When the gates start loading for the 54th running of The Rebel stakes (gr.2) there will be an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Although we all know the weather can quickly change; the current forecast for Hot Springs Arkansas is slated for a very wet and humid weekend! Alas, weather can surely influence the outcome of a race and a sloppy- muddy track could definitely result in surprising results. With a much smaller field than originally anticipated, 8 sophomores will be taking a plunge in stretching out to 2-turns (some for the first time). With the end in mind; trainers/owners hope their young colts will thrive the added distance when stretching out to 2-turns. A victory will guarantee the winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby since only the top twenty 3-year olds will make it to the gate on the first Saturday in May.
I am counting down the days to this year’s Breeder’s Cup races . Santa Anita Race track is our favorite track in California and yes, we prefer it over Del Mar, but it’s just our personal preference because Del Mar is also a beautiful track. The track is nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and the scenery looks like something you’d see on a post card. I kid you not, it’s beautiful and a visit to Santa Anita should be on your bucket list; if it isn’t already, and if you haven’t heard about this yet… Next year’s Breeder’s Cup races will once again be held in Arcadia, California! 3-straight years in a row, how exciting!
My very first visit to a race track was at Santa Anita for the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Races and for a newbie just learning about the sport; I was in awe. How lucky was I to have my first racing experience to be at the Breeder’s Cup World Championships! Everywhere around me was filled with excitement. The racing fans, the horses, the jockey’s the energy was buzzing around me, and it took me awhile to catch my breath!
Since this is the 30th year for the Breeder’s cup races; I’m sure we can all recall a favorite Breeders Cup moment/or moments, and I wanted to share with you one of mine. For the avid race fan, you will probably recognize this memorable call by Trevor Denman and could tell me the exact race I’m talking about:
“This is Un—Be—Liev—Able! Zenyatta! What a performance one will never forget” ….
Yes, one of my favorite horse’s of all time… The Great, Zenyatta. There were many in the industry who doubted her ability to triumph against the best male horses in the world, but this would be her time to shine.
The public loved her, and everywhere you looked there were people holding these awesome signs: Girl Power! Go Zenyatta. I love to collect horse racing memorabilia, so my sentimental bet was a $2.00 win ticket on the #4 in Race 9 of the Breeders Cup Classic race.
I still get super excited when I watch this A—Mazing race! Just imagine yourself in the middle of this excitement as people around you are cheering, then crying tears of joy as Zenyatta became a part of racing history. She scored her 14th straight victory, and become the first female horse to beat the males in the richest race in all of North America.
What a memorable moment for everyone in the crowd to have been there to watch Zenyatta’s spectacular race!
Video Courtesy of YouTube, by: HappyDane95
Great weather, and firm turf is in the forecast for tomorrow at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. – Grade 1 has a competitive field of 9 talented fillies going a distance of one-eighth mile on turf. This is an important prep race to the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf which will be held at Santa Anita Race Track on Saturday, November 2nd.
This race was first inaugurated on October 11, 1984 in honor of English Royalty Queen Elizabeth II who was in attendance for this first race. The time record for this race at the current one-eighth mile distance was set my Memories of Silver in 1996. Her daughter Winter Memories ran this race back in 2011. She was went off as the favorite at 7-5, but unfortunately came in 4th with filly Together winning this race.
Please meet the field for the Running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. – Grade 1:
Post 1 – Sarach Trainer – R. Mandella Jockey – M. Garcia ML – 10-1
Post 2 – Say (IRE) Trainer – A. O’Brien Jockey – J. Graham ML – 10-1
Post 3 – Caroline Thomas Trainer – B. Tagg Jockey – R. Napravnik ML–12-1
Post 4 – Alterite (FR) Trainer – C. Brown Jockey – J. Velazquez ML – 9-5
Post 5 – Emotional Kitten Trainer – W. Ward Jockey – G. Gomez ML – 6-1
Post 6 – Concise Trainer – G. Motion Jockey – E. Prado ML – 12-1
Post 7 – Kitten’s Dumplings Trainer – M. Maker Jockey – J. Leparoux ML– 3-1
Post 8 – Leigh Court Trainer – J. Carroll Jockey – G. Boulanger ML – 10-1
Post 9 – I’m Already Sexy Trainer – W. Catalano Jockey – F. Geroux ML – 8-1
Here are several things to keep in mind for this race. Brisnet.com forms are a great resource for obtaining useful information:
- There are 5 fillies within this race whom are already graded stakes winners, so this race really looks wide open; with very attractive odds on some great fillies
- Owner/Trainer Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey + “Kitten Horses” + Keeneland + Turf is hard to ignore. They have both Emotional Kitten and Kitten’s Dumplings in this race
- Don’t ignore Julien Leparoux + Keenland + Turf
- If you are about speed, there is only 1 filly in this race that has posted numbers above 100, and she’s done it twice. I’m Really Sexy posted a Brisnet speed score of 101; also at one-eighth mile going wire to wire in the G-3 Pucker Up on September 14th, which is the best turf speed amongst the competition. She also posted a sharp workout on October the 6th as well as a bullet workout going on September 26th . She has improved in numbers from her last race in rating as well as in class. She’ll be one of the speed fillies in this race so she’ll have company along side Sarach from Post 1, and “speedster” Leigh Court in Post 8. Leigh Court is another filly who also won her last race going wire to wire. She is moving up in class from her last start (this will be harder competition), but has had a very sharp bullet workout on October the 4th . Her speed ratings meet the speed par of this race; which is 95. She could be another filly that once she runs, you’ll have to catch her
- Closers Kitten’s Dumplings and Caroline Thomas will need an honest pace to get a piece of “victory pie”. Pace will definitely make the race
- Say – Blinker on. She also ran 6 days ago in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Belmont Park, finishing 6th on “yielding” turf. Weather was extremely bad; she did make a move on the backstretch going 3 wide before letting up so this may indicate current form. She has run back on a week’s rest in the past, and has done well each time so this should not be a problem. Her Brisnet Speed score of 88 could be pardoned since last week’s weather was rainy and the turf was yielding. What is interesting, is her connections did the same scenario with “Together”, who won this race 2 years ago after making her American debut against elder females in the First Lady. She came in 2nd, and a week later ran in the QE II and won the race paying $11.20 to win. Will ‘Say’ be able to follow with the same success? She’s a multiple graded stakes winner back in Europe, and “added” blinkers could improve her run. Her mother, Riskaverse won this race in 2002
- Morning line favorite Alterite a European shipper won her first race in the US in the Garden City – Grade 1 on September 16th at Belmont Park. She’s also a graded stakes winner in Europe and leaves us wondering if her form will stay consistent in the US. Still tough to say since she could need a couple more starts to figure her out. High jockey + 33% trainer + 2nd time lasix + 94 Brisnet Speed rating. This morning line favorite is one filly difficult to ignore
- Caroline Thomas reunites with one of the best female jockeys of all time, Rosie Napravnik, a plus for this filly. Caroline Thomas’s mother, Bit of Whimsy won this race back in 2007
- Emotional Kitten has improved numbers in race rating, and class rating from her last race. She is the only filly who has won at Keeneland, while breaking her maiden over the main course. 24% Trainer: Shipper + Hot Jockey + One of the best turf speeds + finished 3rd in last race. She has not won a graded stakes yet, but she has ran second to Del Mar Oaks winner Discreet Marq and American Oaks winner Emollient. She could be in striking position if the leaders falter and like I previously said, a “Kitten” horse on turf, at Keeneland… watch out!
It’s a great field of talented fillies good luck to everyone!
It was an exciting weekend of horse racing filled with upset and cheers. From Santa Anita to Belmont Park the thrill and excitement filled the air with surprises stretching from the West to the East Coast!
Fall has finally arrived, and we are only 32 days away from this year’s Breeder’s Cup races that will be held at Santa Anita Race Track.
The best is yet to come, as we start the count down!
Over the weekend, there were a few upsets, but the two that stood out in my book was the Beldame Invitational- G1 and the Jockey Gold Cup Invitational- G1.
(Upset): A new queen was crowned in the 75th running of the Beldame Invitational – G1
Winner – Princess Sylmar
Princess Sylmar ran down one of the best older female horses around. Royal Delta stumbled out of the gate, but quickly gathered her composure.
3 year old filly Princess of Sylmar tracked Royal Delta as she targeted her around the stretch. As Tom Durkin said, “It took a champion to defeat a champion”:
Talented filly beating one of the best older female; Royal Delta:
Courtesy of: TubeYou by Partymanners2
(Upset): 95th running of the Jockey Gold Cup Invitational- G1
Winner: Ron the Greek
I’m still baffled by this race as I’m not sure what happened, but again we all know horse racing is full of surprises! — I’m sure I was not the only one scratching my head trying to figure out just what happened with this race. This was a solid field with the Kentucky Derby winner- Orb, Belmont Stakes winner- Palace Malice, Travers winner- Alpha, Whitney Invitational winner- Cross Traffic and Multi Graded stakes winner Flat Out. My picks were the best of the best: Flat Out, Palace Malice and Cross Traffic. To understand what happened I have to break down how the race unfolded.
Cross Traffic was the expected speed in the race. Strangely, he walked out of the gate, running sluggishly and was unexpectedly dead last. Alpha ran straight to the front similar to his Travers race, and set the pace with Palace Malice right behind him. I was very surprised to see 6-year old Ron the Greek more forwardly placed than usual as Jose Lezcano sat him at the rail in third behind Alpha and Palace Malice. When he finally made his move, he quickly took off from the rail and pulled away from this all-star cast for a huge upset victory with odds of 21-1. He skimmed the rail and cleared the field like a bullet train!
Unfortunately, the lost meant there was no 3-Peat for 7-year old Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott. He loves Belmont Park (also known as the Big Sandy), winning 5 out of 6 times at this track. Flat Out was seeking his third consecutive win for the $1million Jockey Gold Cup; a feat that only the mighty gelding Kelso accomplished back in 1962. What is even more impressive is Kelso has been the only horse to win this race 5 consecutive times (1960-1964). Since 1919, a total of 10 horses have won this 1 ¼ race ‘twice’.
Interesting addition: Also trained by Bill Mott, Ron the Greek is Flat Out’s uncoupled stablemate. Bill Mott also won the Jockey Gold Cup Invitational back in 1995 with Cigar.
Bill Mott (Courtesy of Bloodhorse.com):
“You gotta love Ron. Everybody loves Ron the Greek! This is the Ron the Greek today,” Mott said. “This is the same type of race he ran in the Sunshine Millions, the same type of race he ran in California when he won the Santa Anita Handicap. Every once in a while, he’ll throw one of these. I can’t determine when, but he did it today.”
Watch Ron the Greek’s impressive win:
(Courtesy of: YouTube by Partymanners2)
I’m a fan that gets excited about the sport of horse racing and all the great horses through time. Names that been repeated dozens of times throughout the years bringing fond memories to each racing fan.
To the average person who knows nothing about horse racing all racehorses tend to look the same. Some are brown; some are gray and some are even black. Their colors are brilliant, and without a saddle cloth you can’t tell one from the next, but look closer because each of these horses has a name; a name that has been engraved in time. Their names have become a part of racing history, and every racing fan will remember their favorite horse.
By far; not your average racehorse…
This summer, the Breeders Cup Challenge races get under way and the “Win and You’re in” races have begun. There are 67 qualifying races spanning 10 countries. Each of the 14 Breeders Cup divisions have challenge races. Every connection in horse racing is hoping to get an invitation to one of the greatest racing weekend of the year… the Breeder’s Cup World Championships held once again, at Santa Anita Park, on November 1st and 2nd.
I can faintly hear the cheers and excitement brewing for this special weekend. To be a part of Breeders Cup weekend is a thrill in itself. You will be captivated by the energy that surrounds you, and watching these beautiful creatures run with speed and finesse is amazing! In a mere seconds your eyes will capture the wonderment of a 1,200 lbs race horse running by you like a freight train, and you will be able to sense the beauty, power and determination of these beautiful creatures.
There is awesome information on the Breeder’s Cup website, click HERE . “The Hall of Champions” honors each and every Breeders’ Cup champion dating back to the very first winner in 1984, Wild Again. It provides you with a picture, detailed information and the actual race replay! From triumphed comebacks to thrilling photo finishes, we can all go back in time to once again experience the thrill of victory!
I’m sure many of you will remember some of these spectacular horses!
Who is your favorite Breeders Cup Classic winner?