Barbaro Updates: 988Posted December 21, 2009
updates are now here.
Update 5876: Not much to report today. I had another day off from Fair Hill, and it is cold! Custom For Carlos, who defeated Nicanor in Nicanor's second start, won a nice race yesterday and appears to be developing into a nice horse: Custom for Carlos Handles Mr. Prospector Slop.
And Zenyatta remains retired: Shirreffs, Moss: Zenyatta is Still Retired.
Update 5875: It's Saturday and the winter lull in racing persists, much like the frigid temperatures we're experiencing. Thankfully I had another day off today and am not complaining! Here are the few races of note: WEEKEND STAKES: WHERE TO WATCH brought to you by KBC Horse Supplies.
I rode this guy once, so fun to note his first foal: First Foal for Student Council.
Update 5874: We had a couple of inches of snow here last night at Fair Hill, which disrupted training a little. I had three to ride, and all three were ridden in the shedrow. Here is a view looking out from the barn. And here is Joe, a fellow exercise rider for Michael Pino.
Zenyatta worked again in the last couple of days. This is her third work since her retirement. There is obviously speculation that perhaps she is not retired. However no word from the Zenyatta camp: COULD THERE BE MORE RACING LEFT FOR ZENYATTA?
Clever Allemont's story is probably my favorite rescue story for 2009. Here is more coverage, a year later: Tale of horse saved from slaughter by Waverly animal advocate races on.
Update 5873: Eclipse Award finalists have been announced. The most contentious category will no doubt be horse of the year, which only has two finalists, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Winners in all categories will be announced at the 39th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Jan. 18, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif: Eclipse Awards Finalists Announced.
Yesterday afternoon I spent time with Mike Rea. Mike drove me out to his riding lesson at Carousel and rode for about an hour. It was cold but Mike clearly enjoyed himself and seems to have made much progress since the last time I had seen him more than two years ago. Here he is: walking and trotting.
I rode two at Fair Hill this morning for Mike Pino. Another chilly morning, but both mine went nicely for a straightforward start to the day!
Update 5872: So the biggest news from yesterday was the second retirement of Lava Man. Options are now being discussed as to the plans for his retirement: Lava Man Retired After Brief Comeback.
It is sad to report that Baffert lost a nice recent maiden winner to pneumonia. He had only recently won his first race, in impressive style: Clutch Player Dead of Pneumonia.
I rode two this morning for Michael Pino at Fair Hill. It was a little warmer (about 28F) with a little snow. Relative to other days recently it almost felt warm! Both my horses went nicely for a quick start to the day!
Update 5871: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
While things are slowly gearing up in Florida and racing continues apace in California, one horse will most definitely be absent - Lava Man has been re-retired after his disheartening comeback race last month. His connections have remained true to their word that he would only remain in training if he could compete at the highest level, and so it's back to the farm for the 9-year-old gelding. Whether he will remain in California or head to Kentucky Horse Park has yet to be determined.
Age has not stopped Cloudy's Knight, however, despite the fact that he is Lava Man's elder by a year - he was in the winner's circle again on Boxing Day in the G2 W. L. McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream. Usual stalwart Presious Passion was barely a factor in the race, but he'll be back later this winter - Cloudy's Knight will have a break until the spring, and then he too will return to the track.
Gio Ponti is aiming to make his 2010 debut sometime in February, with a view toward the Dubai World Cup; there's no official word yet on whether Rachel Alexandra may be Dubai-bound as well, but she's been back galloping, with real works coming next month.
Newly-four Quality Road demonstrated that he's learned how to behave at the gate - now that he's a grownup 4-year-old, he handled things quite professionally in the Hal's Hope (and one could argue that the mile distance suited him well). He may use the Donn Handicap as a route to Dubai - although I'd prefer to see him in the Godolphin Mile, rather than the World Cup.
For those interested in what the 3-year-olds are up to, it's a bit too early to predict things - but it's certainly encouraging to hear that Take Control, offspring of two former Horses of the Year, won his career debut (back when he was just a 2-year-old, last week). It's easy to set the bar very high indeed when the parents in question are Azeri and A.P. Indy, and we have no real idea what sort of company he'll be keeping as his career gets going, but it's certainly a move forward for the Bob Baffert trainee.
We're still a few weeks away from some of the season's major races, but planning is very much underway - welcome to 2010!
Update 5870: Another cold morning this morning at Fair Hill, and no doubt many parts of the country. I had three to ride for Michael Pino, and all three went nicely for a straightforward morning's work. After Fair Hill I headed over to Prizzios for my morning coffee and read of the Daily Racing Form. A good start to the day.
Here is this week's ABR Facebook Group e-mail: Brutal cold, Fair Hill, Niall Kenny, Prizzios, Florida slaughterhouses, Dancehall Graeme, Ohio horses, Take Control, Quality Road, Julia Brimo, Kip Deville, Monique Koehler (TRF), Steve Haskin, Barbaro.
Update 5869: Another chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill. It was 24 degrees, but the wind was not too bad so it was bearable. I rode four for Michael Pino. All went nicely despite the chilly weather.
Quality Road returned to the races yesterday. He behaved well in the starting gate and won his comeback race in good fashion: Fresh Start for Quality Road in Hal's Hope, excerpt:
"He was acting perfect in the gate; there were never any concerns there," Velazquez said. "Once we got out, he just did everything nice and easy. With the way we've been breezing him, when (You and I Forever) came up beside him, I had to let him know it was time to do some running, and he just took off from there. I was never really worried."
It looks like Quality Road will be one of the more interesting older horses in training for 2010.
Update 5868: Life Is Sweet was a scratch yesterday from her race: Life Is Sweet Scratched from San Gorgonio. Hopefully today we will see the return to the races of Quality Road who was a scratch at the gate in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic: Quality Road Makes Return in Hal's Hope.
Another cold day here in the mid-atlantic region, and a day off!
Update 5867: Another chilly morning this morning at Fair Hill. And a little windy. I had two to ride, and thankfully they went nicely. A quick morning out in the cold!
Breeders' Cup champion Life Is Sweet makes her return to the races today, and she tries turf for the first time: Life Is Sweet returns to turf in San Gorgonio.
Paulick Report made a nice mention of this site yesterday while noting TRF's Eclipse Award: GOOD NEWS FRIDAY sponsored by Liberation Farm: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
Update 5866: Happy New Year! And very surprisingly I did make it to midnight to celebrate. It did help that I did not have to get up early this morning to gallop.
And to celebrate the new year Steve Haskin has selected Barbaro's story as the story of the last decade: Story of the Decade: Barbaro Captures the Heart of a Nation.
Update 5865: No galloping at Fair Hill this morning, so a nice day off as I continue to work on my book.
Take Control, a 2yo son of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, made a winning debut yesterday at Santa Anita: Taking Control: Azeri's First Foal Wins Debut. It took him a while to get running, and even then he looked a little awkward until the final sixteenth of a mile. And then he galloped out strongly. It will be interesting to see where he reappears.
Update 5864: I rode two this morning for Michael Pino at Fair Hill. It was 20 degrees F out there, but without the wind we had yesterday it felt much warmer! One of the horses I rode was a little fleet footed underneath me and gave me a little trouble, but we survived!
After riding I went to Prizzios for coffee and a read of the Daily Racing Form. They reported two stories that are being heavily discussed on our discussion board. The illegal slaughter in Florida, which has included the death of Dancehall Graeme two days after he was rescued Calder horse dies - illegal slaughter and a disaster in OH: OH: calling all who offered to help.
Update 5863: Superfecta here, with your 2009 Year in Review -
It almost seems we racing fans have experienced a karmic reversal this year; after the lows of the previous few years, we were treated to nothing less than history - live. So, without further ado, here are the top ten moments in horse racing for 2009, as seen from Superfecta HQ:
10) Einstein wins the Big 'Cap
It was wonderful to see Einstein, a blog favorite for years, pick up a big win; this may not have been his best season, but it certainly had high points - this being the top. Hopefully his versatility and record of sheer hard work will be rewarded with a successful stud career.
9) Bambera wins the Clasico del Caribe
Yes, the Venezualan filly is the real deal. Sid Fernando is your man for all things Bambera - and he notes that we should see her Stateside in 2010. She's won 15 of 17 starts - 10 of those were G1s, including her nation's filly Triple Crown and most of the mixed-gender variety as well. Look out, Gulfstream!
8) Goldikova repeats in the Breeders' Cup Mile
Let's recall that the French mare was beating the boys long before it came into fashion this year - she handled them with no difficulty in last year's Prix du Moulin and, of course, the Breeders' Cup Mile. Trainer Freddie Head, who rode the great Miesque to her back-to-back Mile victories thinks she's even better; she's on track to come back next year to aim for a threepeat. Fingers crossed!
7) Yeats wins his fourth Ascot Gold Cup
The Times was right - it's hard to imagine a more perfect swansong for the 8-year-old; he's demonstrated time and again why he's an all-time great. Here's hoping his stamina and quality is recognized at stud - it will be hard to live up to the reception he received from fans after his victory.
6) Rachel Alexandra wins the Kentucky Oaks
Can you remember seeing anything like it? Rachel Alexandra would go on to demonstrate in the Mother Goose that against her peers (including a perfectly nice filly like Gabby's Golden Gal), that's just how she rolls - deal with it. Super filly? You bet.
5) Sea the Stars wins the Arc
That's a lot of Group 1 winners finishing behind him - and it's not every day you see a colt equal his mother's success in that particular race. His win made him the first horse to win the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, and the Arc in the same year - and he did it all undefeated. While it's easy to see the allure of getting the half-brother to über-stud Galileo into the shed, it's a shame we'll never really know what he might have been capable of.
4) Rachel Alexandra wins the Preakness
While I normally go to the Belmont, it takes something special to get me to Pimlico for the Preakness (largely because of the appalling state of the track) - but I was certainly not going to pass up a chance to see Rachel Alexandra take on the boys for the first time in person, and it was a beautiful thing. It's only the second time I've seen the entire crowd cheering for one horse (the other being Smarty Jones coming into the Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line); it was to be the first time I would see that faith rewarded.
3) Rachel Alexandra wins the Haskell
What, you want me, the Preakness winner, to beat the Derby and Belmont winners? Hey, you asked for it. Even with the miserable weather, this is by far the best performance I've ever seen live (sorry, Sunday Silence and Easy Goer!); once again, the crowd was there for Rachel, and only Rachel - and she repaid them with another runaway victory. This race also receives special note for Sarah K. Andrew's fantastic photo - my favorite of the year.
2) Rachel Alexandra wins the Woodward
Finally, some real competition - and the chance to see what Rachel would do when eyeball to eyeball with another horse. Apparently, the answer is win - yet again. I'm looking forward to seeing her as the 'older horse' - after all, in a few short days, she'll be all of 4.
1) Zenyatta wins the Breeders' Cup Classic
I'm one of Those People who wanted Zenyatta to be Horse of the Year last year and I was not pleased by the rest of her campaign this year - but she proved she's more than just a great mare with a distinctive running (and, let's be honest, walking) style. She earned the number one spot with her sparkling, historic performance.
While I've already determined that the Horse of the Year debate will not matter much in the long run - indeed, who, beyond the industry, even knows or cares that such a thing exists? - my own vote would go to Rachel Alexandra. I cannot think of another year when I would have listed the same horse more than twice, at most, in a year-ending review - to see the same name four times is not something I expect to see again anytime soon. However, as she'll be running next year, I may need to keep some slots vacant...but the truth remains that both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta firmly stamped themselves into this history books in emphatic style.
Here's hoping that 2010 will be half as exciting as 2009!
Update 5862: This week's ABR Facebook Group e-mail: Snowman, 18 degrees F, Gulch, Book, Christmas Pudding, Kauto Star, Lava Man, Lentenor, Zenyatta.
Brutal conditions for riding at Fair Hill this morning. The temperatures were a little below freezing and the wind was whipping at about 30 miles an hour. Horses were a little skittish and you were also in danger of simply getting blown off! Thankfully I only had two to ride, rode and left!
I went to Prizzios after for a cup of coffee and a read of the Daily Racing Form. Here is Niall, about to leave Prizzios to head out to trim some horses' feet. Niall used to gallop at Fair Hill and we were roommates. Niall has now moved on from galloping and is shoeing horses!
Update 5861: I rode five at Fair Hill this morning for Michael Pino. I was down to ride three, but ended up with a couple more to go. It was a windy morning, but the temperatures remain above freezing. All mine went nicely.
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was no doubt the return of Lava Man. Lava Man, who has made more than $5 million in his storied career, was returning to the races for the first time in a long time. He set the pace, but as they turned for home it was clear for everyone to see he did not have that kick of the old Lava Man. He faded to last. Perhaps it was simply the length of time away, but we will see in the next few days what the connections decide to do: 'Gabriel Repeat for Proudinsky; Lava Man Last.
Update 5860: Another day off from Fair Hill. And it looks like a nice day too!
Today we have the much anticipated return to the races of Lava Man: Lava Man shifted to turf for return in San Gabriel.
And as I continue to make progress on my book I have added my eight visits with Barbaro to the Fan page: Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and his Legacy.
Update 5859: Kauto Star accomplished something unique today by winning the King George for the fourth consecutive time: FAB FOUR FOR KING KAUTO.
I had four to ride this morning for Pino at Fair Hill. It was a rainy 45 degrees and we stayed in the shedrow to jog. All mine went nicely. A short morning's work after the christmas festivities of yesterday!
And here are the key races this weekend, including the Malibu Stakes today and the San Gabriel tomorrow: WEEKEND STAKES: WHERE TO WATCH brought to you by KBC Horse Supplies. Lava Man is scheduled to return in the San Gabriel: Lava Man Moves to Turf for San Gabriel.
Update 5858: Remembering my christmas of 2006: Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and his Legacy.
Update 5857: A day off from fair Hill today, and tomorrow, to celebrate Christmas! So merry christmas everybody. While not such a great tradition in the US, the christmas period is celebrated in the UK with some great jump racing. On boxing day we have one of the best races on the entire calendar, the King George, and Kauto Star will attempt to win the race for the fourth time: KAUTO IS GIFT-WRAPPED FOR RUBY.
To continue the jump racing theme, the local Wilmington News Journal has a great story on local horseman Joe Walsh: Delaware horse racing: Trainer's in it for love, not money.
And a quick update on the Jackson's and Barbaro's siblings: Jacksons Encouraged by 2009 Developments.
Update 5856: Superfecta here, with your weekly update, holiday edition.
If you're a last-minute holiday shopper still looking to pick up a racing-related item, look no further than Jim Squires' Headless Horsemen. It's a thoughtful, often quite entertaining, look at the industry from the ultimate insider/outsider. While Squires is never going to be one of 'the Dinnies' whose portraits he rather deliciously paints in the book, it's also hard to maintain true 'outsider' status after breeder a Kentucky Derby winner -a story chronicled in his previous racing-related memoir, A Horse of a Different Color - also recommended. (And as an aside, I would submit that the horse in question, Monarchos, is one of the most even-tempered stallions I've ever had the good fortune to meet).
While none of the issues regarding auctions, medication and the like will be new to most racing fans, his first-person perspective makes for interesting reading. I have some minor quibbles with the book in that it could have been a little more carefully edited (there is a bit of repetition here and there, and it's not always clear what audience Squires is speaking to), but it's an essential addition to one's racing library. It may be that in the future, it will be regarded as something of a period piece, capturing the industry in a particular moment of flux - and that would likely be no bad thing, by Squires' reckoning.
Given the current state of breeding economics, that's almost what has happened to Kevin Conley's excellent Stud: Adventures in Breeding - it documented the high water mark of the Storm Cat era earlier in the decade - and it's well worth re-reading now to reflect on where breeding trends had gone, and where they might go in the future.
If it's memorabilia you're after (and don't mind it coming a bit after Christmas), you can still bid on Mike Smith's autographed goggles, a vest with a horse that vaguely resembles Zenyatta, a better Zenyatta likeness on a beer stein or this charming Zenyatta-themed mousepad.
For the Rachel Alexandra fan, you can get a Calvin Borel-autographed whip or bobblehead - and, naturally, a mousepad. (It would seem that 'custom' mousepads are to horse racing memorabilia what fan fiction is to Star Trek). Of course, if your pockets are a bit deeper (and you live in a state that doesn't prevent it), you can still snag a bottle of Rachel Alexandra wine.
So, in the immortal words of Noddy Holder, merry Christmas, everybody - as well as good Yule, festive Festivus, Io Saturnalia, and happy belated Hanukkah, Dongzhi and Winter Solstice.
Check back next week for our year in review!
Update 5855: I rode four horses this morning at Fair Hill. Very chilly temperatures, but when the sun came up it did not feel too bad. A short morning's work!
Old Friends has a new resident. I received this e-mail this morning:
Gulch, the six-time Grade 1-winning son of Mr. Prospector, arrived today at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, where he will permanently retire. The 25-year-old stallion has stood at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, KY since leaving racing in 1988. He was pensioned from stud duty just this year.
Gulch (Mr. Prospector-Jameela by Rambunctious) was owned and bred by Peter M. Brant and trained by Hall-of-Famers LeRoy Jolley and D. Wayne Lukas. He retired with 13 wins from 32 starts and career earnings of over $3 million.
As a two-year-old, the dark bay captured five starts, including the GR1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. As a dazzling three-year-old he claimed the GR1 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct and the GR1 Wood Memorial at Belmont, making him a top contender in the 1987 Kentucky Derby.
At four, with new trainer Lukas, Gulch went on to win the Metropolitan Handicap and the Carter Handicap (both GR1), and capped the year with a victory in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Sprint, which helped him earn the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter.
He now joins Old Friends's other Eclipse winners Black Tie Affair, The Wicked North, Hidden Lake, and Sunshine Forever.
A leading stallion at Lane's End, Gulch's progeny have been outstanding. They include 1995 Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Travers winner Thunder Gulch, Bluegrass Stakes winner The Cliff's Edge, and Super Derby winner Wallenda, who was retired at Old Friends in 2007 after returning from stud duty in Japan.
"When Lane's End announced Gulch's retirement, I called the farm and explained we would be thrilled to have him," said Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen. "I know his legion of fans would love to visit him here. Lane's End has their lovely facility and a professional staff to give Gulch a great home, but we're overjoyed that he's coming.
"Lane's End has contributed significantly to Old Friends ever since we started," Blowen continued, 'but Gulch is one of the greatest contributions we've ever received. It'll be great to have him in a paddock next to Commentator."
"Gulch has had a long and wonderful career here," said Bill Farish, a principal of Lane's End Farm. "We wanted to make sure that he was well taken care of in his retirement and we thought our nearby neighbor Old Friends would be a great place for him."
Farish added that Gulch's popularity with fans influenced the farm's decision to send him to Old Friends, which is open to tourists daily.
"He was a horse that was well known to the public having been through the Triple Crown trail and having been a top two-year-old and a champion sprinter," said Farish. "He was a horse that people always wanted to see. Plus, he's kind of a ham, and he will enjoy the attention immensely."
Update 5854: This week's ABR Facebook Group e-mail: Tweet this: Penn National, Hawty Creek, Fort Erie, Bill Mott and Juddmonte Farm, Peter Brette, Snow, Fair Hill, Hill City Miss, Keystone Wallis, Sherry, Gerry Goswell, Lentenor, Salty.
I rode six this morning at Fair Hill for Michael Pino. The first set jogged in the shedrow as we waited for the Tapeta Track to open at 7 am. The remainder went out to train. I need to get me some dark goggles, otherwise I could get some sun blindness it is so bright outside! I also snapped a few photographs this morning:
Update 5853: Blind Luck, an aptly named daughter of Pollards Vision (who raced with one eye), demolished the field in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet yesterday: Blind Luck Bursts to Starlet Romp.
Chilly temperatures this morning at Fair Hill, but it has stopped snowing. If you look closely you can see a couple of riders out jogging around in the snow in this picture. But we stayed in the barn and shedrowed. I had six to ride, so quite a busy morning. The barn stays quite warm so a straightforward morning's work.
It is very sad to report two deaths over the weekend.
FOB Sherry has been an integral member of the FOB community since its inception. She will be sadly missed by friends, family and many FOBs.
And Gerry Goswell, a well known Camden and Fair Hill horseman, also died over the weekend. RIP Gerry.
And please keep calling.