I apologize for the dearth of blogging this week (and last). With just two weeks of classes remaining, students needing advisement for fall registration, and tons of grading to finish, I just haven’t found the time to write—unlike last spring when I was on sabbatical (ah, the good old days!). Still, a few things to mention:
Keeneland opens on Friday (yeah!). For those so inclined, they have an interesting handicapping contest that runs the length of the meet—beginning with race 7 every day, pick a horse to win or place and get credited for the payout in your imaginary bankroll. Contest entry and rules can be found here. Also, Keeneland has a pretty nifty free screensaver you can download here.
At Aqueduct today, a four-year-old Illinois-bred filly called Are You Dancing won race 9 (a six-furlong maiden claiming event). If you are a long-time reader, you may remember I mentioned her last July in a book review I wrote on Gene McCormick’s The Blue Collar Thoroughbred—nice story, and congratulations to the McDonnell’s.
I brought up in a previous post that it appears the controversial owner Michael Gill has returned to racing with a vengeance. Winner of the Eclipse Award in 2005 as outstanding owner, mortgage banker Gill got out of the racing business in 2006 because, as noted in this Bloodhorse article, he was “denied stalls in numerous states and even denied permission to enter horses at one racetrack.” That would be Delaware Park which Gill sued—you can read some of the gritty details here. Of course, he also filed a lawsuit against Gulfstream Park for defamation after numerous incidents there; including most specifically the unusual (to say the least) circumstances surrounding Gill’s horse Casual Conflict whose right front leg was secretively amputated by Gill’s vet after being euthanized.
Apparently Gill is welcome these days at Laurel Park. Flying a bit under the radar, he had a three-year-filly named Amy Whatuwannado finish last in race 7 on February 1; that’s the earliest I can find a reference for him racing this year. As mentioned previously, he began a torrid claiming run in mid-March (15 horses on 4 racing dates, for a total of $176,000). He continues that spree; on March 27, he claimed Tight Boundary ($16,000) in race 3 and Pay the Preacher ($25,000) in race 6; on March 28, Kalliyan ($5,000) race 1, Beat the Chalk ($7,500) race 2, Terri’s T Bird ($14,000) race 5, and Chicago Nate ($22,500) race 6; on March 29, Diamond Buckles ($8,000) race 3, Cormorant’s Pride ($20,000) race 4, Hairsprayandstuff ($16,000) race 5, Lutz ($10,000) race 6, and Whisky Swish ($5,000) race 7; and on March 30, Father Stripes ($25,000) race 2, and Rubidium ($25,000) race 5. That’s 13 more horses at a cost of $199,000—bringing his 8 day total to $375,000 claiming 28 horses. The mortgage business must have been very, very good to Mr. Gill these past two years...