Arabian horse and the Saudi man
Arabian horse and the Saudi man
Arabian horse and the Saudi man
AN ORGANIC FARM IN INDIA: Manure, Life and the Bio-fuel Miracle of the Cow
The stunning music from Brijesh and Vivek is something I witnessed at a Christmas Eve concert in Fort Cochin, with, shockingly, only about twelve other people. It was jaw-dropping and inspiring I left the theatre in a heightened state of joy and wonder.
Nothing has phased Heck Yeah in his first two starts, whether it was sprinting on the main track on debut Dec. 7 at Los Alamitos or coming from behind down the hillside course here in the California Cup Turf Sprint Jan. 27. He has found the winner’s circle in both.
In his first test routing, the heavily favored dark bay was challenged for the lead to his outside by Intimidate (Vronsky) around the first turn. He was a length clear passing the half-mile pole and opened up the margin while still in hand around the far turn. He kicked clear by three lengths inside the final furlong before holding off a late charge by Violent Ridge in the final strides to remain unbeaten.
“I was telling Bob that down the backstretch, I felt like I was in the Olympics (with a strong headwind), said winning rider Mike Smith.” I was trying to be as aerodynamic as possible. (The wind) was really strong and it took its toll on all of them in there…I wanted him to stay in that nice rhythm and we were able to hold them off down the lane.”
This is the first foal to race out of Lutess and hails from the family of MGSW Moment of Hope (Timeless Moment). She also has a juvenile colt named Inconceivable (Coil), a yearling colt by Surf Cat and was bred to Vronsky last year.
CALIFORNIA CUP DERBY, $201,035, SA, 2-19, (S), 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:46.60, ft.
1–HECK YEAH, 124, c, 3, by Acclamation
1st Dam: Lutess, by Maria’s Mon
2nd Dam: Alchema, by Menifee
3rd Dam: Madeira M’dear, by Black Tie Affair (Ire)
O-Robert Baedeker, Michael Pageler & Michael Sigband;
B-Michael Pageler (CA); T-Bob Baffert; J-Mike E. Smith.
$110,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $194,000.
2–Violent Ridge, 120, g, 3, Violence–Feel Ridge (Brz), by
Choctaw Ridge. O/B-BG Stables (CA); T-Hector O. Palma.
3–Continental Divide, 124, c, 3, Animal Kingdom–Bandora, by
Dixieland Band. ($45,000 Ylg ’16 BAROCT; $245,000 2yo ’17
BARMAY). O-D P Racing; B-PT Syndicate #1, LLC (CA); T-James
M. Cassidy. $22,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 3 3/4, HF. Odds: 0.90, 6.10, 13.90.
Also Ran: Fire When Ready, Campaigner, Black Site, Hardboot, Faversham, Intimidate, Kaleidoscope Kid, Lucky Romano. Scratched: George From Tahoe.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
Wood carving sculpture “Arabian horse”
A 27-year-old rookie trainer claims a horse for $10,000 at Mahoning Valley and, usually, the story goes nowhere. But not this one. There are better horses out there than Chella (Where’s the Ring), but good luck finding one more consistent and durable. When she won a $50,000 starter stakes at Gulfstream Saturday it was not only the biggest win of her career purse-wise, but raised her career record to a remarkable 26 for 41.
“She’s not normal,” said owner-trainer Elliot Sullivan, now 29 and based for most of the year in Ohio.
No, she’s not. Sullivan claimed the horse for $10,000 on April 1, 2015. He won a three-way shake to get her, but wasn’t sure if he had done the right thing. Chella had already won six times in her career, including three in a row, and was taking a suspicious drop in class.
“It looked a little too obvious that she was in for $10,000 the day I claimed her,” Sullivan said. “She ran a bad second in the race we claimed her out of. She was a really body sore horse when I got her and they put her on vet’s list day I claimed her.”
But using such methods as a magnetic blanket and ice treatments, Sullivan got the horse back to her best. She won eight straight for her new connections, many of them in starter allowance company at the Ohio tracks. Sullivan got more adventurous and started shipping around to find spots. Chella has won at, among other tracks, Keeneland, Churchill, Fort Erie, Delaware and Mountaineer. Normally, Sullivan stays in Ohio for the winter but decided to ship to Tampa Bay this year. There, for the first time since he started campaigning her, he put her in for a tag. She won the $62,500 optional claimer at Tampa and there were no takers. Next out she won another starter allowance, this one at Tampa, and then headed to Gulfstream. The second choice in the wagering, the 7-year-old won by a half-length. She’s won 63.4% of her starts.
“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Sullivan said. “To me, she’s just a freak of nature. Anything you put in her way she takes it down. Seven-eighths is not her preferred distance, but yesterday she found a way to win. She looked like she was in trouble at the quarter-pole but she really has the will to win. She is a very competitive horse. She loves her job. I haven’t trained many horses like that who love to go out and train in the morning and love what they do. She makes your job a lot easier as a trainer.”
What impressed Sullivan the most is the mare’s consistency. She may not always win, but she always tries. She has run out of the money only once during the 23 starts she’s made for his barn.
“The best thing about this mare is she has stayed at the same level for so long,” he said. “I’ve never had a horse that has come close to that. They all seem to have a peak of six months to a year, max. Three years ago, she was at the same level she’s at today. If anything, she’s gotten even gotten better with time. She’s just special. She’s been a special part of my life.”
Speaking of Iron Horses
Page McKenney (Eavesdropper) was also in the winner’s circle Saturday at Gulfstream, winning a $60,000 starter stakes. That was win number 21 for the 8-year-old gelding who has made 54 career starts.
There were some signs that time had finally caught up with the Mary Eppler trainee as he had finished a non-threatening eighth and fifth in his prior two starts. But both were in tough spots, including the GIII Harlan’s Holiday S., where he was eighth behind Fear the Cowboy (Cowboy Cal). Dropping down into easier company helped as he won by four lengths.
Like Chella, Page McKenney is one of the more remarkable stories in racing today. He was claimed in 2013 for $16,000. He’s now earned $1,796,000, most of it for current owners Adam Staple and Jalin Stable.
Aqueduct’s Winter Blues
For those of you who still think winter racing at Aqueduct–at least four days a week of it–is a good idea, please look at the charts of this week’s races.
Sixty-seven horses started Saturday in nine races for an average field size of 7.44, and that was the good day. On Thursday, there were five races with five-horse fields and the average field size for the day was 5.5. Friday’s eight-race card kicked off with an early double consisting of two four-horse races. Forty-seven horses ran, for an average field size 5.875. The first three races on Sunday’s card were all four-horse fields and the average field size for the day was 5.77.
The product matters. Horseplayers are not going to bet on this stuff and, though no one equates Aqueduct in the winter to Saratoga, NYRA is tarnishing its brand and driving customers to other signals by putting together the types of cards horseplayers despise.
Surely, there has to be a better way.
Former Jockey Found a Second Career
One Joey (Skinny Joey) Merlino was all over the news last week. The reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob, he was in court in Manhattan on racketeering charges and, on Thursday, the jury told the judge it was deadlocked. However, the judge told the jury to get back to work and they will reconvene on Tuesday.
The Associated Press reported: “Joseph ‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino was a tough-talking ‘fixer’ in a widespread scheme to collect insurance payments by bribing doctors to write bogus prescriptions for a pain cream, Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Nicolas told Manhattan jurors.”
But once upon a time, Merlino, 55, was a fairly obscure bug boy on the Mid-Atlantic circuit.
Starting in 1979, Merlino rode for three years and won 41 races, most of them at Monmouth and Parx (then known as Keystone). His biggest win came in the 1981 Annapolis H. at Pimlico.
A Sleeper for the Triple Crown
Still Having Fun (Old Fashioned) is going to have to do a lot more than win a $100,000 stakes in the middle of winter at Laurel before anybody gets too excited about him, but don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more from this colt down the road.
First off, some pretty smart people in Gary Barber and the Wachtel Stable have already bought into him and they surely weren’t disappointed by Saturday’s Miracle Wood at Laurel, even though the horse only won by a neck.
Coming off a 4 1/2-length win in the Frank Whiteley S., he had a brutal trip Saturday. Ridden by Fergal Lynch, he broke from the one-post on the one-mile, one-turn race, and ducked in at the start, which cost him about four lengths. Trapped on the inside and lacking room all down the backstretch, Lynch was forced to steady. Finally, he found an open lane in mid-stretch, but it looked like long shot Old Time Revival (Brethern) was long gone. But Still Having Fun showed admirable courage, dug down and caught the longshot before the wire. Trainer Timothy Keefe said the Private Terms S. is likely next. If the connections don’t point for the Derby, he might just turn out to be the hot new shooter in the GI Preakness S.
Narayan Reddy on Organic Farming
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Ed DeRosa of TwinSpires.com takes on TDN’s Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap each prep race leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets – highest bankroll after the Lexington S. wins.
DeRosa: Saturday – Noble Indy settled for third after some traffic trouble in the stretch of the Risen Star, while Choo Choo was fifth in the El Camino Real Derby. Bankroll: $770.
GIII Southwest S. – I went into the Smarty Jones opposing Mourinho but left Oaklawn thinking he’d be tough in the Southwest, and no one who shows up here makes me think the result will be any different. Hate chalking out for the weekend, but I can’t just stab. Selection: #4 Mourinho (2-1).
Sherack: Saturday – Principe Guilherme finished far back after a wide trip in the Risen Star. Paved (+$530), closer than last time, got the job done at Golden Gate with room to spare. Bankroll: $750.
GIII Southwest S. – Combatant continues to improve with every start and should really appreciate a much different pace scenario in this speed-laden contest than what played out when chasing Mourinho home after that one was allowed very easy early fractions in the Smarty Jones. Son of Scat Daddy is primed for a breakout performance. Selection: #10 Combatant (6-1).
DiDonato: Saturday – Supreme Aura never looked comfortable in the Risen Star, but Paved (+$530) sat a perfect trip in the El Camino Real Derby to prove best against the boys. Bankroll: $2240.
GIII Southwest S. – Zing Zang is probably the ultimate “wise guy” type and very possibly a trap, but he’s one of the few confirmed closers in a race full of speed. He was just much too far back last time, but seems poised to turn in a career best. Hopefully it’s good enough. Selection: #8 Zing Zang (15-1).
Bravazo (c, 3, Awesome Again–Tiz o’ Gold, by Cee’s Tizzy), runner-up at 47-1 in last year’s GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and a narrow optional claiming winner at Oaklawn last time Jan. 13, lit up the tote board at 21-1 odds in the GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds.
The Calumet homebred kept the pressure on Snapper Sinclair (City Zip) through fractions of :24.15 and :47.96. He reached even terms with that one at the top of the stretch, and, after a long duel, just got up to win the bob on the wire. Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy) was third.
The final time was 1:42.95.
Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas also campaigned Calumet’s GI Preakness S. hero Oxbow (Awesome Again) by this same sire.
Lifetime Record: 7-3-1-1.
O/B-Calumet Farm (Ky); T-D. Wayne Lukas.
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