…of children and horses.
In other philanthropic news, you might consider donating to Noah’s Wish, an organization dedicated to rescuing animals from natural disasters; Noah’s Wish was active during and after Hurricane Katrina and is now turning its attention and resources to the animals at risk in the fires in southern California. NPR has covered the fires extensively, including this story about a woman trying to save the horses on her ranch. I can’t find any charity ratings for Noah’s Wish, but they seem to have a good reputation, and they’re working on saving animals of all kinds.
In other horse rescue news, my mother in Saratoga alerted me to this story about a two-year-old Johannesburg filly who decided that she wanted to see a little more of Saratoga than the Oklahoma. The filly broke out of her stall and made her way down Lake Avenue to downtown Saratoga, where she was eventually caught, unhurt aside from a couple of minor injuries.
As promised (threatened?), here are my thoughts on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races. Keep in mind: while I will do my own handicapping prior to going to Aqueduct on Saturday to watch the races, these picks are based on factors other than handicapping–which I will unapologetically declare as part of the charm of horse racing for me. Do I like to win money? Sure. But sometimes, for me, the story is as good as the profit. Well, nearly, anyway.
Filly and Mare Sprint: I watched La Traviata’s race in the Victory Ride on Travers Day, and the filly was simply awesome. Given my own Italian roots, I lean towards her in this race, but the fact that Biancone trains her leaves a bad taste in my mouth (though admittedly, it’s not her fault that her trainer is a cheat). Once I heard, though, that 10% of Oprah Winney’s winnings would go to the Belmont Child Care Association, my affiliations were set: Go, Oprah! (Note: this represents a significant divergence from my usual practices. I hate this filly’s name, and I usually refuse to bet a horse whose name I hate. Case in point: Bob and John in the ’06 Wood Memorial. Loved Jazil, who came in second, but I refused to bet Bob and John, and thus lost the exacta.)
Juvenile Turf: Again, I’m torn. My brother has a thing for Danzig and his offspring, and as Prussian is from Danzig’s last crop and raced great at Saratoga, my eye is on him. However, a few years ago I did an independent study with a student in which we read the Sicilian novel (there’s that Italian theme again) Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) by Giuseppe di Lampedusa and then saw the film…plus there’s that cat theme…and his odds are better than Prussian’s…so…The Leopard.
Dirt Mile: On Travers Day 2005, I had the best betting day of my life. I couldn’t miss; I hit six exactas in a row, one of which was Discreet Cat/Superfly in a maiden race. Superfly was actually my pick that day, and I scanned the program looking for other horses to use. Few of the horses had been on the track, so there wasn’t a lot to go on, so I picked names, breeding, and odds, and settled on Discreet Cat, also betting him to win. Then this horse that I fell in love with disappeared…he came back every once in a while, but I’ve never gotten over the idea that he’s always had to take a backseat to Darley’s big names. I don’t know if he’s the horse that he used to be, and if he goes off the favorite I won’t want any part of him from a racing perspective…but I’d love to see this guy get a BC win. In this race, it’s the Cat horse.
Will be at the Garden Thursday night for the woeful Rangers’ game; will post more useless picks for Saturday’s races before heading out to the Big A.