IEAH’s deal to purchase 50% interest in I Want Revenge was finally completed on Monday—considering the speed with which their previous purchases were accomplished, I wondered what made this one different, as it seemed to drag on a relatively long period of time. The answer may have been revealed on Tuesday when it was announced that I Want Revenge’s owner/breeder David Lanzman acquired 25% interest in Stardom Bound from IEAH. Such maneuvering begs the question, is this just a shrewd move by an owner/breeder giddy with success this year and enjoying the moment, or is this merely a “paper” purchase with IEAH unable to muster up capital to pay cash outright for I Want Revenge? After purchasing in the past year Big Brown, Laragh, Patena and now I Want Revenge—plus paying $5.7 million for Stardom Bound at last November’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale—how is it possible for them to continue to acquire big-ticket horses with cash only in this economic downturn/recession? Just curious if they will be in need of a bailout soon (now wouldn't that make an excellent April Fool's story?).
What a tremendous race Saturday’s G1 Ashland is looking to be! Much of the G1 Santa Anita Oaks field is back, including Nan, Third Dawn, and Hooh Why—all three look to step up against Stardom Bound in a big way. Hooh Why has been a particular favorite of mine since her close runner-up finish to Patena in the Display Stakes at Woodbine. Maybe it’s just because her owners were willing to run a 2-year-old filly, three weeks back off her last race, against colts, and stretch her out to 8.5f, to boot. She’s run almost exclusively on artificial surfaces, but did finish third of ten in the ungraded Sandpiper on dirt at Tampa in December, so she could be a surprisingly-dangerous Kentucky Oaks contender if her numbers continue to improve. And talk about a seasoned shipper—Arlington, Presque Isle, Woodbine, Tampa, Santa Anita and now Keeneland! Also scheduled to run in the Ashland is Joe Parker-trained What a Pear, who has been demolishing New York company, but this will be her first real test against quality competition.
Speaking of quality, I was duly impressed with Quality Road’s performance in the G1 Florida Derby, and he’s moved onto my Top Ten list:
1. Friesan Fire
2. Rachel Alexandra
3. Quality Road
4. Old Fashioned
5. Stardom Bound
6. Papa Clem
7. I Want Revenge
8. Imperial Council
9. Mr. Hot Stuff
Certainly this coming weekend’s preps will solidify my position on specific horses—or totally toss them off my list. Namely, Colonel John’s little brother Mr. Hot Stuff takes on the A-Team (The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile, Chocolate Candy) in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, while I Want Revenge and Imperial Council clash in the G1 Wood Memorial—traditionally one of my favorite Derby preps, although it hasn’t appeared to make much of dent in recent years. The last Derby winner to have run in the Wood was Funny Cide who narrowly lost to Empire Maker in 2003, and what a prep that was for the Derby:
The last Wood winner to win the Run for the Roses was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000—god, how I love hearing his name!
Since we’re taking a stroll down memory lane, here’s Foolish Pleasure’s 1975 Wood victory—and not just because I love my childhood hero, but the second-place finisher was the wonderfully-named Bombay Duck: