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Who were you cheering on when the gates opened that first Saturday in May? My Kentucky Derby horses throughout the years (Tumblr has a dumb limit of 10 photos):

  • 2013: Normandy Invasion (4th)
  • 2012: Union Rags (7th)
  • 2011: Nehro (2nd)
  • 2010: Ice Box (2nd)
  • 2009: Desert Party (14th)
  • 2008: Big Brown (1st)
  • 2007: Street Sense (1st)
  • 2006: Steppenwolfer (3rd)
  • 2005: N/A, I don’t think I followed the race that year for whatever reason
  • 2004: Action This Day (6th)
  • 2003: Empire Maker (2nd)

Not pictured: 2002 - War Emblem (1st), who ran in the first Derby I ever watched.

Racing Beat: September 8


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


Back to Belmont: Unlimited Budget


In 2007, I laid eyes on what was probably the most exciting moment I’ve ever had watching a horse race from the TV. Rags to Riches, the lone filly in the Belmont Stakes (I), fell to her knees at the start before comparing shoulders with Curlin. Back and forth they went in the stretch, until the chromey lass prevailed over one of the indisputably best modern racehorses. It was the first time in over a hundred years a filly won the huge race, and now this year, we have one of Curlin’s first boys and a daughter of his arch-rival Street Sense competing in the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Unlimited Budget has proven to be a pretty consistent runner, racing under the blue-and-orange colors of Repole and under the guidance of Todd Pletcher, who also trained Rags to Riches. “Budgie” looked like a good value bet heading into a loaded Kentucky Oaks (I) field, and despite being jostled at the start, pulled ahead in the stretch to finish a strong third. The pace in the Oaks was rapid thanks to Beholder, who held up well under stress to remain 2nd, but she set up for the closing Princess of Sylmar who won. A three-time graded winner, it was Unlimited Budget’s first defeat. It was honestly not a bad race overall, but not one telling of how far she’s willing to go.

For the Belmont, Budgie has a couple questions to answer:

  • Can she go from winning at 9 furlongs to 12?
  • Can she overcome her pedigree? I still regard Street Sense pretty highly as a sire (though he is only proving himself late), but Valid Appeal is the damsire without much else worth mentioning. Valid Appeal was a decent middle-distance goer, but hasn’t thrown a lot in the way of classic ability.

In other tidbits, top rider Rosie Napravnik is slated to ride and the filly looks fit, breezing a bullet 4 panels in :47 1/2 that looked smooth to onlookers.

Racing Beat: May 11


After a Derby week and recovery time/finals time hiatus, Racing Beat is back to clog up your sluggish Sunday feed!

How cool would it be if Pletcher entered Dreaming of Julia in the Belmont? He commented she wouldn’t be ready for a Preakness run after the Oaks soooo maybe another Rags to Riches attempt? YES PLEASE. (Two-weeks-later-edit: Seems my dreams of Julia is going to happen! Aw yeah!)

Poor Hollywood Park. If I do indeed get that full-time spot in the coming weeks like I hope, I may think about going out there just so I can soak in one of Zenyatta's old stomping grounds before they tear it down. *Sigh* Who's good at finding good cheap flights?

Oh Godolphin, getting desperate are we? Still, that was the quickest sentencing I’ve seen… why can’t we do that in the States?

One of the nice things about the Doug O’Neill camp is how much they believe in their horses and are all too willing to send in a possible bomber. But Handsome Mike to Royal Ascot? Against Shea Shea? *shrugs*

If I can save enough money, I have big Saratoga plans this year that involve me staying overnight here. *squee*

A full sister to 2007 Kentucky Derby winner/handsome stud Street Sense has been foaled at Darley America. Unf.

I feel like registering for a 5K mud race after the Kentucky Derby so I can pretend to be Orb mwahahaha if only those poseur races weren’t flipping expensive I might be more serious discussing this.

My mind has been off how Power Broker is moving forward and concentrating more on when Rolling Fog is coming back. Add Power Broker to the Belmont possibles list as well after his recent comeback win.

Some find the Ramsey family to be obnoxious or annoying, but let’s reward them for the fact that they claimed back their gelding Pleasant Prince recently, a recognizable older horse that has made appearances in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon as well as the Classic in the past.

Sweet baby Atigun won his race, but sweet baby Java’s War was dusted. So much sad THIS IS JULIEN’S FAULT YES THAT’S IT.

Add Freedom Child to your watch list for the Belmont Stakes as well as Tenango, who isn’t an “official” possible yet but one can assume things…

Rest in peace to Nehro, my beloved 2011 Kentucky Derby horse I really wanted to see in person, and to Chilled, the “savage” horse who was DQ’d to second in this famous 2012 photo.

Tweet o’ the Week: I love her already (by Istan)


Experts are comparing Orb's final workout today (4 panels in :47.89) to the final works of Street Sense and Barbaro before the Kentucky Derby. Orb reels in his stablemate to his inside and coasts without a prod of encouragement several lengths in front by the time they hit the wire.

Street Sense (Photo by Jim Merithew)

Street Sense (Photo by Jim Merithew)

There have been only 2 half-blind horses to run in the Kentucky Derby: the gray Storm in May ran 16th of 20 in the 2007 running won by Street Sense and Pollard’s Vision finished 17th of 20 in the 2004 edition won by Smarty Jones.

Racing Beat: October 7

No question about it… if Wise Dan can beat Animal Kingdom and the rest of a challenging field in the BC Turf Mile, he gets Horse of the Year if Game On Dude loses the BC Classic. Nobody tops those two this year in breadth of challengers and list of impressive wins.

Feeling a future post here… I look forward more to the Juvenile Turf than the Juvenile dirt race. No lie.

I hope there’s a rich Disney fan of a racehorse owner that will name a future Street Sense/Cry/Life/Boss baby Street Rat. Mwahahaaaaa.

And Calder continues being the dick of the track world charging fees for things that don’t need fees…

I have defeated the curse that is Blazing Silks, thank you Paige. Aww but look at my pone pone I named Greek Fire!

I vow to make a superior pony game if I ever finish my computer science degree.

Word on the street is the new freshman sire to watch is The Green Monkey. Yes, that overpriced bomb of a horse, yes that one. Spring At Last is making progress as well.

Looks like Drill is starting to make his way back with 3-furlong breezes at Hollywood Park after a tiring spring campaign sprinting. Ultimate Eagle has started breezing last week, too. ~A la horses I just randomly started thinking about and looked up

Feeling legit depressed about Danedream and the rest of the Arc dropouts. At least now I know it’s not just the U.S. where horses like to drop like flies at terrible moments.

I had a dream the other night that I was watching the Breeders’ Cup Turf and out of nowhere comes NEHRO to win it. Yeah, even in the dream I was like what the…

Chantal Sutherland is constantly testing my will… she’s cool one moment throwing out the first pitch for the L.A. Dodgers game… unthinkably vile the next having her baseball signed by that god-awful, why-does-he-have-a-show Rob Drydek. *hurls*

If I were the owner of Stay Thirsty, I’d keep him running if at all possible until maybe age 6. He’d likely improve with age, plus I’d throw him into the Marathon, not the Classic. Hopefully in his last year the Breeders’ Cup will go to Belmont and then he could go out with a bang on his favorite track. But since this is not the case, I’m stuck brainstorming name-play foal monikers… I like Slurpee.

I am so proud of Pool Play right now…

Shanghai Bobby is a cute colt and all, but I’m still not feeling him. I’m eagerly awaiting the Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 miles… maybe we’ll see a real Derby horse then.

Tweet o’ the Week hails back to medieval times…

Oh baby Street Life, I hope you’re okay after that ankle bump in the Travers. In an alternate universe, you won the race for me. Please let’s not retire this guy. (Photo by Skip Dickstein)

Oh baby Street Life, I hope you’re okay after that ankle bump in the Travers. In an alternate universe, you won the race for me. Please let’s not retire this guy. (Photo by Skip Dickstein)

Early Haskell Buzz for Who?

He may not have won the Derby or the Preakness (and some of you would say that he never would have and was soundly beaten by I’ll Have Another), but Bodemeister would have been the horse to beat in the Haskell Invitational (I), had he not been stricken with illness. Belmont winner Union Rags, a likely candidate to close into Bode’s fantastic fractions, is also out due to a suspensory injury.

Who does that leave in what will be a rather unexciting Haskell?

Hansen, who has a lot of work to do in redeeming himself as a top three-year-old fallen from grace, is now 60-70% likely to enter the Haskell, with priority originally given to the lighter West Virginia Derby (II). Trainer Mike Maker has commented that the colt has matured quite a bit from his rank prep days leading up to the Derby, where he finished an unimpressive 10th. He is certainly ready for a big race following his public workout in the Iowa Derby (III), which he won by an easy 10 lengths.

Zayat Stables is also listing Bodemeister’s talented stablemate as a possible for the race. Paynter nearly wired the Belmont Stakes (I) and has been an impeccable horse from the get-go. Dare I say, he is more mentally capable than Hansen, and can probably beat the Great White Hope should he elect to sit off the pace.

Throwing in a third option and a name I have brought up many times before as someone I like: Street Life. I can’t help but think Street Sense is a good enough sire to get a G1 with one of his progeny this year, and Street Life might just be up to the task. Starting from the rail in the Belmont, he got off to a bad start and was too far behind the field to do better than a modest fourth. He nearly snuffed out Mark Valeski in the Peter Pan (II) before that, and had he not been on the far outside, I think he would have won that race. Obviously, things have to go right for him, but the pace has the possibility of working in his favor.

There’s little to dissuade me from siding with Bodemeister as the potential winner and very possible best three-year-old of 2012. For how lightly raced he is, he has sure done a lot to impress us and often times, good three-year-olds can become great three-year-olds come summertime. We saw it happen with Stay Thirsty as well as Coil just to name two non-classic winners who won prestigious summer stakes races. Now that Bode will be skipping the Haskell, it’s just a question of how and when he’ll get that one prep before the Travers.

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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