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Weekend horses to watch
Wistful (Aqueduct - Race 8, Sunday)
Really like Sapphire Sky in the New York feature on Sunday. Two back, she overcame pace pressure to earn a solid figure, and she did not have an easy trip in the East View Stakes on December 7. In that race, she broke a half-step slowly, was steadied on the first turn, raced wide off tepid fractions, and was forced four wide on the final bend when the pacesetter bore out badly. That race can safely be ignored, and new rider C. C. Lopez should have her on the front end with an alert break. There isn't a lot of speed signed on so Sapphire Sky may go wire to window.
Suwannee River (Gulfstream - Race 7, Sunday)
Callwood Dancer and Waquoit's Love both figure to attract strong play based on their recent form, but Long Approach may be the one coming up to this race the right way. Two back, Long Approach was in and among horses for the first two furlongs, then commenced a three wide move entering the far turn. It looked like she had it won, but Indescribable came out of the clouds to nail her on the line. Last time out, Long Approach was mired way outside, and raced wide most of the way. She still did some running late, and should be ready to rumble in her second start of the year. There isn't a ton of pace in this race, and Julien Leparoux might work out the perfect ground-saving, pace-tracking hedge trip after breaking from the inside post.
Gulfstream Park Turf (Gulfstream - Race 9, Sunday)
It'll be interesting to see how Kip Deville recovers from his failed trip to Hong Kong. The 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile winner never seemed comfortable going right-handed in the Hong Kong Mile, and should appreciate the return to North American-style racing. While nine furlongs may be pushing it just a bit for the popular Oklahoma-bred, there isn't much speed in the race, and Kip Deville should be very prominent when the field turns for home. He won't offer much value, but this race is rather important to the IEAH team in determining their charge's path in 2009. If he wins nicely, he may go to Dubai; if he falters, he most likely stays at a mile.
La Habra (Santa Anita Race 8, Sunday)
Let's go with a price horse to close out the weekend's stakes races. Real Fancy Runner broke sharply in her first Southern California start over the Pro-Ride, but was immediately wrangled off the pace by Martin Pedroza. She was then forced to wait in behind rivals on the far turn before splitting horses in upper stretch. She finished well to be second, has enough tactical speed to be in the thick of things from the start, and has acceptable turf breeding (by Johannesburg out of a graded sprint-winning half-sister to Grade 3 grass winner Blushing Heiress). Let's hope for some improvement in the second start of the cycle.
More importantly, who do you fancy this weekend? I'd like to know.
Back with the weekend recap, stakes Beyers, and tons of questions and comments on Monday. To the best of my knowledge, the 117 Beyer earned by This Ones for Phil was not a projection.
Have a great weekend,
On a lighter topic: Vicstu vs svhill I think I got you this time. It has long been believed by more than a few of us that Vicstu IS svhill. Vicstu, of course denies this and even told us the coincidence of svhill and himself living down the road from eachother ( both being in the law profession ). AHAA! I have a couple of points of evidence to show the jury. On this thread at 12:56pm Calvin wrote a post and in it he thanked several other posters for their fine observations. One of the posters thanked by Calvin was Vicstu. A poster who was not mentioned for a thank you ( there were several, but, only one relevant ommision ) svhill. That tidbit will be exibit A. Secondly, at 1:13 pm, Calvin wrote another post that included a link to an article about Kelly Breen. I will say this is exibit B At 5:46 am svhill writes a very lengthy post ( sound like anyone else we know? ) which, along with reading like a Vicstu post it is also length appropriate to a Vicstu post. At the beginning of this 5:46 post svhill( alias Vicstu ) thanks Calvin for the kind words and the link to the Kelly Breen article. What kind words was svhill talking about? Calvin never mentioned svhill in his thankyou's. Also, even though anyone who read the article could thank Calvin for the link, it does seem overly suspicious that svhill thanks Calvin for the words and the link in the same sentence. Clearly the "thank you" to Calvin was hard evidence of the deceit ( lol, all in fun ), but, the thanks for the access to the link is also supporting evidence. As there has been much circumstantial evidence over the years to suggest Vicstu and svhill are the same.... I believe these last points of evidence clearly make the case crystal clear. This court finds that Vicstu, is indeed svhill. Court adjourned. Not that there is anything wrong with that, lol.
c, Thanks for the response and your thoughts. I would have a hard time making an argument with any of your thoughts but, I don't think you are really getting my position regarding the Beyer article or assosciated thoughts. Yes I realize that horses can't talk. But, someone is or the involved in this sport wouldn't be making accusations or superficially making accusations that are so damning to our sport. Why aren't those blowing the whistle? If that is not the case it is just more of typical conjecture and media negatives. My deal with Beyers article is it did not, and will not solve anything. I would think that a person of his stature, (and BTW I like him as a person) would have connections, the know how to really instigate steps to improve the problems that we all percieve. I still think from a journalistic stand point is was very irresponible on his part to publish an article that those really involved in racing (like you and me) will form their own opinion, and the general public for the most part will see one more black eye associated with horse racing. If Beyer would have stated facts or, at the least laid out a concrete plan to improve the concieved problems with racing I would have a totally different view. The rush to judgement view and, lets at least satisfy grandma just doesn't cut it with me. Prime example was the California Racing Board mandating synthetic tracks. We all now know that is a complete failure, as they are no safer than a dirt track. Saratoga is a dirt track and there was not ONE break down of a horse that resulted in a fatality this past summer while track officials at Turfway and Santa Anita are probably wishing they had a dirt surface so they could have something to blame for the VERY high fatality rate in the last few weeks. Bottom line with me is, lets not point fingers or name anyone without having facts to back it up. Secondly, if you do have facts, contact racing secretary's, state authority's and others that can make a difference. Last thought is I don't see the gloom and doom picture that many see with the sport. Go to:http://www.derbytrail.com/ and read the post for a couple of weeks and, you will see that there is excitement and many new faces getting involved in our great sport. BTW Slew, I agree with your thought that "the field is becoming more and more level." Also to quote you: ONWARD AND UPWARD!
Could someone explain sweep the host to me, the whole kit'nkaboodle if you please. You copy the host's picks? Thanks. *** I am going to refrain from commenting further on the big issue of the day, but I wish you all fun with that (smile). *** Thanks again for the congrats, everyone, much appreciated. I've been posting way too much lately (to put it mildly, yeah I know wiseguy), and this is a great time for a little break. Okay, then. See you tomorrow.
vicstu, "You don't violate ethical standards to accuse someone else of cheating." Thank you for another brilliant piece of FormBlog prose.
James Mc, I think you are right in that this whole illegal drug scandal could be brought to light with a simple FBI sting operation! There is a lot of open knowledge out there and many, many co-conspirators… I think it would be relatively easy for a team of agents to get to the bottom of things… For example, in my own research efforts, I was able to uncover a Horse Growth Hormone called Equigen produced by Australian pharmaceutical company Bresagen (now owned by Hospira) which I believe is the product that many cheaters have been using, or were at one time… That’s just one product and there are many others including the powerful Cone Snail Venom… Fortunately, it does seem that the drum beats are getting louder! And this could all go down, and I can say that I wouldn’t want to be a trainer, veterinarian, or owner associated with these illegal actions, because: Consider the straight forward interpretation of serious felonious criminal activity to include: 1) Fraud that affects the outcome of intra-state wagering. 2) Fraud that affects the outcome of purse distribution. 3) Fraud that affects the value of bloodstock often resold based upon an illegally derived race record. 4) Cruelty to animals. Amazingly enough, the historical enforcement penalties for the aforementioned have merely been a minor financial penalty and some level of reduced minor suspension as an appeal settlement, determined and enforced by local racing officials… How long can such an absurdity continue, especially with a major public interest where the criminal behavior crosses state lines???? Those that continue to cheat are betting that the status quo continues… If they are wrong, their worlds could come crumbling down with simple Federal involvement…
Just a few thoughts on the cheating discussion. 1) Great post, Blue. What if the transparency was carried a bit further. Say, all trainers are required to give 24-48 hours advance notice of routine vet visits. A certain % of the visits are audited by a vet employed by the racing authority, who shows up, unannounced, at the start of or during the visit, and has the authority to inspect and sample any and all "materials" that the private vet has with him/her. In the case of an "emergency" visit, the trainer and/or vet must provide paperwork after the fact notifying the racing authority of the visit and the reason for it. The principle is simply to make the cheaters fear the possibility of a surprise inspection. Make them fear exposure. Or is this already in place anywhere? 2) I've long thought that the use of difficult to detect substances like equine growth hormone, etc. would be uncovered not by more rigorous testing but in a Kirk Radomski-like manner (from the baseball steroid scandal), where some middleman gets caught and squeezed by the FBI and gives up a whole bunch of co-conspirators. There can't be that many labs that make the stuff, and there are sales records, and there are people who know who the middlemen are, and it seems to me that if the FBI ever got seriously interested that some people would definitely go down, hard. There WILL be a massive public scandal like the Clemens one before long if things continue the way they are. Another way of stating the point that Alan and C made above; if we don't clean up the sport someone else will. 3) I am not a racing insider and I have no idea whether Beyer is correct in making his inferences about specific trainers. On a visceral level though, I am glad that he is at least taking a public stance and firing a shot across the bow of the cheaters. I personally do not know a single horseplayer who doesn't believe that some trainers cheat. There is plenty of rage out there about this and Beyer is at least one public figure in the sport who's giving it a voice.
Regarding "cheating" and I'm not a vet (my medical knowledge consists of my doctor's phone number),but nontheless here's yet another idea to solve the problem: First and formost, the drug rules have to be the same in all 50 states, PERIOD! It's not fair to a trainer to get hit for an overage on a drug that was legal in the state the horse was shipped from. Or, let's make it real easy: Go thru all of the substances that are now banned or regulated and here's what we're going to do: First, drugs which are banned but cause no harm (either short or long term) to the animal-MAKE 'EM LEGAL AND LET HANDICAPPERS KNOW WHAT HORSES ARE RACING ON THEM. For drugs which DO cause (either short or long term) harm to horses, obviously they not only need to be banned, but it would seem to me that the vet administering them and/or trainer are guilty of a CRIMINAL OFFENSE (No, as y'all know I'm not a PETA GOOF but isn't animal cruelty a crime.) If not, go to state legislators and have them pass a law that says that any vet that administers "dangerous drug A" or any trainer that orders it is committing a CRIMINAL OFFENSE! (If a substance doesn't hurt a horse, let him use it, but painkillers, which I'm sure lead to breakdowns because horses are running because their body can't tell them not to and that's tragic) And if a horse breaks down and such harmful substances are found to have been in their system, really "sock it to the trainer/vet" HARD! Think about it-if a substance does no harm to a horse, why not let everyone do it so that everyone knows who's doing what, and if a drug is being administered that does harm to a horse, then that vet doesn't deserve a license and that trainer has no business dealing with these beautiful animals!
Uncle Steve, Sorry about the Cardinals. :-( And how about The Boss - he was AMAZING!!! Another great comment last night, although as you know I am more optimistic about racing's future. Horse racing has been around since the chariot races of ancient Greece and Rome. We have survived out-and-out prohibition of racetrack wagering from a century ago (although not without repercussions - we lost a couple of years of racing and lost bloodstock to Europe.) I would also not just single out DRF, but include all racing dailies/weeklies in their complicity of silence. How can you be a journalist when you are unable to report the news - including leading the investigations of potential fraud in your industry? Journalists need the support of their editors and publisher when they are possibly taking on the "stars" and the leaders of racing. The reason HBO Real Sports breaks the story is because The Daily Racing Form, The Blood-Horse and The Thoroughbred Times apparently are not able to the take the lead in these investigations...yet. bobc, Thank you for the compliment, but I almost always remember when somebody has done a special favor for me!
tencentcielo, You are right!!! I win the FORGOT MY OWN RULES I MADE UP Award... I'll correct everything later tonight! THANK YOU!! Annie, Why didn't you notice the error? I'm relying on you again this year to help me...
Alan, I'm a liitle confused about the contest. I thought we were capped at 10-1 for place. But you gave all $23.80 to both CarsonCityFan and Buffalo Joe. Am I out of line, or am i just not understanding the rules?