06/13/2008 6:22PM

Saturday opinions, etc.

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Dan or anybody,
Who do you think at this point in the year is leading candidate for Horse of the Year?...I would say either Big Brown or Heatseaker.
Riley


The picture may be a little clearer after the big horse runs in the Foster, but I'd say Big Brown, Belmont flop notwithstanding, has to be considered near the top of any list.  I can't argue with anyone that throws Zenyatta's name out there.

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Congrats to Stephen Taylor for his Erdiston's victory at Arlington on Thursday.

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Dan -- Any word on Numaany, who's sensational stretch drive in his maiden win (after bolting and going from first to last) has become a youtube favorite?
Willow Hour


Numaany emerged from the UAE Derby exhibiting lameness in his left hind leg.  He is on our Disabled List on the right hand side of the blog.

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Dan,
Over the last several years I've really questioned some of the Eclipse award winners in there divisions. I don't pretend to understand the process but I do know alot of horses have been labeled champions without racing very much. It also appears the media discriminates against those owners and trainers who are less than lovable. I personally would like to see it made a requirement to receive a championship award that you run at least 6 times in the year and 4 in graded stakes. No trainer who received a suspension of any kind or owner found in any wrong doing could win as well.  I just think champions are defined by more than a couple of races. Longevity, consistency and soundness, as well as talent make a champion. Do you mine explaining the process, and what are your thoughts on the way these champions are determined.
Hillbilly


There really isn't a process.  It's completely subjective based on the opinions of the "experts" that do the voting.  I think everyone votes for who they believe is the most accomplished horse in a respective division.  I'd love to see longer campaigns as much as anybody, but I don't think the potential withdrawal from Eclipse consideration would deter owners from prematurely retiring their horses for megabucks at stud.  The game has changed since Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid were running.  A four-race schedule is now a "grueling" campaign. 

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Does anyone know what has happened to Steppenwolfer?
Joan C

Steppenwolfer suffered a cracked right knee, and hasn't raced since last year's Manhattan Handicap at Belmont.  He is back in training at Belmont Park, and is nearing a return to the races.  He was added to our Disabled List on December 7, 2007.

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Hey Dan,
Do you know what the record for wins is by a trainer @ Mth? The meet there often changes in the number of days for the summer meet, so I'm not sure how they judge that as far as records...
Steve V


I believe the number is 55, and the record is shared by John Tammaro and J. Willard Thompson.

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Have a great weekend!

Take care,

Dan

scianc22 More than 1 year ago
Alan, It was great meeting you. Im sorry we didnt have more time to chat(maybe next time). Im glad you ended up bailing out. I cant say the same for myself but I still had a good time. C, I looked all over for you. Alan even helped but to no avail. I called out C to one guy but he didnt answer so I kind of gave up. Let me know if you are gonna visit any Jersey tracks in the future or even if you head up to the SPA. I hope all the Fathers out there had a great Father's Day.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Alan, Great picture, and glad you had a fun and slightly profitable Father's Day at Belmont. Vicstu, Thanks for excellent story on Bold Forbes.
Justin Zayat More than 1 year ago
Alan, sorry to here about you not being able to see the horse i still hope you enjoyed that track
Annie More than 1 year ago
Definition Degenerate horseplayer - a person who weasels out of social engagements with family and friends such as symphonies, weddings, etc. to handicap and/or play the horses. Yup, Alan, it fits. LOL Sorry to hear that "Murphys Law" reared its head Sunday morning, but glad to hear that you had a good time. Great pix of you and Dan! Belmont looked awesome in the background. Hope all you dads had a great Father's Day, as well. Annie
C More than 1 year ago
scianc22 & Dan, One thing is for sure: it's not easy finding people at Belmont. Sorry I missed you. Alan, Good to see you there. You are taller than I expected. I played a lousy 2 races out of sheer boredom. Off the turf + Lots of scratches + Unable to handicap the night before = Almost no action. ------------------------------ Why should Belmont ever be off-the-turf? Wasn't that the whole point of having 2 turf courses: repair one while running on the other? Instead, they use both on the same card. Even if they use the inner and outer courses to run particular distances or to provide variety for the fans (the only 2 reasons I can think of), they can still take advantage of the portable rails to preserve parts of each course. Unless there's an extreme downpour, Belmont has no excuse to come off the lawn... do they?
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
As for those wondering who's the leading Candidate for HOY? Curlin's looking pretty stout early at this point, but there's plenty of racing left.
Michael H More than 1 year ago
Justin, Sobhy Thanks for the insight on Dynamalt. Tough race on Saturday. Hopefully he will come back stronger in his next. I'll keep my eye on him. Michael H.
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
As for you Zenyatta fans and YEs! I'm a big one. The move she made at Oaklawn was like nothing I've ever seen a filly make especially considering who she did it against. Ginger Punch has backed up Zenyatta's talent by crushing this past weekend. I'd like to see a rematch with less early speed, but I just think with Curlin and Zenyatta its a really good time to love horse racing. I feel lucky to have watched them race.
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
I know Curlin has always looked like He's something special but Wow! and it has nothing to do with what he beat in the Foster. He has always had trouble switching leads and everyone knows how he tends to hate the inside and drift out in the stretch. I've always thought his roughness in switching leads was his achiles heel. He was perfect doing it Sat. If that flaw is fixed he's alot of horse especially for a 3 year old. I am telling you I was at CD and this horse is like nothing I've ever seen at the track. I've stood 20 feet from Invasor, Bernardini, Lawyer Ron, Bellamy Road, Rock Hard Ten, and Curlin was more impressive than any of those. He also has the most unique head I've seen! Has anyone else noticed how narrow his forehead is in comparison to other horses. Its really noticable when he stand next to his lead pony. I hope he goes to the Arc and likes the Turf, if he can pull it off you've got to think all time in terms of his greatness.
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Saw on another site that Curlin is considering the Arlington Million-Already got hotel reservations next door to the track for the weekend (Only about 1/2 hour away but we make 2 "getaway weekends, the Million and the 4th of July-kind of a tradition) but this is exactly why horse racing needs to seriously think about getting away from nomination/entry/starting fees for stakes. Besides the fact that it penalizes the owners with pockets that aren't as deep as some (The owners with big stables and lots of loot can nominate to bunches of spots and then decide later where to run) it also penalizes the late developing horse who has to pay a hefty price to supplement to a race. But if nothing else shows why these fees need to go than Curlin: I just checked and he's not nominated which means that his connections would have to pay $30,000 to supplement to the race. So they'd pay this money for the privledge of drawing what would probably be a track record crowd (with the exception of the BC unless they put up auxillary seating) at admission prices that are more than double what it normally costs to get in. In addition, they'll have a record handle in all probability (With Europeans and the top American turf horses, Curlin would go off as the favorite I'm guessing but certainly wouldn't be a "lock" by any stretch of the imagination) I would rather see a SUBSTANTIAL entry fee charged with the fee refunded if the horse starts. (I handicap in advance and hate it when horses are entered in multiple races so you don't know who's gonna run when you handicap a race) I know that one of the drawbacks are that horses may enter with no chance to win, but each race could have minimum entry requirements (determined by the host track) so a 10K maiden doesn't get into a big race and do nothing but cause havoc for the legitimate contenders. And if this still causes some horses who look like they have no chance to enter, I say "So What" I hate 4 and 5 horse fields, and everyone loves an underdog story. Who knows what kind of stars aren't getting their chance in big races because the owners just can't realistically afford to put up the money to run (especially when a supplement would be neccesary) Sobhy, Steve V and others involved with stakes calibur horses, I'd really like your input on this. Also, we've got another horse running Wednesday at Arlington-Trippit is in the 2nd, 17.5 NW2 and he's the 9/5 chalk, but for some reason, our boy doesn't seem to care too much about winning, although he seldom runs a bad race. (Hope he gets over that-until the casino money is released, the purses aren't high enough to be able to make money finishing 2nd in races like this)