Working together last Sunday, the two stablemates went virtually stride for stride every step of the way for the 5/8ths of a mile in a very zippy 58.80 and galloping out 3/4s in 1.11.6 over the synthetic surface at Keeneland. Breaking off ahead of Blame, Apart seemed a little keyed up for the first few strides and then settled into a very nice rhythm. Both horses then went very smoothly, without being urged in any way. Both riders had a lot of horse underneath them. Apart did switch leads at the wire but it he galloped out very nicely ,in hand and still staying with Blame. Both horses looked enthusiastic, healthy and were hitting the ground as good as you would like to see. Apart is nominated to the Ack Ack Handicap on the Breeder’s Cup Friday under card. There are 31 nominations, and he will get a break in the weights as will all other 3 year olds.
If Blame is dominant in this year's ultra tough Classic, then what do you think of Apart in the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap? Click here for the nominations to the Gr III Ack Ack Handicap.
Do you want to look back on this Classic as the Coronation of the Queen?
Will you be rooting for Zenyatta or just hoping to make a score?
Do you want to have that ultimate feeling that you have witnessed the campaign of a very special race horse, a horse that with the win in the Classic, will remain undefeated, unrivalled, and without a doubt one of the best horses you have ever seen?
OR, are you looking to make a score in the Classic, by trying to outsmart the next guy; by picking some sleeper to upset the field; to hope for a loose-on- the- lead- type, who can steal the race; to hope there is a traffic jam and maybe the best horse doesn’t win, and because of any of those scenarios, you prosper?
Bottom line, if you bet against Zenyatta in the Classic, how will you feel when she wins?
Of course, I have no doubt in my mind that Zenyatta will once again show us her dominance and greatness. I also think that the dirt will move her up. And though there will be a handful of horses in the field that in any other year could win a Classic, I really do think that everyone else is running for second money. So, without seeing the entries and still 10 days out, Zenyatta is my key. If the Queen has an off day, which can always happen in this game, I will have an off day too. I’ll get over it. That’s racing.
There will be plenty of gambling opportunities to make money during the 2 days of Breeder’s Cup races including the Classic. But, it’s not about the “score” in that race. It is about way more than that. It is about the Coronation. Is this my heart talking? Is this a case of not being able to separate my emotions from my handicapping skills? Maybe, but I will be rooting for the Queen because I truly believe she can and will win, and because I want that ultimate high knowing that I will have been a small part of the ride into racing history. To me, that trumps the score every time.
It’s been 10 days, and I am finally back to my blog. My computer had a serious breakdown and has now been retired to greener pastures. It could have been worse. It could have happened this week, and that would have been a disaster, as we are 11 days from the biggest two days of racing in North America.
Just some random thoughts…
Congrats to John Sherriffs on his first win at Keeneland. That was a stellar performance by Harmonious in the QE ll, and I look forward to her next start.
Kudos to George Strawbridge ( Augustin Stables) in getting the coveted gold tray for winning 8 Graded Stakes at Keeneland. Not easy to do. Only 16 other stables have won this prize in the history of the track.
I like what I’m hearing from the Zenyatta camp. She is happy, fit and enthusiastic.
This picture of First Dude’s work the other day is impressive. His stride is huge. Thanks to Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs for the shot.
I’m excited about “The Works” coming back to TVG. The visual of the horses in the days prior to the big day is invaluable to those of us not on the scene that week. I also like Mike Welsh at the DRF. He has a good eye and has started to report on daily workouts. I think that his reporting will also have some video with it starting today.
Louisville has been under drought conditions for months. If it stays this dry, I’m wondering what the turf course will be like?
I thought the Secretariat film was wonderful. Many of my non-horsey friends let me know that they enjoyed it. Right there, it has brought more positive interest to the sport. Yes, the film was not totally accurate. And it didn’t bother me at all. I was AT Secretariat's Belmont that day. Even if the race was re-created at the site, there was no way they could have depicted what went on that day. So it was best not to try.
Zenyatta worked yesterday morning for the first of 3 works in preparation for her big dance on the 6th of November. The Thoroughbred Times reported the work in splits of 24.80, 38.40, 51.20 and the last eighth in 11.40. ( 5/8's in 1.02.6). She galloped out 6 furlongs in 1.16 and 4. A few quotes from her handlers:
John Shirreffs: “Nice work for her first one back. It was just to get her focus back on a routine. It’s not how fast. It’s about getting back to work and letting her know that another work will be coming. It’s about getting the proper spacing.”
Mike Smith: "It was perfect for what you want first work back. Not too fast. Not too slow. Her energy level is great. I tipped off the turn there and kinda let her run. Two jumps and she caught him [stablemate El Vino]. Whooo! She’s like driving the most incredible sports car and today we didn’t even need to get out of second gear. I let her run. She got past [El Vino] and then she just went right back to cruise control. Just incredible!”
Anne Moss: "I'm excited every time I see her. She's from beyond the beyond. Every day is a celebration. It's hard to keep describing her. They should come up with a new word in the dictionary to describe her."
It appears that the Big Girl is feeling fine and happy. You love to see a nice maintenance work, relaxed yet, enthusiastic. That last eighth of a mile shows me she still loves what she's doing. Incredible for a six year old.
Two more works are planned, most likely October 22nd and October 30th. She will ship to Louisville November 2nd.
The Breeder's Cup has just created a "Zenyatta focused" website, and she also has her own official site.
You can own a piece of horse racing history and at the same time make a contribution to a very worthy cause. TROTT ( Training Racehorses Off the Track) is a racehorse adoption program in California, which “provides at risk racehorses with opportunities for new careers beyond the track.” It was launched in January of this year and is a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization.
Adoption programs such as TROTT are a great resource to the racing industry because not only are they a safety net for horses that might otherwise slip through the cracks, but in addition to R&R, many times horses are rehabilitated and re-schooled which gets them ready for their next life in non-racetrack homes.
It is a win-win for everybody.
The bad news is there is already a starting bid of $3000, so you need deep pockets or at least a nice score to participate, but for those who can it’s a good way to give back.
To bid on the halter, you can find the form on their website.
The only bad thing about Keeneland’s opening day was that I wasn’t there. Going to Churchill in 4 weeks, is keeping me from making the annual pilgrimage this year. None the less, I had a good first day, catching Wise Dan in the Phoenix. One has to wonder if he and Here Comes Ben have ever worked together in the a.m.? Anyway, it's always a good feeling to cash on the first day of the meet.
Read an interesting quote from the track super about the turf course.
Just one Friday race, the seventh, was scheduled for the turf course, which was looking particularly green and lush – especially in contrast to the Keeneland infield, where the grass has been burned to a premature brown by the exceedingly dry conditions that have marked the summer and early fall in this Bluegrass region.
“We’ve watered the heck out of this course,” said Mike Young, the longtime track superintendent at Keeneland. “As dry as it’s been, I don’t know how much of a root system we’ve got left under there right now. The grass has just been growing straight up. If we get some nasty weather, I hope it doesn’t get too torn up.”
The seventh, was an allowance race for f & m, who had not won $7500 twice, other than, or which had never won three, and it was run in a very quick 1.34.02. To put this in perspective, in the 22 runnings of the Grade l Shadwell Mile, there have been 5 horses that have run faster.
Keeneland and Mother Nature have given us a very firm turf course for the Fall meet. Turf players take note!
Don’t forget the dime supers at Keeneland, there were some good payouts yesterday. In addition to the dime supers, Keeneland is also offering 50 cent trifectas, and 50 cent Pick 3’s and Pick 4’s. With those types of bets, you can bet a little and win a lot!
Winter Memories was a very impressive winner of the Miss Grillo on Sunday, on the yielding turf at Belmont. Relaxed down the backside, she wanted to go when Lezcano showed her daylight. After taking another hold, she responded kindly, till he wheeled her out at the top of the stretch. Then she was allowed to role, and just inhaled her competition. Were the Euros watching? Cuz this strapping filly can give them a go, on that first Friday in November.
The gray filly is by El Prado ( Sadler's Wells), out of the Grade I winning millionairess, Memories of Silver (Silver Hawk). She is trained by Jimmy Toner, and owned by Phillips Racing. She carries the very classic bloodlines of Darby Dan Farm on her dam's side.
But it was all good. The family tradition keeps winning. Little Act Won, whose mom and grandmother I bred and owned, did the family proud with the gamest of wins at Suffolk Downs yesterday. She was sitting on a good effort and she didn’t disappoint.
I laughed, I cried, I cashed.
On the other Coast and on the BIG Stage, Zenyatta did what she was born to do. Win, yet again, stay undefeated and show the world that she is and always has been, the Queen of Racing.
I laughed, I cried, well I didn't cash, cuz I didn't play....
Colizeo, Ave, Changing Weather, and Girolamo put some change in my pocket. Blame took a little out.
I laughed, I cried, I cashed.
I played the Equibase Handicapping Contest and was tied for third until the last two races. Grassy ran a big one, but not good enough. I dropped to a 12th place finish.
I laughed, I cried, and didn’t cash …but it was a great DAY OF RACING, and one to remember.
The big mare never ceases to amaze me. She is historically reaching new heights every time she performs. One wonders where it all comes from. She gives consistency a whole new meaning. She is the epitome of what we all look for in a race horse. She is the gold standard , the yardstick, the barometer of the
ultimate race horse with a will to win.
Is today a holiday? Because it sure feels like one to me.This is the kind of day racing fans and horseplayers live for.There’s great racing everywhere you look today, and the results will have a huge impact four weeks from now at Churchill.While a win today for any future Breeder’ Cup contender is not a MUST, a very good effort will be needed to set up for November 5th and 6th. Not all the races today are wagering opportunities, from a value standpoint. Lookin at Lucky stands out in the Indiana Derby, so best to hope for bombs to fill out the tri. Zenyatta, will again be a joy to watch, and that’s all I’ll be doing for the Ladies Secret. Though I hate to say it, the little turbo-charged Blind Luck looks a tad bit vulnerable in the Cotillion. Not because she’s NOT the best horse, because I believe she is, but she is giving a lot of weight to a couple of nice horses, AND she once again, has to ship. But I will be rooting for her just the same. But I will be taking a shot in the All Stakes Pick 4 at Belmont, so here goes...
Flower Bowl #3 & #5 #3 Changing Skies – loves to run fresh, she’s consistent, and likes a cut in the ground #5 Ave – throw out last, she is rounding into form
Beldame #4 & #6 #4 Unrivaled Belle – loves Belmont, and has had a freshening, #6 Persistently - improving and has a good late kick
Joe Hirsch Invite # 1 & #9 #1 Grassy, yes, I think Grassy has a chance to upset in here… but he needs a good trip. He likes it soft, I think the distance will suit him, he has a nice bullet coming in and it could be a Claiborne win parlay to the JCGC, however... #9 If Paddy likes soft turf, then it’s all over
JCGC #1 & #2 #1 Fly Down - definitely has a shot to upset, but I think it’s all about…. #2 Blame - the one to BEAT !
Good Luck with all your wagers and a safe trip to all!