Epic Weekend Looms

Like many, I am looking forward to the Alabama this weekend. Will It's Tricky solidify her place at the top of the division, will Plum Pretty take it away from her, or will another 3-year-old filly jump into the mix? My money will be on Plum Pretty.

The race intrigues me, but in a way I just want to get this weekend over with so I can start turning my attention to Aug. 28-29, which promises to be an epic weekend of racing--maybe the best non-Breeders' Cup weekend of the year. Between Del Mar and Saratoga, a total of seven grade I races will be held, and it looks like three of them are going to be must-see events.

The Travers is always a must-see race but this year it could be a championship race. Coil (Haskell), Ruler On Ice (Belmont), Shackleford (Preakness), and Stay Thirsty (Jim Dandy) would all be able to lay claim to the 3-year-old division lead with a Travers win, while an upset by another outsider would clutter things even further with the Breeders' Cup just a little more than two months away.

If it's possible for the Travers to get one-upped by an undercard race, it could happen this year in the King's Bishop if Uncle Mo and The Factor both make their comebacks in the seven-furlong dash. By all accounts, Uncle Mo is working like a monster for his return, while The Factor, a longshot to make the race only a few weeks ago, just needs one last solid work for Bob Baffert to send him on a plane to New York. Arguably the two Kentucky Derby favorites before illness and injury sidelined them, Uncle Mo and The Factor squaring off in the King's Bishop is a tantalizing thought. Throw in the fact that Baffert's lightning-fast Saddleranch, Amsterdam winner Caleb's Posse, the speedy Flashpoint, and Justin Phillip all could join them, and you have the makings of an all-time great race.

Not long ago we found out that Blind Luck and Havre de Grace will not meet in the Personal Ensign, which would be disappointing if it weren't for the fact that the two star fillies will likely face males in separate races. Havre de Grace is a go for the Sept. 3 Woodward and will meet a good field that could include Convocation, Duke of Mischief, Giant Oak, Flat Out, and either Mission Impazible or Rule. We now have an extra week to get primed for that one.

The third race that could leave us on the edge of our seats is the Pacific Classic on Sunday, especially if Blind Luck stays home to face males for the first time. How does a showdown between Blind Luck, Twirling Candy, and Game on Dude sound? It now seems more likely.

We've got all of next week to break down these marquee match-ups, but for now, which one are you most looking forward to?


Leave a Comment:


Why do I have to choose?

I want to see both of the Grrllls heading towards HOY in each of their races.

Is Flashpoint in the Kings' Bishop?  If not, where is he?

Travers in sort of interesting but I am more interested in the Alabama.  As I already said, Inglorious.

(Did I make first post?  Is Ted/Bob Jealous?  Ha! Serves him right for 2timing/3timing/4timing me.  Every time I see another one of his posts, he's sweet talking another blogger!)

19 Aug 2011 4:11 PM
calico cat

I need a button that says ALL OF THE ABOVE. Can't make up my mind as to which one I want to see the MOST. Arrgh! I guess I'll go for the King's Bishop... no the Pacific Classic... wait... Arrgh!!! Jason, this is cruel and unusual punishment! I refuse to answer, I want to see my lawyer!!!

19 Aug 2011 4:55 PM
Criminal Type

I must be missing something because Ted has never sweet talked me. Moving on, Im going with Coil in the Travers, Plum Pretty in the Alabama, The Factor in the Kings Bishop, Game on Dude in the Pacific Classic and Havre De Grace in the Woodward.

19 Aug 2011 5:04 PM
Carlos in Cali

I've been saying for the last month that Saddleranch will win the King's Bishop vs. Uncle Mo or whoever runs in it.He's been @ Saratoga for over a month now and from what I've read,he's been outworking his stablemate Coil... enough said!

Blind Luck will not beat the males AND neither will HDG... they're both nice fillies,but not that type of caliber.

19 Aug 2011 5:13 PM

IMO the King's Bishop is the race of the weekend. The Factor and Uncle Mo going 7F on a speedy Saratoga track. The sprint division is extremely deep this year with loads of talent on each coast. To me, this will only make the BC Sprint more exciting.

As for the Travers, I am looking forward to it. If Coil, Shackelford, Ruler on Ice or Stay Thirsty wins, COULD be 3 YO champ.

That brings in a new question I have for the rest of you. What if, a big IF, Unlce Mo or The Factor were to win a series of grade I's, could they be champion 3 YO? For example, Let's say The Factor wins the King's Bishop, then another G.I and the BC Sprint. That could certainly bring him into 3 YO champ contention wouldn't it? Or am I way off base here?

Havre de Grace will romp in the Woodward shaming the older males and Blind Luck will win the Pacific Classic further shaming the older male division.

19 Aug 2011 5:17 PM


I can't decide which one of these two, that I would like to see the most, so I will have to go for the Travers and the Pacific Classic.

19 Aug 2011 5:26 PM
Smoking Baby

mz....You beat me to it.  I also am looking forward to the Alabama more than the Travers.  I'm hoping for Plum Pretty (wish Zazu was in there as well but she ran the other day out here) but at the distance I think Inglorious could be dangerous.  For me the Alabama has really been a good race the last several years with Proud Spell vs Music Note, Blind Luck vs. Devil May Care and now this year coming up so tough.  Not impressed with the Woodward horses.  Havre de Grace has a REAL shot at beating them.  I liked it better before when the Woodward was run at Belmont and was a true Grade 1 race.  Now it seems to me NYRA's tinkering has made it an afterthought to the Whitney and as such should probably be a Grade 2.

19 Aug 2011 5:31 PM

i would like to see them all, i would love to see blind luck and HDG both win,shackleford win the travers, kings bishop the factor to win just so pletcher and repole wouldnt get the chance to be all smug

19 Aug 2011 6:16 PM

I will probably watch all of those match-ups,but I must say that the one that I would most like to see,is the one where I make a good score One blogger speaking for the bettors.The bettors are the ones supporting the sport as a group, and no one blogs about their interests.Btw there will be more money made if any of the match-ups results in none of the match-up contenders coming in 1st or 2nd.The rest of the field as in numbers, will determine if betting against them is a good gamble.Here is another question related to the match-up question(out of those four match-ups how many of the four races will end with none of the match-up contenders coming in 1st or 2nd.

19 Aug 2011 6:36 PM

Blind Luck.  Don't like the fact that she lost the only race she ever entered at Del Mar.  But, she is already there, it's a 1 million dollar purse, and we all know Twirling Candy can't get the distance.  I also think the Pacific Classic packs a better punch than the Woodward as far as HOY honors go.  So camp Blind Luck 1, Harve De 0.  

But, she has been running 1 1/4, loves Churchill...all systems "go" for the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Could be a Blind Luck vs. Harve Classic with HOY honors on the line.

19 Aug 2011 7:01 PM
Mike Relva

St. Johns River winning tomorrow.

19 Aug 2011 9:33 PM
Karen in Indiana

They all sound good - each race has its own flavor and intrigue.

So - if a different horse that hasn't won yet this year wins the Travers, does that mean Animal Kingdom might still be in the running for 3 yr. old Eclipse? How tough that he was knocked out for the rest of the year and how tough he must be to have done as well as he did after being injured.

19 Aug 2011 10:21 PM
Paula Higgins

I agree with people who said all of the above. But if I have to pick, it's the return of Uncle Mo for me. He is training so well. Can't wait to see him. His story is so compelling for both horse and owner. My second pick would be HDG in the Woodward. I think she could beat the boys.

19 Aug 2011 11:08 PM
John from Seattle

Great races.  You can also add the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs featuring Noosa Beach on Sunday.

19 Aug 2011 11:46 PM
Dawn in MN

TVG Alabama

Foxwood Kings Bishop


Are any other races televised?

I shouldn't have to and don't want to pay my cable company extra money for the packages that include HRTV or TVG races.  The races that are televised on network TV. or ESPN will have to be enough for this fan.  

I love Live Racing!  I really wish I could be in Del Mar for the Pacific Classic.  I was there a couple of years ago.  Where the surf meets the turf is a Del Mar slogan.  The setting and the track are beautiful to behold, especially for a mid-continent resident like me.  I have always wanted to see Belmont.  I don't think that Belmont or Saratoga and my wallet will ever meet.  It doesn't seem likely that I would ever be able to finance those trips.  

I will happily settle for my affordable local track, Canterbury Park.  I am short.  The sound of the horses’ hooves flying into the stretch is the most beautiful sound in the world.  If I stand right by the finish line at Canterbury Park track my eyes are at about hock level as the horses cross the wire.  Sounds dumb, but I love that sight.

I am content to let the Eclipse stuff play out.  I don't care one whit for awards that are determined by subjective voting.  The Breeder's Cup is THE best weekend of racing, because it is televised.  Little people like me have settle for and be content to see live racing that is televised on network TV. and on ESPN on basic cable.    

20 Aug 2011 9:37 AM
Blind Luck

This year is turning out to be intriging afterall.  I always hope for the girls to beat the boys, but remember what happened to RA.  I hope HD doesn't run herself out. I would love to see HD & BL meet in the Breeders Cup.  

Can't wait to see Uncle Mo run again.  I've been a fan forever, sounds like he is ready to regain his previous form.

As for the rest of 3 yr old boys, lets face it, none of them are standouts so there is no horse of year among them.  I'm voting Uncle Mo for Champion 3 yr old again. Maybe he will stick around for his 4th year to get horse of year.

Yes, these next few weeks are going to be very interesting.

20 Aug 2011 9:37 AM

A lot of good races today but let me clue you in on a race you haven't heard much about.  The Phillip H. Iselin runs today and is the 10th race at Monmouth.  This G3 race has the Ohio Derby winner in it Pleasant Prince.  This horse lost to Blame in the Classic last year and to LAL in the Preakness.  Look for the PRINCE to dominate this field and set himself up for bigger and better things later this year.  Bet the house !

20 Aug 2011 11:35 AM
Aaron McC

Blind Luck vs Havre de Grace?  We all know it was great, and will be in the future.  But the Personal Ensign is too soon.  Been there, done that.  Watch the Delaware on replay if you need to.  In the mean time, bring on the boys!  The race for horse of the year is on!

20 Aug 2011 12:43 PM
Pedigree Ann

Carlos, did you see the results of the Group 1 Nunthorpe S at York yesterday? A filly who was only 'nice' beat the boys, who were decent sorts but no world-beaters. Blind Luck and Havre de Grace are better than 'nice'; they are of the first rank. None of the males pointing to the Woodward or Pacific Classic are first rank. (Heck there isn't a first rank older male horse in the whole country!) Nice horses, but nothing special. People have become timid about running females against males lately, but results from our own racing history and racing overseas show that it's the class of the horse and suitability of the distance that determines how the horse runs, not its sex.

(Were you at Santa Anita in 2004 when Island Fashion ran second in the Big 'Cap? It's not that long ago.)

20 Aug 2011 1:23 PM

I'm excited for ALL of those races, but I guess more-so to see how Uncle Mo and The Factor perform since they've been out for so long.

20 Aug 2011 1:43 PM

the race i'm most eager to watch is the travers--i love shack and the heart pounding, "can he hold on" roller coaster of his races. i hope he wins so that he has a solid claim to 3 YOTY title. he's earned it in my book, by dancing every dance and running his heart out every time, win or loose. horses that race regardless of the competition in all of the big races, throughout the season, are good for the sport. people who don't follow racing know who he is--which s pretty special since he doesn't always win, or even show.

i'm picking rule, if he runs, for the woodward for sentimental reasons. i'd love to see him return to the top of the sport. they changed his running style and he forgot how to win, but hopefully after his last to drop-in-class wins, he has relearned how to win. to return in a big race like the woodward would be great for a truly class horse.

i'll take flashpoint in the king's bishop.

and the iron filly, in another heart-stopper, in the pacific classic.

20 Aug 2011 2:03 PM

ps: for the alabama--inglorious

20 Aug 2011 2:04 PM

HDG should win the Woodward and it shouldn't gut her.  RA and HDG have two different styles.  You won't see HDG shoot to the lead in a blistering pace like RA did in 2009.  BL has a fairly good chance to win the Pacific but she needs to stick with the fillies come BC time.  Beating males on dirt is a totally different ball game than on synthetic garbage. Isn't that right Jerry Moss?

20 Aug 2011 4:44 PM

I like the Empire Maker filly in the Alabama today. Would like more than the 6-1 m/l but I don't think I'll even get that.

20 Aug 2011 5:20 PM

Just one comment about females versus males in europe.I think that in europe most of the races are run on less than firm turf,and the females get weight allowances from the males.In the US Ive noticed for years that the females that are real good dominate their gender more than you see the males do,on the dirt,of course with some exceptions.

20 Aug 2011 6:11 PM
Bob from Boston


You've always been my favorite.

20 Aug 2011 6:41 PM
Bob from Boston

Paula Higgins,

You've always been my favorite.

20 Aug 2011 6:42 PM
Paula Higgins

Bob from Boston, first I saw that mz was your favorite and I was crushed. I said to myself "What the heck?? I've been dumped!" But then you redeemed yourself and all is forgiven. I guess I can share you with mz. Can't wait for next weekend. As someone said, started out pretty dull but it is getting interesting now.

20 Aug 2011 7:32 PM

Stay Thirsty in the Travers, Blind Luck in the Pacific Classic, Flashpoint in the King's Bishop

20 Aug 2011 7:59 PM


Another brilliant post.  Dunh!

20 Aug 2011 8:27 PM


Did you cash on the winner of the Iselin, Pleasant Prince?

20 Aug 2011 8:31 PM
Matthew W

Huge disadvantage v males on dirt/synthetic at 1 1/8 or 1 1/4--speed and stamina are inherant in the breed, meaning a five furlong or two mile race would be even between sexes--but strength is not an inherant trait--I am rarely for trying a filly v males at 1 1/4--Zenyatta was the exception, not the rule--I was even against Rachel Alexandra v males--especially older--and it can be argued I was right--but Blind Luck and Harve De Grace will be trying to maintain their class while spotting others much more natural strength--especially that little filly who could--not too many real 1 1/4 horses signed up for the Pacific Classic, though....just watched Del Mar Oaks, best filly (by far) won...

20 Aug 2011 9:12 PM

Look for the PRINCE to dominate this field and set himself up for bigger and better things later this year.  Bet the house !

Draynay 20 Aug 2011 11:35 AM


Did you cash on the winner of the Iselin, Pleasant Prince?

LAZMANNICK 20 Aug 2011 8:31 PM.


He must be homeless or pretty close to it by now, after all his recent picks that he says to bet the HOUSE on. He has sure has given up a lot of property on his choice of winning horses. He should sell his TOUT sheet, hoping enough bettors will buy it, so he can purchase some of his lost property back.  

20 Aug 2011 10:47 PM

The stretch run of the Alabama wasn't exactly awe-inspiring.  Royal Delta wins off by herself even though the final quarter went in 26 seconds.  

That was simply a reflection of the fact that only one of those fillies wants anything to do with 10 furlongs on dirt, the winner.

Fortunately for the others, they will not have to run 10 furlongs again this year.

The NBC folks seemed to suggest Pround Delta now has command of the division.  Maybe.  But if she does, it's not by much.  Basically, she threw the divsion wide open and now a handful of fillies have a real shot at the title.

Is Royal Delta the best 3 year old filly?  Again, maybe.  Certainly at 10 furlongs.  However, at 9 furlongs Plum Pretty and especially It's Tricky will be much tougher, as they were when they beat Pround Delta in the CCA Oaks.

The one filly that definitely hurt her chances at the 3 year old filly Eclipse was not even in the Alabama field.  After winning the Hollywood Oaks, John Sadler announced Zazu was going to be put on a "Blind Luck like" campaign.

Well, quickly Sadler and Jerry Moss, Zazu's owner, eliminated the possibility of running in the Delaware Oaks, even though that was the race Blind Luck ran in and won after the Hollywood Oaks.  I suppose they meant the campaign would start with the Alabama.  However, in the weeks leading up to the Alabama, Sadler and Moss started balking at having to ship cross-country, and at the last minute decided to run in the Clement Hirsch against older females 2 weeks before the Alabama at Del Mar.  

The decision to go in the Hirsch was not without merits.  The Hirsch was a gr.1 and the field had come up weak.  Had Zazu won, the Hirsch would have looked nice on her resume.  The gamble, though, was largely all or nothing.  And Zazu ended up losing the race and the gamble, and to an unheralded Cal-bred, Ultra Blend.

The close runner-up finish not only did not deliver Zazu that juicy gr.1 win over her elders, it also completely took her name out of the conversation concerning leading 3 year old fillies that took place in the run up to the Alabama.  In what was the defining race of the division so far, Zazu was out of sight, and out of mind.

21 Aug 2011 1:09 AM

One filly that still deserves mention among leading 3 year old fillies is Turbulent Descent.

With the advent of an Eclipse category for female sprinters, the 3 year old filly title generally is reserved for those fillies that run 2 turns. Most analysts correctly place Turbulent Descent as a leader in the female sprinter division rather than the 3 year old filly division.  But what if the 3 year old fillies just take turns beating each other and are trounced by their elders in the Ladies Classic?  Isn't it conceivable Turbulent Descent could then enter the 3 year filly Eclipse picture?

There is alot to like about Turbulent Descent.  First, she has won 75% of her career races, and ran 2nd in the two races she lost(both gr.1s).  She has tallied 3 gr.1 wins in her career, with two coming this year.  She has won stakes across the country and on multiple surfaces at Hollywood Park(Cushion Track), Santa Anita(dirt), Keeneland(Polytrack), and Saratoga(dirt).  She has won 2 gr.1 races at 8.5 furlongs, with one being this year(SA Oaks), and recently captured the gr.1 Test at 7 furlongs.

Most of the credit for her career must go to trainer Mike Puype.  Even though Turbulent Descent won the gr.1 SA Oaks, Puype exited the race convinced Turbulent Descent was best at one turn races at a mile or less, and he has stuck to this conviction.  And Puype hasn't been afraid to ship her in order to run in the best races for sprinting/miler fillies; California, Kentucky, and New York-that's a true national campaign.

Turbulent Descent's owners, Blinkers On Racing, deserve a ton of credit for listening to their trainer and resisting the temptation to make races like the Kentucky Oaks.  From their youtube videos, they are not regretting anything.  

21 Aug 2011 1:30 AM


I bet he's a lousy Monopoly player as well.

21 Aug 2011 1:53 AM

Why does this male v female discussion persist in America?. All a horse has to do to win a race is finish ahead of the other starters, male or female. This is taken from the DRF:

"Immortal Verse, unraced since June, closed from last in a field of 12 under Gerald Mosse to win by a length over Goldikova as a 13-1 outsider in the French tote pools. Sahpresa, a 6-year-old mare who won Group 1 races in England in 2009 and 2010, finished third, giving fillies and mares a sweep of the first three positions".

Goldikova beats males in America, then gets beaten by females in France.

Gender has nothing to do with it. Racing surface has nothing to do with it. Nor does distance.

Some of the best races this year have run by females.

Ability is everything. That is why two of the top eight in this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe ante-post betting are females, Sarafina and Galikova.

21 Aug 2011 7:19 AM

I'm rooting for a close Travers or worse, yet another 3 year old to rise up and shock us. It pushes the likely hood that the Classic will be the superbowl of racing this year. Would LOVE to see HOY honors go to a female for the 3rd time in a row. Has that ever happened???

21 Aug 2011 8:21 AM

I canceled all my bets in the Preakness that had Shack in them with a minute to post due to him washing out and looking like a horse that had already ran the race. I almost did the same thing yesterday but remembered my mistake back in May. Nice score for me, but then I wheeled it all back on Pleasant Prince in the Iselin. NOT!!! Anybody else notice how Goldi has done since Draynay proclaimed her to be the best mare he ever laid eyes on? The curse continues.

21 Aug 2011 8:34 AM
Dawn in MN

Just watched Uncle Mo, Shackleford and Coil's most recent works on Youtube.  Would love to see those three meet up.  Go Shackleford!  Would love to see the Uncle Mo that showed up on Breeder's Cup day, we'll see.  Stay Thirsty is no slouch either.

21 Aug 2011 12:23 PM

I can't choose!  Can't wait to see Uncle Mo again - will he be back to his 2 year old self (maybe better??) The marvelous fillies in their separate battles against the boys - they are so exciting against each other and this is another way for each to show their class.  But my heart is with Shackleford!  I so badly want a fighter like him to come out on top and receive the accolades he so deserves. But my choice comes down to what I can get on the tv.

21 Aug 2011 1:07 PM
Matthew W

late DD Del Mar today: Mr  Make Believe/Chi Cha Cha, and at 12-1, if he wins I'll be singing Ca-Ching-Cha-Cha! At Emerald, I love Slew The Man, think he'll love the trip, just off the pace, wish he was drawn more inside but the eight hole not all that bad--will also use J P Jammer, I'm a sucker for a Cal-Bred---Slew The Man wants the trip, wants the dirt, has a little class, should get first run, and has a littlke stick--just the ticket for a $20 winner!

21 Aug 2011 2:11 PM

I like The Factor in the King's Bishop if he goes and that would be the race I'd be most excited for.

Also would be very excited for Pacific Classic.  Would be rooting for Blind Luck and think she has big chance.  Think Chantal and Game on Dude would be the biggest threat.  

Like Coil in the Travers but race becomes much less interesting if he doesn't go.

21 Aug 2011 2:58 PM
Paula Higgins

JerseyBoy, I get your point about ability. But I do think the best female horse will typically be beaten by a male horse of similar ability. Maybe not every time, but most of the time. But here's the thing, when you have a horse of the quality of Goldikova or Zenyatta, racing in their prime, there are typically no male horses out there that have an equivalent ability. Beating them becomes a trickier business. The trainer of the male horse has to hope for a better trip etc. I do not think Zenyatta was in her prime in 2010 and I do not think Goldikova is in her prime now. They were/are 1 year beyond their prime. I think what both girls did, when PAST their prime, is still amazing. Both are undeniably great horses. I am not sure Blind Luck and HDG are in that same category, but I am optimistic that they are as good as the males currently racing.

21 Aug 2011 4:06 PM
Mike Relva


Thought Dray called RA the best mare he ever seen? lmao

21 Aug 2011 5:42 PM
Mike Relva


Didn't you say Grace would beat BL last month? lmao

21 Aug 2011 5:44 PM
Bob from Boston

Epic weekend???  I'm taking Hyperbole.

21 Aug 2011 7:05 PM

I'm looking forward to Blind Luck run in the Pacific Class.  She has so much heart.

The outcomes for Shackleford, The Factor, Uncle Mo, and Coil will certainly be big no matter who wins their races.  Maybe we can finally get a clue for The Breeders Cup Classic.

21 Aug 2011 7:24 PM

I'm going to have to go with E: All of the Above too. All of those scenarios would be great to watch if they happen!

21 Aug 2011 9:40 PM

Awesome Gem is just such a neat horse.  Congrats to him, trainer Craig Dollase, and West Point Thoroughbreds.

I saw him in person first when he ran 2nd in the gr.3 Sir Beaufort on the Santa Anita turf, losing to Kip Deville.  I then saw him win the gr.2 San Fernando on the Santa Anita dirt, beating the likes of Midnight Lute, Brother Derek, Arson Squad, and Spring at Last.

Last year's Hollywood Gold Cup finally gave him that gr.1 win, and his form this year might be as good as any year, with the possible exception of 2007.  That was the year Awesome Gem was able to nose out Street Sense for 3rd in the Breeder's Cup Classic.

In his career, Awesome Gem has run on at tracks across the country, and on multiple surfaces.  Ironically, it has been at ages 7 and 8 that Awesome Gem has travelled the most; up through 09', he was basically a Cali horse.

For the record, Awesome Gem has run over the Santa Anita dirt, Santa Anita turf, Santa Anita Cushion Track, Santa Anita Pro-Ride, Del Mar dirt, Del Mar turf, Del Mar Polytrack, Hollywood turf, Hollywood Cushion, Golden Gate turf, Golden Gate synth, Monmouth dirt, Emerald Downs dirt, Hawthorne dirt, Fair Grounds dirt, Charles Town dirt, Lone Star dirt, Churchill dirt, and Prarie Meadows dirt.  

22 Aug 2011 3:12 AM


Motel, tent, under a bridge...or are you back in the doghouse...bwahahahaha! It's what you get for cursing Goldikova!!!!

Of course I want to see the fillies romp and then meet in the Classic. Though I love Shackleford, I must say I'm going with Coil...I boxed them in their last race. But out of all of these, I'm most excited to see the return of the speed freak, my boy, The Factor!

This is starting to get seriously exciting folks!!!

22 Aug 2011 3:16 AM

Well, I'm looking forward to the Pacific Classic most because I will be there in person.  The presence of Blind Luck would give the race national ramifications.  However, the race I'm most intrigued by is the King's Bishop.  Uncle Mo and The Factor are freakish talents, and I am quite interested to see where they are in their comebacks.

Speaking of the Pacific Classic, I think it might finally be Twirling Candy's turn to win one of these gr.1 two turn events.  I was leery of Twirling Candy in the Big Cap, and while I did like his chances in the Hollywood Gold Cup better, I didn't think he should have been such a heavy favorite.

Twirling Candy most certainly ran better in the Gold Cup than in the Big Cap, and this confirmed my theory on him.  On dirt, Twirling Candy is a miler; the quicker pace of dirt races stretches his stamina to the brink, and leaves him empty in the stretch of 10 furlong races(Big Cap).  However, I do believe Twirling Candy can get 10 furlongs, if it's on turf.  

Because synthetics do typically play somewhere between turf and dirt, I'm not totally sure about Twirling Candy's ability to run 10 furlongs on synth.  My guess is that Twirling Candy will have a better shot at 10 furlongs on synth surfaces that play more like turf, such as Del Mar's Polytrack, than on the dirt-like Cushion Track at Hollywood.

The Big Cap, on dirt, featured a solid early pace and Twirling Candy faded in the stretch.  The pace for the Gold Cup on Cushion Track was slower, but it was still legit, particularly for a synth surface.  In fact, with a half in 47 and 3 and a mile in 1:36 and 1, the profile of the race was very similar to a race on dirt, and not surprisingly to me, Twirling Candy lost ground in the stretch, although he did hang around alot better.

I would be surprised if the pace for the Pacific Classic is stronger than that of the Hollywood Gold Cup.  Like with most runnings of the Pacific Classic on synth, I expect a tepid early pace and a bunched field.  In the 4 runnings on synth, the mile split for the Pacific Classic has been 1:40 and 3, 1:37, 1:37 and 1, and 1:38 and 1.  

The slow pace of the Pacific Classic will allow Twirling Candy to conserve his energy.  Then, I expect it to turn into a dash for home; in other words, the race will be about who has the quickest turn of foot and not who holds up best in a war of attrition(war of attritions occurring most on dirt when the quick early pace spreads the field out and closing fractions are much slower than the early fractions).  And Twirling Candy has an absolutely devastating turn of foot, rivalled only by Blind Luck among Pacific Classic contenders.  

When the profile of a race emphasizes brilliance more than endurance, it's advantage Twirling Candy.  If he's as kind mentally as he was in the Gold Cup, Twirling Candy is definitely the horse to beat in the Pacific Classic.  But will the betting public finally jump off him?

22 Aug 2011 3:49 AM

Wow did Winter Memories get the business in the Lake Placid.  Talk about race riding.

Winter Memories had a bullseye on, but she really didn't pick it up much when given room down on the inside through the stretch.  Maybe she needs to make her rally on the outside of horses?

22 Aug 2011 3:52 AM

Southern California finally produced a 2 year old filly this year worthy of mention alongside her contemporaries back East.

Sister Moon.  The gr.1 Debutante might come up too soon(2 weeks), but the race would likely be hers if they do bring her back quickly.

22 Aug 2011 3:54 AM

The Kings Bishop eclipses The Travers this year as the big feature IMO. Flaspoint is my firm selection here.  He will not be denied, whatever the pace scenario.  Both The Factor and Uncle Mo will be one race short in a contest as hot as this, coming off lay-offs. Don't be surprised to see Caleb's Posse steal the runner up spot.

Stay Thirsty looks a very safe proposition in the Travers but Shackleford and Rattlesnake Bridge will be very competitive.

In the Pacific Classic it will be Twirling Candy from way off the pace this time. I'm expecting him to flash past Game On Dude if he's patiently ridden.

22 Aug 2011 1:15 PM

Gunbow.  Couldn't agree more.  Turbulent Descent could be the best 3 year old filly period and another Calfornia shipper who's sticking it too them in their back yards.

How about a shout out to Awesome Gem?  How many frequent flyer miles does this Californian have?

On any given weekend there may be more graded stakes winners racing outside of the state of California then in it.

22 Aug 2011 2:10 PM

Blind Luck:  I was at the Santa Anita Handicap the day Jerry and Ann Moss' Ruhlmann beat Bayakoa.  The dirt track record holder at a mile (1:33 and change) also beat Criminal Type.  

I remember being sad that Bayakoa staggered home dead last.

22 Aug 2011 2:19 PM


DEL MAR, Calif. - Trainer Bob Baffert always has been far more a fan of dirt racing than synthetic, but this summer, he has not been enamored with the track at Saratoga, and that's one reason why The Factor, his wickedly fast 3-year-old, is remaining at Del Mar for the Grade 1, $250,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes on Polytrack on Sunday.

22 Aug 2011 8:56 PM

Paula Higgins

Something some people do when comparing horses is  they focus on the winners only.

Let us say there are 10 horses in a race, 2 females and 8 males. The females finish 2-3. In this case the females have beaten most of the males.   They have beaten all the males except the winner. Yet some would view this as females not beating males. In Zenyatta's last race, for instance, she beat all the males except one. In Goldikova's last race she beat all the males but was beaten by a female.

However for me all of the above is irrelevant.

In the case of Blind Luck and Havre De Grace, I will have no hesitation backing them to win races involving males  because all they need to do to win is finish the race in a faster time. This they can do  because they have the ability.

If you look at the Timeform All-Time Highweights list, you will see that most of the horses on the list are males. This is because they had greater ability than their contemporaries. However, there are also females on the list. They are there because they were superior to their contemporaries, males and females.

The point is in judging horses what matters is whether horse A can defeat horse B, regardless of the horse's gender. Only the ability matters.

This is all I am trying to say but maybe my articulation is wanting.

See Timeform All-Time Highweights List:


22 Aug 2011 11:21 PM
Criminal Type

Householder, your right, Ruhlmann did beat Criminal Type in the Santa Anita Handicap on his way to that track record which still stands. Rulhmann also beat him in the San Bernardino in 1990. Those two had a pretty good rivalry going for a while, facing each other in the San Antonio and Pimlico Special also (which Crinimal Type won). I am a big fan of all the son's of Alydar especially Criminal Type and Saratoga Six. Criminal Type went on the win the Eclipse award's that year for Horse of the year and Older male. I always thought it was so sad that Criminal Type never got to join Ruhlmann at Old Friends like he was supposed to. I am sure they would have renewed their rivalry, albeit across the paddock fences.

23 Aug 2011 7:22 AM

Rachel is the best 3 year old I have ever seen male or female.  Shack wins the Travers with ease and Uncle Mo runs them off their feet in the King Bishop.

23 Aug 2011 12:01 PM
Fran Loszynski

Good Luck Shackleford win the Travers! Afleet Express won it last year and wish you his great speed at the finish line. Pull a Secretariat out of the hat Romans!He looks just like him to me. Go Shack!!!!

23 Aug 2011 12:09 PM


Bob Baffert is a very shrewd conditioner but I think that The Factor will need a race under his belt to be successful in either the King's Bishop or the Pat O'Brien,coming off that layoff.  I fancy Smiling Tiger to run him down and be the victor on Sunday at Del Mar.

23 Aug 2011 12:36 PM

Criminal Type.  In Bayakoa's defense I think the Santa Anita Handicap was her third start in one month.  Her trick was the lead once running 3/5ths off of Dr. Fager's world record finishing at Hollywood Park in 1:32 and 4.  In fact during her first Breeder's Cup Distaff, team Lukas entered 3 fillies against her to soften her up for his 4th filly Open Mind who was a deep closer.  It failed.  12 Grade 1 wins, a record that only was recently broken by Zenyatta.  With a little more rest she may been able to take the mile record holder at Santa Anita...Rhulmann.

23 Aug 2011 1:48 PM

I think Smiling Tiger is the best sprinter in the nation period.  A bad break, and running into a new track record last out makes his last look worse than it is.  He closed from the clouds to run up into second.  With a good break, The Factor will be no factor.  

23 Aug 2011 1:51 PM
Smoking Baby

 Criminal Type.  That season in 1990 your namesake also outran a colt named Sunday Silence who was certainly no slouch.  I remember in the Big 'Cap Trevor Denman saying about Bayakoa...."and she'll have to do better than that."  I was bummed she ran last.  Those colts were just too much for her on that day.

23 Aug 2011 1:53 PM

Rana, the voice of reason. I doubt the factor cracks the top 3 in that race against older horses. I also love MO in the KB. His works have been great

23 Aug 2011 2:02 PM


Of course Rachel is the best three year old you've seen, male or female.  We've all been saying that for a couple of years now......haven't we?  And Shack in the Travers?  We all agree all the other horses should just stay in the barn......And Uncle Moe?  This race might only be 7F, but it's shaping up to be the toughest race he's ever been in, even tougher than the BC Juvenile.  Please, for Mo's sake and his fans, start touting someone else.

23 Aug 2011 2:08 PM

Coil works a 46 and change and his daddy won this race.  Get ready for another round of western domination.

23 Aug 2011 2:16 PM
Carlos in Cali

Quick question:

Has Mike Repole gone mad?..

23 Aug 2011 4:08 PM

I am with Zookeeper!  I need an, "All of the above" button!  While I am impressed with all the boys, I must admit, a good filly will always get my heart!  Wishing all safe and healthy trips!

23 Aug 2011 4:10 PM

I like Coil (if he doesn't get too much dirt kicked in the right eye, the one he scratched last week) if it doesn't rain but news flash: there is a hurricane headed up the east coast this week folks...Ruler on Ice in a non-surprise in the slop? What sprinters have won in the mud?

23 Aug 2011 4:17 PM

Coil works a 46 and change and his daddy won this race.

Householder 23 Aug 2011 2:16 PM. Just a FYI only.

Stay Thirsty's daddy also won this race.  

23 Aug 2011 5:38 PM

I'm not sure I would totally count the Factor out, but I would agree that he has the tougher field to beat compared to the King's Bishop.

23 Aug 2011 5:44 PM
Paula Higgins

Jersey Boy, I agree with what you said. No argument.

23 Aug 2011 7:11 PM

tcc.  Coil's daddy ran faster.

Baffert is feeding the Factor to the wolves.  

23 Aug 2011 7:35 PM

Yes Mike BL managed to nose a win only after getting a weight allowance.  Until BL beats HDG at even weights, you have to accept she's not as good.  HDG smoked BL in the Azeri at even weights.  Look for BL to finish the year with 3 loses just as she began the year.  She's like Zenyatta.  All hype.

23 Aug 2011 8:53 PM

The Kings Bishop eclipses The Travers this year as the big feature IMO. Flaspoint is my firm selection here.  He will not be denied, whatever the pace scenario.

Stay Thirsty looks a very safe proposition in the Travers.

RANAGULZION 22 Aug 2011 1:15 PM.

Shack wins the Travers with ease and Uncle Mo runs them off their feet in the King Bishop.

Draynay 23 Aug 2011 12:01 PM.


It looks like you will not be helping out Draynay by purchasing his TOUT sheet.

23 Aug 2011 9:00 PM
Bob from Boston

Like Bill O'Reilly, The Factor will be no factor.  I like Mike Repole, and think he is good for the sport, but he comes across as a rich guy who feels entitled (because he is a rich guy) to say whatever comes to his mind.  A filter would not hurt.  He needs a good friend to tell him to shut the **** (heck) up once in a while.  Ted from LA would be good at that.  Threatening to boycott the Breeders' Cup would have drawn a "shut the **** up" response from Ted.  Stay Thirsty will win and NY deserves the Breeders' Cup every third year.  Bob from Boston has spoken.

23 Aug 2011 10:29 PM
Mike Relva

Looking at Coil to prevail.

23 Aug 2011 10:31 PM
Forbidden Apple

Rattlesnake Bridge is a lightly raced classy horse that is training very well at Saratoga. It seems that he is being completely overlooked by many. I think he will be running fast late and past the field for the win. Coil is my second pick, but i'm guessing that he will be a short price.

The King's Bishop should be an exciting race, Flashpoint should be tough in here.

23 Aug 2011 11:02 PM


TWIRLING CANDY. He keeps getting beat, yet you guys still like him.  He'a another Quality Road.

UNCLE MO:  He's a sprinter at best.  Trained by the "King of the Flops"

HAVRE DE GRACE:  She was considered in the HOY race despite HAVING ONE GRADE ONE WIN LIFETIME.  Ummm think again.

23 Aug 2011 11:35 PM

Does anyone really think Shackleford can win at 10 furlongs? He can't even hold on to win at 9 furlongs, someone always catches him at the end. Animal kingdom would've caught him in the Preakness if he didn't get off to such a bad start. They should put him in the Woodward where he'd have a  chance to win since the best older horses like Tizway will be skipping that race. With a win in that race he might have a chance to win the award for best 3-year-old if none of the other ones can get 2 grade 1 wins. Rachel alexandra's people were smart, they avoided all the 10 furlong races and won Horse of the Year.

24 Aug 2011 1:13 AM


It seems we share similar opinions on the 2 Del Mar grade 1 races.  I envision Twirling Candy running his best race yet, coming from at least a few lengths off the pace.

The presence of The Factor now makes the Pat O'Brien a must-see race.  Before Baffert decided to run The Factor, I was convinced the Pat O'Brien was Smiling Tiger's to lose.  Even if Euroears went, I thought Smiling Tiger would be very, very tough to beat.  I even thought he might be able to afford another slow start; 7 furlongs, and on synthetic, is probably his preferred race.

I still think Smiling Tiger is the horse to beat in the Pat O'Brien, but The Factor changes things alot.  The Factor very well might need a race, but if he's really as freakishly talented as he looked earlier this year, it might not matter.

As I wrote before the Bing Crosby, Baffert knows how to beat Smiling Tiger.  He did it twice with Lookin at Lucky in 09', twice with Euroears this year, and once with El Brujo in last year's Pat O'Brien.  

The latter two Baffert horses took the race to Smiling Tiger right out of the gate.  While Smiling Tiger is a top sprinter, he doesn't have world class early speed, the type of speed that Euroears and The Factor possess.  

7 furlongs certainly gives Smiling Tiger a better chance against such a horse, but he won't be able to win if he hesitates at all at the start.  Smiling Tiger needs to stay within 2 to 3 lengths of The Factor early to be in a position to run him down in the stretch; if he misses the break and winds up conceding 6 lengths early, he will not be catching The Factor.  Even with a good start, Smiling Tiger is going to have to be at his best to run down The Factor.  

At 7 furlongs, I believed Euroears would have come back to Smiling Tiger, but The Factor is not going to slow as much in the stretch; The Factor is a graded stakes winner at 7 and 8.5 furlongs.  The only way The Factor fades in the stretch is if he's short.  Otherwise, Smiling Tiger is going to have to run him down.  I think Smiling Tiger is up to the task, but it's far from a sure thing.

24 Aug 2011 4:41 AM

I'm beginning to think it's far from a slam dunk that Blind Luck runs in the Pacific Classic.  Hollendorfer has been real hesitant to commit, and it's getting late in the game.  Acclimation gives the field a multiple grade 1 winner, and Twirling Candy and Game on Dude are top handicap horses, but Blind Luck would be the clear centerpeice of the race.

24 Aug 2011 5:47 AM
The Rock

Short field shaping up for the Pat O'Brien. The Factor should get the jump on Smiling Tiger. And a possible weight break. Layoff will creep up at the 1/8th pole. Still think he'll hold over Smiling Tiger. Lack of speed in the race.

24 Aug 2011 9:21 AM

I like Coil in the Travers and Uncle Mo in the King's Bishop.

Dray, Rachel is the best 3 year old filly I have ever seen but come on.  I know you were old enough to see Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and The Bid at 3.

I like Shackleford alot but I don't think he has a chance to win in the Travers.  He always tries hard but I would expect him to be a fading 4th.

24 Aug 2011 10:09 AM

Why does Lescano insist on running Winter Memories at non existent holes on the inside? She should be kept clear to the outside as Gunbow pointed out. A terrific filly like this deserves a better jockey.

24 Aug 2011 10:54 AM

DEL MAR, Calif. – Blind Luck will skip Sunday’s $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in favor of a brief rest leading toward the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs in November, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Wednesday.

Hollendorfer said that Blind Luck will have one prep race for the Breeders’ Cup in fall, the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at the Santa Anita autumn meeting on Oct. 1.

The champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, Blind Luck has won three stakes this year, the most recent of which was the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in July

24 Aug 2011 11:46 AM

2:24 as good as all those horses were they were not perfect at 3.  Rachel was perfect and undefeated at 3.  She romped against her own and whipped the top 3 year old male.  She then faced older G1 winners at the Woodward and won that something even the great Secretariat could not do.  She was perfect and the best 3 year old I have ever seen.  The best 4 year old I ever saw was The Bid.  No horse could beat the bid at 4.

24 Aug 2011 1:15 PM

Everyone is talking about the Travers as if this will be a tough race.  In a year with little speed Shack will dominate and win the Travers with relative ease.  The race will unfold just like Big Brown in the Florida Derby.  The races will look identical with Shack taking the lead and having his own way around the track.  Shack looked very good in the Haskell.  Even better than Curlin looked in the Haskell and look how he finished the year.  Few horses can run all 3 Triple Crown races and come right back and win the Haskell.  Now that the rust is off the Shack look for him to whip Coil and the rest and leave little doubt who the best 3 year old in the country is at this time. Mo wins the King Bishop.

24 Aug 2011 1:21 PM

Blind Luck doesn't need to run against males. She can win the Ladies Classic and be Horse of the Year. She's won more races this year than any other horse has.

24 Aug 2011 1:52 PM

Dray: we agree on something.  The Bid was the best 4 year old I have ever seen as well.

Rachel's perfection aside, and I am a huge fan, she would not have won any race that featured Secretariat, Slew, Affirmed or the Bid at 2,3 or 4.

24 Aug 2011 2:12 PM

Dray, even Sham would have beaten Rachel. Mentioning her name in the same sentence as Secretariat is moronic at best.

24 Aug 2011 2:18 PM

I agree, Draynay, not even Secretariat would have been able to beat that 2009 Woodward field. There were some real champions in that race. Several of them went on to win awards if I remember correctly.

24 Aug 2011 3:02 PM

Sylvester.  How can you bash Zenyatta while at the same time praising HDG who has spent 3/4 of her time running over the same track?  Unlike Zenyatta, the World Record Holder for consecutive Grade 1 wins, she's a little light on Grade 1/Group 1 wins as well. She got hit 13 times in deep stretch (at home) while Gomez hand rode Blind Luck.  A 2-3 pound break is going to cause this? Blind Luck simply has more graded stakes earnings and I would have been pissed too to give her a weight break.  It does not make HDG a better horse.

Hollendorfer has not won over 123 million in earnings and close to 6,000 wins by being stupid?  He places his horses where they can win whether it be the Stockton Fair, Golden Gate, or Del Mar.  He rarely runs fillies or mares against the males.  

Come on Draynay, who had the best run of the day during the second day of the Breeder's Cup?  

24 Aug 2011 3:15 PM

Smiling Tiger needs some gate schooling.  In last year's OBrien he hopped straight in the air and his last out he walked out of the gate and ran into a horse that set the track record for six furlongs. He still managed to close well. If he breaks clean, he catches a tiring Factor the last 16th at this distance.  

24 Aug 2011 3:25 PM
Smoking Baby

 Perfect season or not, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid and Secretariat all would have destroyed Rachel Alexandra at any distance.

24 Aug 2011 5:04 PM

Blind Luck is skipping the Pacific to run in the Lady's Secret?  You've got to be kidding me.  Did Jerry Moss purchase her last week?  What a cowardly move.  

24 Aug 2011 6:15 PM


Here's my take on Draynay's penchant for touting non-winners:

A shameless tout

who never ceases to spout

losers, week in, week out,

is clearly content to be the chief

of Bloodhorse comic relief.

Gun Bow,

If Smiling Tiger breaks well from the gate in the Pat O'Brien, The Factor's goose gets cooked from the gitgo. ST has great tactical speed and will be flying up the lane as seven furlongs is probably his best distance.

24 Aug 2011 6:28 PM
Mike Relva


All hype? Yeah,that's right! Easy to come with that when your little prediction didn't work for you regarding the Del. Last checked,BL has pretty much owned Grace,last race beating her in her back yard getting a MERE TWO LBS.

24 Aug 2011 7:12 PM
Mike Relva


Yes,agree with you about SB. RA was great at three. But,do you actually think she could've beat Secretariat at 10f? Please.

24 Aug 2011 7:14 PM

Never mind the boys, do you think Rachel Alexander could have went toe to toe with Lady's Secret in the 1986 Breeder's Cup Distaff?  How about Bayakoa against Lukas' 3 rabbits and Open Mind a few year later?  It's too bad, but history tells us she never bothered to enter a Breeder's Cup race let alone compete with some of the best.  What a great diservice to what could have been a top 10 filly/mare.  Now she stuck somewhere behind the last filly to win, not a Preakness, but a Kentucky Derby...off the top 100.

24 Aug 2011 8:43 PM
Matthew W

I too like Smiling Tiger in the Sprint--from off the pace with Rosario, keep Rosario, he gets good run from him, really a nice horse, with much class--a very good batch of sprinters, especially if Sidney's Candy goes, and I think he should! As for Twirling Candy being overrated, he cannot get the 1 1/4, but he is one very good horse! Also agree with Dray about Shack in Travers, class will tell! Agree Rachel Alexandra had one hell of a three year old season, arguably the best ever for a filly--no way does she beat Bid, Big Red, Slew---but her season compares with any horse's...agree with Jerry, the Pac Classic not the race for Blind Luck...Ladie's Classic looks way tough, but if you're gonna try males, the BC Classic would be the race, as the faves will be stamina challenged, to say the least! Mike Harrington has a really nice two year old out here, and I've heard he has more--Mr Cho is back, his small but select stable had a real nice maiden winner the other day! Awesome looked real good on the track the other day--Flores rode him well--Noosa Beach ran lights out, as well, if only he had a breather, but he crossed over like a champ, alas he had company--those first two separated themselves at the finish--both are real nice horses, and both could make their presence felt in the Dirt Mile...have to agree with trainer Doris Harwood, Noosa Beach was giving weight to Awesome Gem, a horse who had run several 100 Beyers, including his latest--he also had tons more earnings--that was one tough weight break for Noosa Beach, I think they were hosed! Not sure it would've made a difference, Awesome Gem looked that good--he'll be a nice price in the Dirt Mile, and if he looks as good on the track as he looked at Emerald last sunday, I will be opening my wallet on him! Also will be taking a good look at Jeranimo in Pacific Classic--he is an unsung horse, with class galore, not sure why he tailed off but intend to find out how he's doing, as soon as I saw the probables, I zeroed in on him--not too much stamina signed on to this year's running--and Caracortado and Twirling Candy both figure to make strong moves--both will likely fade--I'm looking for a closer who has stamina, who can go wide and come with his run--perhaps that horse is Jeranimo, and he will fetch a price--I have cashed in past two Classics on Richard's Kid, and he was the only horse I played--Am looking for a similar trip for Jeranimo, that is, if he's up for it--it's my job to find that out! Any feedback out there?

24 Aug 2011 9:05 PM
Matthew W

Agree with Revla about Blind Luck--of corse, two pounds matters around two-turns---but Harve had five on her at the 1/4 pole, she had the edge--and stop with the challenges, she's come to their place, many times! Now, if they want a piece of her, they can follow Jerry's lead, he's not hiding--go out to her place if you want her so bad, otherwise, meet ya in the Breeders Cup--good luck with that!

24 Aug 2011 9:09 PM
Matthew W

I mean Relva!

24 Aug 2011 9:09 PM
Matthew W

Sylvester, Blind Luck and cowardly don't go together! She's maybe 900 lbs wet, it's a prudent move, what more do you want out of her, they're aiming for the Breeders Cup Winners Circle! Don't worry, I can wait till then for you to give me your money! (parimutually speaking!)

24 Aug 2011 9:14 PM
Matthew W

Horses who come from far back in small fields are at a distinct disadvantage! Blind Luck won by a nose, but she overcame much more that the two lbs--she overcame the race flow, which favored Harve De Grace--the bigger the race, the more I like Blind Luck! She should get more pace in the Breeders Cup.

24 Aug 2011 9:22 PM
Mike Relva


Takes a bigger coward to slam a great horse. BTW please prepare your lame spins when Grace doesn't win the Woodward.

24 Aug 2011 9:25 PM

At this point in the game, Blind Luck would still beat out HDG for HOTY.  All Blind Luck has to do is win one more race or the BCL. One race against colts ( if she wins) for HDG is not going to give her a clear win for HOTY.  Her males( the ones she faces in the Woodward) will be compared to the females that BL faces in the next two races she competes in.   Either way,  BL would still win HOTY at this point.  BL has traveled more and has won more grade 1 races.

24 Aug 2011 9:54 PM

I am so sorry to have read about Kensie. RIP big fella.

24 Aug 2011 9:55 PM
The Rock


Well put.

24 Aug 2011 10:45 PM
Carlos in Cali

Does anyone know why Saddleranch was not entered in the King's Bishop?..

Draynay swears dinosaurs never roamed the earth, so don't take his outlandish comments seriously.

24 Aug 2011 11:01 PM

Householder is right.  Hollendorfer rarely runs his fillies against colts.  It doesn't make him a coward.  He' a HOF trainer, so he knows alot more where to place his horse than any of you do.  He has shipped her all over the country to run her against HDG and her connections can't even do the same courtesy.  The keep yapping and challenging Hollendorfer to ship out East-AGAIN!!!  How many times does he have to ship out East to run against her and beat her?  

As far as The Factor, not sure he's going to tire at 7 furlongs when it looks to be well within his comfort zone.  If Baffert has left him short, maybe, but are you going to chance that Baffert has left him short?  Smiling Tiger is a tough horse to beat, but he is not unbeatable.

As far as Dray, are you guys going to fall for it again?

24 Aug 2011 11:39 PM

Let Havre De Grace knock herself out trying to beat those woodward nags like rachel Alexandra did. Blind Luck will win the Ladies Classic which is a much more important race than the Woodward and Pacific Classic. And there's no shame in running in the Ladys Secret. It's a grade 1 race and the fillies and mares in there will probably be better than the ones in the Woodward.

25 Aug 2011 2:10 AM

I'm definitely disappointed Blind Luck will not run in the Pacific Classic, but it didn't come as a surprise.  Hollendorfer was hedging too much, and that really isn't like him.

As the trainer and owner of Blind Luck, Hollendorfer knows best.  However, I've never really understood resting a sound horse.  Sure, if a horse has been running every 3 weeks for 6 months I could understand the need for a break, but what elite horse is ever asked to do that?  

Blind Luck certainly needed a break after the Azeri, but now?  I don't want to be critical because I understand these horses are not machines, but to me it feels like Hollendorfer, for the first time with Blind Luck, is balking at a challenge.

From Hollendorfer's comments it also sounds like we can go ahead and end all the speculation and talk about Blind Luck facing males in the BC Classic.  Hollendorfer is clearly targeting the Ladies Classic.  

Because Zenyatta ran 1st and 2nd in the last two Classics, we shouldn't forget that running a female in the Classic, let alone winning it, is not the norm.  Greats from the Breeder's Cup era like Lady's Secret, Personal Ensign, Bayakoa, Paseana, Go For Wand, Serena's Song, Sky Beauty, Inside Information, Princess Rooney, and Heavenly Prize were all placed in the Distaff not Classic.

25 Aug 2011 6:32 AM
Pedigree Ann

Havre de Grace needed a 8-lb weight concession to hold off Blind Luck by a neck in the Cotillion, at a distance that favored Havre de Grace. Blind Luck, as a deep closer, is at the mercy of the pace set-up so it is to her credit that she has such an excellent record.

25 Aug 2011 9:00 AM
Jason Shandler

Gunbow: I can't help but think there is something going on with Blind Luck. Just a guess, but I agree with you, it seems odd that Jerry would pick now to give her that much time off. May be something minor he's not telling us.

Carlos: I just think Bob wanted to take a conservative approach with Saddleranch. Too tough a spot to send him to in stakes debut. He's going to be a good one.

25 Aug 2011 9:17 AM

Ann stop talking about last year.  This year at even weights BL lost badly and while getting a weight allowance barely won.  HDG is the better horse.  Matthew W: it won't be close the amount I won from the best horse in 2010 Blame beating that overhyped overrated nag Zenyatta.  I made out like a Bandit.  Thanks guys!!

25 Aug 2011 9:23 AM

Smoking Baby,

Those horses you mentioned would have destroyed ANYONE who faces them.

25 Aug 2011 10:48 AM


You know I love Rachel and I certainly think that she was the best 3 year old filly ever and ran extremely fast fractions in the Woodward and prevailed but let's be realistic, shall we?  Had she faced Secretariat in the Woodward, she wouldn't have won it.  Secretariat was beaten by Onion at Saratoga because he wasn't well.  Had he been healthy, no one could have beat him.  I don't care who you mention, Secretariat was in a class by himself.

25 Aug 2011 10:58 AM

Blind Luck has been hampered by sore feet in the past.  She's also looking at 20+ lifetime starts with plans to keep going next year.  Hollendorfer is part owner so he's thinking long term.  

Gunbow.  You forgot about Winning Colors who went back to the Distaff after taking the Kentucky Derby.  I'm glad she did, and Personal Ensign needed every inch of that track to keep her perfect record intact.  That race has to be one of the best Breeder's Cup matchups ever.  

25 Aug 2011 11:48 AM

Hollendorfer took an equally cowardly approach in his handling of Hystericalady.  Let me know what tracks she did her best running at.  Hint...she was 0-4 on synthetics and still got fed to Zenyatta in the Lady's Secret. Does that sound like a coward?

25 Aug 2011 11:55 AM
Linda in Texas

Gunbow - i love it when you mention greats like Princess Rooney, in October she would have been 31 and has been gone almost 3 years. And Heavenly Prize is 21 as she was born in 1991. I would rather mention be made of them in relation to great wins than have them go unnoticed and only read about their demise. Go for Wand, another favorite from the past of mine.

Silver Train being mentioned as having a buyer - looked him up and thought he sure looks like A.P. Indy and yep, there in his chart is the one and only, A.P. Indy, by you know who, my favorite fella Seattle Slew. :)

And now reading about Kensei, it is hard for me to take, one minute running their guts out, the next minute their life is snuffed out.

Five years old, just too darn young, just watched him race last month. Rest in Peace.

25 Aug 2011 11:55 AM
Carlos in Cali

Jason: I'll buy that.I know he still has some conditions left and the KB came up a little tougher than he thought.Maybe they'll stretch him out for his next race to see what they have?...

25 Aug 2011 1:08 PM
Smoking Baby

 Monica V.  Agreed.  No disgrace to be smoked by those four but make NO MISTAKE...Rachel Alexandra would've been rolled and smoked.  Best three year old ever?  Please.

25 Aug 2011 2:17 PM

I think Acclamation scared Blind Luck off. When they found out he was going to run they decided not to run her. Acclamation can get the distance, something Twirling Candy hasn't been able to do yet. Those turf horses switching to synthetics in big 10 furlong races are tough to beat. Curlin got whipped by two of them in the Classic and Gio Ponti gave Zenyatta a run for the money. With Acclamation in there the Pacific Classic would be too tough of a race for Blind Luck to prep for the Ladies Classic. She needs to save her best effort for Breeders Cup day.

25 Aug 2011 2:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

I know this isn't the place to post this,but since I don't Tweet or do the Facebook thing, please bare with me folks.

Our beloved 12yo Pitbull Xena-Princess Warrior, just passed away a few hours ago.She had been suffering thru seizures the last few weeks and the Vet couldn't find anything wrong with her except a lingering pinched-nerve on her lower spine.She'd suddenly collapse as she ran and stayed-down for a minute then get back-up rather woozily and off balance.Her massive appetite dwindled and so did her barking the past 2weeks.She wasn't her old self anymore so when I got a phone call telling me that she ate-up her food and started barking at the postman again,I left my business immediately and headed to the nearest pet store to get her a giant doggie-bone which she loved to bury,dig-up,then re-bury again.

Thinking she had miraculously turned the corner,I got home and hugged her,but before I could give her the treat she collapsed onto me and my Wife's feet.This time she barely stood back-up and basically waddled her way to the middle of our backyard to vomit then she collapsed again but she couldn't get back-up.When we brought her over to the patio she started breathing heavily with spasm like reactions before she layed down on her side, went into convulsions and lost control of her bowel movements.That's when I told my family to gather around her,"she's dying".As my Wife lay beside her crying and caressing her,telling her to "go ahead pretty girl-leave us if you have to",she finally closed her eyes.My last words to her were "Xena,go find Grandpa,he's waiting for you pretty girl". My Dad passed away 7yrs ago and Xena loved it when my Dad would corral her like a wild mustang and lasso her,Mexican Vaquero(cowboy) style before he'd take her for her routine stroll around the neighbourhood.She looked forward to my Dad's antics so much that she'd sit by his feet as he readied the lasso then took-off once he gave her the 'giddy-up' command.

My thinking is she probably had some kind of neurological problems or a brain tumor?..  

If anyone has had a similar experience with their pet(s),please post what was the cause.Thanks.

25 Aug 2011 5:03 PM

Acclamation sure grinds away between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2.  His Strub on synthetics was not too bad.  Head to head bet put Acclamation over Twirling Candy.

25 Aug 2011 5:52 PM

Carlos in Cali - so sorry to hear of your loss!!!  I have no information for you but wanted you to know I understand how you feel.  We lost our 16 year old Cocker a few years back.... A horrible thing to see but in the end I am glad to have been there comforting her when she passed.

25 Aug 2011 9:19 PM
Linda in Texas

Carlos in Cali - i just lost my 21 year old "Sparkie" 3 weeks ago, her 3 pups are 11 and they miss her too.

She was a 'terrrier mix' as the vet always calls my precious strays. But i had her a long time.

She had tumors from the day i found her, a carnival went off and left her. She was simply old. I will see if i can find what might have been your Xena's issue. My vet always says, okay Linda, looking at their record, 'we have a 13 year old model here' and that is when i knew it was simply old age. Carlos, 12 is about the average age. I know that gives you no comfort nor your wife and family. You know she was loved and she knew it and it was simply her time. You tried to

help her but there just was probably as you said, a neurological issue. She could have had a brain tumor or anything.

I am so sorry.

She will be waiting for you all at The Rainbow Bridge. I am sure your

dad is already with her.

Thanks Jason, i know this is off topic, but a very meaningful one if you are a pet lover as so many of us are.

25 Aug 2011 9:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Carlos in Cali I am so sorry about the loss of your beloved dog. She sounds like she was well loved by all of you and cherished. I know how difficult this. I have been there twice myself. The symptoms you describe could have any number of causes. It could be metabolic caused by organ failure (think liver, kidneys etc.). Severe metabolic conditions can cause the symptoms you described, including seizures. She also could have developed a seizure disorder. Older dogs often have this problem. Another possibility is, as you said, a brain tumor or spinal cord tumor. There is no way to know for sure without doing an autopsy. What you need to know is that there was little or nothing you could do, and do not blame yourself for this. We have an elderly dog with a significant heart condition who is declining too. We are doing everything possible but there will be a day when there is nothing left to do. So, I can relate to the last 2 weeks you had with her. It is a tough thing to watch. Again, I am very sorry about the loss of your Xenia.

25 Aug 2011 10:09 PM
Mike Relva


Am very sorry to hear it.

25 Aug 2011 10:50 PM
Mike Relva


"Overrated nag",right. The same nag you would gladly part with your one brain cell to own.

25 Aug 2011 11:01 PM

Monica you and I both know that Secretariat lost 3 times as a 3 year old.  He lost the Wood, Whitney AND the Woodward.  To compare that to Rachel going a perfect 8 for 8 and doing what no filly had ever done sounds silly.  However, you are allowed to have your opinion as I am mine.   Rachel was the best 3 year old I ever saw and her record speaks for itself.  Best 2 year old I ever saw Uncle Mo.  Best 4 year old The Bid.  I did see Citation in 1969 but he wasn't 2 and I wasn't alive when he was but he was the greatest 2 year old of all time.

26 Aug 2011 12:08 AM

Sorry Carlos for your loss.  

26 Aug 2011 12:44 AM


Wasn't Blind Luck scheduled for a workout Wednesday?  Did they even go through with it?

The timing just doesn't make alot of sense, UNLESS, like you said, something is going on that we don't know about.  Probably minor.  Maybe her feet are acting up, or maybe Hollendorfer feels she doesn't like the surface?

26 Aug 2011 12:48 AM
Pedigree Ann

Acclamation reminds me of his damsire, Silveyville. Not so much physically - Silvey was so lanky  and laid back that folks took him for a gelding before checking under the hood. But Sil could handle any distance from a mile to 10f and just got better as he matured. After standing each of his first two years at stud, he came back to the races and was still competitive in stakes, including a G3 win and G1 placing at 8.

26 Aug 2011 9:14 AM
Linda in Texas

Jason and all who are in the path of Irene. Hope you all make it okay this week end.

Batten down the hatches. Those with horses, put them in their stalls as flying objects can be deadly for horses and people.

And along The Chesapeake Bay area please take every precaution available. I am monitoring weather sites as my son is in Maryland all supplied with batteries, staples, cash and full tank of gas. If the electricity is out, banks, grocery stores and gas stations don't work.

Next, i hope everyone has a winner from this week ends races and everyone and every horse comes home safely.

Thanks Jason, be safe.

And don't forget the dogs and cats.

26 Aug 2011 12:09 PM

Carlos my friend,

Thanks for sharing your story about Xena. I know its hard to lose a wonderful pet (I've had my share) but those precious memories will never die. Blessings.  

26 Aug 2011 1:11 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thank you for your condolences folks,I greatly appreciate them.

Jason,thanks for the time & space you've given me brother,I know how much you love your dog too.

Paula,thank you for your insight,very helpful indeed.

Because of last night's dream,my spirits have been lifted quite a bit this morning.Oddly,I dreamnt that my Dad was around my age(40) and my dog looked like she was in her prime standing by his side barking at me.All is well.

I cant wait for this weekends races!

BTW: This is a quote from Hollendorfer regarding Blind Luck in yesterday's LA Times-  "I just didn't want to run her against the boys". Maybe that'll clarify some thoughts,she is a tiny little filly after all.

26 Aug 2011 2:18 PM

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