Can Gusto Go Longer?

By winning the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) last weekend, J P's Gusto established himself as the top West Coast-based juvenile and is the only 2-year-old with three graded stakes wins so far. With his pedigree (Successful Appeal--Call Her Magic, by Caller I. D.) more geared for sprinting or middle distances than classic distances, his prospects of being a Triple Crown contender in 2011 are not especially bright.

But he is a legitimate Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) contender in November, especially if he wins his next start--the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 2 at Hollywood Park.

His trainer, David Hofmans, who has three Breeders' Cup wins to his credit (Desert Code, Adoration, and Alphabet Soup), took a few minutes on Friday to talk about his emerging star. Despite his pedigree, Hofmans is confident his horse will be adept at going two turns.

 

JS: How is he doing since the Futurity?

DH: He's doing terrific. He came out of the race well and he's up at Hollywood Park getting ready for the Norfolk.

JS: I'm sure you already knew he was a special horse before the Futurity, but did he show you something even more in that race?

DH: He sure did. He's a young horse and is still just developing. But he showed that he can rate and has the potential to go any distance. Patrick (Venezuela) was very pleased with him, especially the way he relaxed and waited for his cue.

JS: I read where you said he is a very smart horse, which is something that probably you either have or you don't?

DH: That's right. You can't teach that. Horses are like humans; some are smarter than others. Gusto is tough and on his toes; he knows he's special, but he also has the ability to pay attention to the rider, which is a sign of an intelligent horse.

JS: He was bought for only $52,000 at the Keeneland yearling sale. Did you have a hand at picking him out?

DH: No. John O'Hara and Stever Bajer picked him out. They buy all the horses for the doctor (owner Dr. John Waken). They've bought several good horses for him. Harissa is one of them. She just won up at Monmouth. They have a very good eye.

JS: Where was he broke?

DH: He was broke in Hemet, California and came to me at the beginning of the year.

JS: Did you know he was something special from the start?

DH: Right away. He broke horribly in his maiden race (sixth in May 9 debut at Hollywood) and it was way too short for him (4 1/2 furlongs). That's why I put him right into the stakes race (William Proctor Memorial on May 31 where he won by 4 1/2 lengths).

JS: You mentioned that he was rateable. He showed that ability in the Hollywood Juvenile too.

DH: Yeah, we didn't plan to have him up near the lead the other day (in the Futurity), but he broke so sharply and only one other horse went with him. He was on the inside, which is the worst place to be with a 2-year-old. But he's so intelligent he was able to reserve himself and not run all out. Once he got by the other horse he put his ears up and was gone.

JS: Pedigree-wise he isn't a horse that would seem to be able to go long. But you seem fairly confident that he will.

DH: I do, but who knows. His next race will tell us. Its two turns at a mile and a sixteenth. I'll train him around the far turn to let him know he can relax around there. Distance is mostly about attitude though. I think he has a chance to be a good horse at a mile and a quarter.

JS: As long as you've been around I guess you've seen many horses that have outrun their pedigree?

DH: Oh yeah. Desert Code (Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner from 2008) won a grade III for us going long because he was smart. And I've seen it go both ways. Greg's Gold (a millionaire and grade I winner) was the opposite. He had the confidence, attitude and pedigree of a grass route horse and you would never think he should be able to sprint. But he turned out to be one of the best sprinters in the country and he couldn't route! So what do I know?

JS: Can you compare Gusto to any other top juvenile you've had?

DH: Yeah, he reminds me of General Meeting (second to Best Pal in 1990 Hollywood Futurity) a lot. Both were intelligent and fast. He's not like (2001 Blue Grass Stakes winner) Millennium Wind, who was more of a long-striding horse.

JS: Obviously you want to get through the Norfolk first, but if he runs well I'm assuming the Breeders' Cup Juvenile is next? If so, do you have any reservations about running him on dirt for the first time?

DH: Not at all. My experience is that these horses take off when they move from synthetic to dirt. I would take him over (to Churchill Downs) for a breeze before the race, but if he runs well in the Norfolk the Breeders' Cup is the plan.

 

 

 

109 Comments

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Robert

Dreams are what this business is about, and Dreaming about this colt going 1 1/4 miles like Mr Hofmans thinks he can do are just that.....Dreams.  This colt's neck is so short, you don't even need reins.  Just grab the sides of the bit and ride him.  Intelligent or not, he can only "outrun" his pedigree just so far.  1 1/16th miles will probably be as far as he wants to go.  But thats far enough to be 2 year old champion.  Too bad.  I liked it better when we ran the juveniles 1 1/8 miles when the Cup was at Arlington.  The run 1 1/4 mile 2 year old races in Europe.  WHy not run our 2 year olds longer in the B.C.  Stamina is what the breed needs, not more sprinters.  J P's Gusto is a nice sprinter, so keep him sprinting.  Try him around 2 turns, but if he is not as dominant, put him back to 1 turn races.

10 Sep 2010 2:49 PM
josh

I like JP's Gusto to go longer, he looks like a million bucks out there and can't wait to just go and prove everyone wrong.

10 Sep 2010 3:06 PM
Rachel

I love him. For what it's worth his DP is evenly balanced with Brilliant and Classic being equal and Intermediate and Solid being equal...his DI says 10+F and his CD says 8F & 70 yds...

10 Sep 2010 3:23 PM
Glenn Craven

A lot of juveniles that can win even in Grade 1 company at a mile or a mile and a sixteenth are surpassed by spring and summer of their 3-year-old season by later-developing horses with real stamina. I think J P's Gusto will have to be very, very special not to become one of these.

I do think he's a brilliant racehorse, and agree with Robert that likely the most successful course of action -- especially age 3 and beyond -- would be to keep running him short.

You have to give him a chance or two at proving doubters (like me) wrong. But don't beat the colt's head against 9f and 10f just to have a Derby horse. If he can't get classic distances, he can still do the connections proud in shorter races.

10 Sep 2010 3:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I liked Jaycito best before the Del Mar Futurity so I'm certainly liking him best after it. I honestly don't know what JP's Gusto is going to do even though he looks like a nice horse. I see a big future for Jaycito, but I'm looking at it from the perspective of the Triple Crown races. You don't have to even be in the Triple Crown races to be a big star. I love sprinters too. Horses outrun their pedigrees so you never know. JP's Gusto looks like a sprinter and up to 1 1/16 to me, but there is nothing wrong with that !!!!! They just have to go for it, then find his niche. Simple. I thought he would be challenged more in his last so it certainly was impressive. Jaycito is at the top of my list. I'm sure it sounds ridiculous, and it might be ridiculous but I see Jaycito in The Derby at odds of 8-1 to 11-1. Sticks and stones .........

10 Sep 2010 3:48 PM
Ted from LA

"I honestly don't know what JP's Gusto is going to do even though he looks like a nice horse."

Dr Drunkinbum 10 Sep 2010 3:48 PM

I'll bet he goes for the gusto.

10 Sep 2010 4:06 PM
Rachel

Plus, Successful Appeal has a GR1 winner at 9f & GSWs at 12 1/2f

& 8 1/2f..and if that's not enough, his tail female line goes 4 generations "solid" and "professional".

He has a good chance to go further...he's efficient and can rate.

10 Sep 2010 4:26 PM
KentuckyFan

You're right, Rachel. Most people are saying he has distance limitations because he's by a fast horse out of Caller I.D. mare. But the truth of the matter is offspring of Successful Appeal have shown an ability to get a route of ground - not only the winners you mentioned, but does anyone remember that Closing Argument lost the 10-furlong by a jump? Also, the colt's dam is out of an Encino mare - which is definitely a two-turn influence - and she's a half sister to the dam of Proud Spell. Like any young horse you'd have to question J P's Gusto's ability to do it until he proves he can, but there are many reasons from a pedigree perspective why he should carry his speed a mile or more. What's more important is his temperment and ability to rate - always a big question for young horses.  

10 Sep 2010 5:11 PM
Susan

JP's Gusto is an exciting and brilliant racehorse. Whether he can "get the classic distances" is arguable at this point, but it does nothing to diminish his talent. Some of the greatest of our runners were chiefly sprinters: Dr. Fager is known more for his blistering speed at a mile than anything else. The great English runner and sire Danehill was basically a sprinter. Ghostzapper: blinding speed, highest Beyer ever given, passes his traits along to his offspring. Roseben, Boojum, Bolero...their

names are legend. They are Hall of Famers as often as their distance running cousins. Just now in the current day, Discreetly Mine has found his true niche as a sprinter par excellance. As for racing the classic distances, the last 2 Derby winners haven't done a darned thing since...so what good did it do them to "get a classic distance?" The problem with the breeding industry as a whole is the mania for Beyer and BRIS speed figures over anything else and the current emphasis on selling rather than racing.  "Racing to breed" rather than "breeding to race" is fast becoming axiomatic. Its a real shame. Sportsmen are largely being replaced by speculators. That being said: having a very good runner who's a sprinter isnt the worst thing that can happen to an owner. And neither is NOT winning a classic. The majority of the Hall of Fame and BHs 100 greatest Racehorses of the 20th Century are not Triple Crown winners, and winning the Derby hasn't automatically granted entre into the Hall of Fame. One great and lasting satisfaction that comes with JP's Gusto and his opposite number on the East Coast, Boys At Toscanova, is the fact that they're

both tail male descendants of the Man O War/Fair Play line. This line has risen to its deserved prominence in American racing once again with In Reality and his string of awesome descendants, most notable being Tiznow. You can now count Successful Appeal and Officer, as well as Honour And Glory in that number, along with their sons like Closing Argument (Successful Appeal) and Put It Back (Honor And Glory). Their success will spur the booking of top quality mares to them and further strengthen this bloodline. For those of us who live and die for the lore and the legacy of the sport, things couldn't be better. Both JP's Gusto and Boys At Toscanova are little guys, as many sprinters are. That doesn't seem to hurt their performances a bit.

Here's hoping they'll both stay sound and healthy throughout their

careers.

10 Sep 2010 5:13 PM
Alex PB

JPG is a nice 2yo, but I believe both Jaycito and Sway Away will stretch out much better. Sway Away, an Afleet Alex (supreme stamina), who was running JPG down late in the Best Pal, would have been favored if he entered the DM Futurity.

Any info on him? Notice his works have stopped. Hurt? I would appreciate any info on Sway Away. Thanks.

10 Sep 2010 5:27 PM
Bet Twice

Question.  How much does the gallop out matter in terms of gauging how far they'll go?  Its never proven to me to be a reliable indicator of distance ability, but maybe I'm missing something.  

10 Sep 2010 6:04 PM
Pedigree Shelly

        JP's Gusto is the most talented 2yr in the west by far ! Pedigree wise some questions do remain . I've done some research and looking at his dosage index of 2.30 ,he fits well to go the classic distance ! On the other hand his Sire Successful Appeal was a surprise , being able to almost win the Ky. Derby ! With Valid Appeal on top and Fortunate Prospect on the bottom he really outran his pedigree ! JP's Gusto's dam being by Caller ID is another minus , pure speed ! He has 1 in the dosage Solid category but, no Professional . Succesfull Appeal has had some distance runners , so who knows ?? Many people disregard Doage anymore ! Horses like Smarty Jones for instance , his sire Elusive Quality was a Record setting miler and spinter and his dam I'll Get Along was by Sprint Champion Smile ! Who knows what JP's Gusto can do but, I wish the best for this talented colt !!!

10 Sep 2010 6:38 PM
Pedigree Shelly

        Sorry Jason , I made a mistake ! It was Closing Argument who was second in the Derby , not his sire ! Never blog on espresso :( !!!!!

10 Sep 2010 6:46 PM
ruffianruns

Interesting!  In Hofmans' experience "these horses take off when they move from synthetic to dirt."  Hmmmmm.

10 Sep 2010 7:03 PM
-Keelerman

LAZMANNICK & Ruffianruns;

(I posted this on the "This Chalk is Making Me Thirsty" blog post but realized that this one had just come up. So I'm re-posting this here to make sure that you receive it!)

LAZMANNICK;

At least eight workouts?! That is amazing.

As for the two workouts on the same day, I have never heard anyone dispute them, but upon looking into the matter I found some information that brings those dates into question.

From the May 1st 1943 issue of Daily Racing Form. . .

"Last Tuesday, Count Fleet, working between races, gave the public a sample of his prowess when he breezed a mile and a furlong in the mud in 1:53 2/5 and galloped out the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter in 2:07."

This workout matches the one in his past performances, but Tuesday would have been April 27th, not 28th.

The dates of the other workouts appear to be accurate. The same issue of DRF states that Count Fleet breezed a half mile in :49 on April 30th, which matches his Past Peformances. It also states that prior to the workout on April 30th, his last workout had been on April 28th, which is likely the half mile breeze in :47 1/5.

I really enjoy discussing topics like these. Thanks for bringing them up!

Ruffianruns;

I do believe that the Withers would have been a grade I race back then. It was considered to be the American equivalant of the English 2,000 Guineas, which is the first leg of the English Triple Crown.

-Keelerman

10 Sep 2010 7:54 PM
Householder

Pat Valenzuela picking up Grade 1 wins at the other end of 40?  Now there is a cat who has 9 lives.  The guy finished 3rd at the recent Del Mar meet to guys half his age.  Should be Hall of Fame...right beside Pete Rose.  I wish him all the Luck.  Perhaps JP will take him on one more Sunday Silence vs. Easy Goer journey.

10 Sep 2010 8:33 PM
Robert

With JP's Gusto, it is not just about his pedigree and his dosage.  It is about how he physically looks.  He is short coupled with a short neck.  He physically is a sprinter and not a route horse.  He does not "look" the part of a 1 1/4 mile horse, and with caller i.d. as his broodmare sire, he will probably be hitting a wall at 1 1/16th miles.  While his Genotype (Genetic makeup) says one thing, his Phenotype (physical makeup) says another, and it says he physically cannot go much past a mile.  I had the same thoughts about Quality Road in the Spring of 2009.  Physically he is a miler with a short neck and blocky body.  His talent lets him get 1 1/8 miles.  But even now his weekness is being shown the farther they go.  I would keep JP's Gusto at 1 mile or less.  Make a million dollars with him the easy way.

10 Sep 2010 9:06 PM
John T

I agree with Robert I think the Breeders Cup Juvenile races are more telling when they were run at 9 furlongs.The longest 2 year old

race that I know of is the Zetland

Stakes run at Newmarket in England

over 10 furlongs and one of the recent winners of that race is Twice Over and as we all saw in the Breeders Cup Classic last year

and his win in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket and his fine form in Group one company

this year,running a 2 year old over that distance of ground is not

going to harm them in anyway.

Can J P,s Gusto get 10 furlongs with breeding that suggests sprinting? I don,t know but i certainly wish him well.I did like the way Jaycito ran on to be second

in the Del Mar Futurity and will be watching him closely also.

10 Sep 2010 9:19 PM
Paula Higgins

Robert, your post from 9:06 makes very good sense. ITA.

I loved his comment that "horses take off moving from synthetics to dirt." Gee, I wonder if that will hold true for a certain horse who is 18 for 18 at the BCC?!

10 Sep 2010 10:26 PM
Miclo

Have to agree, P Val had a great delmar meet. He's always been my favorite jockey. All though he picked up a lot live mounts because of injuries to Tyler baze and joe talamo. With that said.. I wish him the best at the upcoming  oaktree meet. "go get'em P Val"  

10 Sep 2010 10:29 PM
sherpa

While I agree that pedigree and physicality are important indicators, I have come to believe that *training* is the most important single influence wrt how long a horse can go.  Most modern-day training is for speed, from day 1.  However, a trainer can still improve the inherent stamina in any horse with the right regimen.  I don't know if Mr. Hofmans is such a trainer; but I can see a lot of potential in JPG if he's handled right. JMHO.

10 Sep 2010 11:21 PM
sherpa

Speaking of stamina...Jason, thanks for your article on Cloudy's Knight.  I'm very excited about his return!

10 Sep 2010 11:25 PM
sherpa

Can we mention here that Gayego's score (track record) in the Presque Isle Mile was pretty darned impressive?  My fav, Mambo Maestro, just couldn't break out.  Gayego looked like a monster, tho...Could be a challenge for Goldi in the BC Mile?

10 Sep 2010 11:46 PM
craftylord

Did anyone notice the gallop out past the wire?  Jaycito hints at wanting more ground.  That horse closed from the back of the pack while coming around the turn very wide.  Since Jaycito is out of Victory Gallop-Night Edition (Ascot Knight), he shouldn't have any problem with more ground.  I'd keep an eye on him.

11 Sep 2010 4:40 AM
joe p.

Jason, I think that JP's Gusto can get the 1 1/4 mile in the BC juvenile. I used to think that Lookin @ Lucky was a polytrack horse only like JP until Lucky went on the dirt and showed his dominance. Maybe JP will do the same. I give JP's Gusto credit for running again in October at 1 1/8 to prep him for the Juvenile. If he wins that one, especially convincingly, then he belongs with the other Big 2. Boys @ Tosconova and Uncle Moe. Look for these 3 to slug it out in the Juvenile on BC day.

11 Sep 2010 7:38 AM
Coldfacts

The 78-1 2005 Kentucky Derby runner up Closing Argument was sired by Successful Appeal. His dam Mrs. Greeley was sire by Mr. Greeley. Both Successful Appeal and Mr. Greeley were easily best at middle distances. What could have cause Closing Argument to carry his speed for 10F? Your guess is as s good as mine. Closing Argument’s third generation both top and bottom contains In Reality and Gone West who were competitive in two G1 race at 9F & 9.5F. Successful Appeal was runner up Preakness St and Gone West was runner up in the Wood Memorial. His extended dam line features two notable horses i.e., Reviewer sire of Ruffian and Buckpasser who sons Silver Buck and Buckaroo sired the 1985 & 1997 Kentucky Derby winners Spend A Buck and Silver Charm. It is therefore conceivable that with the right trip and conditions Closing Argument could squeeze out a win at 10F. He certainly went very close.

J P Gusto’s dam line does not features one horse of significance and that is the 1970 English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of course this means nothing as no one knows the combination that will produce the next great one. Holy Bull should have taught us that any horse can out run its pedigree. This is a nice colt and I am always looking for a horse from a sire line that will eventually break the monopoly of Mr. Prospector & Northern Dancer lines on the Triple Crown.

11 Sep 2010 8:17 AM
berttheclock

I could be mistaken, but wasn't the DM Futurity run at a flat mile before they dropped it back to 7F?

When, will the Jockey Club give Grade I status back to the Norfolk?

Kudos to PVal for being clean and sober.  Great rider, who worked hard to get past his early rep of only being a gate jockey.  If I recall he nursed Nostalgia Star on the lead on a very off track to pick up a Grade I win at SA.  NS, by the way was the dam sire of Lava Man.  Plus, I recall one August at DM, where PVal missed his graded mount due to "not being able to find a cab in the DM area to get him to the track".  Later, that fall, he missed connections on a flight and failed to show up for another top graded race on the East coast.  Yes, his career has been one huge roller coaster.

11 Sep 2010 8:23 AM
berttheclock

One other PVal story - I was in Vegas, several years back, and handicapped a race from, I believe Sportsman Park.  It was a claimer with two horses who had run against each other in their previous race.  One had some speed, but, had problems getting out early.  The other was a grinder.  I played the grinder.  Horses came out of the gate with the speed horse shooting to an easy lead and never looking back.  It was all over in seconds.

However, to my amazement, was seeing PVal atop the winning horse in the Winner's Circle.  Someone told me there was an injunction on drug testing and PVal had moved his tack to Chicago to take advantage of the situation.  I had bet against the great PVal on a speed horse.  Not my greatest moment.

A few weeks later, after PVal was ripping up the track with wins, some local trainer said of his riding, that he was like a man among boys.

11 Sep 2010 8:29 AM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

Holy Bull's pedigree is a throw back to the immortal Dr Fager.  Also, considering the relative success of his son Macho Uno at stud it is not really a case that he outran his pedigree.  His bloodline was just underrated.

As for JP Gusto, he may turn out to be another Noble's Promise (good up to a mile and sixtenth but not a genuine classic sort).

11 Sep 2010 9:47 AM
Festus

sherpa where have you been?Is Hofmans a man that can get a horse ready for distance.Check his record.about a hundred stakes wins.

11 Sep 2010 10:02 AM
Ann in Lexington (aka Pedigree Ann)

I have been appalled by the lengthening of 2yo races that has occurred over the last 40 years. Not because the races are too long, but because they require these young horses to distort their knees and ankles around two turns at racing speed. The Breeders' Futurity at Kee, the Kentucky Jockey Club St..., the Pimlico-Laurel Futurity, these were all one-turn mile type races. The Hopeful, Dmr Futurity, Arl-Was Futurity were all 6f. We were still able to sort out the best classic prospects, just like the Brits can, with their two best 2yo races the Middle Park (6f) and the Dewhurst (7f).

Even more appalling is that tracks are carding 2-turn races for 2yos in August!! Previously, the 2-turn races didn't show up until October at the earliest. Those poor babies, twisting their immature knees around 7f infield turf courses. A couple of months DOES make a difference with growing 2yos.

In Britain and France, the long 2yo races are over one-turn distances and the turns are more gradual than on US mile tracks, or even 9f tracks. And they take place at the tail end of the season - last of October, early November.

If racing people are worried about youngsters coming down with knee and ankle problems, I suggest they reconsider the current craze of running 2yos around 2 turns earlier and earlier.

PS. The first Breeders' Cup Juvenile was a 1-turn mile; Hollywood Park was rebuilt into a 9f oval with a mile chute, which has since been shortened, for whatever reason. The BC Juvenile at Arlington would have been better for the runners' joints if it, too, had been a one-turn mile. How many races did winner Vindication run at 3? oh, zero.

11 Sep 2010 10:45 AM
berttheclock

Sometimes it is better to, simply, look it up, rather than ask a question.

The DM Futurity has gone through many changes over the years.  From it's inception until '69, it was run at 6f.  Then, from '70 to '73, it was held at 7 and a half. From '74 until '92, it was a mile two turner.  In '93, it was dropped back to seven, where it remains today.

Interesting group of winners for that mile include Gato del Sol, Roving Boy, Flying Paster, Althea, Best Pal and Saratoga Six.  Both the Paster and Althea hold the stakes record of 1:34.80.  However, an interesting winner of the 6F was Baffle.  Baffle went on to hold the down the hill record at SA of 1:11 and 4/5ths for years.  In addition, he held the mile and a sixteenth record at Bay Meadows for a very long time.

Saratoga Six was the tremendous speed ball that Lucas was going to use to win the KC, but, he broke down.  Of course, that would have been a real duel, as Spend a Buck won the race.  Lucas kept him under such tight wraps that he would only work him in the very early hours and I saw, Cordero, use a strangle hold to keep him from setting any records in that DM Futurity win.

11 Sep 2010 11:51 AM
Rachel

He's two, a baby...plenty of time to grow up...I like the shorter coupled horses...maybe because I'm an Arabian person LOL...he's efficient...I'll take that over crooked-but-leggy...

Secretariat, War Emblem, Charismatic, Summer Squall, Storm Bird, Affirmed off the top of my head with somewhat similar more compact body type...longer necks, though ;-)

11 Sep 2010 11:56 AM
Paula Higgins

An interesting debate could be had about which is more important to get the longer distance, training or genetics? Maybe the answer is both, but I would think one of the factors must be more significant.

Great post Ann from Lexington. I think they need to start thinking about how they race and train the 2 year olds in this country. Maybe it would prevent breakdowns down the road if their bodies had more time to develop properly.

11 Sep 2010 2:58 PM
-Keelerman

I think that a mile and a sixteenth is within J P's Gusto's range, but classic distances may be beyond what he can handle. Still, you never know until they do it, and he certainly looked like he could go longer in the Del Mar Futurity.

He reminds me a little bit of Jackson Bend. Earlier this year I was fairly certain that due to his pedigree, Jackson Bend would never succeed beyond a mile. Then he ran a narrowly beaten third in the Preakness and I changed my mind. His best distance may be a mile, but he is certainly capable of going further. Perhaps J P's Gusto will turn out the same way.

-Keelerman

11 Sep 2010 4:07 PM
ruffianruns

Nice interview Jason.  Must be so exciting to have a horse like JPG.  I'm impressed with him and Jaycito, but I have no idea if JPG can go longer.  It's interesting to read the comments on body type and breeding.

Keelerman - Go back to the Chalk blog to see my response to your post!  Thanks for moving Count Fleet into one of my fave categories.  I'm doing all this research on him.

Ann in Lexington - I always like your posts.  As a relatively new fairly hard core racing fan (but a longtime horse freak), I was confused early on by race descriptions specifying the number of turns or people saying a horse couldn't get two turns, etc.  I figured it just had to be a distance and strategy thing, with saving ground around turns.  The more turns, the harder the race.  Now you tell me that the two-year-old knees and ankles aren't mature enough to handle turns too early.  How wrong am I with my first take on the number of turns and how much MORE do I need to know?

berttheclock - Thanks for the history lesson.  I love the track stories.

11 Sep 2010 5:03 PM
GunBow

Thanks Jason for the focus on Hoffmans and Gusto.

Hoffmans is correct that Gusto is a very smart and professional horse, and that'g going to allow him to run further than maybe his pedigree and build suggest.  That's especially true with a group of Cali juveniles that is not particularly inspiring.  If Sway Away does not run, JP's Gusto will be tough to beat in the Norfolk, even with it being at 8.5 furlongs.  Jaycito would appear to be a horse that is more suited for longer distances, but I'm not certain he's fast or talented enough to win a gr.1.  If I had to pick the Norfolk winner right now, I would side with the speed and professionalism of Gusto.

I think Gusto and all the other Cali based horses will benefit with the Breeder's Cup preps being held at Hollywood Park rather than Santa Anita.  Hollywood's Cushion Track is much more closer to dirt than Pro-Ride, so I don't think the "dirt question" will be relevant for those horses that win the Cali preps.  The real question will be whether they are good enough.  

Given Gusto ran so well at Hollywood, I have little question he can dirt.  The question I have is can he run 8.5 furlongs against top-flight competition like Boys at Toscanova and Uncle Mo?  However, I do think that with Gusto's accomplishments he deserves to mentioned with those Eastern horses.

11 Sep 2010 5:47 PM
GunBow

berttheclock:

Yes, Nostalgia's Star won the 86' Strub I believe when it was a gr.1.

And the Norfolk has been returned to gr.1 status; it's been a gr.1 again for a few years now.

11 Sep 2010 5:51 PM
GunBow

World Champion quarter horse Freaky made his frist start in 6 months last night in a gr.1 at Los Alamitos.  Freaky in 2009 was arguably the fastest quarter horse in history! But he lost last night, tiring in the final hundred yards to finish 2nd.

That a horse meeting in-form gr.1 horses would lose first time back in 6 months is not particularly shocking.  I even talked to Freaky's trainer Adan Farias after the race and he was quite encouraged and was excited to get to that 2nd race in October.

But it goes to show that there are a million ways to lose a race.  I also saw this in person with Rail Trip in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Blind Luck in the Hollywood Oaks, and Sidney's Candy in the Swaps.

These losses by heavy favorites validate how amazing it is that Zenyatta is an undefeated 18-0.  People can gripe that she hasn't faced males enough, but it's not like many of North America's great females faced males that often.  Personal Ensign faced males once, Ruffian once(match race), and while Lady's Secret faced males a handful of times, she only won one of those races.  Of the top ranked maintrack females in the Bloodhorse Top 100, the only one that faced males repeatedly throughout her career was Gallorette, and she only won about 15% of those encounters.

Of course, had Zenyatta been asked to face males repeatedly, and been successful doing so, she would have separated herself from every other maintrack female in North American history and established herself the clear #1.  However, even without doing this, I find it impossible to not include Zenyatta among the top 5 females in North American history.  She's followed the tradional path for North American females, but the difference is she has done it better than anyone else. A win in the Classic would make it undeniable that Zenyatta is the greatest female, and firmly put her alongside the top 30 males.

11 Sep 2010 6:18 PM
-Keelerman

Rezif upset Cloudy's Knight in the Kentucky Cup Turf!

Sent off at 18-1, Rezif rallied from far back and blew by Cloudy's Knight in the stretch to win by daylight.

Cloudy's Knight actually ran very well off of his eight month layoff, taking the lead in the stretch and staying well to finish second. I wouldn't count him out of the Breeders' Cup Marathon yet.

Congratulations to the connections of Rezif!

-Keelerman

11 Sep 2010 6:25 PM
tcc

Jason:

He reminds me a bit of (in classic distance), (Kentucky Derby) of Sidney's Candy and Dublin from last year's crop. They could run some route distance's up to 1 1/8 miles and then fell short at the 1 1/4 mile distance. Time will tell how far he will be to run.

11 Sep 2010 6:36 PM
jayjay

Robert : It's funny you mentioned the "neck" part of the horse because that's one of the things I look for when watching the post parade.  I generally look for a longer skinnier neck when I bet on horses.  It was something my Dad taught me.  I also look for a longer body when the race is a mile and longer.  Of course, none of this matters when it comes to Zen, she's just physically a beastess.

Like Dr. D, I thought Jaycito ran great in the Futurity, his run was powerful.  JPG ran 22 and 45 and was still going away at the top of the stretch.  If Jaycito stays closer to him in the Juvenile, it'll be a photo finish - but we'll see what the east coast offers.  I'm not sure if Boys@T can stay with JPG if he runs with the kind of splits he did in the Futurity.  I'd take Jaycito over those two in the Juveniles though and I think the west coast colts will dominate in the Juvenile this year.

11 Sep 2010 6:54 PM
sherpa

Jason - Your THS pick of Al Khali for the Bowling Green win was right on - congratulations!  Alan Garcia has been HOT of late.  (btw, do you know why BH has Julien Leparoux as the rider in the race details section?)

Bummed that Cloudy didn't win the Turf Cup but I should be glad he got 2nd, coming off a layoff and injury.  Too bad BH doesn't have video of the KY Downs races.  Why is that?

I'll understand if you want to finish counting your winnings before you answer my questions ;-)

11 Sep 2010 6:58 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Sherpa: The video of the KY Cup Turf is in the video section on the homepage. The Leparoux thing was a typo and will be corrected.

11 Sep 2010 10:09 PM
sherpa

thanks, Jason.  I'd already found out that the JL thing was not a typo, it just hadn't been updated.  Julien took off his Sat. Belmont horses to be at Presque Isle for Informed Decision.  Alan Garcia was supposed to ride Grand Couturier, but when he scratched Alan was free to pick up the mount on Al Khali.  Serendipitous!  Frankly, I doubt JL would've won that race.  

Saw the video.  Cloudy was game but Rezif was much the best today. I was wondering where that name, Rezif came from...and then I noticed his breeder's name is Fizer.  Funny!

11 Sep 2010 10:34 PM
tcc

Jason:

Off the subject, I had wondering why Super Saver was off form lately, this explains why Super Saver hasn't had very good race's lately.

Headline:

- Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer PhotographyInjury Shelves Super Saver

The Kentucky Derby-winning colt has a bruised condylar. More...

11 Sep 2010 11:02 PM
John T

Yes It was good to see Cloudy,s Knight run a good second after a long layoff.I have always liked this horse ever since he came up to Canada and won our Canadian International.

Another horse who ran a good second on Sept.11th was Aces Mark in the 8th at Belmont.He is named for Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis,two scouts for the N.H.L team,the Los

Angeles Kings who lost their lives

when United Airlines flight no.175

crashed into the World Trade Centre.

12 Sep 2010 12:17 AM
GunBow

Who cares about Informed Decision and winning a $400k race?  She's just a synthetic horse.

I'm kidding. There are synthetic races back East. Should we discount Informed Decison's career because most of her big wins have been on synthetic?  It's funny, I don't hear alot of criticism of Informed Decision running mostly on synthetic.  

12 Sep 2010 2:08 AM
KentuckyFan

I understand Ann's post and argument, but with all respect I feel it is misguided. Running a route of ground is usually easier on a horse than sprinting - they don't have to extend themselves and run hard every step of the way.

You could argue that racing two-year-olds in general should be limited, or that we need to change the way they are trained, etc. But in my opinion the argument that you shouldn't run 2-yr olds long is off base. If a horse is fit enough to go two turns that type of race is far easier on the horse than a sprint.

12 Sep 2010 8:26 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

It seems to me that bruised cannon bones would be painful. Can someone that knows equine injuries explain why Super Saver didn't show signs of  his injury?

12 Sep 2010 11:30 AM
morton

Hofmans has a big decision to make shortly. Does he stay with with Pat or go back. Hope  he stays with Pat.

12 Sep 2010 1:42 PM
Ranagulzion

GUN BOW,

I see you are trying to stir up the pot here but no one is claiming that Informed Decision is the greatest dirt runner of all time, hence the absence of criticism.  She is one of my favourite mares (which I'd argue looks like a stronger Broodmare prospect than her two most famous contemporaries) and I wish that her connections would think 'outside of the box' and give her a shot at the Breeder's Cup distaff (Ladies Classic).  As a 6YO she seems ready show her true pedigree at a distance of ground.  In her 'disappointing' performance in the Ballerina Stakes she seemed to have run out of ground while clawing her way back at the finish.  What do you think?  (Let's give the the famous female duo a break for now).

12 Sep 2010 3:11 PM
ruffianruns

Footlick - Are you out there?  I just read that Sariska refused to race again!  What is up with that?  I hope she's OK.  I hope they get her checked out really good.

12 Sep 2010 7:00 PM
-Keelerman

Ranagulzion;

It is possible that Informed Decision may be tried in something other than main track sprints in the very near future. Her connections are considering trying her on turf, which could open the door to many other opportunities.

However, I don't think that she will be entered in the Ladies' Classic. If it was on synthetic, she might be able to finish in the money, but I don't think that she would be able to handle the distance on dirt.

Part of the reason that she closes so well in sprints is because the pace setters are tiring badly --- in a route race, the fractions would be much more moderate, and Informed Decision would be left trying to catch relatively fresh horses.

On the other hand, if she was to go to the lead in the Ladies' Classic and set fractions of :24, :48 3/5, and 1:12 3/5 or such, she would stand a chance of hanging on for second or third. However, I doubt that she would be able to hold off Blind Luck at that distance on dirt.

If she were to try a different Breeders' Cup race this year, it could be the Turf Sprint. Perhaps it would be too short for her, but if she does like turf, she could drop back to eighth or ninth and turn in a strong run like she did in the Masters last night and possibly outkick everyone. The filly she beat last night, Dubai Majesty, was coming off of a win in a turf sprint.

Does anyone else think that she would have a chance in the Turf Sprint?

-Keelerman

12 Sep 2010 8:08 PM
LAZMANNICK

Ranagulzion

With regards to broodmares prospects and your latest support for anything Zenyatta (chuckle chuckle).....I take it you made you latest statement before knowng that Zen's half sister dropped a colt by A.P.Indy for 4.2 mill.

12 Sep 2010 8:12 PM
LAZMANNICK

I believe that Rezif finished second in this race to Cloudy's last year.

12 Sep 2010 8:15 PM
sherpa

That's right, Laz - the order of finish was reversed this year.  

Wish I could find some comments from Sheppard about the race.  I'd like to know that Cloudy came out of it in good shape.  Have you seen or heard anything?

12 Sep 2010 9:21 PM
PJJ

Zen's half sister dropped a colt by A.P.Indy for 4.2 mill.

Now,  Can we imagine what Zenyatta's foals will bring!!!

Tell 'em,  Laz....

12 Sep 2010 9:26 PM
-Keelerman

LAZMANNICK;

Yes indeed, Rezif did run second last year.

Sherpa;

That is funny! I was wondering where the name Rezif came from. It makes you wonder where other race horse names come from.

-Keelerman

12 Sep 2010 9:36 PM
Ted from LA

I am going to go off topic for the first time in my blogging career.  Is anyone watching the MTV Music Awards?  Our society is crumbling.  On the upside, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

12 Sep 2010 9:36 PM
Don

He'll get two turns and will be optimal @ two turns this year. As the rest of the crop matures and develops better route horses will surface and he will be unable to compete with the big dogs down the road. Tell you what I don't think he will be able to hold off Acafella in the Norfolk @ Oak Tree...

12 Sep 2010 9:36 PM
sodapopkid

If a colt out of Zenyatta's half-sister Balance and A.P.Indy brought a cool $4.2 mil.  

Just think,  In the near future, How much money Zenyatta's foals will bring the Moss's everytime they sell one....

12 Sep 2010 9:45 PM
Aluminaut

Yup.  4.2 million (and that's dollars, not rice krispies.)

12 Sep 2010 10:45 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from LA, it is 11:36 here and I am laughing my head off over your MTV comment. That is exactly why I wouldn't be caught dead watching them. Did you read Camille Paglia's piece on Lady GaGa?? That says it all. I think Paglia referred to GaGa as a "Plasticized Android."

4.2 million is alot of money but that is one incredible looking horse. If he runs as good as he looks, watch out. Yes, Zenny's and Rachel's kids should go off the charts. I think they need to breed them to Sea the Stars.

12 Sep 2010 11:44 PM
Footlick

ruffianruns- She has been retired.  Who knows what is going on with her.  But now they are talking about how they have to be careful with what sire they breed her to. Supposedly her sister did the same thing.  Sadly she was vastly superior to Midday, but it may be like DarReMi where there were too many races against males in a row.  Nobody really knows what went on, but I feel they made the right decision in retiring her.  A sad situation all around.

12 Sep 2010 11:51 PM
LAZMANNICK

PJJ

I bet Zen's babies bring more than the 60K that she cost.  Now that's what I call an investment.  To this point in her illustrious unmatched in our lifetime career, for evey dollar they spent they got a one hundred dollar return

13 Sep 2010 12:06 AM
LAZMANNICK

Ted from LA

Try the bran muffin with the raisons for breakfast.  Just make sure there are no rabbits hanging around the bakery.

13 Sep 2010 12:10 AM
LAZMANNICK

PJJ

That 100 dollar return per dollar spent that the Moss' paid for Zen should set them up for the Eclipse Award for the MOST ASTUTE BUYERS OF FILLIES categroy.

13 Sep 2010 12:13 AM
Bet Twice

Ted From LA,

No way a Holiday Inn Express is the upside.  Bed bug city.  Took 6 months to get rid of them.

Informed Decision had a good excuse for the very late close.  She was bumped and stumbled at the start.  I was surprised she got up.  

13 Sep 2010 1:16 AM
The Tin Man

They won't be selling Zenyatta's kiddos. They're not in it for the money. They love her and she's like part of the family to the Moss'. It would be like selling their grandkids to them.

But it's pretty mindblowing to think what her little ones would go for.

The Candy Rides are tearing it up in SoCal. I personally would love to see a Candy Ride/Zenny mix. I think it would be a monster on turf!  

13 Sep 2010 2:38 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Just think how much you'd get for a Mr. Ed and Zenyatta offspring. You'd have a horse that could talk up a storm, sing a little, dance like no one ever has, run like the wind, and philosophise. He or she would win the race, then do a little song and dance in the winner's circle and give a speech.

13 Sep 2010 11:30 AM
PJJ

Laz,  You got that right.  Very smart investment there.  Just think that within the next 10 years what that sixty grand purchase will give back to them.  

With the monies Zenyatta has and will make for them by this year's end, and if/when they sell her foals look at the monies they will recieve.........Now thats what I'm talking about,  Damn great investment........

13 Sep 2010 11:38 AM
Ranagulzion

LAZMANNICK,

For the life of me I can't see what these long-pocket investors see in A P Indy offsprings thats worth throwing millions after.  Their record do not support such foolhardy spending. Maybe, like you think, the buyer was going after the Zenyatta-like bottom half of the yearling's pedigree ...good luck to him.

I was referring to Informed Decision as a better broodmare prospect not so much in terms of the market (which has a crazy logic based upon the history of high-priced yearlings) but moreso in terms of producing runners that can be good Classic/stakes horses and breeding prospects. She carries quite a bit of La Troinne on top and Ribot on the bottom which will make her offsprings appealing for breeding too.  To me, her race record and pedigree shapes her up as a potential Blue-hen type mare.  I'm not convinced that 'Zen' and 'Rachel' quite match up.

13 Sep 2010 12:31 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The headlines are a total shocker. I thought for sure that Ted from LA was going to get the CEO position. I bet it was that wise crack about Jason getting Ted's coffee that sealed his fate. Better luck next time Ted. I hope you won't be one of those sore losers. I hope you will reassure your fans that you'll be sticking around to provide humor and insight. Please don't give one of those "well, you won't have Ted to kick around anymore" type speeches. You know what kind of mess that can get people into.

13 Sep 2010 1:59 PM
mz

Footlick and Ruffianruns (and Jason): re: Sariska - if she hadn't been retired, would she have been ruled off the turf in France because of the two refusals?  Didn't the Brits just do that with Spanish Moon because he made the same kind of moves moves?  Would they do that in North America?

As an aside (but re: 2YO's), did you see Saamid?  Wow! Some fun with 2YO's this year -- even across the Pond.

13 Sep 2010 2:37 PM
EarlySpeed

Hey, I am reading everyone's post with interest. I love the horses, and would also love to be able to bet as successfully as my late husband did. He put himself through college on the ponies. Tuition is due-go to Aksarben. That's how long ago that was. I was never able to find out any tips since that was the last things on our minds when we got married and were newlyweds. I just know he was real good at math and taught himself handicapping. I realize that these days I am lucky to just have a job. I work full time for such little pay that it has been hard to make ends meet. I would love to find out a reliable way to successfully bet to get some extra income. I am 57 years old and have a disability. We all know just how unprotected in regard to discrimination "protected categories" are. I have never been to a track, but would love to go. I live closest to Oaklawn and the one in Oklahoma City. If a system or method has been working for you, please e-mail me at: weelass@doglegs.com. I would much rather have gone to the races with my late husband. I have owned horses (Saddlebred and Arabian), and have studied Thoroughbred pedigrees for several years, studying who can run long, who sires sprinters, who sires stayers, dosage index, and trying to learn more about what the numbers mean to the left of the dosage index. Someone mentioned betting neck lengths and body types for the length of the race. I have never bet on a horse race in my life.

13 Sep 2010 2:37 PM
Ted from LA

Just think how much you'd get for a Mr. Ed and Zenyatta offspring. You'd have a horse that could talk up a storm, sing a little, dance like no one ever has, run like the wind, and philosophise. He or she would win the race, then do a little song and dance in the winner's circle and give a speech.

Dr Drunkinbum 13 Sep 2010 11:30 AM

Brilliant!!!

www.youtube.com/watch

13 Sep 2010 2:54 PM
ruffianruns

Footlick - Thanks for your take.  Interesting that her sister did the same thing.  I guess I don't think it's that sad.  Maybe for the humans involved, but I don't care so much about them as I do the horses.  I'm trying to think how I would feel if Zenyatta or Rachel refused to race...  I think I would be concerned that they had an injury that no one knew about, but that they were taking care of themselves somehow.  And that's what I think she's doing.  I don't know.  Maybe I'm way off base.

13 Sep 2010 3:09 PM
ruffianruns

Ted from LA - Maybe that's the reason I've been praying for asteroids.  It almost worked.  We've got to be going the way of the dinosaurs soon.  But don't get me started.

Laz - That Eclipse Award could be named the Ingordo.  Since Zen loves the Guinness, here's the Guinness tie-in terms of greatest deals ever.  I learned this when I was in Dublin nine years ago.  If you're ever there, you've got to check out St. James Gate Brewery where Arthur Guinness started brewing beer about 250 years ago.  He signed a lease for something like 10,000 years for something like 50 pounds a year.  Something COMPLETELY outrageous like that and it's a HUGE place!  That's also where I learned that that's where the Guinness Book of World Records comes from.  Duh!  I'd never made the connection.

Anyone think that Zen is going to A.P. Indy first?  Holy cow!  I CANNOT wait to see these babies!

13 Sep 2010 3:31 PM
mz

...and Ted: as Ms. Zed would be one of the very few Palomino T'Breds in the world, she wouldn't even need to win the Triple Crown to be all shiny and golden!

And I am so sorry that you had to watch the MTV Awards.  I gave up on those a LOOOOONNNGGG time ago -- about the same time I started to sound like my mother ("eh what?..what are they saying in that song?...why are they dressed so scruffy? ... you call that music?....)

13 Sep 2010 3:37 PM
My Juliet

    (This is a bit off-topic)

  For any Rachel A fan who needs a lift:  www.breederscup360.com

  click 'video' at top of screen

  go to 'Rachel Fans, Unconditionally' by Ernie Munick

13 Sep 2010 3:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ted from LA

   Thanks for the treat !!! I love that song of course. Another one of Mr. Ed's great quotes- "I'm awfully tired, I think I'd better hit the hay. Oh, no I can't, I ate it !!"

13 Sep 2010 3:52 PM
Footlick

ruffianruns- It was sad to me because she was such a talented filly.  In between the two races she refused,  they schooled her in the stalls and she was just fine.  She was great in her gallops and they expected a big race out of her.  But obviously something is going on. At least they retired her.  She ran very competitively with Fame and Glory earlier this year and was one of the favorites for the Arc.

13 Sep 2010 5:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Footlick

  With horses it's called- "you're retired", with humans it called, "you're fired !!!"

ruffianruns

   I don't find it sad at all. She doesn't want to run. Sounds like a lady that knows how to get what she wants. Maybe her horse sense told her that getting on the track could be big trouble for her.

Ted from LA

   I think you should have to spend a night in jail just for mentioning MTV here. By the way, did you happen to catch The Dean Martin show last night? It was a doozy.

13 Sep 2010 6:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

That's terrible news about jockey Michael Martinez. Only 24 years old, in critical condition, at the very least he will be paralyzed. Incredibly dangerous sport. He was involved in a spill at GG Fields Sunday.

13 Sep 2010 7:01 PM
Paula Higgins

The Tin Man, I hope you're right. I would love to see Zenny's kids stay with Jerry and Ann Moss. You  Zenny is like one of the family; you can see that when they are around her. When she is retired, I wonder how Ann Moss will cope with it. I know she just loves her and Kentucky is far away.

13 Sep 2010 8:03 PM
GunBow

Ranagulzion:

I did mention Zenyatta in my post about Freaky because her undefeated record was one of the first things that came into my head after Freaky cross the wire 2nd.  Seeing outstanding horses lose reminds how remarkable it is for a horse to win even 3 or 4 races, let alone 10, and my goodness 18 is just outrageous especially since 12 have come in gr.1 events.  I felt and still feel the same way about Cigar.  Yet, I go on youtube and I read people dismissing Cigar.  That's when I know that it's impossible to please everyone.

I actually never used the Z word on my post about Informed Decsion.  Zenyatta was on my mind, but my main point for that post was my frustration with how California racing has been tied to synthetcs, and vice versa.  It seems to me that most of people's anger over synthetics is directed at Califronia tracks and Cali horses.  I see much fewer pieces where people are condemning everything about Arlington, Woodbine, Turfway, Presque Isle, or Keeneland.

And as someone who lives in Cali now, it's hard to see certain people just completely dismiss the horses I watch on a regular basis because they are running on synthetics.  There are people out there who just have to make sure that there's an asterisk next to anything a Cali horse does on synthetic.  Again, I don't see an equal animosity or even hatred being directed at the Midwestern and Eastern synthetic tracks and the horses running over them.

And if one remembers, at last year's Breeder's Cup Informed Decision won the Female Sprint from the Turfway-Keeneland-Arlington synthetic circuit, She Be Wild won the Juvenile Fillies from the Arlington-Keeneland synthetic circuit, Furthest Land won the Dirt Mile from Turfway's synthetic, and Cloudy's Knight almost won the Marathon from the Woodbine and Kentucky turf.  Horses from the East and Midwest did have success on the Pro-Ride.  But in many of the rants from East Coasters codmening the Breeder's Cup for being run on synthetic, I read disparaging remarks about the home-track advantage of Zenyatta and Life is Sweet with no acknowledgement that non-Cali horses won a number of the maintrack races(this doesn't even include Vale of York or Man of Iron).  

People don't bring up the synthetic argument just for Zenyatta (as it realted to her being the greatest female ever).  No, I heard the same doubts and qualifications throughout the Triple Crown prep season.  The simple fact is there are those out there, including some who participate on this blog, that just refuse to give Cali synthetic horses much of any credit.  For them, Cali horses have to run on dirt(which by definition means going East) to prove their worth.  Thus, it wasn't until Lookin at Lucky and Blind Luck proved themselves superior on TWO surfaces(and after travelling far more than any Eastern based horse) until certain people gave them their due.

For me one of the great things about Santa Anita going back to dirt is to see the response of those who use the existence of synthetics to explain and justify their hostility towards Cali racing.  Without synthetics at the biggest Cali meet, will these critics now embrace Cali racing?  Some, maybe.  But the others will find something else, just like before synthetics there were people dismissing the fast times and big Beyers being produced(late 80s-90s) as an artifact of dirt surfaces that were "freeways".  When I was growing up the arguments were virtually flipped.  Many Easterns emphasized class, quality, style and were skeptical of the times and speed figures of the Cali horses.  For them, running fast and winning by a big margin on a "souped up" speedway wouldn't do the Cali horses any good if they had to go East and run on "unbiased" dirt tracks, tracks that would test stamina and quality.  What are the Cali critics going to do when they don't have synthetics to hide behind?  All I know is that they will find something, they always have. (As I side note, these people are a minority, so I'm not paranoid).

I will never forget the comment some local Kentuckian made  at the 2000 Breeder's Cup at Churchill.  I had grown up in Cali but had moved to Michigan a year before the 00' Breeder's Cup.  So, I was still rooting for the Cali contingent because I was most familiar with them.  

That year, the Breeder's Cup Distaff was the first BC race, or one of the first few.  The favorite for the Distaff, and a heavy favorite, was the California-based Riboletta.  After she ran out of the money, a man standing next to me started proclaiming to anyone who would listen that Churchill"is not California. This is our house. This is a championship racetrack. These California horses aren't coming here and winning" or words to this effect.  I didn't say anything in return, partly because I had heard it plenty of times before.  Needless to say, I wish I had run into him again after Kona Gold, War Chant, and Tiznow won!

As for Informed Decision, if there was a turf mile race just for females, I would say that might suit her best.  But of the races that exist, I still think the Female Sprint is the best for her, especially since her only gr.1 win on dirt was at Churchill.

13 Sep 2010 8:31 PM
Ranagulzion

KEELERMAN,

Your comments regarding Informed Decision is appreciated.  I think however that on dirt she could act better as a stayer (in keeping with her pedigree) than trying to sprint as she does on Synthetics.  I have seen no evidence whatsoever that she would fold in a dirt route race.  Her connections must know best but the reasons that they have advanced for keeping her in sprints never suggested any lack of stamina.  I think that she is begging for a distance of ground in order to show her other dimensions.  Informed Decision has accomplished much in her career but has been unfortunately overshadowed by megastars Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra while showing a lot of spunk and versatility on Synthetics.  She is no slouch on Dirt either and might indeed also have something to show on Turf.  Doesn't this mare strike you as an extraordinary Broodmare prospect?

13 Sep 2010 8:47 PM
GunBow

Good for Midday getting another gr.1!  The turf races at last year's Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita were absolutely first-rate affairs.  And the fact the Breeder's Cup was held at the same track 2 straight year might have encouraged owners and trainers to bring the winners back because they knew their horses liked the track. It certainly made it easier to repeat.

The result is we fans got to see Goldi and Conduit both repeat.  We also were treated to a sensational performance by a promising 3 year old filly, Midday, who this year has proven herself Europe's best distance female with 3 gr.1 wins(5 in her career).  In her Filly and Mare Turf win Midday had to face the defending champ, 4 time gr.1 winner Forever Together.

Throw in Lookin at Lucky, Blind Luck, Ventura, Informed Decision, Life is Sweet, California Flag, and  a Classic that has produced at least 6 gr.1 winners this year, and the 09' Breeder's Cup was outstanding, synthetic or not.  The only races that I think suffered being run on synthetic were the Sprint and Dirt Mile, the Sprint in particular. But the other maintrack races drew quality Euros that likely would not have run otherwise.

13 Sep 2010 8:57 PM
Ranagulzion

GunBow,

My views on Zenyatta are well documented on these blogs.  I'm a loyal fan who has been both mesmerized (by her brilliance) and frustrated (by the timidity of her campaign).  She is a very very very special horse that has been raced too sparingly (not so much in terms of her number of starts but moreso with respect to the number of soft spots and the avoidance of top competitors on Dirt and Synthetics) to the detriment of her legacy.  Eighteen straight victories is a great accomplishment in one sense but not in every respect.  Connoisseurs of the game do not look at statistics without considering the context in which the stats were built.  Hence Queen Zenyatta will always be dogged by doubter/naysayers who have legitimate critisms of her resume.  Lets see if she can silence them or diminish their rantings and mine, against her to a wisper in November.  I will change my moniker to Rumpelstilskin, to my shame and in her honour, if she does it at the expense of the return of the "King", Quality Road.

Regarding the East coast West coast quarrel, I stay out of it because I consider myself a true fan of the sport and a lover of the champions wherever they are based or wherever they race.

Informed Decision on the Dirt at Churchill Downs in the Distaff could add a lot more mystery and intrigue to the "Ladies Classic".  It would be interesting to see where an upset victory would place her in the contest for championship honours as well as whether she would at last grab some attention among the female superstars or even eclipse any of them.  I wish her connections would take a gamble here ...after all she has the pedigree and class for such a challenge.

13 Sep 2010 9:40 PM
KentuckyFan

I've never heard much talk about it, but I'd love to see Zenyatta try the turf. With her pedigree - and particularly her running style - I bet she'd be lights out.

Lucien Lauren always insisted that Secretariat was lengths better on turf than he was on dirt. It's a shame we won't know how Z would handle it, but it does make you wonder.

13 Sep 2010 10:19 PM
draynay

Ranagulzion, the day is coming when Zenyatta has to come up with a excuse not to run in the Classic or show up and get whipped.  Either way she proves herself to be nothing more then a synthetic specialist.

13 Sep 2010 10:50 PM
LAZMANNICK

Ranagulzion

I am puzzled as to why you think that Informed Decision would be a candidate for the BC Distaff, a race that at 9F seems to be clearly too far for her.  True, her running style in 7F races suggests that she should be able to stretch out and get the 9F distance without any problem or at least be competitive, but in reality she has competed only once beyond 7F (which seems to be her favorite distance) when early on in her career she went a mile and backed up terribly to finish 4th by 15L.  The race was a bit of a toughie, the G2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream, and it was on dirt, but she had won her first two career starts there (one after being elevated to the win after finishing 2nd by a nose).  You would think that if she could be competitive in a route against G1 competition, her connections would enter her in some of those races, especially with her class and tremendous will.  And a win at longer distances would do wonders for her breeding resume.  Maybe she’s just a good sprinter who can excel against sprinters at the difficult 7F distance, but does not have the stamina to be a good router.

13 Sep 2010 10:56 PM
Meydan Rocks

LOOKS LIKE DEAR RACHEL MIGHT BE GOING IN THE BCLC.

Blind Luck... WATCH OUT!

From DRF

"After failing to get the 1 1/4 miles of the Personal Ensign, it is more likely Rachel Alexandra would be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 5, rather than the $5 million Classic against the boys – and perhaps Zenyatta – on Nov. 6."

13 Sep 2010 11:06 PM
LAZMANNICK

Ranagulzion

Is it just me or is there a pest lurking somewhere nearby?

13 Sep 2010 11:15 PM
Ranagulzion

Ha Ha Ha Ha ...LAZ you're funny ...when you take a break from the defence of Zen (LOL)

13 Sep 2010 11:42 PM
Ranagulzion

DRAYNAY,

Will you promise to be quiet if she shows up and wins?  ...Mind you, I wouldn't be betting on either outcome.

13 Sep 2010 11:47 PM
Footlick

ruffianruns- Sariska has a kissing spine, which causes pain and inflammation.  She's had it all her life, but it must have been bothering her more now.   I'm sure that it was a factor.

14 Sep 2010 9:26 AM
Ted from LA

You all had me LingOL multiple times on this thread and honestly, I seldom LOL in real life and even less on-line.  Dr. D, great stuff.  I bow before you (well, I would if my hamstrings weren't so goshdarn tight (Jason, please let that curse word in) and teach me how to close random parenthesis))... thanks.  I was actually laughing hard post after post until the jockey injury post from Dr. D.  That is the main thing I hate about horseracing.  I was at a disabled jockey fundraiser a couple years ago and they were counting up races from those who were present, some with no health problems, some with paralysis.  It came out to about one in a million races.  The problem is, that was with the giants of the sport.  At the smaller tracks, I am sure the odds are not so generous.  mz, Zed is a great name for a racehorse.  That Mr. Ed Show was a doozy.  I should have never mentioned MTV and all the degenerates and classless people dwelling there.  That was unprofessional of me.  Wait a minute... I just reviewed this thread.  Dr. D, are you implying I didn't get the President/CEO job at the Bloodhorse?  If that is indeed a fact, I agree with your assessment regarding sending Jason for coffee before I landed the job.  It's unfortunate.  I could have run this publication into the ground in weeks with my hands tied behind my back (calling Paula Higgins, Paula Higgins, Straight Man is leaving the house.  Jason, please close that parentheses for me.  I am exausted after calling the Jets to get second in the Super Bowl.  I am ready for Breeders' Cup.  I plan to put my 16 children through college with my winnings.  Storm Cat had nothing on Ted from LA.  Aside from the ultimate retirement plan.

14 Sep 2010 10:51 AM
Jason Shandler

I gave you guys Green Bay in week 1. Hope you cashed. Stay tuned for week 2...

14 Sep 2010 11:18 AM
berttheclock

Can't I, simply, savor the great win by my beloved KC Chiefs, for a spell.

But, still no reporting of how he is doing at Pomona, er Fairplex, by Ted from LA.

Now, in the old days of the hard clay 1/2 mile track, many a young two year old was injured at Pomona. Remember in a bull ring, a six to 7F race is around two turns while a mile and sixteenth is around three.  Today's surface is far more fair to horses, but, Barrett's still conducts their young horses in training sale at that facility and many are pushed to explode.  But, I still believe in the comments from that fine lady from Kentucky, who complained about the still developing colts and fillies being forced into two turns at far too early an age.  Do prefer the systems used in France, England and Ireland.

14 Sep 2010 12:28 PM
it ain't easy being as wrong as draynay always is

The day is coming when Rachael Alexandra has to come up with a excuse not to run in the Classic or show up and get whipped.  

draynay 13 Sep 2010 10:50 PM

He finally said something that makes sense!!

14 Sep 2010 1:16 PM
ruffianruns

My Juliet - Thanks fellow Rachel fan.  I'll check it out.

Footlick - Yes, she was talented.  I can see why it would be sad if she was working so well in her gallops.  I just think she knows something that we don't, but maybe that doesn't make much sense if she was running so well.  If they could only talk in a way that we could understand!

Dr D - Thanks for weighing in on Sariska.  That's how I see it, but I can understand the disappointment, too.

KentuckyFan - I've always thought Zen would be great on turf, but then somewhere I heard some trainer saying about ANOTHER horse that she's too big for the turf, she's sink on it.  I don't know, Zenyatta's so good on synthetic surfaces, maybe it would translate to turf.  I still think she's best on dirt.

Laz - It's a pest nearby.

Footlick - Oh!  I just read your post about the "kissing spine."  What the hell?  Did you find that at Racing Post?  I'll have to do some research.  Thanks!

14 Sep 2010 1:37 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ted from LA

Horse racing is definitely the world's roughest sport. Jockeys are the bravest humans alive. How much courage does it take to be a great jockey? Tons. Nice, long post from you Ted !!! Philadelphia Eagles by 14 over Detroit Lions. Da Lions won't be able to recover from that atrocity of a call. What do you have to do?- Take the ball into the locker room, and lock it in your locker? Then if someone takes it from your locker two days later, the catch doesn't count?

14 Sep 2010 1:48 PM
Householder

The L-Classic is shaping up to be the best race of the Breeder's Cup.  I say it's time to settle this Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra thing once and for all.  I say Zenyatta takes HOY out of this race.  The wheels are going to come off of the Breeder's Cup Classic with Awesome Gem or some Euro who can run 1 1/4 hitting at 50-1.  

14 Sep 2010 1:52 PM
Jason Shandler

I'll take some of that action Dr. D. Eagles cant beat anyone by 14.

14 Sep 2010 3:18 PM
LAZMANNICK

it ain't easy being as wrong as draynay always is

I thought that that's what he has been saying all along.  Those spelling the name wrong mistakes he constantly makes is catching up to him.

14 Sep 2010 3:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jason

   Would you believe seven? They are certainly going to either control the ball most of the game and, or score a lot of points, unless they make too many mistakes. The question is what is Detroit's offense going to do. Anything to do with the NFL right now for me is iffy. I don't have much of a feel for what's going on yet. New England looks pretty good. A number of teams look bad. The Jimmy Clausen era should start any minute. Sorry, no action at this point.

berttheclock

  I agree too.

14 Sep 2010 3:43 PM
Footlick

ruffianruns- Yes, Sariska's trainer disaclosed that she had that condition but she has had it her whole life.  He said he was very disappointed as he expected a big race out of her and he certainly thought she could win pretty convincingly from what he said.  He also thought she had a strong chance in the Arc.

14 Sep 2010 7:19 PM

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