Quick Picks

If you haven’t recently visited the homepage of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance, take a minute and check it out. It features the final 2007 standings, according to the TBA rankings; we’ll see how they compare to the Eclipse Awards in a few weeks. You’ll also get news of the annual TBA donation to Old Friends. Of the many great things about the TBA, this donation may be my favorite.

During my October night-time visit to a Virginia farm, one of the baby racehorses I met was Irish Blast; he was three and hadn’t yet raced, and he made his début on the 29th of December at Aqueduct, crushing the field and winning by seven. He was back in action Saturday, and his first performance merited a “Best Bet” rating in John DaSilva’s picks in the Post. He didn’t quite come through, going off at 4/5 and finishing second, but it was a great race. Irish Blast and Foose dueled for the lead coming around the final turn and into the stretch; as they ding-donged down the stretch, the only other horse with only one race under his belt, Regal Prince, flew up the outside to win it by two. Given that today was only Irish Blast’s second start, I thought he did a great job of hanging in there and of not being intimidated as he battled with Foose.

In more good news from California synthetic racing, The Blood-Horse reports that several jockeys have taken to wearing shields (kind of like hockey players) because of the “harsh kickback.” “‘They’ve got a lot of coarse sand and rocks in the track, and we need something to protect our faces,’ said [Garrett] Gomez” (The Blood-Horse). The articles mentions that some of horses are reluctant to race into the stinging kickback.

Lack of proximity saved me money on Saturday, as Lucky Revival finished off the board and I was dead wrong about Aliysa. Stage Luck, my second choice, won it.

Apparently Microsoft Word insists on seeing horses as things and not as people. Every time I write a sentence that refers to a horse as a “who” (“Rags to Riches, who beat Curlin in the Belmont…”), Microsoft Word asks me to change the “who” to “that.” Grammatical prescriptivist that I am, I can’t argue, but I don’t think that I’m going to take that advice, especially as Microsoft Word’s dictionary does not recognize “prescriptivist” as a word.

Finally, and maybe this should have come first, welcome to the world, Thomas J. Sanford III; may you have your mother’s wisdom and patience, and your father’s love of hockey and horse racing. See you in Saratoga, little guy—opening day, right?

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