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After a lot of hard-luck races where he could only do second at best, Moreno went wire-to-wire in the G1 Whitney Handicap (I) at 10-1 odds to earn an expenses-paid guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I).

Racing Beat: October 6

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Wow I did good handicapping the Arc! First choice Novellist scratched, but third choice Treve won and second choice Orfevre was second! I also mentioned liking Intello too much to not insert a blip about, and Intello finished third. So that’s pretty much a boxed trifecta in a huge race. *pats self on back*

Richard’s Kid is a deserving retiree, much the best to him. I couldn’t care less about Shanghai Bobby.

I enjoy a lot of Ramsey-owned horses, but at this point, media outlets are inflating their ego beyond bursting writing about all their wins. It’s not really Eclipse-worthy if they keep dropping down claims and inserting rabbits into races in order to rack up wins.

Post-Arc factoid: Ocovango's name comes from the name of the area of water on the Nile River where the most crocodiles live.

I haven’t seen the My Conquestadory race just yet, but I’m wary going in. Glad to have believed in Artie Schiller as a sire.

Among the first possibles listed for the Cigar Mile: Orb. You guys can stop now…

Remember when Judy the Beauty was 2 and Wesley Ward was all gung-ho about running her against colts, even then? Yup, I do too, and she looks good after that G1 win over Groupie Doll and Gypsy Robin!

More mad respect due to Ghostzapper, a pedigree handicappin’ fave of mine to use time after time: a G1 and a G2 in ONE day this weekend!

I’m not even going to read “Palace Malice Should Be Admired.”

A half to G1 winner Starship Truffle was foaled in Massachusetts. Now let’s get that slot funding…

Still on the Honor Code train of course, but I really want to find a super awesome, distance-worthy Pioneerof the Nile to like.

After finishing last at Saratoga during my visit, former New England champ Perfect Joiski is back in the winner’s circle at Suffolk Downs.

Tweet o’ the Week

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Pedigree Handicapping Appreciation Photoset: Horses I love by the stallions I love: Ghostzapper

Contested, Moreno, Hear the Ghost, Za Approval, & Mystical Star

Hey hey guys, it’s my 24th and in case you’re looking for a gift idea

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Purty three-year-old Ghostzapper filly at Suffolk Downs is for sale. She’s not running that well and they’re looking to rehome her through CANTER. I think she’d do better on turf considering Suffolk doesn’t have much of a grass course and her pedigree reads like she would. All I need is $4,000. SIIIIIIIIGH.

Yo Canadian equestrians! Got $1,000? You can own the full brother to a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner!
This quirky 6-year-old gelding just retired off of track training. Alpha Wave is the full brother to Ghostzapper and a half to City Zip.

Yo Canadian equestrians! Got $1,000? You can own the full brother to a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner!

This quirky 6-year-old gelding just retired off of track training. Alpha Wave is the full brother to Ghostzapper and a half to City Zip.

Hear Me Out…

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I’m bored to death in film class (already know dis shtuff) and am overtired… PERFECT TIME FOR A HEAR THE GHOST APPRECIATION POST!

  • Dad is Ghostzapper, who is one fast po-nay
  • Grandpops is Awesome Again, who I love pretty obviously [clicky]. THAT MAKES HIM RELATED TO GAME ON DUDE AND AWESOME FEATHER!
  • He’s a gelding. NEVER RETIRE NEVERRRR
  • Time for Hollendorfer to win the Derby. I still kind of die thinking about Blind Luck retiring  prematurely.
  • Nobody is REALLY talking about him yet. I like unpopular things.
  • He’s like a male look-alike version of Contested (related, weirdly enough) who I picked to win a couple of races too:

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  • He was a cute hunk of a baby:

  • He’s chestnut, which is the very best color
  • Nakatani owes me money after losing on Nehro.

Racing Beat: January 13

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Kentucky Derby pick updates: my honorable mention Elnaawi broke his maiden impressively at Aqueduct on Saturday and Apex has returned to breezing. Waiting on that next dirt start for Fredericksburg! Oh and Purple Egg whenever he wants to come back…

GREAT NEWS GUYS! I can ship prizes out of my campus mail center instead of having to go to the post office. That means no more dealing with that royal carrier douchebag “Roland”, who is always condescending to me whenever I go in there. I miss my post office back home.

Feels unbelievable but in a good way: Kentucky Derby runner and Illinois Derby (III) winner Done Talking is doing very very well breezing up to his comeback. He hasn’t been heard from since his 5th place in the Long Branch Stakes.

When I saw that the Thoroughbred Times’ photo archives were for sale at auction, I immediately thought of someone on Tumblr buying them and then uploading them for oodles of notes. Too bad none of you peasants have the money.

Big Drama's daughter is winning so far in the “Best First Foal” imaginary contest in my head.

That annoying moment when… someone pats themselves on the back for their extraordinary vision that such-and-such a colt trained by Todd Pletcher that won last year at Saratoga was going to win again. Yeah, because that sort of thinking requires a lot of scrutinizing since that never happens! You’re almost as bad as the people who pick the morning line favorite to win every single dang time. /rant #thisisnooneontumblr

2003 Travers winner Ten Most Wanted died just months after being sold to Panama. At first I wondered what was to blame, and then I wondered if they bought a product protection plan.

Turfway Park has the right idea. FREE CAKE!

Swell news for Creative Cause fans as he gathers an excellent first year book including Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell, the beautiful G1 winner No Such Word, Mazel Tov (dam of G1 winner Summer Soiree), and Believe You Can's mom El Fasto.

Shall I move her up the “to watch” list? Applauding changes hands to Michael Matz, which I am obviously overjoyed about, but have questions: why the trainer change from Al Stall who is also very capable and then does Matz have any experience working with good sprinters?

Two half sisters to Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty (who sold for $4.2 million) were sold at Keeneland January for $27,000 and $17,000 respectively: one by Ghostzapper the other by Lookin at Lucky. ARE YOU ALL MAD? Another half sister by Scat Daddy RNA’d at $95,000.

Other notables at Keeneland January that surprised me: Teeth of the Dog ($20,000), Yara (RNA’d at $170,000), Battle Hardened ($80,000), Lily the Pink ($60,000), Yam ($3,500 [a really nice Nureyev broodmare out of a Secretariat graded winner, in foal to Midshipman]), Mad Flatter (RNA’d for $24,000), and a full sister to Tiznow named Tizsweet ($42,000). Who the f—k is at these sales not buying the excellent stock but dumping the mortgage on Street Sense yearlings? (Ok, I admit the top-selling filly was adorable)

Am I really a year older than Joe Talamo? I feel really unaccomplished now.

I still have a little while to think about it, but looks like I have a similar decision to make again this year for the Sunshine Millions: Ron the Greek or Mucho Macho Man? I went with Ron the Greek last year with a win ticket.

I’m pretty sure I am Samuel Riddle reincarnated sometimes. UGH! WESTERN RIFF-RAFF COULD NEVER BEAT MY EASTERN PONIES! BAH! I don’t think this intentionally, but I have noticed that most of the horses I like and follow are based on the east coast.

Tweet o’ the Week

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Za Approval (Photo by Event of the Year Photos)

Za Approval (Photo by Event of the Year Photos)

Holy butt, more butt! This one is Ghostzapper's.

Holy butt, more butt! This one is Ghostzapper's.

Can We Just Stop for a Minute

And give serious props to Awesome Again? I was thinking about this stuff the other day and figured I just had to write it down before some big-wig elsewhere borrowed my thought process and acted upon it.

I’ve had a soft spot for Adena Springs since I started really following modern horse racing. My visit to Calder spotted me several Adena-sired horses, and I can’t help but respect the people who not only bought for big money, but continued racing my favorite juvie from 2010, Awesome Feather. Adena Springs is a pretty good-sized breeding and racing operation with a little bit of their own rehoming program to boot, standing names like Macho Uno, Einstein, Ghostzapper, and the truly awesome Awesome Again.

This gorgeous bay stallion really doesn’t get the credit he deserves in the era of Bernardini spam, A.P. Indy orgies, and Empire Maker circlejerks (sorry for the graphic choice of words, but really, it fits). Rewinding back to the glory days when he still raced, he won 9 of 12 races with a top Equibase speed rating of 123. He broke his maiden by 6 lengths on his second try at a distance-digging 1 1/16 miles. He won the Queen’s Plate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the Whitney by daylight. His Classic win was especially memorable, as Awesome came flying from the back of the pack to stay undefeated in 1998 over a top field that included Silver Charm, Victory Gallop, and Skip Away. His racing career ended with a back injury while running fifth in the Super Derby (then a G1 stake).

A lot of excellent racehorses turn out to be not-so-awesome sires, but in this case, it’s where Awesome Again really started humming. After winning in excess of $4.3 million at the races, Awesome Again would spur a legacy of millionaires, G1 winners, and Breeders’ Cup winners, thereby becoming one of those rare, excellent horses that produced even better than himself. In his first crop born in 2000, he caught fire immediately with the impeccably fast Ghostzapper, who won sprints as in the Vosburgh (I) before taking the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I) in record time (which still stands!). Hotstufandthensome, Round Pond, Spun Sugar, Awesome Action [CAN], Eishin Newton, Wilko, Awesome Gem, Ginger Punch, and Game On Dude are easy adds to the “most awesome” Awesomes list.

In more recent seasons, unfortunately, the number of big money winners by Awesome Again took a decline with many progeny never even having a start at the track. Rooted at a good $50k per season price, Awesome was little match for the wave of new popular blood (i.e. Unbridled’s Song) that begat fast, precocious talent. Even top broodmares were not spitting out bona fide racers with Awesome Again (see Finder’s Fee [an Acorn Stakes (I) winning daughter of Storm Cat] who has two Awesome Again foals earning less than $100k combined).

However, the future remains bright for Awesome Again as both he and his finest son Ghostzapper are having a breakthrough year with stakes winners and top performers. Fast Falcon looked game enough to win a paltry edition of the Travers (I) and was a close runner-up in the Dwyer (II), but most notably, it is the son Paynter who has shown some of the most promise in a year bloated with excellent sophomores. While he did not start until he was 3 and was slow to progress, Paynter nearly upset the Belmont Stakes (I) in front-running fashion and then capped off a tremendous Haskell (I) to become the early Travers favorite. In a sense, it’s paramount that Paynter survives his current bout of illness to continue to buoy the stud career of his sire. Between Paynter and multi-G1 winner Game On Dude— who looks to be a key favorite in avenging his close Breeders’ Cup Classic loss— 2012 could mean the revival of Awesome Again as a relevant sire should his progeny collect his 5th Breeders’ Cup win in November, an historic 2nd Classic winner by a Classic winner.

Here’s to an awesome fall, Dude.

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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