08/18/2013 10:59AM

Saturday Notes


· Like Richard Dreyfuss in “Let It Ride,” Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and Kitten’s Joy, had a VERY good day on Saturday, landing half of the nation’s six Grade 1 races. Around the track, a common reaction to someone having this kind of day is envy. You can’t turn around at the track without bumping into someone who can’t stand to see other people win. It’s not the most attractive side of our game, but it’s there, and people who have been around for more than two minutes know exactly what I’m talking about.

Anyway, folks on this side of the fence – horseplayers and fans – shouldn’t be green over the day the Ramseys had Saturday. Ken Ramsey is, like us, a horseplayer, and he bets with both fists. A guy like Ramsey who bets his own money enthusiastically, and does it with a smile, is someone you can root for.

· The disqualification of The Apache in the Arlington Million that gave Ramsey’s Real Solution the victory was absolutely the correct call. As I watched the head on shot while the stewards adjudicated the claim of foul, I thought to myself, “if this was a maiden claimer, there wouldn’t be any question that The Apache would come down.” Real Solution was blowing by The Apache until his momentum was stopped when The Apache drifted out and brushed him. If The Apache doesn’t stop Real Solution’s momentum, he doesn’t hold on. But I wondered if they would take a horse down for this in a million dollar Grade 1. Of course, that’s wrongheaded thinking borne of years of bad calls by stewards. A foul is a foul regardless of the class of the race, and the Arlington Million rightly turned on an obvious foul.

My only question is, why wasn’t there a stewards’ inquiry before the foul claim?

· That said, I’m not exactly sure how Real Solution came up with that performance. His third in the Manhattan in his last start was only okay, not great, and he seemed to be to be a horse who needed way more cut in the ground than he got on Saturday’s firm footing.

· Dank was easily the most impressive performer on the Arlington Million card. Her overwhelming victory in the Beverly D. made our best grass mare, Marketing Mix, look bad. Dank is obviously much improved this year at 4, and her emergence has also coincided with the opportunity she was given to compete at distances beyond a mile. But there are better than her over in Europe, which is a frightening prospect for the home team when it comes to the fall’s big female grass races.

· Princess of Sylmar was very good again winning the Alabama at Saratoga. But I do have to echo what others have said. With the way Princess of Sylmar took over late on the far turn, I thought she would draw off to win by a lot more than the 2 ½ lengths she did score by. Credit should also go to runner up Fiftyshadesofhay for fighting on gamely despite having license to chuck it after being overwhelmed by the winner a quarter of a mile out.

It does seem very likely that the Alabama clinched a divisional title for Princess of Sylmar. In any year, a Kentucky Oaks, CCA Oaks, and Alabama triple would be hard to top. And Princess of Sylmar’s path to an Eclipse Award is even less obstructed with Midnight Lucky and Dreaming of Julia through for the year, and Close Hatches still missing in action. It would appear Beholder might be the only one standing in the way of Princess of Sylmar and a championship, and she was beaten by Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks. The wild card is what happens in the Breeders’ Cup. Princess of Sylmar is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, and it appears there are no plans to supplement her even though she has earned almost $1.3 million this year. I do see the thinking in not supplementing her. Princess of Sylmar is a closer, and her style probably won’t play well at Santa Anita.

· That wasn’t a true Grade 1 field in the Saratoga’s other big race Saturday, the Sword Dancer. But Big Blue Kitten was much the best in victory, and since being given the chance to go extended distances, he has developed into a Grade 1-type horse.

· What a profound impact the switch to rating tactics by Discreet Marq had on the Del Mar Oaks. Beyond the fact that she won with this heretofore unseen approach, her strategy made for a much slower than anticipated pace, which had to compromise the two main stretch runners, Wishing Gate and Kitten’s Dumplings. Those two ran well under the circumstances, finishing second and fourth, respectively.

Jay Cronley More than 1 year ago
Great stuff.
Edward More than 1 year ago
Without any information about what is going on with Close Hatches, one could say that she is the real obstacle. One scenario: They both race in the $1 million Cotillion and Close Hatches wins giving her a 2-1 head-to-head advantage and a bunch of top quality wins. Throw in a win in the Breeders Cup and CH would be a lock. But yes, PoS has pout together a resume that is worthy of winning(with work to be done)
kmunster2003 More than 1 year ago
Well Mike . there may be some jealousy involved with him winning so much and dominating the Keeneland meet( his horses would routinely win by 4-5 lengths, no photo finish necessary like Pletcher in Florida). I think , however, he is ethically challenged. Do you remember 5-7 years ago on December 31 at Turfway he forced another trainer to scratch so his horse could draw in from the also-eligibles so Catienus would be the leading win sire for the year if his horse won. Hard to root for a guy who does that and employs Maker, Ward, Catalano to win at "any" costs. At our OTB in pennsylvania we root for the horse to knock him over when he brings them to the winner's circle. Not a nice man in my humble opinion. Take care
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Ken Ramsey damn sure loves "The Game"...You can book that...ty...
B More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know just what is happening with Close Hatches. I thought she might be the best, but I was also impressed by the versatility of Emollient. What are their plans for her, I wonder.
John Meyer More than 1 year ago
What we need is more info on owners and trainers who are using hyperbaric chambers. Milkshaking is not necessary anymore for certain people with deeper pockets who can afford these very expensive machines. I guarantee the Ramseys have them and it helps the horses recover faster and as you see his horses always have a little something extra down the stretch.
Albert More than 1 year ago
Looking at owners may be helpful, but looking at trainers is far more important. I don't think anyone rode Michael Maker's cresting as a trainer as much as the Ramseys and so did his other owners. Milkshaking, hyperbaric chambers, blood doping....they may or may not play a role, but the inflection point is the trainer. Or should I say, the trainer's vet....Dr. White Mercedes please.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Apache may have mildly impeded Solutions progress by slightly brushing and pushing him out. But stopped his momentum? Blowing by him when his momentum was stopped? A bit over the top Mike.
B More than 1 year ago
I don't really care about either of these two, but Real Solution was not "mildly" impeded. The head on shot showed Apache consistently pushing her towards the middle of the track. There is no question that he interfered greatly with Solution, but I agree with Watchmaker. Why no steward's inquiry on something so obvious?
Jarod Blade More than 1 year ago
Solutions was absolutely gonna roll right on by. I had no horse in that race either.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
My point was Solutions momentum may have been impeded, but was never, repeat never stopped. Was never hit hard or bumped off stride and never had to stop riding. Take Apache down, I get it, but momentum was impeded, not stopped.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
He took more than one significant bump that clearly affected his stride. Of course, those who don't want to see this will insist on not seeing it no matter what.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
didn't have a dime on the race and didn't care about the outcome, saw what I saw not what you wanted to see.
gowanusbaseball More than 1 year ago
I think Emollient is ahead of Beholder in that race for 2d.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I don't
Rob Yetman More than 1 year ago
Big Blue Kitten is now a multiple Group I winner. Put this in perspective, last year he ran in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot and was beaten 13 1/2 lengths by the 10 time Group I winner So You Think. But here, he is good enough to be one one of our better turf horses. Dank is a nice filly but the filly she beat in her last came back to be only third in a Group III in Ireland. Scary.
Robert More than 1 year ago
Turf racing is a far distant second thought in North America so what do you expect. Purses are less than dirt races, fans complain turf racers are harder to handicap. On these comment pages all we do is complain that North Americas best turf horse Wise Dan should be running on dirt. Ramsey's breed for turf so yes they are sucessful, Turf for other owners is what you do when your horse can't win on dirt.
Edward More than 1 year ago
There is money out there for Turf horses at the Graded stakes level. There are a lot of 500k+ races and the Breeders Cup Turf is huge purse.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Funny this guy Ramsey fixed a breeders cup race with bobby frankel and he gets rewarded with great success, sometimes nothing makes sense in life.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Explain please?
Jeff More than 1 year ago
What mike is talking about is the bc classic that ghostzapper won. There was a story before bobby died that he told that he told Ken Ramsey to not send Roses in May to the lead in the classic so Ghostzapper could get the lead and that way they could run around there 1-2.
William Waters More than 1 year ago
Mike, If you're going to make such a serious charge, how about providing some specific background/documentation?
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
The story is that Frankel told Ramsey & Romans "Ghostzapper is going to the lead. If you also send Roses in May, all you are doing is setting it up for the Mandella horse (Pleasantly Perfect)."
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
Posts like this don't deserve the light of day unless evidence to support such a claim is offerred.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
Total BS. Roses couldn't outquick Zapper on his best day. No way he was getting the lead. Nobody was beating Ghostzapper that day. If the plan ead to run second it's because they knew that's the best they could do that day. Challenging Ghostzapper for the lead would have been suicide and they were well aware of that
Jordan More than 1 year ago
The "deal" was that they wouldn't get in a speed duel. Whichover one broke fastest would set the pace, and the other would sit 2nd behind the leader. It worked out well because they were able to slow things down to 6 furlongs in 1:11 and 1, from which point both Ghostzapper and Roses sprinted away conclusively from the rest of the field. As it turned out, Ghostzapper was the quicker and better of the 2, so he won the race. But Roses made a bunch of money running 2nd.
Edward More than 1 year ago
Big deal. What Frankel supposedly said to Ramsey/Romans was just good ole trash talk and gamesmanship. If he psyched those guys out telling them GZ was going to run their horse into the ground, it's not collusion or fixing, it's funny(and absolutely true. This horse has several races where he hit 6f in 1:08 and change and still clicked off 12's all the way home). That horse was a buzz saw and didn't care what the fractions were, that is what was so awesome. They didn't exactly run slow in the Lone Star. 23,47,1:11,1:35,1:59.02 is a professional Grade I race(and is the track record) Rose in May? Come on'.