Well, if you live on the east coast anywhere near the mid-atlantic region, you’ve no doubt seen enough of the white stuff to last you a lifetime. Here in Hanover, PA we received as much as 28 inches of snow over the weekend, only to receive around 30 more inches yesterday. Right on schedule, you guessed it, there’s a chance for even more snow this coming Monday. What on Earth are folks to do being trapped inside their abodes for so long? Thankfully (or in some cases not-so-thankfully) the racing gods have sent answers to our prayers to help break the monotony in the form of numerous noteworthy or debatable issues.
- Curlin’s first foal, the filly from Zophie has passed
I don’t like to start on a down note, but I have to mention this. The filly from Zophie who was Curlin’s first born has passed in what is described as a “paddock accident” just weeks after causing so much hope and well wishing at the announcement of her birth. So much for debating what to name the little gal. I’m taking a glass half full approach with this as we all know how absolutely fragile thoroughbreds can be. The “good news” is that she is not the only of her kind. Curln’s got a fabulous looking daughter from Collect Call, a full brother from Smart Strike and Sherrif’s Deputy, and numerous other foals either just born or on their way. Be sure and check out THIS VIDEO of the foal from Collect Call – it’s a heart warmer, especially in light of the news about Zophie’s filly.
Lost in the hoopla over his direct offspring, it seems many have forgotten the full brother to Curlin who arrived Preakness week in 2009. As a reminder, here’s the video of this amazing little guy from way back then.
There’s also a foal from Curlin out of Home Court (by Storm Cat) that, if you ask me, is the spitting image of dear old dad.
- Road to the Roses challenge
In more uplifiting news, The Road to the Roses is officially up and running. that’s right – you can enter up to 3 free stables now (10 horses, 2 trainers, and 2 jockeys). Tencentcielo has started at least one private league I’m aware of called “A dime on the ten.” Once you set your stable up, there’s an opportunity to associate it with an existing league. You won’t see me there quite yet as I’d prefer to watch the Sam F. Davis Stakes this weekend at Tampa Bay before finalizing my top ten – especially since Rule, Tempted to Tapit, and the buzz horse UpTownCharlyBrown are all slated to run.
The launching of the contest each year usually coincides with my initial “Derby watch list”, and while there’s numerous other topics I’d like to get to in this post, I will share a few quick thoughts here. My top 5 at this moment in time are listed below (can’t give away the whole stable now, can I? Although it’s probably not hard to figure out).
- Vale of York (I love his stride and would love to see him on dirt this year)
- Lookin at Lucky (debated not including a synthetic horse on this list, I wouldn’t bet him in the Derby, but he’s in my top 5)
- Buddy’s Saint (may wind up surpassing the top two)
- William’s Kitten (something about this guy I’ve liked ever since a friend pointed him out)
- Ron the Greek (perhaps my most controversial addition – at this point it’s just a hunch off that last effort).
Of course, I’m also a big fan of the Tiznows like Tiz Chrome and American Lion. You can add Dorsselmeyer to that list of horses I’m also excited about. If you’re not familiar with Drosselmeyer, then fellow TBA blogger Zipse at the Track has a writeup about him that might interest you. I’ll leave the final two slots in my stable to the imagination. Suffice to say Winslow Homer would’ve been there had he not been taken off the Derby trail.
- Rachel vs Zenyatta redux
Another month, another Rachel vs Zenyatta discussion. Yesterday Bloodhorse broke the news that Rachel Alexandra will not run against Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom. Almost immediately, a person posting as “Zenyatta” on Facebook began with the trash talking about “ducking” and being “scared” – and a slew of the most insane commentary I’ve ever witnessed ensued.
Question for folks – did anyone ever think she was going to run there? It seemed a foregone conclusion to me from the start of the Apple Blossom talk that it wouldn’t happen then and there. Yes, I’d like to have seen it, but I maintain that these two will meet at Belmont or Saratoga later in the year. I guess what I find appalling is the amount of hatred people have for one of these horses depending on which they love more. It makes it very difficult to be a fan of both and seems to bring out the absolute worst characteristics of humanity. I understand the frustration at not getting what we want – but let’s be careful what we ask for. We want them both on TOP of their game when they meet – so as to limit potential excuses. Why? Because one race, unless won by double-digit lengths, is likely not going to settle the issue. When you think of their respective running styles, and the prospect that Zenyatta would be flying to try and catch-and-pass Rachel in the stretch – you’re not likely to see that impressive a victory margin any way you slice it.
Anyhow, I’m not going to waste much ink (type) on this beyond acknowledging that the meetup the sport needs ain’t gonna happen at Oaklawn in the Apple Blossom. Is that really such a bad thing? Is that really where we want this to take place? I love Oaklawn, don’t get me wrong, but is that really the venue we want the race of the year/decade/century/ new millennium to be held? I guess I’m just bullish on my insistence this happen at Saratoga, if possible. Just seems like a befitting setting for two horses of such stratospheric class levels. Now if only their fans could show some of that same class. And who knows…maybe we’ll get to add Quality Road to the mix as well? Now THAT would be a race!
- Tim Ice loses Summer Bird and Dr. J horses
This piece of news really took me by surprise. Tim Ice has had Summer Bird and most of his other stock removed from his stable by the Jayaramans. Having had the chance to meet both Tim and the Jayaramans on Haskell Invitational morning, 2009, at Monmouth Park, they seemed to have an exceptionally close relationship. Ice speculated it may have been due to his slow start this year, or a disagreement over the direction of Summer Bird. Whatever it was, it must’ve been something personal, as this feels like a personal disagreement rather than anything outwardly professional.
Ice is, after all, just 35 years old and already has a Belmont Stakes under his belt with Summer Bird. I really like this guy, so on a personal level I was sad to see him take this kind of hit. I’m sure the Jayaramans have their reasons though and I respect that they’ve kept the matter largely private. It might be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping cooler heads will prevail and these folks will reconcile.
In the meantime, Summer Bird is with Tim Ritchey, who is a sensational trainer is his own right, perhaps most famous for his work with Afleet Alex – a horse that coulda, woulda, shoulda been a Triple Crown winner 2005 (just my humble opinion).
So, there you have it – that’s our midweek, snowbound update. We’ll have a closer look at the Sam F. Davis and the weekend racing action coming up on Friday evening. For now, be sure and let us know where you stand on the Rachel/Zenyatta question and everything else going on in the racing world. If you’re feeling really gutsy – go ahead and share your Road to the Roses stable here. I will have a full disclosure update once I make the final selections. As you could infer above, there’s technically two spots left in my stable and I’m still debating the jockeys.