Haskin's Preakness Report: A Morning at Fair Hill

Gently rolling hills and wide open spaces. Winding horse paths that rise and dip ever so slightly. Forest trails that lead to expansive fields. The singing of the birds the only sound.

Welcome to the idyllic horse heaven known as Fair Hill, located just a few miles from the Maryland--Delaware border. Nestled away in a quiet corner of this equine paradise, against a tree-lined backdrop is Team Valor’s private barn that is now home to the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.

It is Animal Kingdom’s first morning at Fair Hill, having arrived from Churchill Downs the previous evening.

Trainer Graham Motion arrives at his main barn just before 7 o’clock and goes over the roster of horses and daily activity with assistant trainer Adrian Rolls, and asks each exercise rider about their horse as they walk by.

“I finally got a good night’s sleep last night,” Motion said. “Last week it was all about stress and worrying about everything. And this week has been euphoria. Today is the first morning we’ve been back in our normal routine.”

Motion was pleased to report that his Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner, who was forced to miss the Derby with a still undiagnosed injury, is 50% sounder today.

“We still don’t know what the actual injury is, but I believe it may be a muscle judging by the way it responded to therapy yesterday,” he said.

After finishing up at the main barn, Motion got in his SUV and drove down to the “bottom barn,” which was Mike McCarthy’s barn before being purchased by Team Valor at the end of last year when Team Valor president Barry Irwin turned all his horses over to Motion.

Driving across several horse paths and passing another barn, Motion then turned into a winding tree-shaded dirt road that led to his new barn.

Irwin has spared no expense. In addition to the round pens and large paddocks that were there, they have installed or are in the process of installing an equine salt water spa, a vibrating floor, and a horse scale, where the horses are weighed every week. A new annex also is in the process of being completed. A short distance from the barn, there is a large round barn with an automatic horse walking machine encompassing 10 stalls and an office.

Motion’s wife, Anita, said they’re also building a path so the horses can go through the woods to get to the fields out back rather than the long hike they now have to take.

Motion said he is amazed at what Irwin has accomplished in such a short period of time.

“To have a Breeders’ Cup winner (BC Juvenile Turf winner Pluck) and a Kentucky Derby winner within six months from the same crop is an extraordinary feat, considering how few broodmares he has,” Motion said.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Barry. A lot of this is because of him. This horse won at Keeneland going a mile and an eighth last October. A lot of people would have gotten caught up with getting down to Florida. But he sent the horse to the farm in Ocala just to give him a break. There was nothing wrong with him. He just wanted to give him some time off and let him be a horse. Not many people do that this day and age and I think that’s a big factor why we are where we are.”

Heading the Team Valor barn is assistant Dave Rock, who has been with Animal Kingdom all year at Palm Meadows and at Keeneland. This is a rare stay at Fair Hill for him, and he, too, has been trying return to some sense of normalcy

“I feel like I’ve had my head cut off,” he said. “I don’t want to get too pumped up, because the Preakness comes up fast.”

While Rock is virtually a stranger to Fair Hill, Rolls is literally a stranger to Animal Kingdom.

“When I took Animal Kingdom off the van last night it was the first time I laid my hands on him,” he said. “I’d never seen him before. As soon as I got him off the van he put head straight down and started eating grass. He’s such a cool, professional horse.

“This really hasn’t sunk in yet. I was at Belmont Park Saturday saddling Daveran in the Beaugay and watched the Derby in David Donk’s office by myself. I’m cheering him on and there’s no one there. On the drive home my phone was ringing off the hook from well wishers.”

Motion already has several post-Derby tales to tell. One is receiving a phone call from Prince Faisal bin Salman from Saudi Arabia congratulating him.

“Even though I had trained several horses for the Prince I’d never spoken to him,” Motion said. “And here he calls me personally. It’s amazing.”

On the home front, when Motion delayed their flight from Kentucky a day it meant his son Marcus had to miss classes on Monday.

“We let the school know we delayed our flight a day and he wouldn’t be in on Monday,” Motion said. “The head of the school said winning the Kentucky Derby is the best excuse he’s ever heard for missing school.”

At 8:30, Animal Kingdom left the barn and made his first walk to the track. Fair Hill has a standard dirt track outside a Tapeta track. The son of Leroidesanimaux merely cantered once around with regular exerciser rider David Nava aboard and Rock alongside on the pony. After walking the shed and being washed down he was taken out to graze. After taking a few minutes to get his bearings he settled in and grazed contentedly for about 15 minutes and wasn’t too thrilled about having to go back in.

His coat shined like the proverbial copper penny, and being in this environment should help him come back in two weeks after running a “3-plus” Ragozin Sheets number, which was faster than Seattle Slew and Affirmed, and in fact the majority of Derby winners.

Motion still finds it hard to believe this is happening, especially after having watched his friend Michael Matz go through it with Barbaro on the opposite end of Fair Hill.

“Watching Michael go through it I never imagined it would ever happen to me, certainly not this early on in my career,” Motion said. “Michael is a good friend of mine and we travel through the circuit together, so I followed Barbaro closely. I just never expected it to happen to me. Standing in the winner’s circle after winning the Kentucky Derby was pretty surreal.

“I had never even thought about the Kentucky Derby. When I went out on my own I wanted to compete in grade ones. I hadn’t set a goal for myself to win the Kentucky Derby, partly because it’s placed so high on a pedestal I didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself. That’s not to say I didn’t think about it.

“I had been there twice before (finishing 11th with Chilito in 1998 and 19th with Adriano in 2008) and I made up my mind I didn’t want to do it again unless I felt like I really belonged. I never expected I’d get to come back so soon after the last time I ran. And to have two live contenders five days before the race was just extraordinary. I tried to take it all in while I was at Churchill, because it’s a pretty short amount of time you’re there and you never know if you’re ever going to get back there again. Just to go to the Preakness with a Derby winner is such a great feeling. It’s something not many people get to do.”

With all his sets out and back, Motion changed into a t-shirt and took his three Labradors out for a walk and then brought them in the office while he discussed several matters with longtime friend and secretary Sue Kenny. He knows what’s about to come and is trying to figure out a way to accommodate the hordes of media that will descend on Fair Hill next week, while keeping the Team Valor barn in relative tranquility. He suggests the media gather at the trainer’s stand at 9 o'clock each morning to watch Animal Kingdom train, after which at a designated time he will conduct his interviews.

“I want to make the most of these couple of weeks and make myself available to the media, because it’s a great time for racing. It’s going to be a little stressful. Unfortunately, I had told a lot of people not to send me horses until after the Derby when things settled down. But actually that’s not quite the way things worked out. I hadn’t anticipated winning the Derby, so it’s a little bit hectic around here with so many new horses coming in. But it’s a good problem to have.”

Now that Animal Kingdom has answered the question of dirt, Motion believes he is capable of great things.

“I’ve always felt this horse was exceptional,” he said. “I’ve yet to find a horse he can’t outwork in the morning. I’d always put it down to the other horses not being quite that good, but now I’m starting to think he’s just that special.”

102 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Mister Frisky

Fine article as usual Steve.Glad to hear Toby is coming around Animal Kingdom and Toby's Corner that's a pretty good one two combination.

11 May 2011 9:30 PM
Fran

I can't say enough about this article.  Wonderful, as usual, Steve.  The description of everything makes me feel as though I am right there with you.  Thank you!

11 May 2011 9:46 PM
Paula Higgins

Nice piece Steve. I Animal Kingdom is everything they hope and think he is. It would be great for the sport. I like that he mentioned Michael Matz and Barbaro. I will never forget Barbaro.

11 May 2011 9:56 PM
Karen in Indiana

Thank you so much, Steve, for all the back stories you provide. You fill in the spaces and bring it all to life.

As lacking in tact as Barry Irwin may be, he really seems to care about his horses and make sure they are taken good care of. And that looks like it pays off. It's wonderful AK got a real break at a farm so he could realx aand just be a horse. Maybe that's why he has such a pleasant look on his face - I mean the horse. And now to have a trainer who also lets the horses be horses caring for him - wonderful! I hope for the best for all of them.

11 May 2011 11:13 PM
Needler in Virginia

I LOVE the way Mr Motion trains, Steve, and clearly Animal Kingdom does, too. My only worry is that there might be too many horses coming to Fair Hill too quickly. After watching Motion for a while, it appears he's very much hands-on and up to date on the horses under his care. It would be a shame for him to lose that, but if anyone can keep things under control, it's probably him.

Well done to Team Valor, the Motion Commotion and Animal KIngdom.....after all, he's the horse that brung 'em to this dance.

Cheers and VERY safe trips to all.

11 May 2011 11:15 PM
Linda in Texas

I am plum out of adjectives with this one Steve, it takes the cake. And i could even hear the birds singing that you spoke of in the first paragraph as i read about the entire feast you laid your eyes upon while at Fair Hill.

Mr. Irwin and Team Valor and The Motions, are all living a real life modern fairy tale. Good for all of them.

Steve, you didn't miss a single thing. And Animal Kingdom is such a handsome fella up so close. His head is simply perfect.

My kingdom for a horse never fit so perfect and Fair Hill looks like something that would be constructed for a movie scene.

But it is real. Oh for a picnic on the grounds of the rolling freshly mowed pastures.

Thanks so much for including the photos, an idyllic place for sure. Lucky you and lucky us.  

12 May 2011 12:05 AM
Katherine

Wonderful story and pictures Steve, once again you keep us involved with the horses and leave us feeling we are there with you! There is no one like you! Fair Hills looks and sounds heavenly.

Off topic a little bit, do you know anything about Soldat and what plans there are for him? Have you had a chance to speak to Kearin McLaughlin? I haven't heard a word about him.

12 May 2011 12:40 AM
Rachel NH

Thanks for letting us share in your visit...it means a lot to us...you use your gift well! ♥

12 May 2011 6:09 AM
Bigtex

Excellent, Steve.  It seems like it would be such a pleasure just to take a day and observe Animal Kingdom get his work in and his doings in and around the stall.  Sounds like he has a great mind.

12 May 2011 6:36 AM
MikeM

Great article as always. I wonder if TC ever worked in company with AK? Mr. Motion will never tell us but I also wonder who he thought was better.

12 May 2011 6:39 AM
Criminal Type

Seems like someone forgot the other Breeders Cup winner in Graham Motions barn...Shared Account.

12 May 2011 7:27 AM
i812many

where are the pics? i dont see them

:(

12 May 2011 7:38 AM
BourbonCountyGal

Reading this wonderful article reminds me of the video of Barbaro enjoying himself at Fair Hill before the Preakness.  Some of his fans were worried that he was eating too many dandelions.  :)

It would be great for other owners to support this style of training that allows the horses to be outside and surrounded by peace and quiet.  Maybe the success of Barbaro and now Animal Kingdom will promote this concept so that it becomes the standard rather than the exception.  It works in Europe so why not here?

12 May 2011 7:56 AM
Slew

Fair Hill sounds idyllic, and the amenities seem luxurious.  Mr. Irwin appears to really appreciate his horses, and Mr. Motion knows how to get the best from them.  What a combination!

And your words, Steve, constantly make me envious of your ability and your access to these champions.

And for those saying "what a slow race!"...I went back and checked all the times for previous Derbies.  Aside from Secretariat and Sham, and a few others, it was a very good time, and the team has earned the right to pop their buttons with pride.

Now when I go to sleep at night, there are visions of a Triple Crown spinning recklessly through my dreams.  I guess that just means...it's time to get my Preak on!

12 May 2011 7:57 AM
KarenToga

Thanks Steve for a great article . He is so magnificent and it makes me emotional to think that he could be the one. Wow it was Secretariat who brought me to tears the first time . So glad he is at Fair Hill training like he is in that bucolic setting. Truly amazing....

12 May 2011 8:48 AM
summergames84

Thanks again, Steve. I feel like I have just visited Fair Hill and can head off to work relaxed and refreshed.  Good luck to AK and safe trip for all.

12 May 2011 8:52 AM
MD

Fair Hill is--& precious few would dispute this, the preeminent equestrian training facility in the United States.

Accomplished horse trainers, from a number of equestrian disciplines--including Michael Matz, understand & appreciate the extraordinary set & setting that is Fair Hill.

Horses thrive at Fair Hill--the turn-out opportunities/paddocks alone are priceless--& as we know from published, peer-review research, turning out horses is often, in itself, highly therapeutic & the treatment of choice for a number of medical conditions.

In addition to the unspoiled countryside--vouchsafed by Mr DuPont, there are cutting-edge/state-of-the-art rehabilitation resources & facilities, some of which can only be found at Fair Hill.

Add to that the close proximity of the world-class New Bolton Veterinary Medical Center & you what is without question a world-class environment for horses.

12 May 2011 9:42 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

I had wondered about Fair Hill and now, thanks to your descriptions, I have an idea of what it's like.  It sounds lovely.  And the pictures were beautiful.  Thank you.  And I wanted to ask, did you enjoy your trip to the Kentucky Derby?  You and Lenny make racing so fun and interesting.

12 May 2011 9:49 AM
Love 'em all

So nice reading about Fair Hill again ... and it sounds like the perfect residence for AK.  Being a lover myself of the peaceful countryside with lots of trees and birds, I'm so happy for them all.

Glad Adrian Rolls finally got to meet AK in person ... and Mr. Motion got that call from the Prince in Saudi Arabia.  This story and all the wonderful pics have really been a treat.

Much happiness to all at Fair Hill.

12 May 2011 9:57 AM
Steve Haskin

For those of you (including myself) who were not able to see the photos, they should be visible now. Any problems let me know.

12 May 2011 10:07 AM
Steve Haskin

Thanks Katherine. I havent heard anything but I will let you know when I do.

12 May 2011 10:13 AM
Deltalady

Another great insight, and some terrific photos! I've looked at pictures of Secretariat, and AK has the same "look"...just looking into the heart and soul of a champion. Spotlight on Euro style conditioning a good thing, and could lead the way to U.S. being able to get off raceday drugs.

12 May 2011 10:34 AM
Karen in Texas

Fair Hill is beautiful and serene. Any horse (or human) would be privileged to call it home. Thanks for the updates, Steve.

12 May 2011 10:35 AM
calico cat

Heaven on earth for horses and humans, that is how I think of Fair Hill. Your fine description of it and the terrific photos made my mental picture complete, Mr. Haskin. Thank you!

I can't help falling in love with this gorgeous chestnut. I swore I would not get overly excited about a KD winner... too many disappointments. So I'm repressing this overwhelming feeling of hope that keeps surfacing in my mind. One race at a time I tell myself, one race at a time, yes but...(how lovely the Triple Crown would look on his fine head. Sigh!)... Stop!

12 May 2011 10:47 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

  Fair Hill sounds like a really nice place. The kind of place these magnificent, hard working animals deserve. I really like Barry Irwin, and what he's doing. He seems to really care about the physical and mental well being of his athletes. I've had a lot of respect for Motion for a long time but I am thrilled with this facility and to find out there are owners like Barry irwin. His honesty also is refreshing to me. I think in the long run it can only help. I love what I've been reading about drug reductions, and now knowing there are places like Fair Hill, I see the industry moving in the right direction. I'll be rooting for Animal Kingdom. Marvelous reporting by Mr. Haskin, the birds are chirping, the words are singing, the world is brighter, and the horses at Fair Hill are prancing through the field with a majestic demeanor.

12 May 2011 10:47 AM
slee

Thanks for the update!

I'm glad he's got a little time of peace and quiet.  Do you know if there are plans to get him to Pimlico in time to work over that surface?

12 May 2011 10:50 AM
Stellar Jayne

Hi Steve,

A poetic beginning, an informative middle and an uplifting wrap-up with beautiful pictures and concluding comments!

I'm curious how many hands is Animal Kingdom?  He seemed to have a huge stride while closing in the derby.  He is very beautiful as well and I'm glad he is in Motion's hands.

On another subject - any news on the health of Uncle Mo?  Have they found what is causing the high enzymes?  Devil May Care had an elevated enzyme count also, and now she is gone from us.  I for one will miss her - she always had that 'devil may care' look in her eyes.

Thank you again for all of your wonderful articles.

NancyP

12 May 2011 11:05 AM
Stellar Jayne

Steve,

Viewing Animal Kingdom's picture from behind, one can see what a powerful rear engine he has.  Very well muscled.  Hopefully he makes it in the Preakness.  His pedigree says stamina and speed for the Belmont.

NancyP

12 May 2011 11:07 AM
Abigail Anderson

Hi Steve. Great article -- the previous was excellent as well. This one was just so interesting to read and as Playfriskyforme has already said, made me feel that I was right there. Adding your photos filled out the narrative & you are a really good photographer!

As a Canadian, even though I have followed the Triple Crown since I was a girl, what does the Preakness ask of a thoroughbred that makes it different from the Derby? It seems obvious that the Belmont is about stamina, but what's the focus on the Triple Crown "middle" child?

12 May 2011 11:22 AM
TerriV

Absolutely, perfect story. Uplifting and informative.  I love the pictures.  He is an impressive boy, really beautiful ooat and long legs.  All horses should get to experience Fair Hill - it does look like Horse Heaven to me.  I'm looking forward to your Pre-Preakness stories, Steve.

12 May 2011 11:48 AM
Katherine

Zookeeper

You have expressed my own thoughts and feelings about a triple crown year exactly! It doesn't take much to begin to think about it. This just might be that year though. I have good feelings about it, especially after looking at his pedigree and thinking about how he won the KD.  Ok, ok I'll stop now.... ;)

12 May 2011 11:55 AM
jbluesbeatle

I live in Maryland, and we have a number of interesting sites: Sagamore-home of Native Dancer, Berlin-home to Man O' War (made his first 3 year old start in the Preakness of 1920), Havre De Grace-former track where Man O' War raced, and Fair Hill.  

The difference between the Derby and the Preakness is distance (1/16 of a mile less than the Derby) and a shorter field of 14 maximum. A lot of horses were blocked in The Derby, especially Master of Hounds and Nehro, who obviously needed more distance.

I am very concerned about Uncle Mo, because I read about Devil May Care's death, and there seem to be some parallels. Unknown illness, weight loss, enzyme elevation, poor coat, etc.  I am wondering if Mo could have a similar issue? Any thoughts? My grandfather had Lymphosarcoma, so Devil's death hit home, and then made me wonder about Mo. I also wonder if Devil May Care was sick in The Derby last year. That might account for her poor finish. Cancer is insidious, and sometimes hard to detect.

Animal Kingdom is the real deal, and his past performances showed the improvement he needed to win the Derby. I figured that Master of Hounds' 2nd at a 1 3/16 overseas was a good indicator of his distance ability. Nehro should benefit the same way at the Belmont distance. He's just missed 3 times stretching out, so he probably needs a less crowded field to win, coupled with a longer distance. I never liked Dialed In, whose Beyers dropped as he stepped up in distance, not a good sign at the Derby distance.

I would expect a more competitive Preakness with a smaller field, and Animal Kingdom should again shine. The Belmont may be where Nehro shines.

12 May 2011 12:00 PM
Linda in Texas

Steve - are you a twin????

I could almost swear you are,

because Dr. Drunkinbum is getting

awfully close to shadowing your

gift of poetic prose!

Stellar Jayne - great question,was

wondering the same thing the other

day but could not find how many

hands high Animal Kingdom is. But

i bet someone finds out and writes

back. He did look long and tall

stretching out as he was flying

by to the wire.

12 May 2011 12:12 PM
Fran Loszynski

What great photos! As always. Your photos show us the beauty of racehorses and their personalities up close. How photogenic Animal Kingdom is! He ran a great race and wonder if Johnny will be riding him in the Preakness. Oh that Johnny V.!!!I should have known. His heartbreak over Uncle Mo turned into a Kentucky Derby Win. What's the saying when the stable barn door closes the track window opens up-or something like that!

12 May 2011 12:25 PM
Giddyup

Nice blog Steve. Do you have an opinion about having also eligables being drawn into triple crown races where there is a race day scatch?

12 May 2011 1:44 PM
The Deacon

I am amazed Steve, how do you always come up with these breath taking stories. I am very happy for Mr. Motion and the connections. I truly hope we have a budding star in Animal Kingdom, horse racing can sure use one. Especially since the retirement of Queen Z and Rachel.

By the way Steve I emailed you a couple Vin Scullys radio moments that I thought you may enjoy. Not sure if you received them.

I also wish to thank you for making horse racing so much fun to be a part of. Along with many of these wonderful bloggers who are so knowledgeable and entertaining.

The Dr. D's, all the ladies from Texas, Zookeeper,  P. Higgins and the rest of the Haskin Group.

I hope we get a Triple Crown winner this year, the sport really needs it............

12 May 2011 1:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

  Thank you very much but I'm not even close. Haskin is the master and the rest of us are in his class, he is Michelangelo and I'm fingerpainting, he's Secretariat and I'm trying to climb out of the 5k claimer ranks. No one matches Haskin, no one. Oh, there are people that try to learn from him and even imitate but they are exposed as fakes. There is only one masterpiece. On the other hand I think that people should learn from the great ones and try to incorporate some of what they have into their own style. I mean great writing is great writing, great storytelling is great storytelling and we can learn to a certain extent but some of that talent can't be taught. That's why masters are masters.

12 May 2011 2:44 PM
Soldier Course

Earlier this week Wynn Las Vegas had the  odds of Animal Kingdom sweeping the Triple Crown at 6-1.

12 May 2011 2:46 PM
leoneslegends

With the loses of Uncle Mo, To Honor and Serve, The Factor and Jaycito many experts said this is a very weak crop of 3yr olds. Wouldn't it be something if Animal Kingdom won the Triple Crown.

Personally, with his connections I think he can and I'm betting on it.

12 May 2011 3:49 PM
Steve Haskin

Dr. D. you are too much and too kind. You're embarrassing me :)

12 May 2011 4:44 PM
Oldie

Linda in Texas, Zookeeper, Dr. D. and several others, you have nailed it.  All I have to add is, what a beautiful head study of Animal Kingdom, Steve.  All your pictures are lovely, but that one in particular I keep going back to look at.

12 May 2011 4:47 PM
KY VET

Yes! The key to great handicapping is, to watch the race, see who wins, and pronounce that winner "KING OF THE ANIMALS!" TAPIZAR looks like a derby horse...oh wait! DIALED IN is the real deal!.....oh wait....TheFACTOR!!! What a horse!...oh oh....um..SOLDAT ran unreal!!! ooopps...PREMIER PEGASUS!!!WOW!! derb......ummm...UNCLE MO!!! WOW!.....yes people, ak looks just like secretariat!!! his liver is 3 times the size as big red!!!...After the triple crown, he will fly over the moon......HORSE OF THE DECADE!!!!

12 May 2011 5:09 PM
KY VET

UNCLE!!!!!!!!!! not MO......UNCLE BRENT!!!!!!! peter pan stks

12 May 2011 5:59 PM
Criminal Type

Every year after the Kentucky Derby we start to talk about the winning horse taking down the Triple Crown. Don't we ? I know I start to think about it. Can Animal Kingdom win the Preakness ?

I think he can, but like Steve said, He will have to work for it. Flashpoint and Dance City are going to go out and set a much faster pace then in the Derby. I think Animal Kingdom will have to be closer to the pace in order to win.

Let's project a little.. If he wins the Preakness can he go on to get the mile and a half at Belmont?  I think he can, he looks like he can. I do not think Nehro will beat him at Belmont. Animal Kingdom passed him in the 1.25 mile derby like he was standing still and won by 2.5 lengths. I do think Master of Hounds could have won the Belmont had he stayed in the US. I certainly do not see him coming back for Belmont.

12 May 2011 6:08 PM
sherpa

I love the whole Idea of Fair Hills - seems like a horse's dream come true.

So Mr. ROCK and Mr. ROLLS work for Mr. MOTION, huh?  What a Team! LOL

Thank you for sharing Fair Hill with us, Mr. Haskin, in word and picture.  Loved your Derby Recap too, of course.  AK does have the look of a very Special Horse, perhaps even one for the Ages...  ;-)  

12 May 2011 6:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   When you said Uncle Mo would win the Triple Crown you meant that the rider of Uncle Mo would win it, right? I'm with you and Zookeeper and others, I would love to see the drought end, and what a fitting way for Fair Hill to be represented with The Crown and set an example for others to hopefully follow

Linda in Texas

  If you read enough of someone some of it is bound to rub off.

Steve

   Sorry bout that Chief. I'll try to watch my P's and Q's.

12 May 2011 6:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

leoneslegends

   Premier Pegasus was the one, but I'll take Animal Kingdom anyday.

12 May 2011 6:41 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve this is another great article, no one can weave a tale of the Triple Crown quest quite like you.  Dr. D. stated a beautiful comment and Steve is the Master.  It is so GREAT to be back in the Blogosphere, I've been hanging in limbo somewhere out there for 3 weeks unable to get in to blog.  Thank you to Jason, Steve, and Bloodhorse IT for getting me back in!!!!!  They are the best.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Derby and those who went to Churchill I hope had the greatest time.  After all we have all been through since January with these colts who would have ever figured on Animal Kingdom.  I loved Leroidesanimaux but with the dirt a question I could not pick him and stuck with Soldat.  Oh brother.  I did get the Oaks winner in Plum Pretty though.  I love fillies by Medaglia D'Oro (like the one my friend bred, Champagne D'Oro) so I figured if she could win at Sunland by 20 or more lengths against a less than stellar field my strategy was just increase the caliber of the filed, i.e. the Oaks contenders, and decrease the amount of lengths she would win by to about 3 or less and voila, she did it, and her Thorograph was the lowest so I picked her.  This Derby though was the toughest one to predict.  Even Animal Kingdom is lightly raced and I was correct in Dialed In having to find another gear for the Derby.  I was sick over ArchArchArch but I hope he is recovering well and they have found a farm for him.  I also hope Uncle Mo is ok and they find the root cause of the elevated enzyme, my thoughts are with the two fallen heroes.  

Steve's Derby recap article was so great too.  Yes the King of the Animals has given us a Prince and now we'll see if he can capture a Triple Crown.  Wouldn't that be something!!!!!!!  He looks great in the photos above, seems to have that awareness.  I went back and reread Steve's "An Animal On Dirt" article about his pedigree, wow his sire's sire produced Invasor, we should have known!  It will be exciting to see what this chestnut Prince is going to do next.  So thrilled to be back blogging with the best bloggers on earth, I missed being in this so much!

12 May 2011 7:37 PM
KY VET

Surprised afleet alex(the blogger) hasnt told you about this horse....UNCLE BRENT!!! from oaklawn...he probably cant see talent until AFTER the horse runs great....PETER PAN STKS sat.  Uncle Brent can RUN!!! only 3 starts..didnt change leads first 2 races(indicating problems) then did perfectly in last start...THIS HORSE is better than most of the horses in the derby!!!!! will run good...............watch him on video!!! can you spot talent?

12 May 2011 8:19 PM
calico cat

sherpa,

Nice to see you here again! Clever of you to pick up on the Rock & Rolls Motion team. :)

I'm with you on Kingdom being special but I'm holding on for dear life so I don't get swept away again, only to fall flat on my

tutu. One race at a time... that's what I tell myself anyway.

12 May 2011 8:21 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Slew,

Please do a post-Derby horse conversation!  I'm too bamboozled from hanging in blogosphere oblivion to do one.

Katherine,

I cannot find word on Soldat either.  Pretty disappointing finish for one who never missed a day of training.  He looked physically great on Derby day and had a perfect striking position early, too bad he did not have the stamina to hold on.  I wonder what the future plans are for him and if we'll see him again any time soon?  Steve noticed in his commentary from Churchill that Soldat goes about things with such a purpose, such a shame that purpose cannot be translated into more wins.  He is a fine looking boy though, Soldat, isn't he?

12 May 2011 9:11 PM
The Deacon

That's a good point Dr. D.,  I never thought Johnny V would get such a live horse after Uncle Mo.

I still believe Uncle Mo is a very good horse, much like Eskendereya last year. This sport is so cruel, so many real good ones never get an opportunity to fulfill their destiny or full potential.

If you and I were name all the horses who potentially would have been great, we would be filling up a whole lotta space.

No more predictions from me, I normally don't stick my neck in a noose but I believed Uncle Mo was Triple Crown we all wanted to see.

The last Derby winner I picked was Street Sense, and before that Fusaichi Pegasus so my track record isn't so good............

I truly hope Animal Kingdom does it, horse racing needs this............

12 May 2011 10:02 PM
Katherine

Alex'sBigFan

Soldat is indeed a handsome fellow.  Steve commented he was one of the horses whose appearance stood out to him also. I thought he might do a lot better than he did. He seemed to start dropping back sooner than his distance. Hope he is alright. Maybe they will send him to the farm and freshen him.

Glad you are back on the blog now, just in time for the next jewel.

13 May 2011 6:34 AM
Katherine

Steve

Everytime I read this article again I want to call Fair Hills and make a reservation for myself for a nice long stay.

13 May 2011 6:37 AM
Slew

ABF: At this point, I find it difficult to spark a conversation when the contenders have split for other meadows, and I...in most moments...cling tenaciously to those reckless dreams of a Triple Crown.  With only 8 days to the Preakness, I continue to be swept up in the pursuit.  Hey...I'm getting older, and I really want another TC winner...it's on my "bucket list".

Ky Vet..you still use many words to say nothing.  Thank you for the lower case, but since Uncle Brent is not in the Preakness, he's not a major player...yet.  And the best horse to never win a Triple Crown was Point Given.

I do have a question about Archx3.  Do we dare hope that laminitis doesn't become a problem as he recuperates from his surgery?

And Dr D:  What are you doing?  Are you buttering Steve up for BC tickets...or just enjoying his words so much that you're getting tongue-tied trying to explain it?

13 May 2011 8:18 AM
Linda in Texas

Zookeeper - Best Wishes are sent your way with Runflatout in The Laz Barrera on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

I have been thinking about him for some time and wondering when we would see him again. Just read the Bloodhorse article last evening mentioning his race. Hope he has good luck and a nice win.

Alex'sBigFan, missed your posts and glad to know you had not dropped off the earth!  

13 May 2011 11:09 AM
mz

Zookeeper, are you Runflatout's Mama? (Forgive me if you are not .. us old farts sometimes have those kind of moments)

If so, good luck this weekend!

If not, please pass on my regards.

13 May 2011 11:28 AM
Karen in Texas

Zookeeper----I'm wishing you good luck with Runflatout this weekend as well! With G. Gomez and the shorter distance, he should be back in excellent form. Hope we see you in the winner's circle!

13 May 2011 12:17 PM
calico cat

Linda in Texas,

Thank you! I hope he does well. No more kamikaze expeditions, I hope.

mz,

Thank you also. I'm only a minority partner in Runflatout but if you want to call me his Mama, it's quite OK with me. :)

13 May 2011 1:35 PM
TerriZ

Thanks for the wonderful article Mr. Haskin and many thanks for the terrific comments by the readers.

Isn't it interesting that Animal Kingdom's speed in the Derby was second to another handsome chestnut running in 1973--Secretariat.

This evidences the presence of the Horse Racing Gods in the scheme of things. Now we have another lovely chestnut horse who has speed and stamina. At the very least, he improve the breeding lines here in America.

A very consistant horse to watch for is Mucho Macho Man who will be 3 in June. He's a big tough horse and is always on the board.

13 May 2011 1:52 PM
Stones

Well, I had to choose between AK and Brilliant Speed for my longshot $$$ and I backed the wrong horse.  But I am all warmed up to AK now!  What a beautifully versatile (and beautiful) horse!  I am anxious to root him on through the TC!  I think he can do it!

13 May 2011 3:37 PM
TerriZ

Thanks for the wonderful stories about the horses and their connections in this year's Derby.

Has there ever been two female trainers and one female jockey in one Ky Derby? And what about the size of the crowd; wasn't it a record breaking crowd? Are we witnessing the Zenyatta Effect? And isn't it interesting that Ky Oaks went up to one million dollars the year after Zenyatta ran.

By the way, did you go to visit your favorite 4-legged girl (Queen Z) at Lane's End while you were in Kentucky?

13 May 2011 4:48 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Katherine, Linda in Texas, Slew,

Thank you so much and so honored to be back in the group.  Slew, I thought about the laminitis with ArchX3 too, but hopefully the surgery wasn't too extensive and the uneven weight distribution will be minimal.  I hope they update us on him.  I love the head shot of Animal Kingdom too, he does have a perfect head.  Looks every part a TC winner, I am starting to really feel he can do it.  

Fran,

How was your trip to Kentucky?  Did you give Afleet Alex a big old kiss for me?  How does he look?  You are going to get to see Sway Away now in the Preakness!!!

KY Vet,

I don't know which blogger you mean to but I have not even seen Uncle Brent as yet.  All I know is that he is a gelding.

I'll have to take a look at him in the Peter Pan.  The Peter Pan may be a stepping stone to the Belmont for the winner, he has to go against Jo Vann though.  I'll take a look at him for you and see what I think.

13 May 2011 7:23 PM
KY VET

Best 3yr old no one knows about........UNCLE BRENT!!!!!

13 May 2011 8:19 PM
Dawn in MN

It took me a week to gather my thoughts and wait for the dust to settle.  I just watched the replay of the Spiral and looked for the signs I missed that should have told me that Animal Kingdom was a future Kentucky Derby winner.  I remembered watching that race in March and thinking that Animal Kingdom was a very striking colt.  He reminded me so much of Secretariat that I checked Animal Kingdom's pedigree after the Spiral, No Secretariat.

Common handicapping strategies didn't put a colt like Animal Kingdom, with such a slender resume, and lack of dirt experience at the top of my list.  I'm lazy, and probably not smart enough to crunch numbers, but I did notice in March, that Animal Kingdom was visually impressive in the Spiral.  

I am devastated about ArchArchArch.  I hated it when they kept showing the start of the Kentucky Derby, that leg looked unstable in slow motion.  Many of the people at the watering hole where I watched the Derby exclaimed "Why didn't Court pull him up?"  Many of them own and ride horses, and ArchArchArch wasn't moving well, and he wasn't moving right.  Not to fault Court, it was just a bunch of fans second-guessing the jockey.  

I will be rooting for Animal Kingdom in the Preakness, and would love to see a Triple Crown winner as much as the next fan.  I enjoyed reading this piece, and really enjoyed the photographs.  I was happy to learn that Animal Kingdom is at Fair Hill.  His gallop out after the Derby has me thinking the Belmont is his, but he'll have to get through the Preakness with something left in the tank.  I believe the Preakness will be the biggest challenge for Animal Kingdom.  

I love this sport.  The courageous heart of the Thoroughbred is the reason I love the sport.  In the end I just want to see a fast race where all the athletes live to run another day.    

14 May 2011 10:06 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

  Glad you're back !!!

Zookeeper

   Good luck !!!

14 May 2011 3:39 PM
KY VET

PETER PAN STKS.....UNCLE BRENT HURT!  eased......thought he might do that...he didnt change leads first 2 starts....then did...sometimes that hurts them......EASED!!!!

14 May 2011 8:49 PM
sceptre

KY VET-

You say that Uncle Brent was "hurt" "eased" in the Peter Pan. I closely watched the race as well, because I was keen to see Alteration-the true talent-do his stuff. Just lucky for the Derby starters that Alteration experienced problems in his past two starts, otherwise he would have had enough graded earnings to be among the Derby field, and would likely have won it. As to your comments about the pretender, Uncle Brent, what inside information do you have to suggest that he was hurt and eased? I saw nothing of that sort, and the chart comments don't support you. You call yourself KY VET, but I'm rather sure you're no vet.  

14 May 2011 11:11 PM
calico cat

Karen in Texas and Dr D.,

Thank you for your good wishes! It means a lot to me.

14 May 2011 11:47 PM
Delrene

If reincarnation is possible, I want to come back as a horse at Fair Hill.  What a beautiful, peaceful pastoral setting.  Article is great ( as always), but the pictures say more than 1000 words.  The head shot of Animal Kingdom is gorgeous.  What a beautiful thoroughbred.  Hope he is our Triple Crown and all make it safely through the next two races.  Always look forward to your pieces.

15 May 2011 11:43 AM
Danny UK

I know this is ludicrously early to get this going, but here goes:

EUROPEAN HORSES TO WATCH OUT FOR AT THE BREEDERS CUP:

Workforce: Last years (Epsom)derby and Arc winner. May go for turf or (more likely) the classic. Force to be reckoned with.

Snow Fairy: Trained by same trainer as Ouija Board, last year she followed up her win in the Epsom Oaks, with an 8 length demolition job in the Irish Oaks. Won 4 G1s last year, beaten only in the St Ledger (1 mile 7 furlongs against colts) and by....

Midday: A previous winner of the B.C Filly/Mares Turf, reappeared a week ago. Looks as good as ever, and her and Snow fairy will take some beating.

Canford Cliffs: Turf miler, has won 4 consecutive Group 1s, all 4 won easily. Easily has the beating of Goldikova and all other milers in Europe, except...

Frankel: Its still a mystery which distance he will be campaigned at, a mile or a mile and a half. However, he's the highest rated 3 year old on the planet by a distance, and he's special. Whichever race he runs in he'll win.

Carlton House: Trained by elite trainer Sir Michael Stoute (also trains Workforce), this is the current Epsom Derby favourite. Beat some well regarded horses already, and he could be very good indeed. Owned by Queen Elizabeth II.

St Nicholas Abbey: Aiden O'Brien's European Champion 2 year old of 2009 performed miserably in his only start at 3. Bounced back from a poor first run as a 4 year old to win a G3 by 9 lengths when recently upped to 1 mile 5 furlongs. Has massive potential at longer trip. I think the B.C marathon is definetely on the radar this year.

They are my main bets at this stage, but also keep an eye out for:

Recital (A P O'Brien)

Seville (A P O'Brien)

Master of Hounds (A P O'Brien)

Wonder of Wonders (A P O'Brien)

Blue Bunting (S Bin Suroor)

White Moonstone (S Bin Suroor)

All 3 year olds that could be anything.

Cheers for reading.

15 May 2011 12:49 PM
distorted humor fan

Wonderful article on Fair Hills and AK. Very relaxing to read. I also loved the Peter Pan with Alteration winning! Now on to the Belmont. Don't know much about Uncle Brent, but I agree, it doesn't seem he was injured in the race.

15 May 2011 1:47 PM
KY VET

IT WONT BE THE LAST TIME I LOSE ON A HURT HORSE!  THATS THE GAME.....I LOVE THIS GAME!  I MAKEA LIVING OFF IT.....DID YOU JUST SAY ALTERNATION WOULD HAVE WON THE DERBY?  THATS ALL I NEED TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR KNOW OF THIS GAME!  GOOD LUCK!

15 May 2011 2:11 PM
KY VET

SCEPTRE...AS I STATED IN EARLIER POSTS..HORSES CAN SOMETIMES RUN WITH PROBLEMS..JUST A COUPLE OF MINS AGO, A 25,000 HORSE DROPPED DOWN TO 5,000 AND WON....THE FACT HE WON DOESNT MEAN HE WAS SOUND....NOW I KNEW UNCLE BRENT HAD PROBLEMS(DIDNT CHANGE LEADS 1ST 2 TIMES)..LAST OUT HE DID.....THAT EITHER MEANT 1-HE WAS BETTER...OR 2- CHANGING LEADS HURT WHATEVER WAS MAKING HIM NOT.....IT WAS OBVIOUSLY THE LATTER....IT HAPPENS......IN ARCH3'S CASE..HE WOULDNT CHANGE LEADS, THEN DID 3 STRAIGHT RACES AND GOT REAL GOOD....THEN THOSE RACES HAD THE EFFECT(FRACTURE)...THIS IS THE GAME...AND I WOULDNT WANT IT ANYOTHERWAY!  IF YOU KNEW WHAT I KNOW, YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND....THE REASON THI GAME IS THE BEST......I GET TO BET AGAINST PEOPLE LIKE YOU!  I LOVE THIS GAME!!     PRO

15 May 2011 2:26 PM
sceptre

KY VET-

All you hyperbole aside, stick to the issue, and answer the question posed- You stated flatly that Uncle Brent (in the Peter Pan) was "hurt" and "eased". Where's your evidence-it's obvious he wasn't eased, and what evidence have you that he was hurt? Your evasion of the question(s) speaks volumes re-your overall credibility. As an aside, correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that Uncle Brent was purchased by his present owners (on the recommendation of his present trainer, Lynn Whiting) not before, but AFTER his first start. You claim that Uncle Brent failed to change leads in his first start-indicative of something wrong with the horse. Well, Lynn Whiting has been around a long time, and has the reputation of being a particularly astute horseman-do you really believe that he somehow missed your stated observations, and cause/effect conclusions? People who truly believe in themselves-their knowledge of the game (in this case), unlike you, tend not to feel the need to toot their own horn. Others less aware may have given you a pass, or the benefit of the doubt, but you're out of your league with this reader (meant not to be a "toot", but merely a statement of reality)... Lastly, well BEFORE the Derby (and certainly before the Peter Pan)-see my earlier posts-even well back-, I posited that, with the possible exception of Uncle Mo, Alternation could be the most talented of any of the then Derby prospects-and, being the most talented of that group is far from deeming him a "great" horse. You, yourself (here), offered that Uncle Brent was better than most in the Derby. Well, Alternation has now won the Peter Pan-against a good horse (not your Uncle Brent)-, and slaughtered your Uncle Brent in the process. Why then is it so far-fetched to hypothesize that Alternation could have won the Derby?      

15 May 2011 3:54 PM
Katherine

Zookeeper congratulations on RFO's race! He ran his heart out. I know you are so proud of him!

15 May 2011 6:57 PM
Bill in Atlanta

Scepter....don't feel bad about arguing with KY VET. He argues with everybody and contradicts himself every other report, and HE ALWAYS HAS HIS ALL CAPS ON.

Steve,

Only 6 days before the Preakness. We are all looking forward to your reports. I was at the Derby, and like many others after the Derby, I went back and reread your article on AK. Sure wish that I had paid more attention to it. I had Nehro and MMM in all my tri's and several super's, but missed having AK in a tri....which after looking back....was really dumb. But because there were so many "even" horses, we were all looking for a reason to throw some of them out.

For the Preakness, I believe the most likely two horses to hit the board are AK and MMM. Now the trick (for me anyway) is to figure out what other horse will hit it with them. Flash Point and Dance City will break first and set the pace with Shackleford close behind. Dance City will fade and Flash Point, Shackleford, MMM, and AK will fight it out for the top four spots.

I will be there so I hope AK can pull it out and go to NY with the Triple Crown in the balance. If AK wins Saturday, I will be at the Belmont too.

Looking forward to your Preakness updates.

15 May 2011 9:32 PM
Linda in Texas

SCEPTRE - You might as well try and swim up the Mississippi River  today as to figure out what KY VET is saying.

It's like trying to play Scrabble with him and he is holding all the letters!

ZOOKEEPER - That was an exciting race. Runflatout looked super. And

he was indeed 'running flat out' as fast as he could while digging in and stretching out. I watched the race then the video 4 times. He is a beautiful colt and his coat looks shiny and he has put on some weight and i thought he had Bench Points beat. He sure as heck had his game face on. One bob did it.

But he will win one, be sure of that.

15 May 2011 9:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   Runflatout is way too tough to let a misadventure into The Triple Crown Trail get him down as it does many of them. He is a talented and tough world class sprinter. I hope they point to the BC Sprint. Fabulous race and he showed all of the attributes of a great race horse despite losing by a nose. Thanks agsin for starting us many months ago and allowing us to share this journey from the beginning when you decided to let us know that you had decided to become a first time owner in a minority position, and let me be clear- I have no bias against minorities !!!! Give the little fella (or big fella) a big kiss from us for an outstanding job. Thrilling race and I love his talent, class, and fortitude. He's my hero, and now back to The Triple Crown and let's hope we get one, and Runflatout wins the BC Sprint to make 2011 a perfect year. Go Animal Kingdom!!!! Go Runflatout !!!!

16 May 2011 10:39 AM
Karen in Texas

Zookeeper---I only just saw Runflatout's race this morning. He looked really good in every way and lost by such a small margin! He will do well in the future!

16 May 2011 11:58 AM
mz

Danny UK: Workforce coming back as good this year?

Midday vs. Snow Fairy: any chance?

Frankel: only a miler? (sorry about that "only" part)

Carlton House: how crazy will it be if the Queen wins this year???

Finally: Wesley Ward and the Americans and Ascot-- looking foreward to is.

p.s.   I had Master of Hounds.  I look forward to him in the Belmont as well.

16 May 2011 1:46 PM
KY VET

SCEPTRE! HORSES HAVE PROBLEMS..AND YES. I THINK HE HAS PROBLEMS...DO YOU NOT KNOW NO LEAD CHANGE IS A BAD SIGN?....I KNOW IT IS. SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT? THAT I DONT KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT? THAT I DONT MAKE A LIVING OFF THIS GAME?...HOW ABOUT A CHALLENGE? THAT WOULD BE FUN! YOU PICK THE TRACK. WHOLE CARD.....I CANNOT TELL YOU MY REAL NAME, BUT YOU MIGHT KNOW OF ME.....YOU OVERREACT TO ONE RACE...I'M A PRO HANDICAPPER...AND YES, I DID SAY SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH ARCH ARCH ARCH......YOU DONT GET THAT TRAINERS/OWNERS/VETS  DONT ALWAYS KNOW......YOU CAN SEE THINGS IN A HORSES STRIDE...THAT CAN TELL YOU...

16 May 2011 3:57 PM
KY VET

ALTERNATION= 94 BEYER!!!!WHOOOOOO LOOK OUT!!!! HES THE BEST OF HIS GENERATION!!!

16 May 2011 4:35 PM
calico cat

To the Texans Karen & Linda/ Catherine/Dr Drunkinbum,

Thank you for your very kind comments and your continued support through my adventure as a part-owner of this wonderful young horse. I'm delighted with his valiant effort and wouldn't be prouder if he won the race. Garrett Gomez gave him an excellent ride and Runflatout came out of the race in top shape, safe, sound and on his toes. (What more could I possibly wish for?)

...and Dr D., just as in the Triple Crown Quest, one race at a time, one race at a time. :)  

16 May 2011 4:57 PM
sceptre

KY VET-

saying now that "I think he has problems" is a far cry from your earlier post wherein you stated "UNCLE BRENT HURT..EASED". And yes, you're right about one thing-I think you don't know what you're talking about, and I doubt very much that you make a living from betting on horses. Incidentally, failure to change leads is far from the be all that ends all. Oftentimes, particularly with inexperienced horses, it can mean little or nothing. On another note, Alydar often failed to change leads, yet his career was rather productive. I'm not suggesting that failure to change leads should be ignored, but in the case of Uncle Brent (if, in fact he didn't change leads in his first two starts) Whiting is well aware of the potential ramifications, and if he believed that the horse wasn't sound (I'm also sure the horse was well vetted before purchase), he wouldn't have had Cella buy him. So, yes, I'm ignoring your superficial nonsense. You know what they say about a little bit of knowledge. You've already dug your grave by offering an out and out statement "....HURT..EASED" for which you had no basis in fact. Why then should one accept anything you have to say---including your prowess at wagering?      

16 May 2011 5:33 PM
sceptre

KY VET-

Allow me to add: it wouldn't matter whether or not I knew your name. I've been in this game for 50 yrs. and no name, no matter whose it may be, would ring true as one that was able to earn his living from wagering on horses.

16 May 2011 5:41 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Zookeeper,

Congratulations on your ownership and great race from your RunFlatOut!!!  What a gutsy performance, I just watched the video a few times.  Looks like a beautiful horse and you must be thrilled.  Hope we all get to cheer him on in the BC.  Best of luck to you and him!

As a person with aspirations of ownership one day myself, I wish Mr. Irwin would expound on his statement about the "lying trainers."  I for one, would love to know exactly what it is that they are lying about, money, the horse's ability, medications used, what?

Great article in DRF about this, whereby Irwin clears Pletcher but has upset other trainers.  I still think that as an owner he should have been more of a visionary and considered the broad scope of the day (at the KD) and sport and saved his comment for another venue.  But now that he has opened the proverbial can of worms, I wish he would clarify his statement. I'm sure he is right but in light of the fact that all of America minutes before witnessed ArchX3 pull up, the comment was just another negative for the sport and out of place.  I hope he explains what he meant though.

16 May 2011 6:55 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Wow I cannot believe the Preakness is now days away!  I have to back Animal Kingdom, I want a TC winner so much and to be standing at Belmont Park to witness it.  I hope Animal Kingdom is enjoying his time at lush Fair Hills, he may soon see the hustle and bustle of traffic over the GW Bridge in New York, ugh!!!!!  Can you imagine the entourage and escorts his van will have if he wins the Preakness?  The next possible TC winner en route to New York.  Ok, Ok, I'm getting too excited and way ahead of myself but I have Polly in Lexington, KY working on my Belmont hat already!

16 May 2011 7:13 PM
Silverfoot

Thanks, Steve, for the wonderful article & photos. You continue to enrich our enjoyment of the sport, & I'll bet I speak for all of your readers when I say that. Your lovely description of Fair Hill brings back very pleasant memories of 2006 and Barbaro.  And what a beautiful horse Animal Kingdom is - how did he manage to go almost  completely under my rader before the Derby?  Now I can't imagine how I overlooked him.

16 May 2011 8:52 PM
KY VET

SCEPTRE...SO I HAVE YOU DOWN FOR UNCLE BRENT BEING SOUND...ITS FUNNY..I KNEW YOUD COME BACK WITH THE ALYDAR THING...YOU ONLY WENT BACK 30 YEARS...YOU ASSUME ALYDAR DIDNT HAVE PROBLEMS.... WHITING ? AGAIN....WHY DID HORSE HAVE ONLY 3 STARTS? NO PROBLEMS AT ALL HUH? ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE...ONLY 3 STARTS+ NO LEAD IN STRETCH+ LOSES BY THAT MUCH TO A 94 BEYER AS 2ND CHOICE IN WAGERING....= DUH.....YOU THINK A 94 BEYER IS A GREAT HORSE? ITS ALW PAR......ITS NOT THAT HARD, THIS GAME.....

16 May 2011 9:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   You're right, one race at a time, just a little nudge from me about my viewpoint about the best direction to take and what I think should be the goal. In my humble blogster opinion to whomever makes that decision eventhough my opinion won't matter !!!!!

16 May 2011 9:39 PM
pinhook48

Ky.vet does raise some very good points. I know what he is saying. I have owned many racehorses and the lead change is an important thing. I also looked at all of archarcharch's races, and i did see the horse do something strange in the stetch of that race. Why all the anger towards this guy? He brings some valid informative info.

16 May 2011 10:29 PM
Aluminaut

Yes Dr. D!

Go Animal Kingdom!

Go Runflatout!

17 May 2011 2:21 AM
Rachel NH

Zookeeper, I wished I'd have been a fly on RFLO wall when he got back to the barn...what a great race! ♥

17 May 2011 12:34 PM
Ruffian64

Steve, First of all. Great blog as usual. But I have to know. Did you take these pics? They are lovely. You always get such great pictures. I swear Im selling my expensive camera and getting what you have.

17 May 2011 1:04 PM
Dave R.

Great article and super photos of Animal Kingdom.  I liked him a lot in the Derby and had the exacta.  He is a great looking horse and has a silky smooth way of going.  He runs relaxed in a crowd and is bred to run the distance.  He also has a good move in him that seems to be available whenever needed.  I thought he would handle the dirt because of his smooth stride and he seemed to not be bothered by the kickback when in tight quarters during his poly races.  He is also beautiful and majestic horse with a regal air about him.  Did anyone notice his long ears and how pricked they were at the finish and what seem to be his  oversized flaired nostrils - good for getting O2 during the race.  All in all quite a formidable package with his black half blinkers. Personnaly, I think he will win the Triple Crown.

17 May 2011 4:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Aluminaut

  Did you see Run run !!!!

18 May 2011 4:47 PM
Slew

Zookeeper: Watched Runflatout's race, and he was superb.  Lost by a nostril flare.  He's learning how to pace himself, and I really did have all my fingers and toes crossed for him....next time...

Sceptre: Amen!

KY Vet: you're the one who claimed Archx3 broke his leg at the 8th pole, even though a real Vet already informed us that it was in the gate....and we all saw it.  As far as your skill as a "handicapper"...hahahahahahha!

Dr. D: hope you weren't offended, as that was not my intention.  Still luv ya!

Alternation finally got it right, and I was happy to see him win.  I saw his first few races and thought he could be very special.  And those Triple Crown dreams just won't fade...Geaux Animal Kingdom.

19 May 2011 9:34 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

  I don't remember but if I was I was over it in a few minutes. I know who you are and where your heart is at. Don't worry. I appreciate your honesty in your posts anyway, and any of your sublime messages are OK with me since I've gotten to know you.

19 May 2011 1:30 PM
KY VET

NO SLEW! I'M SAYING THE HORSE ALWAYS HAD A PROBLEM...HORSES ARE UNSOUND FOR MANY REASONS...BAD CONFORMATION IS MAIN REASON..SO..IF A HORSE HAS A PROBLEM..EVEN IF THEY GET GOOD, THE PROBLEM USUALLY COMES BACK...LOOK...THE HORSE NEVER CHANGED LEADS..(INDICATING A PROBLEM) THEN STARTED TO, AND GOT REAL GOOD.  SO I POSTED THAT. AND I POSTED THAT HE BOBBLED AT THE 1/8 POLE...WHICH HE DID...HOW MANY HORSES YOU SEE DO THAT? ITS NOT A GOOD THING....YOU THINK HE BROKE IT AT THE START, RIGHT?  HE RAN THE WHOLE RACE....IF YOU KNOW HORSES LIKE I DO, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT HORSES GET HURT BY RACING..MOST OF THE TIME IT IS GRADUAL....WEAKENING.... BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF IS REASON ENOUGH TO LEARN....YOU ARE JUST IGNORANT

19 May 2011 5:59 PM
Slew

Dr.D: Good 'nuff.  Always luv ya!

KY Vet:  IF YOU BOTHERED TO READ ANYTHING, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT ARCHX3 HAD A LATERAL CONYLAR FRACTURE OF THE LEFT FRONT LEG WITH SPLINTERING. (The leg he folded underneath him coming out of the gate).  That's what the surgery was about.  2 screws have been inserted.  The fracture was displaced.  And name-calling is a territory of losers and and wanna-be's...which are you?

20 May 2011 9:11 AM
Slew

Danny from the UK...I've already had BIG dreams about the BC mile with Goldikova vs. Frankel...wouldn't that be special?

Just a slight addition, the horse with the hairline fracture to his hind leg was The Factor.  Since it's already healing, it happened some time ago.  The Factor's most immediate problem in the Arkansas Derby was a displaced palate.

20 May 2011 1:17 PM

Recent Posts

Recommended

Video

Social Media

More Blogs

Archives