Hard Spun jogged a half mile and galloped a mile. Trainer Larry Jones is pleased with the way the son of Danzig has responded after his runner-up performance in Louisville.
"We're very very pleased," Jones said. "Hard Spun went really well this morning. We did a little bit more than we wanted to with him. He was really on the bit."
The Preakness field grew by one this morning when Bowie-based trainer Robbie Bailes announced he will start Mint Slewlep in Maryland's signature race. The son of Slew City Slew finished fourth in the Grade III Withers last month at Aqueduct and was fifth in the Grade III Gotham earlier this year. Bailes, who saddled Scrappy T to a second place finish in the 2005 Preakness, will ship his charge into the Pimlico stakes barn Sunday and work the bay colt Monday morning.
"We had this in the back of our mind depending on how many horses came out of the Derby," Bailes said. "He came out of the Withers real good and we decided to give it a shot. We always liked this colt, he is very professional. He has a lot of ability but we still have to find out if he is at this level. We trainers can always find excuses if we look hard enough but he has had hard luck and that is why we don’t know how good he really is."
The other confirmed starters are King of the Roxy, Teuflesberg and Xchanger, who galloped two miles at the Fair Hill Training Center this morning. D. Wayne Lukas will saddle either Flying First Class and/or Starbase.
Final decisions from the connections of C P West, Chelokee and Sedgefield are expected by next Monday.
"We are working Monday and if all goes well we'll be coming," said Nick Zito, who conditions C P West, the second place finisher in the Withers in his last start.
Note: DRF reported Sedgefield is out.
Update 1870: Sedgefield is out of Preakness consideration and Street Sense returns to galloping this morning: Sedgefield out of Preakness, excerpt:
After getting the previous two mornings off, Derby winner Street Sense was out for a strong and swift gallop of about one mile early Wednesday at Churchill. Tracey Wilkes was aboard for regular exercise rider Mark Cutler, who had the day off. Trainer Carl Nafzger said he is pleased with the way Street Sense has come out of the Derby.
Update 1869: A little foggy first thing this morning, but that soon cleared and the weather is beautiful. Three to ride again today, and it started with Mediman, who jogged two miles on the dirt track. She seems fine after her win last week. Next was Nautical Agent, and I took her across the fields. The "state" has mown a nice wide pathway close to the woods around the field we like to use, it becomes a great place to jog / hack horses around, up and down the slight inclines. Nautical Agent loved it, as did Gator Nation, who I did exactly the same with. Victor Molina was in the barn this morning, he "jocked" me off Happy! Course no problem with that as he bought in plenty of donuts and bagels, as is tradition after a win (or two in this case). I neglected to mention that Jesus Bracho also did this for us last week, so we are getting fat off the winners! Anyway, Victor was in good form and looking forward to riding some more winners for us (hopefully)! I also heard from Hawty Creek's owner (friend) and she is doing well. She had a little (well deserved) break and is now training again off their farm. Lets hope she continues to do well ... and loses her maiden tag!
Superfecta, who did a great job here in my absense, notes a recent passing (and triple crown news): RIP, Chilukki.
Update 1868: D. Wayne Lucas is looking to return to Triple Crown action and has two possibilities for the Preakness Stakes: Lukas works two Preakness possibles, excerpt:
While several Churchill-based horses being mentioned as probable starters for the 132nd Preakness - most notably Street Sense, the Derby winner, and Curlin, the third-place finisher - remained in their respective barns Tuesday morning, Lukas had both of his Preakness prospects out for serious work well before dawn. Flying First Class reeled off a five-furlong drill in 58.60 seconds, the fastest of 36 timed works at the distance, while Starbase went the same distance in 1:01.60. Lukas called the work by Flying First Class "awesome."
The four California horses that ran in the Derby are now safely returned to the West Coast: West Coast Derby quartet home safe, sound.
Today is media blitz day!
Posted by Alex at 11:09 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 275
Posted May 8, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1867: Some great pictures of our Barbaro celebrations on UPenn's site: Barbaro's Birthday Photos
Update 1866: A great summary of our weekend events at Delaware Park: Barbaro: Celebration for an Undefeated Champion: Hundreds Gather to Remember Brave Derby Winner's Birth. The Barbaro legacy has hit TV ratings too: Barbaro's legacy: Derby ratings are up Kentucky race pulls best ratings in 15 years. The latter article also talks about FOBs!
Update 1865: Steve Haskin provides a comprehensive review fo the Derby and the people behind the horses: Steve Haskin's Derby Recap: No Nonsense.
Update 1864: A chilly start to a gorgeous morning this morning. I had three to ride, all for Tim. First was Who's Happy, who jogged two miles again on the dirt, along with Tim on Mediman. Both seem to be doing well after last week's wins. Tim gave them some extra time off as their next races won't be for a couple of weeks. Next was Grandma, and she galloped a mile and a quarter on the Tapeta track just behind Real Lace and Tim. Grandma went nicely, it was her first gallop since her work on saturday. All remains well. Finally I took Gator Nation across the fields with Tim on Nonpariel (half siblings). A lovely day to be going across the fields, and they hacked around nicely together. It was Gator's first day out since his race last week. He felt good.
Update 1863: Jay Privman looks at how the Preakness is shaping up: Top three targeting Preakness. Jay also makes an interesting comment that I had asked Tim about yesterday, excerpt:
Street Sense led a 1-2-3 Derby sweep for horses who had their final Derby workouts at Churchill Downs.
I was curious, given that Churchill Downs is known to be a quirky racing surface, how many of the Derby horses had actually worked across the surface coming into the race. I know many chose not to, either shipping in at the last minute or doing their final preparations at Keeneland.
Calvin Borel's life just got busy, he flew to Washington DC yesterday for the White House State Dinner: Jockey Borel Says White House State Dinner 'Might Even Be Better' Than Winning the Derby.
Posted by Alex at 10:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 274
Posted May 7, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1862: A great article on Calvin Borel: How a common man rode to greatness.
Update 1861: The Preakness is starting to shape up, but it looks like the emphatic performances of both Street Sense and Hard Spun may create a short field for the Preakness: Preakness Update: Hard Spun's Connections Hope to Turn Tables. Chelokee, a possibility for the Preakness, is also being considered for the first running of the Barbaro Stakes, excerpt:
A decision on Fair Hill-based Chelokee should be made by the end of the week according to trainer Michael Matz. The third place finisher in the Florida Derby (gr. I) worked five furlongs Monday morning with regular exercise rider Peter Brette aboard.
"He went really well," Matz said. "We'll walk him tomorrow and he'll jog on Wednesday. I thought Carl's horse ran pretty good. I guess he ran better than good. We are still undecided on the Preakness and maybe we'll go in the Barbaro."
Update 1860: A quick reminder for those in the Philadelphia area: Dr. Dean Richardson lecture at Hatboro-Horsham High School (899 Horsham Rd, Horsham, Pa, 19044) on Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 pm, followed by a light reception and Q/A session. The NBC DVD, Barbaro: A Nation's Horse will be shown at 6:15 pm with copies available for sale. I am planning to attend, and will be selling some Barbaro horsehat merchadise and the Riding with Barbaro wristbands. There will also be a silent auction. The event is sponsored by Hatboro-Horsham Education Foundation.
Jason Shandler loved Street Sense and made no money: A Sense of Disappointment.
Update 1859: A quiet morning for me this morning at Fair Hill, with two to ride, Who's Happy and Grandma. It was Who's Happy's first outing since her emphatic win last week, and she jogged two miles on the dirt. Tim was with us jogging two miles on Real Lace. Happy went nicely, and seems to have come out of her race well. As I was jogging around I saw Tim (Barclay's assistant), no excuses for NoBiz's run in the Derby. I also saw Peter working Chelokee on the Tapeta track. They worked a good 7/8ths, he looked good, I assume this was his first work coming up from Florida. It will be interesting to see how he progresses from the work. Grandma went out back, along with Tim on Nonpariel. We jogged / hacked around. It was very peaceful and enjoyable.
Sue McMullen sent this report from the classics in the UK:
Finsceal Beo won today's 1,000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season for fillies, providing Jim Bolger with what was expected to be the second part of a unique Guineas double as he also had long-term favourite Teofilo for yesterday's Colts' equivalent, the 2,000 Guineas. There is a saying here that a week is a long time in politics and it could equally be said a week is a long time in racing as merely a week ago Teofilo looked almost invincible but injury ruled him out leaving the Guineas a more open prospect. Following up on last year's fairystories, Cockney Rebel proved the shock winner and it will be interesting to see how he progresses. Not without good form, Cockney Rebel, at 25-1, had been largely overlooked in the market and wasn't expected to figure in the placings but the fancied runners, including Adagio and US Ranger, faded from the picture. Dutch Art, second favourite throughout the winter, ran strongly and finished third, in a race that split into two groups and though you can't take anything away from the winner, who is clearly a very good horse, it also has to be said there were some hard luck stories and we await with interest how the form holds up. Cockney Rebel is likely to head for the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Finsceal Beo means 'living legend' and her facile victory suggests she is well on the way to proving the name was no fluke. Stamping her authority over her generation, Finsceal justified the support she's received throughout the winter. A very classy filly who we hope will come out of this well and feature prominently throughout this season.
Galileo was expected to be well represented at this meeting but following Teofilo's withdrawal from the Guineas, it was left to another of his sons to fly the flag and four-year-old Sixties Icon's superb performance in today's Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes provided some consolation for trainer Jeremy Noseda following the last minute defection of 1,000 Guineas second favourite Sander Camillo. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Sixties Icon cruised to victory giving every indication he's even better this year. Superbly bred out of Oaks' winner Love Divine, it will be interesting to see how this colt fares this year. Bearing in mind he was 'seven pounds away from peak fitness' according to his trainer and running on ground that was too fast for him, it was a superb performance and he heads to the Coronation Cup at Epson in great form. He looks to have all the credentials of a really good middle-distance performer and it would be good to see him do well.
Let's hope the problems afflicting the two highly fancied non-runners, Teofilo and Sander Camillo, are not insurmountable and we see them back on the track later this year.
Update 1858: Now the Derby is in the books attention will move more locally for the Preakness. In the meantime Calvin Borel has an engagement at the White House, with the Queen: Borel to Join President, Queen at White House Dinner.
Arlington Park now has its meet underway with its new synthetic surface in place: Arlington's New Surface Healing Old Wounds.
Dr. Richardson is a guest on Talkin' Horses on thursday, you can submit a question.
Posted by Alex at 10:37 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 273
Posted May 6, 2007
Update 1857: Street Sense also seems to have come out of the Derby in good shape. As is typical for Carl Nafzger trained horses, Street Sense returned to the track today for a one mile jog: Street Sense Jogs Mile Day After Winning Kentucky Derby. Street Sense is also schedule to run in the Preakness along with Hard Spun and only a few other Derby starters: Street Sense to Face New Challengers in Preakness. Fair Hill should have a couple of starters with Chelokee and Xchanger.
Update 1856: Hard Spun seems to have come out of his terrific Derby effort yesterday in good shape. I spoke with Mike Jensen this morning who had spoken with a very happy Larry Jones team. I believe they will ship to Delaware tomorrow.
Update 1855: Here are the racing media reports from the Derby:
Street Sense breaks Juvenile jinx
It All Makes Sense in Kentucky Derby
Juvenile jinx no more: Street Sense wins Kentucky Derby.
Update 1854: We have photographs taken from Churchill yesterday by Jeannine Edwards and Wendy.
Posted by Alex at 1:46 PM
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Barbaro Updates: 272
Posted May 5, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1853: A great race and a great ride from Calvin Borel to win the Derby aboard Street Sense. He came from 19th to win it. Hard Spun ran on when headed down the lane to finish a good second, only beaten 2 1/4 lengths. More than 5 lengths back to Curlin. Here is the chart.
Update 1852: The Hennegan Brothers' The First Saturday in May has been playing at the Tribeca Film festival for the last week (as well as at our celebration last sunday), here is a review: Hennegan bros. First Saturday in May.
Barbaro helps the permanently disabled jockeys thanks to the generosity of Edgar Prado: Jacksons Purchase Saddle Worn by Barbaro.
Update 1851: If Louisville had the weather Fair Hill is having then the Derby would be run on a glorious day! An especially quiet morning for me this morning, Nautical Agent was my only ride. No problem with that as I wanted to spend some more time polling people around Fair Hill for their Derby picks. Nautical Agent went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a quarter, very nicely, and then high-stepped it all the way home.
Here are some more Fair Hill picks for the Derby: Shel (Mike McCarthy rider): Street Sense. Tim (Barclay Tagg assistant): hmmmm... NoBiz. Pat Graham: Street Sense. Benny Guessford: Street Sense. Carl (Chuck Lawrence rider): Curlin. Gina (Dr. Fisher rider): Hard Spun. Kathy Rengert: Hard Spun. Ron (Hawty Creek blacksmith): NoBiz. Will (another blacksmith): Hard Spun. Mike McCarthy: Street Sense. Gus Brown (x champion jump jockey, Motion rider): Scat Daddy. Gene Weymouth: Hard Spun. Billy Entenmann: Curlin. Gary Littlewood (Entenmann assistant): Street Sense. Jesus Bracho (jockey): Tiago. Chuck (vet): Circular Quay. Kathy Anderson (vet): NoBiz. Mike (gate crew): Zanjero. Brian (gate crew): NoBiz. Mike Goswell: Street Sense. Grae (Matz' assistant): Circular Quay.
Roger Morris has kindly given us permission to publish this story: Saving Barbaro.
Update 1850: Today is the day for horseracing in North America. Our sport has certainly become less relevant today than in the days of Sea Biscuit and Secretariat, but on the first saturday in May the spotlight returns and history is made.
Today's race seems to be wide open (look at all the Fair Hill picks), here is today's main coverage from the racing media:
Twenty at the start, one at the end
Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Crunch Time
Curlin to answer questions in Kentucky Derby
The Jackson's will be in attendance: Jacksons Arrive at Churchill; Promote Barbaro Charity, as will the Queen.
ESPN will be providing coverage through to 4:30 pm (When Edwards shows, racing fans win) and then NBC will take it from there. HRTV also provides coverage from Churchill Downs.
Posted by Alex at 10:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 271
Posted May 4, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1849: Rags to Riches won the Kentucky Oaks with authority. On an off track (horrible track) she drew away down the lane as the front runner, Dreaming of Anna, folded and faded quickly. Todd Pletcher may be wondering if he should have pointed her for the Derby, to make it six starters.
Update 1848: ESPN is broadcasting from Churchill Downs from 3 - 5 pm today, ESPN2 from 5 - 6 pm (which includes the Kentucky Oaks). HRTV carries Churchill Downs.
Update 1847: Dr. Richardson will be featured on the "People who make a difference" segment during NBCs nightly news, 6:30 - 7:00pm.
Update 1846: Another gorgeous morning at Fair Hill. A little chilly to begin, but I did not begin too early! I had four to ride today. Luke first, I was ponying Quick Quest and Tim. We jogged about a mile and galloped three quarters of a mile. Just getting Quest used to the pony and keeping him settled. He was well behaved. He is in on sunday for his first lifetime start.
Next was Grandma, she again galloped with Nonpariel and Tim. We galloped a mile and a quarter today as they will both be breezing again tomorrow. They went nicely together. My final one for Tim was Nautical Agent, who galloped a mile and a half on the Tapeta track. She went well and literally high-stepped it all the way home. Whenever she does this she always catches people's eye. My final horse was for Lynda, Precious Partner. She breezed a quarter down the lane, a "pipe opener" to get her ready for her race on sunday.
Tim's two winners yesterday, Mediman and Gator Nation both looked great this morning after their respective wins. Lots of people this morning congratulating Tim on his fine week (Dave Bently: "Where's Tim Cecil Woolley" ... a reference to Henry Cecil no doubt).
I asked a few people for their Derby picks, much as I did yesterday. Here are some of the picks from this morning: Victor Perez (Klesaris assistant): Street Sense. Kevin (Klesaris rider): Circular Quay. Dave Bentley (x champion jump jockey and freelance rider): Hard Spun. Michael Matz: Street Sense. Adam (Matz rider): Scat Daddy. Peter Brette: Curlin. Liz Merryman: Curlin. Matt McCarren (jump jockey): Street Sense. Chuck Lawrence: Tiago. Bernardo: Stormello. Adrian Rolls (Motion assistant): NoBiz. Dave (Shuman rider): Curlin. Andy Durnin (Hollywood Park rider): Curlin. Bob Hatfield (Trackside rider): Scat Daddy. Ron (Prizzios owner): Tiago.
The Kentucky Derby is not the only Classic being run this weekend, we also have the first of the british classics. Sue McMullen sent this report:
Just a day away from the first two of the UK's Classics, the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas for colts and fillies respectively, and what a rollercoaster it's been during the past couple of weeks. Sadly for ante-post punters and for those of us who relished the prospect of a seriously good horse going to post, Teofilo was yesterday withdrawn from tomorrow's 2,000 Guineas due to a problem that first arose a couple of weeks ago but looked to have resolved itself. Hot favourite throughout the winter, Jim Bolger's Teofilo looked to have all the credentials to light up the season and was even touted as a Triple Crown contender. But heat in the off-fore knee has resulted not only in the colt's withdrawal from tomorrow's race but he's also been removed from the Derby betting and though the extent of the problem has yet to be disclosed it seems highly unlikely that this exciting son of Galileo will line-up at Epsom given it's barely a month away.
With Teofilo's defection the colts first Classic has become a more open contest and improved the prospects of some classy contenders who have been performing well at home but have chinks in their armour. Dutch Art, ante-post second favourite over the winter, was beaten in the Classic trial at Newbury, the Greenham, and will have to improve to get his nose in front tomorrow but it's doubtful any other winner will be more popular with the lads back home as Dutch Art is a huge favourite at Chapple-Hyam's as he's a 'sweetheart' to be around.
The 'talking horse' during the past two weeks is Diamond Tycoon, who, contrary to reports in some quarters has actually run twice (October 06) and broke his maiden two weeks ago on the same card as the Greenham trial, when he beat what should have been a competitive field by six lengths. That performance could easily have been more as he was never off the bridle and was being eased well before the finish, yet he clocked a time that would have put him four lengths ahead of the winner of the all-aged handicap on the same day, and, even allowing for the gulf in class, that makes Diamond Tycoon a genuine contender. Furthermore, he raced from the front but in the centre of the track and tomorrow he will be breaking from the favoured stall two so he will have the advantage of a rail to run against. In a race where the field is likely to split into two groups such track position could prove the key to victory. Racegoers who witnessed his performance were quick to avail themselves of the 40-1 on offer and backed him down to 6-1.
We had a number of fairystories in racing last season so who knows, but whether he'll have enough to beat the other trial winner, Adagio, plus the likes of Hataaf, Vital Equine and Strategic Prince we'll know tomorrow.
Sunday's fillies' Classic thankfully retains its long-term ante-post favourite Finsceal Beo, which means 'Living Legend' and as she is also trained by the luckless Teofilo's handler Jim Bolger, it would be some recompense if, as so many believe, she sluices home on Sunday. The form suggests nothing will get near her but there are no certainties in racing as so much can go wrong on the day but all being well, she's the one to beat. Sander Camillo, second favourite thoughout the winter, proved disappointing in her Classic trial two weeks ago when she was reported as 'tying up' but then failed to sparkle on the gallops this week so something is clearly amiss with her. Conflicting feedback has confused the issue with partner Frankie Dettori describing himself as delighted with her but the owner's racing manager suggesting she was disappointing. No firm decision will be made regarding her participation until Sunday morning. Just a few short weeks ago, a posse of media gathered at Jeremy Noseda's yard to admire the American-bred filly, whom he described as 'very professional' in her approach and so typical of youngsters who come through the breeze-ups in the US. We watched as Jeremy's wife Sally rode Sander in a fast piece of work up the Limekilns, one of Newmarket's most historic gallops, following which we gathered near where she was led for a pick of grass, quietly munching away, totally disinterested or bothered by a barage of cameras snapping away. Paying tribute to her laid back temperament Jeremy said he wouldn't be worried if the parade for the 1,000 Guineas was delayed as 'nothing bothers her'. Let's hope whatever ails her is resolved and we see the best of her soon.
In the meantime, roll on tomorrow. The first big day of the 2007 Flat season. We've waited long enough, the talking's over and now it's down to the horses who don't read the form or endless deliberations and hype about them. Good luck and god speed to contenders both sides of the Atlantic. Many of us here will be heading home early tomorrow night, hot foot from Newmarket, so we can tune in to the Kentucky Derby.
Update 1845: A couple of old favourites are running at Churchill Downs over the next couple of days. Perfect Drift today: Perfect Drift Looks to Snap 12-Race Skid in Alysheba and Better Talk Now tomorrow: Better Talk Now Woodford favorite. Today does feature the Oaks, which has a deep field of classy fillies: Rags to Riches short price in Oaks. The weather over the next couple of days may have an adverse effect on the track surface: More Rain Expected in Louisville Friday, Saturday.
Steve Haskin explores some of the potential tactics of the runners in the Derby tomorrow: Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Let the Mind Games Begin.
Posted by Alex at 10:52 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 270
Posted May 3, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1844: Wow, what a day (and week) for Tim. Gatornation won the first race at Atlantic City (rather easily) making it two wins today and three for the week! Congratulations to Plane Tree Farm. Here are the charts for today: Gatornation and Mediman.
I spent the afternoon with Mike Rea at Freedom Hills. Mike was very happy with all the weekend activities and excited to have met many of you. He did well today, riding Nina. We went for a trail ride, and it was simply a beautiful afternoon to do that.
Update 1843: Mediman and Jesus Bracho made easy work of the first race at Pimlico, congratulations to Equivine Farm!
Update 1842: ABC news tonight (Charles Gibson) will have a feature on synthetic tracks. It is raining at Churchill and the track was sloppy for training this morning, I wonder how many Derby horsemen would have preferred to be training at Keeneland today?
Update 1841: New York Times has a great article on Dr. Richardson: Year Later, Barbaro's Doctor Looks Back, and Moves On, excerpt:
"From a purely surgical perspective, it was extremely unsatisfying because he didn’t make it," Richardson, 53, said of Barbaro. "Professionally, I think we did the best we could. I'm not at all embarrassed by anything that was done. Personally, I'm very sad that we didn't save him. As a horseman, as someone who really wanted to save the horse, it's extremely dissatisfying."
On the other hand, he added: "Do I think we ended up doing some good things for the profession and the industry? Yes. The increased awareness of the issues of racetrack safety. People adopting horses. Even the awareness of a horse as an animal was increased. I think people became aware of the fact that sophisticated surgery can be done on horses. A lot of people knew that already; some didn't."
Update 1840: A gorgeous morning this morning at Fair Hill. Now that I have survived the wicked winter riding 7 - 8 each day, I am riding 3 - 4 a day during this lovely time of year! Only 3 today. My first 2 were for Tim. Grandma went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a half in company with Tim on Nonpariel. These are a good pair and they are learning their business together. Grandma is doing very well at this point, realy starting to use her self and keep herself well balanced. My next set was Nautical Agent, and I took her out back. We jogged / hacked across the fields. It was simply a pleasure ride. Finally I had Lynda's Precious Partner, and she galloped a mile and a half on the Tapeta track. A simple morning's work. Along the way I gathered some Derby tips for you ... more tomorrow. Steve Klesaris: Curlin. Ricky (Klesaris excercise rider): Scat Daddy (only because he forgot to bet him in the Florida Derby). Mark Shuman: Curlin. Tim Woolley: Street Sense.
Tim has two runners today, Mediman at Pimlico and Gator Nation at Atlantic City.
Update 1839: Two days to go before the Derby and the atmosphere will now be building, the post position draw is complete. Barclay Tagg is now at Churchill (he typically arrives later in the week for the big events) and has always had a lot of confidence in his maturing colt: Confident Tagg Looking for Derby Encore. He would be my preference for a win. I think my pick is Curlin and I'll also snag a couple of 15-1s, Hard Spun and Tiago. To be honest, I think unless Curlin is the real deal, this race is wide open!
As Churchill prepares for their big day, they need to prepare for a guest of honour: Churchill Prepares for Visit from Queen.
For those planning visits to Kentucky horse country, Elizabeth LaBan, FOB, wrote this tour of Kentucky for the Philadelphia Inquirer: Bluegrass Bonanza.
Posted by Alex at 11:01 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 269
Posted May 2, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1838: Here are the post positions and morning line for the Derby (initial thoughts, Hard Spun should not be 15-1): Curlin Moderate Morning Line Favorite for Kentucky Derby
ESPNs current lead story: The Church of Barbaro. I enjoyed reading this as much as I did my time with Wright Thompson interviewing! A must read for Fans of Barbaro and a massive thank you to the author!
Update 1837: ESPN2 has the Derby draw show later this afternoon, 5pm. Jeannine Edwards sent this report and photographs (ESPN at Churchill Downs):
Wed morning was beautiful at Churchill. We spent the morning at the barns talking to trainers in the Oaks, believe it or not. Because we have 4 live stakes races on Friday's show, including the KY Oaks, there's alot of work to do that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Derby. There was a common theme among the guys I talked to in the Oaks.... can't remember how many of them said their fillies are small and slight, but have a huge heart. They don't know the meaning of quit. So one thing's for sure, these fillies will be running their hearts out. Rags To Riches and Dreaming of Anna are the favorites, and neither could be doing any better.
Also caught up with NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett this morning. He and his #44 UPS car, a Toyota Camry, were at Churchill this morning. Dale will be appearing on our Post Position Draw show later today. I think I'll ask him who are the better athletes....jockeys or race car drivers. Although he's probably biased. :) He looks athletic, very fit and trim. And very nice
guy. We'll also be interviewing Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson. The post draw is also a tough show to produce. Logistically it's never easy to shoot, and the circumstances make it very fast-paced (for us, not for the viewers) because things happen quickly. Spontaneity and being able to think on your feet come in handy. Once we get through the draw show there is a cocktail party at Felt Lounge right here on Fourth Street (downtown Lousiville) so we'll decompress.
After today, we can concentrate fully on the races we'll be televising Fri and Sat.
Update 1836: A lovely morning this morning at Fair Hill. I only had four to ride, so nice and relaxing too. First was Grandma, and she went to the Tapeta track along with Tim on Nonpariel. They galloped a nice and easy mile and a quarter together. Real Lace was my second horse, and she also went to the Tapeta track and galloped a mile and a quarter. For my third set I took Nautical Agent out back across the fields. She loved it, its a nice mental break for a horse, and it also helps them going up and down hills. Steve Klesaris had a set out back too as we were jogging around. For my final ride, it was Luke, and I was ponying Tim on Quick Quest. Quest is getting close to running for the first time so he needs to get used to a pony. Quest went to the gate, and broke out of the gate with another trainer's horse, under Jesus Bracho. Quest broke very alertly. As I was waiting for Tim to gallop back around, another set of three broke out of the gate, another Steve Klesaris set, with three jockeys. Two of the jockeys will be at Churchill on saturday hoping to win the biggest race of them all ... Mario Pino and Ramon Dominguez. The third jockey looked to out ride them though, or at least looked better coming passed me ... :)
NPR did a piece on Barbaro's legacy this morning: Ghost of Barbaro Looms over Derby Week.
Update 1835: Pletcher's five Derby starters are now settled in at Churchill Downs: Pletcher's Hopefuls Are in the House. John Shirrefs notes the similarities between his starter this year Tiago and his half-brother and Derby winner Giacomo: Shirreffs Hopes Tiago Can Fill Giacomo's Shoes, excerpt:
"There's so many little connections, it's just great," he said.
Alike in temperament if not experience, Shirreffs can see some of Tiago's older sibling in his 3-year-old chestnut colt, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last month.
"Both are very focused and intense horses but they're not real nervous types," Shirreffs said. "They're really racehorses. They love to run."
Saturday night's fundraiser and raffles on saturday and sunday raised $20,500 for Thoroughbred Charities of America and New Bolton's Laminitis Fund!
Keep calling, Cavel is now back open!
Posted by Alex at 10:45 AM
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Posted May 1, 2007
Injured steeplechase rider on mend
Benefit for jump jockey Robbie Walsh, who is also a freelance exercise rider for Tim Woolley. For questions about the event, please e-mail Gus Brown at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: A little over $20,000 was raised at Willowdale exclusive of raffle ticket purchases. Raffle tickets will be available at Fair Hill Races, saturday May 26, the draw to be held directly after the feature race: The Miles Valentine.
Robbie was seriously injured in a racing accident and will have a long road to a full recovery. A benefit is being planned which will run directly after Willowdale races, May 13, intersection rt. 82 and rt. 926, at 5pm. A live band (Release, from Pimlico racetrack), BBQ sponsored by The Whip and a silent auction. Attendance for the benefit is free, with donations at the door to benefit Robbie Walsh and his family. Information on tickets for the races is here. You can attend the benefit without attending the races. The benefit begins at 5pm.
Auction items include (this will be updated):
Two week vacation home in Co. Tipperary, Ireland (value $680 / week)
Name your race at Pimlico, free admissions for 25 people with programs and picture w/ winning jockey (value $500)
Five Aquatred therapy sessions from Fair Hill Equine Therapy. (value $200)
Framed photo of Tiznow signed by Chris McCarron and Bill Bellicheck (who used Tiznow as inspiration for his superbowl winning Patriots) (value $800)
Framed photo of Better Talk Now and Red Rocks, stretch dual in the Breeders' Cup, signed by Graham Motion and Ramon Dominguez (value $150)
Framed photo of Film Maker and Ouija Board, signed by Graham Motion (value $150)
Portrait photography by Liz Merryman of your favourite pet or child (value $300)
Kennett Florist Gift (value $150)
Box seats at Fair Hill races, includes parking and four lunches.
Edgar Prado bobblehead doll, signed by Edgar Prado (value $50)
Five personal training sessions by Linda Brown. (value $300)
Sports massage by Gina O'Callaghan (value $65)
2 sessions equine sports massage by Charlie Hershbell E.S.T.M (value $130)
1 Better Talk Now Breeders' Cup hat signed Ramon Dominguez (value $25)
1 Film Maker Breeders' Cup hat signed by Ramon Dominguez (value $25)
1 Shake The Bank Breeders' Cup hat (value $25)
Equine Therapy session by Doug Hannum (value $300)
Oil change service by Springdell Garage (value $35)
Prizzios $50 gift certificate
3 The Whip gift certificates, $100, $75, $75
Cooper vanning shipping service credit: $300
A days hunting with the Cheshire Hunt (US) excluding weekends and holidays (value $150)
Barbaro: The Horse Who Captured America's Heart", signed Sean Clancy (value $100)
Three private showjumping lessons: Aggie O'Brien (value: $300)
Custom designed, painted and built side table, Beth Secor (value: $285)
2 Cleaning services, Sandra Walsh (value $120)
One stallion season: Monashee Mountain, donated by Coolmore (value $7,500)
1 leather halter and brass chain shank : Tack Express (value $90)
Dental exam, cleaning and evaluation: Tuck Hunter ($150)
"At Home Bleaching" w/ custom trays. Impressions in office (value $350)
Pasture remediation by Burling Vannote Soil Consulting. 5 acres (value $500)
"John Henry" print with certificate of authenticity, Judith Berkshire (value $50)
Radnor Hunt races "Paddock Club Package", parking and horseman's hospitality (value $500)
Custom designed web-pages (4 page package) "Mid Atlantic Equestrian Services" (value $1000)
"Four Seasons of Racing" Coffee table book, signed by Barbara Livingston (value $25)
"Hot Loads" Coffee table book, signed Jon Kral (value $15)
Pre-purchase examination within 25 miles of Fair Hill, by Equine Veterinary Care (value $550)
1 season, live foal, to stallion St. Averil for 2008, donated by Maryland Stallion Station ($4,500)
1 season, live foal, to stallion Seeking Daylight for 2008, donated by Maryland Stallion Station ($3,500)
Gift bag: various (value $45)
"Saluter's 21st" matted photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
"Heads Apart" matted photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
"Wild at Warrenton" matted photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
"The Usual Suspects" matted photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
Nature photography- headshot of a Lion, photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
Nature photography- "Cheetah", photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
Jonathan Kiser and Hunt Lane at Delaware Park, photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
Jonathan Kiser and Hunt Lane at Morvern Park, photograph by Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh (value $25)
Note: if you are interested in bidding on any of the above items, or making a donation, please e-mail Gus Brown with bid amount / donation until 7:00 pm at: email@example.com
Donations can also be mailed to:
"The Robbie Walsh Fund"
PO Box 248
Unionville, PA 19375
We also are raffling off a Kawasaki Motor Bike: $40 ticket. Tickets will be sold at this event and at Fair Hill Races (May 26).
Posted by Alex at 5:25 PM
Barbaro Updates: 268
Posted May 1, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 1834: A good decision regarding Xchanger, no matter how much we (Fair Hill) wanted another Derby runner: Xchanger out of Derby, Imawildandcrazyguy In, excerpt:
"In the best interest of the horse and us, we've decided to look at the Preakness (gr. I)," Shuman said. "I've said all along that the reason we would go to the Derby is if the horse sold to someone who was buying him to go there. There were some offers and a substantial amount of money involved, and if we hadn't explored all of our options, we would have been crazy. But it wouldn't be fair to the horse or the new owners to rush in there. We're all very comfortable with the decision."
Here is Who's Happy's winning chart.
Update 1833: Who's Happy won "under wraps" this afternoon at Philadelphia Park. Victor Molina again rode a perfect race on her, she exploded at the head of the stretch and came home easily. While Who's Happy was not one of the horses who trained on sunday for all to see, she was brought out of the barn to show later in the morning. A nice big rangy bay 3yo filly who is now undefeated going long! Congratulations to Fiasco Farm.
Update 1832: Cobalt Blue is now out of the Derby: Teuflesberg in Derby After Cobalt Blue's Defection.
NBC has now rescheduled their Barbaro documentary to air on their regular network at 8 pm on saturday: Barbaro Documentary Will Air on NBC After Derby.
FOB photographer Wendy spent an extra day at Fair Hill on monday and has more pictures (some very cool ones of Better Talk Now): The Day After Barbaro's B-day photos.
Update 1831: Jeannine Edwards took some great pictures this morning from Churchill: ESPN at Churchill Downs, Jeannine also had this to report:
A fairly productive morning at Churchill. Hard Spun is jumping out of his skin! Cindy and Larry Jones both said they thought he was on top of his game before the Lane's End, but they said believe it or not, he's doing 10 times better now! They're very excited. We're still waiting to hear if Cobalt Blue is running.... We told Doug O'Neill to please run him, as we just shot a lengthy interview with Cobalt's owner, Merv Griffin, for a major feature we are putting together. We should know something soon. Street Sense also looked phenomenal.... couldn't be doing any better.
Update 1830: A couple more very good articles that note the outpouring of support that Barbaro has created for horse welfare issues, support that you provide: May The Horse Be With You and Memories of Barbaro dominate Kentucky Derby week
Street Sense may be the last of the workers coming up to the Derby, working this morning 5/8ths in 1:01: Street Sense Completes Derby Preparations.
Update 1829: A nice quiet morning for me this morning, with four to ride. Its likely to be like that for the best part of the next month. Three of those four were for Tim. First out was Quick Quest. I went to the Tapeta track on him with Tim on Whip Smart. They galloped a mile and a quarter together and went very nicely. I started on the outside of Tim, then dropped back a little and brought Quest up the inside. Very relaxed. Second to go was Grandma, Tim was on Nonpariel and we took them across the fields. We were debriefing about the weekend events and plans for the sites going forward (we both appreciate how important the sites are for many reasons) when Tim said "Look at that hawk" ... I couldn't because Grandma wheeled to the left away from the hawk who was flying low across the grass about 30 feet in front of us. Fortunately I did not fall off, but it was close. We jogged around and they both seem in good order after their work on sunday. My final set for Tim was Real Lace, who again was going out for the first time since her work on sunday. She jogged two miles on the dirt track and all was well.
My final horse, Precious Partner, went to the Tapeta track for a little breeze. She went well. As I was coming on the track I noticed Xchanger galloping by, Mark Shuman was observing on the rail. I asked him about their Derby plans ... still seem undecided. I guess they will have to make their decision very soon! I also spoke with Mike Jensen after I was finished. He is at Churchill. He saw the Hard Spun connections this morning and they noted all was well after his fast breeze yesterday. They are very happy with how the horse is doing at this point.
Tim has Who's Happy in at Philadelphia Park this afternoon.
Update 1828: Steve Haskin's report debates the benefits of Hard Spun's electrifying work yesterday: Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Spunrise at the Downs. The question is whether the work of 57 and 3, five days before the Derby, was too fast or is Hard Spun simply that good ?
A decision as to whether to run Cobalt Blue in the Derby is being made this morning after his training: Cobalt Blue May Miss Derby; Would Open Door for Teuflesberg excerpt:
Considering the questions about Cobalt Blue's readiness, O'Neill said he would send the Golden Missile colt on a "two-minute lick" (gallop around the track) at 7 a.m. (ET) Tuesday. Based on what he relays to Griffin from that exercise regimen, a decision will be made by 10 a.m. Tuesday on whether to enter the Derby.
"Even though Merv would love to have a Derby starter, he is going to do what is best for the horse," O'Neill said.
Posted by Alex at 10:59 AM
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