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Julia Tutweiler (Pulpit x Caroline’s Gold, by Touch Gold) before and after her debut race at Saratoga Race Course. Joel Rosario up for Bill Mott.

Forty Tales and Joel Rosario had a bit of a dirty trip in the Cigar Mile (I)

Forty Tales and Joel Rosario had a bit of a dirty trip in the Cigar Mile (I)

Kentucky Derby winner Orb

Kentucky Derby winner Orb

Favored Formulaforsuccess, a Broken Vow stallion, was claimed by Michael Dubb and Rudy Rodriguez after finishing 5th in a race with Joel Rosario (Photo by Dawna Wood/Galloping Hat Rack)

Favored Formulaforsuccess, a Broken Vow stallion, was claimed by Michael Dubb and Rudy Rodriguez after finishing 5th in a race with Joel Rosario (Photo by Dawna Wood/Galloping Hat Rack)

Racing Beat: July 21

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I finally updated the blog’s banner and my about page. It sucked to cross out Nehro's name as one of my favorite still-living horses…

Record-setting Queen’s Plate (CAN-I) winner Strait of Dover has passed due to a twisted colon. Also, a recent and popular claimer of Doug O’Neill’s, Salt Tequila Lime, has died. #rip

The fact that Joel Rosario made more than a third of what I currently make in a year just on Del Mar’s opening day makes me want to cry and eat his weight in cake.

Convocation, a well-pedigreed Darley gelding who ran 2nd to Haynesfield in the 2010 Suburban Handicap among other notable starts, has been reportedly retired… after scratching out of a $4,000 claimer at Suffolk Downs earlier this week. Tis a slippery slope in the world of horse racing… he managed to beat Ice Box and Ron the Greek earlier in his career under the direction of James Jerkens. I hope he has found a good rest home.

My new thing to watch now that my cable TV selections got slashed are the pawn shop shows, and yesterday on Pawn Stars someone brought in one of Secretariat's old shoes which included a letter from Penny Chenery. Big Hoss admitted he knew little about racing, offered $2k for it. OBVIOUSLY YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!

A match made in gray heaven? Zo Impressive and Tapit. Yep, it happened. Now all we need is Henrythenavigator and Zenyatta to make it in brown horse heaven.

I was rooting for My Happy Face to win the Coaching Club, but Princess of Sylmar definitely earned it.

Power Broker's my current pick to win the Travers.

I’m not much of a Lasix capper, so it felt nice when Royal Delta romped without it after suffering an apparent bad reaction to the stuff in her last, inexcusably disappointing start.

Fellow The Walking Dead fans will be delighted to learn that there is a two-year-old filly by First Samurai named Michonne.

My Rise Jim choice to win, Dreamed a Dream, finished third at 13-1. The winner was a crazy 64-1 longshot. I guess this is what happens when you let your Les Mis feels handicap for you.

Horse racing fan problems: I was reading an article about birth control debates, and every time they abbreviated it to “BC” my mind shifted to thinking about the Breeders’ Cup. D’oh.

Tweet o’ the Week: I can see this newfangled terminology catching on quickly with the Tumblr crowd…

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Orb (Photo by HRTV)

Orb (Photo by HRTV)

Oaks Octet #1: Close Hatches

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(First Defence x Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat)

  • Trainer: Bill Mott (Cigar, To Honor and Serve, Drosselmeyer)
  • Jockey: Joel Rosario
  • Owned by: Juddmonte Farms
  • Record: 3:3-0-0
  • Earnings: $201,300
  • Best speed figures: 88 Beyer, 103 Equibase

Background: One of the more recent hype fillies for the Oaks came out of seemingly nowhere after racing lightly (and successfully) leading up to her dynamite G2 win in the Gazelle (II). Improving with each start, is Close Hatches the newest major success story for the Juddmonte empire, who won the Oaks in 2001 with Flute?

Prep Schedule: 3-for-3 in her career, Close Hatches won for fun in her debut race at 7 furlongs at Aqueduct, winning by 7 lengths while closing into a rapid pace. 2 months later, she sealed the deal in an allowance race while stretching out to 1 1/16 miles, urged by Rosario to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Kimberly Jean (an outrun 4th later on in the Gulfstream Oaks won by Dreaming of Julia in smashing fashion). In her most recent start, she stretched out successfully to the Oaks distance of 9 furlongs to win the Gazelle (II) in a wire-to-wire effort over the previously undefeated Princess of Sylmar.

Pedigree: New sire First Defence is a Juddmonte resident stallion finding some success with his first foal crop (grass runner Dundonnell included) after a G1-winning career as a sprinter. He is the product of your basic American strategy for success being by hot speed sire Unbridled’s Song and out of Honest Lady, a daughter of Seattle Slew who is also a half to Belmont/Wood Memorial winner Empire Maker. Close Hatches’ dam is Rising Tornado, a Storm Cat daughter linebred to the familiar Secretariat-Sir Gaylord dynasty. Close Hatches features 2 traces each to Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector in the first 5 generations.

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant 17.74

Running Style: Adaptable

Pros: A horse I really liked naturally because of my past success with Mott-Juddmonte ties, Close Hatches looks to be keen with her third start off a two-month layoff and is already strong at the Oaks distance. She can win closing as well as setting the pace, so she can likely adapt to whatever Beholder, Dreaming of Julia, and others throw at her.

Cons: Other fillies in the field have had better winning speed figures than her, so she will really have to be better than ever to win. She will also be tested in a very talented Oaks field, as she ran to the nines last out largely unopposed on the front end.

Final Word: Bill Mott? YES! Juddmonte silks? YES MORE! A talented filly named in the spirit of her mother’s name (When a tornado comes, you CLOSE/BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!)? AWW YEAH! It’s no wonder why I was drawn to Close Hatches, especially after experiencing a bit of bettors’ glee when I got a couple real nice prices last year on Mott-Juddmonte couplings. Close Hatches, although a pick among the wiseguys, should get a little better of a price than three or four others right when she should be ready to peak.

I'm loving your Derby Dozen updates, but both Orb and Verrazano's jockeys are listed as finishing fourth in last year's Derby. Wasn't Rosario third? Keep up the good work and congrats on "Exterminator's" second birthday.

Asked by classic-like-a-penguin

Thanks much for the kind words, I’m glad you’re enjoying them so far and I hope you find them at least somewhat useful!

And thanks for noting the typo I knew I had but forgot to fix! Rosario was 5th with Creative Cause actually (I thought he was 3rd or 4th too, but then remembered Dullahan and Went the Day Well).

Appreciation GIFset: Graham Motion and Animal Kingdom


Source videos [1, 2]

Racing Beat: February 10

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I wonder if Europe is obsessing hard over Goldikova's baby boy as much as people here are obsessing over Rachel's and Zenyatta's. One out of these three doing badass would be a pleasing percentage.

Proof Frankel's baby brother is going to be even better than him: HE HAS A BLAZE!

I’m already sick of this dumb Kentucky Derby points system. One of the biggest motivating factors behind it is that it’ll be “easier” for the public to follow. Ok, maybe? But wouldn’t winning the big races that ought to be televised be even more of a help? The Santa Anita Derby, the Florida Derby, the Wood, the Arkansas… come on now…

My mother the pedigrees-I-know/buttcapper will be dismayed to hear that Quiet American has been pensioned. So much sad.

I am so unbelievably pissed at Joel Rosario for that shitty ride on Animal Kingdom. Who was it on here that hated him already? Was it you Paige?

One horse I forgot to mention but meant to in my last Derby Top 10 update: Texas Bling, the super longshot that won the Springboard Mile. He’s an Oklahoma bred and an underdog at that, but he’s been working super well according to reports. On a similar note, Dewey Square may try turf… his last workout earlier today was over it.

There goes Coolmore jumping the shark again by buying an interest in Verrazano.

I am dying I want to see Gary Stevens ride in the flesh so bad.

There’s not much to see yet brewing in Dubai: Travers (I) champ Alpha ran last in the Al Maktoum Challenge (II) while Lovely Pass won the UAE 1000 Guineas in achingly slow time (1:39 flat for the mile).

Rumor has it Keeneland is looking to rip out their poly in favor of dirt. I’m all for it; handicapping would be made easier and horsemen would take competing on the surface much more seriously. History is full of doubters when it comes to horses who only win on synthetic.

As I continue working on my Oaks Top 10, I’m keen to include a filly of Phil Simms’, partially because of her name: Miffed, a three-year-old daughter of Purge, who is worth watching.

Sweet baby Street Life is off to be a California sire. All dreams of him standing in New York are dashed.

An old favorite in Wasted Tears just had her first foal, but I died when I saw that it was a colt by Malibu Moon. Ugh. No. At least he has a cool facial marking?

Tweet o’ the Week: More cute babby picture time, this one by Even the Score

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


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