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Seattle Slew’s influence as a dam sire:

Chocolate Candy, winner of the El Camino Real Derby (III)

Eskendereya, winner of the Wood Memorial (I)

Cigar, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I) and Dubai World Cup (I)

Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the Belmont Stakes (I)

Offlee Wild, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (I) and Suburban Handicap (I)

Alternation, winner of the Pimlico Special (II) and Oaklawn Handicap (II)

Racing Beat: March 9

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Rockingham Park in New Hampshire (on the border with Massachusetts) is favored to take in a gambling license should legislation for expanded gambling pass. Millennium Gaming of Las Vegas aims to bring Thoroughbred OR Standardbred horse racing back should everything fall into place. GOOD, WE NEED MOAR PONIES IN NEW ENGLAND.

"Jockeys" is on Netflix? *finally gets to watch*

Fort Larned's barn nickname is “Big Ugly” haha. That one I didn't have to read much into to find out why… he's so recognizable with his big flat face at the track, but as you can tell by my icon picture he's so happy to be there it's hard not to like him.

Barretts sales inspires more eye-rolling as Coolmore dumps hundreds of thousands. One top-seller is a Malibu Moon. You won’t catch me investing that much in a two-year-old, never mind a Malibu Moon.

Someone needs to buy me a green screen. I want to “predict” winners like a meteorologist predicts the weather. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF UPSET IN KENTUCKY THIS SATURDAY… damn, that’s a pretty good idea *saves* *goes to Ebay* Honestly it’s not like I have to be that accurate.

Ive Struck a Nerve is off the Derby trail with an injured ankle. I don’t feel any different.

Florida people are nuts for not taking advantage of the Gulfstream trackside buffet breakfast… IT’S $8. I paid something like $16.99 for the Saratoga one… not that I regret because I don’t but just pointing out the bargains going on!

I think Golden Soul could win the Belmont.

*GASP* I also liked Hear the Ghost in the paddock prior to his maiden win where he was an also-eligible at ridic odds!

Beholder's madre Leslie’s Lady, also the dam of red-hot freshman sire Into Mischief (sire of Goldencents and Vyjack), will be bred this year to Eskendereya. #unf

Coil now has a half sister by Smart Strike!

Next race I’m really interested in seeing… the Spiral, actually. I’m really surprising myself this year.

Tweet o’ the Week: Havre de Grace's newest little sis has a moon instead of a star marking…

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Five Suitors for Rachel Alexandra

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What’s the fun in following the crowd and producing the same group of sires’ progeny? MEH, I can do better! Let’s play bloodstock expert for a second here with Rachel Alexandra, seeing as she’s due to foal her Bernardini filly in the coming weeks.

The tough part about nicking good matches with a horse like Rachel Alexandra is finding proven horses that equate well with her pedigree as well as her natural ability. Her sire Medaglia d’Oro was an accomplished classic horse on dirt, but is by El Prado [IRE], who is synonymous with top grass horses. Being that Rachel has wins going long but could easily pass as a gifted miler to boot further complicates things, as she tosses her head to what her ancestry suggests about her on paper. If you look on TrueNicks, a lot of the “suggested” picks for Rachel that have high ratings are horses that I know would not work with the goals of what Stonestreet has in mind, nor likely what would mesh with Rachel’s own record: grass/classic sire Street Cry [IRE], Street Cry’s speedy son Street Boss, and grass champ Midshipman.

This particular genetic puzzle is probably more soluable from the conformation approach than going by bloodline statistics, so we ought to ignore the grass and try to reinforce the mighty prowess, or complement it further with long-distance genes:

  1. Tizway - One of the most fantastic modern milers, Tizway was untested classic potential with distance-getter Tiznow on top and esteemed sprinter Dayjur on the bottom. He’s similar to Rachel in this regard and also has Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector. I’m a bit of a fan of the Danzig in this largely unproven cross. (Fee: $25,000, No rating)
  2. Eskendereya - Much like Rachel herself, “Esky” was a freakish success at three and looked every bit the champion had he been able to continue on to the Triple Crown. A big, well-built character, it’s hard to nitpick his bloodlines which are largely Euro-influenced: by European champion and prolific sire Giant’s Causeway and out of the Seattle Slew mare Aldebaran Light. Esky would tack on some considerable size, scope, and promise of speed. (Fee: $17,500, Rated B+)
  3. Hard Spun - A throwback to really good classic pedigree, while I don’t consider him a perfect specimen it’s hard to argue that the first few rounds of Hard Spuns racing haven’t been anything less than nice. Heavy on the Native Dancer is probably my biggest complaint, but it would be an interesting gamble. (Fee: $60,000, Rated D)
  4. Speightstown - A sire with some appeal but largely ignored due to the pileup of trendy stallions, Speightstown was a career miler/sprinter but throws a ton of variety in his progeny with G1 winners sprinting and going the classic distance. His conformation is excellent and similar crosses have done very well including Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can (by Gone West son Proud Citizen out of an El Prado [IRE] mare) and Ballerina Stakes (I) winner Hilda’s Passion (by Gone West son Canadian Frontier and out of an El Prado daughter [IRE]). Rachel was always on the cusp of being a phenomenal speed horse and router, so it would be all the more interesting to see this pan out. (Fee: $60,000, Rating A++)
  5. Drosselmeyer - I like what I’ve seen already in Drosselmeyer’s first foals, and the Belmont-Breeders’ Cup Classic double is appealing should the desired result be a foal that can carry speed and last. Nijinsky and Danzig make him an attractive option with two G1 winners as his parents. (Fee: $17,500, Rating: A++)

Derby Watch: Let’s Talk Zito

Now one of the bloodstock market’s most intriguing and good-looking new prospects, was Dialed In the last frontier for Nick Zito’s Derby success or can we entertain the idea of more to come?

Nick Zito is not the world’s most winningest trainer, but when he’s got one, ya’ll better watch out. Going into the 2010 Derby, he had the favorite in tough-as-nails closer Dialed In, who was hot off a tremendous Florida Derby (I) victory over the stubborn speedster Shackleford. I probably should have given him more credit for that win considering how highly I regard Shackleford now, but with that said and done, Zito does have a couple nice colts targeted for Churchill this year.

I wanted to bring this guy up a few months ago, but sadly he did not live up to expectations as early as I anticipated, and thus I couldn’t justify including him in my Early Bird Watch. One of the first sons of Curlin, I liked the looks of Dyker Beach last year. While Curlin is not proven yet as a freshman sire, he does have the classic lineage that suggests success at 10 furlongs after winning the Preakness (I), the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I), the Arkansas Derby (I), the Stephen Foster (I), and I’ll just stop now. His chances of being awesome are well in his favor, obviously. Dyker Beach is a bay colt out of the Capote mare, Favorite Feather, who has a stakes-winning foal closely related to him. Featherbed by Smart Strike (Curlin’s sire), was G1-placed as a two-year-old and won a  6-furlong stakes at Saratoga at 3. Favorite Feather is also a half sister to Bright Feather, the dam of G1 champion Albert the Great. Her half sister, In On The Secret (by Secretariat), had a colt by Capote named King of Capote who won more than $800,000.

Second in his debut at Delaware Park, the bay Curlin colt looked like he needed more space to complete his job than 6 furlongs, muscling out the place by a nose in a closing rally, but was far off from the winner. In his second start at Churchill Downs, he appeared to make a case then got too flustered and finished 9th in a 7-furlonger won by the promising Gulfport. He took time off— the main reason I left him out of the Early Bird articles— but he is obviously doing much better after another Gulfstream maiden race. He closed in on the field from far back on the mile-long course, but his stablemate was a bit closer than he was as he was gaining ground late. I think he’ll get better as time wears on and he grows into his three-year-old body, as will many other “Curlins.”

But what of the stablemate of his that beat him?

It seems every year there’s an awesome Giant’s Causeway to watch. Creative Cause, Eskendereya, Fed Biz… when are we getting our Giant winner? Zito is already thinking highly of one that is in his care by the name of Eton Blue, owned by the famous Marylou Whitney Stable, who sports nice bloodlines as well as some skill. By leading sire Giant’s Causeway, the bay colt is out of the Cape Town daughter Bird Town, winner of the 2003 Kentucky Oaks (I) and Acorn (I) who could carry her ability across a multitude of distances. Bird Town is also out of Dear Birdie, making her a half sister to millionaire Belmont winner Birdstone. Bird Town’s sire Cape Town is most noted for his G1 win in the Florida Derby (he ran second, but won by disqualification).

Talent-wise, we’ve seen just the tip of the iceberg for Eton Blue. He’s been getting better and better in his workouts, and held off his stablemate as noted last out in a Gulfstream maiden special weight over a mile. This looks like a special colt who knows what to do and has some real nice family backing him up as the distances grow longer. I’m excited to see what he can do, and all in all, Gulfstream is in for yet another awesome prep trail this year!

Racing Beat: April 1

A very happy birthday is due to Zenyatta today. That’s the one Thoroughbred birthday I CAN remember! Or really, any horse for that matter… I forgot our oldest mare turned 34 the other day.

Racing Beat’s header image mascot Winter Memories will be making her first start of 2012 pretty soon! :D

Just two more weeks ‘til we find out who is Tumblr’s best handicapper! I can’t believe how difficult the Derby preps have been to pick this year… I picked the winner of the Gotham (Hansen), one of the Southwest Stakes (Castaway), the Fountain of Youth (Union Rags), and Sunland Derby (Daddy Nose Best) and I think that’s it. Better get my caboose down to the postal service to get the boxes this week.

A 3/4 sister to Creative Cause was born last week, a gray baby by Eskendereya

Rachel Alexandra's madre Lotta Kim is now in foal to Lookin At Lucky. Considering the dirt AND turf potential at stake, I do like.

One nice thing about horse racing as a sport: despite hundreds of thousands attending the biggest events, there are virtually no senseless “riots” like those seen in World Cup soccer, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Final Four…

I wonder if I’ll get to see Shackleford before he retires to stud next year… I doubt it, but that would totally make my day.

I know Paynter's got his work cut out for him in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, but I do like him much like I favored Bodemeister in the San Felipe, and both are owned by Ahmed Zayat. I don’t know if he has what it takes to beat Creative Cause, however…

Rest in peace, Foxhunt [IRE] and Bronze Cannon. Edit: Also Grand Vent has been euthanized as of this morning per the Racing Post. That makes 3 fatalities in ONE race at Dubai on a grass going.

I think it would be so great to see an upset in Saturday’s Wood Memorial. Preferably with Cozzetti, but I’ll have to consult the full list of entries when it’s published on Wednesday.

Tweet o’ the week:

Poor guy’s taking a beating for the defeat of Union Rags in yesterday’s Florida Derby (I). Honestly, I do think Julien could have ridden him better knowing it was a speed-favoring track— he was doing well at Gulfstream that day with 3 wins and 1 second on the undercard— and pushing him in the wrong spot behind horses early on. However, with that said, I do think some things were out of his control: 1) A slow pace early *possibly* due to potential rabbit Z Camelot not going to the lead as expected and 2) Javier Castellano’s bad ride on El Padrino, tracking ONLY Union Rags so he was even more bottled up inside horses and making El Padrino fade out to fourth while doing so. You have to ride to win and even the best of horses can lose… in a sport that relies quite a bit on luck and circumstance, nothing is guaranteed!

As if my weekend couldn’t get much worse: Nehro's scratched from the New Orleans Handicap (II) after tying up in training.

YES!!! One of my top favorite “bubble” horses for the Derby will be picking up Mike Smith for the Santa Anita (I): Midnight Transfer. Aw yeah.

Oh my lord… Creative Cause's little sis is a beautiful little girl. The young filly was born just days ago to Siberian Summer and is by Eskendereya, making her a 3/4 sister to the top Derby contender.
Um… would the winner of the Mega Millions please aid me in this purchase?

Oh my lord… Creative Cause's little sis is a beautiful little girl. The young filly was born just days ago to Siberian Summer and is by Eskendereya, making her a 3/4 sister to the top Derby contender.

Um… would the winner of the Mega Millions please aid me in this purchase?

UNF x 100: 2012 foal by Eskendereya out of Lotus of the Nile (a half sister to Pioneerof the Nile, by Fusaichi Pegasus). I honestly can’t wait to see Esky’s first crop race.

UNF x 100: 2012 foal by Eskendereya out of Lotus of the Nile (a half sister to Pioneerof the Nile, by Fusaichi Pegasus). I honestly can’t wait to see Esky’s first crop race.

Is the Wood Memorial becoming a cursed prep race? It’s handed Derby dream-killing fates to its winners for the past three consecutive races. Does "Esky" here look cursed to you at all?
2010 Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya (Giant’s Causeway x Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew) strolls up to say “hi” to a fan at Taylor Made Farm. He poked his head through the fence and was relaxed and as cool as a cucumber. The tour guide told her he wouldn’t bite anyone— just playfully nip as a young colt would.

Is the Wood Memorial becoming a cursed prep race? It’s handed Derby dream-killing fates to its winners for the past three consecutive races. Does "Esky" here look cursed to you at all?

2010 Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya (Giant’s Causeway x Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew) strolls up to say “hi” to a fan at Taylor Made Farm. He poked his head through the fence and was relaxed and as cool as a cucumber. The tour guide told her he wouldn’t bite anyone— just playfully nip as a young colt would.

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