07 November 2009

I think the word I'm looking for is "Privileged".

There are many things I want to say about the Breeders' Cup weekend, but the two comments I'll post now are these:

  • When Zenyatta split the seam at the eighth pole, and the roar of the crowd overwhelmed Trevor Denman's call, I cried.
  • For having the courage and sportsmanship to run this brilliant mare on racing's biggest day, I say to the Moss' "Thank you".

06 September 2009

"...playing the chalk is HAAAAARD!"

  • 13:28 - The Internet is for Betting! Today's Card: G3 Red Bank, G3 Saranac, G1 Pat O'Brien, G1 Spinaway, G2 Del Mar Derby, and G1 Pacific Classic. #

  • 13:30 - (Monmouth, Saratoga, Del Mar, Saratoga, Del Mar and Del Mar, respectively. ^-^ Current Bank: $50.) #

  • 13:45 - Hard to argue GET SERIOUS as heavy fave in Red Bank (9/5): unbeaten on the turf @ 1M. Will play $2EBX w/ him & KISS THE KID (4/1). BAL: $46 #

  • 14:04 - GET SERIOUS prevails, but KISS THE KID never got rolling through traffic issues. Cest la vie. Off to the Spa! #

  • 14:15 - Not much pace in the Saranac to play with... Will EXA Mott over Clement (AL KHALI over SAL THE BARBER / ARMSTRONG MILL). BAL: $42 #

  • 14:23 - Also, can't help noticing Garcia is riding today @ the Spa. Guessing he got that stay of suspension I joked about? #

  • 14:28 - Another few yards and I'd have had that exacta. Nice try, ARMSTRONG MILL. #

  • 14:36 - Back to Del Mar: ZENSATIONAL lone speed in Pat O'Brien. Bet him over ALL because the field's so small. BAL: $34 #

  • 14:39 - As expected: ZENSATIONAL blew out in the Pat O'Brien to win under a hand ride. Was a bit worried when he was rank down the backside, though. #

  • 14:53 Spa: HOT DIXIE CHICK worthy heavy-bet in the Spinaway (1/5). Will play her EXA over BEAUTICIAN / OPUS A + SASSY'S IMAGE to show. BAL: $33 #

  • 14:55 - (This is me learning how to bet. I can 'cap them just fine, but playing the chalk is HAAAAARD! ^-^') #

  • 15:03 - HOT DIXIE CHICK cut that corner like a pro! If she can translate that to the synth, she'll be my top pick for the Juvee Fillies come BC. #

  • 15:08 - Scratch that last. Didn't realize "Grace Stables" was the Barbara Banke version of Jess Jackson's "Stonestreet". We won't see her at SA. :( #

  • 15:10 - (Would've loved to see her face off with MI SUENO, though. Guess we'll have to hope for the Oaks next May.) #

  • 15:28 - 4 of the last 11 winners in the La Jolla have gone on to win the Del Mar Derby. This makes METEORE very appealing to bet (esp @ 8/1). #

  • 15:38 - Right. DM Derby (shorthand): EBX 3-1, EXA 4/3,8. BAL: $30 #

  • 15:46 - //sigh. I give up. RENDEZVOUS (1) headed out BATTLE OF HASTINGS (4) to win. Both were represented in my bets, but not on the same ticket. :( #

  • 15:54 - ~54mtp for the Pacific Classic. Going to take a lunch break and consider my last bet of the day carefully. ^-^ #

  • 16:16 - Joel Rosario just won his 4th race of the afternoon @ Del Mar. Almost makes me want to give SONG OF NAVARONE another look in the Pac C. o.0' #

  • 17:15 - After much pondering, have decided to go with RAIL TRIP / INFORMED (EBX) and $2 WPS on MISREMEMBERED because Baffert's no joker. BAL: $21 #

  • 17:25 - Bet the wrong Baffert horse apparently: RICHARD'S KID pulls 24/1 shocker. Did that race totally fall apart in the stretch, or is it just me? #

  • 17:36 - The way Del Mar's played today, I should bet my last $20 WPS on some crazy random longshot in the last two races. Sweet Candy-coated Christ! #

  • 18:25 - Having listened to race calls from both coasts today, I officially prefer Trevor Denman to Tom Durkin. Hands down. #

  • 18:27 - (Neither is Chic Anderson, though.) #

  • 18:27 - (But both are far superior to Mike Battaglia! LOL) #

  • 18:46 - Tomorrow: Closing day @ the Spa w/ the G3 Glen Falls H & G1 Hopeful. Also, Baffert looks for his 9th win in the G1 Futurity @ Del Mar. WOOT! #

05 September 2009

"Run Like A Girl" Indeed!

Run Like A Girl by Barbara D. Livingston

    Via Twitter:
  • 14:44 Nice touch by the bugler there. The only song more appropriate than "Always a Woman" would've been "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)". LOL #
  • 14:46 thinks that if anyone is going to upset Rachel Alexandra, it'll be Bullsbay.* #
  • 14:47 (* - but not enough to NOT box that exacta. haha!) #
  • 14:56 Horse of the Year: LOCKED. If she doesn't win it, the jury is rigged. #
  • 15:00 I don't care that she's not going to the Breeders' Cup now. She worked HARD for that win: taking the rest of the year off is A-OK by me. #
  • 15:04 HAHA Jess Jackson's hat! #
"I don't care that she's not going to the Breeders' Cup now. She worked HARD for that win: taking the rest of the year off is A-OK by me."

What more can I say, really? It wasn't what I would call a "scintillating" win by any stretch of the imagination, but Rachel Alexandra didn't need to blow the field away to prove a point. In fact, I think the fact that she had to grit it out to the wire -- turning away not only a stretch run from Bullsbay, but digging in all-out to hold off Macho Again at the wire -- showed a new depth of character for the three-year-old filly we'd yet to witness.

"I never thought I had her," runner-up jockey Robbie Albarado admitted afterwards. "She's a champion. Champions do that. Champions find a way to win."

photo by Adam CoglianesePrimary-owner Jess Jackson was beaming in the winners' circle. "That's my Rachel," he said. "(Her next start) depends on how she comes out of the race. I hope she's sound, then it would be a question of whether there's something adequate for her."

With the victory, the rangy Medaglia d'Oro daughter became the first filly to win the GI Woodward in its 56 runnings. The last one to try -- Lady's Secret in 1986 -- finished 2nd to Precisionist as a 4-year-old.

It also entrenched her atop the leaderboard for Horse of the Year honors. Should she win the Eclipse, she'll join the ranks of such elite mares as Azeri (2002), Lady's Secret (1986), All Along (1984), Moccasin (1965), Twilight Tear (1944), Regret (1915), and Beldame (1904). She'll also be the first three-year-old filly to accomplish the feat since Twilight Tear.

Rachel Alexandra. Truly a Filly for the Ages. And to think: We'll get to see more of her next year!

GI Forego @ Saratoga

With all the focus on Rachel Alexandra’s quest for glory in the Woodward, I can’t help feeling that the Spa’s undercard has been overlooked. Especially the race that precedes the main event: the GI Forego.

At first glance, I could make a case for about half the field to top the board. In the end, I went with Kodiak Kowboy. There’s a lot of speed in here, which should set up well for his closing style, and his average winning speed is well above the others at 103 (his last two outs were monster efforts, posting 110 and 111).

I’m also using Pyro. His last out was his first in nine months: He finished 2nd behind Gold Trippi in the 7f event, but posted a career-high Beyer figure of 102 in getting there. He makes his second start since switching to the barn of Saeed bin Suroor (who’s 7-3-0 from 13 starters to finish in the money), and he’s breaking from the rail (which has been posting a 20% win average). This horse keeps breaking my heart in the winner’s circle, but he’s fairly consistent on hitting the board, so I’d be crazy not to use him somewhere.

ETA – Effing Pyro. The one time I don’t key him into the win slot, he wins. //sigh

04 September 2009

Lights. Camera.

One of the perks of being part of the TBA and CDI is the sense of being "in the loop" I get from various industry publications. For example, every time Churchill Downs announces some big thing -- like the torrential rains that flooded the grandstand (and cost the Derby Museum an estimated $4mil), or Mine That Bird hitting the track prior to the WV Derby -- I get a personal e-mail notification. It's not generally scoop-worthy news, since anyone involved with either the TBA or CDI gets the same mail; but it's a handy resource, and occasionally it clues me in to something I didn't already know.

In point of fact, today's notification of open casting for extras for Walt Disney Pictures' Secretariat.

Yes. Seriously.


Scripted by Mike Rich, this is about the 1973 Triple Crown-winning racehorse and its owner, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane). Chenery was a mother and housewife who knew little about horses when she was pressed to take over her ailing father's horse farm in Virginia. Though Secretariat came along and began to take shape as a potential champion, Chenery was pressured to sell the farm after her father died and she was hit with a multimillion-dollar inheritance tax. She saved both the farm and the horse, and watched as Secretariat became the first thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown in 25 years, taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in dominating fashion. Chenery became known as the "first lady of racing."

I'm kinda excited by this idea. Sure Disney may be on a roll recently in churning out pre-teen pop features like "Hannah Montana: the Movie", "Jonas Brothers Take Manhattan", and "High School Musical XVII"; but when it comes to "true story"-based sports dramas they've been pretty solid (Remember the Titans and The Rookie spring readily to mind). Mike Rich wrote the latter of those, along with Finding Forrester and Radio; and the film is set to be directed by Randall Wallace, who was also at the helm of We Were Soldiers and The Man in the Iron Mask.

Plus: Diane Lane. How brilliant is that casting?

Had I the spare cash and the time off to go, I would. I remember a similar announcement going 'round Lexington when they were filming Seabiscuit, and the few people I knew at the time who got to play extras in there had tons of fun (sweltering 1930's costumes notwithstanding). If anyone in the area makes it out and gets in, I'd love to hear about it! Currently slated for an October 2010 release, I'll keep an eye out for future casting announcements and promo shots to pass along.

ETA: FTR, I made that Jonas Brothers comment before I saw this. Oh, world. I love your random crossovers sometimes. ^-^

01 September 2009

Quick Headline Roundup

No real shock to this blogger: Alan Garcia has been suspended 7 days following his reckless stretch ride on Vineyard Haven in the GI King's Bishop last Saturday (replay). Wonder how soon he'll appeal to defer it to the end of the season?

In other news: Belmont/Travers winner Summer Bird may be JCGC bound. Given the short list of options heading into the Breeders' Cup, and the ever-shifting tower of 3yo colt supremacy, I think it's a great spot. A victory there could clinch him top honours among his peers come Eclipse time, assuming he follows it up with a start in the Classic.

30 August 2009

A (Virtual) Day at The Spa

  • 10:26 A (Virtual) Day at The Spa officially begins with the 7th race, the G3 Victory Ride. Post time: 2:55 EST. #
  • 11:02 Testing my 'capping strategy for an off track. Doing pretty well so far: Bet $6, up $31.40 (tip o' the hat to Get Stormy in the Lure). #
  • 12:14 So far it looks like off-pace is ruling the dirt. My pick ran a game 2nd in the Victory Ride. Next up: BUMPER CARS! <3 (2yo maidens @ 6f) #
  • 13:06 After much consideration, have decided to go with Rutherienne over Closeout / My Princess Jess in the G2 Ballston Spa. Good Luck! #
  • 13:34 Headded by the insane Irish mare at the wire, so my exacta was busted. Ah well. Running with Tar Heel Mom & Music Note in the G1 Ballerina. #
  • 13:50 Much obliged, Music Note. Nice little $21 return on the Ballerina. Just glad I didn't exacta the bet: THM backed up to last in the stretch. #
  • 14:13 G1 King's Bishop: Laying money down on Munnings over Despite The Odds & the Vineyard Haven / Everyday Heroes entry. #
  • 14:26 Justified DQ of Vineyard Haven. Almost looked rider-perpetuated from the head-on; who else thinks Garcia will see the Stewards tomorrow? o.0 #
  • 14:49 still thinks Quality Road is overhyped. Going w/ Summer Bird here. #
  • 14:57 & by "here", I mean "the G1 Travers". Computer crashed as the horses were loading; had to run into the other room to catch it on ESPN. '0.0 #
  • 15:07 @raceday360 True, but if she gets beat in the Woodward the grouse will be "Well, if she'd been in the Travers, she would have won it." #
  • 15:22 @superfecta Ditto. I thought for sure it would skyrocket considering his 1st crop get included a Derby & a Belmont winner. Good on them! #

Let's talk about the Travers. Jess Jackson took a lot of flack for opting to send Rachel Alexandra to the Woodward versus older horses next weekend instead of running her here against three-year-old colts she'd already beaten (the exception being Quality Road, but more on that in a minute).

While I believe the "official" reason he gave for this was because his up-and-comer Kensei was already aiming for the Midsummer Derby, many subscribed to the theory that her connections didn't want any part of 1 1/4 miles right now (the Woodward is shorter at 1 1/8), while others outright lambasted Jackson for "ducking" Quality Road.

Personally, I'm of the second option; hence the reply above to raceday360, prompted by the comment: "I assume all talk of Rachel Alexandra ducking Quality Road will cease."

In a perfect world, yes. But I'm also a realist, and as Quality Road was soundly beaten by a horse who, in turn, had been thoroughly bested by Rachel Alexandra in the GI Haskell, I will stand by my reply. If she loses the Woodward, and subsequently misses out on Horse of the Year because of it, I've little doubt that Jackson's choice to face off against older horses will come under heavy fire.

As for Quality Road: There's no arguing he has talent. It's not every day that a horse shatters records at both 1 1/8 miles and 6 1/2 furlongs, never mind he's done it in a single season. And he ran a pretty honest race overall, considering it's his second start in five months. But is he the top three-year-old in the country? Not by a longshot. I suspect his best days are yet to come, and look forward to seeing him knock some heads in the handicaps next year. Maybe on grass. Definitely at a mile.

Take nothing away from Summer Bird, though. He ran a hell of a race considering how close to the pace he was, and clearly he relishes the slop as well as the distance. Looking back, it makes me wonder how he'd have fared in the Derby with a little more racing luck on the day. The tweet-back to superfecta was in regard to his sire, Birdstone, who stands at Gainesway in Lexington for the blue collar price of $10,000. Given the result of his first crop I'll be very surprised if this doesn't change come 2010, however the Jockey Club prediction of "the smallest foal crop since 1977" may curtail a hike in prices across the board. Time alone will tell.

Al in all, (Virtual) Day at The Spa was a success and left this writer with a lot to think about in terms of the Breeders' Cup picture. We'll see how that plays out next weekend.