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Long Island Handicap, Sharp Cat Stakes
Today's Long Island Handicap is the rare turf marathon without a single newly-minted European invader.
Sure, MUSICAL RAIN was bred in Ireland, but she's raced here 10 times already. We can claim her as one of ours.
Yes, HASAY was foaled in Great Britain, but she's run five times over American soil in 2011 for Team Valor, the owners of Animal Kingdom, the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby. There's nothing more American than the Derby so Hasay plays for our team.
The defending Long Island champion, MEKONG MELODY, was dropped in Ireland, but the statute of limitations on her has long run out. It's been fifteen starts and three years since she's been overseas.
Just to make sure I remain completely patriotic, however, I will eschew those three and select HIT IT RICH, a gray daughter of Smart Strike.
Hit It Rich has yet to race beyond nine furlongs, but her pedigree and temperament seem well-suited to the additional distance. We all know of Smart Strike's exploits at stud, but the dam, Cuando Puede, is a half-sister to the long-winded, multiple Grade 1 winner Honey Ryder (won 11 stakes races, two at 12 furlongs).
Hit It Rich only defeated three other rivals in an off-the-turf allowance over the Keeneland polytrack on October 13, but she did it the right way. After breaking smartly, Hit It Rich allowed the speed to go on and she tracked that loose leader from the second spot. When it was time to attack, Hit It Rich responded and she kept to her business in professional fashion in the stretch, winning by 3 3/4 lengths for trainer Shug McGaughey. Shug's horses often improve with distance and maturity and it's possible that Hit It Rich, a soon-to-be 5-year-old, is reaching her peak.
Hit It Rich also boasts good tactical speed. She may be on the lead in the Long Island, a race without a ton of early pace. If Javier Castellano slows down the tempo down the backstretch, Hit It Rich's chances of lasting this demanding distance go way up.
Selections: HIT IT RICH, EMERALD BEECH, UNBRIDLED ESSENCE
In Sunday's Sharp Cat for juvenile fillies at Hollywood, CHARM THE MAKER looks like the filly with a future. By Empire Maker out of Grade 3 winner Charm the Giant, Charm the Maker won first-out at Del Mar before finishing a close third in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf at the Sharp Cat distance. Add in the fact that Charm the Maker pitched a fit behind the gate before the Oak Leaf and that she's still a little green, and it's easy to see why this filly will take boatloads of money. She's the most likely winner, but I'll take a slight stab with Willa B Awesome, a Cal-bred that ran a corker behind the promising Starlight Magic in the recent California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. That race was Willa B Awesome's first run route try and she was up and on a solid pace, making the front after six furlongs. Although no match for Starlight Magic in the stretch, she was 10 1/2 lengths clear of the third runner and the race came back faster than the juvenile male division at the same distance. Willa B Awesome won her debut over this cushion track and may find herself tracking stretch-out sprinter LADY PECAN. Willa B Awesome could attempt to get the jump on Charm the Maker turning for home. This will be a tall task for the Cal-bred, but she should offer playable odds.
Selections: WILLA B AWESOME, CHARM THE MAKER, OBLIVION
Quick and dirty selections:
Autumn: CITY WOLF, PENDER HARBOUR, JAMES STREET
Real Quiet: CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, LIASION, ROUSING SERMON
New York Stallion Series (Aqueduct R2, Sunday): THE FUNKY EXPRESS, LENDERS WAY, KING OF THE DISCO
New York Stallion Series (Aqueduct R3, Sunday): PAGE BY PAGE, SALTAMONTES, LADY ON THE RUN
New York Stallion Series (Aqueduct R7, Sunday): UNCLE T SEVEN, MAKE NOTE, SILENT ANGEL
New York Stallion Series (Aqueduct R8, Sunday): THINK I'M HOOKED, HOOKED ON DANCE, BAIT
For more detailed analysis, please check out the video previews that Mike Beer and I produced for some of this weekend's major stakes races:
(Sunday's races should be up later tonight/tomorrow morning).
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
Laura, You recently posted that not all breeders are wealthy. I suppose the same is true of racehorse ownership in the US? I always remember jumping into a battered old cab at a racetrack just outside New Orleans. Chatting to the driver I was astounded to learn that he had owned one of the runners that evening. It didn't win, so I had to pay the fare. That sort of thing just couldn't happen in the UK. Winners prize money is set at poverty level for all low to middle grade racing. Just had a quick look at the figures for today's only flat meeting - a very low level meeting at an all weather track. 7 races with an average winners prize of £2,040. Yes, that is £2,040 - I haven't missed a zero off the end. With average training fees around the £15,000 mark, very few cab drivers can afford to own a horse. Certainly not 100% of a horse. That is why owners syndicates are booming in the UK. You get a slice of the action, but for a modest cost. There is a very old, very corny racing joke. Question - How do you make a small fortune from horseracing? Answer - Start off with a much larger fortune. Regards - Bernard Downes
Keith L, Yes, the dam has equal importance in determining atributes of the foal, since she contributes half of the genes. Additionally, the dam sire will either contribute speed or stamina through the dam. It's a well known breeding theory that the distaff line contributes racing class and stamina. Bernard, Common racetrack lore: "Four white feet and a white nose-take off his hide and feed him to the crows." The theory goes that a horse with white feet/hooves have tender feet. This is actually a myth. A white hoof lacks the pigmentation of a darker hoof, but a study was done in the 70's comparing the structural differences between the black and white hoof. No correlation between hardness of the hoof wall and the pigmentation of the hoof were found. However the saying, "No hoof no horse." is very true. If the feet aren't cared for on a regular basis, your horse can't run to its full potential. Bernard, While it is a genetic "roll of the dice," Breeders have an additional tool - bloodcross or "nicking patterns" to help determine if certain bloodlines work well together. For instance, the Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector (and vice versa) "nick" is the most successful and prolific bloodline cross, getting over 100,000 stakes winners. When using Nicks, I don't like to go farther back than two generations, because the Nicks only determine if the sire/damsire line work well together. They don't take into account the other half of the pedigree (the sire's distaff line or dam's second sire). Not all breeders are wealthy, in fact, the majority of the racing world is made up of the "little people." Their horses are the ones filling the claiming/lower level allowance races. Sometimes, they hit gold with a nice stakes runner. I specialize in working with small to mid-level breeders who can't afford outrageous stud fees, but still want to breed a decent horse. Remember Hilda's Passion? The breeders of that mare are small time good ole Kentucky folk. Travers Manley, an intelligent college kid in KY, got involved in breeding. He bought a mare at the Sales, sold her daughter and bred the mare back to Parading. That foal was featured in an advertisement, showing that just every day folks can be a part of the racing world. SR Vegas, Thanks for sharing my website with Bernard! Hold Me Back is one of my favorite horses! He was easily the most handsome guy in the Mott barn and he's a huge, but gentle, loving giant! He loved his peppermints and a scratch under the jaw (ohh, yeah, riiighht there, here, let me put the entire force of my head against your hand, keep scratching that jaw! Hey, where'd the hand go? What do ya mean my head is too heavy??). Annie, Laurie's Rocket is a handsome boy! Unfortunately, his pedigree indicates that he may be challenged going farther than 1 1/16 miles. His sire Bluegrass Cat hasn't produced a winner past 1 1/16 miles, although his daughter Kathmanblu was second over the turf at 1 1/8 miles in the Lake Placid Stakes (G-2) at Saratoga. Laurie's Rocket's damsire American Chance won stakes from 6 1/2 F to 1 1/8 miles, including the Forego (then a G-2) race. As a broodmare sire, his daughters bore only 1 runner who was successful at 1 1/8 miles, and one at 1 1/4 miles. The rest are sprinter/milers. Laurie's Rocket is a half brother to the turf sprinter Greeley's Rocket. their dam Clay's Rocket was also a turf sprinter and she is a half sister to Frizette heroine Adieu. Three other half sisters were stakes winning sprinter/milers. The second damsire At The Threshold won the American Derby at 1 1/4 miles, but he wasn't that great at stud, getting only blacktype runners. His best offspring was Derby winner Lil E Tee. Despite siring a Kentucky Derby winner, At The Threshold spent much of his stud career in Oklahoma. Attention those who wish to join the IMS Syndicate: PLEASE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be part of this year's group. I know SR Vegas, Cathy, Blackstone, and Keith L have mentioned that they want to renew the syndicate, so we have only 5 spots left! If you notified me on the blog that you wanted to be part of the syndicate, I might have missed it. Former members get 1st preference. Of course it's free, and this is how it works: Members pool their horses so everyone owns them. That way, if your MKB horse becomes injured or just isn't talented enough to make it on the TC Trail, you still have a shot at TC bragging rights if the other syndicate horses do well. So far in the last few year's our horses have done very well. We had Super Saver (Spartan Tom) Lookin At Lucky (TBTA) and my lil Drossy. We've also had The Factor, To Honor And Serve, and many other nice stakes horses. Blackstone, our Treasurer, keeps a spreadsheet of how well the horses have done and I add info regarding how well the horses did in their last races, current works and future plans, as well as pedigree notes. Plus, we have 2 entries into the Road To The Roses Derby Contest. Laura
Keith L I KNEW I left a few of my semi-or adopted MKB horses off my list, I missed TAPIZAR in the lists, of lists I was looking thru ! LOL! I should have looked at the Futures tickets I still have in the file, that I got for all of us. HA! Bernard Downes Thank you for your response to my questions. You also said : "When I can help, they feed my vanity. And when I can't help, they give my old brain some exercise" I liked that . I'm a curious type, so do expect more questions comming your way :) Laura Chalky posted that if there was any room in the IMS she would LOVE to come join in on the action. If not, she would offer to be a Mascot :)
Whips?.........Somebody mention whips?.............
SR Vegas, Despite 45 years experience watching horses, betting horses and visiting racetracks, I have limited knowledge of most peripheral horse racing topics. Certainly limited compared to most on here. So, sorry, I am afraid that the Cartier Awards are one such peripheral topic and I can offer no worthwhile background information. As to the awards themselves, I wouldn't argue with any of the winning horses. However, for me, the best bit of news to come out of it is that, all being well, Frankel is being stepped up to 10 furlongs next year. I am already beginning to dream that the BC Classic just might be his ultimate target in 2012. Speaking more generally about awards, for most horseplayers in the UK the Cartier Awards are not that important, certainly not on the same planet as the Eclipse Awards in the US. Remembering the Zenyatta/Rachel HOY debate, when I half expected the West Coast to invade the East, your average UK horseplayer wouldn't get very worked up about who won. I think it is the case that Sports Awards are far more important, and more prevalent, in your country than in the UK. We do have awards, but with one exception that I won't bore you with, the weeks of debate you have are unheard of on this side of the Pond. I sometimes watch American Football on the TV and I was amazed a few weeks back to hear serious discussion of Heisman Trophy candidates. Halfway through the College season? I know that John Wayne's cavalry officer used to say that apologising is a sign of weakness, but I don't agree. I believe it is politeness and the sign of a decent upbringing. So, to repeat myself, sorry for being no help on this one. Regards - Bernard Downes P.S. Despite the above, I am happy to field any questions you have. When I can help, they feed my vanity. And when I can't help, they give my old brain some exercise.
Whips make horses focus on running and remind them that they're in a race. They are also used to keep horses running straight. Banning the whip would have some big consequences. Be careful what you wish for... whips are used for a reason.
Meathead, I agree, let's whip the jocks, at least the ones who pound on the horses. Even though the "kinder, gentler stick" is being used, not all jurisdictions insist upon using them. There are several sticks lying around my house, and let me tell you, getting smacked with one would HURT! Uhmm...no, I'm NOT into S&M, why do you ask? Anyway, I've seen horses come back with welts and bleeding cuts due to excessive use of the stick. I agree partially with TBTA regarding the banning of sticks in races. I don't believe in hitting a horse constantly as a motivation to run faster. But sticks can be useful if used properly, especially during training hours. Many times, the babies want to lean on each other while their breezing down the lane. A short tap on the hindquarters will cause the horse to shift outwards, away from the stick. After a few times, they learn that leaning in on another horse will earn them a tap. Also, if a horse veers during a race, either into another horse or into the path of the horse behind him, it can be a very dangerous situation for all involved and can quickly turn into a tragic accident. A tap from a stick will generally cause a veering horse to move away from the whip, thereby avoiding or lessening the impact of a problem. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was an exercise rider in S. Florida. There were plenty of times when I had to use the stick to keep a green horse from crashing into another horse, or even the rail. It was also useful with the babies to help them learn to change leads. I do think the Stewards should regularly enforce the whipping penalties that are in place instead of the hit or miss (excuse the pun) enforcement for the occasional jock. As for Sunday Silence, he swerved like a drunken sailor ( no offense, Steve T) down the stretch of the Derby as he shied away from the whip. In the Preakness, Sunday Silence drifted slightly from the whip, but not as badly. Steve T. can give you more info on his fave horse, Sunday Silence. Mine was Easy Goer, lol. Oh, BTW, no cut and paste on the pedigree profile, I wrote everything up this morning. TY for the compliment and I hope the info is useful to those who follow pedigree. Keith L, Here's another good site for free PP's: http://www.trks2day.com/trks2day.html I have links to free PP's on the Chat Page of the IMT website. Laura
"It's a well known breeding theory that the distaff line contributes racing class and stamina." Be careful how you word that... there is no "class" gene. Females can only produce a handful of foals in their lifetime, whereas males can produce thousands. The vast majority of racehorses never accomplish anything on the track, so it is, therefore, silly and unrealistic to expect any sire to produce a high percentage of "quality" horses. If a mare, however, produces 4 stakes winners out of 11 foals, that is a viable statistic. But mares do not "contribute" quality... the mares stats are used rather than the sire stats strictly out of convenience... that is, the percentage of stakes-winning sire offspring would all be really close to 0%. Those sire numbers are completely meaningless. On the other hand, when asking whether a horse is likely to get a distance or run well on grass, the sire statistics are much more meaningful than the dam's for the exact opposite reason. Often, a dam may only produce a few, if any, runners to even attempt the new distance or surface. However, a sire will likely have a large relevant sample to draw a meaningful conclusion from. To be clear, that doesn't mean that distance and surface are "passed" by the sire and not the dam. Again, it is just a statistical convenience; it is much easier to draw overall conclusions from those numbers. I think back to the Uncle Mo discussion. Many argued that his dam side could give him a stamina boost. The POSSIBILITY was there, but the PROBABILITY was not. His sire, with over 1000 offspring to many different mares, had produced a single 10f winner that anyone could name. A bet on Uncle Mo getting 1 1/4 was a bet against that very strong sire statistic.
okiesharp, "In an open claiming race, would I be safe in throwing out any horses whose last race was an n2L or n3L in which they didn't win?" No. "Could I also throw them out in an Alwn1x or Alwn2x?" No. Nowadays, these races are all rather similar. Same is true for the optional claimers. Some fields might carry the "claiming" title, but contain nothing but drop-downs from allowance or upper claiming races. Sometimes, an allowance race might have a lot of beaten claimers running in it. One good thing about Formulator is that you can get an idea for the overall quality of each field, regardless of how the DRF titles the race. I do that, rather than make a big deal out of the minutiae contained in the headers or PP lines.
TBTA, I didn't say Artest wasn't talented or good; I said he was very green and unprofessional in his debut win and I stand by that 100%. Let's put it this way: right now, I would not consider singling a horse like Artest in a Pick Six. He may win by 10 next time; I'm not saying he isn't good enough. I AM saying that 99% of the public do not watch race replays and many that do might've still missed what I mentioned earlier. They will only see what the DRF PP lines show: a huge 5 length win in decent time. He is, therefore, going to take a ton of money at the windows and is just not worth it to me from a value standpoint. He is coming off a mysterious hiatus and did not show much professionalism in June. To me, he is the kind of favorite I will shop around to find an alternative to. Can he win? Absolutely. Would I single a horse like this in the Pick Six? Not a chance. Personally, I don't like young horses who flash the tail and/or are erratic in the stretch. I can use them, but I will not single them... I refused to single Union Rags in the Juvenile because I didn't like his stretch run in the Champagne. He won that race by open lengths, so nobody really cared that he goofed off in the stretch. In the Juvenile, however, he got into a stretch duel and that same unprofessionalism cost him the win and burned many, many tickets. He was a must-use, but a must-not single. I feel the same way about Artest going into Friday's race.