Friday, March 16, 2012

From High to Low and Back Again

A little over a week ago, the long awaited event finally took place when the Horse of the Year and the Queen of Racing foaled a healthy, handsome colt by Eclipse Champion Bernadini. By all accounts, Zenyatta’s delivery was “textbook” and the 130 pound bay baby and mom bonded quickly and easily. First foals are normally not the biggest, but this colt appears leggy, and does resemble mom right down to the ermine spots on his one white leg.
Congratulations to Zenyatta. Her new job now, is to teach her son how to run.
The highs and lows of racing run like the thread through a fine tapestry. We are right in the middle of foaling season, and every hour babies are born that give their connections “derby dreams’ But , the dangers of the sport are always a constant, and unfortunately the accidents, the injuries and all the heartbreak seem to make the loudest noise. We as horsemen absorb it all, but the “public perception” of our game, already badly tarnished, again, took a few hits this week.
Much has been said lately, of the many breakdowns at the Aqueduct winter meet this year. I have always thought of the three New York tracks as very safe, reliable and consistent. Yes, not always happy with a “sealed” track, or when the track appears “souped “up for major race days. But with the mild winter that the Northeast has had- and weather not being an issue- it is very concerning that there have been so many fatalities at the Big A. One has to wonder whether the huge increase in purse money, especially for lower levels, have pushed horses into races where they don’t belong. Or maybe pushed them into racing, when they weren’t ready.
At the same time, this week, another horse had to be euthanized on the HBO set of “Luck”, forcing the end of the series. Though not “racing related”, I have not read, yet, why this horse reared and managed to destroy himself. I have made many left hand turns around a shed row and horses need a reason to go up and over. Some don’t need MUCH of a reason, but something preceded this event. Was it due to the “filming process” is anyone’s guess.
I was not ever a big fan of the show, but stuck with it. The acting was very good, just not a portrayal of the racetrack that I know and love. It showed I guess to some, only one small part of the game. Maybe to the Hollywood crowd, the degeneracy was the most interesting?? But thanks to the show, once again, the”public perception” of our sport takes another hit.
Also in the past week, our Derby Winner Animal Kingdom, has been forced to take another break with a second hind end issue. Three year olds, once Derby hopefuls, – Out of Bounds, Fed Biz, Spring Hill Farm, Algorithms, Junebugred, Empire Way and Motor City are all officially off the Derby trail.
But we move on.
The weekend’s Derby prep is The Rebel at Oaklawn tomorrow and it has a full field, with 13 entered.
And the best news is …the Run for the Roses is only 49 days away.

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