Monthly Archives: July 2008

Numaany & National Pride to Start Saturday

As mentioned before, both Numaany and GbG horse of interest National Pride have been back in the U.S of A training after being acquired by Godolphin in the fall last year.

National Pride has not raced since his debut in November where he broke his maiden impressively beating Saratoga Russell. Numaany has raced a few times in Dubai unsuccessfully. Both look to be training well and are set to return at the allowance level at Saratoga this Saturday.

Numaany is entered in the 7th, a 1 1/16th 68k allowance on the turf and National Pride is entered in the 9th, a 6 1/2F 67k allowance on the dirt.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s Numaany’s odd and impressive maiden race… the bootleg quality of the video certainly adds to the overall WTF of the scenario.

Keep an eye open for them on Saturday… not so much from a betting perspective, at least not for National Pride who’s the 2-1 favorite in the morning line, but from a “this could be interesting” perspective.

Alright, back to not blogging… and if anyone has any poll suggestions, let me know.

Noooo! Notional Retired

Notional w/Jersey Joe Bravo up celebrating a win in the Salvatore Mile at Monmouth (Sarah K. Andrew)

I had no intention of blogging tonight but I just saw this item at NTRA.

Notional, a multiple graded stakes winner, has been retired from racing after breaking the coffin bone in his left front foot when he finished fourth in last weekend’s Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.

First my beloved Lava Man is retired and now Notional, just when he was coming back into his own.

Valerie couldn’t have said it better last weekend when she opined “When will they accept that Notional is just a miler?” (except I would have omitted the “just”, ain’t no shame in being a miler).

The worst part was he looked GREAT in the parade for the Whitney, so great in fact that I almost thought about betting on him even though he was a clear bet against for me at the distance. All and all he ran well at the distance and I was looking forward to seeing him back a mile where he could dominate. Damn it!

2008 Salvatore Mile:

2007 Risen Star (Perhaps I will love all winners of the Risen Star):

2007 San Rafeal (the audio is really weak):

2007 Florida Derby:

Best of luck to Notional for a speedy recovery!

It’s Official, Lava Man Retired

My all time fav shot of Lava Man, winning his 3rd Hollywood Gold Cup (Charles Pravata)

The reports are in, my favorite horse currently racing is official retired. As it turns out he has some issues with his ankles so he won’t get the Funny Cide one last harrah race many of us were hoping for. It’s still unclear if he’ll be Doug O’Neill’s stable pony so keep your fingers crossed!

There weren’t as many of his races up at YouTube as I would have liked, in an ideal world I would post all three Hollywood Gold Cup’s and both Santa Anita Handicaps.

2005 Hollywood Gold Cup:

2006 Hollywood Gold Cup:

You’ll have to go to NTRA video archive to the 2007 Hollywood Gold Cup.

2007 Santa Anita Handicap:

Back to NTRA for the 2006 Santa Anita Handicap.

While not a race, here are his last minutes on the track as a race horse after the Eddie Read:

I’ve written about Lava Man frequently and you can see all of my posts here.

Congratulations to Lava Man’s connections for possibly the best claim ever and many thanks for keeping him around… he’ll be missed. Enjoy your retirement old man!

Big Brown to Run for Re-Run

Should Big Brown run in the Haskell, he will be “Running for Re-Run“, a program that donates a portion of the win/place proceeds to the rescue group Re-Run.

Here at GbG we encourage finding innovative ways to donate to thoroughbred rescue and safe retirement, perhaps IEAH can shame some other high profile owners into joining this excellent program! Eric Fein ran Big Truck for Re-Run in the Derby and fellow TBA-er Steve Zorn of Castle Village Farms also takes part in the program. Maybe IEAH should run ALL of their many acquisition holdings for Re-Run!

Bug Boy Bling

The Bug Boys in Saratoga (~ RAYMOND)

Raymond’s ongoing series of jock portraits has recently taken a turn towards the apprentice. This shot of apprentice jockeys Jeffrey Sanchez, Joseph Berrios Cruz, and Roan Vargas hanging in Saratoga in their street clothes really jumps out… sure they look young in their silks, but they look REALLY young in their normal clothes. They’re giving me a License to Ill vibe in this shot.

Check out his this excellent ongoing exploration here.

In other news of the terrain of the young, our pal Ernie Munick, the fearless leader of the extremely popular and active Facebook group Thoroughbred Racing in New York got a great shout out in an article about the young people in Saratoga connecting via Facebook. I actually met Ernie via TRNY, as well as several other folks… as I’ve said many times before and will say it again, “Facebook, not just for the rotten kids.”

Fabulous & Discreet Upcoming Events

Acai (inside) winning by nose over Unbridled’s Heart (Sarah K. Andrew)

In some actual racing news I noticed that Discreet Treasure, the impressive maiden winner from about a month ago, is a main track only entrant in the 6th tomorrow, a 6F 76K allowance race. Update: Discreet Treasure scratched as the race stayed on turf.

I also noticed that Fabulous Strike is entered in the non-graded Harvey Arneault Memorial Stakes on the WV Derby card at Mountaineer on Saturday. Not exactly the Grade 1 Forego that was noted a potential next start when it was reported that he would miss last weekend’s Vanderbilt with a foot injury.

Beattie said he didn’t expect Fabulous Strike to miss a lot of training time, but that he would ship him back to his Penn National stable and come up with a new plan. Beattie said he would consider shipping back to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Forego on Aug. 30.

Odd, no?

One my best plays at Saratoga, employing the Papa Backstretch betting technique ($10 to win), was Acai who won the 4th on Saturday at 12-1 beating the fav, Unbridled’s Heart, by a neck on the wire. Acai is brought to you by IEAH & Babe and as it turns out, he might be their entry in the Travers!

For all of Babe’s annoying bluster, I must confess that I love his work patterns. After Acai’s maiden win at 1 1/16, he had 3 really nice endurance works to get him ready for the 1 1/8. That combined with how he looked in the parade was what sold me, even though I really don’t like to bet maiden winners next out. Thanks Babe!

Just One of the Crowd

A studious vibe at Saratoga, the way it should be (zpousman)

Things get crowded at Saratoga. On our last day we were sitting in front of a row of yammerers. You know the type, they’re not their for the races so they’re gonna chit chat all the live long day.

One woman, with voice so piercing I thought my eyes might pop out of my head every time she spoke, prattled on about the Today Show (multiple segments no less), how one of her craft projects got messed up, gossiped (“he was the best thing that ever happened to her”, “for someone with no money she sure does buy a lot of new things”), and so on. All day. I think she also went on a long soliloquy about some cookies.

In a perfect world, ticketing at Saratoga might work something like this: On the lottery form there is a simple questionnaire. For each ticket requested you must indicate if the potential ticket holder is a racing fan or a tag along such as a spouse, your best pal who’s really not into the ponies and/or any children i.e., anyone likely to chat all day and not pay attention to the races. If anyone in your party is a potential chatter, you all get seated in sections W-Z (sorry, you shouldn’t have brought them or better yet, let them enjoy the picnic area in the paddock).

This would leave the better sections free extraneous blither blather about god knows what and when Jason Blewitt and Jan Rushton give their report from the paddock, those of us who are interested could actually hear it. Another upside is that if all the chatters are sitting together, they might actually end up having more to chat about which could make it a nicer day for them too… see, everyone wins!

The Day After

Runaway horse training at Saratoga, just another odd occurrence in an odd opening week. (Sarah K. Andrew)

Swifty and I returned from Saratoga late last night. Even though it rained almost everyday and long shots were not doing that well it was a great trip… even better than last year!

Today at Saratoga it was sunny and Tergesti & Wanderin’ Boy were the only favorites to win, with 4 of 10 winners having odds in the double digits. Now I know how Pyro feels.

It will probably take a me a couple of days to get back up to blogging speed but here are some highlights:

Papa Backstretch is my new handicapping idol, hitting 5 winners on Thursday!

As first reported at Raceday 360, there’s a roving band of pre-teen boys following Sam the Bugler around heckling “no shot” every time he talks to a woman.

I got to have dinner with these fine folks and a few others who don’t actually blog (yes, there are people who don’t blog… but not many!).

I cashed some tickets! Although I gave it all back and then some, but I did manage to make some good picks.

Swifty has now created the Adam R. Wiener patented Trifecta System, PayPal $9.99 here.

Swifty and I wore our best loud and nutty outfits on Saturday (me red plaid shorts, him bandanna pattern/madras-y pants w/elegant straw chapeau). At one point we were at the paddock and stone faced Edgar Prado rode by on his mount, looked at us and chuckled. I think this was this might have been non-betting highlight of the trip!

Swifty won the best 2 out of 3 ticket cashing contest (we had one every day starting on Friday). Congrats to Swifty!

I won the unofficial “Pastiest legs in Saratoga” contest 2 days in a row and Swifty won the “Nutty-est Male Outfit” on Saturday. We saw someone who may have had us both beat but it turned out my legs were pastier and he was a she.

There was an excellent riderless horse moment on Sunday in the 7th race when Hanginonaprayer broke through the gate and was a running the race all on her own, without a rider. A rider & pony (what are they called?) finally caught her right by the finish line and the crowd cheered her all the way!

All this and so much more, and I even took pictures this time (as requested by my mother)… stay tuned!

I Sure Can Pick’em

Rainy vacations, that is. The last few vacations I’ve planned have turned out to be rainy, why should this one be any different?

I meant to make a “gone fishin'” post before I left but didn’t get a chance. I may make a post or two from my deluxe accommodations at the Bates Motel but am on an official blogging break, if there is a such thing, until I return next week.

In the mean time you can catch good opening day posts here, here and here.

Is Lava Man really retired? If so I’ll do a proper send off post when I return but until then you can go here for race replays.

Did Jeremy Rose’s suspension really get reduced? Here’s some good commentary on it.

And one small exciting note, Mushka makes her return on Friday in an allowance race!

Everything else can wait til I get back… good luck everyone and happy rainy Spa!

New Poll: Lava Man, Now What?

Lava Man still looking game in the Eddie Read (Charles Pravata)

The first thing I thought when Lava Man faded in the stretch was “Was that it? Is that how his career will end?” He was so damn came in the Whittingham and while he looked the part yesterday he just didn’t show up in the stretch.

Was it his time in the Detention Protection Barn? [DRF+] He does like his routine. Was the crowd too tough for him? He held his own last out in roughly the same company.

Retirement is seriously on the table for the wildly successful former claimer and fan favorite. The owners want to give it a week to see how they feel… but what you do think?

They could take the Funny Cide route by trying to find a race with a soft field that he could win and then retire him as a stable pony. They could just try him again at the same level if they thought it was a just an off day, or they can start running him in softer company if they thought he still wanted keep running but wasn’t up for G1 company (thanks Jeff!). Or, they could just turn him out.

Here’s his game effort in the Whittingham:

And his dud in the Eddie Read:

In our last poll about Curlin’s next move, 33 of you, myself included, want him to run on the turf here in the states before deciding on the the Arc, 17 of you thought he should just stick to dirt, 12 of you though he should stay on target for the Arc and 7 of you thought he should point towards the BC Turf.

Remember, the Jess Jackson’s poll is still open… and Turf is the current front runner at 52%.

As always, thanks for participating!