Wednesday quick picks

I regret to inform Superterrific Stables of Green but Game that based on updated Take Ten! standings, I must unfortunately remove her blanket of roses as the winner of the Brooklyn Backstretch mini-league, and toss it over to Katie at Trip’s Triple Crown Stable, who finished first in our league and sixtieth overall. Congratulations, Katie—please let us know to which racing charity you’d like the $150 prize to go.

And thanks to the members of this league, who added $100 to the $50 I originally pledged. It feels especially fitting in this week that we’re making a donation to support our equine athletes or the people who take care of them.

The final standings:

60. Trip’s Triple Crown Stable
77. Quinella Castle
83. SecBar Stable
87. Superterrific Stables
88. Stafford Stables
97. Sleipneir Stables
138. Val’s Foolish Pleasure
163. Brooklyn Backstretch

Last week, in the run up to the Derby, David Papadopoulos of Bloomberg alerted me to an article he’d written about two colts who looked at one point as if they’d be on the Derby trail, Saratoga Russell and Ready’s Image. My crush on Saratoga Russell has been well-documented here, but I actually met Ready’s Image first, at Saratoga last summer when he won the Sanford. He didn’t quite capture my heart (though a few weeks later, my fancy was taken by Ready’s Echo…but that’s another story), but he impressed me and many others in that race, and went on to finish second to Majestic Warrior in the Hopeful.

Papadopoulos’s article, written before the Derby, presages some of the conversations we’re having in the aftermath of Big Brown’s victory and Eight Belles’s breakdown, detailing as it does the missed opportunities by Saratoga Russell’s and Ready’s Image’s owners to make a big profit before the colts got injured. Weaved into his story are the insane profits made from breeding and the risks inherent in putting/keeping horses on the track; the value of these two colts has plummeted since their injuries, and if you don’t like the idea of horses as commodities, don’t read this article. It’s strictly business, it’s strictly finances, strictly about horses as investments.

In good news, though, for New York race fans, both Ready’s Image and Saratoga Russell are being considered for the Woody Stephens on the Belmont undercard. Would be great to see these two back on a New York track before long, though that looks like rather a tough spot for a comeback.

In checking some information for this post, I looked up the order of finish for the Hopeful, on closing day at Saratoga. That’s the day that Big Brown first hit the track, in a mid-card maiden race. He won by eleven and paid $31.40. Those were the days…

Wednesday’s feature at Belmont puts the spotlight on two colts I’ve liked for a while: Groomedforvictory, who finally broke his maiden in his fourth start at the end of March at Gulfstream; and Be Bullish, who broke his maiden at first asking in September at Belmont and who’s got a 7-3-0-1 record since, all at New York tracks, and those three off-the-board finishes were all fourths. He seems more effective in allowances than in these state-bred stakes, but if he stays at 5 – 1, I might take a flyer on him, given his performance in the Appealing Guy back in February.

I loved Groomedforvictory in his first start, on the Cigar Mile undercard, and I was rather surprised that it took him so long to find the winner’s circle. At 6/5, and in stakes company for the first time, I’ll take a pass.

12 thoughts on “Wednesday quick picks

  1. Am I the only one feeling a wee bit guilty about not writing something deep everyday that will advance or at least sustain the Eight Belles horror? What kind of iPetition can we start that would accelerate some area of immediate progress?Superfecta’s right about things already existing that haven’t been implemented—maybe work with one of those, which of course can be found amongst the amazing brainstorm of Green But Game.Even the PETA absurdity—if outrage in any form moves things fast and forward, if the voices not always mellifluous help beget change, i b 4 it. (Not to be confused with ibupropen, though both hope to eliminate pain.)Mellifluous has separation anxiety from tones, btw.Never forget the BIG GIRL!!!!

  2. CORRECTED CHOICE OF WORDS:Change “…writing something deep everyday that will advance or at least sustain the Eight Belles horror?” Make that the Eight Belles Memorial, or Solution—one day there might be the Eight Belles Law.

  3. I did feel a bit odd about a “back to business” post this morning, when there is still so many unnerving elements of the Eight Belles aftermath, and so much I’m still thinking about. Whom would we petition, Ernie? Where do we start?And “mellifluous” is one of my favorite words. Its etymology is great–Latin roots: “mel” = honey, “fluous”–flowing, so the mellifluous literally flows like honey…

  4. I’m not sure petition is the right word. Word choice B.C. (before coffee) is unreliable.Perhaps just a blogger promise of weekly (bi?) commentary aimed at creating an Eight Belles Law that addresses safety of the horses.Safety first, maybe, then meds, one measure at a time, victory by victory, progress, or else we all fail (or creep along) under the weight of so many problems.If people feel Synthetics are being intensely studied, let’s choose another area. Whip usage? Whatever. One thing at a time. One note at a time. As in learning an insrument. Pianist Chick Correa talks of not moving to the next measure until you own the previous one. Step by step. Got it–yayy! Next. Got it–yayy!. Next. Chick didn’t use yayy and exclamation points.

  5. I was glad to see a “back to business” post this morning! I knew I couldn’t have won that thing… you caught me, I was milkshaked!I agree E, I’m planning on doing “closer look” posts on each individual topic brought up in the big suggestions post (I can’t access my own damn blog from work, so I can’t link to it).Maybe there is something that can be done as a group, like a watch dog list that keeps tabs on the progress of each thing. I’m a little over booked at the moment but think it could be an interesting approach.

  6. Thanks Teresa, Ernie, & Dana.Yes, it does seem odd but I’m glad to see a return to “normalacy.” Melancholy moods and me are not suited to one another for long periods of time. Yes my heart hurts and yes I agree with Ernie, I sit and ponder where to begin, what to do, especially as an individual not within the industry or one who wants to lower myself to PETA’s level but I do want to fight for my sport that I love so dearly. I want to see it survive and become a sport I can be proud and not have to defend at every headline. It has come so far that co-workers have asked me to take my racing prints off of my cubicle walls and remove my screensavers from my computer this week, to which I have refused. Of whom are these of you might ask – Secretariat, Ruffian, Barbaro and John Henry. They say I don’t understand what transpired Saturday, if only my co-workers understood! If you guys can come up with a way, a place to start, etc. oh please do count me in!

  7. My main suggestion: let’s agree on one thing that needs change, is changeable, and zoom in on that—-one small step.Then take another small step.Doable step 1? I’ll vote whip use, given the quotes that Dana and others have shared. If more people say something else, I’m a thousand percent behind that.

  8. Trip: start by telling us where you want your winnings to go!More later–I’ve got ideas percolating…

  9. I agree definitely on whip use. It’s a shame that the US doesn’t have apprentice only races as if you did I’d definitely advocate no whips at all those races.As a starting point why not aim for similar rules that exist in Britain on use of the whip and just decide whether you want to set the bar at a higher or lower figure than is set here. It would be good place to start from because I can’t see that anyone would disagree and then the powers that be could evaluate the situation and decide whether to go for a total ban.

  10. I am completely behind an approach we can get behind that will promote safety on the racetrack.I believe the main issue is the lack of a main governing body for US racing. Without this, we lack a union to act as a watchdog and guide for the changes we may hope to enact. A bulk of the problems will require huge changes in training, race formats (as Jeremy suggests with apprentice only races) and of course, medications and their affect on racing and breeding. For example, if whip (mis)usage is to change, horses (and riders) will need to be taught different approaches for staying away from the rail or to switch leads (both not always approached with a whip but often used). A cultural change is needed. I have read this week many horse advocate & racing groups are meeting to propose change. The make up of many of these groups does not appear (from the few articles I have read) to include the people that actually handle the animals and this causes me a great deal of concern. I fear changes will be made radically and without the proper research and insight. Is it too far out there to suggest we lobby for a united US Racing Club made up of representatives from a variety of roles and positions?

  11. Ten posts! This is turning into a hot bed! First off, I too love this word — mellifluous — preferably followed by the word “tones” and relating to a super cool jazz dude in a smoky nightclub. Second, for what it’s worth — I talked to Graham Motion and he said Adriano lost a shoe in the first turn when all the colliding occured with Gayego. When Dominguez galloped out after the wire, he saw the shoe sticking out of the dirt. I immediately thought maybe Eight Belles stepped on the show but Larry Jones said, ‘no way.’ ok, that’s out of the way. Now, to the whip – the rules are already in place. If the stewards aren’t following them, then the stewards are the problem. Racing needs to STOP missing the problems and go to their roots. I’m going to say it again: If the horse is the problem, don’t adjust the track surfaces, race distances or time between races to meet the needs of present-day thoroughbreds. I think you need to start breeding a better thoroughbred. The goal, in the past, anyway, was to constantly refine the breeding to make the best horse. We are clearly off that track, and it’s time to get back on. You might want to take a look at breeder bonus incentives in states, and you will see which ones encourage a better animal and which ones (um, New York, for starters) don’t. Maryland, as a matter of fact, does. It’s a big part of this. Anyway, I agree that it was good to see a back-to-business post. Life always goes on. – J.S.

  12. Hi Teresa:Just a quick update on Saratoga Russell. Saratoga Russell has been transferred to the Kiaran MacLaughlin barn and he is up in Saratoga. Next time you are up this way, you can stop by to see him. He is doing well.Kiaran will take it easy with big Russ for a couple of months and will be targeting races in Saratoga come August.

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