BC2012 Drives ThoroEdge to Drink

‘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.

The damage:

-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:

https://thoroedge.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/training-in-argentina/ and some pics here: www.thoroedge.com/argentina

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.


About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on November 4, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I was wondering what your column today would be about. 🙂 While I got hammered as well, as you and others convinced me of a likely west coast bias and I didn’t adjust my handicapping as that bias didn’t quite appear, I enjoyed the races. Big kudos to Animal Kingdom on his return to turf. It was fantastic seeing him do so well. Ok, off to find Breeders’ Cup handicapping post-mortems to try to learn for the future.

    Love your blog!

  2. The Big Lebowski Cult hit worldwide Did the extra sand which was applied to the track contribute to the east coast success

    • The winner! Great movie. I don’t know how one makes a turf track so fast, but the SA strip was like a trampoline. Dirt too seemed to favor front runners – if you were not near the lead you were toast. It also seemed that jocks on east coast entries figured that out quicker than the rest.

      • Tv presenters twice mentioned extra sand had been applied recently I wonder did west coast jockeys ride it they way they ve always ridden it Seems to have been a rail bias too

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