Barbaro Updates: 368
Updates are now here.
Update 2368: I went back to Presque Isle Downs to see the casino and watch some simulcast racing. It was a pleasant afternoon. I went out to see the paddock area (some work left to do). I got to chat with a local and learn a little more about the history of the area. We watched the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga. It was a great finish, a great race. When I returned to my hotel I find out that Indian Flare did not make it. I saw here weakening on the inside after running a very strong race: Indian Flare Dies After Finishing Race.
Update 2367: I have arrived in Erie and went over to Presque Isle to check the backside area. Everything looks very new, in contrast to most racetrack backsides. There are five barns, labeled A through E, a receiving barn, detention barn and stakes barn. I am not sure how many horses each of the main barns hold, but they are big barns. I will be working out of barn B. Anyway, tomorrow will be an interesting beginning ... again!
The weather is gorgeous, probably 70 degrees, no humidity and plenty of sun. I drove up west on I 80 and then took a scenic route going north on 8 via Oil City and Titusville etc. I was interested to see some of the towns associated with the beginning of the oil industry. Anyway, a pleasant five hour drive from Lewisburg.
Update 2366: An update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com from Saratoga yesterday:
We heard from Andrea and Michelle early this morning. Everything in the barn was fine so we could enjoy our day at the Travers here at Saratoga. The day has been very hot but the racing was even hotter. Seeing Graham Motion having a nice win with a seven year old vetran was awesome. Sue (works for Graham) was sick before the race with worry that her favorite horse would be claimed. She even had her friend Jayne Lornie carrying her emergency herbal remedy in case the worst happened. We are all happy he stayed in Graham's barn.
Local horse Hard Spun who I saw in person for the first time (he is huge) put in a very game win with reinstated Mario Pino aboard. The win was nice for all of Hard Spun's connections! The best part of the day was of course Calvin Borel on Street Sense steeling the thunder from Grasshopper. He just got up to beat Grasshopper by about a neck. Calvin rode the second place fininsher in his two previous races and he is certainly a horse to watch in later races. It's a good thing Calvin knew both horses because he gave the all of us a little scare at the eight pole when Street Sense looked as though he would have trouble passing the other horse. A lot of personality shows in Calvin and the crowd loves him as Calvin tries to give all the credit to Street Sense! We stook a few feet from Jeneane Edwards today and she looked as beautiful as ever interviewing lots of winning connections today.
This is very troubling for Australian racing, lets hope it can be sorted out quickly: EI Outbreak Imperils Racing, Breeding.
Update 2365: Racing media reports from saturday's Grade 1 races at Saratoga:
Update 2364: Street Sense, the champion 2yo and Kentucky Derby winner, held on after a strong stretch dual with Grasshopper. Other horses way behind. Street Sense should now be considered champion 3yo regardless of the Breeders' Cup.
Update 2363: Wow, Hard Spun looked beaten at the eighth pole, but he came back to win on sheer guts!
Update 2362: I have now arrived in Lewisburg, PA, after a pretty drive up I 81 north and I 80 west. This is my stopover point on my way to Erie. ESPN on, waiting for the King's Bishop.
Update 2361: Today is bittersweet, my last day at Penn National, now moving on to Erie to start work at Presque Isle on monday. I rode fifteen today, twelve at the track and three at the farm. I have to think this week has been my busiest week riding horses with over seventy head ridden. I have to thank everyone I have met here at Penn National who have been very welcoming, and more specifically the trainers who put me on their horses; Murray Rojas, Tim Kreiser and Bob. I am hoping to swing back by Penn National when I return to the east coast and catch up with new friends.
After I had finished riding I met Denise from CANTER PA, who was on the backside cataloging horses that CANTER will advertise for sale. It was interesting to learn directly from CANTER and their successes in helping trainers find another home for the horses in their care. I am hoping Denise will be able to provide me some data on the number of horses they help connect to new owners through the CANTER system.
Update 2360: A quick update from Jeannine Edwards at Saratoga:
Today is our last horse racing show for about a month.... our next telecast will be the Jockey Club Gold Cup show on Sept 30. The Travers is always a highly-anticipated race for us. We have a 2-hour show that includes the Bernard Baruch Handicap and the King's Bishop Stakes, starting at 4pm. In addition to the races, we have a feature on "Old Smoke" John Morrissey, who founded Saratoga racetrack in the 1860's, a short story about horses swimming at Saratoga (that's right, there's a pool here for them too!), and report on the starting gate issues that have been in the news here, as well as several interviews.
Hard Spun takes center in the King's Bishop, which is probably the most competitive race of the day. He'll have his work cut out for him with Teuflesberg, EZ Warrior, and First Defence in there though. Larry Jones is hoping to get a Gr. 1 win with Hard Spun, and figured this would be a good opportunity. He's sharpened the colt up with shorter, lighter gallops and works, so we'll see. He has won sprints, and did the make the lead in a race that went in 44.4, but that was last year before he had stretched out to 1 1/4 miles.
The Baruch is an interesting race with at least 5 horses that could win.... Outperformance may get the perfect set up (quick pace for his finishing kick) but Shakis will also be tough, and he's shortening from 1 3/8 miles to 1 1/8, Kiaran McLaughlin thinks the longer distance may have been too much for him.
In the Travers, it will be Street Sense's race to lose. His competitors seem a bit outclassed, but anything can happen, this is the "Graveyard of Favorites". It's a shame we don't have Curlin and Rags To Riches in here to make it a real summer showdown, but horses skipping races seems to be the rule rather than exception these days. CP West will try to make the lead in the Travers and dictate the pace. Sightseeing is a closer who should relish the 1 1/4 miles. Other than those 2, I honestly don't know who has a prayer to beat Street Sense. He's on top of his game and Carl Nafzger's carefully laid-out plans for the colt have worked to perfection thus far.
It should be a great day of racing!! Saratoga should have a huge crowd.
Next week football begins for me, so I will not be back in horse racing mode until the end of Sept.
Update 2359: The Saratoga's marquee racing event is The Travers, held this afternoon, and broadcast on ESPN. It is also known as the mid summer Derby and is the 3yo race that trainers focus on once the Triple Crown series is over, or if they have a later developing 3yo (for example Sightseeing). Unfortunately this year the field is a little short, possibly due to the presence of Street Sense who will be the prohibitive favorite: Sightseeing Seeks Travers Showdown with Street Sense. There are two Grade 1 races for 3yos on the card, the second is the sprint race: King's Bishop, where Hard Spun will try to gain his first Grade 1 win.