06/25/12

Black Caviar – Racing Legend in Her Own Time

by Pat Cole

The horse, Black Caviar,is a six year old Thoroughbred mare from Australia, a legend in her own time, further solidified her unequaled record of 22 wins in as many starts for a 150 year period, when she won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, England, on Saturday, June 23, 2012.

This noble animal with a great charismatic spirit must have been recognized very early in her life as exceptional.  She was given a worthy name and then was obviously well raised and then well trained by outstanding horsemen who developed her competitive attitude.

Her owners, trainer and jockey are blessed to have had the privilige of developing this amazing animal and she has rewarded their loving care with a legendary record.

The uninformed public that dares to say she did not do enough in Diamond Jubilee Stakes; that her margin of victory should have been greater; that jockey Luke Nolen rode her poorly, etc., etc., etc. should be forbidden entrance to any and all race tracks in the future.  A Win is a Win, is a Win….. be it by an inch or by a mile !!

Black Caviar’s jockey,Luke Nolen , should be applauded for taking care of this beauty and not pushing her harder.  He also did not allow her to be defeated, something that would break this great athlete’s heart.

This unbelievable feat was accomplished, it was later determined, with a grade-four muscle tear of the quadriceps and a grade-two tear to the sacroiliac suffered during her victory.  This brilliant athlete just ran through her pain to chalk up her 22nd win.

Black Caviar, Queen of the Racetrack, met Elizabeth II, Queen of England and great lover of horses, in the winners’ ring after the race.  They are both legends in their own time.

Should this brilliant and heroic animal’s trainer and owners choose to retire her when she returns to Australia after her quarantine period in England, they should be congratulated.  Black Caviar has done more than any other.  22 wins in as many starts and still racing sound at six year of age rarely, if ever, happens.  Personally, I would not want to take a chance on her sustaining a life ending injury after such a glorious career.

Best of luck and many green pastures to you, Black Caviar!!

05/16/12

Quarter Horse Racing Popularity

 Quarter Horse Racing’s popularity always seems to be on the wane. Do you ever wonder why?

I have always loved everything about America’s horse, the American Quarter Horse. In an effort to post current Quarter Horse racing information, I find a real lack of resources, when compared to the TB racing world. Perhaps this might be one of the many reasons for the lack of public interest.

Most QH races are 440 yds. (1/4 mile or 2 furlongs) long and are over almost before they begin; in the 22+ second range. The regular betting public would rather have a couple of minutes to lose their money and actually be able to hear their favorite’s name called, at least once.

Quarter Horse Racing News

Most of the really big added money races like the All American Futurity are for 2 year olds and because these horses are so young, they have very little racing history to report on. By the time these kids finish their first hectic summer and fall racing schedules, many of them never make it any farther due to injuries.

It also seems that the American Quarter Horse Association is about the only source of historical information on Quarter Horse Racing. For most every report one gets from this organization, an annual membership is required and another charge is made for each individual report. Few non-owners, breeders and trainers are willing to spend this money. Another reason for lack of the betting public’s interest?

Although the Jockey Club, the registration and historical record arm for the Thoroughbred breed does require the purchase of many of their reports, their organization has maintained excellent records over the years and they are available from many sources if one just looks.

In my opinion, the serious bettors want all the information they can get on bloodlines,, racing records, back stories about the horses, trainers, owners and or breeders, before going to the track to wager on Quarter horse racing and it’s just not readily available.

Am I missing something?  Can any of you readers give me some sources on current Quarter Horse racing?  I would really like to share it.

Yes, I know, much of this information can be acquired from the Daily Racing Form. Again, a membership is required. If you have resources or opinions you would like to share please provide them in the comments below.

05/8/12

KENTUCKY DERBY – WHOSE FAULT WAS IT?

Bodemeister would have won if…..

So, here we are three  days after theKentucky Derby.  Everyone is second guessing everyone else, except Bob Baffert, that is.  Whose fault was it? There are a gillion excuses for one horse or another not winning the roses.  It seems a large majority of people would have been ecstatic if Bodemeister had won.  It’s easiest to blame his exceptional 2nd place finish on Mike Smith for his ride.

I’ve never ridden a horse out of the starting gates, but I have handled a lot of race horses.  We feed them, give them all their vitamins, groom them, massage them, baby them, exercise them, school them in the paddock and the starting gates and do everything we can think of to get them on their toes for the big race.  They are like bomb with a lit fuse.

Day of the race arrives and this explosive 1100 pound animal is handed off to the jockey who is expected to keep him calm and relaxed throughout.  In the paddock, people surround this gorgeous animal like ants. He is saddled and the jockey is given a leg up.  The horse knows this is not just another day in his life as a race horse, but the jockey is now responsible for his behavior and performance.

Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert—yausser (Flickr.com)

Bob Baffert did a marvelous job of conditioning and training BodemeisterMike Smith is one of the nation’s top jockeys.  Bodemeister is a well bred, well conformed and a well behaved horse, but he has never set foot on a track in front of 165,000+ cheering people to run a 1 ¼ mile race.  Can you imagine what is going through this young horse’s mind?  Neither can I, but Mike Smith is supposed to be able to convince him it’s just another day at the race track.

Mike did an exceptional job of assuring his mount that all was well.  Bodemeister comported himself well in front of all the people, and in the starting gate.

When the gates opened and 19 other horses thundered out, Bodemeister was right there in front.  He is a horse that was born to outrun other horses and that’s all he was thinking about.

In my experience of running a lot of horse races across some pasture or down the country road on my kid horse, I always found that no horse wants another horse’s head in front.  Often times, it was impossible to hold them back.  Sure, I wasn’t a professional jockey, but I was a darn good rider.  During a race, the horse was zoned out on everything except getting his head in front of his challenger.

One of my gurus told me that trying to hold a horse, rate him if you will, is more fatiguing to the horse than letting him run.  This is because the horse is fighting the jockey all the way and uses more energy doing that than just running without interference.

Everyone knew when Trinniberg entered the Derby, the entire dynamics of the race would change.  Trinniberg  tried to go to the front when the gates opened.  Trinniberg is one of the few horses that had as much early speed as Bodemeister,  but he didn’t have enough speed to get his head in front.  Sadly, he just threw it out there and quit.  It was enough to cause Bodemeister to use more energy than necessary at the beginning of the race.

Wonder what the outcome would have been if Bodemeister had drawn the No. 19 Post Position?

That’s horse racing, folks!!

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04/24/12

Kentucky Derby Contenders…… Jockeys??

Do you ever wonder how important are the Jockeys?  What makes one jockey better than the other?

Kentucky Derby Contenders…. Jockeys??????  Let’s talk about it…

In my opinion, experience is at the top of the list. A jockey that has ridden many different horses with a high percentage of winners.

Jockeys are independent contractors who are employed by owners and/or trainers to ride their horses. In turn, the owners and/or trainers hire jockeys through the jockeys’ agents.

Soooo, the trainers usually want a jockey to, at least, breeze his horse once before the big race to see how the two get along.

The Kentucky Derby Contenders will have some of the top jockeys in the nation aboard for the Run For the Roses.

In the upcoming Kentucky Derby, there are two jockeys that have won the Run For the Roses three times.  Keith Desomeaux who will be aboard Dullahan in 2012 and Calvin Borel on Take Charge Indy.

Many jockeys ride “first call” for some trainers and/or owners.  This means those trainers and/or owners get first shot at a jockey’s trip aboard their horse for any given race.

The very top jockeys often can pick and choose the horses they want to ride and naturally it will appear that they have chosen the best.  Interesting, isn’t it?

All the picking and choosing is not over for this year’s Kentucky Derby.  There are several horses that are, either sharing the same rider, or a jockey has not yet been declared.

…and don’t forget, the final list of 20 horses to run in the 2012 Kentucky Derby has not been cast in stone.  Look for that to happen next week.  ……

What a year ….. and what a marvelous group of 3 year olds ….. this has been.

 

 

 

04/9/12

Lava Man…A Great Horse Story

Lava Man

Yesterday I wrote a tease about, Lava Man, and a most unusual situation. A champion thoroughbred who in his retirement chaperons younger thoroughbred from the stables to the starting gates and back at Santa Anita Race Track in California. The 11 year old retired Champion with over 5 milliom in Grade 1 stakes earnings seems to enjoy his new career.
Jennie Rees , winner of 3 Media Elipse Awards, has written an article for The Courier Journal. A brief excerpt is included below.

ARCADIA, CALIF. — The most accomplished horse to step onto the track shortly before today’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby will not be favored Creative Cause, though the race favorite is a multiple graded-stakes winner who has never been worse than third.No, the distinction belongs to the stable pony accompanying second choice I’ll Have Another, who captured the Grade II Robert B. Lewis in his last start at 43-1. The pony will be the 11-year-old Lava Man, a $5.2 million-earner who won seven Grade I stakes, including the Hollywood Gold Cup three times and who remains the only horse to win a Grade I race on dirt, turf and synthetic. Continue here: