Thursday, June 28, 2007
Race 4 – Ross & Smithwick…sound familiar? Soooz wins the fourth, a $7,500 claiming sprint on the outer turf. Soooz (MD) is by Peteski, out of Crafty n Eager, by Eager Native.
Race 5 – Backer & Smith…sound familiar, part two? Backer homebred Sporting Print wins a $26,500 maiden special weight going short on the outer turf. Sporting Print (KY) is by Lear Fan, out of Knock Off by Fit to Fight.
Race 7 – Ross & Pino…we’ve got a theme going here. Pass Play (KY) by Fast Play, out of Shecky’s Sister by Green Forest wins an $30,000 allowance/optional claiming race going one mile on the inner turf. I think the bettors are figuring it out, the $2 exacta paid $8.60…
Race 8 – Floyd Powers Two Ta Tango wins a $10,000 maiden claiming race going six furlongs on the main course. Two Ta Tango (MD) is by Crypto Star, out of Paris Tango by Cure the Blues.
Race 9 – Horseshoe Hill and Doug Daniels’ Bella Principessa win a $6,500 maiden claiming race for fillies and mares, three and up going six furlongs on the dirt. Bella Principessa (FL), by A.P. Jet out of Make Haste Wins by Mystery Storm, is trained by Horseshoe Hill owner Stephanie Nixon.
Race 1 – Don Yovonovich and Rusty Cline win the first race with Sir Bernardo, generating a win payoff of $51.20 in the turf claiming event. Sir Bernardo (KY) is by Silver Charm, out of Miss Blanche by Faraway Son. Sir Bernardo is one of 12 winners from Miss Blanche, and a half-brother to Canadian Champion and graded stakes winner Free At Last.
Race 2 – Former General Assembly member and principal in the Protsmouth racetrack application, Elmon T. Gray gets a Colonial winner when Dr. Pamela wins a $40,000 Virginia-bred maiden special weight. Bred by Anne Tucker, Dr. Pamela (VA) is by Polish Miner out of Boltin’ Bride by Runaway Groom. Wayne and Susie Chatfield-Taylor’s Morgan’s Ford Farm’s Speedwell was third, Donna Hayes’ Littlemissiouwho was fourth, Larry Johnson’s Little Tip Top was sixth, Robin Richards’ Dressy was seventh and Hazel Marsh’s Twilight Stroll was eighth.
Race 3 – The second half of the split Virginia-bred $40,000 maiden special weight was won by Jean B. Morris’ Angel I B. Angel I B (VA) is by Hay Halo, out of Princess Flacon by Imperial Falcon. She was bred Rose and Lawrence McDade. Hazel Marsh, Donna Hayes, Wolver Hill, Leanne Hester and Doug Cox had entries that finished fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth.
Race 4 – Patrick Neusch trains the winner Sleeping Potion for his father, Felix Nuesch. The Kentucky-bred by Kingmambo, out of Slept Thru It by Sunny’s Halo won a claiming race on the inner turf at one mile. Sleeping Potion was bred by Art Watson’s Burning Daylight Farms, Inc.
Race 6 – Virginia-bred Power Jeans wins a $28,000 allowance race on the outer turf for owner Dare To Dream Stable and trainer Mark Shuman. Power Jeans (VA) is by One More Power, out of Thirty Eight Jeans by Thirty Eight Paces. He was bread by William Streaker.
Race 7 – Homebred Just Say Boo wins a $25,000 claiming race going 9 furlongs on the outer turf for the Nuesch & Nuesch team. Just Say Boo (VA) is by Thunder Rumble, out of Saraclare by John Alden.
Race 9 – James “Chuck” Lawrence and John S. Pettibone, Jr. win a maiden claiming race with Devil’s Squall. Devil’s Squall (NY), by Devil’s Bag, out of Cat Storm by Storm Cat, is also trained by Lawrence.
Race 4 – Kentucky-bred La Ray wins a claiming race on the turf for breeder/owner Hi-Rock Farm. La Ray, by Favorite Trick, out of La Deputay by Deputy Minister, is trained by Greg Wilson.
Race 7 – David Ross and Michael Pino reappear after a two-day drought! Side Buster (VA), by Housebuster, out of Als Delight by Wayne County (IRE) wins a maiden claiming race going 5.5 furlongs on the outer turf.
Race 9 – Virginia-bred Lord Burleigh wins a claiming race going one mile on the dirt. Lord Burleigh (VA) is by Langfuhr, out of Palace Lady by His Majesty. He is owned by Raymond Makarovich, Jr. and Tammy Wolfendale, trained by Howard Wolfendale, and was bred by Tim Whitbred.
Race 3 – Nuesch & Nuesch strike again – this time its’s a claiming sprint on the grass. The homebred winner is Dacleanupman (NY), by Key Contender, out of If and Above by Al Nasr (FR).
Race 5 – Virginia-bred A. Ferris Allen, III wins a race for Virginian Kieth Early. Early's Best to You (MD), by Best of Luck, out of More Flags by Mr. Prospector wins a claiming race going one mile and three-sixteenths on the turf.
The rest of the days showed a modest decline until Sunday when 2007 turned the tables on 2006. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week all showed gains over 2006, with Monday attracting some $400,000 more than the year prior.
Only good news on the attendance side – after 10 days of racing 2006, 16,542 fans had passed through the New Kent turnstiles. This year after 10 days, 18,794 have visited the track. That’s a substantial increase.
Debbie Sue, who is by Citidancer, out of Privateers Bay by Allen’s Prospect, was recently awarded the hardware for Champion Virginia-bred Older Mare in 2006 at Colonial Downs on Turf Cup day. She won the Brookemeade last year after clipping heels at the three-eighths pole. Unfazed, she recovered to win in course record time.
Changeisgonnacome (pictured left) comes to the race off a fast-closing second in the Crank It Up Stakes at Monmouth. Owner/breeder Edward P. Evans has a two-horse entry – Possible Mambo from the Mark Hennig barn and Point Missed with Todd Pletcher.
The Brookmeade is named after Brookmeade Farm of Isabel Dodge Sloan. They produced the Belmont winner and important sire Sword Dancer. Now they call the place Lazy Lane Farm, and they continue to produce good horses for current owner Joe Allbritton.
Speedy Smithwick and David Ross will send out Love Conquers who will be making his season debut. He was third in this race last year, and second in the $60,000 John D. Marsh Stakes as well. David Donk trained Mount Weather tries stakes company after winning an allowance race at CNL earlier in the meet.
The Van Clief is named after Daniel Van Clief who owned and operated Nydrie Stud. In partnership, Van Clief bred Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer. As a member of the General Assembly, he chaired a committee on pari-mutuel racing. He also served several terms as the VTA president and is a member of the Virginia Equine Hall of Fame.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Race 3 – David Ross’s Je Suis Prest (VA) wins a claiming race on the turf. Je Suis Prest is by More Than Ready out of Celtic Raven by Miesque’s Son, and was bred in Virginia by Erika Keller Rozell, Cheryl Keller and the Vinery LLC. Trained by D.M. “Speedy” Smithwick, Jr.
Race 8 – Bill Backer’s Doolittle (Polish Numbers – Hepburn by Capote) wins a $28,000 alowance race. Trained by Ham Smith.
Race 9 – David Ross gets second winner of the night with Ready Eddie in an optional claimer. The Canadian-bred is by More Than Ready, out of Authenic Deed by Alydeed. Michael Pino, trainer.
Race 3 - Hardin Stables' My Manhattan wins a maiden claiming race on the turf. Bred in Virginia by the late Kitty Hardin, My Manhattan is by Expelled out of Perta by Northern Baby. She is trained by Graham Motion.
Race 5 – Leane Hester’s Knight of Sin wins the $40,000 Virginia-bred maiden special weight and pays $129.60 to win. The Exacta payout is $733.00 and the Superfecta is $7,197.30 for a 10 cent wager. The $2 Triple of 13-7-1 pays $9,095.80. Knight of Sin is by Sinful Persuasion, out of Rough Rita by Rollicking.
Race 7 – Henry “Duffy” Rathbun’s Back to Even beats Al Coppola’s Mount Weather (named after the top of Paris Mountian, we presume) in an $31,000 allowance race. Back to Even is by Our Emblem, out of Mescalin by Smarten.
Race 5 - David Ross gets another winner with trainer Smithwick when Madamoiselle, by Silic (FR), out of Shecky’s Sister by Green Forest, wins a one mile claiming race on the dirt.
Race 7 - Beverly Steinman’s Fund Broker, by Grand Slam, out of Northern Guide by Northern Baby wins a $28,00 allowance race on the inner turf for trainer Doug Fout. He beat Virginia trained (Arch Kingsley, Jr.) Bold Turn by a head.
Race 1 - Bill Backer’s Cromwell’s Run gets up a neck over Indian Diva in a maiden claming race on the inner turf. Cromwell’s Run is by Gulch, out of Stellar Slew by Seattle Slew, and trained by Ham Smith. The second place finisher was claimed by David Ross.
Race 2 - The Ross/Smithwick team won the next race with Wood Be Me (Belong to Me – Wood Sprite by Woodman) who cruises to a three length win in a maiden special weight on the turf.
Race 4 – Laudable, by Commendable, out of Caique by Quest for Fame (GB), gives Ross another winner in a $25,000 maiden claiming race. Michael Pino trains Laudable.
Race 5 – Patrick Neusch and Nellie Mae Cox find the winner’s circle with the homebred Spreadin Joy. Spreadin Joy was bred in Virginia and is by Party Manners, out of Weekend Activity by Caller I.D.
Race 7 – David Ross gets his third win of the day, his second with Pino, when Robyns Anthem wins a $27,000 starter allowance race. Robyns Anthem is by Royal Anthem, out of Robyns Tune by Robyn Dancer.
Race 1 - Paula Haughy’s P.T.K. Racing Stable LLC and trainer Rodney Jenkins get the best of the Ross/Pino combination when Chasin Tiger defeats Urban Warrior by 1 ¾ lengths to win a claiming race on the outer turf. Chasin Tiger is by Jade Hunter, out of Eliza Donner by Oh Say.
Race 2 – VTA members Toby Roth and Sam English battle it out with Roth’s Tricky Wakeup (Mazel Trick – Wakerup by Tunerup) getting the best of English’s Distincly Fleet in a claiming race on the inner turf.
Nonetheless, the original point of the post was Street Cry, who picked up his 7th graded stakes winner from his current crop of three-year-olds when Summer Doldrums won the Colonial Turf Cup, is en fuego. Of course, there is $3,158,200 earner and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense at the top of the list, but Summer Doldrums now has $631,716 in cash as well.
They are joined by the graded stakes winners Street Sounds ($346,276, Beaumont S. Gr. II at Keeneland), Larry Johnson’s Street Magician ($173,220, Hirsch Jacobs S. Gr. III at Pimlico), Per Incanto (Premio Tudini G3), Majestic Roi (Dubai Duty Free Fred Darling S. G3) and Big Tymer (Symphony Group Acomb S. G3).
And it’s not quite July yet…That's big tyme.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Actually, I’m not really complaining, just trying to explain the difference. I think everything seemed professional…like everybody had done it before and knew what to do…That’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong.
A crowd of 4,905 (according to Equibase) turned out for the big race and the Rhythm, Bets and Brews festival on the green at Colonial Downs. Both were a big success. Last year’s crowd topped out at just over 3,300…
Summer Doldrums and Strike A Deal had run a bang up race at Belmont back in May in the Straight Deal Stakes. The two finished a nose apart in that one, and this time they hooked up halfway down the stretch and matched strides all the way home. If they both decide to come back for the $1,000,000 Virginia Derby they may scare off a few folks. Nonetheless, I’m sure three-time winners Peter Vegso and Bill Mott have a good turf three-year-old in their pocket just waiting to pounce.
Saturday, for the big race, I was on the roof, along with a TVG camera man. He asked me who I thought had won, and I said, “The seven, the outside horse.” What I didn’t tell him is that I always think the outside horse has won…Turns out I was right for a change.
Most things at Colonial seemed to go very well. They did run out of Racing Forms by 12:30 which didn’t help, and they still have problems getting the word around about the 4th floor dress code (No jeans, by the way). Everything else seemed to be working quite smoothly. 5,000 is a good crowd for that building. Much more than that, and the systems start to stress. I never saw a super long line for food or wagers, and most folks appeared to be having a good time. The few people who had Virginia-bred Knight of Sin in the fifth (the $40,000 Va-bred MSW) and the $129.60 win payoff were REALLY happy. The ten cent superfecta for the race paid some crazy number like $7,000+.
It was hot in the winner’s circle, jacket on, jacket off. Black Union Avenue hat on for T.V. award presentations, black hat back off. White Preakness hat on just so my brains didn’t fry. When I worked at Colonial for the first two seasons, I made it my job to take care of the trophies and the stakes presentations. There was a method to my madness. It’s a great place to be after somebody wins a stakes race – everybody’s happy. It’s also a great place to get the inside scoop on what’s going on with owners, trainers and jockeys. Saturday, was no different. Nobody complains in the winner’s circle.
It’s a long day when you show up at the track at 11 a.m. and the feature goes off at 5:45, but the bags alone are worth it…Put it on your calendar for next year, you won't regret it.
Peter Burnett, the Chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission, is advocating a new set of safety reins. I think he personally demonstrated them to everybody who was there. There is no substitute for a clear, concise and personal explanation.
Donnie Yovonovich saddled the horse for trainer Tommy Voss and he was promised dinner if the horse won...Bon appetit.
(Photo by TarDog)
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The John D. Marsh, with similar conditions, for the boys has had the same problem in recent years.
We will bring the Oakley back on Very Virginia Day – Saturday, July 28th and we will add four-year-olds to the equation. Next year, we will shorten it up to six or seven furlongs and see if that helps.
Sorry – Rodney Jenkins, Donald Barr, Jim Carter and Chris Baker – Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. I know all of you were pointing at this race, and you, no doubt, skipped other opportunities to try and run here.
It’s particularly frustrating since this crop of three-year-olds didn’t have a Virginia-bred/sired restricted two-year-old stake last year as well. Seems like we're unintentionally piling on a bit...
(Photo: Cobbley's Jewel winning the 2004 Oakley Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography)
If you know anybody with a Va-bred/sired two-year-old, please let them know about these races. If you bred a Va-bred two-year-old and sold it, please try to figure out where it is so we can notify the new connections. We will be sending a notice to every breeder of a registered Va-bred/sired two-year-old in the very near future.
If we all hussle these races, we should be able to get them filled. We will keep you posted.
(Photo by Bradley Benson)
Yep, pretty much.
Once again, a Virginia-bred won’t win a big race at Colonial Downs. There are 13 entries in the $750,000 Colonial Turf Cup Gr. III and none of them hail from the Old Dominion. There are seven Kentucky-breds, two Florida-breds, a New York-bred and one horse each bred in England, France and Ireland.
The favorite at 3 to 1 on the morning Equibase line is Tropical Park Derby Gr. III winner Soldier’s Dancer. Adagio (GB), a G3 winner in England this spring who was the beaten favorite in the 2000 Guineas G2 is 7 to 2 in his U.S. debut, and multiple stakes winner Strike the Deal is 5 to 1.
The local hopes will be carried by Marshall Dowell’s Mint Slewlip. The Kentucky-bred Slew City Slew colt comes off a seventh-place finish in the Preakness Stakes Gr. I, and will make his turf debut Saturday. Dowell is resident of nearby Mechanicsville, VA, trainer Robbie Bailes was born in the Commonwealth and jockey Luis Garcia was the leading rider at Colonial Downs last year. Mint Slewlip drew post 13.
The Dowell/Bailes connection wanted to try the same move with Preakness newsmaker Scrappy-T who bumped Alfeet Alex in that memorable race two years ago. They brought Scrappy to Colonial and worked him on the turf and, needless to say, it wasn’t a success. Refutes the claim by many that “all horses like the turf.” Not so. Obviously, Mint Slewlip took to it…
For a complete list of entries for the day go to:
Tune into MASN or TVG on Saturday to catch the race if you aren’t going to be there.
Race track execs and pro-slot members of the General Assembly say its another dose of harsh economic reality as purses in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware are fueled by slots. The horsemen don’t completely agree, and the lines are drawn on the classic argument of purses vs. days.
For example, Rodney Jenkins (a Virginian, by the way) said this: "I know the [horsemen's association] asked not to have the days cut, but they're listening to three or four trainers on the board and not hearing the majority. No one listens to the other 196 of our 200 trainers. "It's like a constant whirlwind here, going round and round, promises of help and then no help. ... Maryland is a fine place for horse racing, and I have no complaints with the people who are running the racetracks. But when it gets so bad that we're not making a living ... sooner or later you'll have to reassess."
Richard Hoffberger, president of the horsemen's association, said it was a matter of "picking your poison.""We could cut purses and stakes or cut days," he said. "The program and goal here has always been to maintain year-round racing. If you cut days, for every day you cut, you erode year-round racing. It was our thought that we didn't want to cut days, so where else was there to go? It wasn't something we wanted to do, but the money is not there, and you can't spend what you ain't got."
I’ve always liked straight shooters, and Richard consistently tells it like it is.
Perhaps they need to consider Rodney’s point and reassess their goals. Simply put, “year-round” racing may no longer be viable in Maryland.
I’ve always seen the days vs. purses argument in Maryland, and to some degree in Virginia, as being an issue of convenience and the number of economic opportunities at odds with the economic impact of each such opportunity. For years, Maryland horsemen inhabited three backstretches and picked races from a bevy of condition books from Mid-Atlantic tracks. It was the ultimate. It was almost normal in that racing folks could live in Maryland and never have to leave home. They weren’t accustomed to shipping or moving. They didn’t like it in 1997 when Colonial opened, and they're not wild about it ten years later.
The Virginians, on the other hand, never had a home track so they camped in one spot and just dealt with the issues of shipping or they sent their horses to out-of-state trainers.
Of course, in a perfect world, you could do both – run all year for a reasonable purse structure. It’s not impossible, look at New York, Kentucky, California and Florida. Maybe not perfect, but lots of folks stay in those state’s all year around (assuming their horses are good enough to be competitive there…).
Another important component of the equation is overall economics and the continual decline of owners. Maybe convenience has to take a back seat while purse levels are raised to compensate for the staggering costs now facing owners and trainers.
On that subject, trainer Tim Hooper had this to say: "This is really going to hurt the owners, who are the ones paying the bills and supporting Maryland racing," Hooper said. "At some point, it's going to reach a point where there just isn't enough money for them to pay their bills. ... With Delaware and Charles Town an hour away and purses supposed to be going up again in Philadelphia in July, well, it makes it difficult to stick around."
Hooper and fellow trainer Rodney Jenkins suggested a better move would have been to cut the 10 days of racing scheduled for August at Laurel. "To me, if you're going to run in a race, why not run for the most you can run for?" Hooper said.
A couple other stakeholders made key points: John McDaniel, chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, said it is important to maintain the integrity of the schedule. Otherwise, he said, "our vital help," the backstretch workers who care for the animals and maintain the barns, could be lost."You've got to be careful of the tipping point," he said. "At what point does racing in Maryland not become a full-time business?"
Jim Steele, president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, said yesterday's news is "just more reason for people to go to other states to race and breed their horses.""Obviously, most Marylanders would prefer to race and breed their horses in this state," Steele said. "But ... the bottom line is, you run your horse where you can try to earn a living."
Of course, we face a similar issue. In Virginia, we are trying to increase days, but at the same time we are looking to increase average purses to stay competitive with other tracks with purse supplements from other forms of gambling. It’s difficult to balance the two, but it’s better to be in expansion mode than retraction mode, that’s for sure…
(All quotes from The Baltimore Sun, “Purses, races cut at ailing Md. Tracks” by Sandra McKee, originally published June 13, 2007. Pimlico Photo courtesy of www.preakness-stakes.info/pimlico.php, Laurel Park photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.)
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I "speed watched" the entire broadcast, and was a little bit surprised that the two hours didn’t include extended coverage of the Manhattan (won by Virginia-owned Better Talk Now) or the Acorn (where Ned Evans’ Christmas Kid ran third), but I guess they covered that earlier on ESPN. I did see Larry Johnson’s Street Musician run fifth in the Woody Stephens after getting caught up in a very fast opening half-mile. Thank you, ESPN.
I dropped back to normal speed when the gates opened and Rags to Riches literally stumbled out. Knowing the outcome actually made it more fun to watch since I knew exactly what to look for. When Curlin came back at the filly in deep stretch and she wouldn’t let him by, I about came off the couch. My wife, Amy, said she hadn’t seen me so excited about horse race in a long time.
What a great race and what a great story for racing. Hats off to Pletcher and Tabor for taking a a calcualted risk, and giving the sport a nice shot in the arm.
And how about Better Than Honour? According to the Post, she is the only mare to produce two horses which have won Triple Crown races. Her colt Jazil, by Seeking the Gold, won last year’s Belmont…
Of course her sire, A.P. Indy who is also a Belmont winner, is out of the Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise, so it’s nice to have Big Red in the pedigree of another classic winner.
What next? That one is gonna be hard to top…
You don’t get it, I don’t get it. Shoot, nobody I know gets it, but she’s all over the news channels now. It’s not just E! or Entertainment Tonight, now she’s everywhere.
Anyway, my point is simply this: Why don’t we give the folks like Paris that the media loves a racehorse or two? On their birthday, the industry gives them a two-year-lease on a couple of horses. The industry, through whatever organization is crazy enough to take this on, pays all the bills for the two years and the celebs just go the races and make headlines.
Presto-chango, Brad and Angelina own some horses. George Clooney, Vince Vaughn…you know a nice horse might help Lindsay Lohan get it back together.
Can you imagine the publicity if Paris Hilton owned a horse like Rags to Riches. Better yet, a future half-brother or sister, Riches to Riches?
That P.T. Barnum, he was on to something…
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The Belmont Stakes is Saturday and I'm trying really hard to get fired up about it. Curlin is a wonderful horse, but right now he's on my list. Could you not switch leads? Could you stumble a little bit more? Could you have an off day? Oh no, you had to win the Preakness...OK, I don't blame you.
The Belmont is so much fun when the Triple Crown buzz is buzzing, but just another major stakes race in a calendar full of compelling and competitive major stakes races without it.
Looks like a solid field is shaping up, but we won't have that pounding in our chests like we did with Charismatic, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones. Of course, I go way back to Virginia-bred Pleasant Colony, but that was eons ago. On the upside, having the filly Rags to Riches (pictured below) makes it interesting.
...and you Mr. Street Sense, how about you don't go all Ribot on me, and you keep bustin' flat out? You ease up just the tiniest bit and Mr. Upset the Triple Crown over here comes zippin' by and leads for exactly one stride -- the most important one, the last one...