08/14/2010 12:05PM

La Jolla Handicap, Monmouth Oaks


I'm interested in a couple of stakes races this afternoon.  Let me know what you think.

La Jolla Handicap - Del Mar - Race 9:
This is scheduled to be SIDNEY'S CANDY's turf debut and the Santa Anita Derby winner tuned up for the La Jolla with six furlongs around the Del Mar turf course (dogs up) in a blazing 1:11 4/5.  We know his credentials and I think he deserves a mulligan for his narrow loss in the Grade 2 Swaps last time out on Cushion Track. 
Although he was 2-5 to take down the Swaps, that race was the first start for Sidney's Candy since his Kentucky Derby debacle and he was expected to take them all the way at a demanding nine furlongs.  He should be sharper for this start. 
The reason I don't like Sidney's Candy to win the La Jolla has nothing to do with current condition.  I don't like Sidney's Candy to win the La Jolla because of the expected pace scenario.  Sidney's Candy, a confirmed front-runner, may have to deal with MACIAS in the first half-mile of the La Jolla.  Macias, the pacesetter in his last two races, both turf routes, is very tough to control once he leaves the gate, often pulling Martin Garcia right to the front.  If Macias and Sidney's Candy hook up in a speed duel, that could leave both vulnerable for closers.  If Sidney's Candy decides to let Macias go, that would put Sidney's Candy in the unfamiliar position of chasing and passing.  Either way, it could prove problematic for Sidney's Candy.
The five horses that would benefit from a contentious pace are LEROY'S DYNAMEAUX, SUMMER MOVIE, KID EDWARD, GOLDEN ITIZ, and ALPHIE'S BET.  Of those five, I prefer Summer Movie, third in the Swaps behind Sidney's Candy.  There was no pace on in the Swaps but Summer Movie kept grinding it out to the wire and galloped out nicely after the fact.  He has two wins on grass and seems to be returning to form after an ankle injury knocked him out at the beginning of the year. 
Selections:  Summer Movie, Sidney's Candy, Golden Itiz

Monmouth Oaks - Monmouth - Race 11 -  August 14:
PATRIOTIC VIVA passed the two-turn test quite nicely in the Serena's Song Stakes at Monmouth on July 17, but she was able to control a rated pace that day and the scenario may be vastly different this time around.  WORSHIP THE MOON and ABSINTHE MINDED both may have designs on the lead and that could set things up for NO SUCH WORD and SEEKING THE TITLE, two fillies that have chased the best in the division and should benefit from class relief.
I'm going with No Such Word, who raced evenly behind Blind Luck in the Delaware Oaks two starts back.  Previously, she won the Go For Wand at Delaware and was a game second in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.  Cindy Jones worked No Such Word five furlongs in 59 4/5 five days before the good Black-Eyed Susan performance and she'll try to repeat the pattern here as she drilled No Such Word five-eighths in 58 flat five days before the Monmouth Oaks. 
Selections:  No Such Word, Patriotic Viva, Absinthe Minded

Van Savant, I believe it was, asked about Grassy in today's Sword Dancer.  I was his biggest fan going into the Dixie at Pimlico and he just didn't pick up his feet that afternoon.  Perhaps the "confidence-building" win last time over weaker can put him over the hump.  I have to admit that I don't have a great feeling about the Sword Dancer.  Expansion looks tough, but I wonder if 12 furlongs is his best game.  Grand Couturier and Telling are a combined 0 for their last 10.  We'll see if Marlang can take them wire-to-window.  Bearpath and Interpatation could both win.  It's a fun race, but I won't be involved that deep.

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Sancho Panza dmr owner, any relation to Martin Panza ? " A few things wrong with your post, mainly accuracy and proper prospective" . I notice that you didn't cite any inaccuracy in my post along with your claim of innacuracy. Thats typical. Perspective is in the eye of the beholder. We all view things a little differently. I believe I've looked at breakdowns with a panoramic view and I have concluded breakdowns are bound to happen. Its systematic. Both good and bad horses breakdown. Mares with female families full of winners and producers of winners sell in foal for less than the stud fee all day long at Barretts. " The breeders race their stock ,not sell." Really, how is it that the horse ended up in the hands of others ? Oh, it was claimed from a selling race . In fact sold. The downward spiral is about the way racing treats its patrons not the way it treats its horses. Pound the stakes light the fires and break out the tar and feathers. Lets start with Barbaro's trainer. Ruffian anyone ? Go for Wand ? Mr. Nickerson ? Eight belles ? Global Hunter ? Tuscan Evening ? Her trainer runs a lot of cheapies . He's known for dropping multiple levels. Winslow Homer theres a good one ? Go Between, Mott right ? Fantasy Free ? Big Brown anyone? Charismatic ? Prairie Bayou ? Swale? Landaluce ? George Washington (same owners as barbaro I think, not positive though) SHAM, how could a trainer be more abusive to his horse than to have him repeatedly knock heads with Secretariat ? Right RED fans. Just think how bad the trainers and owners of those horses must be . They couldn't even keep their best horses from dropping dead or breaking down or both. Doug O'neil however is supposed to wave his magic wand and assure that a $2000 claimer positively won't breakdown. CALERA LEVEL
Sancho Panza More than 1 year ago
Blackseabass I'll make it vanilla for you....racing vs selling at the yearling sales. If you pay attention, you'll see that breeders who produce horses for racing will occasionally drop their fillies/mares into high level claimers only to buy them at the end of their careers. Happens regulary. Didn't want to completely embarass you but....your inaccurracy comes with your assumption that an injured horse will breakdown just as easily in a pasture as on a track. Trainers, Vets, Horsemen will wholeheartedly disagree with that off-the-cuff assumption. Fact is, race stress contributes to the equine propensity to break bones, tear ligaments, and damage joints as much as the racing surface or a predisposed injury. A horse galloping in a pasture naturally protects itself, no stress involved. Current or former athletes would understand this concept. The backlash eminating from this case should be focused on the individuals who facilitated the fatality. Track vet, state vet, trainer, stable manager, and owner. Couldn't comment on the specifics of the nice horses you listed that brokedown. I can only confirm that, in this case, O'Neill was negligent in placing that mare in that race, aware that she was injured (will have to be disclosed by their vet during the review), placing blinkers on, and introducing a new racing surface. Who knows if she was injected to reduce pain but stress levels were definately heightened in that horse. You'll find the feedback from her jockey on opening day at Del Mar will be a damaging factor for O'Niell in the CHRB review report. He pulled her up while crossing the wire and she limped off the track. Track Vet was also negligent and unaware of what to do even though it was easy to identify the problem in the post parade. He assumed the trainer knows his stock and enters horses capable of finishing the race. I agree that breakdowns will continue to occur nationwide in thoroughbred horseracing. Always have, always will. I know many trainers and vets who straddle the line between pushing to win and protecting the horse. This trainer has a different view of how he will operate his business. Good for him if he can develop a successful operation while looking out for the best interest of both his owners and horses. In this case he gambled and it cost a horse's life. Trainer and owner rolled the dice and trainer's stable is paying the price in a big way. Horses/owners are leaving that barn as I write this.
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Fisherman, Just when I thought I made an inlay w/the overkill of Next Weeks Horse of the Generation{25 years apart ?}, along comes next weeks version.......LOL.........>>>& next weeks ? ad naueum.. Any ventures for next months' ?>>>>>>>>Care to elaborate ? You do get this ? Right ? BTW: reCaptcha intercepted me.."It's Baaack...."
blackstone More than 1 year ago
HG 199 Nothing like posting early, but I'm leaving for the rest of the week and won't have a chance to look at PP's or doing any posting. The bet: $100 exacta-#1 (Wayoff) to #4-Saint Leon Wayoff's Trainer's record speaks for itself-boy, Canani sure must have learned a bunch of things since leaving So Cal. Horse is 0 for 12 on the turf, but Canani's magic will get him over the top (I hope)-think he has a chance to catch Saint Leon at the wire. As to Saint Leon-obvious chalk with BSF power and lone speed. Strong Syn/Turf record for the trainer-might demolish the field. Sorry Steven Taylor-can't pick That I Am, but will sure be rooting for him, in spite of the HG Contest. Good luck to you!
AnneM More than 1 year ago
I am rather appalled by blackseabass's comments - There is clearly a problem with what happened to Burna Dette and from what I read, attempts were made by her previous owners and breeders to purchase her and they were refused. Without the horse there would be no racining/betting - Their care and welfare should come first and formost. Trainers need to be held accountible. Just because some trainers come off as nice, friendly people - it doesn't excuse the missuse of horses. This trainer has been fined over and over again for the use of illegal drugs on his horses. And yet this seems to be overlooked. How many more horses like Burna Dette have to die on the track?
steve taylor More than 1 year ago
Is everyone o.k with the fifth at Arlington on Friday for hg. Its the jockey challenge race.
Alan More than 1 year ago
Robert SD, I too have been watching the story about the unfortunate death of Burna Dette and remain amazed that DRF ignores the entire incident. To not even mention the death of the 5yo mare and the "coincidence" of her shipping to Los Alamitos for a major class-dropping claiming race is shameful. Sadly it appears that DRF has officially become a shill publication for the racing industry. DRF ignores such controversial stories IMO to keep in the good graces of supertrainers and owners. Fortunately there are still some who take their journalistic responsibility seriously and place the safety of the athletes (yes, even the 5 yr old mare dropped into a LosAl $2k claimer) and the reputation of our industry above their ability to pal around the backstretch with the Doug O'Neills of the world. Those journalists don't mind risking the loss of that post-race "puff piece" interview with a stakes-winning supertrainer. Maybe the drop into the $2k claimer was totally legit and Burna Dette's death was unavoidable. But you still gotta ask the questions. And, uh....remember that the trainer involved here was not exactly a boy scout in the first place! Robert, I agree with you about The Paulick Report - his website has become the conscience of the industry. This is his best story on Berna Dette's death. I call it "Doug O'Neill Unplugged": http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/searching-for-the-truth-on-doug-oneill/ Does DRF find any of these above trainer comments or Los Alamitos vet practice accusations worthy of journalistic investigation and/or mention? What about an article discussing the pros/cons (and interviewing trainers and owners as to their opinions) of changing the claiming rules or turning over training & vet records after a horse's death? Are these type of articles not worthy of a paper that calls itself "America's Turf Authority Since 1894"? For those interested in this story, you have to go elsewhere. You won't find it at DRF or The Bloodhorse. Other articles available online include: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/columns/story?columnist=plonk_jeremy&id=5464169 http://www.thepilot.com/news/2010/aug/15/two-success-stories-two-different-philosophies/ There is even a followup interview on The Paulick Report interviewing the owner of Burna Dette, giving his side of the story: http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/burna-dette-owner-everyone-out-there-is-acting-like-doug-and-i-got-a-roll-of-duct-tape-and-wrapped-her-up/ There are no articles or stories like this at DRF or The Bloodhorse. They gotta keep the bread buttered. They can't rile up a supertrainer. The sad tale of Burna Dette's death is yet another reminder of what we see every day, particularly at those race tracks with lesser vet standards. Cheaper claiming horses are treated like a commodity to sell as is, often like a house you are trying to unload with a leaky roof. Let the buyer beware, let the horseplayer beware, and as to the poor horse...let the horse be damned.
vicstu More than 1 year ago
The Budapest Bullet it back! Goldikova lost a hearbreaker to Paco Boy on the other side of the pond on Sunday, but get a load of... Overdoooooooooooooose! (Overdose). After a mild test in his comeback race, Overdose routed his competition at Kincsem Park by 10 and ran 5 furlongs in 56.2. He is now 14 for 14, and has never been close to losing at the wire. He set the course record in Paris in 2008 before they called it a no race as a horse was left in the gate. Next up: Baden Baden and Golden P. (Gr 2). In Germany. A race he won by 15 lengths two years ago. Here is his race on YouTube from Sunday, he is a blast to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXx9CH8tFzs&feature=player_embedded
Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, chickens hardly ever kick their owners brains out or bite them when there not looking, unlike racehorses.LOL. Yes I occasionally eat chicken. I don't eat fish though. I sure wouldn't expect that you all should not eat fish even though I'd prefer that. Mickey, you mean ol' horse hater you. I like a guy who's willing to take an unpopular stance even though there is no reason that the truth should be so unpopular. Kat, I never said anything about horses being machines. Sometimes things are simple. Atheletes compete. Atheletes breakdown. Its that simple. RADIO VESTURCE
robertSD More than 1 year ago
Blackseabass - I had written a (much longer) response but found it much too harsh upon reflection. That said, it is unfortunate that your recent post (August 16, 2010 - 04:06 PM) on the Burna Dette death sadly considers her no more than a wagering transaction (all about business) with little regard for the fact that she was a living breathing animal. Unfortunately that's also just the kind of attitude (think trainer Doug O'Neill) that got her into that situation in the first place. Sad indeed. - robertSD
Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Steven Taylor, it is admirable that you have'nt had a breakdown in 4 yrs with your small stable of cheap claimers. If you had 400 horses you would probably have a few though. I doubt O'neil is staying up late in his laboratory devising plots to break horses down either. I wish you well with all your horses in the future. I hope none ever do breakdown because there are people out there that are gonna want to blame you. Obviously I won't be one of them. I'm not a nascar fan. I don't go to the races to see the crashes. I don't go to sales that I never buy anything from because I'm a despicable horse hater. Ask Laura how boring that might be for someone who didn't actually like looking at horses. I think it can be a little hard for the spectator class to grasp the amount of pysical stress the body of an athelete endures. Injury is part of the game, whatever the game. Even high school atheletes do not play pain free. They do it because they love it. The general public doesn't grasp the connection only because we don't euthanize a football player when he gets his leg broken. Now that brings me to PETA . They won't be satisfied with less than a ban on racing ,although they'll be happy to get there incrementally. Peta's stance is, the bad humans are making the poor horses do something they don't want to do. Anybody thats ever watched the horses work in the mornings would recognize that as blatently false. Horses LIKE TO RUN. They struggle buck and kick when being held to a two-minute lick because they want to haul. 3/4 of them balk and stall when its time for them to leave the track because they would rather run around a couple more times. If anything the bad humans are attempting to make sure the horse doesn't over do it. Anne M , I'm appalled too, thats why I injected a liitle dose of reality into the conversation. " How many more horses like Burna Dette have to die on the track?" Probably about the same pct.of overall runners that have died on the track since racing began. You can't race them without risking a breakdown , plain and simple. Ofcoarse you can't turn them loose in a field without risking a breakdown either. As far as no horse no racing/betting goes, thats factually incorrect as I've bet Mules and Crabs . Others on the blog have probably bet a dog or two on occasion and I think Annie has even bet camels and ostriches. I believe you have it backwards . No betting no racing/horse. Anybody that thinks thats incorrect check out what happened to racing when there was no gambling allowed in many states 100 yrs ago. Check out how successful the tracks that tried to run non-wagering meets were. I understand that facts or reality is not often welcome in an emotion driven debate but they stubbornly exist. Van Savant, I think it is, either or, for the reasons I stated above as well as many others unmentioned. You just can't have racing without breakdowns . A new round of witch trials isn't going to help. The law of averages says the bigger the trainer the more breakdowns he's going to have. Lots of stakes horses breakdown it seems like. Operative words "it seems like". There are lots of tracks running everyday and there are lots of horses that don't breakdown everyday. Unfortunatly some do. It is built in to the numbers. It can't be "helped". You know I'm a numbers guy. So I second Steven Taylor's idea of a data base to see if some trainers have a higher breakdown pct. I suspect that over many years it gets spread fairly evenly but thats a guess. AFFORN PARTY ???
Kat More than 1 year ago
The idea that there is no ground (or moral stance) between a "pet" and a "machine" is extremely simplistic.