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I am chagrined about not picking Orb for the Derby after praising how wonderful he looked in three posts. And this is the race I fancied him for anyway. So, I have to stick with him this time out. He looks just as fit and powerful and this race suits him better as far as the track goes. But, he's on the inside by a very fast horse, and going off at even money, so for a flutter, I'm going to put twenty on My Lute and do a Goldencents/Orb exacta for another twenty. And let's make it a full Fifty with a tenner across the board on Will Take Charge.

I see it going down as Orb, My Lute, Goldencents (fading but still in it) or Will Take Charge closing for second or third.


Edit To Say: Wow! Didn't see that one coming at all. My exact reaction at the 1/2 mile pole was "Gary, what are you doing?" Apparently, Gary was winning the race! I can't be upset about that as it is great to see him back in the saddle.
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I shall put this under a spoiler cut...just in case...

Read more... )
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So, nobody is backing my horse, Java's War. But I'm still sticking with him. Call me crazy. Go ahead. This is my biggest "out there" pick since Animal Kingdom.

I will say the horse that looks the best today is Verazzano. So, I'm going to take a small, fully imaginary, flutter on him for 10 dollars to win.

I'm still on the split between Revolutionary and Java's War. Though, I wouldn't call you crazy if you went Orb with everyone else. He's a beautiful animal. And, of course, there are a dozen sentimental stories...first woman, first African American jockey in over a century. Elder statesman returning to the race. Etc.
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It snuck up on me this year. I've been so busy overanalyzing Doctor Who that I haven't given Overanalyze and the rest of the field my attention. But, I am willing to make my fearless predictions...or rather...take a stab at a flutter. This year, after a quick look at the youtube footage, no horse really appeals to me. I don't hate them. I don't love them. I think it is too soon to tell about almost every horse in the field.

I'll say this much, Orb is a damned fine looking horse. I believe he is going to go off as favorite. But if I have fifty dollars to put down it is going to be split between Java War (who I felt gave the best performance of any contender) and Revolutionary (because of Calvin and this being a jockey's race), across the board for both of them.

So, there you have it. Let's see how they run.
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Today, during the Preakness Post Parade, the announcers talked a little bit about Lava Man, a former race horse who was acting as I'll Have Another's pony. The pony's job is to keep the nervous young horses quiet and calm. Lava Man is a gelding, so he can't be put out to stud, but it is interesting that he has a second career as a pony for a great horse, because Lava Man is, himself, a great horse.

I had checked out of racing for a bit around 2004-2007, so I didn't realize how great until I did a little research.

Lava Man started out somewhere below the bottom of the barrel. He was well-bred but not well purchased and at 2 years old he was racing in a $12,500 dollar maiden claiming race at a Fairgrounds track. Claiming races are when every horse in the race is for sale at that price...in this case...$12,500. This is where your cart horses come from...and where the "make them into dog food" fears arise, too. It's a hard grind for a horse at this level, because nobody cares about you, you make little, if any, money and you are raced until you drop or someone takes you off your owner's hands. But Lava Man lucked out when he fell into the hands of O'Neill, and got a shot at stakes races in California.

And not just any Stakes races...but GRADE 1 races in great company. O'Neill is, apparently, a crazy man or a good judge of cheap horse flesh. I'll Have Another cost him $11,000. At four years old, Lava Man was fitted with blinkers and he got his mind on his job and started winning Handicap races, while carrying the heaviest weights in the field.

Here he is putting away the best in the land in the Hollywood Gold Cup in 2005 in a record shattering win...

He won again the next year. In 2006, he won The Santa Anita Handicap, The Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific Coast Classic all Grade 1 races. He was the first horse to ever do that in the same calendar year. He is the all time leading Stakes race winner in California history. He is the only horse to ever win a major race at every California race track. He is the third highest money earner in the history of California racing. He has won on dirt, grass and artificial surfaces. He was California Horse of the year in 2006 as well as Older Horse of the Year and Turf Horse of the Year. He has been compared to Seabiscuit and is arguably the greatest claiming horse of all time. You can read all about his amazing career on wikipedia here...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava_Man

Oh, and he walks I'll Have Another to the post, to keep him calm. And I bet he gives him a few tips, too, just like an old coach with a promising new recruit, "Get your nose in front, son! That's what they expect of you. Win big and you don't have to find a new home."

To Learn More About the 100 Things Challenge...go here...http://jdbracknell.livejournal.com/165714.html
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Truly, I loved Barbaro. Losing him broke my heart, because I thought he could win it all and would have. But I've not been THIS excited about a horse in a very long time. I love I'll Have Another, because he has more than natural talent. He has grit and intellect and heart. He reminds me a lot of another great Santa Anita Derby winner, Affirmed. Back when everyone was high on Alydar, who was a magnificent animal, I never stepped off of Affirmed, because he wanted it more. Look at how both horses dig in there for the win. I'll Have Another just eats up the ground in the stretch. He and Bode are pulling away from a horse that had to be going 35 miles an hour.

As I said in my last post, give him a chance and he will run anyone down. This race was so great. My throat hurts from all that screaming. GRIN

Watch it under this cut Read more... )
Now, about The Belmont...

First, he has to come of this race sound and fit. Then, he will need Mario to have a cool head in that long turn in New York. I can't tell you how many jockeys lose the Belmont because they move their horse too soon. On any other track that's what you do, but at the Belmont you have America's longest stretch run ahead of you, and you need to sit chilly on the horse, relaxing him just when he wants to switch leads. Keep your horse relaxed until you enter the stretch. At that point, with the long stretch ahead of him, Dullahan and a few other fresher horses will be making stretch runs and they might barrel past us. I'll Have Another will be required to hold off challengers, which he hasn't had much experience doing. Usually, he is making a run at a leader. This time he may well be the leader. Then the question is, can he keep his head, hold on to the lead and make history?

I'll Have Another! Just one more...please!
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Bode...Bode...Bodemeister! Well, I agree with how this race looks on paper. I think that it is a race that is almost a walk for Bodemeister. And Creative Cause has his best chance here. I'm not sure that come from behind horses are going to get a good set up for them. And, so the only question for any of us is about my horse, "I'll Have Another."

I think he's HORSE enough for this. He looks great today. I think he's a true little man, with enough heart to win. And if he gets a shot at Bodemeister, I think he will beat him. But I can't deny that Bode looks like a wire-to-wire cinch. A lot depends on how Bode rates in this one. Can he be rated, slowed down? And was the 100 yards in the Derby a factor? I don't know. I just hope that I'll Have Another doesn't need it to be a nail-biter and can, in fact, run that rabbit down. Here we go!
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I've always had an eye for a good race horse. I don't know exactly what it is that I know, but I know. Sometimes I think I was impressed as a small child by the legendary Secretariat to such an extent that his image is burned in my brain as "HORSE." All other horses are then compared to the master image. My other half calls this intuition. But I'm not so sure that's what it is, because I do much better with my "intuition" when I watch the horses in action. Last year, I did pic Animal Kingdom as the winner of the derby by seeing him just before the race. I'd never seen him run, but he was beautifully muscled on that day. This year, many racing experts picked Union Rags on the same criteria; he was fit and ready to go. He had a bad trip, of course, but he didn't impress me much in his races or in the parade. Maybe that was intuition. But I'll tell you what, this is the race I saw that made me pick "I'll Have Another" as my favorite horse this year.

You can scroll forward to the final third of the race to see what I mean when I say that I'll Have Another is a HORSE. He has what is known as heart in the racing lingo. He appears to be finished when the come from behind powerhouse, Creative Cause, makes a charge at him. But I'll Have Another finds another gear. Bodemeister won the Arkansas Derby by 10 lengths in most impressive fashion. But he didn't impress me as much as I'll Have Another did in the Santa Anita. Bodemeister romped to the front and pulled away, unchallenged. And that is a sight to see. It stirs the blood of a horse enthusiast to witness something like that. But I wasn't sure what he would do when faced with the longer track and the challengers in the Derby. I was pretty sure what I'll Have Another would do. He would run down any competition. He would dig in hard if faced with a challenge. And he would do his level best to win.
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I'll Have Another for the win! And I can see him taking the Preakness as well. The kid has heart.

How did I end up for my $100 dollar stake...let's see...my Exacta was I'll Have Another and Dullahan...and they finished, in that order, in the money. That's two years in a row now that I've had first and third.

I'll Have Another paid 32.60 for the win. And Dullahan paid 7.20 for the show. So that's like...uhm...a lot of money. This is embarrassing, but I'm not sure exactly how betting works. Still, it is at least $400 dollars. And my loss total is $100.

Second guessers are still wondering what happened to Union Rags. But I say he wasn't the horse. Z3nyatta can back me up that I'll Have Another has been my horse since the Santa Anita Derby.

BTW, if you are wondering what happened to Hansen. In order to avoid the scenario I laid out for you in the last post, Hansen's jockey fought with him to keep him from going to the front. This meant, essentially, that Hansen spent his energy early and had nothing to give to the race. They would have been better advised, in my opinion, to let him challenge Bodemeister for the lead. But I think the outcome of the race would have been about the same even if they had gone after Bode. Bodemeister did impress me in this race with his staying power at those speeds. He could be a real threat in the Preakness.
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And here I am sticking my neck out again on LJ and making wild predictions.

This year my predictions are not quite as wild, because I have been following the racing since November. My favorite horse this year is "I'll Have Another." But I will admit that he's fighting against the synthetic track bias and a #19 post position on the far outside, so he would be a long shot. The other horse I like quite a bit is 2 Year Old Champion, Hansen. This is unusual for me as I'm not generally a fan of the 2 Year Old Champions for 3 Year Old Racing. But Hansen, to my way of thinking, gave a better performance than Bodemeister when clocked over the same distance. The horse that beat Hansen was named Dullahan, and so I must be high on him as well. I do think that Bodemeister and Hansen will hook up for a speed dual on the front. This should set up the race nicely for a come from behind finisher like Dullahan or Alpha.

So, if I was putting money on this race, I would break up a $100 this way...20 dollar exacta box on I'll Have Another and Dullahan and 20 dollars each across the board on I'll Have Another, Dullahan, Alpha and Hansen. I think I will have a winner in that mix. With any luck it will be the Exacta, but with my current record on LJ, it will be Gemologist, Union Rags and Bodemeister in the final stretch run. Or, as my buddy [livejournal.com profile] z3nyatta puts it, bet on whichever horse Calvin Borel is riding. :grin: That would be "Take Charge Indy," and they were mighty impressive wire to wire in the Florida Derby.

UPDATED TO SAY I've folded to peer pressure and will now take the 20 dollars off of Alpha and place it on Gemologist.
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Let this be a lesson to you all.

I was chatting to LJ user Keswindhover about the upcoming Kentucky Derby. Those who remember the last few years, might recall that poor Kes lost a bit of money following my horse-tips, at first. This year, she was very sensible and toddled off to sleep (she lives in foreign lands) about 20 minutes before the race. She did not listen to me when I told her that I would put my little all on Mucho Macho Man across the board.

She also didn't take me seriously, when I said that, knowing nothing at all about racing form in the field this year, I would pick Animal Kingdom to win, because he was in the best condition of all the horses, muscled on to win on this particular day.

This means, basically, Kes will be well rested, but will NOT be much, much richer tomorrow. As Animal Kingdom came in for the win and paid 43.80 on 2 dollars. Also, Mucho Macho Man finished third and paid 7-2 for that.

Oh, well, if Kes had listened to me, I probably would have been wrong. I crack under pressure if I have real money to put down on the races. But when I don't...I can pick a horse cold and finish in the money 5 times out of 8...which is pretty darn good picking. :grin:

Take a look at the condition of this horse though...this should be him in the foreground for a time...


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There's a bit of gushing and a spoiler under this cut. Read more... )

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It seems to me I've been a little lax in getting my review out of Secretariat. What did I think? Did the film do the great horse justice?

Yes! I think it was a marvelous film. Only slightly Disney-fied. And really, what I liked was that it was clean in a proper way. There was no need to "sex" up the story or give it edge. It just held its own. Some critics objected to the lack of deviation from the basic story, but what a great story it is! I wasn't even offended by the religious overtones, because I believed they were appropriate to the people involved. I did think John Malcovich was weirdly cast as Lucien Laurin and now and again seemed to lack conviction in the role (and also lacked a good command of French). But I loved the fellow that played Ron Turcotte. And Miss Penny was spot on. Diane Lane did a marvelous job conveying that housewife/steel magnolia combination of primness and firm resolve.

The horses playing Secretariat were well cast for the most part. Now and again the big fella looked a little foreshortened, a tad bowed in the back, which he most certainly was not. He was a big red horse and one of those animals playing him was definitely leaning toward bay. But the racing scenes were incredibly dynamic. The extreme close-ups on nostrils and eyes and fingers twisted in the mane made for a very personal, visceral experience. I've watched a lot of races in my time, but I've never been that close to the action. And the overall effect was to make my heart pound a little faster. In fact, I found the final race (The Belmont) to be as moving in the film as it was in real life...and that's saying something. I think the filmmakers did a great job capturing the almost religious experience of watching Secretariat run in the Belmont.

Did they go too far with the choir? Maybe! But the silence of the crowd was perfect...and the biblical quote (though the King James version is far more poetic). If you have seen the film and cynically think that they were making it out to be more dramatic than it actual was...take a look at this extended footage from YouTube. Read more... )

The only thing that seriously bugged me was that the film made no mention at all of the great champion, Riva Ridge. Riva Ridge ran for Meadow Stables the year before Secretariat and he won the Derby and the Belmont. So while a lot of the film's story was going on, Riva would have been out there running and winning. I think the filmmakers simply didn't want to muddy the waters on their 'save the farm' story by saying..."Oh, there was this other great horse at the same stable." So, they made it seem a bit more like an "up from the ashes" story than it really was. Not that Miss Penny didn't do great things with Meadow Stables. So I can forgive them that...almost. Almost...but not completely...because I really loved Riva Ridge, and he deserved, at least, a mention.

who thinks anyone who hasn't gone to see this movie...should go! Young! Old! Race fan or not! You will enjoy yourself.
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Let this be a lesson to you all. If you bet on the horse I tell you will win, it won't win.

If you fail to bet, I will hit the exacta.

Had the exacta today, but nobody who listened to me about the Derby was willing to waste their money on me today.

Lookin At Lucky paid $6.80, $4.60 and $3.80 as the 2-1 second choice. First Dude returned $16.60 and $9.20, while Jackson Bend paid $6.60 to show. The Exacta paid 39.20 or $392 on my 20 dollar fantasy wager.

The racing gods have always had a fun time at my expense with this fickle talent I have for judging horses.

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I honestly didn't think Calvin could do it again. Especially not on THAT horse. I mean, really, I am ashamed of myself for not knowing Calvin could do this in this sort of weather...the jockey is the deciding factor. I am not upset about the field horses coming in, because as I said, this is a pick your horse from the hat race. But not backing Calvin in the slop at Kentucky...I am ashamed!

And I freely admit that Kes shouldn't listen to me, because I talk through my hat.

Not one horse in the money. Not one! I am hanging my head in shame.

Probably Doctor Who is really good, too, and I just don't know it.

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Oh, for heaven's sake! Artificial light AND a sloppy track? Let's just give up on trying, shall we? All bets are off for this afternoon's Derby folks. You can watch to see how Lookin' at Lucky handles himself under such daunting conditions...but you can't possibly decided about form in these circumstances. Might as well pull the eventual winner's name out of your feather-trimmed, ribbon-gilded, oversized hat.


Though I would think this hurts the synthetic track horses most, because they aren't used to heavy going.

I hope you all read down to the misogynistic part of the article. Where knowledgable menfolk assumed we womenfolk are not watching the race for the sport of it but are more interested in "spectacle." Yes, I know I watch for the hat fashions and the mint julip recipies. They truly have me ALL figured out and I'm sure have appealed to my demographic with their clever marketing ploys. It probably has nothing to do with better coverage of the sport I love, making it more likely I will watch it.

unboxing her hat and preparing to cheer on the prettiest horse or maybe one with a cute name later on today.
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So, last time out I said that you might as well back Lookin For Lucky because Eskandeyara, the best horse this year, was taken out of the race. I still feel Lucky could be the second best horse this year. Unfortunately, he wasn't so lucky with the draw. He's pulled post position #1...a killer slot for big horses. There is just too much chance that you will be trapped inside by a wall of other horses and never get a shot at the lead. If you have a speed horse you can try to grab the lead early but chances are you won't be able to carry the speed all the way around two turns. And if you go out slower by that first turn, you are going to have nineteen other horses to navigate through. Lucky rates (allows his jockey to drive him like a car). But does he rate that well? I don't know.

Sidney's Candy drew the far outside post, #20. The #20 is difficult for even the best horses, distance runners, which Sidney most definitely is not. Basically, to go from that hole to the rail you have to run further and faster than the other horses. Not fast enough and you get left behind by the first turn. Not strong enough and you can't possibly finish well. Sidney can run faster than most...but the further has always been the question with him. Lucky and Sidney should exchange post positions for a better chance of winning...if only that were allowed. Ideally Lucky should be in the middle somewhere for his best shot at it.

Odysseus didn't even make the final cut. So...where does that leave us? Well, I think the best horse in the field with the best post position is Mission Impazable. But we also have the filly Devil May Care. She should have run in the Oaks but Todd Pletcher has put her in the Derby. Does he know something or is he just run mad since he has a super horse in the stable with Eskandeyera and can't run HIM?

I think they are going to run...1)Mission Impazable 2) Devil May Care and 3) Lookin at Lucky

Sidney's Candy going early but falling back and Lucky finding some late running room but being too tired or frustrated to carry off the win. Also, it is entirely possible that Devil May Care could be running in this field simply because someone holds all of these young stallions in contempt. She's not a super filly like Winning Colors or Genuine Risk. So we could have some other horse in the middle there. A ringer like Homeboykris, perhaps?
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Eskendereya was scratched Sunday with what appears to be a minor leg injury.

I have said this the last few years. The horses today are in bad condition in America. It is time for some Middle Eastern Muscle Horse to take us to cleaners. Eskendereya was the best shot we've had in a very long time for a Triple Crown Win. This is very sad news indeed.

Hopefully, he will recover and be back for the Belmont. But then he's only likely to ruin a bid for the Triple Crown.

Put your money on Lookin At Lucky for this one. I know Sidney's Candy beat him to a froth last time out but that was a fluke. With Eskendereya out, I think Lucky is the horse to beat. Or you can longshot on Odysseus if you like. Early speed could set him up nicely.

kicking at the dirt in frustration
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The one thing I really like to see is a race horse that holds the rest of we mere mortals in contempt.

It is a rare animal that truly believes that we should be honored to be in his presence. Secretariat had that look. Spectacular Bid. Affirmed. That's what gave Affirmed the edge over Alydar. Alydar was a marvelous animal, a Triple Crown Winner in any other year. Like the little remembered Sham, who ran second to Secretariat in every race. Had Secretariat been born in another year, Sham would have won the Triple Crown, too.

But the real look of eagles belongs to a gelding named John Henry. He raced until he was 13 years old, winning major stakes races. He truly believed that he could kill a bear or a lion, that he was born to rule. And seeing him in person, it was hard to say he was wrong about that. This year, I watched the prep races on YouTube until today...and so I had little opportunity to see the horses up close, off of the track. This means I couldn't judge their condition as objectively. It is hard to tell much from squinting at tiny saddled animals in the distance.

But today, I watched the Road to the Kentucky Derby.Read more... )
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Once more into the fray, my friends. And we must be patriotic and back Big Brown for the win. I hope he does it. I hope he's fit. I hope we have a Triple Crown to celebrate this year, since we have already wept enough tears.

I tell you...I am not looking forward to the Eight Belles bio we are sure to get today. NBC always makes me cry with those "look back" bios--even when they are nowhere near as sad as this one is bound to be.

aka "big ol' sniveling softy"


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