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Racing Beat: September 8

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Street Sense progeny won two G1s this year. WEIRD, I WONDER WHY HE’S SUDDENLY COMING BACK TO THE U.S.!

New favorite racehorse name: Ghost is Clear.

For those who read/liked/reblogged my ADOPT THIS HORSE!?!!!! post on Carcava’s Hunt from about a week ago, she has also been removed from CANTER New England’s listings after being there for almost a year. I hope she has a good home, but I’ll try to find out more about where she went, just for the sake of knowing.

After seeing him in person, Dunkin Bend is a serious colt to watch. Maybe not for the Derby, but keep him in your sights.

Is the end near? Florida Stallion Stakes moves from Calder to Gulfstream for 2014. And by the end, I mean good racehorses coming out of Florida fit to race competitively at other tracks.

As a Massachusetts native and dweller, I swelled with pride when Sweet Maxine (2-1) won one for Westford-based Steeplechase Farm and Michael Gorham at Belmont Park.

Looks like Stonestreet is handling Samantha Nicole with silk gloves. The two-year-old full sister to Rachel Alexandra just had her first workout at the farm this week.

While 2-year-old million-dollar colt Mosler reminds me a lot of his fellow War Front brother Departing, I can’t bring myself to like him just yet. He just needs to fill out a bit more in the shoulder area. I do like me a War Front though…

Untapable looks just like Tapizar. Instant fan.

As much as I enjoyed knowing Dancing To Town won her race on Saturday, I’m iffy on the Kentucky Downs track as a whole. Pants On Fire just doesn’t strike me as a good horse.

With word of Royal Delta's planned string of boyfriends, it's more important than ever I make that September 28th meeting at Belmont happen with her!

Black Onyx, the upset winner of the Spiral Stakes (III) and the rail horse who scratched out of the Kentucky Derby, will resume light training in hopes of running in the Gulfstream spring meet.

I’m not convinced that the Iroquois Stakes (III) will play much into the Kentucky Derby. Not even that confident that anyone from that race will be in the gate. I am pretty sure, however, that next year’s Derby will be a very good one, which is a polar opposite vibe I had this time last year.

Tweet o’ the Week: Breeders’ Cup cutie

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Racing Beat: August 26

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GAME ON DUDEEEEEEEEEEEEE! What was that again about not being able to get 10 furlongs or do poly?

As some of you know, I work nights in a hospital and I was weirdly delighted to come across bottles of furosemide aka Lasix the other day while in the cardiovascular wing. I’ll probably be excited the day I get old and get injected with this stuff… I AM A RACEHORSE!

The internet broke out into applause when Doug O’Neill claimed back Toomanytomatoes in a 22-way shake. *claps*

How do Group 1 races in Europe get filled to the brim but most U.S. G1 races get like 5 entries?

My original, very first Speightstown love came back: Wine Police! I’ll have to dig through the Galloping Hat Rack archives to find my first posts about him, but aw yeah!

I want to go to Del Mar one day so I can tell you guys whether it’s better than Saratoga or not… I doubt it… that ocean will have to be pristine with no cigarette butts or inconveniently placed rocks anywhere!

I am now 3-for-3 in predicting losers of major stakes races in my dreams: Alpha, Stay Thirsty, and now Verrazano.

The crushing feeling one gets when not one, but two horses are put down. Rest in peace, Sarava’s Dancer and Kris Royal. Could the 3rd and 4th fatalities of this Saratoga meet be blamed on a super fast track [for the biggest stakes weekend]? It’s possible.

Ego boost: I noticed my blog’s weekly page view counts exploded last week, particularly on Friday and Saturday. I wonder why, it’s not like I made any outer links. The pick 4 stuff I’ve been doing lately is the only new thing I’ve been doing… this is just like all those times I got referred as an “expert” by other people. It just feels weird.

Mike Smith can’t seem to win. One day he’s blamed for Palace Malice's poor run, the very next day he's applauded for riding Royal Delta. And people suggest “backseat training” is more of a problem.

I’m stuck between feeling elated that Bustle finally won a race— and on the turf at Saratoga, no less— and feeling irked that she got claimed from the Matzes. :/

Do you ever wonder if a few really stupid things were different, that one could like a horse more? Just sayin’, they should have done away with braiding Rachel Alexandra's mane… not a big fan of the braids… Tapizar's looked ok, but eh!

There’s nothing quite like watching Royal Delta run. She merely gallops under a hand ride while other top horses like Authenticity are driving to [try to] get within touching distance.

I still have Mudflats in my virtual stable. I was just about ready to delete him when he finally won at Del Mar after dropping way down in class. I wonder how much they bought him for early in the year… BIG MISTAKE. My virtual stable actually did pretty good this weekend…

Tweet o’ the Week: I want this kind of backside access :’(

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Racing Beat: July 7

I’m going to go ahead and say something… Cozmic One kind of got ugly. Awkward yearling phase I hope, like his head just suddenly got big and clunky looking. Jess’s Dream is still very pretty. Baby Z13 is perfect and I’m 110% convinced he is going to be magical. Blind Luck's Bernardini filly is developing into a looker.

So Daisy Devine was DQ’d from her 2nd place finished in the Jenny Wiley due to a clenbuterol positive. Her trainer is taking the $500 fine in stride, and has stated his barn has installed new security cameras to stop any staff/vets from doing this nonsense. Okay really? I looked up the cost of clenbuterol and it runs $60-80 at its cheapest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that figure is smaller than it actually is. It’s an anabolic steroid used for slimming down, building muscle, and aiding respiration in horses and I doubt anyone would just dump some in a horse without you knowing about it.

Creating my “driving to Saratoga” playlist. Song 1: “Paradise”. Perfect fit, and it would kick off my passage through the Berkshires very nicely.

Is Stop Smiling going to be good like her sister? Half-sister to Weemissfrankie won her debut in a Hollywood MSW.

Despite a fierce battle with Gulfstream for racing dates, Calder’s Summit of Speed still attracts big names and filled races with some handsome payouts.

I saw pictures of Tapitsfly this past week as a broodmare in Japan… I figured that sort of thing happened, but other than that I know nothing. She does have a younger full sister who should be racing at some point soon.

Here’s to hoping the newly-established U.S. Timeform lives up to its hype and actually provides useful handicapping tools.

The G3 Poker lost by heavy favorite Data Link (4th) was a golden opportunity to show bet against him. He’s not THAT good of a horse and there were quite a few very good horses in there. Same story for Little Mike in the United Nations (I) coming off that fuzzy Dubai layoff against good company… YES… I TELL YOU ALL OF THIS NOW…

I don’t really keep a close eye on my following numbers on any network, but I was proud to see I had more than a hundred followers than some HRN writers on Twitter. I guess I must be decent then, or at least somewhat entertaining! Nobody can possibly visit this blog because I give away oodles of winners!

Tweet o’ the Week:

Racing Beat: February 17

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Midnight Interlude sold and to stand in India. I didn’t even know they were into horse racing (I could assume so, but… I don’t know, it was just off my radar).

I said it once, but I’ll say it again: BLACK CAVIAR!

So a Scat Daddy colt wins the El Camino Real (III), which is synthetic, again this year. Why is everyone acting so shocked?

I hope your butt feels better soon, Rachel Alexandra.

Horses love to win once I give up on them… Pacific Ocean and now State Flag, a Street Cry [IRE] I bet on last Belmont Day in a grass race. Dah!

Upcoming Derby race blurbs: Treasury Bill has my rooting interest in the (too short) San Vicente (II), and Always in a Tiz for the Southwest(II)! Still, kind of a boring duo in comparison to the upcoming Risen Star (II) in 6 days. Unf unf Proud Strike! Palace Malice! Normandy Invasion! Oxbow!

Very nice! Days after mentioning her and her young stablemate (Miffed) in my Oaks list, Phil Simms trained Don’t Tell Sophia to launch a drawing-away, 6 1/2 length upset win in the Bayakoa at Oaklawn! This older mare was sold as a yearling for a mere $1,000!

I’m judging you if you rank Verrazano overly high after that ONE race… at 6 1/2 furlongs… loose on the lead setting sprinter-like fractions… IN EARLY FEBRUARY WITH NO 2-YEAR-OLD STARTS. Look at this info and then back at me, look at his family and back at me, look at his trainer and now back at me.

Of course I watched it for Fortify, but Soft Falling Rain [SAF] wasn’t too shabby in the UAE 2000 Guineas (UAE-III). The winner is by an unraced Ontario stallion and out of an unraced Giant’s Causeway mare and is currently undefeated in 6 starts.

I liked her lots early on, but Bustle got a horrid trip to be 3rd in her most recent race… unfortunately, a $20-$25k claiming at Gulfstream.

For those who believe in herd dynamics influencing racehorses, I wonder if baby “Princess” will think she’s a palomino.

Tweet o’ the Week: Still got that royal blue halter

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I’m sure everyone knows about Rachel Alexandra right now

If not, go here.

Honestly, this is why sometimes horse breeding makes me nervous. I’ve had enough negatives to balance out the positives in my own personal experience being around broodmares at foaling time. Some minor complications are expected when a big baby is foaled, and my folks even had a mare die after an artificial insemination went poorly.

But enough of my harping. I hope to God that Rachel will be ok. She is  receiving the best of care and we all know how much of a fighter she is.

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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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++)
Never was there a more graceful gob of spit, 
Than the saliva dripping from Rachel Alexandra's bit.
THANK YOU I WROTE THAT ONE MYSELF!

Never was there a more graceful gob of spit,

Than the saliva dripping from Rachel Alexandra's bit.

THANK YOU I WROTE THAT ONE MYSELF!

Medaglia d’Oro

Medaglia d’Oro

Cheerleading Camp Practice for Eblouissante

I am no stranger to enormous fan bases as well as enormous hate bases, but I am carefree in admitting that I am a big fan of Zenyatta. She is part of the reason I got into the deeper aspects of horse racing. After watching that amazing 2009 Triple Crown season with Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra, I enjoyed watching replays of their races and stumbled upon a mention that a horse named Zenyatta was better than Rachel. How on earth could someone be better than Rachel? I thought. I was skeptical and even outraged that someone could suggest that possibility. However, upon watching her fireworks, I became an instant fan of Z. She was big, fast, and just a wonderful being on and off the track complete with her own set of quirks. I related to her instantly in her slow-to-bloom ways of climbing the track ladder, being obviously bigger than her male counterparts, and simply condescending in her late dashes. How many brilliant athletes do you know of that are also wonderful people?

After all this, it should come as no surprise I’m looking forward to watching her little sister Eblouissante run on Friday. I am risking being late to work to watch this three-year-old filly run for the first time, if anything because I missed watching so many of Zenyatta’s races live. After two years of disappointments with the Bernardini crops, I am hopeful this one will be different. Stay Thirsty and Alpha were both very adept early in their careers, but both hit an awkward patch, blossomed, then faded again. Both resemble their beautiful sire very little, and while “Ebby” is still maturing mentally and physically, she’s probably my pick of the litter looking so much like her sister. I also liked another Bernardini from the same crop who now that I think about it, looks a lot like Ebby: unfortunately, Spare Change has not raced successfully recently.

Whether or not you know this gal’s pressure to perform, it should be a fantastic race to watch. Hollywood Park has one of my top favorite announcers in Vic Stauffer, who called many of Zenyatta’s most memorable wins and always gets really into it. The race should be full of green horses as a maiden special weight, but at the 1 1/16 mile distance, should also give us a good hint as to what we can expect to see from Ebby in the future— how much speed versus her stretch-out potential. With so much anticipation much like Archwarrior's over the summer, I'm also predicting a lot of scratches…

Eblouissante means “dazzling” in French, and while I try to keep a lid on feeling confident in my juvenile judging capabilities, I suspect I’ll see something similar on Friday. If not, I’ll at least get a sliver of the old thrills and chills I got watching Zen score at Hollywood Park.

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


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