08/06/2008 12:00AM

Dark Day 2: 8/5/08



---Three cheers for running Curlin in the Woodward. Now how do we get Big Brown to join the party? (Photo above: 1967 Horse of the Year Damascus defeating 1966 Horse of the Year Buckpasser and 1968 Horse of the Year Dr. Fager in the 1967 Woodward Stakes.)

In Utopia, Big Brown and Curlin would meet in the Woodward, then maybe a second time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup four weeks later, then probably go their separate ways -- Big Brown to the BC Classic, Curlin to the Japan Cup Dirt. ( Okay, if we're really in Utopia, they might meet a third time in a BC Classic run on a dirt track, but that's not happening.)

In Reality, Big Brown's camp claims it has the better horse but instead of facing Curlin in the Woodward, it is demanding that someone dream up and sponsor a mid-September grass race for him to use as a prep for a Curlin-less Classic. He's a great horse, they say, but they will not be campaigning him like one if he ducks the Travers, Woodward, Gold Cup and the best horse in training. The horse who won the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness by a combined 15 lengths in seven weeks now can race only once -- and on the grass -- in the 12 weeks between the Haskell and the Classic?

--Nice story by Frank Angst over at Thoroughbred Times on two old racehorses who will be competing in the Summer Olympics: Chesterstimetoofly, a 16-year-old Washington-bred gelding, and Courageous Comet(right), a 12-year-old New York-bred who won a maiden race at Belmont for trainer David Donk 10 years ago and finished third in a division of the 1999 NY Stallion Stakes. Here are their lifetime pp's:

Download Chesterstimetoofly.pdf

Download CourageousComet.pdf


--Dark Day Two began with some lively discussions at the Albany Law School's Saratoga Institute forum, which I'll write about this weekend, followed by my first afternoon In Town since the meeting began. Made the usual stops -- lunch at Compton's, the old-school breakfast-all-day diner on Broadway, and trinket-buying at the every-Tuesday Crafts Fair around the carousel in Congress Park -- but found a few familiar stores missing, and a couple of new restaurants already closed. Like everywhere else in America, the growth of chain stores and franchises, at the expense of independent and eccentric establishments of yesteryear, has transformed the main drag over the last decade, and some charm has been lost along the way.

--The Wednesday card, as a couple of commenters have noted, "features" six consecutive maiden races, the 2nd through the 7th:

Race 2: 3+ MdClm45000, 1 1/16m-Inner Turf
Race 3: 3+F MdClm 25000, 7f-dirt
Race 4: 3+ MdSpWt, 1 3/8 m-Inner Turf
Race 5: 2yo MdClm100000, 5 1/2f-dirt
Race 6: 3+ NY-bred MdSpWt, 6f-dirt
Race 7: 2yo MdSpWt, 6f-dirt

Kinda glad there was no double-carryover: The pick-6 begins with the latter three races, including a blind third leg, as the 7th race consists of one second-time starter and nine first-timers.

Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
I saw Dr Fager run twice: Winning the Rock Special at Rockingham Park in 1967, entered thanks to Johnny Nerud's long friendship with "Uncle Lou" Smith, the inimtable impresario of the Ol' Rock, and the kind of owner we all miss. And at the Spa winning the '68 Whitney under 132 lbs and the great reinsman, Braulio Baeza, often called the greatest one season any race horse ever had, and good enough to land him at # 6 on the Blood Horse all-time list, ahead of Buckpasser, Damascus, Spectacular Bid, and Seattle Slew, among many other big names. I agree with Spectacular Bid: The Doc was unbeatable up to a mile and a quarter unless there was a "rabbit" in the race; it's the only way Damascus could beat him. I saw all 3 run at Saratoga, Buckpasser in the '66 Travers and Damascus in the '67 Travers; NYRA should feature replays of those races on anniversary dates to reinforce the Spa's rich history of offering the biggest names in the sport. Didn't see any replay of the Doc's big Whitney win on the 40th anniversary of that race. C'mon NYRA p.r. people, you can generate fan interest and enthusiasm in today's racing- and the future- by showing film and video replays of the Spa's legendary stakes winners. It you've got it, flaunt it, I always say. Also, kudos and thanks to Jess Jackson for running Curlin in the Woodward. He is tops in my book, from the old school, a nice reminder of the gentlemen/sportsmen who once dominated the "field". Class always comes through in the end, in owners as well as racehorses.
spectacularbid More than 1 year ago
yuwipi, i was at all 3 of seattle slew's triple crown races. he was indeed a great horse and is in my top 5 of all time along with the great dr, spectacularbid, ruffian and kelso.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Hard Moonshine - what's the record for consecutive scratches ? Know The Game was bumped at the start and wide at Belmont on July 2. Interesting.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Is there a widely accepted definition for ‘shipper’ or ‘invader’? I can't tell you where a horse has been stabled and for how long before it's Saratoga race, but I put together an analysis of where they last raced: http://home.comcast.net/~dan.mackenzie/Sar_LastRacedAt.htm For my purposes, I counted 124 winners of 122 races (1 dead-heat for win and 1 purse-only finished first). Watch out for Arlington and Woodbine "shippers". Wednesday. Hard Moonshine has been scratched out of races at Belmont on June 11, June 27, June 29, July 4 and Saratoga July 25. Interesting
Prozac Jack More than 1 year ago
Why should this industry generate "Big Money" to attract a Curlin -Big Brown match? I cannot for the life of me figure out why my fellow blog-readers pay much attention to these "star" horses that are here today and gone tomorrow.So you get a little press coverage and a BUMP in attendance for one or two days, BIG DAEL.The money, in my humble opinion has and continues to go in the wrong direction, we need another MILLION dollar race like I need another "nagging wife" Racetrack management would be better off if they put that money, in an all out effort to strengthen the CLAIMING game, the BACKBONE of this business. Retired millionaire race horses at the age of 3or 4 is ridiculous, usually owned by BILLIONAIRES for crying out loud.This industry, like I've said many times, SUFFERS from the most INCOMPETENT group in all of sports.What they need to do is take care of the customers they have and AGGRESSIVELY go after the BABY BOOMERS that are set to retire with an estimated 10 TRILLION handed down from their parents, many of them have NEVER set foot inside a race track.And instead of the "cheap give=aways" subsidize the cost of the FOOD concessions so a father can bring a couple of kids with him without getting RIPPED off when buying an ice cream cone at a cost of $4.00 a crack.This is NOT the same as the outlandish prices at the Ball game, at the Ball-park they are NOT asking you to BET.Reduce the food prices, give the old timers 25 cent coffee, strengthen the CLAIMING game and the PEOPLE will return.....
easygoer More than 1 year ago
easygoer's rules of handicapping cont'd: 1) sometimes I'M the stupid money 2) betting longshots is fun 3) don't bet based on a tip you pick up on a blog...Lord Snooty?...finished 4th out of eight 4) sometimes you simply must share your live bomb...so: Sky Copper in the 8th at the Spa Shhhh...don't tell anyone...
Teag More than 1 year ago
Is it too naive to wonder why the industry cannot figure out how to generate enough money from a Curlin-Big Brown matchup in the Woodward, and funnel enough of it into the purse, to lure Big Brown? Is $5 million, $10 million really that unreasonable for the best show racing can offer?
hz hackenbush More than 1 year ago
Steve - I read a story wherein Iavarone is REQUESTING that a race be written for Big Brown, but I have not seen a story wherein Iavarone is DEMANDING a race be written for Big Brown...
G or G More than 1 year ago
Steve, What if we send IEAH a petition of e-mails asking them to "man up" and run Big Brown against Curlin. Their contact info is: Business Address: 595 Stewart Avenue Suite 810 Garden City, N.Y. 11530 Telephone Number: (516) 393-0200 Fax Number: (516) 393-0203 Contact Email Addresses: MIavarone@ieah.com RSchiavo@ieah.com MSherack@ieah.com Website: www.IEAH.com
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Gonna swang for it with Streetprice in the 3rd today (just lookin for value on a bad card). He gets to put two races together for the 1st time in his life (an angle I like). Lotsa next out winners in his company lines, came out of a fairly quick race, has pace and the rail, and comes out of a turf sprint, which is(IMO) the best tightener or 'get fit' exercise in all of racing....why not? The #2 horse may outsprint him and he may just back up and chuck it, but something tells me he will be involved for a long time in this race.