02/27/2009 8:04PM

The New Guy


Badger Popeye needed another pal and so did we, so last night The Greyhound Formerly Known As "M's Giterdone" joined the household.Donny3 They were calling him "Donny" in the foster home where he spent the last few weeks transitioning from the racetrack, but he doesn't respond to the name and we're not entirely crazy about it, so maybe he'll sort of name himself something else in the days ahead.

As advertised by the adoption agency, he's a big (racing weight: 73 pounds) and very affectionate guy whose primary non-food desires are to lean against you and be stroked. He and Popeye exchanged some snarls and slaps over a snowgoose squeakytoy and are still negotiating a truce, but these things take a little time.

Donny is a fawn-colored 4-year-old by Big Boy Baggio out of Snitch Who. He appears to come from a litter of just three pups, all with dopey, undignified racing names -- M's Giterdone, M's Getyasome and M's Got Money. His lineage includes the two star dogs of the late 1970's who first attracted me to the sport -- Rooster Cogburn five generations back, and Downing top and bottom six generations back. (This was a nice surprise after we got him, not the reason we did.)

From what I can tell through dog racing's somewhat sketchy databases, he did most of his racing on the west coast of Florida, winning 11 of 95 starts including some Grade B races at Tampa, but most recently was running at Ebro farther up the Florida panhandle -- think a New York-bred campaigning at Aqueduct and making his final few starts at Finger Lakes.

Donny The story from the adoption people was that a sister agency went to Ebro in December, scheduled to pick up 14 dogs for adoption, but when they arrived there were 15 and they had only a 14-crate trailer. Donny was #15 and going to be left behind, but then they took the two smallest females, doubled them up in one big crate, and Donny got the last spot.

In any case, it's been chaotic but great fun welcoming him to the family, and it probably saved me a few bucks as I was otherwise engaged during yesterday's big and tough-to-hit Pick-6 carryover at Santa Anita. But it's back to betting tomorrow, my interest already piqued by a high-quality Gulfstream late pick-4 that includes the intriguing Fountain of Youth.

In the meantime, I wrote the Sunday column about this year's Hall of Fame nominees and went down a diverting but interesting rabbit-hole about Horse of the Year winners and the Hall. Here's the whole rundown since Granville won the first such award in 1936:

pallmall More than 1 year ago
Enjoying the pictures of the new addition! Keep 'em coming!
Joe More than 1 year ago
Steve, Downing and Rooster-- your H buddies chuckled but it was Affirmed and Alydar to us townies.
kevin sullivan More than 1 year ago
I thnk it should become rule that anybody who wins a pick 6 must adopt a greyhound.
Ernie More than 1 year ago
Mazol tov! (My spell check tried to make that Mazola) Very exciting! Squabble: That is Popeye's snowgoose squeaky toy so (temporary) Donny has to learn that Big Bro calls the shots. Great news. Really happy for you and Mrs. Blog. Keep the pics coming!
C More than 1 year ago
Walt, That rule will not be effective because there won't be any horses to choose from in the contemporary category if nobody cooperates, which they probably won't. What if a late bloomer who isn't ready to run as a 2YO goes on to have a great career? What about injury-based retirements? The best path to weeding out true champions and increasing quality of competition is to reduce the number of graded stakes races. btw, if that rule was already in place, Tiznow and Point Given would be ineligible. ============================== The standards for induction will have to change for horses who raced in the mid/late 90s and after. In fact, they already have... I'll catch some flak for this, but Tiznow would never get in with the same credentials 20 years ago, even with the 2 Cups. He was simply not a dominant runner... 8 for 15 lifetime. 8 wins. Yesterday, 2 huge races (his Classics) plus 1 SAH and the Super Derby would leave him well short. However, there is no doubt Tiznow will get in eventually... but, imho, he will get in because of the change in standards for this era, NOT necessarily because he won 2 Cups. I'd imagine Tiznow is a highly unusual and difficult case for the voters because his 2 best races, by far, happened to occur on the biggest stage. He was a very good horse, but he didn't dominate the division by any means. 8 for 15. Like Tony, I'd give this one to Best Pal, with Romero, Baffert, and Sky Beauty in the other categories. The contemporary male category looks like the weakest race this year.
Jeff Tatus More than 1 year ago
So... his name is Donnie (Donny) and he's a fawn-colored 4-year-old by Big Boy Baggio out of Snitch Who. So... once you introduce him as a "friend" nobody's gonna mess with him? Now I understand the NY inference of Aqueduct/Finger Lakes... he can go anywhere he wants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShM8bGKVFXg
peewee More than 1 year ago
Glad to hear of your new family addition. May I suggest you name him, DUKE . This would be an appropriate name as a decendent of Rooster Cogburn, the film in which the Duke , John Wayne , played the lead. In regards to the FOY , was suprised to learn that Quality Road is not nominated to the triple crown and his breeding suggests longer races are not in his wheelhouse .
Walt More than 1 year ago
Steve: Congrats on the new dog. Obviously, that means a lot to you and your family. Anyway, very interesting list of all of the Horses of the Year. I do think Tiznow does deserve to get in before several other horses from this era, especially Point Given. The fact is, Tiznow did far more in 2000 and '01 as the only double winner of the BC Classic to date than just about any other top horse this decade (even though I felt Sahkee actually did more in finishing second in the '01 Classic when he nearly became the only horse ever to win the Arc and the Classic in back-to-back starts#. One thing that I needs to be considered for the Hall of Fame in the future is perhaps a new rule that requires perhaps starting with the two year olds of 2009 that horses must race either a minimum of three seasons #with at least four starts at two and seven in any other season) or make a minimum of 25 starts. This would force trainers and owners who really want their horses to define greatness to race more frequently and perhaps force more sportsmanship than we have seen in recent years.
Tony More than 1 year ago
That Moccasin isn't in is pretty sad. But if I had a vote this year, I think Best Pal would be a better way to go than either Point Given or Tiznow, two horses that will have their own chance at the HoF, but only after a reasonable period of time has passed; no one from this decade is yet worthy of induction.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Two posters have already weighed in with their thoughts that the FOY should be stretched back out the 1 1/8th miles. I personally love the race being cut back to a one turn mile. The distance is fair for all running styles, and offers a nice progression through the triple crown preps. Everybody gets their chance to go 1 1/8th in a few weeks. Then they can try the 1 1/4. I really wish we still had the one turn mile Gotham in NY, but the vagaries of the triple crown and spring racing in NY have unfortunately morphed it into a 1 1/16th mile inner track two turn affair. So here's two thumbs up to Gulfstream for the 1M FOY, and four fingers crossed they keep it that way.