Saturday, July 14, 2007
Funny Cide, Four Acres and Danthebluegrassman, or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
* What a fantastic thing Sackatoga Stable did retiring Funny Cide on Friday, especially after the wonderful experience everyone recently had at Finger Lakes watching him win the Wadsworth Memorial. However, it does sound like this gelding isn’t going to much enjoy just being down on the farm, swatting flies. So, what next? While he may not be at the top of his racing game anymore, he does appear to love working out, so how about making him a horse racing goodwill ambassador. Send him to all those tracks where Kentucky Derby winners normally do not appear, and let the public meet him, watch him gallop, maybe with another old star partner. Not a dog-and-pony show (as it may sound like on the surface), but something respectful and fun that raises the sport’s intimacy level with the public. How about sending him to Mountaineer Park for West Virginia Derby Day on August 4, and then to Philly Park for Labor Day, which features the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby?
* Several good two-year-olds on my watch list worked on Friday. At Del Mar, world-record holding filly One Hot Wish handily went five furlongs in 1.00:40 (2/21), while at Woodbine, My Dear Stakes heroine Dancing Allstar breezed four furlongs in 48:00 (1/37). At Belmont, Tremont Stakes winner Ready’s Image breezed four furlongs in :48.53 (7/42), while The Roundhouse (Circular Quay’s half-brother) went five furlongs in 1:02.72 (5/12) and another Pletcher trainee, Spanky Fischbein breezed the same distance in 1:02.62 (2/12).
* My favorite perpetual maiden, Four Acres, takes another stab at victory after finishing second in his last race. On Saturday, in race 1 at Suffolk Downs, this six-year-old gelding makes his 70th start. After Punk’s victory at Mountaineer Park on July 7, maybe karma will shine favorably on Four Acres—hope some of you take a chance on him.
* Another hard luck horse, eight-year-old Danthebluegrassman is entered in race 8 at River Downs on Sunday, an $8,500 starter allowance. He hasn’t run since finishing out of money in a $10,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs on June 3, and his last reported workout was June 18 at Keeneland (four furlongs in 48:00). Hopefully, he’s back on track with the time off. As I previously mentioned in my little history of him, I still wonder why he just hasn’t been retired to stud duty. Sure, he doesn’t have a popular bloodline these days, but there’s plenty good in there. He’s by Pioneering, who’s a half-brother to Storm Cat, as both are out of the Secretariat mare Terlingua. Pioneering’s sire, is Mr. Prospector, by Raise A Native out of a Nashua mare Gold Digger. The broodmare sire of Danthebluegrassman is more obscure, the French champion two-year-old Grey Dawn, who was by the French three-year-old champion of 1959, Herbager. Wait a minute…as I’m writing this, I’m reading more about Herbager and his offspring, and a possible answer to my question is slowly emerging. Herbager broke a pastern while running in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe…his famous daughter Our Mims fractured her cannon bone and had to be retired…maybe there is concern for weakness there on both sides. However, it is also interesting that several of Herbager’s offspring raced an extraordinary number of races, including relative unknowns Bag of Fish (103), Favori (120), and Our Trade Winds (167 races—and he even finished in the money 77 times).
* Finally, a big “thank you” to the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance’s new sponsor, Premier Turf Club, as well as our very first sponsor Twinspires.com, both of whom have generously donated money to thoroughbred racing charities in the name of our bloggers’ group in exchange for supporting categories in our standings.