08/31/2009 4:24PM

Birds of a Feather...


Like father, like son.

Let's take a look at the lifetime past performances of Birdstone and Summer Bird:

Download Birdsofafeather

Since being equipped with blinkers, Summer Bird has emerged as a very dangerous racehorse.  He was always talented, but was sometimes hindered by his lack of interest in the opening furlongs of his races.  With the blinkers, he's alert coming out of the gate, if not downright speedy.  That newfound speed may have caught Kent Desormeaux by surprise in the Haskell, but he was ready for Summer Bird in the Midsummer Derby. 
"I was rating him," Desormeaux said after the race.  "You can only rate a horse who actually wants to go faster; otherwide you're knuckling on him to keep up.  That is the ultimate feeling for a jockey, having a horse on his fingertips, being on the bridle, not shoving on his neck, trying to make him keep up...He left the gate wanting to run.  Within 200 yards, I was camped out behind the leaders, galloping along.  I saw an opportunity to clean him up, get him to the outside.  From there, he actually tried to make the lead, he wanted to run..."
The Belmont winner bounded out of the gate, settled into a great three wide stalking trip, inhaled a good horse in Kensei like that one was tied to the quarter-pole, and was never threatened despite looking around a bit in the stretch.  Everything about his race screamed "quality."  He's not the "Other Bird" any longer, and is a fascinating three-year-old to watch this fall...whether in a rematch with Rachel Alexandra, or against older handicap horses. 
Favored Quality Road was facing a tough task as he was stretching out 3 1/2 furlongs in only his second race after an injury-induced layoff.  He didn't help his cause by acting up prior to entering the machine, and he was off slowly, and sandwiched in between horses for the first sixteenth of a mile.  He never really seemed comfortable over the off going, but it's doubtful that he would have beaten the Summer Bird that showed up on a fast surface. 
Although they only scored with two of their four big runners, Godolphin's trainer Saeed bin Suroor and assistant Rick Mettee both deserve tremendous credit for the performances of Ballerina winner Music Note, King's Bishop runner-up Vineyard Haven, and Victory Ride heroine Sara Louise.  Music Note, a star three-year-old last season, was turning back in distance after making a premature wide move in her seasonal debut in the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont.  Showing surprising early speed under Rajiv Maragh, Music Note took the race right to the two favorites, Indian Blessing and Informed Decision, and drew away as much the best.  She is dangerous between seven and nine furlongs, and there are plenty of options for her. 
Vineyard Haven's race was even more of a revelation.  The much-hyped private purchase was a huge flop in Dubai over the winter, and had only raced once since his facile Champagne win last October.  He came out of the gate running, and was extremely game in the stretch.  Understandably tired, Vineyard Haven was drifting out in the lane, and bumped Capt. Candyman Can when switching back to his wrong lead 100 yards from the wire.  It was a good decision by the stewards, and Capt. Candyman Can is a deserving King's Bishop winner.  After tiring as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, trainer Ian Wilkes, a student of Carl Nafzger, lost any semblance of Derby Fever.  He kept Capt. Candyman Can in sprints with one goal in mind...The King's Bishop.  Rarely do plans work out in this business, but they did for Wilkes.
Who was the last horse to beat Rachel Alexandra?  The answer to that trivia question is Sara Louise, who seemingly dropped off the face of the planet after being privately purchased by Godolphin last season.  Bet to favoritism in the Victory Ride, she rallied from off the pace to collar the game Bold Union.  "When she was in Dubai, she had tiny problems," Suroor said after the Victory Ride.  "She had tendon problems in both of her front legs.  We gave her time...The filly has class...We couldn't wait too long until September.  She needed the race and she'll improve from this race..."
The already-spicy Distaff division found another major player in Icon Project, the blowout winner of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Saturday.  Zenyatta best not keep her eyes peeled only on the disappearing shadow of Rachel Alexandra.  Icon Project may enter her domain along with the intriguing three-year-old filly Careless Jewel.  Of course, the Big Z may decide to tackle males in the Breeders' Cup Classic if she continues her undefeated stretch.


Let's take a look at the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:

*Personal Ensign (Sar):  ICON PROJECT (M. Wolfson/J. Leparoux) - 114
*Travers (Sar):  SUMMER BIRD (T. Ice/K. Desormeaux) - 110

*Ballerina (Sar):  MUSIC NOTE (S. bin Suroor/R. Maragh) - 107
*Bernard Baruch (Sar):  JUSTENUFFHUMOR (K. McLaughlin/A. Garcia) - 106
*Victory Ride (Sar):  SARA LOUISE (S. bin Suroor/E. Prado) - 104
*King's Bishop (Sar):  CAPT. CANDYMAN CAN (I. Wilkes/J. Castellano) - 103 (**Vineyard Haven finished first, but was placed second via disqualification**)
*Play the King (WO):  JUNGLE WAVE (S. Attard/T. Kabel) - 101
*Molly Pitcher (Mth):  LUNA VEGA (S. Asmussen/E. Trujillo) - 101
*Ballston Spa (Sar):  SALVE GERMANIA - IRE (W. Hickst/J. Castellano) - 100

*Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship (Cby):  BELLA NOTTE (M. Robertson/D. Bell) - 99
*Funny Cide (Sar):  FUTURE PROSPECT (M. Maker/R. Maragh) - 98
*Del Mar (Dmr):  SPRING HOUSE (J. Canani/A. Solis) - 98
*Del Mar Mile (Dmr):  FERNELEY - IRE (B. Cecil/J. Rosario) - 97
*Pleasant Colony (Sar):  SUMO (H. Motion/J. Rose) - 96
*Lure (Sar):  GET STORMY (T. Bush/J. Castellano) - 95
*Harry F. Brubaker (Dmr):  SKYRUSH - ARG (D. Vienna/M. Pedroza) - 95
*CTT and TOC (Dmr):  BLACK MAMBA - NZ (J. Sadler/M. Smith) - 94
*Minnesota Sprint Championship (Cby):  BIZET (M. Robertson/D. Bell) - 93
*California State Fair Sprint (Sac):  DANCE WITH GABLE (M. Machowsky/M. Garcia) - 93
*Albany (Sar):  FIDDLERS AFLEET (M. Hushion/R. Dominguez) - 93
*Florida Stallion Affirmed (Crc):  JACKSON BEND (S. Gold/J. Sanchez) - 93
*Ontario Colleen (WO):  LADY SHAKESPEARE (R. Attfield/E. Wilson) - 91

*Miss Woodford (Mth):  DON'TGETSUSPICIOUS (S. Lake/K. Carmouche) - 89
*Rose DeBartolo Memorial (Tdn):  PAY THE MAN (M. Feliciano/R. Feliciano) - 88
*Union Avenue (Sar):  SILVERCUP BABY (C. Domino/J. Castellano) - 88
*Iowa Classic Sprint (PrM):  CRIMSON KING CAT (K. Von Hemel) - 87
*Honey Jay (Tdn):  KING OF THE ROXY (T. Pletcher/O. Mojica) - 87
*Ralph Hayes (PrM):  RED HOT N GOLD (K. Von Hemel/T. Thompson) - 86
*Red Earth (RP):  TI TOWNSHIP (A. Milligan/C. Landeros) - 85
*Minnesota Classic Championship (Cby):  PERFECT BULL (B. Rhone/D. Butler) - 84
*Lucy Scribner (Sar):  SO N SO (T. Bush/A. Garcia) - 84
*Sylvia Bishop Memorial (CT):  BEWARE OF THE BOP (T. Grams/L. Reynolds) - 82
*Brickyard (Hoo):  UNREACHABLE STAR (T. Glyshaw/R. Hernandez) - 81

*WTBA Lads (EmD):  HOLLYWOOD HARBOR (C. Stenslie/D. Hoonan-Trujillo) - 79
*Catcharisingstar (Crc):  MISS DELITE (P. Andrade/L. Arango) - 79
*Florida Stallion Susan's Girl (Crc):  ROSEBUD'S RIDGE (H. Wilensky/C. Penalba) - 78
*New York Oaks (FL):  GOLD FOR THE QUEEN (C. Baker/J. Flores) - 76
*Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship (Cby):  CHICK FIGHT (M. Robertson/D. Butler) - 75
*Iowa Breeders' Derby (PrM):  POTANIO (W. Pogue/G. Corbett) - 75
*Fasig Tipton Turf Dash (Crc):  RETIRE TO WHAT (A. Medina/M. Aguilar) - 75
*Minnesota Turf Championship (Cby):  SARAHS SON (M. Robertson/D. Bell) - 74
*Iowa Cradle (PrM):  LAUNCH LIGHT (K. Von Hemel/P. Compton) - 73
*West Mesa (Alb):  VALUE SYSTEM (B. Rust/A. Cruz) - 73
*Lindsay Frolic (Crc):  GATOR BREW (W. White/P. Lopez) - 71
*Donna Reed (PrM):  BEYOND THE REACH (L. Chleborad/A. Birzer) - 70
*Barbara Shinpoch (EmD):  KNIGHT RAIDER (D. Harwood/R. Frazier) - 70
*Seacliff (Crc):  WAVE ME BY (K. O'Connell/E. Nunez) - 70

*Junior Champion (Mth):  KID KATE (C. Brown/E. Trujillo) - 69
*Rachel's Turn (CT):  DOWN TOWN ALLEN (J. Casey/M. McGowan) - 67
*New Westminster (Hst):  HUITZILOPOCHTLI (J. Olmos/F. Perez) - 66
*African Prince (Suf):  SAME DAY PLEASURE (L. Lockhart/D. Amiss) - 63
*Birdcatcher (NP):  COOL KAHUNA (C. Anderson/R. Simard) - 60
*Merrillville (Hoo):  TRUST N SEVEN (M. Lauer/L. Goncalves) - 60

*Lassie (Hst):  OTERO (D. Forster/F. Fuentes) - 59
*Iowa Breeders' Oaks (PrM):  CHAMPAGNE ATTITUDE (T. Keller/T. Thompson) - 58
*Bird of Pay (NP):  DAKOTA SUE (G. Tracy/R. Walcott) - 56
*Northern Lights Futurity (Cby):  BET YOUR BOOTS (T. Bethke/P. Nolan) - 54

*Iowa Sorority (PrM):  BRENDA'S SLEW (J. Hicklin/T. Thompson) - 46

*Northern Lights Debutante (Cby):  HER SWEET SAINT (V. Hanson/R. Eikleberry) - 40

*CTHS (AsD):  APPLICANT (L. Gray/L. Delorme) - 39
*Columbus Futurity (Cls):  FIVE OCLOCK SHADOW (D. Anderson/D. Leeds) - 33

Here are the lifetime past performances for the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers of the week:

Download HighLow


Speaking of turf horses, any word yet on Midships?

Midships came up sick last week, and has been put on the sidelines.  I'm sorry that I've fallen behind on our Disabled List, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.  I'm hoping to be all caught up by the end of September.  Here's Steve Andersen's story on Midships posted on August 27:



Dan, is this the lowest winning beyer you've posted on this list??!!?!
p ensign

I'd have to guess it is, but I don't know for a fact.  Some of these extremely minor stakes races come up with very paltry numbers. 


Dan, Anybody,
Did they stop on Behindatthebar? I was watching his works and they abruptly ended on June 20th - hard to call them works, they were painfully slow and he even earned the dreaded "D".
Steve T.

I had a feeling his comeback wasn't going well when his very first workout earned the "Driving" designation.  It looks like he's out of serious training right now, and one wonders if he'll ever make it back to the races.  He hasn't raced since winning the Lexington in 2008. 


Dan, whats going on with Mr Gruff? After his stakes win in the San Simeon down the hill at Santa Anita he went on the shelf. This was the plan according to Ron Ellis. He worked twice, once in late June and once in early July but hasn't surfaced since. I don't see him on your injury list, so what's going on with him?

Ellis was quoted after the San Simeon that he was planning on keeping Mr Gruff lightly-raced as he pointed for the Turf Sprint.  I'm not sure if the horse is injured, but I'll let you know if I hear anything.  For now, let's see if he is pointed for the Morvich Handicap at the Oak Tree Meet as a prep for the Breeders' Cup.


Dan, hey man, great job as always with the 2yos this year, a quick query when you get the chance (no hurry): any idea what's up with Successful Dan?  Obligingly?

From Marty McGee's article posted on August 14:

Successful Dan not quite ready to run
Successful Dan has not raced since he remained unbeaten by narrowly defeating Warrior's Reward in the June 13 Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill. Trainer Charlie Lopresti said a minor setback with an ankle led him to miss some training at Keeneland with Successful Dan, a 3-year-old Successful Appeal gelding bred and owned by Mort Fink.
"I don't think the ankle is anything major, but he just hasn't been quite 100 percent," said Lopresti. "It wasn't like we planned on chasing the big boys at Saratoga anyway. What I'd wanted to do was run him in a little stakes at Presque Isle Downs, then maybe try tougher company if he ran another big race. But obviously we've had to move our schedule back a little with him."
Prior to his Northern Dancer score, Successful Dan began his career with a maiden win at Keeneland and an allowance victory at Churchill. Since the Northern Dancer, he has had two half-mile breezes, on July 4 and Aug. 1.

From Mike Welsch's article posted on March 2:
"Munnings worked this morning, and we're about ready to start looking for a race for him," said Pletcher. "We also had to send Obligingly back to WinStar for some time off. He just wasn't moving right, although we haven't been able to pinpoint any specific problem."

I'll put them on the DL when I finally get around to updating it completely.


Dan, will you please post the pp's for a horse than ran at Churchill in the late 80's or early 90's named WALK THE BABY?  He was one of my dads and my favorites. He'll flip if he sees WALK THE BABY's pp's
Captain Bodgit

Here's what I have for Walk the Baby:

Download Walkthebaby


On another subject...I've spent 20 of the past 25 years at Saratoga for Travers week, and this year I couldn't make it, so I didn't buy the "Saratoga Special".  Dan, you had such great success the last two years with your spa babies, can you let us freeloaders know how you're doing this year?
Also, in honor of Travers week: several years ago a horse named Iron Will ran on Travers Day.  This horse was a sprinter who once had beaten Artax, but was running as an 8- or maybe even 9-year-old.  I seem to recall he had a female trainer entering her second race of the year. He won that day at big odds, making me very happy indeed.  Can you post his past performances?  And any idea who his trainer was that day?

With one week left in the meeting, I'm currently sitting at 61-14-24 (+ $10.80).  I'd love to end this meet in the black for the fourth straight season, but it's still a long road.

Here's what I have on Iron Will:

Download IronWill


Hey Dan,
I was watching the TV feed from Penn National out of the corner of my eye on Saturday night, and I noticed a horse in the 6th Race, a $4,000 claimer, by the name of Dashboard Drummer. A quick google shows that he was stakes placed a few years ago, and I was wondering if you could post his past performances
Jason N

Here's what I have for Dashboard Drummer:

Download DashboardDrummer


Saw some nice Dixie Union Babies this weekend can you post his PPs, along with Eddington and Proud Accolade"

Here's what I have on the sires:

Download Sires


Could you post the pps of old yet retired Tour of the Cat and Dancing Brave and Symboli Rudolf, did these foreigners run in the Breeder's Turf? Thanks a lot!
Jose Iglesias Garcia

Here's what I have on the retired runners:

Download Retired


Dan...if you get the chance can you download a few pp's...
Love Sign, Plankton, Willow Hour, Sprink....
They are all NY horses...

Here's what I have on these old campaigners:

Download NewYork


HG Selection:
With our constant focus on DLM/SPA (rightfully so), I tried to find a different spot for our contest. Landed on a nice little turf race at MTH (8th) on Thursday afternoon....clear weather
predicted in NJ all week, so let's give it a go.
Matt M

Congrats to Matt M. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  Here are this week's past performances:

Download HandiGambling

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."   Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. 

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.  The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are.  I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.


Take care,