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Racing Beat: January 20

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Good news for his fans: Secret Circle is back on the work tab!

I am pleased to announce that after 2 week(ish) of intermittently trying, I won 10 horseshoes on Blazing Silks’ spinny game. WHO’S YOUR DADDY? IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME.

Wilburn made news last year retiring early to take advantage of the Bernardini blood value by being his first son to stand at stud. For 2013, we’ve got at least 6 new ones by Bernardini by my count on Stallion Register, more than new sires that are by pensioned A.P. Indy (5) and deceased Dynaformer (4).

Aqueduct is thinking about changing their inner track to synthetic. While I’m sure synthetic/turf breeders would like an opportunity to get a good shot at NYRA’s gold, have we learned nothing so far about surfaces?

I wonder how good Midnight Lute's half brother Steel Guitar (by Unbridled’s Song) is going to be. He hasn’t broken his maiden yet, and was 3rd in his 3rd try last time out in a 6-furlong maiden special weight at Turfway. He gathered buzz as the heavy favorite, but was beaten 6+ lengths.

Last night my feed blew up with news alerts that Shanghai Bobby won the Eclipse for Best 2-Year-Old Male. Last I checked that wasn’t news…

An unreal accomplishment of luck, determination, and humility: Morton Fink has just one mare in his business and it is the dam of his 3-time Eclipse champion Wise Dan.

Oh my stars, my leading lady Blind Luck is a madre now :’)

My heart was a little broken to see so many races go sloppy on Saturday, which is easily one of the biggest reasons I did not place any money down on anyone. I should have though at least on Ron the Greek and Oxbow, who I naturally favored in the Lecomte (III). Ughhhhh. Important to note that despite a restricted field on an off track, Ron the Greek got an impressive 115 Beyer his first start back!

What’s up with Vinery that has caused all the stallions to go to WinStar?

Sweet baby Atigun is set to return in Oaklawn’s Razorback (III). D’aww! It’s a little short for him though at a mile and a sixteenth >.>

Unlike my Derby Top 10, I’m having some issues narrowing down just 10 I like for the Oaks.

Mark Valeski was close to that win hot off a layoff in the Louisiana Handicap. Along with Believe You Can and Smitten, a three-year-old Tapit filly I like, Larry Jones has a string of contenders again this year.

Dale Romans wins, Ramon Dominguez wins, Little Mike loses. :( Sad sigh.

Tweet o’ the Week: Not to sully the glory, but I was kind of thinking the same thing

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Something I didn’t notice until now

Two horses I liked and subsequently bet on at Saratoga this summer were FULL siblings— both trained by Michael Matz. Two-year-old Fredericksburg by Speightstown and out of the Dynaformer daughter Choreograph, rallied impressively to be fourth while older sister Dancing To Town nearly wired the De La Rose Stakes to finish 3rd. Both raced on the same day when I was there. How did I miss this until now? Still, pretty coolness!

Speaking of the devil, Fredericksburg is looking super down in Florida and I am trying to continue to muffle my enthusiasm that he can do dirt just as well if not better than grass. Fellow Matz trainee Bustle— whom I covered in an Early Bird Watch— is training pretty well too and will be racing on Thursday.

Yeah I have a little trainer bias sometimes… Matz, Clement, Brown, Mott, Motion, Tagg… but whatever!

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile #12: Brilliant Speed

Brilliant Speed (FL)

Basics:

(Dynaformer x Speed Succeeds, by Gone West)

  • Trainer: Thomas Albertrani (Bernardini, King Congie, Zo Impressive)
  • Jockey: Javier Castellano
  • Owned by: Live Oak Plantation
  • Career Record: 20: 3-3-7
  • Earnings: $1,203,531

Vital Stats:

  • 2012 Record: 6: 0-0-3
  • TrueNicks rating: N/A
  • Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2012: 113
  • Lost last prep [3rd, Bowling Green Handicap (II) on grass, by 7 1/4 lengths]
  • 3rd in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (I)
  • Brilliant Speed aims to replicate last year’s result where a horse with no G1 wins for the year wins the Classic
  • Aims to be the first horse to win the Classic with no other wins for the year
  • Aims to be the first Florida-bred since Skip Away to win the Classic

Summary: A favorite of mine since his longshot days winning the G1 Blue Grass Stakes, the son of Dynaformer was memorable on last year’s Triple Crown trail, placing well across all surfaces though it was determined that the grass be his career playground. He ran an excellent 3rd in last year in the Turf race, and now on the eve of his retirement, will make one last run at the big Classic.

Prep Schedule: Brilliant Speed did not make a good pursuit in his first start of the year in the G3 Appleton at a mile, finishing 5th. He got some time off and returned in May to be a decent 3rd in the 9-furlong Woodford Reserve (I), then a month later ran at Belmont in the 10-furlong Manhattan (I) where he went 3-wide and finished 2 lengths from the win in 5th. In July he shipped off again to Monmouth for the 1 3/8-mile United Nations, finishing a bored 6th. Following a bumpy start, he was a well-beaten 3rd in the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer (I) at Belmont and then was 3rd again upon a class step-down in the 10-furlong Bowling Green (II).

Running Style: Closer

Pros: Albertrani’s going to add blinkers, which may or not be an actual pro but it has changed some horses. B.S. has had some promising works on the dirt and has that Dynaformer aptitude for excelling at 10 furlongs no problem.

Cons: He’s done no better than 3rd this year on his ideal surface (grass), even when he took a slight step down last time out in the G2 Bowling Green. He can handle dirt okay, but it’s more a question of how good he’ll be against top company.

Final Word: Brilliant Speed’s chances are okay, but by all means he is still a very big longshot. Pedigree will carry him home all right, but I’ll need to see proof that this horse is coming back alive before I endorse him. I saw him earlier in the year at Belmont and he didn’t have that special champion’s glow to him…

Early Bird Watch: Apex

Cease passed his class test in this past Woodward Stakes (I) running third. Can his nephew Apex blossom in time to get Derby-qualified?

It seems like a terrible truth to find that Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has never had a Kentucky Derby winner, much less a whole lot of Derby contenders, but then again, I think we all realize that Mott is keen on taking his time with his juveniles.  All in all, he’s had 7 runners in the Derby including Hold Me Back, who is a freshman sire this year. Time for another one, Bill?

I had the great opportunity to see this particular gelding run in person. A son of distance getter Dynaformer and out of Enth, he is the latest potential golden egg out of a Seeking the Gold daughter. Dynaformer has produced countless stakes winners on both grass and dirt, and carries a reputation as one of the most prominent sires of multi-dimensional distance runners. Apex is the lightly-raced Enth’s first foal, and much anticipation presumably awaits her as a broodmare after much success by Seeking the Gold as a damsire (i.e. G1 winners like Questing [GB] and Blame!). Enth is also a half-sister to Cease, who is G1-placed on dirt.

While he has yet to break his maiden, all signs point that this colt will improve as he grows up and the distances get longer. He was second in his debut at Saratoga on Whitney Day, finishing an encouraging second to heavy favorite and experienced Palace Malice (another good colt on the TC trail) at 5 1/2 furlongs. He followed up that performance with another second at 7 furlongs to Micromanage, a Pletcher spring bud currently on the hot list for many, but he did manage to swat out Gulfport and others in the same race. For many who watched the Futurity Stakes (II) recently, Gulfport was arguably the “best horse who got beat” after a poor start and a rough and wide trip.

In this photo by yours truly, Palace Malice (#8) wins a Saratoga maiden special weight on Whitney Day. Apex (#5) is gaining on him and passes #4 horse Hightail, who was most recently 6th in the loaded Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (II) after passing horses feverishly in the stretch going wide, losing by just 2 3/4 lengths. Trakus figures plugged Hightail as the deserving winner, covering some 9.3 lengths more than the winner Joha. Just thought you might wanna know…

Great trainer? Check. Great connections? Heck yes: bred AND still owned by Claiborne. Potential to get that 10 furlongs? For sure! He may not be a winner, but I’m confident we’ll see Apex reach the top sometime next year.

Racing Beat: September 1

The Travers winners could meet again in Pennsylvania Derby!!!!… No one gives a f—k, or certainly at least not me.

RIP Theatrical [IRE], a really underrated sire.

Could someone please name a good Empire Maker baby Empire Strikes Back?

I was told that the Stanley Cup made an appearance where I work. No one was apparently allowed to hold it, and I couldn’t help but remember that Go For Gin was allowed to drink from it.

Can you imagine how empty D. Wayne Lukas’s stable would be if Bluegrass Hall pulled their runners? At least to me it feels like they’re his only client!

Archwarrior… I do love the baby Arches, but with Todd Pletcher training them to the Derby I might have to flake out when deciding my fantasy Derby stable. That guy bruised my standings two years in a row with his fragile brilliant runners.

FREDERICKSBURG! Early choice for the Juvie Turf!

Who is worthy of a 17-way shake? Apparently Lime Rickey, who was much the best winning R3 at Del Mar yesterday downgrading a ways to the claiming ranks.

When is Super Saturday going to get here?

The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic is looking like potentially the best race so far if everyone makes it… Awesome Feather, Questing [GB], Royal Delta, It’s Tricky, My Miss Aurelia

Javier and Abel Castellano both had new baby boys born an hour apart on August 28. Both jockey dads must have been pretty disappointed their sons weren’t in a lighter weight percentile.

Good to see an old favorite of mine will be going to a high profile farm once he retires. Brilliant Speed, one of the longest shots I’ve ever picked to win in last year’s Blue Grass (20-1), takes sire Dynaformer's place at Three Chimneys.

I’m glad to see Rudy Rodriguez get another nice filly with My Happy Face.

New favorite horse name to be added to the ranks: Giacomo Strap. (Thanks Reinier)

Tweet o’ the Week

Deceased sire Dynaformer had a fantastic weekend with three graded stakes wins from Point of Entry (G1 Man o’ War), 41-1 longshot Ioya Bigtime [pictured] (G2 Stars ‘N Stripes), and Starformer (G3 Robert G. Dick Memorial)— all grass races.

Deceased sire Dynaformer had a fantastic weekend with three graded stakes wins from Point of Entry (G1 Man o’ War), 41-1 longshot Ioya Bigtime [pictured] (G2 Stars ‘N Stripes), and Starformer (G3 Robert G. Dick Memorial)— all grass races.

Racing Beat: June 17

I propose a new club: the Club for Immature People Who Mentally Giggle at Ron McAnally’s Name

Seabiscuit was on HBO the other day. I caught the last 5 minutes… WHAT THE HELL THIS MOVIE IS NEVER ON ANY OTHER TIME!

I have a habit of oogling at War Fronts… might want to keep an eye out for Tensas Cold Front next time you see him pop up in a program.

If I ever get rich enough to buy into horse racing, I will likely invest in a European horse. It says something about American breeding when imports win races on their first attempt here. However, with that said, we do have a shot at beating some Euros with horses like Silver Max, Acclamation, and Summer Front

10 points to Gryffindor!: There’s a horse named Prof. McGonagall, dam of Fleur de Lis entry It’s Tea Time (by Dynaformer). I wonder if Knockturn Alley is taken for a future Flower Alley cross…

I must confess. I get seriously tempted when I see airfare sales for fall travel to Los Angeles…

How to name a horse: first word is an adjective, second word is a noun/actual name. Examples: Lonely Whistle, Awesome Feather, Little Mike, Flashy Bull. Pretty soon, we’ll run out of those and just start pulling random words into a generator aaaaand BLANKET POTION!

Some days I find it crazy to believe that I have never been on Follow Horse Racing’s weekly notebook, let alone vote on their polls. Sure you give voting rights to someone who thinks Pants On Fire is a three-year-old but you can’t post something I even submitted to you? What gives!

GODDAMMIT RON THE GREEK YOU NEVER WIN WHEN I WANT YOU TO YOU RUINED MY EXACTA. I maintain Wise Dan is still the best of the two, with Mucho Macho Man being better than Ron the Greek. Eh!

Perhaps the Derby Handicap Contest for next year will be harder now that only certain races will yield points towards a starting gate post in the Kentucky Derby.

Here come the two-year-olds! I wonder if The Green Monkey's first crop will do any better than their sire. I am excited for the Big Browns the most.

As the weekends draw near, each time I find myself wishing I had an easy go-to person for handicapping tips. The last person I was about to trust— a family friend who nailed the Derby superfecta this year as well as last year— left Union Rags out of the top two in the Belmont. Scoff!

Rest in peace, Yawanna Twist.

Great. Looks like Union Rags might do yet another jockey switch for a while as the indomitable Johnny V has broken his collarbone. Just glad nothing more serious happened.

I will just sit here and say again that I’m glad they gave Royal Delta another year of racing. Never a moment of hesitation and won the Fleur de Lis too easy.

The precarious perch of the future: Kentucky approves Lasix ban over the next few years.

Racing Beat: May 27

The Arch is strong with you: graded winner Keertana has been retired and bred to the awesome Claiborne stallion while her half sister Snow Top Mountain went to Arch’s son and BC Classic winner, Blame.

I realize this probably bothers no one else but… Doug O’Neill, could you please shave your face?

$1 million minimum Pick 4/6 on Belmont Day… TIME FOR ME TO BE LUCKY! (No but seriously, I *might* be buying into a players’ pool… need dat college money)

Update on retired sensation Princess Arabella: she’s now in foal to Tapit, meaning A.P. Indy inbreeding and even more Mr. Prospector >.> (Did I mention Arch has zero Mr. Prospector?)

Happy retirement to Silver Medallion! Looks like Silver Max will be taking your spotlight.

Typical me behavior: generally unenthusiastic about watching $30,000 horses trot around a ring… GUNG HO ABOUT WATCHING $7,000 HORSES BARRELING DOWN THE STRETCH!

Me Friday: Wilkinson at 20-1? That’s a pretty good odds for a horse who was so good last year… well okay, he’ll be against Mr. Commons but still… *fast forward to Saturday* WHY IN THE HELL DID I CHOOSE TO NOT BET TODAY?! WHY DID I PUT MY FAMILY FIRST? WHYYYY AGHHH 44-1!

Thank you, Jerry Crawford, for telling Dale Romans to STFU about putting Dullahan in the Preakness. He’s arguably the best fresh horse in the Belmont running now *thinks of Shackleford*

They ought to make jackets with jockey silk colors! I need a new track/spring jacket!

Where’s Coil nowadays?

People need to stop making a big deal about this alleged milkshaking incident… please do yourselves a favor and read up on the science behind the elevated CO2 levels in racehorses.

Dynaformer's last foal— a filly— was born this past week. Can I suggest the name Barbara for her? The last usage of the name in the States was in 1996 for an unraced mare.

Tweet o’ the Week:

After a couple frustrating years working in video games, the new NTRA site err, I mean, “America’s Best Racing” site drives me batshit with HUGE-ASS EFFIN FLASH SLIDESHOW right smack on the page… making you scroll down if you want to read anything quickly. I hate that shit. It’s unfortunately popular and empty-looking… I’ll just stop now before I fly into a rant about design. At least they’re not using Comic Sans.

TIME TO GIVE DAWNA SOME MONEY!! I really shouldn’t be looking, but look what I found! A white grandbaby of A.P. Indy with a chestnut medicine hat! Only $20K!


The last Dynaformer offspring— a filly out of Morlana (More Than Ready x Tuscolana, by Roy)— was born today at Three Chimneys Farm

The last Dynaformer offspring— a filly out of Morlana (More Than Ready x Tuscolana, by Roy)— was born today at Three Chimneys Farm

A moment of silence for Dynaformer, who died at Three Chimneys today shortly after being pensioned at the age of 27. (Photo by Terri Cage)

A moment of silence for Dynaformer, who died at Three Chimneys today shortly after being pensioned at the age of 27. (Photo by Terri Cage)

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