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Everyone’s looking at me! - Mission Impazible

Everyone’s looking at me! - Mission Impazible

Mission Impazible at Sequel Stallions New York

Mission Impazible at Sequel Stallions New York

Oh my stars, here’s a future one in the making! Sea Trial, the daughter of champions Unbridled’s Song and Storm Flag Flying.

A Visit to the Big A

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Exhibit A of why “seaside race palaces” aren’t so genius. Does Del Mar have a huge seagull population?

It wasn’t until three Saturdays ago that I had a pretty regretful moment that I cut off most of my hair. In case you didn’t know, New York City is kind of cold in late November.

After Belmont’s Super Saturday of racing, I felt about 50-50 that that would be the end of racing days for me in 2013. With schoolwork, production schedules, a full-time job, and driving over a hundred miles most days, I felt I would probably be either too busy or too burnt out from traveling to contest the Cigar Mile this year like I had planned. But, things change and people can have resolve— even me! I pooled money and energy aside to make my first-ever trip out to Aqueduct, especially once I heard Groupie Doll— who is destined to retire soon as the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint— was going to battle Goldencents. And ya know, I have a thing for Honor Code and wanted to make sure I saw him run in a race. Build it and they shall come, and arrive I did on a chilly day in late November.

Continue reading…

Derby Watch: Tourist

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There are a few sires out there that I’m currently drooling with anticipation over in hopes that they will soon have a Derby winner. Dual-Classic winner Tiznow makes that shortlist as a stallion with obvious distance-siring class, albeit with very few prospects showing enough competitiveness early on to even make the cut for the starting gate of the May classic. But as I’ve learned this year, one can hold out hope and extinguish pedigree bias.

I first saw Tourist at Belmont Park on September 28 in what would be his debut race. The race was far too short for the long-legged colt, who would finish a good third in a field of 10 colts, barnstorming 7 furlongs on a track that did not favor his off-the-pace tactics. Tall and lofty, while he didn’t win that day the look of him as a racehorse certainly captured my attention. He made his second start on October 26, again at Belmont going a mile, but was on the receiving end of some interference by longshot Cool Samurai in the race won by Wicked Strong. He ultimately finished a shuffled-back 7th.

Sire Tiznow needs little introduction as the only winner of two Breeders’ Cup Classics and was a late-but-true bloomer as a three-year-old, a trait which he seems to pass on. Well Armed, Tiz Miz Sue, Morning Line, Colonel John, Tizway, and others all seemed to hit their stride no sooner than the middle of their three-year-old year but were unquestionably excellent horses once they developed. Dam Unbridled Melody is by the late, early-bird sire Unbridled’s Song, who frequently passes on speed early, and Tourist is her second foal to race. A winner thrice at the allowance level going shorter distances, her damsire Sky Classic was a champion in Canada as a two, four, and five-year-old racing on the turf, just missing the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1992 by a nose but still won the Eclipse Award. Another key notable is Tourist’s repeated references to Northern Dancer  (x3) and Seattle Slew (x2), and two mentions up close of the mare Incantation, best known as the broodmare of Seattle Song, a G1 winner in France and the U.S. This makes Tourist an uncommon link to both the Man o’ War male line through Tiznow and the female line through Incantation, who goes back to U-Boat.

While WinStar is known to usually have some strong contenders on the Triple Crown trail, at this point Tourist is still a ways off from breaking his maiden. Trainer Bill Mott is not particularly well known for bringing in heavy artillery for the Kentucky Derby, if any at all. But hey, Gemologist made it… Revolutionary was 2nd this year… eh?

One colt to fear in the coming months: Mike Repole’s Unbridled’s Song colt Misconnect, who came flying late to snap his maiden over a colt who was well ahead of the field and on the speed-biased rail.

One colt to fear in the coming months: Mike Repole’s Unbridled’s Song colt Misconnect, who came flying late to snap his maiden over a colt who was well ahead of the field and on the speed-biased rail.

Racing Beat: October 20

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More Suffolk Downs sibling royalty! Jo Jo is a half to graded stakes-placed gelding Setsuko, who is best known as one of Game On Dude's most fierce rivals and a habitual runner-up in the biggest G1 races out west.

Dullahan retires with a tendon injury and curiosity as to whether or not the U.S. market supports synthetic breeding. The Unbridled’s Song in him should help him move a bit in attracting interest. Weeps for a Dullahan-less future… RIP buddy, it was a pleasure seeing you at Belmont.

Rest in peace, Hoofit [NZ]. Game all day, and a source of “pick a horse based on their name” joy. Also RIP to Take Control. And Formulaforsuccess, who I saw race this year/photographed.

I get ridiculously starstruck in horse racing… the guy photographer who pointed out Honor Code to me at Belmont goes by “Easy Goer” on Flickr. Had I known that I would have tensed up just like I did when I was in line at Saratoga next to “Rock and Racehorses.” >.> #incurable

Already interested in what the headlines might say when Flashback comes back, er or returns? What sounds better?

An anti-casino protester broke the nose of a 60-year-old supporter/track employee at a Suffolk Downs rally this past week. Not great press for them. Polls currently show 49% of East Boston voters support a casino at the Downs— which will be receiving a city vote on November 5— while 43% dissent. The vote will be even more intriguing now that Suffolk has dropped Caesars as a management partner after finding out they had history of criminal activity overseas. THE PLOT THICKENS!

If only we could bet on who we think will finish last. Alpha's a near-lock in the Dirt Mile!

Don’t let me down Joe Talamo, Moreno has been doing surprisingly well every time out and needs an A+ ride to stay alive in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

I’m glad I got to see Mizdirection in the flesh before she retires as a broodmare prospect selling at the November sale. She had one of my favorite Breeders’ Cup performances from last year— 2nd just to Calidoscopio [ARG]— and is just such a cool mare.

I’m beginning to sense that maybe it’s not such a grand comeback story that Point of Entry is returning straight to the Breeders’ Cup Turf after a 5-month layoff and dozens of pins in his leg. Let the man go into retirement peacefully!

Another cool mare set to retire: Include Me Out. Includes are pretty darn cool by nature.

Tweet o’ the Week: I get jealous of these people who get to go on multi-farm tours

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Racing Beat: August 19

Taking the lesson I learned last year to heart and planning the Breeders’ Cup Handicap contest MEGA EARLY before school decimates my attention span. I’m about 95% sure the format will be changed from being like the official “Fantasycapping” (choice of $20 win, place, show or $10 exacta box) to choosing just one horse per race for a mythical $2 win/place/show wager. It’s simpler and will level the playing field.

A TVG analyst’s Pick 6 selections cashed for $53,000. What the what. Eat your heart out, DRF.

It’s not all bad. Take Charge Indy will probably be the next Pulpit… if we’re all lucky…

Anyone else think that Alpha might be retired to stud soon after running poorly (if at all) at his old stomping grounds?

Thank you thank you to the intelligent people at the Breeders’ Cup who brought back the Distaff name. Now if we can only get all those fall stakes at Santa Anita their old names back.

I’m a little saddened by the retirement of Tres Borrachos. He and Kettle Corn were/are some of my random favorite runners out west. CHESTNUT GELDING POWER!

I kicked myself when Spicer Cub won at 15-1 odds the other day. The whole reason I have this virtual stable thing is to know when horses I like are running so I can get a bet in if they’re good enough odds. 15-1 is kind of criminal!

Best new two-year-old sires to follow? Pioneerof the Nile and Colonel John.

I can now make jokes about Consortium taking a nap at Saratoga without too much whiplash. Poor guy, I was worried when he fell over after racing while I was at the track, then got up after being down on his side for a while and seemed to be okay when he got back to the barn.

Shackleford's fans *might* get to root on his brother this week: Dare Me, a son of Johannesburg, is an also-eligible at Delaware Park on Wednesday.

I need to see a steeplechase race someday.

Rest in peace, Unbridled’s Song.

Tweet o’ the Week

"So this is what my opponents are gonna see…" Junior Alvarado checks Midnite Poppa's flanks before the first race at Saratoga. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

"So this is what my opponents are gonna see…" Junior Alvarado checks Midnite Poppa's flanks before the first race at Saratoga. (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Racing Beat: January 20

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Good news for his fans: Secret Circle is back on the work tab!

I am pleased to announce that after 2 week(ish) of intermittently trying, I won 10 horseshoes on Blazing Silks’ spinny game. WHO’S YOUR DADDY? IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME.

Wilburn made news last year retiring early to take advantage of the Bernardini blood value by being his first son to stand at stud. For 2013, we’ve got at least 6 new ones by Bernardini by my count on Stallion Register, more than new sires that are by pensioned A.P. Indy (5) and deceased Dynaformer (4).

Aqueduct is thinking about changing their inner track to synthetic. While I’m sure synthetic/turf breeders would like an opportunity to get a good shot at NYRA’s gold, have we learned nothing so far about surfaces?

I wonder how good Midnight Lute's half brother Steel Guitar (by Unbridled’s Song) is going to be. He hasn’t broken his maiden yet, and was 3rd in his 3rd try last time out in a 6-furlong maiden special weight at Turfway. He gathered buzz as the heavy favorite, but was beaten 6+ lengths.

Last night my feed blew up with news alerts that Shanghai Bobby won the Eclipse for Best 2-Year-Old Male. Last I checked that wasn’t news…

An unreal accomplishment of luck, determination, and humility: Morton Fink has just one mare in his business and it is the dam of his 3-time Eclipse champion Wise Dan.

Oh my stars, my leading lady Blind Luck is a madre now :’)

My heart was a little broken to see so many races go sloppy on Saturday, which is easily one of the biggest reasons I did not place any money down on anyone. I should have though at least on Ron the Greek and Oxbow, who I naturally favored in the Lecomte (III). Ughhhhh. Important to note that despite a restricted field on an off track, Ron the Greek got an impressive 115 Beyer his first start back!

What’s up with Vinery that has caused all the stallions to go to WinStar?

Sweet baby Atigun is set to return in Oaklawn’s Razorback (III). D’aww! It’s a little short for him though at a mile and a sixteenth >.>

Unlike my Derby Top 10, I’m having some issues narrowing down just 10 I like for the Oaks.

Mark Valeski was close to that win hot off a layoff in the Louisiana Handicap. Along with Believe You Can and Smitten, a three-year-old Tapit filly I like, Larry Jones has a string of contenders again this year.

Dale Romans wins, Ramon Dominguez wins, Little Mike loses. :( Sad sigh.

Tweet o’ the Week: Not to sully the glory, but I was kind of thinking the same thing

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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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