Classic Rip Tide

Europe fired off its first salvo at the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) when the heavy favorite Rip Van Winkle captured Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot, which served as a launching pad for Raven’s Pass’ Classic victory last year.

After the race, trainer Aidan O’Brien confirmed that Rip Van Winkle indeed will be pointed for the Classic, and may be accompanied by Ballydoyle’s other top-class miler Mastercraftsman. O’Brien said that decision will be made by the Coolmore brain trust.

Rip Van Winkle, favored at 8-13, was expected to make all the pace in the talented four-horse field, but it was the Prix du Moulin (Fra-I) winner Aqlaam, the only older horse in the race, who took up the running, with Rip Van Winkle, under Johnny Murtagh, tracking him every step of the way.

As they turned for home, Rip Van Winkle had no trouble disposing of Aqlaam. Second choice, Delegator, from the hot Godolphin stable, launched his run, but made only little headway down the stretch before fading. Rip Van Winkle battled on, only to face another challenge from the vastly improved Michael Stoute-trained Zacinto, who pulled to within a neck of the favorite and appeared to have all the momentum. But Murtagh, down on the rail, switched his whip to his right-hand and brought Rip Van Winkle out to meet his challenger. He responded by finding another gear and actually was drawing away at the end to win by 1 1/4 lengths, with Delegator another 3 1/2 lengths back in third.

The victory was a major relief for O’Brien, who has had to deal with Rip Van Winkle’s physical issues. The colt suffered infections in all four heels that spread to his feet. But he showed vast improvement over the past several weeks and trained in top form, indicating he was ready for a big effort.

Although Rip Van Winkle, a son of Galileo, has won two of most prestigious mile races in England, the Queen Elizabeth II and Sussex Stakes (Eng-I), he also put quite a scare in superstar Sea the Stars in the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I), pulling on near even terms in deep stretch only to fall a length short. In the 1 1/2-mile English Derby (Eng-I), he ran one well to finish fourth to Sea the Stars, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Those performances certainly were good enough to suggest he will be extremely tough at 1 1/4 miles over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita. When you can stay on like that and find something more down that long, testing Ascot stretch, staying 10 furlongs over a fast artificial surface should be a piece of cake, as it was for Raven’s Pass and Henry the Navigator last year.

As of now, Sea the Stars is questionable for the Classic, and we’ll have to see if he runs in next Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fra-I) – depending on the ground -- and how he does before we have an idea whether Santa Anita will be a target. Even if it is, Rip Van Winkle will have an extra week to prepare for the race and will be sharper coming off a mile race. There is no doubt Sea the Stars is one of the great horses of this era, but there isn’t a lot separating him from Rip Van Winkle, and O’Brien would welcome another crack at him in the Classic should he wind up making the trip.

Coolmore has been trying to win the Classic since Giant’s Causeway’s heartbreaking neck defeat to Tiznow in 2000. Since then, they have launched an all-out assault on the race, aiming almost every one of their big guns in that direction, including Rip Van Winkle’s sire, Galileo, only to fall short each time. They almost pulled it off last year and could go one better this time around with Rip Van Winkle. They realize, with the Breeders’ Cup run at Santa Anita for an unprecedented two years in a row, this likely is their last chance to take advantage of an artificial surface, which has proven advantageous to the Europeans.

“Phantom” foul

Well, we have a decision on the appeal by Andrew Lloyd-Webber regarding the Prix Vermeille disqualification of his 3-year-old filly Dar Re Mi, who ran down the heavily favored French filly Stacelita at the wire, but was placed fifth for bothering the German filly Soberania.

Despite the controversy surrounding the initial stewards’ decision and the booing of the winning connections after the race by the normally provincial French fans, the France-Galop stewards rejected the appeal Friday afternoon.

According to the Racing Post, Lloyd-Webber's wife Madeleine, who co-owns the filly, and trainer John Gosden attended the two-hour hearing Thursday and left feeling optimistic, with Gosden saying he was “extremely hopeful the injustice will be undone.”

No Englishman should ever feel optimistic in that situation, which many outside of France feel is like pleading your case to Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety. In this case, however, the only head that was lost was the one that separated Dar Re Mi from Stacelita.

In the Racing Post report, appeal board chairman Dr. Jean-Pierre Colombu, chief steward of France-Galop, stated they had upheld the Longchamp stewards’ decision that Dar Re Mi caused Soberania at least one, maybe two placings.

In a statement issued by the board: “Soberania...regained ground on her rivals after the incident and was only beaten a short neck for fourth place, and it should also be noted that a short head separated the filly who finished fourth from the third-placed filly.”

Now that the appeal has been rejected, it will be interesting to see if the Lloyd-Webbers send Dar Re Mi back to Longchamp for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or go elsewhere in protest.

She has been quoted at 10-1 for the Arc with Totesport.

From a personal viewpoint, I did not see a head-on view of the incident, but from the regular race camera, it looked as if Dar Re Mi and Soberania went for the same opening – Dar Re Mi perhaps a bit more aggressively. But at no point did it look as if Soberania’s jockey had to stop riding his horse or even check slightly. It’s not every day that you can get French racing fans to boo the disqualification of an English horse, in which the heavy French favorite is placed first. You can form your own conclusions from that.


It will be also be interesting to see how the California stewards deal with jockey Joel Rosario and his agent Vic Stauffer following a rather unusual and ill-timed series of events that brought about a complaint by the California Horse Racing Board that Rosario failed “to put forth his best effort” in a ride at Del Mar on Sept. 6. Rosario is scheduled to appear before the stewards in early October. One of the rules Rosario is accused of violating is the one that reads in part: “No jockey shall take his horse back without reasonable cause ... or otherwise ride in a manner which is inconsistent with using the best efforts of the horse he is riding,”

Rather than comment before any rulings are issued, the advice here is to go watch Rosario’s ride on Cedros after reading the stories detailing the events that preceded and followed (especially followed) it and form your own conclusions. Just listen to track announcer Trevor Denman’s call of Cedros’ abrupt retreat. The incident was spurred on when Stauffer contacted Cedros’ owner and trainer John Glenney following the horse’s questionable fourth-place finish, in which he still was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths, and asked him whether the horse was for sale. That sent up the proverbial red flare and made Glenney suspicious enough to bring it to the attention of the stewards. They obviously saw and heard enough to take action and call for a hearing.


A group is forming on Facebook called “We Want Lava Man to Stay Retired.” Comments on MySpace echoed those sentiments, many in harsher terms. Those community outlets and several blunt columns posted on major racing websites suggest the decision to bring Lava Man to the races could prove to be an unpopular one. All we can do is hope the potential for a great story in the end overcomes the potential for a bad one. At this point, there is no right or wrong.

Lava Man’s owners and trainer realize there is a great deal of pressure on them, especially in this post-Eight Belles era, and yet they stand by their decision. They have monitored Lava Man’s progress since his retirement with microscopic scrutiny and we can only place our trust in their judgment.

As we all know, accidents, whether serious or not, can happen at any time and any place and could have absolutely nothing to do with a horse’s soundness. That is why Doug O’Neill, the Kenly family, and Jason Wood will face pressure on a daily basis once Lava Man returns to serious training and even more once he starts racing. So, it is apparent they believe strongly what they are doing is the right thing. But the term “right thing” has yet to be defined other than to say the horse is telling them this is what he wants to do.  But horses are like children in that the things they want to do are not always the “right thing” for them. It is up to the good judgment of the parents or owners to make that decision for them.

O’Neill and the veterinarians insist Lava Man is as sound as he’s ever been and is showing them all the right signs. People can agree or disagree and make their feelings known via the various outlets, but in the long run it is no one’s decision to make other than the owners. All anyone can do after voicing their opinion is to wish them well for Lava Man’s sake. At least we know O'Neill is the kind of trainer who will make all the right moves to try to get the horse back to top form without pushing him beyond his limitations.

You know there are going to be a number of dissenters who are already loading their weapons in case they feel compelled to fire them. But this is not an occasion where anyone wants to be proven right, so people should just wait and see what transpires and hope the fairy tale has a happy ending.

In the meantime, Michael Blowen will have a nice big paddock waiting for him at Old Friends once he does arrive. Unlike at his previous home, he will be inundated with groups of adoring fans several times each day, and like all the other equine residents at Old Friends, will be treated like a member of Blowen’s family.


Leave a Comment:

Matthew W

Rip Van Winkle is a huge find for the Classic! All you need to look at is last year, and The Ripper looks like a major player here!....and Lava Man? He's really been lightly campaigned--if your ankles are better than they've ever been, I mean I'M SURE they either keep him at the top or not at all, he's Lave Man, you don't know hopw popular the old gelding is--but I for one (of many) want to see him out there if he's ok--THAT is what they do--THAT is what Ancient Title, Best Pal, Kona Gold did--they loved their lives at the top--They all three died soon after LEAVING that life--it's what he WANTS to do!...and Vic Stauffer, time I hear him on the radio, interviewing Bobby Frankel, as Bobby's making the "Ghostbuster For HOY" rounds at years end....Vic's like "Ghostzapper beats Smarty Jones by length of the grandstand!" in the most brown nosing of gestures!--I mean he's a good enough caller but the whole scenario with Cedros--somehow I can imagine it just like it's described--The REASON this odd story has wings: Jockey Rosario is simply the best rider, the best finisher and that includes Gomez--very odd ride, where have you gone, Shoe....

26 Sep 2009 2:10 PM
Matthew W

Along bthe lines of "Rip"/RIP Kona Gold, who won one for the West and the little guy, Bruce Headley, Kona was fast---as he aged, he lost that zip and became a closer--as sure a sign of greatness in a sprinter as can be--to forge your rep on raw speed/then maintain your legacy on pure class...I think of Kona Gold and I think of those duels in the sun with Big Jag, the giant, and Kona Gold, the compact bay in the all white silks with the head bobbing like a hobby horse...

26 Sep 2009 2:21 PM

hi i was just wondering if you have a opinion on the two 2yr old races that was ran before the QE2 stakes. because of josha tree coming over in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge stakes and the winner of the Meon Valley Mile race coming out and cutting off another filly at the end. which the filly who was cut off had voiced her displeasure quite vocally by taking a nip at the winner in the process.

26 Sep 2009 2:24 PM

Arcangues and Giant's Causeway and others ran bang up races on dirt.

I don't think the surface at Santa Anita is as big deal to the Euro outfits as he may suggest.

They will come to play at Belmont, Churchill, etc ...

26 Sep 2009 3:23 PM

Steve ~ I truly want the best for LAVA MAN!! Keep him safe. Keep him sound.

John Henry was lucky to have such a great trainer like Ron McAnally. He truly watched out for John's well-being.

26 Sep 2009 3:44 PM
Steve Haskin

Anna, I thought Joshua Tree was very impressive having to come that wide and from that far back. I loved his turn of foot. He is improving fast. I suspect they will put him away and point for next year's Derby.  

26 Sep 2009 4:07 PM
Steve Haskin

Matthew, I'm not saying their decision is right or wrong. I'm just saying there's nothing anyone can do about it, so we just have to hope everything works out for the best. But they have taken a good deal of criticism for it, and at least theyre sticking to their convictions.

26 Sep 2009 4:09 PM

Do you ever wonder which American horses of the last 30 years might've had a shot in the Arc - IF they had been given the chance.


I wish Big Brown had met Henry and the Raven on grass. He probably would've been third choice, but I feel deeply he could've  taken  them, at least once. Twelve furlongs would be daunting, but I wouldn't leave his side.

26 Sep 2009 4:12 PM
Matthew W

Steve the reason I give that goofball Vic Stauffer the benefit of the doubt: He's a player, and he carries an air of "goofy honesty" in his schtick--I seems implausable that he'd compromise the integrity of the game--at the very least he needs a friend, an advisor, to "help" him in his endeavors....

26 Sep 2009 5:09 PM
Matthew W

Listen, if you're "ok" with a three year old filly being forced to prove it v seasoned veterans in The Woodward...then a healthy Lava Man on the work tab should be "a-ok", too!...and by "you're ok" I mean the critical fan, not you Steve.....

26 Sep 2009 5:16 PM

Wow..I thought I was the last remaining member of the Manila fan club!!   He's the best turf horse we've produced in the past half century and I certainly think he'd have been our best rep in an Arc.

Now that Dar Re Mi's DQ (cough, cough) has been upheld, I hope that her connections skip the Arc and come over for the BC.  I'd love to see two titans of music world (Lord Webber and Jerry Moss) put their fantastic mares in the Distaff (I refuse to call it the Ladies Classic).  

(As an aside, if Dar Re Mi's infraction had occurred next weekend in the filly and mare race before the Arc, Lord Webber could write a sequel to his biggest hit--The Phantom DQ of the Prix de l'Opera!!)

26 Sep 2009 5:48 PM


I think that all our horses would have a difficult time winning the Arc if they shipped there for just that race.  Whittingham was asked if he would ship a horse to the Arc and he said if he was going to run a horse in the Arc he would campaign them there the whole season.  He didn't think you could just drop in for the race like Europeans do here.  Also, it would have to be a long fused animal with either the ability to "steal" the race or one who could be transformed into a European finisher.  American horses would have a hard time outkicking their Euro counterparts.  My pick might have been Fort Marcy or going further back Round Table.  Manilla was a wonderful animal but one and one-half miles at Longchamp might feel like two miles to an American horse.

26 Sep 2009 6:56 PM
Steve Haskin

Matthew, I have no idea what the story is with Vic making that inquiry about the horse. At he very least it was bad judgment and bad timing on his part. He had to have some idea how bad that would look considering the horse finished a very questionable fourth. I'm not in favor of track announcers being jockeys agents and I'm not in favor of jockeys agents being brokers on the sale of horses. There's too much conflict of interest. This whole scenario just looks bad, plain and simple.

26 Sep 2009 6:59 PM
Steve Haskin

Good one, Scarlet. I wish I had thought of it :).

26 Sep 2009 7:01 PM

I know your right Steve about the situation with Lava Man's connections decision regarding his future.  We can only hope he can retire safe and sound, again.  As a fan, I am very fearful for Lava Man.  

I sure hope O'Neill retains his good judgement and can influence the owners on what's best for Lava Man at this point in his life.

Have to say I am just so sad about Kona Gold.

26 Sep 2009 7:22 PM

We all have to hope and pray that Lava Man stays well and happy. Hope his people are making the right decision and the good sense to know if that turns out not to be the case. They say that they are donating all of his winnings so that is a good thing. We know it wasn't because of greed he's racing.I guess they know him better than we do.Let us pray so.

26 Sep 2009 7:29 PM

Rip put a lot of pace into the middle of the race and Aidan O'Brien said later that he would need a Group 1 sprinter to act as pacemaker for this horse in future ! before admitting that he doesn't have such a sprinter. Also interesting that Aidan O'Brien nominated Septimus for the Marathon even though the horse hasn't run yet this year. A very classy stayer - he will take all the beating if he makes it into the field.

26 Sep 2009 8:15 PM

Manila was a mighty horse, but was he of the same vinatge as Dancing Brave? That particular Arc was one for the ages and pegasus would have had trouble running down DB that day.

26 Sep 2009 9:31 PM

Thank you very much for addressing the issue of Lava Man's return and you are absolutely right in that it is the owners' decision, not ours.  I have very mixed feelings about it because I have missed seeing him race, but I still want only what is best for Lava Man, not his connections.  However, they are with him and know him and I do have confidence in his trainer.  Plus, it's got to feel good to Lava Man to once more be the star of the barn, to be reunited with his former groom and if he does receive the excellent, meticulous care they have promised, he might even win another race.  At some point, I have to trust that the trainer is a horseman who can read what the horse is telling him he wants to do.  Sitting here at my computer, I can't make the observations of the horse that would be neccessary to know if he's really on the muscle, ready to roll, but I can safely sit here and pray for him to be safe, to remain sound.  How ironic, though, how very sad that Kona Gold was so badly injured being turned out in his safe paddock at the Kentucky Horse Park that he could not be saved.  Such is the difficulty we face when we love these huge, strong, brilliantly fast, yet unbelievably fragile animals.

26 Sep 2009 9:49 PM
Matthew W

Earnie Big Brown was the better of the three! Big Brown's Fla Derby/Ky Derby/Preakness blows away those two milers who ran lights out in the Classic--and John Henry....La Zanzara (filly)....Manilla...Tallahto (filly) all could've ran big in Arc....But as Charlie said, shipping THERE was a who different ballgfame than shipping HERE--those guys and gals are battle tested against big time classy fields--

26 Sep 2009 10:15 PM
Umatilla Joe

What the heck does "goofy honesty" mean. It sounds and looks to me that it means "I was too goofy trying to appear honest while I was really being dishonest". John Glenney, the owner and trainer was the honest one when he said they cheated me out of $40K. This game is tough enough without that.

What we could use is a commissioner like the NFL or MLB has, who makes decisions that look out for the good of the game. He would have the power to suspend the cheaters. Of course, the problem would be the selection of a good, non partisan commissioner.

26 Sep 2009 10:27 PM

Call me crazy, but I always thought the Kitten's Joy pre-bone chips could have run well in the Arc. What a lovely turn of foot. The BC Turf at Lone Star should have been his but for traffic in the stretch (not to diss Better Talk Now, btw).

26 Sep 2009 11:16 PM

Wow, a phantom disqualification in France, go figure. Another nail in the in the "that's whats wrong with horse racing" coffin, Kind of reminds me of the phantom disqualification of Dr. Fager during the clubhouse turn run in the Jersey Derby back in 1967. REMEMBER THAT RACE STEVE!

Nerud said in his 3 part interview that track stewards thought they were above the rules.

26 Sep 2009 11:41 PM

Is there really an upside to bringing back Lava Man ?

27 Sep 2009 12:10 AM

The year of the female continued Saturday with Indian Blessing and Sara Louise putting on a show in the Gallant Bloom.  Indian Blessing is now just a few thousand dollars from $3million for her career and has won 8 grade 1 or 2 races.  

Indian Blessing is just one of many fillies and mares currently running with 4 or more career grade 1 victories.  The list:

Zenyatta- 6

Goldikova- 6

Rachel- 5

Indian Blessing- 5

Stardom Bound- 5

Music Note- 4

Forever Together- 4

Ventura- 4(if include last year's BC Filly + Mare Sprint)

Throw in multiple gr.1 winners Informed Decision, Magical Fantasy, Dynaforce, Cocoa Beach, and Seventh Street, as well as Sara Louise, Icon Project, Careless Jewel, Swift Temper, Life is Sweet, and the promising 2 year old Hot Dixie Chick, and all filly and mare divisions are loaded.

27 Sep 2009 1:41 AM

wallinga- Dancing Brave's arc was amazing.  He and Bering were monster horses.  Too bad DB didn't handle the heat and the course in CA for the Breeder's Cup.  He was already over the top as most horses pointed to the Arc are after the Arc.

Matthew W- in all respect to Big Brown, nobody was going to beat Raven's Pass that day.  Dettori could have moved as soon as he needed to, and still outfinished everyone.  For the Arc, I don't think John Henry had quite the stamina needed for an Arc win, as talented as he was, and neither do I think Manilla had it either.  La Zanzara and Tallahato are interesting choices- tough mares and very long winded.  Nice picks!

Tiznowbaby- I'm not opposed to a healthy Kitten's Joy.  He was an amazing horse for his short time.  And extremely tactical.

Just remember that every Arc winner that we've seen here has been past their optimum, since their season had been planned for them to peak at the Arc.  Plus, it is a tough grueling race, many times run in testing turf conditions on an undulating course with a long uphill stretch.  We really don't have anything like it here.  That's why I went a little further back than most because I think the horses were stouter bred back then.  They had planned on running Buckpasser in the Arc, but scrapped the plans when he ran thrid to Poker and Assagi while wearing european shoes.  Baeza said that it was like Buckpasser was on ice skates.  Nobody interestingly has mentioned Secretariat, who I assume would have run very well if he could handle the soft turf usually associated with the Arc.  At least he could finish as fast as the Europeans, as could Buckpasser.

27 Sep 2009 1:48 AM

Ernie- I'm not sure Big Brown was a 12 furlong horse, but Henry and Raven weren't in Europe and I would have been surprised if they had tried it here.  Many European milers can be competitive at 10 furlongs in the US, but not many of them will try 12 furlongs even in the US.  It takes a very special horse to win one of the  mile spring classics and then one of the Derbies or the Arc.  France even shortened the distance of the Prix Jockey Club, so many are calling the Grand Prix de Paris the "new" French Derby because it is at 12 furlongs.  Sea and Stars has done some special things this year.  And he seems to get better with each race.

27 Sep 2009 1:56 AM


I agree that Kitten's Joy probably has been the best American bred and raced 10-12 furlong grass horse since Manila.

Kotashaan, the 93' Horse of the Year, had the ability to run in the Arc, having proven himself with a strong 2nd in the Japan Cup after Kent D misjudged the finish line.  However, Kotashaan actually started his career in Europe, so it's hard to call him purely "American".

What about Star of Cozzene?  Does anybody know where he ran as a 2 and 3 year old?  He ran a solid 3rd in the 91' BC Mile as a 3 year old, but I cannot remember where he was running prior to that. Star of Cozzene got really, really good at age 5 when he beat Kotashaan in the San Gabriel and San Marcos, Lure in the Manhattan and UN Cap', and romped in the Arlington Million and Man O War posting Beyers consistently between 110 and 117.

I think Paradise Creek could have run with anyone anywhere, at least from 9-10 furlongs.  The Arc, at 12 furlongs, would have been just out of his range, although he only lost the 12 furlong Japan Cup by a nose.  Sunshine Forever, Great Communicator, Itallgreektome, Bien Bien, Sky Classic, and Chief Bearheart were all very tough horses and at the very least would have tried hard in the Arc, although a win would have been unlikely.  

Does anyone remember a horse named Hard Buck? I believe he was a Brazilian bred son of Spend A Buck who was then campaigned in the the US. I believe it was  2004 when  he was taken to Europe and ran a monster 2nd in the group 1 King George and Queen Elizabeth. I think he might have also placed in the Dubai Sheema.  

27 Sep 2009 2:27 AM


You had a very classy comment that took the words right out of my mouth, word for word.  Lava Man seems to be the type of horse that thrives and is happiest when he is in the routine of racing, at this momment of his life, just by the way his trainer speaks of him. And yes, he knows this horse best.  I'm sure Doug O'Neill will watch Lava Man closely and read exactly what the horse is projecting, mental and physical, and if he's not one-hundred percent he won't let Lava Man step one hoof into the starting gate of any race. I have the same confidence in Doug O'Neill's handling of Lava Man as you do. I'm sure Lava Man's happiness and quality of life will come to end up meaning the most to everyone envolved with him. Now, I could be wrong but I respect Doug's decision the most.  Do you agree?  I value your opinion and yours too, Steve!  Another great blog!

27 Sep 2009 3:15 AM

"Kitten's Joy pre-bone chips"

Very cool recollection. Not crazy at all.

Manila dusted (sodded?) Theatrical, multiple Grade I colt, on firm turf - Theatrical could not even blame the course (his offspring prefer firm turf, too).

I've never seen a better American turf horse than Manila, but a stop-and-pop in the Arc...I just don't know enough about European history to have any conviction on that opinion. Wailinnga and Footlick, I defer to you.

Matthew, you're a Browniac, I can tell! Browniacs must stick together!

27 Sep 2009 4:14 AM

O'Neill indicates how closely monitored Lava will be monitored by his vets.  A vet cleared Barbaro for the Preakness after he broke through the gate!

27 Sep 2009 5:55 AM

that disqualification, well that's france for you. any infringement, however slight, sees a horse disqualified. britain is at the other end of the scale. we just don't seem to dq horses these days. has to be a hell of an infringement for any horse to get thrown out. and we don't mess about placing dq'ed horses behind the one they have hampered.

was very impressed with hibaayeb in the fillies mile yesterday. she would have got disqualified in france though.

27 Sep 2009 7:35 AM


You're right....Kitten's Joy was a turf monster......he got jobed in the BC (nothing against BTN or Ramon).....I still think that our best was probably Manila.

27 Sep 2009 8:04 AM

Gun Bow,  Good point about Star of Cozzene.  Did you know, he was out of Star Gem, who was, originally, a Pia Star claimer trained by Sandy Shulman?  Pedroza was on her at HP, when the track came up sloppy and she galloped away from the field.  However, she and Martin were almost killed at the old Pomona half mile, when her long stride took her up the hill in the first turn.  Sold to a doctor in the Bay, she became an allowance winner.  I, once asked, Sandy, if he was sorry to have lost her.  He said that Charles was not into breeding, so the answer was "No".

BTW, one of the truly great races anywhere was the San Juan Capistrano, with Kotashaan hooking up for a half mile duel with Bien Bien and the Star, very closely, behind them.

Do wish Kotashaan could have returned to France for the 'Arc.  His Darshaan might have prevailed.  Still believe Kent was wrong in not naming him his greatest ride.  Probably trying to forget that debacle in Japan.

27 Sep 2009 9:36 AM

Great recollections Gun Bow.  I thought of Kotashaan, but considered him a Euro, even though he needed the US medication laws to show his true potential.  The Europeans thought they would walk all over him in the BC, were shocked how good he became.  The same could be said of Miss Alleged.  She came over after finishing a close third in the Prix Vermeille, beaten by Salsabil.  Ran in the US once before the BC, got lasix and then won the BC and the Hollywood Turf Cup.  The next year was thwarted by Quest for Fame.  It was rumored she was bleeding in France, but it was never reported.

Star of Cozzene in his pentultimate year would have been another good choice to send.  For a mare, maybe Relaxer only because she could run all day, but I don't think she was good enough.

I do remember Hard Buck.  Ran huge in Europe.  The Brazillian Spend A Buck crops must have had somerhing that we couldn't come up with here.  Wonder how many more were down there?

Vince- French racing, as much as I love it, is a world in it's own.  Both Hibaayeb and Joshua Tree probably would have been dq'd.  But Dar Re Mi was robbed.  Even the French public knew it.  She ran second to Zarkava last year in the Vermeille if my feeble memory is accurate.

Laz and Ernie- Both of you could be right about Manilla.  He was impressive, especially considering he was three and American turf racing circuit wasn't as buitl up as it is now.  Theatrical was no slouch, and Manilla won fair and square.  I was surprised Trempolino ran as good a race in the Breeder's Cup as he did.  He wasn't the strongest Arc winner in memory, but he sure ran a great race here, just missing.

27 Sep 2009 9:46 AM

Bert- Japan Cup was Kent's greatest non-ride!  Great picks by all of you, but we have to remember that there would be no medication allowed.  So, I'm not even sure which horses ran on meds and which didn't.  I can safely say Fort Marcy and Round Table didn't, but other than that, the more recent the horse, the greater chance that they were medicated.

27 Sep 2009 10:11 AM

I hope and pray a safe active life for Lava Man, maybe race another year, like Greg's Gold, and then maybe he'll still get to be active like Kona Gold as a pony, THEN when he's actually an older horse he can retire to a pasture.

That's what I hope for him...a long ACTIVE youth and a happy retirement when he's actually old.

((Kona Gold))

27 Sep 2009 10:33 AM

I have watched Lava Man race and know he will be checked frequently but accidents happen and all I want for him is safety, health and alive.

I am just sick of horses dying for the sport, be it greed or the horses saying lets go, Iam ready.....and I love horse racing..

27 Sep 2009 10:38 AM

Steve Haskin,

again a wonderful,informative Story.

Thank You

27 Sep 2009 10:42 AM
Matthew W

I didn't say Big Brown would've won the Classic last year--I just think he was the best three year old in the world last year, based on his Fla Derby/Ky Derby/ Preakness triple--I don't think Ravens Pass gets him in any of those...

27 Sep 2009 11:47 AM

EMD;  There is no comparing the Vet who checked Barbaro to Lava Man's vet. The vet who checked  Barbaro was a track vet that had very little knowledge of Barbaro. Lava Man has been under the care of his vet for months. I think if and when Lava Mam comes back it will only be when the people who know him best say he can. I feel secure that nothing will be done to Lava Man to harm him because those who are around him love him.  I for one would love to see him run again if he can.  

27 Sep 2009 12:22 PM
marilyn braudrick

i wrote the comment about lava man and shortening up his races and making him a turf sprinter

i forgot to include my name and email address

27 Sep 2009 2:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Mr. Haskins you are a gem. I just love your work. Laughed my head off over the Robespierre and Committee of Public Safety comment. Boy, you got that right.  Lucky they didn't guillotine them for challenging the call. The French have never been warm and fuzzy where the Brits were concerned so this was a foregone conclusion if ever there was one. I think they still haven't gotten over The Battle of Waterloo.

I believe that Lava Man's connection will do the right thing by him. I suspect he is happiest when he is in the game. But if they have indications he is struggling, they will send him to Old Friends. They won't risk a disaster.

GunBow loved your list of the fillies and mares in racing right now. Pretty darn awesome. Maybe the Europeans have been right about this issue all along i.e. the girls can be very competitive if given the chance.

Felt terrible about Kona Gold. Too young to go, especially that way in a paddock accident.

27 Sep 2009 2:21 PM


I think you under-estimate Manila.  On turf he was a monster.....He defeated Dancing Brave fair and square in the Breeders Cup.....Of course the Euro's made all kinds of excuses saying it was the heat.....yet apparently it wasn't all that hot that day.....probably the firm turf.....maybe he was sick.....If he was, then why did they even race him......As far as the race itself, rounding into the stretch Daning Brave was on the outside with clear sailing and Manila was locked in along the rail, directly inside of DB.....Manila got out and took off, Dancing Brave didn't.....It's amazing at how many of these blogs rave about the Euro horses and yet when they are defeated over here there is always an excuse.....As far as Manila handling the Arc distance, that would have not been a problem.....Manila's achilles heel seemed to be shorter races....It's still hard to knock a horse that won so many presigious races (6 G-1s), was never worse than second on grass and won 12 and placed 5 times in 18 career races.

27 Sep 2009 2:41 PM


Interesting info on Star Gem.  Thanks, I did not know her background.

Yes, the 93' San Juan Capistrano duel between Kotashaan and Bien Bien was one of the best turf races of the last 16 years.  The 3rd place horse that day, finishing about a length behind Bien Bien, was the defending Breeders Cup Turf winner Fraise.  Kotashaan and Bien Bien had met a month before the San Juan Capistrano in the gr.1 San Luis Rey at 12 furlongs, with Kotashaan getting up late to win by a little over 1 length(with the 3rd place finisher 13 lengths behind Bien Bien).  Kotashaan and Bien Bien met one more time in 93', in the Breeders Cup Turf, where Kotashaan was again able to find a little extra in the stretch to defeat Bien Bien by half a length.  

Bien Bien was a very good horse in his own right.  At 3 he won the gr.2 Swaps Stakes on dirt, and the gr.1 Hollywood Turf Cup and gr. 2 Cinema on turf.  He also ran a huge 2nd when beaten a nose by Paradise Creek in the gr.1 Hollywood Derby.  At 4, he won the gr.1 Whittingham(Hollywood Turf Invitational) and the gr.2 Sunset, to go along with those tough-luck 2nds to Kotashaan in the BC Turf, San Juan Capistrano, and San Luis Rey.  At 5, Bien Bien  won both the gr.1 San Juan Capistrano and gr.1 San Luis Rey, as well as the gr.2 San Marcos, and was 2nd in the Santa Anita Handicap, Whittingham (Hollywood Turf Invitational), and San Luis Obispo.  In addition to his accomplishments on the track, Bien Bien sired 3-time gr.1 winner Bienamado(San Juan Capistrano, Whittingham, Hollywood Turf Cup as well as the gr.2 Sunset).

Fly Till Dawn, Marlin, and Sanpit also deserve to be mentioned.  Sandpit, a big, beautiful chesnut who was stablemates with Gentlemen and Siphon in the Dick Mandela barn, was a winner of 5 grade 1 races and ran competitively on turf and dirt from 94'-97', until age 8.  Marlin, who ran against Sandpit on a number of occasions, won the 97' gr.1 Arlington Million, 97' gr.1 San Juan Capistrano, the 96' gr.1 Hollywood Derby, the 96' gr.1 Secretariat, the 97' gr.2 San Luis Rey, 97' gr.2 Sunset, ran 2nd in the 96' gr.1 Hollywood Turf Cup, and 3rd in the 96' gr.1 Man O' War, 96' gr.1 Turf Classic(now Joe Hirsch), 97' gr.1 Hollywood Turf Invitational, 97' gr.1 Eddie Read, and 96' gr.2 American Derby.

Fly Till Dawn was a horse regrettably underappreciated during his career.  His list of accomplishments deserved full respect.  He won the 90' gr.1 DC International, 90' gr.1 Eddie Read, 92' gr.1 San Luis Rey, 92' gr.1 San Juan Capistrano, 91' gr.2 San Marcos, 91' gr.2 Citation, and 92' gr.2 Arcadia.  

27 Sep 2009 4:35 PM
Ida Lee

As usual, very informative and great reading.  Last year's BC was no fun for me since my darling Curlin was beat pretty bad on that ridiculous surface. But, once I got over my royal snit, I'll admit I loved watching those euros, especially henrythenavigator, the Duke of Marmalade and even Raven's Pass. They were gorgeous and talented and a pleasure to watch. If I get to see Sea the Stars and Rip Van Winkle, I'll be happy cause I'll get to see them race but I'll still want Gio Ponti or one of our other super boys to win the Classic. As to Lava Man, I have been waiting for his arrival at Old Friends so I could schedule my vacation to Kentucky horse country and was wondering what was keeping him. Now I know. But you're right. We do need to have faith that his connections will do the right thing by him. It will be wonderful if one of my favorite all time boys wins one last big one. But if anything happens to him, I'll be devastated and horse racing as we know will not survive. P.S. RIP Kona Gold. What a beautiful and talented boy you were. You will be missed.

27 Sep 2009 4:53 PM


First off, I think the Europeans have been very gracious in their support of the Breeder's Cup.  They ship here, run them on tracks like Santa Anita, Hollywood and Gulfstream that have tight turned turf courses that feel like bull rings to them, run them on a surface (dirt) that they aren't accustomed to and bring them to warm weather when their horses already have their winter coats.  I think the 'Of course " comment was unwarranted.  But aside from that, I didn't think I knocked Manilla.  I know the horse was very accomplished and very classy.  I think that for an American horse to win the Arc, he would have to be able to win at 14 furlongs here because many European 12 furlong races are on undulating difficult courses that would be very foreign to an American horse, no matter how accomplished.  I don't know if he could have run that far here.  I also assumed that Manilla ran on medication, which I may be wrong in assuming.  But I never meant to slight Manilla's accomplishments in any way.

To judge the talent of Dancing Brave by his performance in the Breeder's Cup is not only an insult to him, but also to Manilla.  Leroy Jolley said that Dancing Brave wasn't adapting and didn't look right.  He didn't expect him to run well.  And you are right, they shouldn't have shipped him so close after a grueling and contentious Arc win that was ranked by timeform the fourth, highest ranked Arc of all time.  Only Sea-Bird, Ribot and Mill Reef ranked higher.  He was a dead tired horse, and his connections were greedy.  And he never ran again, if I'm not mistaken.  Neither did Bering, who ran second and was the French 3 yr old champion that year.  Don't judge one of the best thoroughbreds in modern European times by an obviously sub par race.   I love all thoroughbreds no matter where they are from- so if I slighted Manilla I apologize, because I don't mean to do so.  Manilla proved himself here in the US.  But Dancing Brave proved himself in Europe.

27 Sep 2009 5:14 PM
Cowboy Bob

I think Intrepid Hero who was a good grass horse but not Manila shipped to Paris the week before the Arc and finished a credible 7th.

27 Sep 2009 6:56 PM
Ann in Lexington

For the record, Raven's Pass is a USA-bred by Smarty Jones' sire Elusive Quality and a half-brother to dirt SW Gigawatt. He might well have taken to the dirt as readily as he did to the Pro-Ride; unlike Henry, he wasn't bred only for turf.

27 Sep 2009 7:34 PM

horswld, thank you for your very kind words!  While I don't have the great memories of many of the experts who comment here, my mind is trying to recall that at one point in the not too recent past when Lava Man was sent to the farm for some r&r between races, they reported that he was a most unhappy horse not being in his usual training routine.  That little spark of memory is one of the things that leads me to believe that he might really be one of those horses who just does not want to call it quits quite yet.  Of course, my memory could be mistaken and I'm sure there are many on this blog who can recall the incident better than I can, but that's one of the things I am holding on to, and trusting that his trainer will do the right thing.  At this point, he also knows there is too much at stake.  Trainers don't get into their jobs to win a popularity contest, but it certainly couldn't be any kind of a good thing if the public truly despised them if the unthinkable did happen.

GunBow, thank you for listing the outstanding fillies we have been blessed with this year!  I've never put it all together like that - wow!

The rest of you all just make me wish yes, again, that I had been paying more attention to the great racing that was going on while I was raising my family.  The kids are all grown now and I'm left wondering who is Manila and why wasn't I aware?  Thanks for sharing your memories!

27 Sep 2009 9:26 PM
marilyn braudrick

I so very much agree with many bloggers that his races be shortened up- i saw all of his last races in 2008 and said to my family that he should become a turf sprinter (or even a synthetic or dirt sprinter) since his nay sayers didn't realize that he ran way out in front - every time-magnificent- 7 to 10 lengths in front- on synthetic tracks -even with bone chips in his ankles and no cartilage left there as well!!!!!  He was always first at the top of the lane in a route race--  if the races had been sprints, he'd have won them all- he ran like the wind -even with the bone chips and the need for new cartilage in his ankles- but he always had that air of a determined champion-always- I am thrilled to have him back and I knew he'd get bored without racing-you can see that he craves it. He needs to run as long and as hard as he can safely do it. So perceptive of his connections to see that. I am very respectful of them all. I saw his need all last year. It's real and may he be granted his wish to compete again at the highest level he can safely do it and win--I know that the connections and vets involved will monitor him more closely than any horse has ever been monitored as we want him to succeed and they want it even more as his success validates this new stem cell procedure and if it works, is a huge victory for all of thorougbred racing.

P.S. from my husband, Skip, not to let him race is

like telling an ardent Labrador Retriever that he can never retrieve again.

27 Sep 2009 10:42 PM

But Manila wasn't  Buckpasser and Phipps wouldn't send him over after his one turf race where he finished just behind Assagai who was the previous year's turf champion.  And Buckpasser was giving him 8lbs.  They both finished behind Buckpasser's pacemaker- Poker.  But Phipps sent Intrepid Hero over, so he must have shown him something.  It's not always the most talented who will do well in the Arc, just like it's not always the best horse that wins here.  It's the right horse at the right time.    

BTW Cowboy Bob, was that Star Appeal's arc or Ivanjica's?  I tried fleetingly to find out, but I haven't been able to track it.  

27 Sep 2009 11:10 PM


There will be better people than me to tell you who Manila was, but he was a very talented American turf champion.  I'll let the others who know more about him go in depth

27 Sep 2009 11:13 PM


you're right.  He may very well have.  But, his trainer used to train in SoCal, and I wonder if he would have brought him over and run him in the classic if it was dirt.  Or would ha have gone in the mile to face Goldikova, who had just soundly beaten Henry in France.  We'll probably never know.

27 Sep 2009 11:17 PM

Thanks, Gun Bow, for correcting my slip on the hard fought 3rd place horse in that great San Juan.  Fraise, of course.  

27 Sep 2009 11:26 PM


First of all I'm not saying that you knocked Manila.....I know you didn't.  I'm just saying that I think you might be underestimating him.  Overall, there seems to have been more excuses for Dancing Brave in defeat then there ever was praise for Manila in victory, an extremely sore point with me……To say that my judging Dancing Brave by his defeat is an insult to both him as well as Manila, is a joke…..To suggest that Manila only won the race because Dancing Brave wasn’t up to his usual standards is a condescending insult to Manila as well as Dancing Brave……It might be worth to note that Theatrical, which finished second to Manila, came back the next year and won the BC Turf and defeated the ’87 Arc winner Trempolino in doing so……But before winning that race Manila defeated him again in the Arlington Million and was retired soon after with a career ending injury.

Secondly, I know HOW GOOD Dancing Brave was.  I don’t need you to tell me.  He was an exceptional talent with a 140 time form rating (8th best all time tied with Sea The Stars though I don’t hold all that much credit to them because Nijinsky was only rated 138 and I would take him over many that are rated above him).....However, again we get another excuse (OF COURSE).....Dancing Brave was over the top after a tough campaign and was dead tired.....I'm sorry, but lots of horses in Breeders Cup races have run in them after tough campaigns.  That year Manila ran in 8 Graded Stakes races  himself and five of them were from 1-3/16M to 1-1/2M…..Then (OF COURSE) there were concerns about the configuration of the track (tight turns), the condition of the turf (maybe too hard), the temperature (from what I hear it wasn’t all that hot), etc. etc. etc…..These concerns might be legitimate, however, another Euro horse, Last Tycoon, won the turf-mile a couple of races earlier and had to run in the same conditions.  (and he had his winter coat).

Like you, I love horses no matter where they are born or which ones they are…..they are all important to me…..However, I’m getting a little tired of the bashing when it comes to Euro horses against N/A horses, of how the Euros on grass are so much superior…..Are they?  Of the top four Arc winners you mentioned, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave were American foals, Sea Bird was a French foal and Ribot was Italian foaled (what…no British)……in addition, when Trempolino won the Arc, that made three consecutive US bred horses (Dancing Brave and Rainbow Quest were the others) that won the race…..Maybe the problem with N/A horses competing more competitively in grass races against Euro competition, especially in the longer races, isn’t the fault of the horses.  Maybe it’s the trainers and their training methods.  For instance, would Mill Reef and Dancing Brave have been as devastating on turf if they were trained with traditional American training methods by American based trainers and raced in American races, most shorter distances and with different race strategies…..just a thought……anyway, I enjoy reading your posts.  Have a good day.

28 Sep 2009 12:16 AM

lazmannick and footlick

I am sort of stuck between the two of you on dancing brave. I agree that the euro trainers used to come out with excuses when a top horse got beat. however, this was very much in the early days of the bc, when they got regularly turned over. dancing brave, warning, zilzal. but there have been very few excuses recently. in fact, they haven't needed excuses in the mile and 1m4f turf. they have pretty much dominated it.

even though dancing brave didn't like the track, temperatures, long hard season, etc. I still think he was beaten by better horses. I just think the us horses in those days were simply better. lure, manila, theatrical et al. wouldn't you like horses of this calibre turning up this year. and that makes me think that dancing brave was a little overrated. a great arc win but the rest of his form was good, not great. he won the arc at a time when most english-trained champions got beat in that race. it made uk racing feel good again, like waterloo or burning joan of arc. er, that's a joke by the way.      

28 Sep 2009 5:58 AM
Cowboy Bob

FOOTLICK: Star appeal. Ivanjica won in 76. The Phipps horse who probably would have run better in Paris was Effervescing. He was bigger but lighter framed then Intrepid Hero and could run on anything.

28 Sep 2009 11:11 AM
Karen in Indiana

Ever since I heard Lava Man would be retired to Old Friends, I've been checking their website for the date. That's a 'must see' on my list of places to go and seeing him would be icing on the cake. I was stunned when I read about him coming back to the races. There was a picture in my mind of George Washington, Ruffian, and all the others who pushed themselves past the limits of their bodies. I was relieved when Mr. Farmer retired Commentator while he was still sound and able to enjoy the rest of his life and thought Lava Man could also have that. He would have been fine at Old Friends after his adjustment period. he would have had a lot of attention from his fans and the people who work there, much better than being dumped out to pasture and forgotten. In a perfect world, he could race for another year and still retire sound. It's not like he's 4 and has years of racing ahead of him. And we don't live in a perfect world. I won't be able to watch his races, it would break my heart to see something happen to him.

28 Sep 2009 1:19 PM

LOVE MANILA.  Especially because of eddie d.

 in regards to Dancing Brave, I am not sure if it was him, or the other euro Warning, but one of these two horses lost a significant amount of weight on the trip over, I believe almost 20 pounds.  an excuse, maybe, but weight loss is never good news.

28 Sep 2009 2:10 PM
Shawn P

Commentator is not what anyone would call a sound horse. He had so many injuries over the years and kept coming back.

From everything I've heard LM was not happy at the farm. You take a horse like him, put them in that situation and that's when you get the Kona Golds and those like him.

I think that Doug is well aware the eyes that are on him and this gelding will receive more close monitoring than just about any other horse on the track.

NOTHING in racing, just like in life, is a given and stuff happens even to those who are lightly raced and in perfect health.

Some race horses like human contact but not people they don't know and a constant parade of people. My thinking is when Noe got hurt and someone else started caring for the Man, he didn't do nearly as well as he had in past.

28 Sep 2009 2:19 PM
The Phantom

Why isn't Rachel running in the Arc or Classic , too long, grass ,poly or is the owner afraid of facing the best horses in the world on any surface? I think this will be a great Breeders Cup especially when the Euro's show up.The Arc is a true test of champions in Europe and would love to see all that talent come to the Breeders cup.Sea the Stars will have his hands full but has proved he is a outstanding horse.This HOY stuff has to be proved on the track against the best talent in the Classic.Ducking that big day or race is like a team going unbeaten and then refusing to go to the Super bowl because they didn't like the surface or since they are unbeaten they should be declared the champion.If Zen and Rach do compete in the classic and don't  put in  a good showing i don't think either deserves to be called HOY.You have to earn the honor racing against the best in the world regardless of the surface.Phony excuses from both camps of why they don't run in the classic at least RA has competed against males although not the best , Zen hasn't and yet each camp wants to be declared HOY. That's funny and phony.

28 Sep 2009 3:03 PM
The Rock


Those two juvenile races @ Ascot were very interesting. I was most surprised that Lady Darshaan wasn't put to first after the winning jockey struck her with the whip while drifting out as well. Seems like they're more forgiving with the rules of racing in the UK than they are in the US. If any of those incidents occurred over here, those two would've been disqualified.

28 Sep 2009 4:24 PM

The Phantom,

I am going to disagree with you. Rachel has competed against and beaten the best that her generation has to offer. We can say the best were injured, but in my mind they aren't the best if they aren't durable enough to compete. She also beat the best older males that the east coast cared to enter in the Woodward. She can only run against what lines up in the gate.

I think she should go to the BC, too, and I wish she were. But, the fact that she isn't does not remove her from horse of the year, in my mind. She's done enough to get my vote (as if I have one!).

28 Sep 2009 5:20 PM

Hey Laz-

I enjoy your posts too.  Dancing Brave had a stellar year actually, running one top race after another.  He was always considered a superior animal in his three year old year.  And his Arc was the pentultimate performance for him.  I agree that I may underestimate Manila, and I agree that more attention should have been made of his win.  But people who watch the videos of Dancing Brave that season in Europe know that that Dancing Brave didn't show up in the Breeder's Cup.  Would he have won?  We'll never know.  All I know is that wasn't the horse that I saw win those races in Europe.  I can't imagine Jolley would have made the statement he did if it wasn't the case.  I would have loved to see both Manila and Dancing Brave run their races.

As far as the breeding is concerned, the American thoroughbred derived forn the European thoroughbred.  Then when the americans had the top sires in the world, the europeans came here to buy them.  They bought horses who they felt would run well in Europe.  Mill Reef was a homebred of Mellon, and he specifically sent him to England because his action was considered turf action.  Even though he was dirt bred and bred to run short, he excelled on turf and a longer distances.  Many europeans bought yearlings here that would translate to turf, and they still do.  Maybe those horses would have thrived no matter where they were, but I think if Paul Mellon didn't think he should run Mill Reef in the US, he probably would not have had the glory he achieved in Europe.

Trempolino's race here I feel was stronger than his Arc win.  He ran an amazing race.  Theatrical ran an amazing race too.  Manila was better at three and four than Theatrical.  If we then can extrapolate, Manila was better than Trempolino too.  And since I feel Trempolino ran his top race in the Breeder's Cup, I feel comfortable saying that.

p.s.- I liked your capitalization of "of course"!  And one comment about Last Tycoon handling the same conditions- horses are different and some handle everything and others don't.  You can't say because some can do it others should be able to.  Some horses love hard turf- others hate it because they have tender feet.  some love hot weather, others hate it.

28 Sep 2009 6:48 PM

Vince- Dancing Brave won 8 of 10 races, finishing worse than second only once- in the US.  I don't think he was overrated.   I think the europeans have gotten smarter in which horses to send.  They have finally realized that they just can't send their best horses here regardless of the tracks and conditions.  We have seen too many of them blow the turns at Gulfstream and Santa Anita in the early days of the Breeder's Cup.  But they excelled on the bigger courses-Churchill and Belmont.  Now, they send horses that are handier and more suited to American racing.  That's why I think they get more consistent results.

The only way that we could determine whether the Euros were running subpar races or getting beaten by better horses would have been to send Manila and Theatrical to Europe to race against them on their home turf.  But that didn't happen.  I feel that without lasix and bute, they might not run the same races that they ran here.  But I'm not sure, because I can't remember if they ran on medication.  In Europe, if a horse is sore, they rest it.  If a horse is sighted bleeding on the track it's an automatic year off of racing.

Do either you or Laz know if Manila ran on lasix or bute?  It might affect his race in the Arc if he did.

28 Sep 2009 7:09 PM

Cowboy- Thanks. Effervescing was a long fused one and I'd have to agree he probably would have been a better choice.  I just don't know how strong a field the Star Appeal Arc was.  Ivanjica's Arc had some heavy hitters.  Tom Rolfe, by the way, finished 6th to Sea-Bird.  He ran very well against a tough field.  He was a little horse, but could run all day, a son of Ribot.

28 Sep 2009 7:24 PM
Matthew W

What made Manilla GREAT was: It wasn't "just" Dancing Brave he outclassed--YES, outclassed---There was also Theatrical, who would follow that race with a fabulous carreer--Manilla was much the best vs those two, THAT'S why it's legit! There were two great horses in defeat....But Europe is overlooking their (maybe) greatest of all milers, truly one of the all time best kicks at a mile--Goldikova! I can't wait to see her run this weekend/can't wait for her at Santa Anita--Sea The Stars notwithstanding, and I love him--BUT this is year two of total domination of some fair to middlin milers--and she's better than ever this season! Truly magical! That there is THIS kind of greatness, these kida of Godsent Fillies running at the same time--I mean Goldikova is in the rarified air of Miesque, Spinning World, good or better....

28 Sep 2009 10:41 PM
Matthew W

Effervecing couldn't get 1 1/2....By the way Steve, I heard they are gonna keep Zenyatta in training through Feb...???...I really hope they aren't gonna finish out in the Big Cap cuz I wanna see them in the Classic....I saw the 1977 Hol Gold Cup from the apron/on the finish line, There was old reliable Ancient Title, the Whittingham turf stayer Caucasus, The solid Windy Sands four year old Crystal Water, and the amazon filly B J Ridder's Cascapedia....."Race Of The Year"...thing is, even then you knew it was "time" for them to run that giant filly, Cascapedia ran 2nd by a neck.....Winning Colors won SA Derby v males by TEN....she was OBVIOUS by her size their equal...I was against Bayakoa, Serena's Song, even Lady's Secret vs males, as they weren't physically equal to males--even Rachel I would NOT want to see vs males at 1 1/4, she'a not physically as strong---but Zenyatta is as big/is as strong and it is TIME to see them try her--The world will forgive you for losing--as long as you go---THAT is a filly who belongs with males, it's time....the thought of seeing Goldikova exploding into eternity and Zenyatta closing on the very best--THAT'S all I want to see, that would make this year the best in my racing life.....

28 Sep 2009 11:04 PM
Matthew W

Phantom--I agree! I don't CARE if it's a tough field, of corse it is, there is NO REASON not to run Zenyatta--she would close on any horse in my opinion--not necessarily win, but I DON'T CARE, to skip the Classic with that awesome mare would be a chance forever lost at racing immortality! Big Cap/Big Schnapp!!! I want to see Zenyatta, the mare, the HUGE mare of massive stretch moves--I wanna see Zenyatta in the Classic where she B-E-L-O-N-G-S ! ! !

28 Sep 2009 11:15 PM

The thing that I remember most about Star of Cozzene, if my memory serves me right, was that Barry Irwin and Jeff Siegel saved the Arlington Million by allowing Star to run in the race although there was some sort of sickness or virus that threatened to cancel the race. Star then had his Eclipse award hopes hampered because of the post-race isolation period. Cashed a huge bet on him when he beat Lure at Atlantic City and I remember Larry Lederman's awesome race call!!

29 Sep 2009 12:15 AM


"...John Henry didn't have quite the stamina for an Arc win..."

An inexplicable comment on the greatest stayer on turf in US racing history.  Look at his 1980 wire to wire win in the San Juan Capistrano where he went the first 3/4 in 1:09 and change and was full of run at the end.

At the age of nine he won the Turf Classic at Belmont Park in a time one or two ticks slower than the track record set eleven years earlier by Secretariat.  BTW, All Along, who finished 3rd, won the Arc the year before and was defending HOY.

29 Sep 2009 12:57 AM


I don't want to do dancing brave down. there are enough people out there that do that already. he was so popular in britain because of his explosive turn of foot and his exploits in the arc. when he lost in the breeders cup it was like muhammad ali losing for the first time. nobody in britain could believe it.  

I just think that in hindsight it is possible to put his form into perspective and I think there have been easier winners of the arc and the king george than dancing brave. I think people in the uk got a tiny bit carried away with the turn of foot rather than looking at the fact that he was only ever a length or so better than a top class field over 12f.

then he goes to the bc, possibly as an afterthought, and faces three of the best turf horses to race in that country in the last 30 years. it was in the early days of transatlantic rivalry and everyone here expected db to win hands down. I think you have to take the form at face value, otherwise it means nothing. db was the most exciting hosre I ever saw, and one of the best over 10, but over 12??  

couple of other points. his two losses came on left hand courses. when theatrical ran in europe (2nd in 85 irish derby) he was ridden by mick kinane, who will be riding sea the stars if he turns up this year. 24 years on!

and finally, what exactly do bute and lasix do? I think one is an anti bleeding drug, the other for joints. do they have any other benefits? are they controversial? do they help build up muscle?

footlick, who is america's top turf hope this year? gio ponti? do you rate his chances?      

29 Sep 2009 5:10 AM

Footlick, your comment about the tight turns affecting the Euros reminds me of one sent to Gosden by Sangster.  Wish I could pull up his name.  He became a top Graded winner at Oak Tree and later at the SA meet.  However, his first in country was at DM coming out of the short chute.  McCarron was up.  Good gate and he made that first left turn.  However, Chris must have thought he was on some horse at Pomona, because, the colt freaked when they came to the second left.  He bolted towards the far rail.  By the time he reached Oak Tree, he was more attuned to the American turns.  

29 Sep 2009 9:02 AM

Matthew- Effervescing won the Man O War as a 3yr old at a mile and a half.  He also was by Le Fableaux who was a huge stamina influence.  He had speed and was verastile enough.  He also won two stakes races on the span of 5 days.  I think he would have had a better chance than Intrepid Hero.  But I don't think he was the best hope for the US to ever win an Arc.  Didn't we also send Career Boy and a horse named the Fisherman?  

29 Sep 2009 9:22 AM

Matthew- I love Goldikova.  She is an amazing animal, and running lights out.  She has a huge kick, and she had that kick when Zarkava was beating her.  Zarkava was just better.  Once Goldikova got out of her shadow, she proved what amazing horse they both were.

29 Sep 2009 9:26 AM
Cowboy Bob

MATTHEW W; Effervescing won the Man A War at 1 1/2 and 3rd behind Youth in the Canadian International at 1 5/8. He also ran 1:08 and cahange on the main track.

29 Sep 2009 9:29 AM

Regarding Stauffer and his inquiry to the availability of the horse after being baked,it would appear that he found another field to be inept.  

29 Sep 2009 9:58 AM

Hey Footlick

I have the racing form from the '86 BC races, but of course it is packed away somewhere......I can't say for sure what if any medication was administered to Manila in the BC turf, but if I find out I will let you know.

Also, regarding Dancing Brave.....I did hear somewhere, on one of these blogs as a matter of fact, that he bacame sick sometime after the BC race......whether he was sick before the race, I couldn't say.....However he was too valuable to risk running if his connections did think he was sick......maybe it all goes into the mistique......I enjoy your passion for racing and I like the way passion from one draws true passion and knowledge from sure beats some of the bashing that has been going on, especially on one of the other blogs (sometimes I'm guilty of it myself)......soemtimes that's fun, but serious talking and knowledge is certainly better.

29 Sep 2009 10:09 AM

aleesa- I know that John Henry won many long races and was a phenominal horse, but it's just an impression that I get when I watch him.  European courses are so different and so testing.  I'm not opposed to any US turf champion going there, and I know they were all great horses.  But it takes special stamina over there.  One that may not really trnslate here.  John Henry was a phenominal horse.

29 Sep 2009 10:10 AM


DB's own people weren't sure he could get a mile and a half.  Sharristani(sp) beat him in the Epsom Derby by a half length.  That same horse finished fourth in the Arc.  I do think that the mile and a half in Europe was the limit of his distance ability.  But there is no question that the Arc took alot out of him.

Matthew- I agree that Manila was a great horse, I just don't agree that he outclassed Dancing Brave.  He may have won anyway, but DB in the Breeder's Cup was not the DB that ended his three year old campaign with a huge win in the Arc.

Theatrical was a good horse in Europe, but became a much better horse in the US.  There are reasons why horses come to the US to race permanently.  

29 Sep 2009 10:19 AM

Vince- bute and lasix are used in the US.  Lasix doesn't stop bleeding, but it opens up the blood vessels and I believe the bronchial vessels so that the blood vessels don't burst during extreme physical exertion.  It is also a diuretic.  Bute treats inflammation.  No medication can be in a horses blood stream by race day in Europe or it is an automatic DQ.  Horses have been DQ'd for aspirin and camphor.  It is not tolerated.  New York was the last holdout in the US, but they ended up allowing meds eventually.  Nothing definitive has been said other than they allow a horse to perform to their ability.  Germany will not allow a stalion to stand if it has ever run on meds, even once.  Running on meds had been theorized to have weakened the breed because many horses would not have gone to the breeding shed because they woyld not have been sucessful on the racetrack.  There is controversy.

29 Sep 2009 10:51 AM

This sounds like Stauffer's word against Glenney's and that will go nowhere.  It doesn't matter who is telling the truth.  Rosario's ride won't be penalized either as the stewards will see a "guilty" verdict as disturbing the integrity of the game.  And goodness knows, Santa Anita doesn't need that with the BC around the corner.

29 Sep 2009 10:57 AM


Thanks for the info.  I'm not sure that DB got sick or not.  If he was sick and they still sent him, his connections were extremely arrogant and irresponsible- something that never happens in horse racing-lol!  I do know that he never raced again.  It wouldn't surprise me if the flight and fatigue brought on something.  Bering also never raced again.  He was actually closing fastest then just stopped gaining.  I also love that this blog-unlike some others- is just full of passionate people who impart knowledge and passion.  Thanks to you and everybody else here we are all better educated on our subject.

29 Sep 2009 11:10 AM


Thanks for that.  I've seen it so many times.  Even in the classic when Jolypha stopped running on the turn because her jock was afraid she was going to end up at the outside rail.  And then running the whole stretch with her head up.  There was also Barathea in his first BC, Ski Paradise, etc.  They schooled Barathea so much on tight turns that when he won the second time he raced he handled them beautifully.

29 Sep 2009 11:45 AM
Cowboy Bob

FOOTLICK; John Russell trained Effervescing as a 3 yerar old. He was sold and Wayne Lukas took over. I recall a 6 furlong race in Cslifornia where Effervescing nosed out a horse named Dr.Patches in 1;08.1. Next start Dr.Patches knocked off Seattle Slew at the Meadowlands. Effervescing was pretty zippy but on the grass ran like a Euro horse. I think his style would have been to his advantage in the Arc. Le Fableaux out of a Bold Ruler mare. John Gosden commented he thought Goldikova would have been very tough in the Classic last year. If she wins this weekend I think she could terrorize the fields in either Classic races or the Mile. RA would have her hands full with this babe if she were to come out of hiding.

29 Sep 2009 12:03 PM

Footlick: C.V. Whitney sent Career Boy and Fisherman over for the 1956 Arc and they came up against Ribot.  Career Boy finished 4th, however, and became Champion Grass Horse.

Paul Mellon sent over Tom Rolfe in 1965.

Can't remember if any other North American horses ran in the Arc.

I'm always wondering why they all go to Dubai and never to Longchamp.  Of course, we're talking dirt vs. turf but I agree with everyone else who wishes some of our grass horses would go over.  It's the biggest, greatest race in Europe and it would sure stop some whining if our horses would test theirs on their home ground.  

Besides Manila and John Henry (sorry Footlick, I have no doubt he would have gotten the distance) and Effervescing, who else does everyone think could have put on a good show over there since Tom Rolfe?  Did Forego ever run on grass?

29 Sep 2009 12:04 PM

The Phantom & Matthew W:

So by your reasoning, if Gio Ponti ran in the Arc and won, then he should be named EUROPE'S HOY? No, the Europeans would laugh us out of there. Horse of the Year SHOULD be precisely that, a campaign, not a one-race deal (or even a measly 4, but what's in the past.........).   If the BC Classic is the be-all and end-all for HOY, then why wasn't Arcangues named HOY???

29 Sep 2009 12:52 PM


Totally forgot to talk about Gio Ponti.  How can you argue with a horse who seems to get better with each start?  He certainly seems to be the class of the American turf horses.  And all he does is keep winning.  Einstein is hard knocking, but do you get the feeling he's gonna go in the classic?  I think that might be a better choice for him.  I think Winchester might have a big shot also, but  who are you guys looking at?

29 Sep 2009 12:56 PM

Cowboy- thanks again for the info.  I do think Effervescing would have been tough.  And Dr Patches was co champion sprinter with JO Tobin, I believe.  Interesting comment by Godsen, but Goldikova did finish second in the Prix de Diane, and her connetions always thought she could go a distance of ground.  I think in her current form, she will be tough to beat in either race.  Hopefully Zenyatta will take up the challenge too.  She closes deceptively fast because of her stride.  It doesn't look like she's going that fast until you see her inhaling horses.

mz- hey!  That's why we blog.  I know I'm in the minority there.I don't believe Forgo would ran on the grass, but his ankles were so bad I don't think they would have ever chanced it.  I was thinking of Damascus.  He ran a really strong race in the DC International.  He think he may have been extremely competitive.  You had a tough horse in Cougar ii, and he probably could run all day, as well as Cacausus, who was mentioned by another.  But again, I know Damascus and Fort Marcy, who I mentioned earlier in the blog raced woithout meds, because they were east coast based.  Run the Gantlet might have done well also.  Who do you guys think?

29 Sep 2009 1:21 PM


I may be reaching concerning the bolting colt at DM.  It may have been Zoffany, the NJ bred, sent over to the states. Zoffany, trained by Gosden, won the Hollywood Turf Cup, while ridden by Eddie D.  I believe Chris stayed aboard him at Oak Tree.  That payoff at HP was 21 to 1.

29 Sep 2009 2:06 PM
Cowboy Bob

DRAYNAY: I think the upside to bringing Lava Man back is if the stem cell process works it could help alot of horses and create an avenue for research funding. There wasn't much upside to the Vietnam War except we developed incredible medical tecnology which is saving lives today.

29 Sep 2009 2:17 PM


Fort Marcy, on one of his good days, would have raced well against the top Euros.....In stakes races at 1-1/2M and up in which he finished in the money, he was 17 sts 7W 5P 5S....He won the Washington DC International twice against good horses from Europe as well as the US.  He also finished 3rd in that race against Sir Ivor.

By the way.....I woner how many SMURFS the big bad LEAFS are going to take out on Thursday night.

29 Sep 2009 2:19 PM
Tim G

Mel Hatley bought a percentage of Effervescing from Mr. Yank with the stipulation that Wayne trained him. The horse had a bad ankle by then, Wayne babied it, worked on it and got it somewhat back into shape. Won two stakes races within 5 days with the horse, when he was very new to TB racing.

He has said in the past he'd never take a horse into that arena, the Arc, etc, that it's better suited to the guys who train there all the time, like Aidan etc or someone well entrenched in the Coolmore etc stables.

Second he's totally focused on the Derby, TC races even yet.

29 Sep 2009 2:20 PM

Hey Lazmannick: aren't the Leafs already out of the playoffs?

Fort Marcy: yes.

And although I asked for possible runners since Tom Rolfe, I later thought maybe Round Table would have done good.

What does everyone think about Cozzene or Mongo?

29 Sep 2009 2:32 PM
Tim G

Lasix/salix is used for the treatment of EIPH (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), it does act as a diuretic, diluting the urine thus the 'belief' that it masks other drugs. Not really, the labs just have to work a little harder at the detection and that process is so refined now that it measures infinitesimal amounts of substances. Plus it's more efficient to use blood in the test for Clenbuterol.

It is not a bronchodilator, it inhibits EIPH by lowering blood pressure in the lungs. During exercise, horses have unusually high blood pressures in the vessels that lead from the heart to the lungs. High blood pressures in the lungs' small vessels could lead to their breaking and releasing blood into the airways.

This was hypothesized for years but the U of Pretoria/CSU study has confirmed this. While also determining that more than half of Thoroughbred racehorses have small amounts of blood in their trachea after a single race due to this.

The study also determined that horses after racing are 3-4 times more likely to have any evidence of bleeding without furosemide(Salix/Lasix),and were 7-11 times more likely to have severe bleeding without it.


a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cylo-oxygenase inhibitor.  It's used for lameness, resulting from from soft tissue injury, muscle soreness, bone and joint problems, and laminitis in horses, but MOSTLY for 'aches and pains' on race horses. (like you take aleve after a tough weekend gardening?)

Clenbuterol is used as a bronchodilator in the management of airway obstruction, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It relaxes the smooth airway muscle.

29 Sep 2009 2:37 PM

Tim G, your comment about babying and working on a horse made me think of the column in the latest BH concerning Kim Lloyd, now with Barretts.  He spoke about his early years working in barns where he learned how to rub down legs.  So often I have heard someone talk about some trainer and add "They have great leg people".  Unsung folks in the sport.

29 Sep 2009 3:03 PM

Mi Sueno..a condylar fracture of the right cannon bone during gallop out this future uncertain, but not life threatening.

29 Sep 2009 3:07 PM
Cowboy Bob

TIM G; Wayne Lucas achieved some good results with Effervescing. The colt was sound and a stakes winner when Yank bought him. Lucas was new to TB horses and drilled the horse pretty hard hence the quick times. You sre right about the ankle. He was vanned off after the Eddie Read and the United Nations his last start. Pincay pulled him up on the far turn at Atlantic City. After the race I went to the backside where they unloaded the horse. NO Yank, No Lucas and the groom was standing there holding the horse not knowing what to do. For a long time nobody did anything. I started hosing the horses ankle and then Neil Howard came over. He saddled Upper Nile who won the race. Neil went and got a gel cast and we did up the horse. Finally a Vet shows up looks at the horse and leaves. Still no Lucas or Yank. The horse was bathed, in his stall eating hay with temporary cast in place and I left. Neil said he would keep an eye on him. Never saw the connections and the next time I saw the horse was at the Stallion Station in Lexington. Lucas has certainly done some fancy training but he is not one of my favorites based on that incident.

29 Sep 2009 6:15 PM
Tim G

bert, yep great leg people are priceless. Rubbing them down, icing them, poultices etc. Some people, jealous or outside the game sometimes try to attach something sinister or an ulterior motive to it when usually that's not the case.

Stem cell therapy is so controversial who knows what will come from Lava Man's return.

Personally I hope it's a smashing success and proves-out what many of us in the medical community believe about the therapy.

Just ruminating, but, I'd like to see a blog on the devoted to people who always want to post about the break downs. While that IS part of the game I just can't believe it has to be mentioned on EVERY blog subject.

29 Sep 2009 6:48 PM


having you tubed gio ponti, I must say the horse has a tremendous chance in the bc turf. travels ever so well and stays. ok he is only beating group 2 animals, but it is the style he does it in. classy.

a lot will be revealed on sunday. if sea the stars romps it, followed by fame and glory, then I would say the euro form will hold up at the bc. however, if the french win it, then you have to question the english/irish form and the 6/1 on gio ponti will look good. sea the stars and the o brien horses have only ever really raced against each other. the older horses are pretty weak. it remains to be seen whether the form is worth anything. I hope sts wins and then goes for the bc classic. shame rachel won't be there. or so it appears?

I saw einstein in the pacific classic and thought wow. what a race he ran. but a 7-y-o winning the classic?

and finally, do you folks get the arc live on tv? although from england, I live in germany, which may as well be papua new guinea in terms of racing coverage on the tv. just have to follow it on the text or audio online. should be a great race. let's hope sea the stars wins it, cos if he doesn't, he won't be coming to america.

29 Sep 2009 7:02 PM

I realize this thread concerns great champions coming to the US for top races.  However, has anyone noticed that from a bettor's standpoint, it is often wise to bet the first out for foreign horses who have been sent here permanently?  I remember seeing "Best watch one" written in the old LA Herald-Examiner and later in the LA Times by Jerry Antonucci.  My thought was "Jerry, you might not get a price the 2nd time out or that horse may not win again." - I have seen so many ship in and win first out for Darrell Vienna, Roger Stein, Mike Mitchell, even Ron McAnally and others.  Some of them never win again or it may take quite some time to adapt their ailments to American training and racing.  I have heard comments about bloodstock agents getting the better of American buyers and sending us walking wounded.  Whatever, the best prices for many, including Interco, who won several thereafter, were the first time out.  This includes Zalataia who shipped for the Oak Tree Invitational and beat John Henry.  She did not win again, as I recall.

29 Sep 2009 7:48 PM
Cowboy Bob

Of all the horses we discussed in these  100 blogs concerning the Arc, we missed the obvious American horse to win the race. Secretariat? He won the Man a War and the Canadian International on the grass. If he stayed in training as a 4 year old he would have been our best shot at winning the Arc.

29 Sep 2009 8:43 PM
Soldier Course

About that rule cited above, the one that jockey Joel Rosario is accused of violating -

Was that rule in effect when KD rode BB in the 2008 Belmont Stakes?

29 Sep 2009 9:19 PM

Vince- If Sea the Stars wins the Arc, I doubt they will send him here for the BC.  If they go anywhere it might be Japan.  And we simulcast the Arc and I believe one of the horse racing channels will broadcast it, but it isn't extremely popular.  

Gio Ponti gets more impressive with each race.  You have to think he's got a great chance.  In the classic, I think it will be a toss up with quite a few horses vying for favoritism.

Back to the Arc, if anyone is an upsetter, I think Cavalryman and the Aga Khan colt might be great odds.  I think Vision d'Etat might surprise also.  And Dar Re Mi is running really well this year.  Not sure about the two 3 yr old fillies this year.  Of course, it could all blow up in my face.  If Sea the Stars is as good as he's ranked, they are all running for second.  But the Arc can be unpredictable.

29 Sep 2009 9:52 PM

What about Hawaii?  Did he even run longer than 12 furlongs?   He was another champion

29 Sep 2009 10:02 PM
Matthew W

I LOVED Effervecing---He was one of the most strikingly beautiful horses I ever saw---still to this day---fairly certain 1 1/2 was not his best distance  is what I meant....but old John Henry could've WON the Arc--he had that running style perfected by age nine (!!)--John Henry could've won the Arc....

29 Sep 2009 10:40 PM

mz-   I believe El Senor was the last horse that ran in the Arc from the US.  The French even let him gallop the Longchamp course, something they do not let other horses do.  I can't remember where he finished, though.  

29 Sep 2009 10:49 PM

This is waaayyy off subject but thought it was interesting enough to point out to my fellow racing fans. If you get the bloodhorse magazine, check out the September 12th issue (front page"queen of the turf" with the almighty RA on the cover) and look at page 3292 with the article Top of the Tree by Mark Popham. Check out the photo of the Sea the stars rolling past Fame and Glory. This is one cool picture. Both horses are in the exact same stride. Both horses legs are placed almost identically in the same spot..not to mention both of these horses are dark bay, no white on them and their black points are almost identical on all legs with the black coming up over the front legs almost exactly. It is just one cool moment in time snapped at just the perfect time with both horses hitting the same sride.....beautiful!  

29 Sep 2009 10:56 PM

bert-Betting a Euro first time out has been an astute handicapping tool for quite awhile.  Their second time out is usually called a euro bounce.  Oddly enough, Miss Alleged won her second and third out here, but lost her first, so it doesn't always apply.  But it has worked for the most part.  The last was when Salve Germania won.  Zalataia was a much classier filly than Salve Germania, but she was up against much better horses too!  

30 Sep 2009 8:29 AM


Good point about the uncertainty concerning the English/Irish 3 year old form.  You are absolutely correct that the older horses in England/Ireland are poor, maybe the poorest this decade, and that the same group of 3 year olds(Sea the Stars, Fame and Glory, Rip Van Winkle, Mastercraftsman, etc) has dominated the open season.  The Timeform/Racing Post ratings indicate that this crop of British Isle 3 year olds are very strong, but unlike Beyers, these ratings are derived less by mathematics(times, track variants and the difference between the two) and more by subjective criteria.

The second part of the question is if these 3 year olds do dominate the Arc, which will actually come over for the Arc?  Rip Van Winkle and Mastercraftsmen(who I believe are not running in the Arc) appear definite for the Breeders Cup from the O'brien barn, but will he wheel back Fame and Glory a month after the Arc?  As for Sea the Stars, my best guess is that if we see him in the Arc, which I believe we will, it is very, very unlikely we will see him in the Breeders Cup.  I plan on being at Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup, and will not be pinning much hope on an appearance by Sea the Stars.  It will be the Arc and then the breeding shed for him.

30 Sep 2009 11:48 AM

Gun Bow- Timeform ratings are more subjective, but also they deal more with the quality of the competition.  If you look at Globeform, their ratings are lower tnat Timeform ratings.  My problem with  Beyer figures is the huge discrepancy between dirt figures and poly/turf figures.  Is there the same discrepancy with thorograph numbers or Ragozin numbers?  But even in Europe there is a bias- the British constantly say that they can't rate or handicap French horses because of the lack of pace in their races.

Vince- I believe you are right bout Sea the Stars.  I doubt they will run him back in the BC.  It would depend on how he runs as to whether Fame and Glory comes.  More likely if he runs a disappointing race, I think, rather than a strong one.

Matthew- I know that I'm in the minority, but I think John Henry would fade in deep stretch.

Cowboy- I didn't ant to say Secretariat because I think it was so obvious he would have been our best chance.  I didn't want everyone to say :duh:- not that I'm saying it to you-lol.  

30 Sep 2009 1:53 PM

I am kind of tired of reading about track surfaces. It is a part of the game we have now. Tennis plays on all types of surfaces, as well as other sports. If the horse or team trains on the surface and it is felt like it a shortcoming, don't play or race on it. In the case of teams, they don't have a choice. To sit in one area of the country and say you don't like something is biased thinking which is seemingly the trend of today. In the end, the best horse still may not win due to the tactics of the running of the race. You must also remember the thing (Jockey) on their backs have something to do with it also.

As usual, I have to put a plug in for Forli of whom I consider the best horse ever and one not seen by the majority. The west coast railbirds had the pleasure lost for others, except for an ill-fated race in Chicago. It is also odd, the race in Chicago, The Citation Handicap, is a race that is now run in California. Go figure.

That is horseracing and why longshots light up the board. It is however, prettier than a crapshoot. There is nothing like it!

30 Sep 2009 3:13 PM

Cowboy Bob - I was waiting for Secretariat's name to be brought up. . . Ron Turcotte said he was better on grass than dirt.  Too bad about the money issues, he was gone too quickly.

30 Sep 2009 3:48 PM

Tim G....its part of the sport not pleasant but part of it...when part of the story is removed or hidden it becomes incomplete and a fraud. least thats what I have a happy day and rachel smile....

30 Sep 2009 6:11 PM

Cowbay Bob

I was at Secretariat's last race, the Canadian International......All I can say is that he was awesome.....He faced a good field that day, was rated back off the pace and when Turcotte said go he simply toyed with the competition.....Also, the turf was listed as firm, but I can tell you it wasn't that firm and was a little off because there had been wet weather in Toronto during that week.....I think he would have raced well on soft or yielding turf if he had to, which might have been necessary in the Arc…..It’s interesting to note that of the 12 runnings of the Man 'owar when it was at the 1-1/2M distance he had the best time by almost two seconds (Dahlia, which won multiple Group One Euro races had the next fastest time).


I don't know if Hawaii raced beyond 1-1/2M, but he did handle the 1-1/2M distance winning the Sunrise and the Man ‘Owar.  He was, however, a SAF bred.

If you want a horse that could get the distance, was versatile winning on both dirt and grass at long distances, what about Quicken Tree?  I know he won only 15 of 75 starts, but he won big time races…..the Jockey Club Gold Cup (2-M), the Display twice (2-M), the San Juan Capistrano (1-3/4M Turf), the Manhattan (1-1/2M Turf back then), the San Luis Rey (1-1/2M Turf), etc.

Another good grasser was Assagai….He won the Man ‘Owar at 1-5/8M although I think he preferred his races a little shorter.

30 Sep 2009 9:11 PM

Tex- Forli sounds like a good pick too.  Great horse from SA.

30 Sep 2009 9:27 PM
Matthew W

Kat--Yes! "Like" after syndicating Big Red (Before the Triple Crown/before his greatest races) I mean in my lifetime there was nothing like it--Secretariat was the biggest horse by far of my lifetime, as far as public popularity is concerned...if only they could've decided to go on with him, riding the crest of that (unbelievable) popularity--I mean, "what if"....Makes me "grateful" for Affirmed, Bid, Alysheba, Cigar, Skip Away, Curlin, and others who proved it as older horses.....

30 Sep 2009 10:15 PM
Matthew W

Draynay the "upside" to Lava Man is this: former claimer/claimed...ran one of the all-time best (dirt) Hol Gold Cups, under Pat V...also became a top middle distance turf horse and won several big races on synthetics which makes him a real good horse---OBVIOUSLY because of the obscure breeding, not unlike a medium bay by Ol Bob Bowers/one John Henry, Lava Man has a following because you can see him trying and he usually wins, he's "relivant", especially when he works a bullit first out....

30 Sep 2009 10:27 PM
Matthew W

Saw a possible Breeders Cup Boxcar today at the Great Race place: Three year old Cal-Bred Bruce's Dream, third in Morvich, if he can draw in, he has a nice turn of foot and will get more pace....Shirreffs first timer bombed in 6th race/was considered a real nice horse.....I don't know where Sea The Stars ranks, but Goldikova is one of the best milers ever, in my opinion, what I'm trying to say is there's greatness happening this weekend at Longchamp...

30 Sep 2009 10:38 PM

Tex- I feel the same way.  Either deal with them or don't.  But don't use them as an excuse.  Betters still make money on them, so somebody has figured out how to hqndicap them.  The sad thing is that it has cast a shadow over California thoroughbreds again, just like when I first started to watch thoroughbred racing.  There was such an east coast bias that discounted a horse because they were from the West coast.  Now that bias is because of polytrack.  And I saw a comment on another blog that said horses should run on what God intended- dirt.  Only if they were being honest it should have read grass.

30 Sep 2009 10:44 PM

Laz, I knew that Hawaii was a SAf bred, but I did consider him "American".. Quicken Tree- another great choice.  Until I saw his name I had forgotten how good he was, even though he didn't win often.  Assagai was another good one but I feel you are right about his preferred distances.  

30 Sep 2009 11:40 PM

Tex, Yes, Forli is a forgotten horse - Passed a great deal into Interco and on to Megan's Interco.  Shame that Interco, not only had hoof problems, but, was so poorly handled at sire - Bred to far lesser Cal-Breds than Kentucky breds and he couldn't move them up.  But, put him with a fine Don B mare and Voila!

01 Oct 2009 8:43 AM

Anyone remember Pink Pigeon and Drumtop?  I don't think they were Arc material, but I just thought they were great hard knocking turf fillies.  Just a reminiscing comment.

01 Oct 2009 9:16 AM
Matthew W

Footlick I remember Drumtop, the filly, and Fort Marcy, both getting run by vs Cougar II at Santa Anita, those were great times....

01 Oct 2009 9:58 AM
Matthew W

John Henry beat the Arc Winner at the age of nine---John Henry "stayed like a mother in law".....Check out that nine year old (HOY) season, and he worked out 1:34 before his ten year old debut, only to be injured and retired....he had that stride where he kept his head low, for better air intake, he was a legend....

01 Oct 2009 10:09 AM

Love the knocking of Lava Man due to his being a former claimer.  Budroyale anyone?  Lava Man's damsire was Nostalgia Star, who began his career as a 40 to 50 thou claimer at DM.  After being bought by Robbins, he turned into a Grade I winner at SA.  That Pia Star breeding kicked in for endurance and off track abilities.  Star Gem, who moved from a claimer to stakes placed, was by Pia Star.  Passed that to Star of Cozzene and Matty G, who won the Grade I HP Futurity and now is the leading sire in Washington.

Matthew W, must have been a field day for 10 percenters, yesterday, at SA for those two MSW races.  Huge tris and superfectas.  But, California Flag's time of one eleven and change makes me think of one of the toughest track records to beat.  Baffle's record of one eleven three stood for years.  He was legitimate, as he, also, held the mile and a sixteenth record on dirt at Bay Meadows.  Missed out on Pink Pigeon, but, she was still a legend, and the fellow who made up my moniker adored her.

01 Oct 2009 10:29 AM
Cowboy Bob

MATTHEW W: If the Big E as he was to his friends had stayed in the East and run as a 4 year old he would have been a long distance grass specialist. When he went out West and Lucas took over he changed his running style. The trainer being shortly removed from the Quarter Horses and the firmer tracks produced a different horse. So you may be correct about his best distance.

01 Oct 2009 10:46 AM
Cowboy Bob

We always talk about a best distance and preferred surface but in the case of Big Red, his best distance was "whatever" and surface was "anything" He could probably melt the plastic tracks. Plastic is a new track term I learned from the Jackson fellow.

01 Oct 2009 10:55 AM

Footlick: YES, both wonderful mares.  And maybe, just maybe, Drumtop could have run in the Arc, don't you think?

Berttheclock and Tex: Too bad Forli's greatest son was a gelding.  I wonder what Forego would have done at stud.  I bet he would have kept the Hyperion line cooking in North America!

01 Oct 2009 11:12 AM
Tim G

Ragsy, I realize that, probably better than most since I own race horses. I just mean when it isn't a horse in context with the particular subject we're discussing.


I also think Secretariat could have accomplished ANYTHING. However I'm probably biased since I was present during his entire Triple Crown run and I will NEVER forget that day at Belmont Park. Think it was more nerve wracking for that race.

On the track surface? I think it's deadly to say deal with it or don't. Sure gamblers can stay away from it, how does that help the game? Owners/trainers can NOT run their horses on it. How harmful has THAT already been to the game?

The complaint I've heard from trainers is that GAMBLERS like the speed and the track has bent to that pressure to speed it up, at least Del Mar. We saw the results of that.

Bob, the colt you mentioned didn't win that race. Although Mack won it more than any other trainer and Neil was his assistant at the time, Noble Dancer won it in 78 and 79. It didn't quite play out the way you mentioned, from my understanding.

Also, Mr Yank didn't purchase the horse when Wayne got him, Mel did and HE is the one who insisted Wayne train it.

I saw the ankle when he got him at age 5 and it was bad. It was also at the end of the horse's career that he got the horse. Who knows if the horse would have lasted as long as he did if Wayne as a newbie hadn't been highly motivated to fix the ankle best he could.

If you were involved in racing (you said you are a rancher in the West?), you know that many trainers back in that day and age didn't have strings all over and if they DID send a horse to run somewhere else, another trainer/assistant took care of the horse in their stead.

I just personally recall the fact that Wayne was present with any horses he had who met that fate, once he had strings all over. Remember the stricken look on his face and the color draining out of it when something occurred.

With that being said I really feel IF he or someone in that arena would have gotten Effervescing when he was healthy and totally sound? I think he could have been very competitive on the grass in Europe.

01 Oct 2009 11:25 AM

Matthew- he didn't beat an arc winner in the arc though.  Very different arena and stamina.  I'm just saying you can't judge by what they could stay here.  20+ horse fields, very roughly run race, uphill, downhill and the uphill stretch.  I'm not casting aspersions but you have to be fair and realize nothing in this country has ever seen those conditions unless they started their career there.  Soft turf in Europe would not be run on in this country.  the race would be moved to the dirt.  That's why I have to go on impression also.  But as I said, I know that I'm in the minority.  No matter what country you are from you don't want to admit that your champions might be beatable.  

01 Oct 2009 1:19 PM

mz- I know she could run long and that she was competitive with the best males of her generation.  I also think she was tough and hard knocking.  she would be on the fringe for me- wouldn't have said don't send her, not sure if she would win.  But she would give it her all as always.  

Matthew- Cougar II would have been competitive in the arc.  Very tough, very versatile.  Those were great racing days when everyone ran against everyone.

bert- I loved Pink Pigeon.  She was super fast, very competitive against males.  Don't think she was stout enough for the Arc, though.  But she was a brilliant racer.  Another in the same vein was Foggy Note, although maybe not quite as good.

I have another horse I thought of.  Fiddle Isle- wasn't he one who could run all day?

01 Oct 2009 1:44 PM
Cowboy Bob

TIM G:  Yank bought the horse from Phipps winter of 77. The UN I recall was won by Upper Nile with Effervescing being pulled up by Pincay. It was either 77 or 78? The horse went directly to Lucas from Phipps. I spent 4 days at Yanks house with the purple shag rugs trying to buy the horse for some people from Belgium. The horse hadn't raced yet for his new connections. My people wanted the entire horse and Yank was putting together a small syndicate, including maybe the gentlemen you mentioned. Effervescing was 3 in 1976 so he was with Lucas in 77 and 78? His last race was the aforementioned UN at Atlantic City. Maybe Yank was just the front man and your man owned the horse but Yank was acting like the owner and Lucas the trainer. Yank was a hoot and I remember going to a couple of good restaurants with his group. Lucas was the topic of alot of talk on the backside at SA and I remember Tommy Doyle telling me he didn't think anybody with his name printed on his sunglasses could train a horse to run a mile and a half. I guess he was wrong. Long time ago and the dates are a little fuzzy but not the broke down colt with nobody looking after him.

01 Oct 2009 3:02 PM
Tim G

Bob. Don't think so. Wayne got the horse as his TRAINER in 1978, Effervescing was 5 years old.

DW had contacted Mr Yank to see if he could train some of his horses. Yank said no. Mel bought the percentage, co-owned it with Yank and then Wayne WAS the trainer. Think he had been working on the horse, but wasn't actually the trainer.

Not sure of that very last part but you could email Yank's daughter Tanya and see if she could clarify it for you, she still owns a horse farm of some sort, in California.

The story though, is documented in several reliable documents and publications.

It's no secret that a LOT of racetrackers disliked Wayne when he came into TB racing. A lot were jealous in QH racing too and a LOT of stories were embelished like him owing Johnny all that money. Johnny said himself that was B.S. and having known JB most of my life, he was no B.S'er about who owed him money. In NM no one really thought WOW here's the next great HOF trainer in our midst.

The good old boys club in TB racing didn't like the progressive way he thought. People who THOUGHT they knew him, really didn't. Plus he ended up getting all the best clients.

John Nerud gave him his seal of approval, then when WT Young did the same? Nuff said.

Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine, but I dislike it when people speaking of a person as if they're in the 'know' can't spell the name correctly.

LOL, maybe THAT's why he has his initials on all his buckets, saddle cloths and embroidered on his shirt cuffs (a big fad back in the late 70's with rodeo/race track people. The girls had their initials on their jeans). Also the reason he puts his name on the stable plaques and his jackets, to teach people the correct spelling?

I recall his sunglasses having  the name of whatever designer is/was en vogue in sunglass design at the time.

What I'm still trying to figure out is HOW you got from that particular setting to be a rancher in NM, like you told me on another blog comment section.

Ha, LOL, most of us it was JUST the opposite.

01 Oct 2009 4:02 PM
Cowboy Bob

TIM G: I stand corrected. E went to Yank after his 4 year old season in 1977. Wayne had him as a 5 year old. His major wins were, Round Table, Man a War, Sword Dancer, Citation, American and Eddie Read. In the money 18 of 28 starts. Earnings of 505.000. Sired 16 stakes winners. The UN in question was 1978. I believe Noble Dancer was a Gragwood horse trained by Mac Miller and would have been before Upper Nile.

01 Oct 2009 5:56 PM

re the arc on sunday, one opinion over here is that youmzain might be worth an each way bet at 25/1 simply because he has finished 2nd in the race the last two years.  

one concern for sea the stars is that the french, as they do, are still watering the track, which is currently no more than good ground anyway. rain is forecast for the weekend so quite why they are putting water on is beyond me. but they always do, they like to run their races on softish ground. I suppose if they can't drink the stuff, they have to get rid of it somehow.

enjoy the arc and the whole 2 days of the longchamp meeting. it is top class fare. if it is on the tv, all well and good,. if it is not, there are plenty of english websites that provide audio and/or text commentary - sporting life, william hill, paddy power, ladbrokes. they will all be providing commentary of some sort that5 is free and with no need to register. goldikova, sea the stars, fame and glory, conduit, so plenty of pointers for the breeders cup as well.    

01 Oct 2009 6:12 PM
Tim G

Bob, actually Thomas Kelly trained Noble Dancer and Upper Nile never won the UN. Mack had 6 winners in that race, just not Upper Nile.

Think MM won it in 74 then not again until 81.

The most amazing thing Wayne did with the horse (by the way? DW didn't get into the TB game full time as a public stable until 1978)

was to win the American and the Citation within 5 days of each other. He knew the horse was  not going to run as a 6 year old and he had limited time with him. Also with the ankle, orders to pull up if anything amiss wouldn't be unusual.

I get really shocked too at the numbers that van off after a race now days, especially in Cal. Then come back to run and win next out.

On the Arc? If it doesn't rain I just don't see anybody beating Sea the Stars, what an awesome runner.

Vince, you don't get racing over there? Man that's terrible for you.

Please give me the scoop on Sea the Stars.

I thought he was only coming to America if he didn't run in the Arc?

If you could set me straight on that, I probably mis-read.

01 Oct 2009 8:17 PM
Cowboy Bob

TIM G: I am certainly not in the "know" but if I think about it there is a k in DW's last name. He is not somebody I think about much. I spent a number of years on the track in NY, some time in Ky and sold off the track TB's to chuck wagon racers for a while. My time in the TB business was around good horses and top people. Been gone for a long time. Up until recently I cowboyed, trained up    Mustangs, sold them and now I have a few cows and poke around on my  ponies. I know what a good horse looks like without a slide rule and I am dismayed at the state of the sport and lack of professionalism in horse handling skills. Went to Breeders Cup last year. Most of the horses looked terrorized and came to the paddock with two handlers and a staight jacket. Exceptions, if I can remember, were Goldikova and Stardom Bound. Nice chatting.

01 Oct 2009 8:31 PM
Tim G

Fair enough.

I just thought since you were commenting on it then......

The crowds are wild at these big races. Not the genteel folks of the past. I'm surprised more don't blow up in the paddock at the Derby. Like so many say the agrarian society is nearly gone in this country. Not really in my home states.

Most of the workers now come from the Latin American countries and they still seem to be pretty decent horsemen.

Luckily I've been and continue to be around some wonderful animals.

Gentleman farmer/rancher?

I still putter around too, on the horse farm. Not the ranches any longer.

01 Oct 2009 9:36 PM
Cowboy Bob

TIM G: Some research indicates the UN was run at Monmouth in those days. The race I am referring to was run Atlantic City, won by Upper Nile, saddled by Neil Howard in late summer a long time ago. Pincay pulled up Effervescing and the gal who galloped Upper Nile was there and she was wearing a Peach colored dress. I called her and she thought it was the UN also. We need to look at past performances. I need to move cattle in the morning so I am going to bed. You're in charge?

01 Oct 2009 10:50 PM
Matthew W

Footlick Cougar was "suspect" at 1 1/2---The Arc 1 1/2, that is, as I saw Cougar outfinished by Typecast the mare in the 1 1/2 Hol Turf Invitational...BUT Typecast won the Man O war later that year, SHE could've been an Arc Factor...But John Henry had it down pat, he was the toughest 1 1/2 horse I ever saw....he couldda figured it all out over there as well....

01 Oct 2009 10:59 PM
Matthew W

berttheclock: Take note of Bruce's dream, dirty grey Cal Bred three year old, who was 3rd in The Morvich, just a fast finisher who should get more pace if he draws into the turf sprint...I am impressed with Talamo on the pace, which is becoming his signature ride....equally impressed with the strong riding Joel Rosario, who brought in two $17 horses opening day...

01 Oct 2009 11:06 PM

Matthew- I knew Typecast could run long but forgot she turfed.  Interesting that Cougar  was outfinished by her.  I would give John Henry more creedence if he was there for the whole year under a French trainer.  He was a smart horse.  But not to just drop in there.  But, as I say, I know I'm in the minority.  But I still see him fading at the end when the Euros are full out.  Typecast was tough, that's for sure.

01 Oct 2009 11:38 PM
Matthew W

The two Gr I's in five days, I wanna say they were on both coasts but I know one was dirt one was turf....I saw The Big E that year at Hol....You looked thrice at him, and you remember a horse like that---then came the great Terlingua, out of the great Crimson Saint, just a fine looker, a Wayne Lukas trademark, but no match for the great Flying Paster, who was no match but sure tried, for Spectacular Bid---Shoe, Pincay, Charlie, Laz, and they don't make em like that anymore, do they?

01 Oct 2009 11:38 PM

Vince-I didn't think Youmzain was in quite the same form as he was the last two years.  What are Vision d'Etar's odds?  Are the German's sending anyone other than the transplant Getaway?  Is Getaway running?  Arc day is loaded with class always.  I always liked the Prix d'Abbey because sometimes a two year old ends up outrunning all the older horses.  As for the course, they said it was a little too soft for Zarkava last year and it didn't seem to bother her at all.  It might be ok for Sea the Stars.  But if not, then maybe the BC.  But I won't hold my breath.

01 Oct 2009 11:45 PM
Tim G

It's late here but such is the life. My day starts early too.

Know never to ask how many cattle or how many sections, impolite.

A 'few' cattle shoudn't take you long though. LOL

Probably less than what I have on my schedule for tomorrow.

Actually Bob we're talking about the same race. The UN was held at Atlantic City Race Course through 1997, no race in 1998 and moved to Oceanport (Monmouth) in 1999.

Upper Nile won the Suburban for Mack in 1978, with Chop Chop riding for him.

I'm going to have to either ask or look it up to see what the deal was with that other race and who actually even ran in it.

02 Oct 2009 12:18 AM
Matthew W

I was at the track/in the saddling barn for the 1972 Santa Margarita....I had 9-2 on the winner, Turkish Trousers,with Shoe  coming up the rail with that beautiful (small) black filly---over Typecast, Convenience, Manta, Street Dancer--all within a length for the win....after beating Cougar on Memorial Day, Typecast dropped down to 1 1/8, match race cond vs Convenience, track paid 50k and Leonard Lavin and Glen Hill & Fletcher Jones and Westerly Stud ponied up 100K each, that was why you cared--because they cared and it showed! Typecast beat the cream of the crop on turf, male or female as well as on dirt vs fillies that year....

02 Oct 2009 1:54 AM

Matthew W, as a friend said after trying to beat The Bid with Flying Paster, "They could run on dirt, on turf, on concrete or at the beach and The Bid would still win".

However, one of my fondest memories was standing by the rail near the winner's circle at SA and watching Paster come down the lane.  Eddie D started to pass him on King Go Go.  I swear Paster's right eye became huge and he glared at the King with a "Not today, fella", picked himself up and hurled his nose across the finish line just a fraction of an inch ahead of the King.  Funny thing about the Bid and Paster.  Paster became a far better sire.

02 Oct 2009 8:46 AM


Several others that might have done well in the Arc:

Mac Diarmida – won 12 of 16 including the DC International and the Lawrence Realization at 1-1/2M in pretty good times, and the Canadian International at 1-5/8M.  He defeated among others: John Henry, Waya and Tiller.

Tiller – he won the Sword Dancer at 1-1/2M and the San Juan Capistrano at 1-3/4M.  He defeated among others: Excellor, Noble Dancer and finished ahead of Waya.

Bowl Game – He won 11 of 23 with 6 seconds and five thirds.  He won the Pan American Hdcp., the Turf Classic, the Arlington Hdcp., and the DC International all at 1-1/2M on the turf.  In addition, he also won the Man ‘o War at 1-3/8M.

Waya was also fantastic taking on the boys numerous times and defeating the likes of Mac Diarmida and Tiller  in the ’78 Man ‘o War and the Turf Classic, and then finishing third to them in the DC International.  She was French-bred and had a successful start to her career before coming to the U.S.A.

02 Oct 2009 11:06 AM

Footlick:  I went to Paris for three years in a row on Arc weekend (I was able to coincide my holidays with the race) and I loved the Prix de l'Abbaye too.  The weird thing at Longchamp (which is just probably a usual European thing) is that the race starts across the infield way far away from the stands, runs straight across from the start about a football field away in front of the stands and behind a grove of trees, and ends across the infield way far away from the stands.  All you really get to see is a cavalry charge straight across the horizon -- usually, there are about 1 million horses all running in that race (at least that's what it seemed like to me).

Anyways, I was there one year when Knob Hill Farms, a Canadian outfit, sent over Zadracarta, our champion sprinter, and she was atlooonnnggggg odds.  Naturally, I bet on her to win.  The race charged across the course and when it was all over, she finished second.  By a nose.  

(I also have fond memories of fighting with a French bettor as we stood in line and tried to get a bet down on the Arc.  The windows closed before we got there.  After all the multilingual comments about each other in the line up, the Frenchman said: "Quel dommage!" (too bad) and hugged me and kissed me on both cheeks.

That's Longchamp on Arc weekend. I wanna make it back one year.

02 Oct 2009 11:15 AM
Cowboy Bob

STEVE HASKIN: Thank you for letting me move off topic somewhat and carry on a debate of sorts with TIM G. I want to move off track again and ask you and TIM G.about this observation. I love Mind That Bird but I am worried. Two reasons: I have been riding little Mustang mares for years and love small horses. MTB is broke. Many racehorses are not. His works look like they are tip toeing around. If MTB jumps in the bridle right out of the gate because he is fresh he is done. He needs to gallop around behind the crowd on a loose rein, relaxed until the boy throws the switch. Do you remember when LJ worked Foolish Pleasure in 44 before the match race. I recall CW working a colt a 1 1/4 in 2:02. Goldikova worked 7 furlongs for a 7 furlong upcoming race last week. This horse has been on vacation. Majestic Prince ran a race the week before the Derby as a workout. Over and over again I see these trainers slacking up or letting to much time between races with no stout works. Recent example would be Gozzip Girl and Big Brown last year with some mitigating circumstances. TB racing is a sickness and I have trying for years to stay away but the MTB. Stardom Bounds and Goldikova suck you back in. TIM G. and Steve please comment.

02 Oct 2009 11:19 AM

tim g

not exactly sure what the plans are for sea the stars. no doubt they will make a final decision after the arc, depending on the outcome of course.


vision d'etat is generally a 12/1 shot and getaway is the only german runner. you are right, youmzain is not in the same form as last year but it's too late. I have already taken the 25/1 win/place. if you have any doubts about sea the stars regarding the long season, the ground or the 1m 4f trip, then there are some really amaziong prices available on the other horses.

02 Oct 2009 6:20 PM

Vince- watched a few handicapping vids, and they were in love with taking a chance on Youmzain for the price.  they were split on vision d'Etat, some thinking the trip is just a little too long.

02 Oct 2009 9:33 PM

Cowboy- I hope you don't mind if I chime in.  I remember when I started following racing in the early 60's, trainers ran horses 7 furlongs to get them in shape.  And throughout thoroughbred history, horses have worked a variety of distances.  Many horses were worked the distance they had to run, especially if it was a distance like 10 furlongs.  Trainers now for the most part don't do it anymore.  I feel it's because the breed isn't as stoutly bred here in the US as they were then, but I could be wrong.  As far as MP racing a week before the Derby, Longden was an old time type of guy and I think he knew MP had no competition in that race.  So it really as a workout per say.

Thanks for letting me comment, Cowboy Bob

02 Oct 2009 9:39 PM

Hey Laz- I thought of all of those except Waya because I consider her French and she was successful before she came here and Tiller.  I didn't remember Tiller as a distance horse.... duh.  Maybe I was thinking of Topsider???  I also realize that I have mentioned some geldings and they can't run in the Arc if I'm not mistaken.  Group 1 races are not open to geldings.  So much for them.  I loved Bowl Game.  Ran every race and always in the hunt.  What about Johnny D?  Was he a gelding.  Mac was a wonderful distance horse too.  All of those qwew top notch at quite a few distances too.

02 Oct 2009 9:48 PM

Matthew- Loved all those fillies, but especially Turkish Trousers and Typecast.  What great racing that was.

02 Oct 2009 9:50 PM

mz- I am so jealous that you have been there.  I've heard that the Prix d'Abbaye is unwatchable because of that.  And your story of the altercation is just so French.  I'd also like to see Deauville and Chantilly.  O don't see anybody beating Sea the Stars this year, but I decided to go with Vision d'Etat and hope he's peaking right now.  Fabre supposedly isn't that high on Cavalryman, but we have heard that before- too many times.  And he looks like he goes the distance well.  Stacelita seems bred to like the distance but I've heard grumblings that she doesn't want to go quite that far.  Dar Re Mi is in great form, as well as Fame and Glory.  But so far Sea the Stars has his number.  And Rainbow View is going in the Opera?  Then supposedly here?

03 Oct 2009 12:16 AM
Tim G

It’s just my opinion on this horse of course. But, I got a video of Mine That Bird working at the Downs both times, from a relative. He looked in no distress, like he was enjoying life. Also got the recording of the TV weather guy hanging out with the little guy and he was laid back.(not the weather guy, he was pretty excited). That track isn't known for fast works and really I was trying to recall if MTB  has had many bullets?  Would have to research back over all his past works in the old forms etc.

You probably know, being from that area that a lot of the race horses there are broke better than any of the ones from the East. BUT getting him late in his 2 year old season? That had to be the  previous folks that broke him.

I DO know that Chip had said that the gelding after the long layoff was a little too rank in the WV and Mike let him go up towards the front rather than fighting him.

THAT does concern me for the Goodwood but that may resolve any issue of rankness for the BC, just about right.  Some that I know have spoken to Chip and Leonard and they seemed to like the way he was training in NM, kind of like the high altitude training first at Ruidoso then a bit less at ALB.

However, I'm really concerned about the surface there at SA.

Sure he had his running style adjusted but I wonder if he won't want to take the bit and run, making the rankness, front running style rear its ugly head. I don't think he quite has the malleable, disciplined style of that other come from behind horse, Zenyatta, down pat yet.

Calvin back on him may help but I’m going to be watching to see what speed is doing out there on the Left coast. I don’t think I’m the only one watching that this weekend.

In my opinion? What he did there last year just was lousy. I don't care WHAT his running style was, he regressed immensely in that race.

Frankly IF Sea the Stars comes here for the BC? I fear all is for naught for any of the US horses.

Man can you guys imagine though, Zenyatta and Mine That Bird (if he’s fully recovered and on form). What a duel that’ll be coming down the stretch as the two make their move from the back.  Although it may look like a mom with her ‘too late weaned’ yearling out for a run. Considering the disparity in size between the two.

03 Oct 2009 1:23 PM
Matthew W

SoCal shippers showed that while the tracks are bogus--the horses aren't! Same trainers, same quality horses, Misremembered had equal Beyers on synthetics--surely a handicapping tool these days ala I Want Revenge, since the Beyers are bogus on fake stuff--"he" simply cannot understand the way races are run out here/cannot compute off his dirt methods, just like those awful DRF #'s to compute the best horses...Beyers are low??? Anybody besides Sea the Stars favored over Zenyatta at Santa Anita? Let the oddsmakers rank them---Summer Bird is the best horse in the country this year at 1 1/4, bar none! I had him on top to win/and a one way exacta with the Tiznow horse---nice try but Quality Road is all that----"forgive me" but they BOTH beat Rachel today---and PLEASE with the "world's fastest pace" of her Woodward, the Whitney pace was faster, I saw it on Macho Again's PP's---by the way, is the Macho Man off the track yet?...

03 Oct 2009 9:04 PM

Tim G... I agree with you about Sea the Stars....He is a monster.

03 Oct 2009 9:13 PM
Matthew W

berttheclock--Paster had the biggest kick of any cal bred I've seen--still to this day---NOT a 1 1/4, he was a closer at a mile, and to me, that was his best distance...I saw his two length win over Doonsbury and King Go Go, the San Antonio at 1 1/8...before his Big Cap hang job to John Henry in 1981...Paster was 6-5 in a 14 horse field that included John Henry, King Go Go and Doonsbury---A head-turner of a blood-bay....The East Coast is totally oblivious to any of this, but Flying Paster was bred to sprint, and he had one of the best turns of foot and could sustain it--I imagine he couldda owned most Met Miles--there are few horses besides Bid whom I would take over him at a mile...

03 Oct 2009 9:14 PM
Matthew W

Steve I just saw the Cal Cup Classic---PLEASE can we change venue to Belmont--I'm a West Coaster, want to see Zenyatta, Zensational prove it on a safe track! God help us all!

03 Oct 2009 9:29 PM

MTB worked 1/2 in 48 at Rud and 47.4 in Alb.

Those 2 moving up down the stretch would be a sight. . .  LOL

03 Oct 2009 10:39 PM

Sea the Stars just runs and wins.  The Arc was no problem for him.  As us al, he just runs his race and wins.  Amazing horse

04 Oct 2009 1:10 PM

anyone see the arc de triomphe? fantastic performance by sea the stars. left em for dead with 300 yards to go. simply magnificent. I have seen all arcs since 1971 and that ranks up with the best of them - mill reef, rheingold, trempelino, peintre celebre, sinndar, sakhee, zarvaka. but put that on top of what he has already done this year, won most of the top group 1 races from 1m to 1m 4f every month from may to october and you have one of all the all-time great european horses.

unfortunately, as tim g predicted, they seem to want to miss the bc classic - gone in his coat, very tired, etc. real shame. still, if he is tired and over the top, I don't mind. but they must stop saying he has nothing more to prove. horses always have something more to prove. maybe cigar didn't at the end of his career. but this is a three year old. it was only 12 months ago that the aga khan was saying zarkava had nothing more to prove -after winning one race against older horses of both sexes. well, what aout running against sea the stars? that might just have proved something. however, sts has had a long hard season and I wouldn't blame them if they didn't turn up at the bc. but christ if they did, hats off and more!!!

on a side note: footlick: is it true they are swaying towards the bc classic with gio ponti after lsoing in the bog at belmont yesterday? what's going on? thought he ran a tremendous race under the conditions. just too far in the mud, that's all. santa anita will be nice and firm and short.

don't know if I am allowed to or indeed if I am technically capable of posting a video on here but here goes, a view from the stands of sea the stars win. and finally, is there a video of the race with american commentary about? would be most grateful.    

04 Oct 2009 6:56 PM
Matthew W

The only horse who would be favored over Zenyatta in the Classic is Sea the Stars--That includes Summer Bird, Gio Ponti, Einstein as well as Rachel Alexandra--I say this to illustrate the fact that the Beyer #'s are bogus on synthetics--leave the rankings to the oddsmakers---including College Football....But OH, to see See The Stars at Santa Anita---at least they got Gio Ponti and Rip Van Winkle, along with The Birds...I like Richards Kid/Baffert---Baffert's carrying a loaded hand this year--Looking At Lucky, Zensational, Richards Kid, Indian Blessing are all peaking at the right time...

05 Oct 2009 1:06 PM

Tim G - no Mine That Bird is not known for his bullets.  I looked up his works from January to May.  The only bullet he had in the whole time frame was when he was one of only two horses who worked on that day.  Otherwise his best work was 5 out of 29 a few weeks before the Borderland Derby (he finished second in the race).  

He's usually mid range with his works, but he's been among the slowest more often than he's among the fastest.  

05 Oct 2009 2:09 PM
Tim G

Hey thanks Steve.  I sort of thought he wasn't that type but really couldn't recall. I appreciate you finding the time to do that.

Vince I saw the call, the commentary and the repeat of it on The Finish Line. Not sure where you can download it though.  I had to watch it several times to have it sink it. He came from 15 lengths BACK?????

I hope he runs next year. If he does, I hope if it's not in Ameerica then in Ireland, make a trip back to watch him for sure.

05 Oct 2009 4:20 PM

Vince- I think that the connections of Gio Ponti have always been worried about 12 furlongs.  And I thought he ran a really great race too, but I'm sure they are thinking about the Europeans.  Remember that they didn't view a soft turf as a detriment.  So when they got beat I think that it shook them a little as to running against real 12 furlong horses.  I still think the turf is his best shot- but I would also like to see him in the mile.

05 Oct 2009 6:56 PM

Matthew- I agree with you about Beyer numbers.  I've always thought they were bogus for the turf, and now I add poly surfaces to that too.  And it's because for the most part they are slow paced and fast finished, unlike dirt which tends to be fast paced and slower finished.   And I agree that Zenyatta will be favored in the classic unless STS runs.  I wish I could feel better about Indian Blessing on poly- just think Ventura and others are better.

05 Oct 2009 7:01 PM

Vince- as far as Zarkava is concerned, the Aga Khan retires his champions to get them in the gene pool right away.  Zarkava was unchallenged in all her races, she won pretty much as she pleased.  Again, Goldikova couldn't warm her up and we know what kind of season she had.  Winning an Arc in the fashion she did deserves a little more respect.  I would have loved to see her train on also, but I knew because she was an Aga Khan that she wouldn't.  

05 Oct 2009 11:14 PM

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