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Obligatory post of excitement

I got out of posting news on here a long time ago (really, what is the point?), but it’s always a cherished kind of day when Zenyatta foals her next youngster. I don’t think I could love any of her offspring more than her bombin’ Tapit colt, but her new daughter by War Front is going to be boss. Gorgeous girl from the early photos with a dynamite turf pedigree. 

Happy Easter everyone!

The Lane’s End Experience

I found this video while perusing for horse documentaries to help inspire me to improve my own work. This footage makes me want to die in a good way.

Favorites Folly: The Doomed Breeders’ Cup Classic Favorites


It was brought to my attention (on Twitter, where else!) that horses that are made favorites in recent years have not been the winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. At first this stat is kind of like a big whoop— there are a lot of stupid favorites for big races— but many years encompassed really significant champions coming in for what looked to be a career-defining win, bolded entries are at Santa Anita:

  • 2012: Game On Dude (4th)
  • 2011: Flat Out (5th)
  • 2010: Zenyatta (2nd)
  • 2009: Zenyatta (1st)
  • 2008: Curlin (4th)
  • 2007: Street Sense (4th)
  • 2006: Bernardini (2nd)
  • 2005: Saint Liam (1st)
  • 2004: Ghostzapper (1st)
  • 2003: Medaglia d’Oro (2nd)

So in the last 10 years, 3 favorites won but at least 3 of these losing favorites experienced a track surface change from either regularly running on dirt to poly, or poly to dirt.

Even more interesting, there was a very high percentage of eventual Breeders’ Cup winners (not just isolated to the Classic) who placed in the money (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in their final prep race— and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race has a 100% occurrence of this happening.

  • 2012: Fort Larned ran 3rd in a muddy Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • 2011: Drosselmeyer ran 2nd in a muddy Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • 2010: Blame ran 2nd in the Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • 2009: Zenyatta won the Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita
  • 2008: Raven’s Pass won a weight-for-age stake at Ascot
  • 2007: Curlin won the Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • 2006: Invasor [ARG] won the Whitney Handicap
  • 2005: Saint Liam won the Woodward
  • 2004: Ghostzapper won the Woodward
  • 2003: Pleasantly Perfect won the Goodwood (Awesome Again Stakes)

Life-in-dreaming (who by the way has a birthday today!) and I reached a consensus that there is something terribly wrong with Cozmic One's skimpy neck. Zenyatta.com released new images of Coz in training yesterday and I just couldn’t get it out of my head… what in the world reminded me so much of Coz’s weird neck? Perhaps a certain Scottish mythical beast would know…

Racing Beat: July 21


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…


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: 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)


Racing Beat: April 7


Wow, a ton of awesome horses were born at the tail end of March/April 1… Man o’ War, Secretariat, Drosselmeyer, Wise Dan, I’ll Have Another, Zenyatta… HANDICAPPING BIAS!

Darley acquires an interest in Animal Kingdom. Damn, next thing you know Coolmore will sprout a clue and buy one too! WAIT, THAT WAS ONLY A DREAM!

I wasn’t planning on buying a house anytime soon, nor a building, but really c’mon…

I know I’m a  bit behind the ball on boasting and it probably isn’t worth it, but while I bombed heart-picking most of the Dubai card, my random love for Planteur [IRE] wasn’t unfounded. One of the lowest Timeform ratings and the horse still got third.

The Oaks fillies are so much better than the Derby colts this year that it pains me to think none of them can enter the Derby without official points. LAME!

True story: I was yelling at my computer yesterday watching Normandy Invasion. C’MON C’MON GET SECOND GET SECOND YOU NEED AT LEAST SECOND YEEEEEEEESSSSSSS! I’ve never been so pleased for a horse to get second.

"One more jump, and I could have won the race. His gallop out was amazing." - Javier Castellano on Normandy Invasion. It’s like he read my article! YES I AGREE WITH YOU JAVI!

Orb or Verrazano for Johnny V? Is it bad I want him to pick Verrazano because if he picked Orb over the undefeated horse it would ruin Orb’s odds?

Calder’s back on! Hopefully it won’t spurt screwy results on a daily basis like Gulfstream.

I hope Code West gets an “in” for the Derby next, since he too is on the bubble. I thought he was a pretty good horse.

Blind Luck and Giant’s Causeway sitting in a tree… with Winter Memories and Street Cry [IRE]. #horselove

Realizing the other day that Funny Cide's Derby win was 10 years ago. OH MY GOD OLD.

I’m sorry but I still can’t see myself rooting for Goldencents. Never had the feels for him, he beat out Bern Identity in the Delta Jackpot (III), and his jockey’s post-San Felipe tantrum is still crisp in my memory.

Tweet o’ the Week


I'm not a big fan of how 13Z looks, but that's because I'm not big on chestnut foals. Also, he's probably gonna grey, because (although I don't know what color Tapit was born), it's pretty much too far back to expect Z to throw a sorrel - also all greys are born either chestnut or black, sometimes bay. Also I think most Tapits grey out, correct?

Asked by merlinoftheroundtable

Yeah that is what I was thinking. Most foals turn out a different color once they shed their baby fur, and hardly any gray foals are actually born gray. 13Z will probably be a really cool-looking roan once he grows up.

Most Tapits that I know of turn out gray, but there are always the few that follow their mom’s colors like Tapizar and Normandy Invasion. Zenyatta’s not chestnut though, so that reinforces the argument. *waits for swarm of color gene-themed asks*

Hot Dates for Zenyatta’s Z14


I started my homework last month about who the Mosses should send Zenyatta to next if all goes well. Last year I had a top 5 list, and Zenyatta did indeed go to Tapit like I requested! Of course, at this stage it would appear the Mosses are favoring “trendy” sires, but who knows, that could easily change this year with foal #3. I have done a little digging and tried to find new sire picks that are feasible (i.e. Empire Maker and Henrythenavigator will be out of the running, sadly, because they are not in North America). Here it goes!:

Henrythenavigator - Over in Ireland. Sigh.

1) Lemon Drop Kid - A classic winner with a Belmont (I) victory and a G1 winner at ages 2, 3, and 4, LDK is both a really good-looking stallion, an excellent racehorse, and a phenomenal sire with graded stakes winners on every surface type. I’ve always greatly appreciated Kingmambo (and the rest of Miesque’s family). Fee $35,000 (TrueNicks Rating: A)

2) Bullet Train [GB] - Yep, going with a newbie here, but really it’s hard to argue against the spell-binding presence of Frankel’s 3/4 brother, newly-relocated to Kentucky. Should Zenyatta’s connections suddenly start favoring a great turf horse, Bullet Train is basically a perfect match: speed, great bloodlines, and strong classic ability. Fee $7,500 (TrueNicks Rating A+)

3) Lonhro [AUS] - While new to the U.S. and unconventional, it’s hard to knock the black beauty Lonhro who ran an impressive 35 times down under, winning 26 times with 11 Group 1 titles. A truly underrated freak of nature, he represents Australia’s finest with son Pierro taking much attention last year as a sizzling two-year-old. Fee $30,000 (TrueNicks Rating: B)

4) Cape Blanco [IRE] - The first foal crop from the G1-winning titan looks amazing, and I gush at the possibilities. Undefeated at the age of 2 and a G1 winner at 3 and 4, the stunning chestnut son of Galileo [IRE] offers serious substance and distance ability with wins at 12 furlongs. Fee $17,500 (TrueNicks Rating: A)

5) Smart Strike - Grass, poly, dirt, no matter! Smart Strike always seems to have a special one out of every crop: My Miss Aurelia, Salty Strike, Centre Court, Dynamic Strike, Lookin At Lucky, Curlin, English Channel Smart Bid, Never Retreat, blah blah blah. It’s a no brainer. Get Z in before he gets too old, please! Fee $85,000 (TrueNicks Rating: B)

This is all a wish list, and I realize from looking it over that most of these options probably won’t ever happen because of American racing prioritizing dirt over grass. As for what I think will most likely happen, I think the Mosses will go with Medaglia d’Oro, Distorted Humor, or another A.P. Indy boy. I would be surprised if they picked a brand new stallion, but it’s always possible they might go with someone with a lot of early ability and speed like Bodemeister.

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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