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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chalk Another One Up For The Girls

Another Saturday of racing in Australia, another mare wins a big race over males…

In the listed $200,000 Ipswich Cup, the sole mare in the field, Bianca, blew away from the rest in the stretch to win going away for trainer Gai Waterhouse—at 13-1! Favorite Rampant Lion—recent runner-up in the G1 Doomben Cup—finished second, while one of the pre-race favorites Synonym ran fourth behind the 50-1 roughie Art Success.

For Bianca (by the Sunday Silence son Painted Black), it was only her second win in 17 tries, although she had finished within two lengths of winners in her last three races, including the Scone Cup and the listed Sir Edward Williams Handicap. In the last, she finished just a half-length behind Mr. Baritone who won the G1 Stradbroke Handicap last weekend so her form looked good, and, combine that with her trainer and jockey Scott Seamer up, it paid off well for yours truly. Finally! I’ve been very cold for the past two weeks, so it was nice to not only get Bianca, but also Bareena ($12.20 win) in the $100,000 Gai Waterhouse Classic. Funny that—could you imagine a working trainer here getting their own stakes-race? The Todd Pletcher Handicap...hmmm.

Unfortunately, Gai’s joy at winning the Ipswich Cup must have been tempered by the dramatic four horses pile-up in her name-sake race—Seconde, Centinelle, Street Smart, and Stella Joy—the last, whom caused the domino-effect falls, broke a hind leg and was euthanized. According to reports, her jockey Lacey Morrison regained partial consciousness before being transported to the hospital; Seconde’s jockey Tony Pattillo was also taken to hospital with a possible hip injury. The other two, Jason Holder on Centinelle and Phil Wolfgram on Street Smart, are reported to be fine.

This is not the first time Ipswich Cup day has been marred by devastating accidents. In 2000, eight horses went down in the Ipswich Cup; three had to be destroyed including Mushtak who broke both front fetlocks—just like Eight Belles. At the time, jockey Darren Beadman said, “I’ve ridden over 15,000 races and I’ve never seen a horse break both of its front legs. It was just one in a million.”