For awhile there I thought I had really nailed the 10th at Belmont—Viva La View and Wonderifiamspecial led the way…until they hit the stretch that is. Viva La View hung on gamely for second, beaten a long neck by Granted Tiger, while Wonderifiamspecial tired badly to finish last. Might have been the yielding turf that wore her out, or maybe she’s not a grass horse. Regardless, I’m stubborn…I’ll put her in my virtual stable and see if she’s better placed in her next race. Still, Viva La View paid a nice $11.20 place and $7.00 show.
If anyone is looking for “sure money” right now, bet any horse that Earlie Fires rides at Arlington. On Saturday he won with favorites Sum Splendor ($4.20) and Rebounded ($5.80), and 9-1 shot Watchingirlsgoby ($19.60). His only loser was 4-1 Porticipation who finished out of the money in race 9. The 61- year-old Hall of Fame jockey says he is nearing retirement, but first:
I've got a goal, and if I don't get hurt or something, I should get there pretty soon. I'm not saying what it is until I get there. I might be just riding some day, win a race, jump down and say, 'I quit.' I'm trying to do everything proper, the way I like to do it.
Obviously he’s riding only the horses he thinks can win, and I’d trust a man with his experience.
In race 1 at Churchill (a maiden claimer for 2-year-old fillies), Shining Moment became the fifth 2-year-old winner this year for the combo of Steve Asmussen and Shaun Bridgmohan. Over a sloppy sealed track, this Padua Stables-homebred blew away the field by nearly 13 lengths. What’s really interesting about her breeding (Yes Its True out of Shimmering Night, by Meadowlake) is that her dam is bred 4 x 4 to Prince John who carried the Blue Larkspur X-factor gene. Why’s that, you say? Well, it’s the X chromosome gene that causes an exceptionally large heart, and while a stallion can possess an oversized heart, he only passes on the gene through his daughters, not sons. Prince John got the gene mutation through his dam Not Afraid (Count Fleet) whose dam Banish Fear was a daughter of Blue Larkspur. Pretty cool, huh? It makes me wonder, in this age of aged genetic testing, if the breeding industry does extensive DNA analysis of their stallions, broodmares and progeny to find “weaknesses” or strengths in genes. I’m not suggesting test-tube foals or clones; I’m talking about fundamental good science to improve the breed.