11/27/2012 12:39PM

Farewell Shackleford. Farewell Stay Thirsty

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Two very good older horses bid farewell with major Grade 1 wins over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

*The popular SHACKLEFORD, winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes and hero of this spring's Metropolitan Handicap, dug in tenaciously to fend off all challengers in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.  Shackleford was eliminated at the start of his previous race, the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, but he broke alertly in the Clark and immediately went to the front under Jesus Castanon.  Shackleford set moderate early fractions of 24.31 and 48.65 while being kept well off the inside (the rail didn't seem very good at Churchill last week), opened up a bit after a quick third quarter and refused to yield despite drifting in the stretch.

TAKE CHARGE INDY, making his second start back following an injury-induced layoff, chased the winner in vain throughout. He could be a promising player in the division next year, but his connections are debating whether he'll be retired to stud.  Let him race, for goodness sakes! These early retirements are ridiculous!

BOURBON COURAGE may be the horse you want to take out of the Clark.  He was down on the deeper inside footing and was floated out by Shackleford in the stretch.  “There’s no reason to turn him out if he’s 100-percent,” assistant trainer Evan Downing told Churchill track publicity. “The plan is to take him to New Orleans on Monday. We’ll look at something like the Mineshaft (GIII at Fair Grounds on Feb. 23). That would be a good prep for something like the New Orleans Handicap (GII at Fair Grounds on March 30).”

It's hard to believe that Shackleford is only four as he danced every tango for trainer Dale Romans, racing in 17 consecutive Grade 1 or 2 events at various distances since February 2011. A graded winner from seven furlongs to 1 3/16 miles, Shackleford will stand at Darby Dan Farm in 2013 and the Forestry colt's female family is top class.  Let's take a look at the produce record of Shackleford's dam, the stakes-placed Oatsee (by Unbridled).

2002 - Grand Portege, (f) by Grand Slam - winner, $101,171 in earnings
2003 - BAGHDARIA, (f) by Royal Academy - three-time Grade 3 winner (Indiana Oaks, Silverbulletday Stakes, Iowa Oaks), $725,433 in earnings
2004 - LADY JOANNE, (f) by Orientate - Grade 1 winner (Alabama Stakes), $987,094 in earnings.
2005 - Haysee, (f) by Orientate - unraced
2006 - Miss Sea Oats, (by Langfuhr) - placed, $1,385 in earnings
2007 - AFLEETING LADY, (f) by Afleet Alex - Grade 2 winner (Falls City Handicap), $473,526 in earnings
2008 - SHACKLEFORD, (c) by Forestry - three-time Grade 1 winner (Preakness Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Clark Handicap), $3,090,101 in earnings
2009 - STEPHANOATSEE, (r) by A.P. Indy - stakes-winner (Barbaro Stakes), $213,000 in earnings.
2010 - Dare Me, (c) by Johannesburg - unraced
2011 - Barren (Dixie Union)
2012 - Play Pretty, (f) by Indian Charlie - unraced
2013 - In foal to Bernardini

After dropping her Bernardini foal, Oatsee is scheduled to be bred to the recently-retired FRANKEL.

This is the female family of three-time Grade 1 winner Tappiano, familiar stallions A.P Jet, Tentam and Known Fact, and Secrettame, the dam of Gone West and Lion Cavern.

As a side note, 2-year-old DARE ME has worked 12 times for Graham Motion, but hasn't recorded an official drill since October 13.

*STAY THIRSTY finished behind Shackleford in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, but got to the wire before that rival in the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.  A Spa-loving son of Bernardini, Stay Thirsty graduated going six furlongs at Saratoga before finishing second in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes.  Stay Thirsty completed the Jim Dandy Stakes - Travers double at three and rounded back into his best form in his last two races.  In the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on September 29, Stay Thirsty set the pace, shrugged off early challenges from SAN PABLO and RULER ON ICE, denied a prolonged bid from next-out Breeders' Cup Classic winner FORT LARNED and almost shooed away the final surge from FLAT OUT.  Stay Thirsty dropped a tough head decision, but the race set him up beautifully for the Cigar Mile.  Ridden by Ramon Dominguez in the Cigar, Stay Thirsty tracked BUFFUM, GROUPIE DOLL and COIL while those three eyeballed each other through slow fractions.  Stay Thirsty wheeled four wide on the turn and he just got his nose down when it counted the most. Stay Thirsty will stand at Ashford Stud next season for $17,500 and should infuse some stamina into the breed.  By a long-winded stallion out of a mare that won at 1 1/2 miles, Stay Thirsty had enough speed to win at six furlongs and enough staying power to prevail at 1 1/4 miles.  He finished second in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes as did his half-brother, Andromeda's Hero.  The second dam, stakes-winner Make Change, placed in eight Grade 1 races while the third dam finished second in the Coaching Club American Oaks behind some filly named Ruffian. Another big name deep in the female family is Prove Out, who upset Secretariat in the 1973 Woodward.

*Owner Michael Repole had an amazing weekend, winning the Cigar with Stay Thirsty, the Grade 2 Demoiselle with UNLIMITED BUDGET and the Grade 2 Remsen with OVERANALYZE. His old warrior, CAIXA ELETRONICA, also caught the eye with his victory in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap.  Following the scratch of POSEIDON'S WARRIOR, the Fall Highweight was left with no speed other than the returning THIS ONES FOR PHIL. Caixa Eletronica, normally a late-kicker, was forced to alter his style,  Lugging 133 pounds, he chased This Ones for Phil from the outset and when the pacesetter couldn't shake him turning for home, supporters of favored This Ones for Phil knew that they were in for a fight.  Caixa Eletronica usually wins these battles and the salty 7-year-old blew past This Ones for Phil en route to a 107-Beyer score.  He's done just about everything in his career, this Caixa Eletronica.  He's a multiple graded winner at six furlongs, owns a graded score at a mile, took the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic around a three-turn nine furlongs under lights, and has won three times at weights over 127 pounds, almost unheard of in this country nowadays.

*Another lovable oldtimer is BEN'S CAT.  We've talked about him many times in this space for his courage and heart (heck, he survived a broken pelvis as a young horse and still has enjoyed a very successful career).  Mostly known as a crack turf sprinter, Ben's Cat won the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap on the dirt at Penn National last week.  He is now 8-12 on dirt to go along with his 11-17 mark on the grass.  Eight of those wins have come by under a length.  He likes a good stretch brawl.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (11/19/12 - 11/25/12):

1. STAY THIRSTY - 109 - Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
2. CAIXA ELETRONICA - 107 - Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
3. INFRATTINI - 106 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile - Churchill
4. DELAUNAY - 103 - Thanksgiving Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
4. SHACKLEFORD - 103 - Clark Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Churchill
6. CSABA - 101 (DH) - Fred W. Hooper Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
6. DUCDUC - 101 (DH) - Fred W. Hooper Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
8. KINDLE - 100 - Cool Air Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
8. NICOLE H - 100 - Daylily Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
10. BEN'S CAT - 99 - Fabulous Strike Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
10. OVERANALYZE - 99 - Remsen Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
10. STRING KING - 99 - Mr. Sulu Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Fair Grounds
13. BETTER LUCKY - 98 - Matriarch Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
13. HEAD HEART HOOF - 98 - Hcp 14000s - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
15. BEAR TOUGH TIGER - 97 - Kennedy Road Stakes (G3-C) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
15. DATA LINK - 97 - Citation Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
17. DANCE CARD - 96 - Gazelle Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
17. KEEP UP - 96 - River City Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
17. SAN PABLO - 96 - Swatara Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Penn National
20. FIT TO RULE - 95 - Md Sp Wt 45k - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
20. FLYING ZEALOUS - 95 - Alw 25000s - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
20. JETER - 95 - OC 14k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
20. REALLY MR GREELY - 95 - Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
20. UNBRIDLED COMMAND - 95 - Hollywood Derby (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
25. MAGIC BROOMSTICK - 95 - Bessarabian Stakes (G3-C) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
25. RIGHTFULLY SO - 95 - Alw 51548N1X - 7 Furlongs - Churchill
25. VILLANDRY - 94 - Alw 54000N2X - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Churchill

*STAY THIRSTY's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

Let's go with Friday's tenth race at Calder for this week's HandiGambling exercise.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

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."
 
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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.
Best of luck to all.

*Be back with the weekend recap early next week.

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Stay Thirsty.pdf60.18 KB
HGTropical Turf.pdf181.11 KB