Thoroedge has agreed to help host a group of horsemen from Down Under at this year’s classic American race. See the itinerary here and contact Geoff if interested:
Personally I’m looking forward to meeting tour attendee Joe Janiak; certainly the most famous ‘taxi cab driver turned racehorse trainer’ worldwide. Thanks to reader Anni for sending me the book about Mr. Janiak which details his handling of super sprinter/gelding Takeover Target – a $1250 purchase by Joe who went on to earn $6 million worldwide, winning major stakes in 4 countries. For a conditioning enthusiast like myself, being able to pick his brain for several hours next April here on my home turf is going to be fantastic-
ATTENTION POTENTIAL ILLUSTRATORS/ARTISTS
‘Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers…’
That’s my favorite quote from Mr. Simpson teaching his son about the ways of the world, yet he didn’t leave out his daughter when handing out advice: ‘Lisa, if you don’t like your job you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.’
But, back to business. As promised over a year ago; I am still working on my book called Internal Horsemanship, and hope to have it ready before my 43rd birthday on March 14th. The electronic version will always be free, but I do plan on offering a paperback edition – and I need some help with the cover and other illustrations. One of which I would like to resemble the above of Homer (but with a galloping horse viewed from the side), a takeoff on Leonardo DaVinci’s Virtruvian Man below:
Does anyone know someone capable of such work? If so, please send contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it would be much appreciated. Here’s a quick peek at the VERY rough draft of the website that will host a full version of the book for any interested readers:
Lastly, if anyone has any experiences – good or bad – in training with a HR/GPS monitor, and would like to include them in the book, please send them in to me. I have several, but would always like to include more if possible. Here is one great story for those who have missed it:
Now I leave you with a great testimonial I received last month from the harness world:
“I’ve started using the heart rate monitor and have had good results so far. I just trained a horse at V200 for a mile and a quarter this past Saturday and would like you to take a look. The horse is a 7 year old standardbred racehorse. I’ve been working him at the V200 level 3 days before racing, jogging in the aerobic/recovery range all other days of the week. He won his last start and looked really good in the stretch going off at odds 36/1.”
My goal with the book is to receive a few more dozen testimonials like this one, which would make for a great 2013!-
Sports are inherently damaging to athlete’s bodies. That is a fact. All sports involve repetitive movements resulting from maximum muscular contractions, which also cause dangerous imbalances from front to back, or left to right. It’s particularly dangerous for horses, as Kentucky based trainer Kenny McPeek alludes to in this fantastic interview:
When asked what was the best thing a racetrack could do to help with keeping horses sound, McPeek mentioned the seemingly simple change to allow training the ‘wrong way’, or here in America – clockwise. He understands that going around only left-hand turns at high speeds for mile after mile is a bad thing – and greatly contributes to injury. Humans are allowed to address the muscular imbalances of their particular sports in the training process. For instance, most do weight room exercises for what is called the ‘posterior chain’: essentially all the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that are located on the back of the body. Sports involving repeated all out sprinting and jumping radically overly develop the frontal muscles of the body, so athletes are taught to condition the antagonistic muscles in between competitions.
Years ago I saw a study that I will attempt to paraphrase. When strength and/or flexibility differs on one side of the body from another by more than 10%, the chances of injury rise something like 600%. It really is that drastic. By training 3 days a week in one direction, and 3 days a week in the other you can greatly alleviate this problem. It’s NOT the same to jog the opposite direction of the track prior to completing the days’ gallop work, as many horsemen believe. One has to go at speed in both directions equally.
Magdalena Farm, his off track training facility in Lexington, also offers European style uphill turf gallops, which many horses will thrive over – even jump starting their careers after being broken down (physically and mentally) from hard dirt surfaces. Hard Buck(BRZ) was cited as one such example by McPeek.
A few other interview nuggets:
-Curlin is best example of his ‘budget’ buys – $57k purchase at the yearling auction, turned into $10 million in earnings.
-HorseRaces NOW app developed in order to bring more fans in to the game.
-Drugs: has had one violation in 27 years, sees raceday pharmaceuticals OK for claimers, but not for stakes winning future breeding stock
Finally, two last things – one which we differ immensely, and one which we hold in common. Kenny is a UK fan and I am a Louisville guy. In roughly 24 hours from now we play each other in the yearly basketball matchup. Also, Mr. McPeek was taught to be a voracious reader by his late mother, and I too have read at least 2 books per month for the past several years: typically one each of fictional and non-fictional works.
My most recent read was called The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson.
I hope to utilize these principles before my 43rd birthday on March 14th in order to finally finish writing my book, titled Internal Horsemanship.
Wishing all readers an amazing 2013!
Attempting to work with Kenny McPeek is one of my New Year’s Resolutions. We traded emails and voicemails in the past, but I am going to kick it up a notch come January.
Talked to a NY based trainer this morning who shed some light on this subject for me; I sat mostly silent when this was in the media earlier this year – but something he told me today warranted a quick look at the report/analysis/recommendations. Here it is in its entirety:
To recap: there were 21 fatalities over the AQU inner track from NOV 2011 thru MAR 2012. The resulting 209 page report can be summed up in 9 words:
18 of the 21 fatalities were shippers from Belmont.
I haven’t researched the true number, but I would estimate that 3 breakdowns in 4 months of horses that train/race at Aqueduct is probably about average. It’s the other 18 instances that jump out off the page. Also of note, NONE of these fatalities took place in the morning training time, all were in races. Look at the graphic above; only 4 of the 21 injuries took place before fatigue starts to set in – the rest were in the turn, down the stretch, or around the wire. No way you are going to get that cumulative fatigue effect breezing 4F in :50 in the mornings.
And yet, here is the official ‘red flag’ list:
-Horse hasn’t started in last 15-30 days
-Horse in its first racing season
-Horse made its first start at age 3 or older
-Horse making numerous starts in last 1-6 months
-Horse racing further than 7F
-Horse running for a $25k claiming tag or less
And what, pray tell, did the esteemed commission recommend to avoid this rash of injuries in the future?
Increase window of time before a race where therapeutic drugs cannot be detected, and make sure purses for claiming races don’t exceed the tag by more than 50%. Makes perfect sense, as that should solve everything. What a crock. And of course the agenda-driven NYT published several pieces excoriating vets and greedy owners.
The training surface had certainly been set up to withstand the cold NY winter, and the weather did end up being unusually warm – but the AQU based horses handled those conditions just fine – whereas the BEL trained/housed horses did not.
Reminds me of an instance from Australia:
A client of mine uses the HR/GPS gear daily. His filly trained at home over the dirt surface and typically galloped a mile in 2:30 with a heart rate of 191bpm. He then takes her to the city and the sandy training surface. He takes a notch out and she goes that mile in 2:45, but her HR shows over 200bpm throughout. She was not accustomed to the changed footing, and therefore should have been brought along even more slowly. It was taking her significantly more effort to complete a lesser workload as just a week earlier.
Horses all around the world must train and race on different footings, that is part of the game. Weather alone can drastically alter the makeup of any turf course, for instance. But here in the US we run our races in a very demanding fashion: even claimers go out that first quarter in :22-:23 and everyone struggles home in :26. Therefore, when making such a radical change in surface for raceday – injuries will be more common and not always for any nefarious reason.
Here is the timeline of the 21 fatalities: DEC – 2, JAN – 5, FEB – 6, and just the first half of MAR – 8.
Using the 18/21 statistic above, it’s quite likely that ALL of the catastrophic injuries in DEC-FEB could have been traced to the BEL-AQU angle – and those shippers could have then been excluded from racing in MAR, saving 8 horses from disaster. Sure it sucks for the owners/trainers involved, but who could argue with that data?
My point is that so-called ‘investigators’ need to look at factors outside of the condition book and the syringe when attempting to protect our horse’s health and well-being. In doing so, real-time decisions can then be enacted to mitigate the problems.
I love claimers, my family has owned several dozen over the past 30 years and they are the backbone of the US racing industry, comprising I think of about 70% of our races. Of the horses I work with on a yearly basis, probably a like percentage are also of claiming stock, and today I have decided to blog about the best of that bunch. I am not alone in this recognition, as the DRF beat me to the punch in publishing a nice article about Gentleman Jackson (photo above by Norm Files) and his connections yesterday – while I was working on this piece:
Neat to see that trainer Marty Drexler has had a few big claiming successes in his career, including a G3 winner a few years back – bought for $40k and a $200k earner. Amazing how these guys consistently pick up these diamonds in the rough. Coincidentally, as last weekend saw Gentleman Jackson’s 3rd consecutive ALW win at Woodbine, we also had the Claiming Crown races down at Gulfstream Park. Years ago Thoroedge also provided some insight into the conditioning of Antrim County – who I believe is the only claiming crown winner to successfully defend his title:
So I thought I would take some cumulative data from the 7 winners in 2012 and see how Gentleman Jackson fits in as a claiming value play:
The average claiming price was $18,857 that produced average 2012 earnings of $151,609 for a rough Return on Investment multiple of 8.04, before associated carrying costs. The average winner of the claiming crown races at GP made 11 starts this year: with 5 wins, 2 places, and 1 show.
How does our gelding stand up? Pretty well with his $12,500 price tag leading to $181,676 in winnings and a 14.53 ROI multiple. He made 10 starts this year: going 5-1-2, all at Woodbine, which currently makes him the leading performer in terms of wins at the 2012 WO meet:
In his last race, he led wire to wire at 8-1, beating a deep field which included 4-time winners Jomelo, Run to the Bank, Consolidator Joe, and Seething. Here are his PPs leading up to that big race:
Important to note that conditioner Drexler has taken 4 horses from Ft. Erie and Assiniboia Downs up to the big circuit at Woodbine and posted impressive wins. For those of you outside of the US – that is a very large jump in class, nearly as big a leap as possible.
So again, much deserved congratulations to all involved in the successful 2012 campaign of Gentleman Jackson, don’t we wish they could all be like him!-
EDIT: 1/24/13: After being claimed away from Drexler on the last day of the Woodbine meet for $62,500, Gentleman Jackson went to the barn of top trainer Mark Casse, moved to Gulfstream, got off STORM – and ran a dull 7th in his first effort.
Think of your thoroughbred as having millions of tiny bathtubs in each of his muscles. Inside this bathtub is where lactic acid accumulates during exercise. The floor outside of the bathtub can serve as the muscles themselves. Analogy-time:
When you begin exercise, the faucet is turned on and the tub begins to fill with lactic acid. The drain in the bottom is open – constantly removing lactic acid from the tub – some is being neutralized, and some is being recycled to provide energy. Both good things, as science is finally starting to recognize that lactic acid by itself is not all bad.
If the intensity of exercise is kept low, the drain is able to remove most of the lactic acid filling the tub, as the faucet itself is not turned on full blast just yet, but more of a dripping is taking place. Think a jog or slow canter for most sound horses. But that is not interesting, what takes place as exercise intensity increases is where the magic happens.
Let’s pick up the pace for our fictional racehorse, who we’ll anoint a stakes quality athlete, not graded stakes, but a step above the allowance level. As he approaches the 2:00 minute lick/15sec to the furlong speed barrier, that faucet starts to increase its flow rate – filling up the tub quicker than the drain can reduce the rising level of lactic acid. As he rounds the final turn and is allowed to pick up the speed a bit down the stretch this morning, he approaches the 12-13sec/furlong barrier, and the lactic acid level soon overwhelms the tub and spills onto the floor of the bathroom, bathing the muscles in a highly acidic environment. Depending upon his anaerobic fitness, fatigue sets in soon thereafter – and the stride becomes shortened.
The bigger the bathtub, the bigger the drain – the longer our horse can stave off fatigue due to lactic acid accumulation and protect the muscles from the flood of hydrogen ions that interfere with muscular contraction and athletic performance.
So how do you turn a tiny apartment bathtub into a big 8 person jacuzzi?
Simple. You exercise at the intensity that keeps that tub nearly full of lactic acid, but not so fast that the spillover occurs. The body’s natural response in this scenario is to increase the size of the bathtub in question, as well as increasing the size of the drain to neutralize/remove lactate. This takes place just before OBLA – or the onset of blood lactate accumulation. For most horses, this takes place around 85% of the maximal heart rate, or 85% of the aerobic capacity. It is this intensity of effort that generally leads to a blood lactate level of 4mmol in the bloodstream – any greater metabolic effort and lactic acid begins to accumulate exponentially.
So, what a trainer does is find out the pace his horse can hold with a working heart rate at 85% of max, or 85% of the highest HR during a 4F breeze. Most horses will max, on average, at 230bpm – making that 85% number a nice even 200 beats per minute. But the work is not done. Then one must deduce the speed/pace that elicits that intensity, which I term V200 – or velocity at 200bpm.
For our stakes level theoretical horse above, that pace will be close to 2:00 min/mile, or 15sec/furlong.
A young 2yo months away from seeing the races?
2:45 to the mile, or 20-21sec per furlong.
A $25k claimer?
Typically closer to 2:20 to the mile, or 17.5sec/furlong.
A Grade 1 superstar?
Experience tells me he can do a mile in 1:45 or so, roughly 13sec/furlong, keeping his HR at 85% of max, and his blood lactate just under 4mmol.
This V200 pace gives you the most bang for your buck on the so-called ‘slow’ or ‘off’ days, generally the 3-4 days a week an actively campaigning horse sees the track outside of speedwork/breezes. Please note above, this pace increases with physiological ability, but it is the horseman’s job to determine psychological capacity – a precocious 2yo may have G1 ability at a very early age, but is not yet mentally mature enough to push the 2min/mile pace just yet, for instance.
Donnaguska, one of the first horses I ever attached to a HR/GPS device back in late 2008, with one of the greatest stretch runs in thoroughbred history, garnering nearly 200,000 Youtube hits for an otherwise pedestrian-paced Maiden victory at Hawthorne Park outside of Chicago. Dead last at the eighth pole, but wins by 3 after a mad dash lasting all of 8 seconds.
For those who are impatient like myself, here is a viewer’s guide:
2:16 – enters frame for the first time, dead dog last by 20+ lengths coming off the final turn
2:32 – still last midway down stretch, swerves out and begins move
2:40 – has passed all 7 horses to take lead, wins by a few lengths
2:48 – moves 8 lengths clear during gallop out
At the time she was training outside of Louisville at High Pointe Training Center, http://www.highpointefarm.com/, a beautiful facility in the middle of what had been planned as a collection of world-class Arabian farms. Prior to building their own training center at the farm in Versailles, WinStar kept all their upcoming 2yo here amongst the turnout paddocks, 1 mile dirt training track, and Polytrack coated uphill gallops.
(Funny aside: once we had a crippling ice storm that felled thousands of trees and killed the electricity to the area for a few days. The training surfaces were good to go, but no one could train because the electric walking wheels were not operational and, relying on these for years, no trainers had any hot walkers in their employ, only grooms.)
If I remember correctly, just a few days before shipping to HAW, Donnaguska broke loose from her handler and galloped full speed for about a mile amongst the barns and open fields – scaring everyone nearly half to death. Talk about a spleen dumping workout! After checking out OK, she threw the above effort a short while later.
Since then she became a typical hard knocker for trainer Joe Woodard, making a few dozen starts and garnering nearly $100k in lifetime earnings. Owner Billy Hays retires all of his horses to a local farm near Shelbyville, KY – where Donnaguska can soon look forward to a long, pleasant retirement (and hopefully a few babies).
On to the BRILLIANT daily racing form from the Hong Kong Jockey Club (click to enlarge):
Amazing. Unbelievable. Check out the current version here:
Now I don’t know what everything means, but I have circled in red the areas I’d like to address. First off, I understand the entire racing structure in HK is quite different than the rest of the world, with a single governing body in charge of nearly everyone – from the grooms to the trainers to the owners. Of course, this is a no raceday medication district as well. What I want to focus on is their version of the DRF and the ample information it provides about the horse’s current level of fitness.
Let’s start with the single piece of bad news: it seems you only get past performance data on the last 6 runs of a horse’s career. You must click on the FORM LINE REPORT tab in order to access the specific race details such as weight carried, post position, time, lengths ahead/behind, and off odds. All else besides this aspect is truly revolutionary compared to the info offered here in the US.
Right there on the main page you can get an up-to-date measure of the horse’s weight. Compare/contrast prior to the last 6 runs to determine if a horse is rounding into shape, or perhaps a bit past his prime. Many trainers around the world weigh horses daily and use the data to influence training/feeding patterns. Here in HK the bettors get the same access. Every individual horse has his/her ideal racing weight that leads to a superior power to weight ratio. Each trainer SHOULD know this number, but 90% of US trainers have never used a scale. Here’s a hint: most horses are too heavy a great amount of the time.
Speaking of bodyweight, here is a great study from KER showing how smaller horses start earlier, remain sounder, and generally earn more than heavier ones:
Click this tab and you are taken to a report much like this one:
|5||SECRET OF WINNING||03/06/2010||Lame right fore: stress fracture of third carpal bone.|
|15/09/2010||Substantial mucopus in the trachea after racing.|
|19/10/2010||Sore and lame right fore capped elbow.|
|15/06/2011||Substantial mucopus in the trachea after racing.|
Helpful info for a handicapper, no?
TRACKWORK (click to enlarge)
Ah, the best part of all – click this tab and you get the above screen with conditioning details for not only breezes (gallops), but also for sub-maximal trotting days as well as visits to the swimming pool. A few things I’ve noticed perusing a week’s worth of this data:
-Nearly all HK runners work fast every 3 days, with distances ranging from 3F-6F mostly.
-Many have their last work just 2-3 days prior to the race.
-Most swim every day, even on the same days as they race for enhanced recovery and/or warmup.
-Would be nice to have time/distance data on ‘off/slow’ days, how many hit V200?
I have two resources with ties to the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Since they seem so enamored of data, and are centrally managed, I am going to try like hell in 2013 to get them to include HR/GPS data on all gallop and trotting days. At the very least, no longer will a clocker have to guesstimate or watch a video monitor for split/sectional times, as the Etrakka blanket records them automatically. In addition to bodyweight, it would be nice to handicap (as a bettor or trainer) based on the HR recovery after speedwork, or the working HR during a 2min mile pace.
Wish me luck – do I have the best job or what?
I did most of this post work on Thanksgiving Day waiting for family to come over as the turkey cooked in the oven behind me. That is how you know you have made the right career choice, when work feels like play-
Thoroedge finally broke the landmark earnings barrier over the weekend, with 3 weeks to spare before the close of the meet at our most profitable track. To date:
182 starts: 37 wins, 43 seconds, 36 thirds
Graded stakes: 9 starts: 1 win, 1 place
$1,081,646 in purses
20% win percentage
64% in the money
Not bad at all, and next year we hope to double this number, but if things go right in Dubai we may hit that 2013 goal before the end of March.
The easiest product/service to track performance on is the STORM product. I have spent quite a bit of time collecting the data, and I hope to have a professional handicapper complete a report next month to determine if adding STORM to a racehorse’s diet impacts performance in a statistically significant manner. Here’s a snapshot of some data from one trainer who has ALL his stock on the product throughout 2012:
Performance at one highly competitive track:
2012: 20% wins, 56% in the money – $6,099 per start
2011: 10% wins, 44% in the money – $5,191 per start
Analysis not yet complete, but roughly 75% of the same horses were included in this sample from the past 2 years. The top performer is a $12,500 claimer with 2 allowance wins and $144,083 in earnings thus far, with hopefully one more run in him before the end of the year. Starts per horse has also risen considerably – data to follow. Should the data pass the muster statistically, I am going to knock on the doors of every top notch owner/trainer in Kentucky before the end of January 2013.
I had but one harness horse on the product, an oft-injured 9yo pacer, here is his 2012 tally:
18 starts: 2 wins, 4 places, 8 shows – $142,580 in purses earned
14/18 in the money sounds pretty good to me in the pacer/trotter world – additional analysis to follow as more data is gathered. I don’t believe he was able to make more than a few starts in 2011 due to injury. Anyone know where I can access US/Canadian harness statistics online, for free? I get the TB stuff at Equibase, but cannot find a similar resource for trotters and pacers. A couple of Arabians were also on STORM this season.
I don’t believe there is a single product on the market that tracks winners and losers like I do with STORM. Everyone has something to sell that comes with testimonials claiming its golden for race performance, but that is one small piece of the puzzle. One has to include the legions of losers in order to complete the picture.
I am not a supplement salesman. I don’t have to sell anything as I earn a nice living providing HR/GPS services. But if I find a product that unequivocally improves thoroughbred performance, I am going to tell the world about it in hopes of gaining some new clients. I have a new product in the works for 2013 that should jibe nicely with the STORM, but testing is still ongoing. Stay tuned!
GG Racing Tours out of Australia is scheduling 3 horsemen’s tours in 2013: here at the Kentucky Derby in April/May, Europe in June/July, and Paris for the Arc in October.
Please see the following link if you are interested in more details:
I understand the tours are to leave from Australia; but judging from the above chart of Thoroedge web visitors from October 2012; there are readers in many countries who may like to meet up with the group and show them around locally – as I will do here in Louisville/Lexington next April. Below Jamaica on the chart there are another 103 countries that I couldn’t fit on the image, ending with a single visitor from Botswana that makes 131 countries in all visiting the blog in the last 30 days, out of a generally accepted number of 196 countries in the world. Amazing thing, this internet.
A celebrity member of the tour group coming here to Kentucky will be Joe Janiak, the famous Aussie taxi driver who purchased this gelding for the princely sum of $1375, and proceeded to earn over $6 million worldwide. Does anyone know where I can get this book,other than for $123 on Amazon?
On a side note, the journey of Takeover Target and Mr. Janiak fascinates me due to the quantification of the horse’s world-class athleticism by an early version of the Etrakka HR/GPS application developed by Mr. Andrew Stuart:
I am finally doing some nice work with this device here in the US and abroad, so watch this space for developments over the next several months. As a matter of fact, here’s one to watch racing at Woodbine in 5 hours – a former $12,500 claim winning at the $60k allowance level and finishing up a brilliant 2012 season with 8 starts: 3 wins, 1 place, 2 shows and $106,767 in earnings. STORM home Gentleman Jackson!-
Lastly (but certainly not least), my wife is a wonderful fiction author and I must congratulate her on recently signing with a top NYC literary agency! If romance, mystery, and a touch of the paranormal is your thing – you can buy or sample any of her 11 novels here:
In the real world, I am the proverbial cheap claimer who was lucky enough to marry a graded stakes winner-
Actually run at approximately 11pm here in Kentucky (Eastern time in the US) – the Melbourne Cup takes place Down Under on a Tuesday, where businesses and schools are closed for this grand spectacle. Coming so close on the heels of the Breeders Cup, and during the work week no less, many Americans will be unaware of this $6 million dollar race until after the prize money has been awarded.
One trainer has a chance to make history on both continents as Mikel Delzangles will saddle top-weight Dunaden roughly 3 days after his filly Flotilla captured the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf in his first BC start. He later missed another BC triumph as Ridasiyna closed well to finish 4th in the Filly and Mare Turf.
Here’s a pretty cool form guide, and if you click on the horse name you get some past performance info:
Let’s compare the Cups – Melbourne vs Breeders Classic – in terms of how far out the last ‘prep’ was leading up to these top races for 3 year olds and up:
US Breeders Cup entry and days since last race:
Mucho Macho Man
Game on Dude
Ron the Greek
To Honor and Serve
AU Melbourne Cup entry and days since last race:
My Quest for Peace
Lights of Heaven
Tac de Boistron
Eyeballing it the US seems to prefer a solid 35 days for the prep, while the Aussies are closer to 14 days.
No comments for once, just interesting to note the different approaches to ‘freshness’.
‘Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.’ – extra points to the first commenter who can identify the 1998 movie containing this quote that has developed into a cult classic, with a (now) world famous festival that began in 2002 right here in Louisville. My money is on a US reader, as I can’t imagine this movie is also huge overseas, or is it?
Well, I ate that bear for much of 2012 as my predictions of west coast equine dominance held sway through 4 big instances: the Triple Crown season and the Haskell showing the following results:
-West Coast conditioned horses: 13 starts: 3 wins, 3 places, 1 show for a 54% hit the board percentage
-East Coast conditioned horses: 35 starts: 1 win, 0 places, 3 shows for a 11% hit the board percentage
Surely now that the west coasters were home over the familiar dirt Santa Anita strip the domination would continue, right? Sad to say, this weekend the bear ate me – and I hope he enjoyed the fact I marinated in Sailor Jerry rum for several excruciating hours.
-West Coast: 48 starts: 2 wins, 4 places, 7 shows for a 27% in the money mark
-Euros: 26 starts: 3 wins, 0 places, 2 shows for a 19% in the money mark
-East Coast: 89 starts: 10 wins, 10 places, 11 shows for a 35% in the money mark
In summary, the west coast probably scored a grade of C due to a few key scratches (Super Ninety Nine) and only 1 entry in the Ladies Classic, a nice 3rd for Ellis runner Include Me Out at 12-1. But I give the Eastern invaders the A and the Euros also a C – as no one is talking about Little Mike and his faster-than-Secretariat mark of 2:22.83 over 12F on the grass – a bouncy turf that surely made his wire to wire win a bit easier to accomplish.
Some notes, pics, and a video from the NBC Broadcast-
Let’s go back to the 14F Ladies Marathon on dirt, Race 5 on the Friday program. I had the great fortune of travelling to Argentina on horse business a few years back, and frequented two of the tracks that Calidoscopio has won at over her 9 year career. They are all hard dirt courses in my memory, and EVERY horse I saw in training was bareback: riders simply put a girth strap over a big piece of foam in the mornings, and hit 15sec/furlong paces in routine gallops, stirrup-less. Saddles were only worn on breeze days, and the owners were charged an extra $5 for that privilege. Here are some old blog posts from that visit:
The Argentine triumph in this route confirms what I believe to be an advantage of non-US conditioning, the development of stamina. The US rules the world in speed, especially on dirt, with 4-5F works the norm – but Calidoscopio worked both 7F and 8F since coming to the west coast earlier last month and his shortest race in the past few years was still 10F.
The Ladies Classic: Royal Delta was amazing, leading a quicker pace than I had ever seen her before, and still kicking home. Female Horse of the Year, to my surprise. Congrats once more to Billy Mott.
To Saturday and the boys, and Georgie Vancouver with the only win in the Juvenile turf for vaunted Coolmore trainer Aiden O’Brien. During a revealing interview where we see the Irish conditioner riding I his jeep at 35mph next to his exercising horses, I caught an image of my HR/GPS equipment on rider Joseph O’Brien’s left arm:
Buff Bradley and Groupie Doll: let’s just say he’s one of the nicest fellows I’ve met in this game, and a local KY boy to boot. I hope she wins another 50 races and becomes the next Brass Hat.
Here’s a few seconds of the interview with Charles Lopresti, trainer of likely Horse of the Year Wise Dan:
Lopresti Interview (you may need to crank up the sound a bit…)
Talk about the info you don’t get in the DRF, or even from the clocker reports. He finished a gallop last week at KEE being allowed to fly home the last furlong in 11 FLAT! Where have we heard this before?
And finally kudos to Animal Kingdom for a brave effort, let’s hope he holds together for any type of race in 2013, but I feel we have just witnessed his swan song.