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Saturday, October 6, 2007


Teuflesberg photo by Alysse Jacobs

What a devastating way to begin ESPN’s horse racing coverage today! First, before the G3 Phoenix Stakes even began, Dream of Angels flipped over in the paddock, suffering a skull fracture. He was euthanized. Then, just after Randy Moss slipped in it that Teuflesberg’s owners have been “bickering” since the Kings Bishop about whether to sell the colt, that hard-working warrior broke down. Julien Leparoux did a good job in pulling him up quickly and dismounting. What was particularly painful to see was him break loose from handlers and briefly run around on that obviously-damaged left leg before the outrider wrangled him in. Rather interestingly, Jeanine Edwards reported on-air that workers at Keeneland thought that Teuflesberg did not look good in his last work, not his usual self, but she quickly said that she didn’t want to insinuate anything—bullshit! Clearly, trainer Jamie Sanders doesn’t garner much respect for the way she handles (or mishandles) her horses. Still, I have always admired Teuflesberg, while bemoaning his connections, but—for all concerned—I hope he can recover to live a good life. He will undergo surgery to fuse his bones in a few days.

The Phoenix ended up one for longshots, as Off Duty ($29.40 win) maintain his early position to win by ½ length over Rebellion ($9.60 place); Saint Anddan ($4.00 show) finished out the top three, with Maggi Moss’s Indian Chant failing to hang on and ending up fourth. The $1 trifecta paid $1,029.90.

In the G2 First Lady, Vacare ($7.80 win) went one-on-one against Precious Kitten ($4.40 place) in the stretch—and won her sixth of eight lifetime races. Very impressive performance by both fillies, but especially Vacare who got the rail position against her foe in the stretch and won by a neck. Quite a Bride ($4.00 show) completed the $1 trifecta which paid a rather paltry $94.40. Patrick Biancone’s Lady of Venice finished fourth, very disappointing for a filly that has looked much better this year. Is this The Cobra’s karma whipping back to slap him in his smug face?

In the G1 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity, a surprise wire-to-wire winner—from the farthest outside post—Wicked Style ($24.20 win) who did come in off a route win in the G3 Arlington Futurity over polytrack. Slew’s Tizzy’s full-brother Slew’s Tiznow ($6.20 place)—trained by The Cobra—finished ahead of Old Man Buck ($13.20 show), keying a $1 trifecta that paid $1,727.80. Pletcher’s favorite The Roundhouse was a non-entity, finishing sixth. Sadly, another horse broke down in this race, Gold Train, and was euthanized.

In the G1 Shadwell Mile, The Cobra’s bad karma reared its ugly head again as the Dynaformer longshot Purim ($43.80 win) nosed out his Cosmonaut ($5.80 place), with Shakis ($3.20 show) getting third.

At Belmont, in the G1 Champagne, juvenile War Pass ($11.20 win) crushed the field, winning wire-to-wire, with Pyro ($19.60 place) and Z Humor ($10.80 show) fleshing out a $1 trifecta that paid out $1,469. Majestic Warrior and Ready’s Image were complete non-factors, both finishing at the back of the field—in sixth and eighth respectively, in the eight-horse field.

In the G2 Jamaica, my choice War Monger finished fourth, behind the chalk Nobiz Like Shobiz ($5.90 win) who won going away over Red Giant ($3.70 place) and Pays to Dream ($5.40 show). I must admit, I keep underestimating Nobiz, thinking that the switch to turf was just a last-ditch effort to keep him racing rather than a sign of his ability to be a great grass horse. Yet, he keeps plugging away, with his third straight graded turf victory, admittedly against only three-year-olds. But, here he beat G1 victor Shamdinan who switched barns after his fifth place finish in the G1 Man o’ War last out—from Doug O’Neill to Angel Penna, Jr., a situation which certainly didn’t aid the horse today. Another highly-touted European invader, Adagio, failed to impress for his new connections, finishing seventh. He’s tangled with the likes of Teofilo, Holy Roman Emperor, Cockney Rebel, Dutch Art and Authorized over the past two years so what does that say about him here or European horses coming here for the Breeders’ Cup? If Monmouth's turf stays dry and hard, I think American horses should do fine in the turf races.

The success of Michael Dickinson’s Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs resonates in the subsequent victories of well-performing horses there. Last weekend, Fabulous Strike put in an awesome winning effort in the G1 Vosburgh, after having trained over the PID surface. Today, Wild Gams, who finished a very strong second to Miss Macy Sue in the Masters Stakes at PID, won the G3 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland, over Sugar Swirl and Baroness Thatcher. Later on the Keeneland card, in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile, Independent George finished a very creditable fourth in his first graded stakes start; he won the Presque Isle Mile Stakes on September 15. Indian Chant, who won two races at PID, including the Karl Boyes Memorial Stakes, finished a respectable fourth in his first graded stakes start in the tragic-laden G3 Phoenix.

Another atrocious day for The Toddster, whose only showing in the money was Red Giant’s second place finish in the G3 Jamaica. For the owners of Ready’s Image and The Roundhouse, maybe it’s time to find a trainer sans assistants who can develop your horses—or retire them to stud (yes, that is sarcasm).

It was nice to see sire Cherokee Run have a productive Saturday, especially considering the recent death of his five-year-old mare Indian Flare. War Pass impressively captured the G1 Champagne, and Zanjero won the G2 Indiana Derby. In her second start, Zanjero’s full-sister Acacia couldn’t quite hold on to win, finishing third by a length, behind Cozy Mesa ($26.00) and Banner Day ($3.00) in a 8.5 furlong maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies at Keeneland. Still, at $40,000, Darley probably still is overcharging on his stud fee.


drew said...

In total agreement with your Tefulesberg comment. How many times was his connections going to run the colt? Every time he started, I gritted my teeth hoping he would be okay. Can you please post how he is doing or let me know where I can check?

Additionally, throughbred racing will never broaden their fan base as long as horses continue to breakdown especially on national TV. Do you think anyone wants to see an animal die?

Anonymous said...

It is increasingly difficult to support thoroughbred horse racing with the breakdowns of late. Is the new poly track really safer? When do the trainers finally realize the horses are delicate creatures that are being worked like a Clydesdale? I have been an avid fan for over 40 years and have of late begun to question why I watch when such tragedies keep happening. 10/6/07 was so heartbreaking and we are still grieving over Barbaro.