Monthly Archives: November 2009

Surveying the Potential Stars of Tomorrow

Buddy’s Saint, potential star and confirmed New York hype horse! (Melissa Wirth)

While it was a great long weekend of racing of every kind, I decided to pay more attention to 2yo racing than normal. Thanks to Val of Foolish Pleasure / Fillies First for alerting me to the Stars of Tomorrow card on closing day of Churchill, there were definitely some notable performances there.

In my opinion it’s too early to hop on any bandwagons for Kentucky Derby 2010 but it’s never to soon to put a horse in your watch list! Here’s what caught my eye this weekend generally speaking, not necessarily just from a Derby perspective.

Carrington Village – Debut Winner at Churchill 11/26th, 8th race:

This gets my vote for most impressive effort overall and most impressive win. He pulls an Evening Attire out of the gate (#5), and remains unhurried down the backstretch. Coming very wide into the stretch he made up ground quickly and once he cleared the leaders Desormeaux stopped asking and he kept right on going. I’m looking forward to seeing what this McPeek trainee does next out.

Down with Dixie – 3rd in a MSW at Churchill on 11/28th, 7th race:

Watch gate 11, Down with Dixie stumbles and then gets squeezed out. He drops in at the back of the pack and you’ll see him start his run on the outside going into the far turn (white hat). Fly Down’s effort should be noted too, but I thought Down with Dixie was the more impressive. However, both showed that they can deal with traffic and that they have heart. While that was Down With Dixie’s 5th start it’s only his 2nd start on dirt, a surface he definitely seems to like more than than synth. It was Fly Down’s second start and first time with blinkers.

Sassy Image – Golden Rod at Churchill

Sassy Image sat off a solid pace and came wide to duel with a game Decelerator but had enough left to kick at the end and look great doing it. She’s owned by Dale Roman’s brother, who was advised by Roman’s precocious son Jake to shot a with her.

Super Saver – Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill

If it wasn’t for Williams Kitten putting in a decent run himself you’d think the rest of the field was just falling off but Super Saver, who was getting leg weary going into the stretch, kicked again after setting solid fractions. I think this Winstar colt’s win was more impressive than American’s Lion Hollywood Prevue.

Buddy’s Saint – Remsen at Aqueduct

While Buddy’s Saint was nothing to sneeze at, I think Super Saver’s performance was more impressive. Buddy’s Saint sat behind a dawdling pace and was the beneficiary of a front end hook up between Homeboykris (who should definitely learn to rate!) and Citrus Kid. Yes, Buddy’s Saint did it insanely easily, but I’d like to see him overcome adversity before I get super jazzed… the good news is that there’s plenty of time for that!

Tizahit – Demoiselle at Aqueduct

Similar to Buddy’s Saint, Tizahit was the recipient of a very patient ride and a pace meltdown up front, this time courtesy of Oh Diane. What was more impressive about Tizahit’s win was 1) the pace was faster than in the Remsen and 2) she held off closing rivals in Protesting and Fuzzy Britches. And not to pick too much on American Lion but in my opinion Tizahit was the more impressive Tiznow offspring of the two of them this time out.

It was also interesting to note the difference in coverage between Super Saver and Buddy’s Saint. I thought the Super Saver article at DRF seemed almost too understated compared to the Buddy’s Saint article which was lavishly entitled “Buddy’s Saint sure looks like a Derby Contender”. Within the same article the sub-head for Tizahit was “Tizahit gets dream trip”… and Buddy’s Saint didn’t? It’s interesting to note the difference in reporting both between reporters and even between very similar races by the same reporter.

Update: Here’s another you can file under ‘it’s only just begun’, The Saint Makes a Heavenly Statement. I’d have to do a little research before I named what I thought was the best performance by 2yo male all year but I’d take Carrington Village’s debut win of the ones I have listed here!

Not to continue to rain on the parade but Crist provides some fractional comparisons between all the Aqueduct races from Saturday:

The Demoiselle was slow-early/fast-late while the Remsen was the reverse. Buddy’s Saint was not under pressure winning the Remsen but any enthusiasm for his 4 3/4-length victory has to be tempered by his unimpressive final furlong of 13.49 and final three-eighths in about 39.50.

And here are two more the list, Dan Ilman points out Conveyance winning an allowance at Hollywood Park and Val points out Maximus Ruler.

At any rate, a special thanks to Churchill for making ALL of their replays available AND embeddable on YouTube!

A Word on Mismanagement

Stardom Bound returning from an 8 month layoff in a G1 on a new surface, nice! (Jason Moran)

Ok, four… Pyro and Stardom Bound.

Thanks for the memories, I still love ya!

Pyro – 2008 Risen Star:

Pyro – 2008 Louisana Derby:

Pyro – 2009 Forego:

Stardom Bound – 2008 Del Mar Debutante:

Stardom Bound – 2008 Oak Leaf:

Stardom Bound – 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies:

Stardom Bound – 2009 Las Virgines:

Stardom Bound – 2009 Santa Anita Oaks:

Yes, But So Soon?

Just like the holiday lights that went up in my neighborhood a week and a half before Halloween, it seems as though the Derby hype has gotten under way, thus far this year in the form of American Lion. Almost all of the coverage of Hollywood Prevue has been focused almost exclusively on the winner, American Lion, while noticeably overlooking the second the place finisher Get My Fix. Was I watching the same race?

Sure, American Lion handled the class jump, but did he really tame his foes? All of the articles do a good job of mentioning that he was a bit green/unfocused and that there’s time (before the Derby!) to get those issues ironed out, but isn’t it a little early to put all your eggs in one basket? I thought Get My Fix ran a much better race.

Get My Fix didn’t look green at all biding his time at the back of the back and then closing aggressively at the end. Why not ask Joe Talamo what he thought of the effort? I did! Although I doubt he’ll answer me… but if he does I’ll let you know!

But back to my point, I don’t mind the beginning of some Derby coverage at this time of the year. In fact, I think this is the first year where I’ve really started to pay attention to the Juvies with an eye towards next year. Along the same lines Davidowitz has a good DRF+ post on his end of the year observations about the current crop of 2yos. But if you read the news coverage of the Hollywood Prevue without watching race, you might get the impression that American Lion’s effort was more impressive than it really was… or at least than it seemed to me. Solid? Yes. Promising? Sure. Best in the race? Not in my opinion.

It could also be that American Lion is by Tiznow and Get My Fix is by Posse, even I know that means that Get My Fix is less likely to get the classic distance, or depending on how you look at it, be a “failed router” (aka sprinter/miler). And let’s not overlook American Lion’s maiden race at Keeneland, which was impressive, but how have the rest of them come out of that race? Oh, and Eoin Harty does seem to do well with a Tiznow from Winstar. But does the coverage have read like a Winstar press release?

In the end American Lion could turn out be the better horse, only time will tell. And only time will tell if Get My Fix can stretch out or not. If he doesn’t it wouldn’t be so horrible to have another Kodiak Kowboy to look forward to! Regardless of whether he’s “distance challenged” or not, and regardless of whether he ends up on the Derby trail, I’m looking forward to Get My Fix’s next out. If nothing else he’ll certainly be a better value than American Lion!

New Poll, Most Fan Friendly Industry Change

I see #11, #10, #9, #5, #4 and #2! (EVENT OF THE YEAR PHOTOS)

It’s getting to be that time of the year, the time for year end polls! Thoroughbred Times unveiled theirs today and it’s pretty good. Last week they asked for some feedback and ideas on Twitter and my suggestion became question 14!

But the three answers on the Thoroughbred Times poll aren’t the only fan friendly moves that took place this year. In fact, I would argue it was a great year to be racing fan. Plenty of talent racing? Check. Exciting and down right historical races? Yep. The industry remembering that owners and breeders are not their only customers? Indeed and a welcome trend it is.

In no particular order other than as they came to me, here’s what I came up with so far, let me know in the comments what else I’ve missed. There could even be more! I didn’t include Churchill’s night racing because of the complaints of the ticket price ($10). But, if you think it belongs in the poll let me know.

BC saddle cloth standardization

Some people didn’t like this while others gave it the big “eh”. This is actually my vote for most player friendly move. I know it helped me to be able to tell who was who both in the warm up and the races.

BC ticket prices

It’s always nice not to be gouged! This move received plenty of positive response in the form of “it’s about time” (the horseplayers version of positive feedback?). It seems to have worked since attendance was up 11%!

BC online ticket sales

It seems so simple yet so few do it, moving ticket sales online might have also helped with the attendance increase. Should I be filling out my Saratoga form yet? Where’s that pen?


Several tracks started broadcasting their simulcast signals in HD this year and Allicansayiswow! Seriously, this game was meant to be broadcast in HD and not to harp on a point (stage whisper) all the other sports are doing it.

YouBet My ROI

If you don’t have a YouBet account you’re missing out on some serious metrics. With a single click you can determine your ROI by track, bet type, surface, race type, breed, distance, trainer and jockey/driver. I seriously hope this feature is rolled into TwinSpires. TwinSpiresTV + My ROI = perfection.


Oh ye of little Twitter faith are missing a handy Twitter stream provided by Bloodhorse that provides race results from what seems to be every track. Each result also links to a handy race result page on the Bloodhorse site that provides results, payouts, pedigree information and replays where available.

DRF’s Digitized Archive

The beginnings of the DRF’s outstanding digital archive was rolled out by the Keeneland Library this year. Obviously this is an incredible and important source available for all to use, for free… so feel free to donate while you’re whiling away the hours over there!

DRF Ticketmaker

Making tickets for multi-race exotics is a giant pain, but thanks to DRF you can now get a little help! I don’t get that fancy with the multi-race wagers but the few times I did it took freakin’ forever to make the tickets, and that time is better spent making actual handicapping decisions.

Equibase Scratches Today

We have our pals at HANA to thank for the next two entries. Through their hard work and perseverance on behalf of players everywhere, Equibase now provides real time scratches! Another one to file under “it’s about time”.

Bris/Equibase Free Historical Charts

And finally, some free data for the people! Sure one can quibble that Bris requires a credit card AND your social security number to open an account (and to add insult to injury the SS# is for forgotten password verification! feel free to use a fake SS# when registering, just write it down in case you forget your password! FAIL.). But back to the data, say it with me everyone… “it’s about time!”.

Three cheers and keep up the good work to all in the industry who have pushed for and succeeded in getting innovations and change on behalf of fans and players. THANK YOU!

In our last poll about Lava Man being back in training, the majority of you were cautiously optimistic and jazzed about stem cells. This poll started off in a dead heat. Up until about 16 votes in each category it could have gone to any of the answers. He still hasn’t raced so we’ll just continue to be cautiously optimistic and know that at the very least he’s probably more happy training than hanging out in the pasture.

As always, thanks!

Update – Late Entry!

TwinSpires Cancel Bet

I KNEW I was forgetting something! How many times have you wished you could cancel a bet? (and I’m not talking about after the race!) Of course, the first time I used this featured the bet I canceled ended up being the winning exacta, but that doesn’t mean the feature isn’t innovative and fan friendly!

Rest in Peace

Bobby Frankel and Stardom Bound (Marcie Heacox)

Just a quick note to pay respects and mention the passing of Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Even when you know it’s coming, it doesn’t make it any easier.

I’ll resume semi-regular posting soon(ish!).

A Few Small Things

Aidan O’Brien runners letting their presence be known (Charles Pravata)

There’s more Breeders’ Cup posting than Godolphin BC entries so I won’t add too much more to the frey. The only interesting thing I’ve picked up on that might not be mentioned elsewhere is that Dettorri and Maragh seem to be the only two out of town jocks riding at Santa Anita on Thursday. The Mig is riding on Thursday too, is he a Cali local these days?

I’ve got a post up at BreedersCup360 providing my best exacta bets. I covered the FM Classic (which I was polite enough to call the Ladies Classic while writing for the BC) and the Mile. If I were more together like some people I would provide my thoughts on all of the races but I haven’t even handicapped them all yet and probably won’t make decisions until I see them warm up (and I’m a huge procrastinator!).

One of the things that’s been keeping me from posting here has been working on this, the preview release of Hello Race Fans. We wanted to get a little something out for the Breeders’ Cup while we work on the fully featured version of the site that we’re planning to launch in the Spring. More on this later!