December 20, 2010
December 19, 2010
2. To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) Bill Mott- The best at Aqueduct. How will that translate to Louisville?
3. Boys at Tosconova (Officer) Rick Dutrow - Classy and talented, but can the son of Officer go a distance?
4. Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) Katherine Ritvo - Been chasing Mott’s colt; distance should be no problem.
5. Premier Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus) Myung Cho- Looking good sprinting and bred to handle a route of ground.
6. Cool Blue Red Hot (Harlan’s Holiday) Angel Penna Jr. - Only faced maidens so far, but plenty of upside.
7. Dialed In (Mineshaft) Nick Zito - One race, and it was a doozy. Has the look of a Derby type of horse.
8. Santiva (Bernardini) Eddie Kenneally - Like the way he battled in between horses over the Churchill strip.
9. Comma to the Top (Bwana Charlie) Peter Miller - Electrifying at Hollywood, but I have my 10 furlong doubts.
10. Jaycito (Victory Gallop) Bob Baffert - BC Juvenile bolt makes this well bred colt a bit of an enigma.
11. Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) Todd Pletcher - Love the name, love the looks, but he needs to improve to run with Mo.
12. Tapizar (Tapit) Steve Asmussen - Ran away from his competition at Churchill like a real runner.
13. Brethren (Distorted Humor) Todd Pletcher - Super Saver’s little bro has impressed in his first two starts.
14. Sway Away (Afleet Alex) Jeff Bonde - Been away from the races for some time, but I liked what I saw at Del Mar.
15. Rogue Romance (Smarty Jones) Ken McPeek - Switch back to dirt earned him a distant 3rd in the BC.
16. J P’s Gusto (Successful Appeal) David Hofmans - Solid in California, what happened in the Juvenile?
17. Astrology (A. P. Indy) Steve Asmussen - Kentucky Jockey Club favorite ran well, but was outgamed to the wire.
18. Clubhouse Ride (Candy Ride) Craig Lewis- Dropped way back at Hollywood, but was full of run down the lane.
19. Mountain Town (Cape Town) Rick Dutrow - No match in the Remsen, maybe more distance will get him in the picture.
20. Gourmet Dinner (Trippi) Steve Standridge - Still not a big believer in this game colt at 10 furlongs, but he already has the earnings.
21. Major Gain (More Than Ready) Wayne Catalano - Dirt race was promising as he battled from the rail.
22. Archarcharch (Arch) Jinks Fires - Went from maiden to stakes winner yesterday. I like his distance potential.
23. Coil (Point Given) Tom Proctor - Recent maiden winner is by Point Given out of a Theatrical mare = distance.
24. Sherriff Cogburn (Vindication) Don Von Hemel - Eager to see the return of this Midwestern flash.
25. Smash (Smart Strike) Bob Baffert - The maiden win was impressive, but no racing since July.
Here is To Honor and Serve handling Mucho Macho Man and Mountain Town in the Remsen.
December 18, 2010
In one of longest awaited races I have ever seen, Comma to the Top, favored at 5-2, stalked early pacesetter High Level Jeff in second position, through moderate early fractions, before accelerating on the far turn to take command of the grade one affair. Under Corey Nakatani, the son of Bwana Charlie drew clear to an insurmountable lead early in the lane, and at the wire was nearly two lengths in front over a hard charging J P's Gusto, with longshot Clubhouse Ride getting up late for third. It was the sixth victory in ten starts for the Florida bred gelding. Final time for the 1 1/16 miles on the Cushion Track was 31:44.72.
December 17, 2010
|Tim Reynolds is by no means your average fan of horse racing, and today I honor his great love for the sport by naming him the 2010 Fan of the Year. Whether it be going to the races at Churchill Downs, or visiting retired runners at horse farms, or the room in his home dedicated to racing’s stars, Tim lives and breathes the greatest sport in the world.|
It all started for Tim 21 years ago when he picked out a fiery, near black stallion in the post parade of the 1989 Kentucky Derby. As a native to Louisville, he had watched several Derbies before, but seeing Sunday Silence that afternoon ignited a fire for the sport that continues to burn today. At the time, twelve-year-old Tim had no idea that he was in store for one of the best Triple Crown series in history, as his new favorite and Easy Goer would battle it out in each race. He still will watch their epic stretch dual in the Preakness as a source of inspiration.
There were countless wonderful people that I considered for the award this year, but it was Tim who I felt to be the most deserving. Inspiration is one of the main reasons in his favor. He recognizes the great courage and heart our racing heroes display. Horses like Seattle Slew, Sunday Silence, and Tiznow, who overcame adversity to become champions, mean more to him than most people. While Tim has suffered great personal tragedy over the past few years, like those racing champions that he loves, he battles on with both style and grace.
Not that long ago, Tim’s fondness for thoroughbred horse racing was a lonely endeavor. Family and friends did not have the passion for the game like him. Facebook changed all that. Tim dove right in and quickly made horse racing friends by the droves. It is on Facebook that Tim earned my recognition of not only a great guy, but also an amazing source of information, knowledge, and entertainment of both past and present goings on in the sport. Don’t get me wrong, he is more than only horses, but if you are a fan of racing, do yourself a favor and become a Facebook friend of Tim (Tiznow) Reynolds. If you are lucky your friendship will lead to meeting him at the races. He is one of the more pleasurable people to join in watching the races.
Relatively new to handicapping, Tim has already become an accomplished handicapper. I have first hand knowledge of Tim’s ability to pick the ponies, as he gave me the straight trifecta in a full-field, major stakes race. It was one of the first races we ever discussed together, and I have since seen numerous occasions where his picks are better than most. Good handicapping aside, Tim is a fan first and foremost. In fact, he rarely bets more in a day than a nice dinner would cost. He is there not to make money, but rather to get a glimpse of history or the next potential star in the making. He had that opportunity in May of 2008 when he noticed a striking filly on the walkover that had a very distinguishable blaze and a beautiful color. Her name was Rachel Alexandra, and he was fortunate enough to see her first race in person. She became one of Tim’s all-time favorites.
I first met Tim at this year’s Stephen Foster. We shared an old love for Sunday Silence, and also a new love for Rachel Alexandra, who happened to romp that day. Tim was like an old friend the first time I spent time with him. He is a regular guy, but with a ton of class. He is smart, but not pretentious. He is fun to be around. I feel confident in saying that everyone is better off just by knowing Tim Reynolds. I know I am. There will be many more Fans of the Year as time passes, but there will never be another innaugural winner. I can’t think of a more good natured, passionate, all-around great guy to hold that distinction. Tim Reynolds of Sunday Silence Drive (that‘s really the street he lives on), I salute you, and the world of horse racing salutes you. Congratulations, you are the Fan of the Year.
December 16, 2010
The CashCall Futurity is the last chance of the calendar year to see top Kentucky Derby prospects duke it out. This year’s grade 1, mile and 1/16th race at Hollywood Park may not have any of the current favorites for next year’s Run for the Roses, but what it lacks in star power, it makes up for with a number of interesting prospects. So much so, that a case easily could be made for anyone in the ten horse field.
December 15, 2010
*I won 64% of my lifetime starts, and 78% of those wins came in stakes races.
*My first career defeat came when I ran 2nd as the heavy favorite in New York’s premier juvenile race.
*I never ran in the Kentucky Derby, but I once was favored in a grade 1 race at Churchill Downs.
*My Hall of Fame conditioner no longer trains, but he remains very involved in the sport of horse racing.
*I was ridden by the same Hall of Fame rider in all but two of my races.
*Finishing 9th in my final career start at Saratoga, I was beaten by two future Eclipse Award winners, who finished 1-2.
*I won my first five starts by an average margin of nearly six lengths.
*Appreciated by the bettors, I was favored at 8-5 or lower in every start excluding my first and last race.
*My Eclipse Award was the result of my first of two seasons on the track.
*As my name would attest, I had absolutely no fear of the dark.
You should know by now … Who Am I ???
Popular blogger will move Zipse At The Track To Growing Horse Racing Site
About HorseRacingNation.comHorse Racing Nation is a fan-powered horse racing community with horse profiles, race results, video replays, photos and free selections, all powered by the horse racing community. Horse Racing Nation was launched in April 2009 and features unique elements for horse racing fans including Stakes Tracker, a constantly updated profile of upcoming stakes races, and the Derby Power Rankings, a fan-based ranking of future Kentucky Derby contenders.
December 14, 2010
The parallels are frightening. Two of the most popular horses in modern history were perfect examples of power and athleticism. They did not need to win by ten lengths to prove their superiority over their peers. They raced, and they won. Time and time again, they won. Native Dancer, and then Zenyatta nearly 60 years later, were perfect. Or at least as perfect as we could hope our thoroughbred stars to be. You know the old saying about history repeating itself. It seems as if the race of the year, maybe the race so far of the 21st century, was just a little bit of history repeating. As if somehow haunted by the Grey Ghost, Zenyatta fell victim to the racing gods that evening at Churchill Downs, and poof, just like that, her undefeated career went up in smoke.
December 13, 2010
Is it just me, or is Prince Will I Am one fascinating horse. He ‘s only won three races lifetime races, yet I find myself oddly drawn to him. I want to know where he is running next, and I make sure to make the necessary arrangements to watch the race live. Happily his next race is this Saturday in Calder’s W. L. McKnight Handicap. The McKnight is a grade 2 turf race at twelve furlongs. While I will not be able to be in South Florida to see him in person, you can bet I will be tuned in to see the race as it run. Why so much interest in Prince Will I Am? Let me see if I can explain.
December 12, 2010
|The world of racing lost a great horseman and an even better man yesterday with the passing of Hall of Fame conditioner, Mack Miller. He died Saturday morning at the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Miller had been hospitalized since the 5th of December, after suffering a stroke. He was 89 years old. The passing of Miller represents the last, and for me, the finest of the old guard. Growing up, my father taught me to respect the old masters of the sport. Trainers like P.G. Johnson, Woody Stephens, Thomas Kelly, and of course, Mack Miller were mainstays of this group. Their charges could never be dismissed from a race simply because of the barns they represented. Miller was my absolute favorite of the bunch.|
By the time I was eight years old, Miller, already a successful trainer, was named the private trainer for Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Stable. There was always a certain amount of magic connected to the yellow and gray silks of Rokeby. They were primarily homebreds of Mellon, who radiated beautiful pedigree and better looks. Rokeby and Miller did not have as many runners as some of the biggest outfits, but when you saw one in a race, you knew they had a big shot to win. Miller was a great horsemen and his horses came to the track ready to run. Sometimes I bet on them, sometimes I did not, but I always respected them.
Destined to be a horseman, Miller grew up a short drive from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. After serving in the United States Air Force, in 1947 he came home to work for Calumet Farm. By 1949, Miller took out his own training license, and won his first race in 1950. In 1955, he trained his initial stakes winner, Oil Painting, and his first champion, Leallah, one year later. In the 60’s he became the private trainer for Charles W. Engelhard, Jr., for whom he conditioned such stalwarts as Halo, Tentam, and Hawaii. My appreciation for Miller was born through his Rokeby connection though, and horses like Upper Nile, Winter’s Tale, Fit to Fight, Wild Applause, Glowing Honor, Hero’s Honor, Java Gold, Crusader Sword, Red Ransom, and finally Sea Hero did Miller proud.
While Java Gold was the horse Miller considered to be his best, it was with Sea Hero that Miller finally won the Kentucky Derby. The big win came in 1993, six years after he had been inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame. He was 71 and his friend and his longtime client Paul Mellon was 85, and together they formed as gentlemanly and likeable winning Derby pair as racing has ever known.
That was the thing about Miller, after 46 years as a successful trainer and breeder (He was the co-breeder of such nice horses as De La Rose, the 1981 Champion Female Turf Horse, Chilukki, the 1999 Champion Two-year-old Filly, and Kentucky Oaks winner, Lite Light), he may be remembered more for the person he was. I have met a lot of great people in nearly forty years as a fan of racing, but few hold the distinction of never having anything close to a negative thing being said about them. His friend Paul Mellon was one, and MacKenzie Miller was most certainly another.
December 11, 2010
I had the great privilege of watching today’s races with Chuck Berry. As expected, he had many profound things to say, but what he told me after the Louisiana Champions Day Classic was way too cool to keep to myself.
December 10, 2010
|Play Ball! Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! Or maybe just a more dignified Call to the Post. Tomorrow is opening day number 85 at Tampa Bay Downs, and the little track in Oldsmar, Florida only seems to be getting better. Fan friendly, betting friendly, and weather friendly, the West Florida oval simply gets it. While some tracks seem to forget that the fans are the most important element in our sport, they prefer to bend over backwards to make it an enjoyable, and hopefully profitable experience had by all. I plan to make the long trip down this Winter to see some great live racing. I hope to see many of you there. Here are just a few why reasons why Tampa Bay Downs should be commended, visited, and supported. |
Don’t Pay to Play - I’ve long been an advocate of racetracks not charging admission to get inside the building to spend money. Once again this year, Tampa Bay Downs offers free Grandstand admission and parking. And after you are in the building, they offer $2 pint domestic draft beer specials every weekday afternoon during live racing, and a new rotisserie chicken stand located on the first floor of the Grandstand … if you are into those sort of things.
Reduced Takeouts - When tracks lower takeouts, horse player’s notice. Despite this, it amazes me that many tracks continue to maintain or even raise already high takeouts. The 2010-2011 race meeting will see a decrease in takeout for Pick 3, Pick 4, Super Hi-5 and Pick Six wagering to 18% from last year’s 19% rate. The decrease in takeout is nothing new, but rather a pleasing trend that has been going on for the past several years.
Wagering Offerings - I love the new trend in racing where many tracks have offered lower minimums on exotic wagering. Add Tampa Bay to the list. New this season will be a 50 cent Pick Three wager, which along with 50 cent Pick Fours, 50 cent Trifectas, and 10 cent Superfectas give the little guy, like me, a chance to become more involved in the really big payouts.
Full Fields - If there is one thing I enjoy to see and bet on a race card, it is a full day of large fields. I don’t know about you, but 4 or 5 horse races don’t do it for me. Last year, Tampa Bay Downs had a fantastic average field size of 8.95 horses per race, and they have every intention on bettering that average this year.
and last but certainly not least...
Quality Racing - Once an afterthought of Winter racing, Tampa Bay Downs continues to improve the quality of horses racing there, and is moving up the landscape of major racing. This season’s 91-day meet is highlighted by March 12, with the 31st renewal of Festival Day. The track’s premiere race day features the Tampa Bay Derby, freshly awarded grade 2 status and up to a $350,000 purse for 2011. Last year‘s edition proved to be a real slobberknocker, with Odysseus, Schoolyard Dreams, and future Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, hitting the wire together. Also on the Festival Day card are the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes on the grass, and the Suncoast Stakes for three-year-old fillies. Another notable race is the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, formerly the Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup, which was upgraded to grade 3 status for the first time for 2011, following last season’s exciting battle between grade 1 winner Karelian and the likely repeating turf champion, Gio Ponti. Tampa Bay Downs also makes life easy for those watching their quality racing from home with live video streaming of all races and free race replays on their website.
December 9, 2010
No wonder he was tough, his first 13 races came on the mean streets of Boston. Or at least eleven of them at Suffolk, and two more at nearby Rockingham Park. Waquoit was a warrior, and more than twenty years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing him run in person several times. Whether it was in person or on television, I always looked forward to seeing the rags to riches New Englander mix it up with a great group of handicap stars of the late eighties. I watched him develop from a nice allowance race in the minor leagues of Boston racing, into one of the best horses in the world. He had blazing speed and could carry it as far as you asked him. He was strong on fast tracks, but if the track came up sloppy, he was unbeatable.
December 8, 2010
*I won just a shade under half of my starts while winning a grand total of nine stakes races.
*My sire and his sire lost less races in their combined careers than I did in any one of my three seasons of racing.
*I never ran in the Kentucky Derby, but one of my initial stakes wins came at Churchill Downs.
*Both my owner and my trainer are members of Racing‘s Hall of Fame, so is my most regular rider.
*My final career race was on the grass, but that was not the norm.
*I won stakes in each of my three years on the track, but two-thirds came in one season.
*My greatest rival and I faced each other ten times over three seasons, and I got the better of him four times.
*I was a multiple stakes winner at each of the three major New York racetracks.
*My Eclipse Award was the result of my 2nd season on the track.
*Not to sound overly boastful, but everyone wishes they had me.
You should know by now … Who Am I ???
December 7, 2010
|Never one to go to long without a star in his barn, Bob Baffert may have another colt with the talent to place his name next to the long line of major stakes winners for the silver haired Hall of Fame trainer. A late-developing three-year-old, Alcindor is a son of Unbridled's Song out of the Storm Cat mare Zing. Purchased for $1.15 million by Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale, he is a big, tall colt who was given plenty of time to grow into his frame. Because of his size, and the talent Baffert could see early on, the Kentucky bred was pegged with the rather auspicious name of Alcindor. Named after the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had changed his name from Lew Alcindor, Baffert’s new star has impressed greatly in his first two starts. |
On Sunday November 28, the dark bay made a big splash with his second triumph in as many starts. Alcindor had little trouble with a more experienced group of allowance foes, romping home in a seven furlong affair at Hollywood Park by 7 ½ lengths in the sprightly time of 1:21.67. The impressive win was number 1,999 for his trainer and followed a strong debut victory just five weeks earlier. That day, he stalked blazing fractions before rallying from third to get up and nail favored Chapman's Peak by a nose. He ran the six furlongs in 1:09.45 under jockey Martin Garcia as the well backed second choice in the wagering. His early success has been little surprise to those around the backstretch. Along with his obvious physical attributes, he displayed major talent in his morning works, flashing two bullet works at five furlongs and six furlongs this August at Hollywood Park. Clearly he has not disappointed so far in the afternoons.
With the name, the connections, and the buzz generated by his first few performances on the track, Alcindor has quickly become one of the most talked about horses in Southern California. If he continues to progress, he may just have the talent to become one of the top handicap horses on the West Coast. With the Strub Series for newly turned four-year-olds just around the corner, it looks like he will have the opportunity to do just that. His first major test is expected to come in the $250,000 Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita the day after Christmas. With the expected tough opposition he will have to face in the Malibu, it is unlikely that the race will be a slam-dunk for him … much more likely to be a sky-hook.
December 6, 2010
This blog is, and always has been, my medium for sharing my love for thoroughbred horse racing with the world. While I always do my best to relay my thoughts and information on everything going on within the sport, sometimes words alone are simply not enough to capture the essence and the heartbeat of racing. Today I was passed on a wonderful piece that does just that.
December 5, 2010
2) Travers Stakes - If not for the unforgettable drama in the Classic, this year’s Travers would have made for a worthy race of the year. In Saratoga’s most important race, two proud colts hooked up late and battled nose to nose to the wire leaving the rest of the field far behind. Afleet Express would win the photo and the Travers, but Fly Down ran huge and only lost by an eyelash.
3) Fleur de Lis Handicap - It was a tough season for my favorite horse, Rachel Alexandra, but not on this day. Looking like the same filly who had the greatest season of any three-year-old filly in history the year before, Rachel’s performance in the Fleur de Lis allowed this admiring onlooker one last thrilling moment with the filly I loved.
4) Whitney Handicap - It became the changing of the guard when the leader of the handicap division, Quality Road was challenged by the up and coming Blame. It was a challenge that Quality Road could not handle, as Blame took his place as the best male horse in the nation with a thrilling stretch drive in the Whitney.
5) Breeders’ Cup Mile - Goldikova and Gio Ponti. The all-time great French mare against the excellent American challenger. It was set to be a showdown, but it turned into a coronation. Goldikova is an incredible mare, and she was never finer than in this year’s BC Mile. In the process, she became the first horse ever to win three Breeders’ Cup races.
6) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile - No exciting finishes in this one, but this race resonated with me nonetheless for one big reason, and that reason is Uncle Mo. I have not been this excited about a juvenile for many years, and Mo let it all hang out in the biggest race of the year for two-year-olds. I have been on triple crown amber alert ever since.
7) Tampa Bay Derby - It was the photo that seemed to defy our own eyes. Whatever it was, the finish of this Kentucky Derby prep was fantastic, as the ill-fated Odysseus somehow came back to get the win over Schoolyard Dreams by a whisker, with future Derby hero Super Saver a close 3rd.
8) Vanity Handicap - It was just Zenyatta being Zenyatta. One of the best mares in the country, St Trinians ran her heart out on that day, and looked like she might be the first to defeat the undefeated superstar. Of course we all know who would be ahead as they hit the wire. Poor St Trinians.
9) Flower Bowl Handicap - The highlight of my trip to Belmont was the fantastic finish in this filly and mare turf, grade one. Ave was ultimately able to get the job done when she split horses in late stretch to narrowly out duel Changing Skies and Red Desire to the wire.
10) The Preakness - Redemption was sweet for Lookin at Lucky in the middle jewel of the triple crown, as he rebounded from a horrid trip in the Kentucky Derby, to regain his place atop the sophomore division. On a personal note, it was my first Preakness in person, and I was pleased to see a champion strut his stuff.
Photo Courtesy of Reed Palmer Photography
December 4, 2010
|Santa Anita will open its brand new dirt track for training this Monday. In the political and economic realities of horse racing in California, it marks a sudden and radical turnabout in the direction of the sport. At perhaps the highest profile track in American racing to go synthetic, the surface has been quickly wiped away, as if to say it was never there in the first place. Bringing back dirt serves as a clear admission that the installation of the synthetic surface, only a few years earlier, was a mistake. It was simply a bad idea. Like many bad ideas it was rushed into and shoved down the throats of everyone connected.|
Live and learn. Or did we? Remington Park went to something called Equitrack in 1988. By 1991, the Oklahoma track went back to dirt. Back then, they were the only one to experiment. In 2010 no fewer than nine major North American tracks have a synthetic surface acting as their main track.
American racing and breeding has been geared for dirt racing since its inception. Our horses are dirt horses. Trying to change that may have been doable, but it was not practical. As horse racing struggles to keep its fan base and gambling dollars, now was not the time to go through a reinvention project that would take dozens of years to successfully complete. If synthetic surfaces fulfilled the promise of greater safety and more consistent surfaces, then maybe we could have lived with the long adaptation process of our horses. Unfortunately, the benefits are just not there.
Call it what you want, all-weather track or synthetic surface. Whatever the type, Polytrack, Cushion track, Pro-Ride, or Tapeta, these surfaces have not been good for American racing. They were supposed to make our horses and riders safer. They do not. The injuries might be different, but they remain. Consistency through weather, or from one track to another, is no better than it was on dirt. If anything it is worse. The only thing that shifting to all-weather surfaces at many of our major tracks really accomplished was splintering a sport. A sport that did not need to splintered. Horsemen don’t like it. Gamblers don’t like it.
The state of California was the worst perpetrator in jumping on a shaky bandwagon of artificialness, but they were far from alone. At least Santa Anita realized and acted upon their mistake quickly.
To my own beloved Arlington Park I only have this to say … you are a beacon of beauty and grandeur in the Midwest. You are the trusted keeper of a rich and storied past. You have one of the greatest cities in the world ready to embrace you. Your coffers will soon be reinvigorated by the cold hard cash of slot machines. Your turf course already sparkles in resplendent green … Scrap the crap and return to dirt, and do it now.
December 3, 2010
|Always looking for the next big thing, of late I have been poring meticulously over as many video replays of juvenile races as humanly possible. News flash … Uncle Mo looks pretty good. The juvenile filly set meanwhile, looks much more contentious. A number of fillies caught my eye as potential budding stars, but to my surprise, a filly on the West Coast may have impressed me more than any other. Ladies and gentleman, her name is Turbulent Descent. |
Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, she is a daughter of first-crop A.P. Indy sire, Congrats, and is out of the Forestry mare Roger’s Sue. Turbulent Descent sold this year for $160,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company Spring Sale of two-year-olds in training. The bay youngster is owned by a partnership which includes Blinkers On Racing Stable and Bill Strauss, and is trained by veteran conditioner Mike Puype. Making her debut on October 3 at Hollywood Park, Turbulent Descent muscled her way through fillies at the top of the lane and was part of a two horse sprint with Canadian Pride to the wire. As the two left the rest of the full field far behind, I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of confidence her rider displayed in riding her to the win. Despite how well the other filly ran, Turbulent Descent appeared to be out for nothing more than a Sunday stroll.
Fresh off her impressive maiden win, and a dazzling five furlong work six days earlier, Turbulent Descent would make her second start in stakes company. As pleasing to the eye as her debut race may have been, she was even more impressive November 21 at Hollywood Park. In that race she looked like a cat playing with five mice, as she took home first prize in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes. Always in close contact with the leaders under rider David Flores, she took over when ready, and proved best with plenty left in reserve. Much like her maiden race, the margin of victory of 1 ½ lengths offered little evidence of how easy the win actually was. Final time for the seven furlongs over Hollywood Park’s cushion track was a solid 1:23.15.
We will not need to wait long before finding out more about undefeated Turbulent Descent, as the new apple of my eye is due to run next week in the Hollywood Starlet. Many questions should be answered, as it will be her initial race over a route of ground, and her first test against grade one fillies. In the Starlet, she will also find several fillies who have much more experience than she posesses. Whether she can handle the top horses in her division and excel at two-turns is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure … you better keep an eye on Turbulent Descent.
Photo courtesy of Benoit Photos
December 2, 2010
|Recently I have felt like a college student all over again. No, not keggers and dormitory life, I had been waiting for the grades to come in, and this time it wasn’t on Mrs. Kenny’s Chemistry final, but rather from The American Graded Stakes Committee. Today’s the day. They reviewed the unrestricted U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned graded status to a total of 474 (slightly more that two-thirds) of them. This total is 13 less than the 487 that were graded in 2010. I like to take this information and scan the performances of individual tracks. Which tracks were the winners? Which tracks were the losers? On the day the grading is done, ZATT takes it one step farther and hands out more grades.|
A - Charles Town - Big congratulations go out to the West Virginia oval for getting their first ever graded stakes race. The Charles Town Classic will be a grade 3 in 2011.
A - The Breeders’ Cup - The traveling championships that are the Breeders’ Cup saw two of its newer races raised, the Juvenile Turf moved up to a grade 1, and the Marathon became a grade 2, while no BC stakes was downgraded.
B+ - Tampa Bay Downs - The west coast Florida track continued to build momentum today with two upgrades and only one downgrade. Most notably, The Tampa Bay Derby will be grade 2 for the first time in 2011.
B+ - Parx Racing - A new name (again) for the Suburban Philadelphia oval was greeted with one more graded stakes next year, as the usually interesting Turf Monster moves to a grade 3.
B+ - Presque Isle Downs - The Presque Isle Downs Masters has quickly become a race of importance, and today the committee showed their approval by naming it a grade 2.
B - Saratoga - America‘s top race meet added one more grade 2 on top of its already loaded schedule with the upgrading of the With Anticipation for juvenile turfers.
B - Gulfstream Park - Faired much better than its Miami neighbor, Calder, with the movement of only one stakes race. The Marshua’s River will go from ungraded to grade 2 next year.
D - Hollywood Park - Hollywood has remained open, but that is about the only good news for the track besieged by small fields, as they had three races deemed not eligible for grading in 2011.
D - Lone Star Park - Took a hit today, as a signature race, The Lone Star Derby becomes an ungraded stakes next year.
F - Pimlico - If Maryland racing is on death row, today‘s news of three Pimlico stakes being downgraded, only served to move up the execution date.
F - Calder Race Course - The South Florida oval continues to lose quality horses to in-state competition, Tampa Bay Downs. For 2011, they saw three of their races, the Kenny Noe Jr., Memorial Day and Stage Door Betty Handicaps all lowered to ungraded status.
December 1, 2010
*I won just a shade under two-thirds of my starts while only finishing out of the money once, and that was the result of an injury.
*Well traveled, I won stakes races on the East Coast, West Coast and the Midwest.
*My victories came at a distance range of ten furlongs between the shortest and the longest, my losses ranged nine furlongs.
*I was a stakes winner at six different tracks, but my first and last both came at Aqueduct.
*My jockeys, including the Hall of Fame ones, liked to wear polka dots.
*My Eclipse Awards were the result of my 2nd season on the track.
*I once carried at least 130 ponds in six consecutive starts.
*My sire won a double digit amount of stakes, and I won quite a few more than he did.
*My greatest rival and I evenly split our four contests over two seasons.
*Despite my name, I was born, bred, and raced in the USA.
You should know by now … Who Am I ???
November 30, 2010
At nearly 35-1, Jersey Town was easily the longest shot on the board in Saturday’s Cigar Mile. And why not, he was one of only two horses in the deep field never to have won a single stakes race. The closest he had ever come to winning a stakes was last year when he ran second at Hastings Park. I am not sure of the statistics, but I do know not a lot of horses come from the Western Canadian track to win one of the big races in New York. Adding to his longshot status was the fact that Jersey Town had managed only one win so far in 2010, and that came in an optional claimer at Suburban Seattle’s Emerald Downs. But we all know the result, as the unheralded Jersey Town jumped up to snare the Cigar Mile in a terrific stretch battle over Jockey Club Gold Cup hero, Haynesfield. Begging the question … how on earth did the unthinkable happen?
November 29, 2010
|With a handful of graded stakes for the juvenile set this past holiday weekend, it was almost a certainty that one of the youngsters would step up and make a statement. That announcement was delivered loud and clear by a filly named Kathmanblu. Vying for favoritism with Aide, a recent 19 length winner, Kathmanblu rewarded bettors that made her the slight choice by turning the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes into a one horse affair. Owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables, and trained by Ken McPeek, the daughter of Bluegrass Cat powered to the lead at the top of the lane and accelerated away from the rest to the tune of an 8 ½ length score. |
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Kathmanblu looked like a winner from her stalking position every step of the way. She completed the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.48. The final time becomes more impressive when compared against the final time of the colts, who ran 1:45.31 in the Kentucky Jockey Club. I was not the only one who was impressed with Kathmanblu, the winning trainer also liked what he saw from his young star, and now has an eye on the future. “She is now a big time Oaks prospect,” said McPeek. His Oaks prospect won for the 3rd time in 6 races, and the Golden Rod win was the first on dirt for Kathmanblu in her second try. She had run four consecutive strong races on turf, after debuting in a 4 ½ furlong maiden dirt race in June, including an easy win in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. She followed that up with a 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf despite a less than smooth trip.
Now that we know Kathmanblu can handle the dirt, and more specifically the same Churchill Downs strip that will host the Kentucky Oaks, she moves up my Oaks list. In fact, she moves way up. Kathmanblu is now third on my list of potential Oaks’ winners, behind only Dancinginherdreams and Awesome Feather. As good as she looked on the turf, Saturday’s performance has me thinking she could be even better on the dirt. Immediate plans include a trip down to Florida for the Winter, where McPeek has planned a little rest for her before getting a couple of races into her in preperation for a return to Churchill Downs. A return that could very possibly see her become our next Kentucky Oaks winner.
Photo Courtesy of Jamie Newell
November 28, 2010
A huge holiday weekend of racing is near complete, and like it or not the overriding them of the big races was the unenviable decisions needed to be made by the stewards. The biggest race of the weekend worldwide was certainly the Japan Cup, and the result was a disqualification. Buena Vista was taken down after impeding the path of 2nd place finisher Rose Kingdom. Meanwhile back in the States, one of the key stakes was Friday’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and that one also featured a horse being handed the top spot by the stewards. Taking a closer look at the two situations reveals the difficult decisions left to the stewards.
November 27, 2010
|Fresh off a turkey trifecta box, the best looking South African in Hollywood since Charlize Theron, and Successful Dan playing pinball like a wizard until the stewards flashed the Tilt sign, I have decided to try something completely different. Frampton did it, why not ZATT? Drum roll please … I give you the first ever live version of Zipse at the Track. Live updates all day long. Let’s go interactive. Join in and tell me what you think.|
9:55 AM - Currently getting all the homework done for a huge day of racing. Selections will come as we near the races, but here is a quick preview of what I will have my eyes on … Race of the day is the Cigar Mile at the Big A, with a side of Gazelle, more turf racing from Hollywood, but most of all, today has me stoked to see all the promising juveniles. Not limited to juvi stakes in New York and Louisville, there are excellent two-year-olds running all over the nation. Who’s with me?
10:55 AM - Starting things off early with the turf opener at Aqueduct. It looks like the #10 Gimme Credit and the #4 Midnight Billy are the class of the race. I'll box them in an exacta.
11:05 AM - 3rd & 4th. That's what I was afraid of ... lack of pace killed my chances.
11:14 AM - Not too much going on in the early races, and I need to save some money for my best bet of the day, Violon Sacre in the Citation at Hollywood ... still more than 7 hours away ;-)
11:42 AM - Back on the grass for the 3rd at Aqueduct. The #8 Westside Corral could be a standout, but I love the turf breeding of first time starter #7 Boat for trainer Thomas Bush. At 9-1, I'll place a little WPS action.
11:45 AM - Looks like Switching Gears appreciated the return to maiden company at Churchill ... impressive win.
12:00 PM - Ugly spill at Aqueduct, I hope everyone is OK. First timer, Boat rallies mildy for 4th, while the winner Westside Corral looks like a runner.
12:14 PM - It appears the word is out big time on the #1 Crossbow in the 4th at Aqueduct. Steve Haskin first told me me about this juvenile making his debut for McLaughlin. Anything above even money might be worth a win bet.
12:34 PM - Did you see that pace at Aqueduct ... why??? I'll rebound with #6 My Shepherd Girls as the play in the next at Churchill.
12:48 PM - Slow start on my first live blog ... let's turn it around with a live longshot in the 5th at Aqueduct. My buddy Bill and I both love the turf breeding of the #9 Hothersal. He's 10-1 for hot trainer Seth Benzel, play him to win and see what he can do.
1:00 PM - Uggh
1:07 PM - Getting some big help on the comment section ... special thanks to Joe Depaolo live from Aqueduct!
1:20 PM - Four betting interests in the Demoiselle ... time to jump on the pick-3. I'm using the 1,5 / 3,4,5 / 6,8.
1:30PM - Nice win for Dixie City. Prayers go out to Jason Gracia.
1:38 PM - My first impression is that there will be no Kentucky Oaks winners coming out of this year's Demoiselle.
1:43 PM - Huge exacta at Churchill. I didn't bet the race, but if I did, I do not think I would have had that one ... balloons!
1:47 PM - I'll be sitting back watching the Remsen, hoping one of the two longer ones in my live pick-3 get home first.
1:58 PM - Some early trouble there in the Remsen, but surely the best horse won. Moderately impressive win for To Honor and Serve ... methinks he would have trouble with Mo.
2:05 PM - Alive with the #6 Joanie's Catch and the #8 No Such Word in the pick-3 at Aqueduct ... One is balloons and one is peanuts. C'mon everybody root home this 6 for me in the Gazelle!
2:26 PM - No Such Word has become one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country ... It was the small one, but at least it was a cash in the pick-3. No betting for me in the next at Churchill, but it will be interesting to see how Hailey d'Oro returns off an impressive maiden score.
2:33 PM - The Cigar Mile is next in New York. Early money is all on Musket Man ... I am liking Bribon more and more if he stays anywhere near the current 7-1. I'll play an exacta box with #3 Bribon and #7 Musket Man.
2:46 PM - Hailey d'Oro goes down in flames.
2:55PM - Jersey Town??? Oy vay!!!
3:01 PM - Well, that was certainly a shocker. Right back to work ... at Churchill I will be playing daily doubles with the #10 Disfraz / and the 1,4,5,6 in the Golden Rod.
3:08 PM - A juvenile that I am high on, Cool Blue Red Hot is running in a maiden race next at Calder. Unfortunately, he is currently at 3-5. By the way, I wasn't the only one surprised by Jersey Town ... he was the only horse on my latest poll to not receive a single vote.
3:29 PM - Easy win for Cool Blue Red Hot against Calder maidens. In the Golden Rod at Churchill, I will give big longshot #5 Suave Voir Faire a shot at 25-1. At those odds, win, place, and show will be the bet.
3:50 PM - Wow! I guess Kathmanblu likes dirt. That was the performance of the day so far, on the switch back to dirt. My longshot ambles up for a non-threatening 3rd ... the show price gets me slightly ahead for the race;-)
4:24PM - Nice win by Super Saver's little brother, Brethren in the 10th at Churchill.
4:31PM - I am taking a stand against the heavy favorite Astrology in the Kentucky Jockey Club. #3 Cane Garden Bay is the play, with #2 Santiva, #4 Major Gain, and #7 Halo's Thunder completing my main exacta bets.
4:49 PM - I knew it was a five horse race and go figure, my top pick came in 5th, but I do have a saver bet on the 10 cent superfecta ... would have been more if Major Gain could have beaten Astrology for 2nd.
5:14PM - In the Generous Stakes at Hollywood, I will use the two favorites Comma to the Top and Surrey Star to get my pick-3 rolling. My play will be 4,8/4/6
5:42 PM - Comma to the Top keeps it rolling with another easy win in the Generous.
6:22PM - Whewww, got that photo by a nose. My pick-3 remains alive to my best bet of the day. No need to bet the Citation. After all this, I will either lose for the day ($30), or if Violon Sacre comes through I will collect $294.60, and come out $264 ahead for the day.
6:46 PM - Well Violon Sacre did not have it today, nor did my picks :( If you were playing, I hope you did better than me. Thank you to everyone for visiting today ... it was great fun. Special thanks to Joe Depaolo and William McCabe for extra participation today. See you all at the track real soon.
November 26, 2010
|Although there are several entrants from California in the mix, today’s Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes should boil down to female turf stars coming from all places Texas, South Africa, and France. The eclectic trio will do battle today at Hollywood Park in one of America’s most important filly & mare turf races. The one mile affair not only brings together their obvious class, but it also allows them to test each other at an optimal distance.|
Texas is represented by Wasted Tears, who will be in search of her first grade 1 win. When last seen in Southern California, Wasted Tears was winning her seventh consecutive race, as the Bart Evans trainee scored in the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes by a nose at Del Mar. Since then, the terrific turf mare has had her long streak snapped when beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Proviso in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland last month. In the First Lady, Wasted Tears was surprisingly held in a stalking position in the early part of the race before taking the lead and then ultimately tiring. Today should be different, as Wasted Tears is expected to do what she does best, and gun for the early lead from her outside post. Setting the pace has been a tactic that has made Wasted Tears all but unbeatable in the past, and in the Matriarch it will be up to the rest to run her down.
Straight from France comes Special Duty. The daughter of Hennessey holds the almost unbelievable distinction of being placed first in two separate classics. In both the English 1000 and French 1000 Guineas earlier this year, the three-year-old filly was given the victory after hitting the wire a nose and a head short. Special Duty was promoted to the win after the horses who narrowly finished first were disqualified for causing interference. Since those two important victories, she finished a well beaten seventh in the Group 1 Falmouth, in what was a poor effort, and then was sixth in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret last month in Paris. Her last race though may have been more like it though, despite the sixth place finish, she was beaten only 4 ¼ lengths by the best miler in the universe in Goldikova. She holds a class edge over the field, so if she takes to the firm turf of Hollywood Park, the others may be in trouble.
Unlike Special Duty, South Africa import Gypsy’s Warning has already run four times in North America. Although only victorious in her first race over here, she has run well each time while traveling from Monmouth to Woodbine to Arlington and finally to Hollywood in top level competition. A classic winner back in South Africa, she finally will get to run in the same place twice in a row today. In her last race, Gypsy’s Warning led for most of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, at 1 ¼ miles, before weakening to finish third, 1 ½ lengths behind Hibaayeb. Ridden by red hot jockey Joel Rosario, the cut in distance should be welcome to the five-year-old South African bred mare, who should now be able to take back off the pace and make her late run.
Three different stars, coming from very different places, should make for a most interesting edition of the Matriarch. There are four other females set to line up today, but it should come down to one of the big three. In a race that has been won in the past by the likes of Royal Heroine, Flawlessly, Starine, Intercontinental, and Ventura; whichever of the trio wins today will add another classy name to an already impressive list of winners. Who do you think it will be?
Photo of Wasted Tears Courtesy of Benoit Photos
November 25, 2010
|I am thankful to have such a wonderful and loyal group of readers and friends as you. On this day of appreciation, I wish each and every one you a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am lucky enough to be spending the day with my wife Candie, daughter Kendra, and some of our family. I will be thinking of the family I can not be with today. To them, and all of you … may your day and holiday weekend be filled with love, togetherness, and smiles.|
November 24, 2010
*Although I ran on the dirt more than 30 times, turf was the surface which I raced on the most.
*If you know anything about me, you would know who my two favorite characters on Grey’s Anatomy are.
*My greatest career victory came on a dirt track at Santa Anita.
*Well traveled, I won races in three of the six countries in which I competed.
*I went winless in my first season of racing, as well as my last, yet I still managed to take home a winner‘s check in six separate years.
*My Eclipse Award came right after my 6th season on the track.
*I won less than one quarter of my lifetime starts, but I finished in the money more times than most horses ever race.
*My sire won a double digit amount of stakes, with his biggest coming in the Met Mile.
*Rarely on the lead early, I was known for my closing kick.
*My trainer had two first names, one a woman’s, and one a man’s.
You should know by now … Who Am I ???
November 23, 2010
The Terrific 13
November 22, 2010
Hello, my name is ZATT, and I’m a social media butterfly. That’s right, yours truly is an unapologetic social media enthusiast. Not just for teenage girls any more, I utilize these platforms in many productive ways to promote thoroughbred horse racing. And now, as ZATT is on the verge of an exciting new announcement, regarding a partnership that could change the landscape of disseminating horse racing information on the Internet forever, I will rely on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to keep you all up to speed on the latest news. Horse racing is often left behind on current trends and new technologies. Social media can help to change all that.