Barbaro Updates: 424
Posted October 31, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2683: Great press that exposes some of the reality of horse racing: Horses Earmarked for Slaughter Rescued by Woman.
Update 2682: Jenny (Kentucky) was correct with her quiz answer, Wayne Lucas was wearing his Packers jacket this morning as he supervised training aboard his pony. $100 to support the ongoing Thoroughbred Times advertising campaign.
I neglected to mention this morning, but we visited the paddock area a couple of times with the horses. It was cool being in the paddock of the Kentucky Derby. Walking out you could imagine what it would be like walking out for the big race. One of the horses though thought it would simply be fun to start plunging once he got on the racetrack. Thanks again for the neckstrap!
It was the first time I had been to the paddock since I was there for the Breeders' Cup last year. My last memory of the paddock was watching George Washington being saddled, not three feet away. I was with FOB Laura.
Update 2681: When considering the difference between Keeneland and Churchill Downs, I think it is best characterized by considering that Keeneland is a small village in a prestine environment where major horsemen like to relax. Churchill Downs is a vast city where some of the same horsemen, and many more are busy at work. Sometimes chaos appears to emerge at Churchill yet through the chaos horses are trained and all is well. Basically its manic at Churchill, its mellow at Keeneland.
I had seven to ride, four before the break and three after the break. All appeared to go well. The horses seemed to have settled into their new environment quite well. There are a few familiar faces among those working at Churchill, from my travels via Presque Isle and Keeneland. A few others have shouted a hello, more recognizing my passion for Brette Favre than anything else.
I am not the only horseman who was wearing Packers gear this morning. A trainer was wearing a Packer jacket. If you can name the trainer I will contribute $100 to the Thoroughbred Times advertising campaign. We had a stack of Thoroughbred Times in our tackroom. I thumbed through them and found three of the advertisements that have been run thus far. Just a very cool campaign I think!
Update 2680: Steve Haskin previews the Eclipse Awards in light of the Breeders' Cup: Eclipse Awards a No-Brainer This Year.
Stud fees are being set for our new retirees: Street Sense to Stand for $75,000; Hard Spun for $50,000.
Posted by Alex at 8:42 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 423
Posted October 30, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2679: This is an excellent perspective on George Washington's tragedy and the US media coverage: Commentary: Bye George.
Update 2678: A long morning, driving from Lexington to Louisville, working at Churchill Downs and then returning to Lexington via lunch in Midway with Liz Harris of Thoroghbred Charities of America.
I rode seven at Churchill. What a difference from Keeneland. Its busy, I think the backside holds about 1600 horses, and its full. Keeneland was more tranquil. You can hear the horses pounding the dirt, I had only been on a synthetic track for the last eight weeks. Anyway, it was a cold and dark morning to start the day (I really thought the clocks would have changed by now ...) It was not until the fourth set I could actually see the "Twin Spires", which seem a little overwhelmed by two big structures on either side. The horses I rode were a little fractious this morning. Many of them had come from Keeneland, so this new environment had them a little sharp. We managed not to part company, but at one time that was simply due to luck! Anyway, an interesting first day at Churchill.
Lunch with Liz Harris was very pleasant. As I have mentioned before its great to meet people in Kentucky I have gotten to know a little over voice and e-mail. Anyway, as with Staci Hancock, the lunch ran over a little, all for good reasons.
Update 2677: Superfecta here, with your regular Tuesday update. Naturally, this week is a Breeders' Cup wrap-up:
Indian Blessing led wire to wire, so there's no question that early speed could hold, despite the wet conditions. It didn't hurt her to have Garrett Gomez aboard, since he was on something of a hot streak all day. Smarty Deb certainly did not embarrass herself in her first outing against tough competition -- she was a very creditable fourth after getting bounced around at the start. So much for my exacta box, but it was fun to watch. I'd peg Indian Blessing as a sprinter more than a distance horse, but we'll see how she develops. I am still interested in watching A to the Croft as well, who did not have a great race. It's fair to say Izarra did not think much of the track.
No one was anywhere near War Pass, but it looks like he still has something of a rivalry starting with Pyro, who struggled with the track. Again, my pick, Tale of Ekati, finished fourth, but it's easy enough to blame the track -- that was my fallback position all day! Cornelio Velasquez was also red hot all day. After galloping out, Velasquez brought War Pass over to our part of the grandstand to parade around a bit -- this is not a horse who is afraid to show off. He showed some definite personality and presence.
Filly & Mare Turf
Another blown exacta for me in this race -- I had Lahudood boxed with Nashoba's Key. I loved Honey Ryder going into the race, but felt she was not quite at her peak; clearly, I should have boxed her too. Oops. This was definitely the oddest race of the day -- just as they hit the turn near our grandstand, Simply Perfect seemed to go crazy/miss the turn and carried Arrivale and Precious Kitten way out into the track, essentially taking them out of the race. Simply Perfect is an absolutely beautiful horse, but apparently had something peculiar going on in her head. Maybe next time. Like Smarty Deb, Nashoba's Key did nothing wrong, but had bad luck and seemed to be struggling with the track a bit. She still proved she belonged with this group. Passage of Time put in her usual professional run.
I'd have to give Midnight Lute the award for most impressive performance of the day. Again, he blew my exacta (Idiot Proof/Kelly's Landing), but it was great to see. He was absolutely nowhere and powered past the field to win going away -- and he knew it. I wish I'd been given the 'just bet Garrett Gomez' memo. I'm looking forward to more of Midnight Lute next year.
I thought despite his poor post position that Excellent Art would hit the board, but I didn't expect to see him behind Kip Deville (although I've always thought of him as a good, honest racehorse). My picks, Purim and Jeremy clearly wanted no part of the track and I only put a little money on My Typhoon for sentimental reasons. Nobiz Like Shobiz ran a very creditable fourth (perhaps everyone who finished fourth this year should be tagged as 'one to watch' next year); it was close for third and he was really coming along. He's going to be an outstanding turf horse next year. Is Kip Deville the first Oklahoma-bred to win a Breeders' Cup race?
Had I realized that Ginger Punch was going off at decent odds, I'd have bet her -- but alas, I couldn't really see them from where we were, so I assumed she'd be something like 3-1 - clearly I was wrong. She put in a gutsy run and I was a bit sad to see Teammate bumped early on, and that really took her out of her game. Tough Tiz's Sis looked amazing in the walk over to the paddock, but she finished mid-pack. I'd written off Hystericalady and Octave and there they were. Oh well.
My prediction that even on an off day, Dylan Thomas would easily beat this field did not really take the track condition into account; despite that, this was the only race I made any money on since I'd bet Shamdinan across the board. I was close on some of my dime superfectas too, but left out Red Rocks. It was nice to see Better Talk Now in another good fourth-place finish, particularly after his reluctance to load. English Channel must have felt he was due to win this race. I suppose the rumor that he doesn't like very soft turf was just that. Still, seeing Dylan Thomas was great; he may not have found the track to his liking on the day, but I still think he's likely the best horse in the world at this point (although he's presumably off to stud now).
This was really a race of highs and lows. On the walk over, Curlin (left) and George Washington were the most impressive horses to see; Street Sense looked a little sleepy. Awesome Gem was also very alert, clearly taking in all the sights and sounds. Even in the paddock, I didn't see much in the way of George Washington's famous quirks on display; he looked like quite the gentleman. Perhaps the horse whose performance I was most impressed with was Hard Spun; he had to know he was beaten but he still dug in and hung on for a gutsy second -- it's easy to imagine how he might have run away with the Dirt Mile or even been a real threat in the Mile. I'd love to see more of him, but of course it won't happen. Curlin finally looked and acted the part he's been cast in and I was thrilled to have Awesome Gem in my superfecta -- I just left out Curlin. Clearly I should have bet Awesome Gem to show as well. As mentioned before, I had no idea about George Washington's injury until I got home; he was completely hidden by the tote board from our vantage point. I'm glad I missed it; it was no way for a great champion to go out, but at least the decisions were made quickly. Given the type of injury, I doubt that a synthetic surface would have made a difference -- a bad step can happen just as easily in a field, and if you want to argue that he was doomed by all the Dancer in his pedigree, well, he was hardly alone in that. Whatever the case, it's a shame he's gone. I wonder if Street Sense's lackluster finish means that the Darley folks might consider keeping him in training at least through the Dubai World Cup -- but I doubt it. Still, I harbor hope we'll see Curlin next year -- he's got more to prove and I don't think we've seen his best yet. Here's hoping we see him as well as Lawyer Ron, Tiago and Any Given Saturday on a more honest track next year -- fingers crossed.
Update 2676: Off to Churchill Downs this morning.
Posted by Alex at 8:11 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 422
Posted October 29, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2675: Update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Quite a chilly Monday morning but all is well at Double Trouble. The horses don't seem to mind a cool weather as much as we do. Who's Happy continues to train well as we will be pointing her to one more race before she has off for the winter. Real Lace is enjoying a few easy days and has come out of her most recent race in fine shape. She is tossing her head and demanding attention like usual. With several days of rain last week that impaired training for a few days, Tim decided to take several horses out yesterday. The track was for the most part quiet and it was an enjoyable morning. We had a visit from a couple of Fans of Barbaro who continue to stop by to pamper the horses. Hopefully the people enjoyed their visit as much as the horses did. I continue to be a little stunned after the loss of George Washington this weekend. All of those in this business can feel the sadness and loss knowing that on any given day this tragedy could happen to us. We are so unbelievably lucky to have these animals in our lives for even a short time. It is our hope that we can reach the greatest potential of every horse in our barn while keeping them safe at the same time. Sometimes the unexpected can happen and when it does it is life changing.
Update 2674: Excellent article on George's tragic end: Sad end for George Washington, excerpt:
But as Curlin galloped into American racing history, then came the stumble. What had been a disappointing afternoon for Europe became a disastrous evening. Suddenly the surface, which had spread-eagled America's finest colts like three-mile chasers at Towcester, became George Washington's muddy hell, our champion miler's career a one-paragraph footnote in the American racing press.
Update 2673: Wendy took some great pictures at Breeders' Cup, including of course Georgeous George: Wendy's Sat. BC photos.
Update 2672: A leading Irish trainer speaks out about changes needed in the wake of George Washington's tragic death: Irish Trainer: Breeders' Cup Shouldn't Be Run on Dirt, excerpt:
Bolger, who trains this year's top 2-year-old in Europe, New Approach, then told the newspaper: "His legacy, apart from being a very exciting champion, will be that from now on Breeders' Cups will only be run on Polytrack. The sooner they're all Polytrack and they cut out the drugs, it will be a better competition.
"If they had Polytrack and turf tracks without the drugs, it would sort the men from the boys."
Next year the Breeders' Cup is in California, the first Breeders' Cup to be run on a synthetic surface. Breeders' Cup have not yet determined the 2009 host.
Update 2671: A morning of two halfs at Keeneland this morning. The first part was business as usual, riding seven horses, six on the main track and the final one on the training track. It is the last day horses can stable in the "public" barns on the backside, there were fewer horses training, and it was overall a quiet morning.
The second half of the morning was spent packing things up, loading up two vans full of horses, trappings and people. One van had a couple of horses going to Turfway Park, the remainder to Churchill. The second van was all for Churchill Downs. So my stint at Keeneland is now over. I need to be at Barn 42 at 5:30 am tomorrow, at Churchill Downs.
Update 2670: The decision whether to retire Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin has not yet been made. He is scheduled to be back at Steve Asmussen's barn for the time being: Asmussen wants to see Curlin stay in training, excerpt:
"He's an easily recognizable horse that gives you a very good effort and everybody who supports him should be proud of him," Asmussen said on Sunday, one day after Curlin won the Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park. "I don't know what could sell the sport better than that."
Asmussen said no decision has been made regarding Curlin, a Smart Strike colt who could be retired to stud by co-owners Padua Stables, Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton, and Midnight Cry Stable.
George Washington's breeders, The Jackson's, respond to another tragic loss: George Washington Tragedy Saddens Jacksons, excerpt:
"We're not as emotionally involved with George Washington on a day-to-day basis," Jackson said Oct. 28. "But I would say it brought up some of the same kinds of feelings as the Barbaro story. We didn't have that connection (to George Washington), but I still feel very sorry about it. He was a special horse."
Posted by Alex at 9:59 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 421
Posted October 27, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2669: Donna W (comments timestamp: 8:07 pm) reports from the Breeders' Cup:
I am so sorry for the loss of George Washington. I attended the Breeder's Cup yesterday at Monmouth Park. We were seated in the Grandstand near the 16th pole. George Washington was pulled up directly in front of us. I am not sure what was shown on TV but I can give you my observations as I recall them.
At first when he was pulled up it appeared that he had injured his right foreleg. It quickly became apparent that it was broken and very severely. His jockey, Kinane was trying to steady him, keep him standing and stop him all at the same time. George was still trying to move towards the finish line. He faltered and nearly went down but did not- he was determined to stay on his feet. I do not recall Kinane dismounting...I admit that for an instant I looked away because I could not bear to see George struggling. I quickly looked back and help was beginning to arrive. It was immediate and appeared to me to be very professional. Everyone ran to George first to help keep him upright. The assistance vehicles began to arrive right away as well. While I was hoping for a miracle it unfortunately was pretty clear that poor George was mortally injured. At this point the screens did go up and the equine ambulance was backed up to him quite rapidly. As I watched I feared the worst and sensed that everyone around did as well.
I want to make it clear that when the thousands in the Grandstand and down in front near the rail realized how badly injured George was all focus was on him and nothing else. The crowd remained standing in what at first seemed a stunned silence then as things unfolded a respectful silence. The winner's circle was down just past the wire and could have been in a different world. No one near me was paying any attention to it. Finally as we slowly began to filter out everyone seemed very subdued and quiet. NO matter what was said on ESPN or any other newscast I assure you that I did not see anyone who thought yesterday was a great day for racing.
For me, I held it together till I was alone in my car then cried my way home wondering if I could continue to watch and support this sport. I have never been an avid horseplayer just a casual fan that watched and sometimes wagered a small amount on the big races...I just love to watch the horses and read their stories. But since I found my way to this webstite shortly after Barbaro's injury I have been paying much more attention to the sport. I will hang in for now as I think in so many ways Alex and the FOB's are doing so much for both the sport and horses in general.....
Finally, I want to end with some of my thoughts about George's Classic run yesterday before his terrible injury. The track at Monmouth is a bit small and the starting gate was set in such a way that the horses had to run by the stands twice....I remember as they went by the first time just a few hundred yards after the start I saw George right with the pack....I marveled at what a game horse he is...first he is going (for him anyway) the wrong way around the track and was running thru slop which he probably has never done before... wow...what a competitor.
Update 2668: Sue McMullen on George Washington, via e-mail:
Emotions are running high among racing fans in the UK and Ireland as we come to terms with the fact that George has gone. Maybe this isn't the time to raise the speculation of so many who questioned why he was there in the first place. He's gone and there's no turning back the clock. A personal story is perhaps the best illustration of what this magnificent horse, described as a flawed genius, a charismatic, brilliant horse who lit up the racing scene wherever he went, meant to racing fans in the UK and Ireland. Unable to be at the Breeders' Cup this year, I attended one of the many parties broadcasting the event live from the US. The talk was all about George. If he could reproduce his brilliant best, he could give them all something to think about. But as we looked at the earlier races, with horses almost paddling through the sloppy dirt track, unlike anything our hero would have seen before in his life, our hearts sank. With his characteristic style of running, that high head carriage and the way he grabbed the track, we knew it was an even bigger task than last year. We knew he had everything to do. So the punters in the gathering followed their heads and backed almost everything but George, but their hearts desperately wanted him to win. I saw nobody who didn't want this horse to do it, despite the fact they would have lost their money. This is one of the amazing aspects of racing that people outside the sport would struggle to understand. Everybody prayed this enigmatic, engaging horse would win and if he had entered the final stretch in contention the screams would have raised the roof.
He was imperious in his bearing, with an aura that was almost palpable. I was fortunate last year to see him win his last race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. I was close enough to be able to reach out and touch him and I marvelled at his presence, reflecting that the tag of 'gorgeous' was entirely appropriate. There was just something about George that left you in no doubt you were in the company of one special equine.
He had his detractors, those who refused to believe that things just hadn't gone his way since his return to the track this season after a failed attempt at stud. But most looked at the electric turn of foot he still possessed and knew his day would come.
Two magnificent bay horses, continents apart, on the same day last May took the racing world by storm. One was perhaps the best we would have seen for generations and though he never lived to prove it, we knew it nevertheless and he proved in his subsequent fight for life that he was a true champion. He was of course Barbaro and the other was George, highly gifted, with a temperament often questioned, somewhat unfairly, simply because he did things his own way. By a tragic twist of fate they were to share the same end, a catastrophic injury on the track but in George's case there was no possibility of an attempt to save him. But as with Barbaro, George died as he had lived, brave and brilliant to his last breath. Those who had ever questioned his commitment to the job this season were given George's final, unequivocal response. As he sustained his fatal fracture, the genius that was George Washington, our fabulous, gorgeous boy, fought with everything he had to stay up. As Barbaro had undoubtedly saved Edgar Prado from injury so George saved Kinane, using all his courage and strength. Perhaps the final word should be from Mick Kinane himself, as he told the Racing Post: "He did well to stay up. He was brave. He didn't go down. He stayed up on it. He saved me."
We salute you George. There won't be another one quite like you and you will never be forgotten.
Update 2667: The following article references the two races in the previous two updates: IT'S ALL ABOUT GEORGE.
Update 2666: Later in 2006, George Washington returns to his brilliant best: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1).
Update 2665: George Washington winning the first English Classic and defeating Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy: 2000 Guineas 2006 (Group 1).
Update 2664: Tributes are coming in for a horse who was very much loved: O'SULLEVAN LEADS TRIBUTES, excerpt:
"He was the sort of charismatic character that racing needs and is a seriously sad loss because he was a proper personality and liked things done his own way," O'Sullevan said.
"I think he appealed enormously to individuals because of his individualistic approach, which was very refreshing.
"He was a really exciting character and it was great that he attracted the soubriquet 'Gorgeous George' as it seemed very appropriate. He was a lovely horse and it was a terribly sad end."
Update 2663: UGLY END FOR 'GORGEOUS' GEORGE.
Update 2662: "Its a great day for horseracing" ... one quote from one of the ESPN crew. Sorry, we lost a champion. You guys don't get it. I am sick.
Update 2661: FUCK, George Washington is gone. RIP, you were a great TURF champion.
Update 2660: SHIT, something is up with George Washington!
Update 2659: Curlin dominated in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Hard Spun ran a courageous second. Street Sense looked good coming around the turn but flattened out. Laywer Ron appeared to give up early. Not sure about Any Given Saturday. George Washington showed again he is a turf horse.
Update 2658: Pletcher broke his Breeders' Cup maiden with an emphatic win in the mile and a half Turf with English Channel. Dylan Thomas was under pressure early, Better Talk Now unleashed his patented late run, but could not close nearly enough.
Update 2657: Ginger Punch got back up in a tremendous stretch drive in the Distaff! Hystericalady ran a terrific race to finish second. Pletcher must be getting a little frustrated.
Update 2656: Kip Deville took the mile (turf). He was impressive, I would never have picked him! Excellent Art finished strongly for second. NoBiz looked good coming around the final turn.
Update 2655: Nice last to first race from favorite Midnight Lute in the Sprint. Fair Hill's Talent Search ran a great race to finish third. Kelly's Landing was fifth, he just seemed to flatten out a little down the lane.
Update 2654: The first Turf race of the day produced the best finish of the day so far. A thrilling win by Lahudood. Simply Perfect was clearly in trouble getting out around the second turn and took two others with her.
Update 2653: Nick Zito's War Pass won the Juvenile in another wire to wire performance. Very fast, very easy. Pyro got a little close for second, the third horse was twenty lengths behind.
Update 2652: Indian Blessing, the prohibitive favorite, went wire to wire under Garrett Gomez in the Juvenile Fillies. She tired a little coming down the lane, but was much the best.
Update 2651: A little chillier this morning at Keeneland, but dry. It was Breakfast at Keeneland again this saturday, I assume the last of the year. Plenty of people came out to watch the morning works. I had seven to ride, six to the main track and one to the training track. All seemed to go well. A couple of people wished us good luck ... I guess for Kelly's Landing this afternoon! I ran into Michael Blowen (Old Friends) again, after I had finished galloping. He is pretty excited about a new horse he may be acquiring. Monday will be our last day here, we will then be shipping everything to Churchill Downs.
Now to get ready for the Breeders' Cup telecast.
Update 2650: The Breeders' Cup continues today, culminating in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. As is the nature of racing these days, many division honors will be settled by today's results and many horses will be retired. Lets hope for safe racing.
The first Breeders' Cup race (Juvenile fillies) is the fourth race on the card, post time is 12:30 pm. Here are my quick picks:
Juvenile Fillies: No pick
Juvenile: Tale of Ekati
Fillies and Mares Turf: Passage of Time
Sprint: Kelly's Landing
Turf Mile: Excellent Art
Distaff: Lady Joanne
Turf: Better Talk Now
Classic: Street Sense
Posted by Alex at 9:59 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 420
Posted October 26, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2649: The weather had a significant impact on the opening day of the two day Breeders' Cup series. Training tomorrow morning has already been cancelled (Monmouth cancels training on Saturday).
Corinthian proved his early season form was no fluke as he romped in the mile dirt race, Discreet Cat was a very disappointing third, beaten about 15 lengths: Corinthian draws off in Dirt Mile. Biancone's assistant, Francois Parisel, won his first Breeders' Cup race, thanks to an inspired ride by Julien Leparoux: No Time Like Nownownow for Juvenile Turf Surprise. Miraculous Miss held on bravely to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. The winner was another successful $50,000 claim by trainer Doug O'Neill (just like Lava Man): Maryfield Relishes Slop, Takes Filly & Mare Sprint.
Update 2648: For the first time, Breeders' Cup is now a two day event, with three new races being held this afternoon (eighth, ninth and tenth races at Monmouth). These races are a Filly and Mare Sprint, a 2yo Turf race and a 1 mile Dirt race. I'll be rooting for Wild Gams in the Filly and Mare Sprint and Xchanger in the 1 mile Dirt race. There will be much attention focused on how Discreet Cat runs in the mile race. I am not sure about the middle race. The races will be shown on ESPN 2.
I am off over to Keeneland to run one in the ninth race.
Update 2647: An update on Teuflesburg: Update on Teuflesberg.
Update 2646: A pleasant morning's work at Keeneland. I had seven to ride, six went to the main track and the final set went to the training track. Weather was perfect after some less than ideal weather the last few days. Everyone seems in an upbeat mood, with the Breeders' Cup coming up and the Keeneland meeting closing down this weekend. A few questions were asked, where to next ? Someone yelled out "Brette Favre sucks!" ... I think it was said in jest! A few FOBs visited, they are doing a farm tour today. Seems like a nice way to spend the day.
At Monmouth the track is sloppy and they have had plenty of rain, with more to come. I talked with Gerry, who is there with Kelly's Landing. Kelly's Landing galloped a mile over the slop this morning and is in good order. Lets hope for some good and safe racing over the next couple of days!
Update 2645: Steve Haskin analyzes the Breeders' Cup in light of the pending bad weather: Steve Haskin's BC Analysis: Wet and Wild on the Jersey Shore.
A couple of updates on Nicanor from Jill Stevens from an e-mail I received yesterday:
Nicanor has been driving on the driving lines for a little over a week now. I have ridden him just in the stall a couple of times and will advance to riding him in the round pen and just around the barn a bit over the next few days.
Anyway, the truth is he is incredibly smart and attentive, very much like Barbaro was in that aspect. He feels great everyday, but has a kindness that keeps him in check...thank goodness!
The quiz, update 2644, was won by Kathy J. Ferdinand, won the 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic under a hand-ride (while beating two other Classic winners). Here it is again. $100 will go to CANTER OH.
Keep calling in honor of Ferdinand.
Posted by Alex at 9:54 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 419
Posted October 25, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2644: $100 goes to CANTER OH, in honor of Ferdinand's Breeders' Cup Classic win, if anyone can note what is particularly cool with the way Ferdinand won the race: 1987 Breeders Cup Classic
Update 2643: As we all get ready for the 2007 Breeders' Cup, I ask you to remember the Breeders Cup Classic of 20 years ago: 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic. One horse, that day, stood above all others in an all star cast horserace ...
Update 2642: A couple of Breeders' Cup scratches, one from the Sprint, one from the Juvenile: Dixie Chatter, Attila's Storm Out of Breeders' Cup.
Update 2641: A windy morning this morning, which had the horses on their toes for sure. The fillies were especially skittish! I had seven to ride, and I managed to hang on thanks to the neck strap. Anyway, a fun morning. Our trainer, Eddie Kenneally, is now heading over to Monmouth to oversee Kelly's Landing's final preparations for the big race on saturday.
Given I was done so early this morning (10 am) I decided to head out to the Kentucky Horse Park. I wanted to see Cigar, Da Hoss and John Henry's memorial (or at least the cards and flowers that had been sent in his honor.) I get to pet Cigar, and see Da Hoss. It was also nice to see many cards honoring John, some of which came from FOBs. I noted cards from Mike C, Harriette G and Mary S to name a few. I also chatted with Robin, who works at the Hall of Champions barn. We had a long chat about the state of racing and related stuff. It was fun. Anyway, it all completed a great morning in Kentucky!
Update 2640: Perrenial leading trainer Tod Pletcher assesses his chances for this year's Breeders' Cup: Pletcher Reviews Breeders' Cup Starters.
Posted by Alex at 9:58 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 418
Posted October 24, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2639: Update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Everyone managed to dodge the rain drops this morning. At least it was not a cold rain. Tim took a couple of sets to the gate and everyone is progressing nicely. I went into the barn this morning and Real Lace was looking at me so I gave her a huge hug and kiss. She is such a lovey girl. She has come out of her race just fine. Who's Happy went accross the fields again in an attempt to keep her under control until her next race. She does enjoy going cross country. Mass Romantic is training nicely and dug right into her dinner last night. Molly is now residing in Red Aspen's stall. She has some big shoes to fill.
Luke was diving at me to get to his grain last night. I think he is feeling his oats just lately. It might be time to go in for a few days and give him some excercise. His feet are feeling fine just now and he is anxious to go out. He was in the porta pad yesterday when a horse got loose and came running back from the track. He knows his job and would have been glad to help out if he was only out of the porta pad. We always know when something is loose because Luke starts to act up even before we can see it. What a champ he is and we are so lucky to have him.
Last night I managed to dodge snapping jaws as I hooked up the water hose. Between Two of Wands and Diva it can be quite a feat to win this game. They both think they are hot stuff. Our Diva looks a lot like Real Lace but is a little bigger in every way. She seems to be smart and willing, not quite as sweet as Real Lace, maybe just a bit sassier (is that a word)? None the less she is built well and plays the part of a tough cookie. Two of Wands (Wanda) continues to improve. She loves to give the guys a hard time but is my sister's favorite. She is really a lovey girl but sometimes she just doesn't want to be messed with. Just like a woman sometimes she just wants to be left alone!
Update 2638: More coverage on one of our favorites: Better Talk Now: He's as Good as He Ever Was, excerpt:
"My answer to that is no," Motion said. "I don't see him losing a step at this point, and, if anything, I think he is better than when he was a 4- or 5-year-old. Not only is he a remarkable athlete, he's matured physically and mentally. He's settled down a lot, and he's a lot more forgiving of us lately. When we ran in the Turf at Lone Star, he bit the crap out of my wife a couple of days before the race. He's still pretty cantankerous, but we've gotten used to his ways."
Superfecta is providing detailed analysis of each of the Breeders' Cup races.
Update 2637: Rain, rain and more rain ... sounds a little like yesterday, and it felt like it too! We did train a few today though, and got wet! Only one set stayed in the shedrow. The track was pretty good though, perhaps a little deeper than usual, but a few were breezing across it so it can't have been too bad.
I rode seven in all, six to the track and they all actually went really nicely. Kelly's Landing is getting ready to leave for Monmouth. He has not run since winning the Sprint race in Dubai, and the handicappers seem to think that is a bit of a problem. We shall see, he looks very well and has been breezing well. Worth a punt at 20 - 1 for sure.
Update 2636: Steve Haskin takes a look at the Breeders' Cup Classic field in light of the draw: Front-end Tactics Loom Key to Breeders' Cup Classic. Personally I do not see Laywer Ron, who is the morning line favorite, winning this race over a mile and a quarter.
The fires in Southern California are devastating. The racetracks are stepping up: Track, farms housing fire refugees, excerpt:
By Tuesday, Del Mar's fairgrounds, horse park, and racetrack area had taken in an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people and about 2,500 horses and other animals, including a pair of zebras, according to the San Diego Tribune. The California National Guard had deployed troops there to offer assistance, and the park was calling for volunteers with equine experience to help with horse care. Interested parties were asked to call (858) 792-5245 before arriving.
Posted by Alex at 10:10 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 417
Posted October 23, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2635: Today's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Just had an exciting report from Tim. Bubble Gum went to the main track today for the very first time. He reported that she was very brave by herself. The only thing she spooked at was the tower and the tower causes a lot of trouble for young horses. It's so great that she is such a great ride. Tim says that she's the best ride of the day. Real Lace is just fine after her race yesterday. She will have a few days of rest now. Companions Paris Night and Kitty galloped well again today. They both continue to improve with their learning. Diva had a new friend today. We have a new Not For Love filly in the barn and she went with Diva. They get along just fine and seem to tolerate each other well. Molly trained with Two of Wands (Wanda) today. It is great to be able to have these horses go out in sets. Horses are herd animals and like to have friends to train with. I know that it is always easier for me to run with a friend than to run by myself. I think lots of times it must be the same for the horses.
Down on the farm: Paget and I rode this morning. The three year old she bought (Wilmer) is going nicely. He is really taking to his new like off the track. He is now jumping over small jumps and looks the part of a show horse. Tim's new baby (Rosa) has had the tack on for several days and will quickly progress to having a rider on her back. She has a little spunk and a great personality. I really look forward to Tim getting up on her. Meghan continues to love on Whip. She seems to enjoy ring work and now trots over poles very easily. Meg is having loads of fun. By the way, she looks great in purple!
Update 2634: Superfecta here, with your tardy-but-finally-here Tuesday update!
After yesterday's musical interlude, you're no doubt waiting expectantly for a full race-by-race analysis. Well, with today being my last day at Penn Vet, you'll have to wait a little bit longer. But don't despair, today brings you some of my (hopefully) live longshots for each race.
Filly & Mare Sprint
With La Traviata in this race, it makes it a very interesting betting race since she's such a prohibitive favorite. It means that Wild Gams (who we already know loves Monmouth) and Baroness Thatcher could both go off at long odds -- at least considerably longer odds than they might otherwise.
Old Man Buck is now pointed to the Juvenile rather than the Juvenile Turf, otherwise I would happily pick him in this category. I generally avoid Todd Pletcher's horses in the Breeders' Cup, but I'll pick The Leopard as my longshot (and no, not just because Leopard comes out the same day).
Lewis Michael is my official longshot for this race; Corinthian could be back in form as well, but he won't be at nearly as long a price. If the bettors all go off Discreet Cat, it's entirely possible he'd be worth some investment as well.
A to the Croft will have blinkers for the first time and I like her a lot; I think there's been so much buzz about Smarty Deb and her feel-good story that she won't be quite the same value (but should not be overlooked).
Old Man Buck should be in here at a good price; he may not win, but I can easily see him hitting the board behind Tale of Ekati. Salute the Sarge (a half-brother to Chelokee) could offer some value as well. And if you want to know how Tale of Ekati got his name, check out Diamond: The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair. It gets complicated!
Filly & Mare Turf
This should be a great race with some solid favorites in Nashoba's Key and Precious Kitten; given her inconsistency of late, Honey Ryder could have long odds. If it does indeed rain Saturday, I may give an edge to the Europeans -- I might consider Timarwa if it comes up soft.
Idiot Proof has set a record at Monmouth already; Kelly's Landing won the Dubai Golden Shaheen and has been quiet since, but he clearly loves this distance. The long layoff should translate to longer odds.
Purim is my longshot, but this is a great field; if Silent Name and/or Remarkable News come up with silly odds too, I'll be putting a bit in those buckets as well.
I think Unbridled Belle is going to be overlooked and a good value (despite her good record of late); Teammate still needs a G1 win and could get it here.
I have just one sentimental longshot on the day --
Better Talk Now. He's updated his MySpace page to let us know he's rested and ready.
Tiago is flying completely under the radar and seems to be improving. Don't count him out. Of course, if you want to put money on George Washington in this race, be my guest!
Check back starting tomorrow for a full analysis of each race now that the post positions are set...
Update 2633: Post positions for the Breeders' Cup races this weekend are here.
Update 2632: Street Sense had his final work for his final race of his career: Street Sense Sizzles in Final BC Work, excerpt:
"That last three eighths, he was just rolling," Borel said. "He accelerates around the turn. When I stand up on him, he just knows...he just rolls. He got over this track well. He's doing so good."
Trainer Carl Nafzger was equally as pleased with the move. "He worked great. He was very relaxed," said Nafzger, who won the Classic with Unbridled in 1990.
Update 2631: Rain, rain, rain, rain, more rain, and then rain. That was the welcome (to some) weather this morning. I took one set to the track, which at the time seemed decent, but was fortunate not to have to go out on any others. I shedrowed six in all. Gerry, Eddie Kenneally's assistant, was back from Canada with Linda's Lad. He is now getting ready to depart again tomorrow to Monmouth with Kelly's Landing. Otherwise just a quiet morning given the inclement weather.
Update 2630: The questions are starting about whether horses will be ready for their big day (in the Breeders' Cup) off extended layoffs. Our favourite horse, Better Talk Now, has not run for a long time, but has run more recently than my boss' horse, Kelly's Landing. Of course I am rooting for both of these old campaigners to show that you can train up to an important major stakes race: Kelly's Landing, Better Talk Now out to prove fresh is better.
Last night I went to Shepherdsville Auction. Thanks to two FOBs who went with me. There were only a few horses in the "kill pen", perhaps about ten. I checked to see if there was a racehorse, one horse looked like a thoroughbred but did not have a lip tattoo. We did not bid on any, but I am planning to get a horse from this auction at some stage in the future. The prices were on the floor ($30; $120; etc.) for horses not being bid for kill. It is certainly interesting to see the contrast from New Holland. New Holland yesterday was well attended by many rescues working together to save a number of horses with monies raised by FOBs. Inside Edition was doing some coverage. It will be interesting to see how their piece turns out. Congratulations to all involved.
Posted by Alex at 10:02 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 416
Posted October 22, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2629: Tim's Real Lace ran a nice race this afternoon to finish second at Philadelphia Park. Victor Molina might have moved a little too soon at the three eighths pole, she was just caught close to the wire. She is cooling out well.
Update 2628: The first shipment of European horses has arrived at Monmouth for the Breeders' Cup. The second shipment, Aidan O'Brien's runners, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow evening: Euros Arrive at Monmouth; Accommodations Get Thumbs-Up.
Update 2627: An update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
What a foggy Monday morning. For the first few hours of training it was hard to see even a sixteenth of a mile in front of you. Once the fog burned off it turned into a great morning. Not too hot nor too chilly. Our excercise rider Robbie Walsh rode two winners at the weekend. One being the Virginia Gold Cup on a horse for Jack Fisher. What a great weekend for him.
Bubble Gum went out with her new partner Our Diva. Both enjoyed a gallop up the hills out the back. Kitty and Paris Night went to the main track to gallop together. Both were happy. Veiled Reference made it back to the track today after her race. She has come out of it well and seems to be happy. We heard from the farm in Chesapeake City today. Gator Nation is doing well and will be returning to us the beginning of November. It will be awesome to have him back. No reports on Luke today. I'm sure he is fine or Tim would have told me.
Tim, Mike and Real Lace and probably Carrot Man George are at Philadelphia Park waiting for the 7th race. It should go off around 3pm if you are near a TV or computer. Philadelphia Park does have a live feed for the races if you need to watch it on a computer. www.philapark.com.
Update 2626: Another lovely and quiet morning this moring at Keeneland. We are entering the last week of the meet so it will soon be all over here. It looks like I might head to Churchill Downs for a week or so next week.
I had eight to ride. Seven went to the main track and one to the training track. All went nicely. Kelly's Landing (who I do not ride) looks good after his final work before this weekend's Breeders' Cup. He will be shipping out on wednesday I think. Apparently there was a bit of a "discussion" on TVG about the merits of his final work on saturday. One training stating it was too slow (he went 5/8ths strolling along in a minute), and a Hall of Fame jockey defending the work. Course I agree with Gary Stevens! Anyway, all is well at Keeneland. No racing today or tomorrow.
Update 2625: The major racing this weekend was in Canada, for Canada's richest race of the year. Cloudy's Knight made it two stakes in a row at Woodbine: Cloudy's Knight Does It Again at Woodbine.
Posted by Alex at 10:11 AM
| Comments (96)
Barbaro Updates: 415
Posted October 20, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2624: Street Sense had a decent gallop this morning at Monmouth, clipping along at an open gallop: Idiot Proof Breezes; Street Sense Has Easy Gallop. His final work is scheduled for tuesday, although there is rain in the forecast.
Pletcher gave his horses their final work, Discreet Cat also worked ... fast: Pletcher Brigade Works; Discreet Cat Sizzles.
Update 2623: On my day off it was a lovely morning to go for a drive and see some of the kentucky countryside. With a friend we went out to Midway, via Lanes End Farm. Midway was closed ... the whole town closed, but pretty nonetheless. We then went to Keeneland to have breakfast in the kitchen. I then went to show my friend Kelly's Landing, but he was snoozing. We went to the frontside to watch the first race. Returned to the backside and Kelly's Landing was still snoozing. Just a pleasant morning and a pleasant way to hang out.
Street Sense seems to have settled in at Monmouth and final preparations will soon be underway to get ready for his final start: Street Sense taking it easy at the shore.
A sunday update from Penny st timwoolleyracing.com:
Quite an easy Sunday morning. Real Lace and Who's Happy were the only horses to train this morning. Real Lace is in tomorrow at Philadelphia Park. Hopefully with Victor Molina aboard she will run a great race. Tim galloped Who's Happy today the right direction and he says that he didn't make out very well. She is very strong and he is quite worried that she will not rate in her races if he doesn't get it under control. I'm sure he will figure something out. Yesterday Two of Wands worked a good half mile by herself and last night at feed time she was shaking her head for her dinner. So far she is doing well. Paris Night and Diva also worked yesterday. They went a quarter mile. Kelly rode Paris and she was all business. Tim was aboard Diva and she was looking around being easily distracted. It is early yet in her training and I'm sure she will get more focused as time goes on. She is still growing and has filled out even more since she has come here. I had to give Mass Romantic a giant hug as I was leaving the barn after feeding last night. Everyone was eating but as I walked by she stuck her head out and demanded some attention. I was happy to give her some love and she seemed happy with that. We also said goodbye to Red Aspen yesterday. Since she came back from her eye injury she has not been sound. Tim has tried all means to keep her happy but in the end the owners decided they would try to keep her sound on the farm. Perhaps if they can't keep her sound they will start to look for a stallion to breed her to. It is so hard to say goodbye to all of our horses but especially this filly. She was a wonderful horse to train and always gave us a thrill everytime she ran. I held onto her neck and gave her huge hugs and kisses several times yesterday morning. You never know what will happen when they leave you. We only wish all of the best of life for her. But as I said to Tim "You never know, the next Red Aspen may be standing in the corner stall".
Update 2622: A few horses worked yesterday morning at Keeneland in preparation for the Breeders' Cup, including our own Kelly's Landing: Final Breeders' Cup Tune-Ups For Six at Keeneland, excerpt:
Kelly's Landing raced in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last year, finishing 10th. This year's race will mark the first start for the gelding since he won the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba March 31. After that performance, Kelly's Landing received some time off.
"We had hoped to give him a fall race, one race before the Breeders' Cup as a prep," Kenneally said. "We had a couple of minor setbacks, so we ran out of time and didn't have an opportunity to get a prep race into him. It's not ideal, but I think he's a horse that can do it. I think he's a horse that can get fully fit off workouts alone."
Kenneally said Kelly's Landing would be flown to Monmouth Oct. 24. Frankie Dettori, who rode Kelly's Landing to win the Golden Shaheen, will again be aboard in the Sprint.
McDynamo did it again in the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase, making it five straight wins: No Denying McDynamo in Fifth Straight Breeders' Cup Win, excerpt:
"When he walks out of the paddock here, he walks out like he's home. I don't know why, but I can feel it. He knows where he is, he knows what he's doing," said Petty. "I was keeping him in check early on and made him jump a couple short to stay in behind. On the backside, I told him we could go jump his way and he just pinged all three of those fences and ran away from them."
Congratulations to Jody Petty on 100 career wins.
Update 2621: Video interview with Steve Asmussen including footage of Curlin relaxed at Keeneland: Video: Interview with Curlin's Trainer Steve Asmussen.
Off to see UK (University of Kentucky) play the Florida Gators!
Update 2620: An update on our friend Mike Rea from his sister: Hello Everyone, We're in Maryland.
Update 2619: A lovely morning this morning at Keeneland ... again. Since it is saturday, there was also Breakfast at Keeneland (or whatever its real name is) so a decent sized crowd and some running commentary for the final three sets. All my (seven) horses went nicely, although one 2yo colt thought the crowd was interesting enough he did not want to move away from it. Once he did get going, he was nice and settled and galloped well. Kelly's Landing did his final piece of work before the Breeders' Cup next saturday. I think he went 5/8ths in about a minute, but he looked awesome, just looked like he was galloping around there.
A couple of FOBs were in attendance. Harriet, my host at dinner the other night, and Kathleen, who gave me two tickets to the big game today, and if you are in Kentucky you know what game that is! I am psyched, I have never been to a big college football game before, no offense to UD football of course!
I also saw Michael Blowen (Old Friends) on the backside. He mentioned he does some time on a radio show on saturday mornings. He was at John Henry's memorial yesterday and was very excited by the size of the turn out.
All in all, a great way to start the weekend!
Update 2618: More coverage of John Henry's memorial service from yesterday: John Henry remembered at Horse Park, excerpt:
"This is unbelievable," retired Racing Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron said. "I have been to quite a few memorial services in my life, but I have never been to something so extraordinary. We're talking about a horse that was able to capture the minds and hearts of people all over the world, not just in the United States.
"I can't tell you how blessed I feel, and I was a very small part of his career," McCarron continued. "I was fortunate enough to have ridden him in his last 14 starts [during his eight- and nine-year-old seasons] and I just had an absolute blast."
Posted by Alex at 10:01 AM
| Comments (108)
Barbaro Updates: 414
Posted October 19, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2617: It has come to my attention that claiming races were run prior to 1917 (check this article)! The same result though, money goes to CANTER!
Update 2616: Street Sense has arrived at Monmouth: Street Sense Arrives at Monmouth.
$100 to CANTER MI, in honor of Brave Minor, thanks to Equine Heaven and the answer to the quiz question, when and why did claiming racing begin in the US:
By the way...Mr. Prospector and Bold Reason have been scouring the Heavenly archives in the library up here to try and come up with the answer to the trivia question....finally, they have submitted this about the "claiming races" question...don't know if it's correct, but they want to give it a try....
The current concept of claiming races started over 300 years ago when England developed (and America copied) the "selling race", in which the winning horse was put up for auction immediately after the race. The selling race became unpopular because of betting coups by owners who would put their horses in a selling race which was far below their value, and then buy the horse back at auction. The claiming race as we know it today was begun at the Lexington track in 1917.
The claiming race has long been a popular venue for racing cheap horses.
I still need to verify this, but its good enough to put the cheque in the mail!
Update 2615: I was unable to attend John Henry's memorial, I plan to go to the Horse Park in the next week or so. Here are Nancy CTs comments from the HRTV coverage (timestamp: 7:59 pm):
REPORTING FROM HRTV (by way of CT):
John Nicholson, Exec Dir KHP - "celebrating the life of a most unlikely champion; a very, very special horse, a very special friend, THE GREAT JOHN HENRY." "Never has one horse touched so many lives..."
Tom Levinson, step-son of Sam Rubin - "tremendous debt of gratitude to KHP who extended the life and the quality of life of JH, and this brought great joy to his parents when they visited and saw how well JH was doing..." He brought with him the 1981 Arlington Million trophy for JH's display in the Hall of Champions. "My parents didn't consider themselves JH's owners, just his caretakers - YOU were his owners."
Chris McCarron - "unbelievable, extraordinary memorial service and I've been to lots of them" "JH captured the minds and hearts of people all over the world, and I was blessed to be a small part of his career and I had a blast!" "Reporters always asked Charlie Whittingham if he could ever beat JH - Whittingham said he just wanted to OUTLIVE him...John beat Charlie in that race too."
Ted Bassett - past chair KHP Commission: "highly competitive spirit, combative will to win" "denigrated by the pedigree experts" "13 of his wins were by a nose or a head-bob, which endeared him to the public" "46,000 people attended JH's retirement party at Hollywood Park" "today is final salute to a grand old champion who outlived his critics" "the PEOPLE'S horse, the PEOPLE'S champion who DID IT HIS WAY"
Governor Collins - "met JH at the airport with a bouquet of carrots when he arrived at the KHP; he came down the ramp looking for photographers and turned his best side to them" "a blue-collar horse, what you saw is what you got" "JH's arrival was motivation for establishing the KHP Foundation" "we will remember him forever, he was OUR KIND OF GUY"
Nicholson again - "gave us infinitely more than we could ever have given him" "I'm overwhelmed by tens of thousands of messages of condolences" quoted John from Toledo OH..."JH's story isn't just about a horse - it is about perseverance, hard work, tenacity.....he captured our hearts and spirits, and was still an inspiration in his retirement....fought valiantly for what he achieved....his passion, will, determination and heart made him a CHAMPION"
Nicholson said that KHP had been struggling, and when John Henry arrived "he became our talisman." A million school children visited, many disadvantaged, and John Henry was an example that you don't have to have a great pedigree, and it's ok if not everyone believes in you...with love, confidence and belief in yourself you can succeed..."and if you don't believe me, then MEET JOHN HENRY!" "his legacy continues in the lives of everyone he touched" "he talked to us for 32 years and taught us great lessons of courage, belief in ourselves, know you are special even if not everyone agrees...work hard and you can succeed."
Nicholson paid special tribute (by name) to all the caregivers in the Hall of Champions who took care of JH for 23 years..."John Henry selected his friends carefully...he was NOT overabundant in his affections" "perhaps he is romping in his celestial paddock and awaiting his caregivers some day...in his mind, it wouldn't be heaven for him without his special friends" "tender good-byes from visitors and staff" "My sons brought JH his favorite chocolate doughnuts the day before he died, and even though he was withered with age my young sons knew they were in the presence of GREATNESS!"
"AND NOW, FOR THE FINAL TIME, WE GIVE YOU THE GREAT JOHN HENRY!!!!!!!"
(from me) You know, dear frens, it's pretty tough to see the tv AND take notes when your reporter is sobbing...AND THE FINAL STRAW was the bagpiper playing Bach's "Joyful, Joyful We Adore You!"
Nicholson invited the hundreds of people there to stay for refreshments, sign the guest book, watch videos of John Henry, and see the info on the planned permanent memorial statue (with thanks to Michael Blowen of Old Friends).
There was a large poster with John Henry's photograph and signatures - loads and loads and loads of signatures - just like the one for Barbaro at Belmont Park!
Update 2614: Today's and yesterday's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
In case you haven't already heard, Extreme Makeover show is here in Port Deposit building a new barn and house for the Freedom Hill Therapeutic Riding Center. This is the group who helps many people in our area with disabilities ride horses. Mike Rea who trained here at Fair Hill and was badly hurt goes here to get his horse fix. They work wonders for people who have little else to look forward to. Volunteers are streaming in and they are working around the clock. They are also building a new indoor riding arena which will be great. The show will air sometime in January. What a great project. Check out the Freedom Hills website
What a foggy Thursday morning. Luke went accross the fields today with Bubble Gum to give her some company. He loves to go cross country and Tim reports that he was moving well. He has been known to whip around occasionally at the deer. He and Tim managed not to part ways and Bubble Gum was a star. Who's Happy went to the track today. She may have one more race (hopefully on the turf) before she is put away for the winter. Tim said that she is moving well and very happy with herself. Real Lace trained today and then later in the morning had a beauty treatment. She got her mane pulled. Most horses get used to this and it doesn't bother them. Her hair comes out very easily and she looks a little less like a wild woman now. She may be running on Monday at Philadelphia Park in a race for Pennsylvania breds. Hopefully she will get a better ride this trip. She is bouncing around the barn like her usual self and is moving just fine. We also had a visit from Shaun and Dennis Massey today. They own Mass Romantic and Veiled Reference. Veiled Reference has come out of her race unscathed and although a little tired seems just fine. We look forward to some great racing from her. Down on the farm Uncle Tim has been helping Meghan with little Whippie. The other day she threw in a huge buck and we thought Meghan was off. Her long legs rapped around Whip and after a few seconds up on Whips neck Meghan recovered her seat and continued her lesson. Apparently she used to do this on the track occasionally. What a pair these two are. Yesterday she behaved like a lady around the ring and Meg even had her going over a little crossrail. Much to Uncle Tim's dismay Meghan as already accumulated quite a collection on purple supplies. Purple Polos, Purple Hay Net, Purple Comb, Purble Brush and a few other miscellaneous items. Oh to be a young girl with your very first horse again. They ended the lesson with a few hugs and carrots and everyone was happy. They are quite the pair. Tim's recent yearling purchase known as (Rosa) has had a saddle on for the second time today. She doesn't seem to mind it yet and hopefully she will be easy to break. Timmy M'Boy hasn't quite made friends with her yet. I think he misses Bubble Gum, they were together a long time.
Update 2613: Another lovely morning at Keeneland. So peaceful and tranquil. Graham Motion is in town. I asked him how Better Talk Now is doing, and he was very upbeat about him and his last two works. Looks all go for the Breeders' Cup for Blackie!
I had seven to ride. All went nicely. Our first set was interrupted by a loose horse, who was literally breezing on his own. It took the outrider a little while to run him down and catch him, a little too exciting for that time of the morning. After my last set I spent about 30 minutes trying to catch a 2yo ... in his stall! I left and was unsuccessful! Oh well.
Update 2612: For those interested in breeding, some interesting statitics from this year: Report of Mares Bred documents decline in breeding. Last night I drove out to Midway for dinner. I passed many stud farms including Lanes End. I am planning to visit Lanes End on tuesday.
There is a memorial service today for John Henry, at the Kentucky Horse Park, at 2pm. HRTV will also cover this service live from 2 pm.
Posted by Alex at 10:02 AM
| Comments (129)
Barbaro Updates: 413
Posted October 18, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2611: Street Sense is soon scheduled to depart Churchill Downs for his final time as he attempts to close out an exception (if short) career: Street Sense Headed to Monmouth.
$100 will go to CANTER MI, in honor of Brave Miner, if someone can tell me when the first claiming races were run in the United States, and why claiming races were first run in this country.
Update 2610: Francois Parisel is now the trainer of record for Biancone's runners in the Breeders' Cup: Biancone's Breeders' Cup Horses Transferred to Francois Parisel.
Update 2609: Steve Haskin looks at those Breeders' Cup horses who have already raced over the Monmouth Park track. He also looks at who we can get excited about for the future: Steve Haskin's BC Countdown: Pletcher Could be a Shore Thing This Year, excerpt:
The horses who normally would achieve long-range star power with a Classic victory -- Street Sense, Any Given Saturday, and Hard Spun -- are all scheduled to be retired to Darley at Jonabell after the race, so it is hard for the public to embrace them at this point knowing they're never going to see them again. Nothing has been made official regarding Any Given Saturday, but the chances of seeing him next year would appear to be slim. Street Sense, with a victory in the Classic, would have been a major star and attraction next year, but that's not going to happen. Trainer Larry Jones said that Hard Spun is just now coming into his own, is getting stronger, and learning how to settle in his races. There is no doubt he would have made an awesome 4-year-old, but we'll never know. Curlin certainly has star appeal, but his future is still undetermined. Still, he at least provides a ray of hope for next year.
I saw Curlin this morning, walking off the racetrack with his pony as I was also doing the same, without a pony. He looked very composed, and quite big!
Update 2608: Some pictures of Teuflesburg, who received a gift basket from FOBs yesterday: Update on Teuflesberg.
Update 2607: A warm, but sometimes wet, morning this morning at Keeneland. I rode eight and managed to stay pretty dry which was a feat in of itself! A pleasant mornings work. Everyone was in good humor and the horses went nicely. Linda's Lad shipped out this morning along with Gerry, they are off to Canada for a big stake on sunday.
It continues to remain darker in the mornings, I am assuming the clocks will change at some point! We have a couple of runners this afternoon, but I think I may take the afternoon off from the races today. Just a nice to day relax!
Update 2606: Biancone agrees to his one year suspension which will begin November 1 and will not be trainer of record for horses he entered in the Breeders' Cup: Biancone Agrees to One-Year Suspension, excerpts:
As part of the agreement, Biancone has agreed to withdraw as the trainer of record for any horses currently under his care and will not be the trainer of record for any horses entered in the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Biancone is the first person suspended in Kentucky under new rules that prohibit a trainer who is suspended for six months or more from benefiting financially from his horses while under suspension for a Class A medication violation. The penalties were put in place at the same time as the state's medication rules were tightened.
Under the rule, Biancone will have to transfer his horses to trainers with whom he has no financial ties.
Posted by Alex at 9:56 AM
| Comments (121)
Barbaro Updates: 412
Posted October 17, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2605: Superfecta, our tuesday guest blogger, provides some initial thoughts on the Breeders' Cup card. I like the thoughts on the Sprint: Official Breeders' Cup Pre-Entries.
Update 2604: Today's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
What a beautiful Wednesday. Tim has just called in with an update. Veiled Reference finished second this afternoon. She behaved perfectly with Oliver Castillo in the irons. She should come on a lot for this race although Tim says that at the moment she seems a bit bewildered. All of the schooling with Luke payed off as she was perfect with the pony.
Two of Wands(Wanda) had an exciting morning. She broke with all of the power for the first time from the gate. Everything went great and she handled it like a pro. Our Diva and Paris Night also went to the gate. They stood behind the gate for a long time to take in all of the normal commotion. Both ladies handled everything fine before galloping out the front.
Mass Romantic continues to train well. She has come out of her race just fine and seems very happy. Bubble Gum bravely jogged in the fields by herself today with Kelly aboard. All went well as expected. So far not much seems to bother her. Red Aspen continues to train well and torture everyone who tries to catch her in the stall. She loves this game.
Update 2603: The complete list of Breeders' Cup pre-entries.
Update 2602: Just one of those lovely mornings where you are not in a rush to do anything, things will get done in plenty of time. I had six to ride, all went nicely and just very relaxed. A couple went to the gate, one horse who is a first time starter this weekend (just standing to make sure he relaxes) and another who was going to the gate for only the second time (walked through a few times, then closed him in, and let him walk out.)
We had a few owners stop by, actually this happens quite regularly. Kellys Landing and a couple of others were shod today. I saw Steve Asmussen and asked him about Tiz Wonderful. Apparently he is a good patient and all is going as needed at this stage. A very relaxing morning.
Update 2601: The Breeders' Cup race order has been determined. The Classic will go off at 5:35 pm: Breeders' Cup World Championships race order released.
24 year old Storm Cat's stud fee has been reduced to $300,000: Storm Cat to stand for $300,000 in 2008. Smart Strike, who seems to get runners of all types (Curlin, English Channel and Fabulous Strike) has had his fee increased to $150,000: Smart Strike joins six-figure stud fee club.
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Barbaro Updates: 411
Posted October 16, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2600: I had a lovely dinner with two FOBs, our host Harriette, and Dava. Many know Harriette from her inspirational words. Dava is a second grade teacher whose class works on a Kentucky Derby project each year and sent Barbaro get well wishes the monday morning after the Preakness. It was a very fun evening, although sometimes when we were talking about Barbaro it was quite difficult.
Update 2599: Today's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Just had an update from Tim. Bubble Gum, Sailing Home, and Tale Tails galloped together today in the fields. Everyone enjoyed themselves and everyone survived without incident. Sometimes taking green horses out where there are lots of deer can be scary. It all worked out fine. Something Wild went to the Tapeta track to gallop today and seems to enjoy the new surface. Robbie Walsh was in the irons. Robbie had a fall on the weekend and is sore but fine. We had a visit from the Massage Therapist Rosemary today. She came to do Real Lace. Both horse and person enjoyed the visit and all is well. Real Lace has had a lot of massages and really does enjoy them. She can get quite sore in the shoulders and this really helps her relax those muscles. Two of Wands galloped in behind Mass Romantic today. She doesn't seem to mind and seems to like having a target to run at. Veiled Reference does indeed run tomorrow at Laurel Park in the first race. Hopefully she has been schooled well enough and will enjoy her day at the races.
Update 2598: I went out to Paris (town not country) for lunch with Staci Hancock. This was the first time we had met, but we have spoken by phone and traded many e-mails over the last year and a half. Staci is perhaps the most vocal and passionate person within the horse racing community on all issues regarding horse welfare, this includes horse slaughter. We chatted away for an hour and a half while enjoying a pleasant lunch. Anyway, it was fun meeting and chatting with someone who (with her husband) has bred three Kentucky Derby winners, owning two of them: royalty within our sport for sure.
Update 2597: Superfecta here, with your Tuesday guest spot.
We have entered that strange liminal period before the Breeders' Cup in which it seems very little happens (at least in US racing). However, the probable contenders have been busy training; Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun all had good workouts recently and seem to be ready to go. But before we turn our attention to the Breeders' Cup, there is some sad news.
Slew o' Gold was euthanized on Sunday at the age of 27, just a short time after his rival, John Henry; they were neck and neck for Horse of the Year in 1984 with the then-10-year-old John Henry just edging the 4-year-old Slew o' Gold in the voting. 1984 was one of those racing years with many ups and downs; Swale's sudden death following his Derby and Belmont triumphs was a shock, but the older horses including Slew o' Gold and John Henry brought real vitality to the late summer and fall season, as did the inaugural Breeders' Cup, featuring winners such as Princess Rooney, Chief's Crown and Wild Again.
Silver Buck, sire of Silver Charm, was also put down recently -- along with Bucksplasher a few weeks ago, it seems that we're losing a lot of direct descendants of Buckpasser of late (Slew o' Gold was also out of a Buckpasser mare).
While we're speaking of stallions, it's no surprise that Smart Strike's stud fee has gone up to $150,000, given his many stakes winners of late; Storm Cat, in contrast, is standing for $300,000 in 2008, down from $500,000.
But back to the Breeders' Cup; Todd Pletcher is bringing what CBS describes as 'a small army' with 15 horses pre-entered (although let's recall that last year he had 17 starters and nary a win), including Classic contenders Any Given Saturday and Lawyer Ron, and about half the Distaff field with Unbridled Belle, Panty Raid, Octave and Indian Vale. Other Pletcher horses to watch include Honey Ryder and Wait a While in the F&M Turf and English Channel in the Turf. Pletcher is also giving the Juvenile Turf a shot with The Leopard, among a few others.
Away from Team Pletcher, Nashoba's Key has been mysteriously flying under the radar, despite being undefeated in seven starts. She will likely be the Filly & Mare Turf favorite, although the mainstream press seems to be overlooking her entirely.
Speaking of interesting fillies and mares, My Typhoon is entered in both the Mile and the Distaff; trainer Bill Mott could automatically enter her in the F&M Turf, but feels she prefers a shorter distance. La Traviata is also pre-entered in two races -- the Sprint and the new Filly & Mare Sprint.
While the pre-entered fields are announced tomorrow, Railbird has the likely goods here, although of course more names will be added. The Juvenile is looking interesting, with Tale of Ekati, War Pass and Slew's Tiznow all facing off...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Finally, the latest odd Breeders' Cup promotion -- college students get in free on Friday. Get ready to blow off your classes, kids -- there could be a $1000 scholarship in it for you! And hey, you can win a $1000 gift certificate to Theory! Last time I checked, that would buy you about two pairs of pants there, so I'm not convinced that it's a store that's on the radar of most college students, but it's possible I'm just not down with the youth. But hey, whatever works! I wonder if working for a university counts?
Check back tomorrow for a rundown of the official pre-entries.
Update 2596: A busier morning this morning with seven horses to the track. We had a beautiful sunrise, but not until fourth set. It also drizzled a little this morning, but as soon as we were done it started raining in buckets ... great timing as I think they need rain around here.
Each of the horses I rode went nicely, although one got very kean down the lane as a horse breezed up her inside. Unfortunately the owners were there and observed their horse looking like she might run off with me a little ... but then she came back to me so no harm done. All in all a pleasant morning's work.
Update 2595: Todd Pletcher will again be the most represented trainer in this year's Breeders' Cup by far: Pletcher has 15 Breeders' Cup candidates.
Slew o' Gold and Silver Buck (29) have both been euthanized: Champion Slew o' Gold Euthanized at 27 and Silver Buck Euthanized in Florida.
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Barbaro Updates: 410
Posted October 15, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2594: Liz (UK) was the winner of the quiz. Dirt racing began along time ago, the early 1800s. The reason, the passion for times and breaking times. This form of racing was faster than turf racing (or at least that is how I interpreted the information I read this afternoon).
$200 will go to CANTER MI, in honor of Brave Miner.
Update 2593: Street Sense and Curlin both worked today, I witnessed Curlin's work while galloping this morning at Keeneland: Street Sense and Curlin Work Toward Breeders' Cup.
This afternoon I went over to Keeneland's library. A very cool reference library. Upon entering the first thing I saw was a small statue of one of my favourite horses, a horse I visited a couple of times when I first came over to the US: Northern Dancer. Anyway, after looking around for a while, I decided I wanted to do a little research for my book. My question: when did dirt racing first begin ? I asked the librarian, and while she did not know (nor could I find an answer on google) she pointed me in the right direction in terms of which reference material to read. So now I know, and the reason for dirt. Anyone want to provide the answer before I give it away ? If anyone does provide the right (or close to right) answer, I will provide $200, in honor of Brave Miner, to the horse rescue of choice of the winner.
I then went on to visit Versailles (Var Sales). A cool town to wander.
Update 2592: Update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Lots of action this weekend. Paris's owners were here to see her breeze a little on Saturday. She went great and seems to be happy. Two of Wands (Wanda) breezed a really handy half mile with one of Michael Matz's. They went well together and seemed to be a great match.
Who's Happy ran a respectable race on Friday night. Tim said that she grabbed the bit down the backside and toted Victor to the front. She did hold out for second. This is not her racing style but she has been getting very strong with Tim in the morning as well. Victor took a lot of abuse from the crowd according to Tim but he did everything he could to slow her down and keep her calm. Tim is very strong and in the mornings he has been barely able to hold her so I know that she is tough. Last night she dove into her food so we gave her an extra scoop. She has recovered nicely. I believe she will be getting a break for the winter now.
Tim has planned to take Luke to the track today with Veiled Reference. She will be making her first start on Wednesday. We will practice putting the racing girths on her and try to get her used to these before she goes to the races so that it doesn't seem strange to her when it happens.These girths are different than the ones we use every morning and they take some getting used to. I'm sure she will be fine but it is always better to try them before you get there.
Red Aspen continues to train well and her eye seems to not cause her any trouble. More later if I get a report from the trainer.
Update 2591: A quiet morning this morning at Keeneland, with only five to ride. It was a warmer morning than the last few days, and everyone seemed in good humor. I am curious if Curlin worked this morning. I think he was scheduled to do so, and I think I might have seen him work, actually nearly overtaking him as he galloped going into his work. I decided to keep well out of the way ... and of course it might not have been him anyway!
All the horses I rode went nicely, which is good after having had a day off. Sometimes they will be a little to keen on a monday morning. I then went shopping, I needed some new gloves and "leggings", which go on the inside of my jeans to avoid leg rubs! No racing today, or tomorrow, the two dark days of the week.
Update 2590: With less than two weeks to the Breeders' Cup, there will be no more contenders racing until the big weekend. We will be hearing about many of them working, with one or two works remaining for each. Smokey Stover, who has the same connections as Lost in the Fog and is a leading contender for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, put is his penultimate work at Bay Meadows: Sprint Contender Smokey Stover Turns in Swift Move.
Street Sense's trainer, Carl Nafzger, was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame at the weekend: Nafzger leads class of Texas Hall of Fame inductees.
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Barbaro Updates: 409
Posted October 13, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2589: A short afternoon at the races, but what a glorious afternoon for racing. The crowd again at Keeneland was huge. I met an FOB, Kim, and her mother. It was nice chatting for a while. We had a first time starter running, I think she had a good experience and will likely improve from her race. She is very big for a 2yo. We also had one in an allowance race (never won a race other than a Maiden). He had won his last race, his second start, at Turfway Park. He is a very nice horse and this was a nice race. I was hopeful he would win, he pressed the pace, got caught three wide around the turn and just ran out of gas the last sixteenth. Overall I think he ran a decent race, and being his third start will again have learned from the experience. A lovely day for racing, and great to see racing so well attended!
Update 2588: A gorgeous afternoon in Lexington, off to the races at Keeneland.
Update 2587: A new world record was set for a filly sold at auction at Tattersalls Sale (UK): Sadler's Wells filly eclipses world record price at Tattersalls.
Progress is being made in looking to test for Anabolic Steriods, but it is unfortunately not a trivial nor inexpensive issue: Mid-Atlantic States Move Toward Regulation of Steroids.
Today I have a day off from Keeneland!
Update 2586: Barclay Tagg's Bit of Whimsy, whose mother survived a racing breakdown in her career, won the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland: Bit of Whimsy upsets Dreaming of Anna.
Update 2585: The Green Monkey, the most expensive horse ever sold at auction, disappointed again in his second start: The Green Monkey Well-Beaten in Second Start.
Update 2584: Another chilly start to the day at Keeneland. Once the sun got up it did get a little warmer. It was Breakfast at Keeneland again this morning, so by our fourth set (we had six sets) there were many people in the grandstand area watching the goings on, and listening to the happenings via a commentary. I did learn something through this, Keeneland is a mile and sixteenth racetrack. You would think I should know that having worked here for two weeks now ... I was just always confused by the number of poles down the lane!
Of the six I rode, they each went well, but a couple were a little sharp, probably due to the weather. One put in a buck in the middle of her gallop, the buck was so high I have no clue how I did not fall off and how she found her feet so easily on landing! I took a couple to the gate. One was at the gate for the first time, so just walked through with the doors open. He did not seem bothered by the experience. One filly we paddock schooled on our way out to the track. There were plenty of people by the paddock, so it was a good day for schooling. Keeneland was intereviewing someone who does horse rescue, I did not quite catch the name of the organization, but it was cool to see Keeneland acknowledge this and provide some good PR to the early morning fans.
All in all a very pleasant morning's work. This afternoon's feature race is the QE2, Michael Matz is running Street Sounds!
Update 2583: Edgar Prado will start getting on horses this morning as he continues to recover from a broken ankle. It is not clear yet when he will return to racing: Prado Back on Horses, Taking Recovery Slowly, excerpt:
"The doctor gave him clearance yesterday and told him he could get on horses," Frieze said Oct. 12. 'We were going to get on and see where he was at today, but it was pretty muddy. He's just going to get on a pony and ride around and see how it goes. He's been in therapy, so we'll see how he does over the next few days."
Who's Happy was second last night at the Meadowlands in a Stake, which I am assuming came off the turf given the number of scratches. Here is the chart.
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Barbaro Updates: 408
Posted October 12, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2582: Shakespeare, who could have challenged for leading older horse with a Breeders' Cup win, has sadly been retired: No Cup for Shakespeare; Retires With Tendon Injury, excerpt:
"He was a top, top horse," McLaughlin said. "He was a superstar. I hate to say that about a horse--I've only ever said it about Invasor. But I think if you'd put the starting gate up at six furlongs or a mile-and- a-half, I've never felt so confident that we'd get to the wire first. He was in that elite group, and we enjoyed having him for the six months we did; we're happy the owners let us train him."
Update 2581: Its friday, I have to remind myself of that when I see the huge crowd at Keeneland! It is amazing the amount of people who come out to the races. We had four runners, two in the fourth, one in the seventh and one in the feature, the ninth. I helped with the fourth race, both fillies ran decent enough but the winner was too good. She was coming off a second at Saratoga in a Maiden, the winner of that Maiden then went on to win a Grade 1! The filly in the seventh ran evenly, but perhaps a little disappointingly. I then left to come back to my flat and watch the ninth. I missed it due to the traffic leaving Keeneland. Our horse, Taletobetold, ran second! She must have run a pretty decent race. I have been riding her most mornings so I was pretty psyched about that.
Update 2580: Today's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com (Who's Happy is running in a turf stakes race tonight at the Meadowlands):
A bit of a breezy Friday today. The horses sure are feeling the cool air. Tim and Who's Happy are on their way to the races today. She will be running for the first time on the grass (as long as there is no more rain). One way or the other she will run on the turf or on the dirt. There are two tuff horses in the race but we will see how Happy measures up. Hopefully she will have a good trip with Victor Molina on board. The race goes off tonight at about 10:20. I'm not sure I'll be up at that hour.
Bubble Gum has been such a trooper at Fair Hill. Nothing seems to bother her and hopefully we can get her up to the track this weekend with Luke. I can't wait to get her up to the track. Reports are that Luke is feeling much better on his feet and jumping and kicking around the porta pad scaring Michael Matz's horses. All of his riders hope that we can soon take Luke to the track so that he will stop causing so much mayhem. I truely believe that he is quite sure of the trouble he is causing. Diva and Paris continue to train well together and are progressing nicely. Mass Romantic has recovered from her efforts at Delaware Park a few days ago. All in all things are going smoothly and hopefully we can have a great weekend. We will be off to the Maryland Million races tomorrow. Lots of exciting racing to watch.
Update 2579: An easy morning this morning with only five to ride. We had a jock come in to breeze a couple of horses, and a new rider started this morning. Of the five I rode all went well. I did witness someone falling off right in front of me, as I had my horse turned in at the three quarter pole before our gallop. The guy's horse spooked / propped and the guy hit the ground pretty hard, but got up, wiped himself down and all was well. Of course the siren went off to alert everyone there was a loose horse on the track. All the while my horse just stood there as if nothing was going on. A short morning's work, I will be returning to the races this afternoon and running one in the fourth race.
Update 2578: The European contingent for this year's Breeders' Cup may be on the lighter side. Aidan O'Brien, who usually supplies the largest contingent, may only have two runners including Dylan Thomas who recently won the Arc de Triomphe: O'Brien Likely to Have Pair of Breeders' Cup Starters.
Old Friends is partnering with the Kentucky Horse Park to memorialize John Henry: Old Friends to Spearhead John Henry Memorial.
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Barbaro Updates: 407
Posted October 11, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2577: An update on Teuflesburg: Teuflesberg Surgery Successful; Prognosis Good, excerpts:
"He had surgery today and came out good; his prognosis looks good," Kelly said. "Dr. (Larry) Bramlage said the next two weeks are crucial because when he broke down he stretched out some of the blood vessels that run down the back of his legs, and there's a ligament that goes from the back of the knee to the foot that was also stressed. If he's not getting enough blood supply to that area there's more risk of infection, so that's the main concern."
"I was there when he woke up and he actually laid there longer than normal," Kelly said. "Dr. Bramlage said that was good because the longer (Teuflesberg) stayed there and let the (anesthesia) get out of his system, the better off he is. He got up strong and did it fairly easy, and he took about 20 minutes to get his mind back together. Then he walked to the stall and went right to eating hay; he's not acting stupid or anything."
Update 2576: In Breeders' Cup news potential Sprint favorite is now not running: Illness knocks Fabulous Strike out of Sprint, excerpt:
"He came out of the race fine and then on [October 2], two days later, he started to carry a small fever and he just didn't respond to medication," Beattie said. "We did an ultrasound and we do have a lung infection and his blood tests show he has one, so we're treating him aggressively for it. It just doesn't allow me enough time to think we could have him completely healed and ready to go for that big of an event."
We have one horse in our barn being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Kelly's Landing who last started and won in Dubai.
Update 2575: A chilly start this morning at Keeneland, but the way some people were wrapped up you would have thought it was the dead of winter! The cooler morning definitely had the horses on their toes, the siren went off twice signaling two loose horses on the track!
I had eight to ride, five on the main track and three to the training track. All went well, even though a couple of them did want to mess around a little too much! One I galloped is getting ready for a race in Canada, I had jogged him before but not galloped him. I think as a young horse he won group races in Europe. A couple of the others I rode are two year olds getting close to making starts. Its an exciting time when you don't know how good a horse might be. Course once they run you pretty much know what you have.
Update 2574: Richard Mandella has decided not to run The Tin Man in the Breeders' Cup: The Tin Man bypasses Breeders' Cup again, excerpt:
"We're not going to go," Mandella said. "I just don't like it. It's three weeks apart [between the Hirsch and the Breeders' Cup] and I have to ship him there, and the two of those together add up to be too much in my mind. He's nine years old, and he tries his heart out. I'd feel guilty trying it."
Mandella said he would instead point The Tin Man to the Citation Handicap (G1) on November 23 at Hollywood Park.
"It's a nice grass race and it gives me plenty of time to freshen him up and bring him back," Mandella said.
Ready's Image, who finished last in the Champagne as the second choice, is undergoing surgery: Ready's Image to Undergo Surgery for Knee Chip.
Predicably Biancone's suspension is on hold during an appeals process: Biancone Receives Stay of Suspension.
Hawty Creek came out of her winning race well. She's happy and healthy, but has dropped a little weight.
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Barbaro Updates: 406
Posted October 10, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2573: Today's update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Heavy rains in the night gave way to less humidity this morning. It was quite enjoyable in the barn. Coming back into the barn today was Kitty (Tail Tales- two year old Tale of the cat filly). She is a wild looking thing. I quite like her. She jogged on the track this morning and seems happy to be back. Paris and Our Diva went to the gate to continue their gate schooling. Both are progressing nicely. Real Lace went up to the track first set at 6:30. She doesn't particularly like it that early because it is still dark. She sees lots of shadows to spook at. Both horse and rider survived. All in all things went well and we continue to look for Who's Happy to run at the Meadowlands on Friday Night. We don't know yet the entries haven't been posted just yet.
Meghan came to the barn to take care of little Whippie. She grazed her for a half hour and is anxious to get riding. Hopefully we can get to this in the next couple of days. Timmy M'Boy is not quite sure about his new girlfriend (Tim's purchase at Timonium "Pumpkin") . I think he is missing Bubble Gum. He and Bubble Gum have been together for nearly a year and these horses really do get used to their buddies. I'm sure he will grow to love his new friend.
Update 2572: A couple of hours spent over at Keeneland. I paddock schooled a horse during the fourth race. We actually had two to paddock school and four of us to get the job done. Basically we did everything bar putting the saddle on and legging the jockey up! The filly I took over drug me around pretty much, but she also stayed very calm and collected which is a good sign. After that I went over to the front side and ran into Gary Stevens. I had wanted him to endorse my book proposal, which needs to get to an agent. He agreed, I am pretty psyched. The previous version of my proposal, while pretty comprehensive, lacked industry endorsements.
Update 2571: An update from Penny from yesterday (tuesday) at timwoolleyracing.com:
Yesterday (Monday) Mass Romantic ran a very respectable race after a long lay off. She has come out of it fine and acted like a perfect lady. One horse in the race kept flipping and that was a little unsettling. This sometimes happens when horses are so nervous. We did also watch Hawty Creek win at Philadelphia Park. That's great for all of her connections.
Two of Wands galloped in behind Something Wild this morning. Robbie rode Something Wild and seems to get along with him just fine. We have another new horse in the barn. Her barn name is Mollie (Sailing Home is her registered name). She is a half sister of Nautical Agent. Now we have another member of the family to train. She is bay and is a very strong looking filly. Mollie has gone to the track a few times now and has settled in nicely. Well, she is here.
Bubble Gum made her way to Fair Hill last night. Mike took lots of footage on his camera of the occasion. Tim says that she jogged around the shed row like a little trooper. I knew she would.
Who's Happy is back training and aimed at a start at the Meadowlands of Friday night. This will be her first start on the turf. Other than hoping the weather cools off a bit, everything is going great.
Update 2570: A little chilly to start the day this morning, but it soon warmed to a fine fall morning. I had eight to ride, so it was a pretty busy morning. A couple went to the training track this morning, this is the first time I have been on this half mile track. It also has the polytrack surface, and is a nice change up for the horses. All the horses I rode went nicely. One may be running against Better talk Now in Canada, if that is the case it will be tough to know who to root for! Anyway, all in all, a pleasant morning to be around the horses.
We have had a couple of dark days at Keeneland, but racing resumes today, evidenced by the number of cars arriving as I was leaving (don't people work in Kentucky ?) I will be going back to the races later today to "paddock school" a horse who will be running later in the week.
Update 2569: Remembering a legend:
Honoring the Life of a Legend
John Henry dies at age 32
A racing giant, impossible to forget
Steve Haskin Remembers John Henry
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, October 19, at 2 PM in the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park.
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Barbaro Updates: 405
Posted October 9, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2568: Teuflesburg is expected to undergo surgery on thursday: Teuflesberg Expected to Undergo Surgery Oct. 11.
Street Sense worked this morning at Churchill Downs, a decent half mile: Street Sense Works Four Furlongs in :48.40, excerpt:
"He came back so much better after that Polytrack race," Borel said. "It's amazing. I don't know why and I don't know what (a race on Polytrack) does to him. I don't know if he just gets a lot of out of it, or if it gets him keyed up, but he's doing good...perfect."
According to Hawty Creek, there is something to be said for the synthetic track to dirt angle! Basically horses seem to bounce out of synthetic track races and this sets them up well for their next race!
Also on the work tab this morning, at Keeneland, was Curlin: Curlin, Kodiak Kowboy Work at Keeneland.
Update 2567: I spent a very pleasant early afternoon at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, hanging out with the horses and chatting with Lori Neagle. Its a beautiful place, and the horses look great, and relaxed. I went to see Willie, who was turned out like most of the others. Willie, who now has one eye, was not interested in being caught, but looked great. Some of his companions in the same field were a little more friendly! Just a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Update 2566: Superfecta here, with your regular Tuesday installment of news and updates.
Looking back on my pre-weekend post, I seem rather worryingly prescient -- on the positive side, I called the trifecta in the Shadwell Turf Mile and was close on the First Lady, but I also worried whether things were amiss in the Teuflesberg camp, perhaps with good reason. It sounds as though we can be cautiously optimistic about his prognosis at present; let's hope the news from Rood & Riddle continues to be encouraging.
Alan sums up the ESPN coverage of the day well; I also think they did a great job under what might best be described as unforeseen circumstances -- many kudos to Randy Moss and company for keeping the tone appropriate. Back on a cheerful note, I am looking forward to seeing Purim on Breeders' Cup day if his connections do decide to go ; I've always had something of a soft spot for him and it will be nice to see him in person. We'll find out whether or not The Tin Man will be headed to New Jersey in a few day after his second-place finish in the Clement L. Hirsch.
The weekend did not improve things for The Green Monkey's family reputation -- his 2 year old half sister Coat the Cubes finished last in her debut in a maiden special weight at Belmont on Saturday. That must not have been good news to his dam, Magical Masquerade, who failed to meet her reserve at auction last November. But hey, at least she got to take a few 'unraced' labels off her produce record. Oddly, Coat the Cubes no longer appears in PedigreeQuery -- but you can still find her cached page. Was it that embarrassing?
Dylan Thomas won the Arc (and the result was allowed to stand after a long and rather controversial stewards' inquiry and a fair amount of criticism for both winning-but-banned-elsewhere jockey Kieren Fallon and Frankie Detorri on the well-beaten favorite, Authorized) and in case you were wondering how he came to be named for the renowned
drunk writer, it seems that Susan Magnier does most of the naming and shares my predilection for naming animals after historical figures (hence my cat named after Snorri Sturluson -- speaking of the cat in question, he's doing very well after having both front ankles fused and a good quantity of metalwork put in there, so I should have him send Teuflesberg a note of encouragement). The word is that Dylan Thomas is Breeders' Cup-bound before heading off to stud.
Finally, of course, John Henry. Horse racing has lost one of the last of the truly great champions and the sport is poorer for it. At least we have some up-and-coming human stars like 17 year old jockey Joe Talamo to keep an eye on. And the future usually looks brighter after the Juvenile...
Update 2565: An update on John Henry's last day from Harriette (comment timestamp: 4:17pm)
just off the phone with FOB Debbie from Mississippi, she was one of the FOB I met at Keeneland Sat morning. She was at the Horse Park yesterday and got to spend time with John Henry.
I want all of you to know from her accounting John Henry had a good last day. When Debbie saw him he was going for a walk. She went with the people who were following with him. She said he walked at least half an hour, the handler letting him go wherever he wanted.
Debbie got to feed him a chocolate donut and even got to pet him and give him a kiss. How blessed she is among us!! I was crying thru out converstation.
She said he was on pain medication and they were spoiling him rotten and letting him do as he pleased.
Rest In Peace, Warrior John Henry..
Update 2564: Another great morning's work at Keeneland. I had six to ride. We also had a few breezing and three different jockeys were by the barn breezing for us, the most notable being Julian Laperoux. What a classy guy. He breezed two for us, both went well I understand. For the first one Julian took an unscheduled pre-breeze dismount. I wonder if we will get criossants in the barn tomorrow morning! The horses I rode all went nicely. We also had some owners in to watch their horses work. They seemed to be really nice people, we chatted a while while I was cleaning the tack.
I saw Steve Asmussen this morning and asked him quickly how Tiz Wonderful was doing. He is stable and good at this point. I am guessing there is a long road ahead.
Media blitz week continues, do it in the name of John Henry and all the nameless horses who were not provided the opportunity to live out their retirements.
Update 2563: With less than three weeks to the Breeders' Cup all the major prep races have been run. Lava Man is not being considered for the Breeders' Cup: Lava Man to skip Breeders' Cup.
Steve Haskin takes a long look at the Breeders' Cup after a weekend where many favorites in the prep races were upset: Steve Haskin's BC Countdown: On to Monmouth.
More on John Henry's passing:
John Henry dies at age 32
Legend John Henry Euthanized
Two-time Horse of the Year John Henry euthanized
Posted by Alex at 9:53 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 404
Posted October 8, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2562: A true racing icon has passed away: Iconic champion John Henry euthanized at Horse Park.
Update 2561: An update for Teuflesburg: Teuflesberg given 75% chance to survive injury, excerpt:
"He was scheduled for surgery at [1 p.m.] today, but Dr. [Larry] Bramlage didn't think his white blood cell count was where it needed to be to do the surgery," said Sanders, who co-owns the colt. "We think it's just the stress he's going through. He is very excitable. We had to get our own help that he recognizes to baby sit him. He's like a pet and he's so used to having people he recognizes. He doesn’t know what's happening."
Bramlage reported good blood flow to the injured limb and estimated the colt's survival chances at 75%, Sanders said.
Update 2560: Well Hawty Creek is no longer the oldest maiden in Pennsylvania ... she WON this afternoon (chart).
I was at Old Friends visiting with Michael Blowen when I get the news on Hawty. It was great to meet some of the horses I had heard much about when they were running. Sunshine Forever, Awad and Kiris Clown. I also saw Wallenda ... just a very cool place to visit these stars. Michael is a passionate person who cares what the industry does with its stars and does his bit to enable a few to have a safe retirement. Very cool. We shared plenty of stories.
Update 2559: Update from Penny from yesterday at timwoolleyracing.com:
What a relaxing Sunday morning. It is great to be back I have missed the horses. Grandma is still in the barn and I got to walk her this morning. She was a little fresh but after ten minutes of spunk she settled into being a nice companion. We chatted as we walked and I gave her a few pats and a huge hug before putting her back in her stall. I will miss her when she goes. Mass Romantic is racing tomorrow. Yesterday when I walked in the barn she was standing in her ice boots. The look on her face was like gosh get these things off me I've had enough. She is such a pretty girl. Real Lace was pulling lots of faces this morning. She is also training today. She is eating everything in sight and when Lyn showed up with carrots she was ready for those too. Something Wild was bouncing off the walls this morning. It all started when Red Aspen decided she was going to dump her water bucket and cause a lot of noise. The horses thought this was something great that was going on and everyone got going. Lots of rearing and sqealing was to be heard and I think Red Aspen knew she was causing trouble. Tim breezed Red Aspen and easy five eighths on the Tapeta track. I went up to clock her and when she breezes she is so smooth that she hardly looks like she's going that fast. She went great and came back as though it was just a stroll in the park. Well, off to the farm to turn out Tim's new baby he bought at the yearling sale. She is a pretty chestnut with white socks. She is very calm and should be no trouble to break. Bubble Gum will be coming to Fair Hill this week and the baby is my new project. Lets hope she likes it here.
Hawty Creek is running in the sixth race this afternoon at Philadelphia Park.
Update 2558: Another glorious, and warm, morning this morning at Keeneland. I had seven to ride, all very straightforward and relaxing. My morning goes something like this: arrive at the barn (27) at 5:30pm. A few "good mornings" exchanged, put on helmet and boots and wait for my first horse to be walking in the shedrow. As I get on the horse the trainer, Eddie Kenneally, will check its legs. Leave the barn probably about 5:50 am. back at the barn 20 minutes later after doing whatever it is we are supposed to do. Remove my tack and leave it by the horse for the third set. Second set horse then appears in the shedrow, this is all then repeated multiple times. Then clean all the tack, and then leave.
There was some confusion this morning about whether the Packers won last night. Because most of us go to bed before the end of a late game, a few people congratulated me on another victory. It later became apparent the congratulations were a little premature!
Media Blitz week continues.
Update 2557: A week spent at Keeneland. Now I will start exploring the area a little. Later today I plan to visit Old Friends, after my morning's work at the track.
Posted by Alex at 9:49 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 403
Posted October 6, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2556: Lava Man was last today, with no reported excuses: Out of Control Spins Surprise in Oak Tree Mile; Lava Man Last.
Update 2555: A lovely afternoon at Keeneland. I met Joe Deegan. He gave us updates on Perfect Drift last year. I caught up with Peter, he is with Wild Gams. They may be going to Fair Hill to prepare for the Breeders' Cup. I also saw Lady Joanne after she had cooled out after her second place finsh in the Spinster: Panty Raid Gets Revenge in Spinster Stakes.
Update 2554: Off back to Keeneland for an afternoon of (hopefully uneventful) racing. I had a nice day off this morning, the first day off I have had since I left Penn National. A friend of mine, Bob Hatfield, is coming over from Louisville for the races.
Update 2553: Dylan Thomas and Kieren Fallon were first across the line and keep the Arc victory: DYLAN KEEPS DRAMATIC ARC.
Update 2552: Dylan Thomas and Kieren Fallon won the Arc. There is a stewards inquiry.
Update 2551: The Tin Man found one a little better than him on saturday, when he finsihed second to the six year old Artiste Royal, who was winning his first race in North America: Artiste Royal Paints Perfect Surprise in Clement Hirsch.
Keeneland today hosts the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes: Asi Siempre seeks repeat victory in Juddmonte Spinster.
Lava Man is running on the turf today at Santa Anita: Oak Tree Mile: Surf Cat Tackles Lava Man in Turf Debut. We also have what many would consider the marquee older horse race in Europe today, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: Authorized headlines field for 86th Arc de Triomphe.
Lets hope for safe racing for the day.
Update 2550: A bit of good news, NoBiz ran his best race on the turf to win the Jamaica Handicap by four lengths: Nobiz Like Shobiz Steals Limelight in Jamaica.
Update 2549: Tragedy today at Keeneland. Gold Train had to be euthanized after breaking down in the Futurity. Earlier in the day a horse died in the paddock, Dream of Angels. Teuflesburg pulled up in his race with a fracture. Surgery in a couple of days to fuse his joint. Very sad.
I did catch up with the Jackson's in the paddock for the Futurity. They were in good form. I cooled out Michael Matz's earlier runner, in the fifth. Mary Delaney, trained by Eddie Kenneally who is my current boss, ran a nice fourth in the same race. The winner of the race was at Presque Isle Downs and I know they liked their horse.
Update 2548: Off back to Keeneland to help out Michael Matz's crew. We also have one running in the fifth, Mary Delaney (I ran her at Presque Isle Downs and subsequently got my Keeneland job). Should be some good racing here, New York and Santa Anita. I think ESPN are covering racing, TVG certainly covers Keeneland.
Update 2547: Another lovely morning at Keeneland, although it is unseasonably warm. This morning Keeneland hosts a breakfast for those watching the workouts. More people attend this than attended thursday racing at Presque Isle Downs. It was fun seeing all the onlookers, hearing the PA system announce things and just be a very small part of it all. Fortunately I did not fall off, although one filly I rode was a little excited by it all! I rode six this morning, including a really nice recent maiden winner who I had not ridden before. He gave me a really nice feel galloping around. After the morning's work was complete I met up with a few FOBs who were in attendance at the breakfast earlier and we chatted for a while. Very pleasant. I also got a call from Chuck Lawrence, the trainer I was working for at Presque Isle Downs. He wanted to tell me one of the fillies I was galloping for him won last night at Penn National (Curious Pleasures.) I was pretty psyched about that!
Update 2546: Lots of great racing today and stars performing. We have major racing from Keeneland (two Grade 1s which include Michael Matz's Ready Set), from Belmont (two Grade 1s and NoBiz running in the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap) and from California (The Tin Man to Keep Swinging in Clement L. Hirsch).
Posted by Alex at 9:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 402
Posted October 5, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2545: Reviews of the two graded stakes on opening day at Keeneland: Country Star Shines Brightest in Alcibiades and Transduction Gold Glitters in Keeneland's Sycamore.
Update 2544: A maiden, Country Star, won the Gade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. The favourite, Irish Smoke, was done after a half mile.
Update 2543: I went over to Keeneland for a few races. I decided not to stay for the Stakes races, I am now watching those on TVG! My intitial impressions of Keeneland were nothing but positive. A great place to go for people and horse watching. Lots of people dressed up. It had a European feel for a race meet. It was nice to hear the "best turned out" (horse) announcement for one of the races. Something you don't see so much in the US. The crowd seemed pretty big, and certainly seemed to enjoy the racing. I met up with Jason Shandler (Bloodhorse) and his colleague Claire Novak. They will be writing about the 8th and 9th races. I also met Arthur Hancock. An enjoyable couple of hours.
Update 2542: Biancone has been suspended for one year beginning October 15. He can appeal this suspension: Trainer Biancone Suspended One Year by Kentucky Stewards.
Update 2541: Some great press (includes video) in Milwaukee: Local Animal Charity Works To Save Horses.
Update 2540: Eight sets this morning, three before dawn and the remainder shortly thereafter. You can tell the meet is opening today. There were more people out early this morning watching the workouts. Michael Matz is in town, we exchanged hellos on the horsepath. I also saw`Jeannine Edwards (with Randy Moss). We chatted away as we had our horses turned in by the gap before their training routine. I was on a two year old colt, Gerry (assistant) was on Kelly's Landing, who at 17 hands or more does not look like a sprinter! Anyway, it was great to catch up with some familiar people. All the horses I rode went nicely, but the rain did come during our last set, so I got soaked. As I was leaving plenty of cars were arriving, I am guessing for the races, it was before 11 am!
Update 2539: Keeneland's meet opens today. Here is the card. This will be my first time at the races at Keeneland which has a reputation as being one of the best, if not the best racetrack to go racing in the country.
Don't forget the media blitz.
Posted by Alex at 9:56 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 401
Posted October 4, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2538: An interesting article exploring why our horses run less often than they used to run: Commentary: Culture Change. My personal observation is we need to get off the hard dirt tracks and then we can look at the liberal drug policies that are prevelant in this country.
Update 2537: Another great morning to be at Keeneland. It was a warm morning for sure. Our fourth set, which was about 7:25 am, the sun began to rise. I took a couple to the gate this morning to stand. Both stood very quietly. I got to gallop the one I loved yesterday, again today. He is just a very cool dude with a nice long raking stride to him. A few more people were milling around by the gap (just past the wire) and in the grandstand area. It seems at its busiest about 8 am, but if I was coming to visit I would be there before 7. Its just so peaceful watching the horses gallop by. You can here them breath, you cannot hear them hit the ground.
Don't forget, its media blitz, all week!
Update 2536: Timonium's three day sale is now over, and the sale was solid: Average Up, RNA Down as Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Ends, excerpt:
"Any time you are in the neighborhood of 25% (RNA rate), you are doing great," said Walt Robertson, Fasig-Tipton president. "This is just such a good, solid, honest market. For the horse-for-horse comparison, I see it being just exactly where it was last year. I am thankful that we did get more horses sold percentage-wise than we did a year ago."
One cool thing about working at Keeneland is knowing the place is loaded with some of the best horses in North America: Stars come out at Keeneland.
Posted by Alex at 9:55 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 400
Posted October 3, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2535: Old time favorite, The Tin Man, returns to the races on Saturday after his most recent second in the Arlington Million: The Tin Man thriving ahead of Clement L. Hirsch, excerpt:
"I think you'd probably see it with more horses if they got to stay around until they're nine," Mandella said on Tuesday. "He's really learned his game and he's a true professional. I attribute that mostly to him being nine years old, and he's just had a lot of time to learn.
"He's just matured to where he knows exactly what he's doing all the time," Mandella continued. "He's very happy with himself and confident and that's a luxury to have that many years with a horse to get to go through that."
Update 2534: The Keeneland meet opens on friday and it opens with mulitple stakes over the first three days: Keeneland opens with dash to Cup and Darley Alcibiades highlights Keeneland's opening day and Strong Alcibiades Field Kicks off Keeneland Racing.
Update 2533: I have really enjoyed my time in racing, and have worked for some great people over the years for sure. Fair Hill was great for me, basically I have been very lucky. And now I have found a job that I cannot imagine being better (I really hope I keep it for the meet!) Today I rode seven horses, all went nicely and it was just a pleasure to be around the horses. One horse I rode had just come in from a farm. He was by far the best ride I had for the morning. Just floated around the polytrack. Very classy. A couple of others I rode are Stakes winners, basically if you don't like a job like this you have to quit horses altogther.
Again three of my sets were before dawn, under the lights. When the fourth set came around you could see the other people and horses better. One site that is becoming familiar is seeing one set of a large string of horses, jogging by. It reminds me of a duck, leading her ducklings on an adventure. I am sure they would not appreciate that characterization, but it is the first thing that comes to mind. Not sure which trainer it is.
After finishing work this morning, I went to get my Kentucky license. On my way back I stopped by Michael Matz's barn. He has three stalls and horses here. Pam is running the operation and Eduardo is also here. They have three runners this weekend which includes a 2yo for the Jackson's. He's a nice looking dude. Anyway, the whose who in racing is here, the meet starts on friday and hopefully it will then be a fun three weeks.
Update 2532: We have another review of last weekend's racing and look forward to the Breeders' Cup, this time from Steve Haskin: Steve Haskin's BC Countdown: Questions and Answers; Winners and Losers, it begins:
Now, that was a super weekend of racing. Whether it was Turfway Park's Polytrack, Santa Anita's Cushion track, or the dirt track at Belmont, this was racing at its best. The races were thrilling, formful, and showcased a good number of the sport's top stars, including most of the big names in the 3-year-old crop, which looks to be one the strongest and most exciting ever.
Today is media blitz day!
Posted by Alex at 9:48 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 399
Posted October 2, 2007
updates are now here.
Update 2531: Superfecta here, stopping by for a little Tuesday afternoon guest-blogging.
It was quite a weekend of racing; things are shaping up nicely for the Breeders' Cup. First, the West Coast:
Tiago performed well in his first outing against older horses in the Goodwood Handicap (Lava Man was scratched in favor of a race next weekend), although he was certainly tested by Awesome Gem -- nevertheless, his victory was very professional. I would also like to see more of third-place finisher Lewis Michael, perhaps in a slightly shorter race; I believe he has a lot of potential but has never quite found his rhythm although he seems comfortable on both dirt and grass. Some may recall he finished third to a horse named Barbaro in the Florida Derby and did not look bad in that defeat; I'd like to see him in the Dirt Mile.
Nashoba's Key switched back to grass for the Yellow Ribbon and still remains unbeaten, holding off a strong challenge from Citronnade. As I've mentioned before, the Filly & Mare Turf division is going to be the hardest one to handicap -- but more on that later. It is perhaps more impressive to consider that Nashoba's Key began this winning streak when she began her racing career earlier this year as a four-year-old and she seems to improve with each race.
Switching to the East Coast, but staying with the girls on grass, the Flower Bowl was certainly an interesting race. Lahudood set a stakes record in her win (her first effort in America), but Roskina (one of my picks) was a fine second ahead of Wait a While. It seems that the talented My Typhoon was not a huge fan of the very firm going, as she was never a factor (but she should not be discounted come Breeders' Cup day). As mentioned above, the Filly & Mare Turf division is full of talent already -- once everyone else ships in from Europe, it's practically a toss-up since a good argument can be made for any number of top horses. It's going to be a highlight of Breeders' Cup day.
Discreet Cat's return to the races in the Vosburgh did not play out as planned; his dull third was not a particularly confidence-inspiring performance, but the excuses are built-in -- the long layoff, he needed the race, he needed more distance (although he certainly did not seem to need it at that particular point in time), etc. But the good news is that it means the new Dirt Mile will have a marquee contender, which is something it probably needed -- and it should also mean that he needs to stay in training next year to really prove himself. If anything, the victory by Fabulous Strike should continue to raise his sire Smart Strike's stud fee -- three grade I wins for his offspring in one weekend (see English Channel and Curlin below) cannot hurt.
Back on the turf, English Channel looked tremendous in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (his second victory in the race, which is a remarkable statistic these days for a stallion); I don't know whether that means he's quite in the same league as some of the expected European heavy-hitters, but it was a gutsy run and a very encouraging sign. It would be nice to see more horses with a career of consistent top-level performances. Given that he was fifth in the Breeders' Cup Turf as a 3-year old and third last year, he does have a good shot, but it's going to be a tough race.
The Distaff division is clearly missing Rags to Riches; Unbridled Belle looked good beating stablemate Indian Vale in the Beldame although Ginger Punch did not seem quite her usual self. While Unbridled Belle seems to be coming into her own, she's not really in the same class as Rags to Riches and the division is poorer for her absence. Without her, it's a reasonably solid, but somewhat uninspiring group. However, I've always maintained that winning the Del Cap can propel a mare on to bigger and better things, and Unbridled Belle clearly took that to heart -- not bad for a $4,000 purchase.
Finally, of course, the Classic division. As predicted, Hard Spun bested Street Sense, but he had everything his own way in a tiny field and on a surface he loves. He's unlikely to get to set the pace and lead wire to wire in the Classic, which seems to be his preferred running style; Street Sense didn't look tired to me as much as not necessarily pushed to his full potential -- the race seemed more of a rehearsal for him. As I've said before, I like Hard Spun a lot and would love him at a mile (and he looked fine at the 1 1/8 as well), but I'm not sure he loves the 1 1/4 distance, and Street Sense does. As ever, trainer Carl Nafzger made no excuses and looks forward to the next dance:
Carl Nafzger, handler of Street Sense, was gracious in defeat. "It was up to him at the head of the lane to get by Hard Spun," he said, "but he just outran us. We were right there and we got beat; that's horseracing, no excuses. But we're ready for next time."Curlin
proved me wrong, gamely holding off Lawyer Ron
in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, although Lawyer Ron
didn't do himself any favors -- he seemed rank early on and was in the center of the track for much of the race. It could easily be argued that he just prefers Saratoga to Belmont -- but even if that is the case, it seems there was some concern from trainer Steve Asmussen that Lawyer Ron's
pressure was a tough challenge for Curlin
Asmussen called the Gold Cup "trophies in their own right" but acknowledged it was not his ultimate goal. That comes in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.
"Everyone knows the Classic is the pinnacle," he said. "And I'm extremely concerned that he left too much out there today."
The bottom line is that all the Classic contenders who raced this past weekend looked good and will likely go off at relatively short odds on come the evening of Breeders' Cup Saturday, but I can imagine quite a few scenarios in which a European horse runs off with the prize. We'll have to wait and see who ships in...
Update 2530: A Fair Hill, farm and sales update from Penny at timwoolleyracing.com:
Tim has made an early call this morning to let me know what is going on at the barn. It is business as usual. Grandma will be going home to her owners. Her legs do not look good and before anything happens to her we are stopping on her. She will not be far away so we will be able to visit her on a regular basis. Her owners love her so she will have a wonderful home. Maybe they will breed her and we will have Grandma babies. That would be great. I will miss seeing her face everyday. She is such a joy. Real Lace is fine after her "race" last week. She is bucking and squealing around the barn causing lots of mayhem. Maybe mayhem is too strong a word. She just feels good. The babies (Paris & Diva) continue to train along slowly and so far they are fine. Mass Romantic I believe will be running her first race for us shortly. She is as lovey as ever but is becoming quite the racehorse. She actually pickes up her hind leg when you are brushing her trying to be mean and kick. She does this in slow motion so you know she is not really being mean. She is my sister Andrea's favorite. What a charmer. Something Wild continues to improve his fitness level. Being that he isn't doing much yet his leg seems fine. Hopefully when we kick it up a notch his leg will be ok. What a flashy boy he is and wonderful to work with in the barn. It's hard to believe that he can be such a tough gallop. He totes Tim around quite easily. They are a good match. Both tiny and compact.
The sales went just fine yesterday. Lots of beautiful babies and lots of buyers. The average was down slightlty from last year. Who knows what today will bring. Some of these babies do not even look like babies. The horse Tim has on the farm "Lucky" and also the horse Paget has on the farm "Wilmer" both have half siblings in the sale (same Mare different Stallion). We had a look at Lucky's little brother. He has the same face as Lucky and is just as big as Lucky is now. He is quite good looking but looks like he needs to be gelded already. We haven't had a look at Wilmer's little brother yet. It is so cool to be able to see siblings. You get a pretty good idea on the sort of baby a mare will throw.
No reports from the farm just yet today. Emily is taking care of the boys and Bubble Gum.
She reported yesterday that everyone is fine and she thinks Wilmer is very cute. It is hard to believe that he is only three years old. We missed a nice paper chase on the weekend in Unionville but there will be more of those later in the month. Buddy will be ready! The breeder of my horse Timmy was here yesterday. She promised to come see "Fabio", he is still the most gorgeous horse out of the mare (MY Friend Kim). There are two other babies out of Kim running right now and hopefully they will do well. I will try to write again later if there is any excitement at all to report.
Update 2529: Another beautiful morning at Keeneland. I had six to ride, three in the dark, under lights, and three once the sun picked up. There is an odd noise coming from the grandstand as you jog back from the gap. It sounds like a zoo, an avary in a zoo, even screaching monkeys at times. Apparently it is birds in the grandstand, with the noise amplified. As you pass this noise on the left horses are breezing by you on your right, and you cannot hear their feet hitting the ground. Its very cool. We are also right next to an airport so you also have the noise of jets taking off once in a while.
There are a few people who mingle by the gap as you come onto the track. There are also people in the grandstand observing the training. I think this is something to do if visiting Kentucky. Go early morning to Keeneland with a cup of coffee and enjoy the atmosphere, and there is a wonderful atmosphere.
All that being said, my six horses went nicely. Its just a pleasure to be here.
We will have a guest blogger, once a week, posting a weekly recap and review of racing. This begins today.
Update 2528: Picking the favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic will be a very tough call. If Street Sense had beaten Hard Spun at the weekend he would have been favorite. He did not. If Lawyer Ron had beaten Curlin, he would likely have been favorite, he did not. You could make a case for Curlin, but his Haskell race hurts him, and you could make a case for Hard Spun, but going a mile and a quarter in a full field against his Triple Crown foes makes him look a little vulnerable on the front (with Laywer Ron ?) Oh well, I am glad I don't bet: BC Classic: One race for two titles.
Posted by Alex at 9:50 AM
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