Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm going to the Oaks!

My wife has scored 4 tics to the Oaks on Friday. So, while I was at Keeneland for a major prep and did see Balance get beaten by Bushfire in the Ashland on April 8th, I really have not been following the fillies very closely. Anyway, my main focus is still on the boys and the Derby, which I think I have almost figured out (Lawyer Ron, Sweetnorthernsaint), I now have the pleasant distraction of looking more closely at the Oaks! Not a bad situation to be in. Maybe my trip to Churchill will break me out of my 0-4 closing day at Keeneland.....more later!
Garland of Lillies for the Fillies

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Derby Horses begin showing up at Churchill

I read Steve Haskin's article at BloodHorse and he is either really biased towards Sweetnothernsaint or that horse may merit a longer look than I have given him. I do know that before the Illinois Derby that Jill Byyrne was really high on this colt.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The unique world of the horse mind

Okay, some who read my posts know that we are the proud owners of 2 horses, one a retired thoroughbred 18yrs young whose tatooed lip is too faded to read completely. Anyway, Quinn is my favorite of the two, probably because he is a lot like me, stubborn but loyal, hardheaded but a really nice-hearted fella. Anyway, I usually do not get too attached to pets but I have made an exception with Quinn. Well this past Sunday my daughter decided at 6:30pm it was time to ride Finn, her quarterhorse jumper, just for a short hack in the pasture and she would like me to put Quinn in his stall because he "follows me around". Anyway, being the ever obliging groom I tossed Quinn in his stall (with a little sweet feed) and after an hour I knew he would be ready to get out of there so we put Finn in the grooming stall in crossties to untack and I opened Quinn's stall and turned him back out. Now usually he would maybe canter to the back corner of the pasture and turn and give us a stare and return to grazing at the most reminding us not to put him in his stall, that he's a horse meant to run free. Anyway, Sunday was different. He promptly shot around the perimeter of our pasture (1/4 mile) at a flat out gallop barely cutting the corners and promptly make 8 laps or almost 2 miles! It was amazing! We had seen him gallop and play before but nothing like this. I ran and got a little video on my digital camera but it was dusk and the quality is pretty hazy but the memory is burned in my mind. The neighbors were out and remarked it looked like we had wound him up like a toy. We all stood there in awe of the power and grace of our 18yr old gelding....and me with thoughts of how to get this fella back to the track if for nothing else but the made for tv movie! I gotta say, I love the thoroughbred.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wet Times at Keeneland

A few dry moments before the rains came...
"I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna come down for a while"

The rain would not subside and actually poured very hard at the time my daughter really wanted to stand at the rail (during the 9th race steeplechase). I got some horrible photos of rainsoaked proportions and actually got a video of one of the riders tumbling to the turf--yikes! But after Thursday's tragedy, at least all riders and horses left in one piece. I keep hearing that the new poytrack surface will do so much to improve safety for the horses and riders. You know, all sports are filled with their own risks and moving through a pack of horses going 35-40 mph while balancing on the balls of your feet is certainly risky business. Well here are some photos from the deluge that was Keeneland on Friday. One silver lining was the fact that I hit a couple of exactas and came out up $46. The ironic thing is my 16 yr old son and his buddies, complete non-horse racing enthusiasts came out to check out the races, stayed for the first four and he left with a tidy $72 profit. Ah, the luck of the Irish and the foolishness of youth! Anyway, not a bad day for the family at the track in spite of the weather.

"And there they go in a mist of mud"

Rafael Bejarano up

"Neither Rain, nor Deluge, nor Torrential Monsoon will keep us from the Rail!"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hats Off to Keeneland Contest

Okay so it just so happens there is a hat contest at Keeneland this Friday and coincidentally my return to the track as well. Unfortunately I think my entry in this contest might scar my 10 yr old daughter so I wont be entering....but if I were here are some dandy ideas I thought everyone might case you are "heading" to the track, you might want to enter......Hats Off to Keeneland Day -- Keeneland’s 3rd annual hat contest. 1st place in every category will win a package from the Embassy Suites. Grand Prize winner will receive an all expense paid vacation to Jamaica.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

One outta two...Derby Top 7....More Keeneland!

Well, at least I got Lawyer Ron right. Who would have thought that Zito would be shut out of a Derby, not me but Little Cliff just was not up to the pace of the BlueGrass. I have edited my personal "Derby Watchlist" and I am convinced the winner can be found among the 7 I am tracking. I plan on reviewing each horse in depth over the next couple of weeks to try and convince myself that I can see a clear cut choice for a winner. In the meantime, it's back out to Keeneland on Friday (Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings (G1-Steeplechase), maybe I can get a photo of Barbaro as Michael Matz has him stabled at Barn 25.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Little Cliff wins the BlueGrass, Lawyer Ron keeps on keepin on

Lawyer Ron runs with heart and the look of a horse that wants to be in the lead at the finish line. Call it an "intangible" quality, call it my silly gut instinct, call it one bloggers opinion but you can almost spot his heart growing bigger as he pulls to the lead. Look for him to dispell the doubters tomorrow at Oaklawn and head for the derby as one of the top 3 favorites.

Now, I don't think the Derby winner is among the entries in the BlueGrass but I do think Nick Zito gets some luck to go along with his post position and an improving Little Cliff, who is still really just a 2 yr old in actual age (as we know all horses birthdays are Jan 1) will hang on to win and give Zito, who knows how to win at Keeneland, his derby horse.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Does the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Gr. 1) figure in your Derby exotic wagering?


In the past 3 years the winner of the BlueGrass has had a piece of the Derby action:

2005 Closing Argument (Placed in Ky Derby and Show in BG)
2004 Lion Heart (Placed in Derby and BG)
2003 Peace Rules (Show in Derby and Won BG)

More on the BlueGrass field after the post draw this morning!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Emotions run rampant first weekend at Keeneland

There were cheers, there were (almost tears), It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..but mostly elation combined with confusion. I found myself looking at a Trifecta in the 5th at Keeneland on Friday, opening day but Rafael Bejarano closed at the wire and after an agonizing 5 min review of the photo, my money(looking at a 5 figure payout) stayed safely tucked away in Keeneland's coffers. Oh well, there are worse places. Then, the Ashland and my chance to really score and I get totally sidetracked by betting my heart and going with my old buddy from last October, Dawn of War and well, we all know how that one turned out (where the heck did Chin High come from?). But it was a beautiful spring day until the skies opened in the ninth. Then Saturday dawned cold & frosty for April but we were ready and made our way back to the track with the hope that springs from a new day filled with new races where anything can happen, but only a marginally better day at the window, but some good racing and a great time and I'm up a mere $61(icing on the cake). The funniest part is that on Sunday I had a hunch on the first race and won $46 so that helped my bruised handicapping ego. Anyway, I did realize the races I enjoyed the most were the 4 1/2 furlong 2 y/o never been raced first timers. They were rambunctious and unpredictable in the post parade and right on through the exciting race. Keeneland's notorious speed bias is very much in play in these sprints where you only have workouts to go on and trainer/jockey combos and little exciting is that? Anyway, this is one of my favorite times of the year to just get out to some races in person, just nothing like it to spend some time with family and friends in the beauty and tradition that is Keeneland. I hope everyone who reads this has access to a race track because there really is nothing like the sights, sounds, smells and sheer fun of going to the track. Now, what's this I hear about Brother Derek being awesome? I still think Barbaro and Lawyer Ron have run hard and looked tough and don't forget, it takes a tough horse the first saturday in May to navigate the traffic and have the determination to lead that pack across the finish line in Louisville. Look for the boss of the herd, not necessarily the fastest horse but the most dominant and add a little luck and we should have no trouble picking a Derby winner!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The night before Keeneland

T'was the night before Keeneland and all thru the house
All you could hear is the clicking of Joe’s logitech mouse.
Frantically combing the web for a tip
In hopes of hitting a superfecta over which he would flip.

When much to my crt stressed eyes did appear
a sure thing in the eighth named Gimmeabeer.
I knew right away this horse I had chose
with a wager to win right on his nose.

Soon visions of winning danced in my head
At odds of 50-1 I tossed in my bed.
And off in the distance I thought I could hear
Winner by a length its Gimmeabeer!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who do you like in the future?

2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3

*A. P. Warrior
Achilles of Troy
Bluegrass Cat
Bob and John
Brother Derek
Cause to Believe
*Deputy Glitters
*Discreet Cat
First Samurai
Keyed Entry
Lawyer Ron
*Like Now
My Golden Song
Point Determined
Private Vow
*Sacred Light
*Sharp Humor
Strong Contender
*With a City
All Other Three-Year-Old

*An asterisk represents a new wagering interest in Pool 3

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Derby Picture starting to come into focus

Barbaro took a big step Saturday, remaining undefeated, handling the fast dirt track, and fighting to win against a game Sharp Humor, no doubt benefitting from the perfect ride Prado game him. Now, looking ahead to next week-end and the Wood Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby promise to be final tune-ups for more derby dreamers. Here are some definite starters in what should be a good test for Brother Derek. Another interesting factor is that Bejarano (who also rides First Samurai) and Prado (rides Barbaro) are very talented jockeys who will have a choice about which horse they will be riding in the derby and these races may help them make up their minds! Don't you love this time of year!
Santa Anita Derby
Brother Derek (Alex Solis)
Point Determined (Rafael Bejarano)
Wood Memorial
Bob and John (Garrett Gomez) Deputy Glitters (Jose Lezcano), Greeley's Legacy (Eibar Coa), Keyed Entry (Edgar Prado), Like Now (Fernando Jara), Scanlon's Song (Ramon Dominguez), and Showing Up (Cornelio Velasquez).