Have been meaning to start this for some time, just to do some shoutin' about what thrilled us. Without a doubt it was Enable, edging out yet another wonderful 3 yr old filly in Magical. She seems to make everything a fun challenge, & everything about this whole operation is inspiring. There were a number of BC races that were down-to-the-wire thrilling, but this was the best. So happy for Accelerate and his PATIENT people. Favourite jock of the week, well, Joel 😍 😍 of course. Lanfranco a close second.
Hi Anna. Well I had a few favorites this weekend.
First, was Toast of New York in the Marathon. He held his own all around that long track and hit a piece of that board. The distance was long for him and I do feel that he would have been a player in the Classic which was much closer to his optimum. It was nice to see him and he did well.
Second was Thunder Snow. In that dreaded post position and he did his thing. He is a special horse and so thrilling to watch. I can not wait to see him back in the Dubai World Cup in the gate with Le Vent Se Leve. Racing at its finest. Mendelssohn also made a nice showing for himself, although I would have loved to at least see him with an ITM spot. Yoshida looks like a good horse going forward.
I feel bad for horses like Roaring Lion and Mind Your Biscuits. Those guys have told their connections over and over where they like to run and to expect them to forget everything and do something out of their comfort zone in one of the biggest races of the year is sad. I still have respect for them both and hope to see them both back where they belong.
Baffert. Well, excuse me for saying that for once, both of his horse ran exactly to their numbers. I am not afraid to say that I was awfully glad to see it.
There were some horses that really choked like Catholic Boy (apparently he doesnt like a speck of dirt on him) Robert Bruce (what the heck happened to him?) Standard Deviation and Well-Defined (really??). The saddest part of Friday was the scratch of Code of Honor but sometimes things can be a blessing in disguise.
And last, Accelerate. Horrible post with a disadvantage and he ran right through it. He will love Pegasus day at Gulfstream and deserves Horse of the Year. He was spectacular all year long.
Roaring Lion really got booted into the deep end, who's idea was that? Doubt it was Gosden's actually. For all that, Qatar earned no glory or money off of him, and he probably doesn't want to run anymore anyway after that debacle. I felt so bad for Imperial Hint, he sort of got drowned and then that Roy H again. I just knew it! Although nice to see Whitmore coming through. Agree that Accelerate deserves the biggie for all the best sportsman reasons
My other favourite race because I like her dam so much, and she coming along so beautifully #5.
One thing that strikes me while watching these races every year is how little room there is for recovery from even the slightest bit of trouble. In most races during the year these champions are able to overcome all sorts of trouble and go on to run their race, but in these packed fields a bad break or a bad jockey decision can effectively end the race. You cannot give championship competition even the slightest advantage and expect to overcome it. Another problem for some of these horses is that the competition and race dynamics put them in positions they are unaccustomed to being in. Stalkers who routinely drop in to the four or five spot on the rail suddenly find themselves five wide in the eight or nine spot. You really have to be on your game in these races.
I thought the best race of the weekend was the turf sprint. Stormy Liberal and World of Trouble were eight clear of the best turf sprinters in the world and staged a dynamic head bobbing duel to the wire in ridiculously fast time. What a race!
I agree Punter about no leeway in these races. Plus if they were on a slow part of the track for even a bit, that did them in, particularly on Friday. Stormy Liberal & World of Trouble made an absolutely thriller! Although Enable & Magical were pretty intense too. Great great racing.
Other than the Champion where The Wind Rises did it again in amazing fashion, the fave this week is the Matriarch at Del Mar. Hopelessly behind, Joel with Uni did it yet again in heart stopping fashion. 😍 😍 😍 Could hardly believe it.
My old beloved darlings. Plus Kudos to the 3yr old filly A A Azula's Arch who got one pound and was SO excellent.
Favourites of the year, not as easy as thought as I did a helluva lot of shouting. But in no order, Enable's Arc & BC, Le Vent Se Leve's Champion & my darling Johnny Bear winning his second Northern Dancer. Roaring Lion & Stradivarius were also pretty thrilling. Joel of course, & too many of his races to name. Oh, can't forget Alpha Centauri!! Another breathtaker.
My favorites of 2018 - Agree on Enable's Breeders performance. That was just cool.
Believe it or not, one of my favorite performances actually came from a guy who only managed 4th in his race, Toast of New York in the Marathon. Not his distance at all and he did well. Would have loved to see him do his thing instead at 10f in the Classic. Truly feel he would have hit that alittle higher.
Code of Honor's maiden race was great.
But the sunshine of 2018 for me was every single start from the big guy overseas - Le Vent Se Leve. He gave me something to look forward to every month and he smoked them all. I can't wait for that Dubai World Cup and look forward to seeing him throughout 2019.
Loved the Fountain of Youth of course, but screamed my guts out when Holy Helena turned it on in The Very One. And Melmich got up for 2nd in the Mac Diarmida!! And Amy's Challenge got the job done in the Spring Fever. All excellent.
Just because I'm such a complete suck when it comes to anything Sec and Eddie Sweat. They're always deep in conversation it seems.
so Shared Legacy, a $2 million yearling, runs dead last in a field of 12 in his maiden at Keenland. Boy that was disappointing!
Tough post in a large field for a first time starter running against more seasoned horses. He was 38:1, so I don't think they were expecting much. It does point out one of the main dangers in the business : Just because they are well bred, have good conformation, and successful siblings, it does not mean they can run fast. I would keep an eye on him when he stretches out. See if he gets bet then.
I actually cracked up laughing when I saw that race with Shared Legacy! Reminded me of that horse named Powerful, half brother to Honor Code and just as stunning to look at. He walked around the track just showing off his looks and lost by something like a combined 70 lengths in his first few races. Hysterical.
Shared Belief and Shared Legacy both bred with serious stamina, but I do believe that Shared Belief was on a whole different stratosphere. I always marveled at the speed he displayed going so short and in his workouts. The amount of stamina coupled with the lack of inherited speed was the reason why Shared Belief was such a standout so early. Just like Le Vent Se Leve. They pull that winning speed out of nowhere which is a sign of the talent still left to come. Legacy has an uphill battle running in the same manner. It would have been nice but he really is a longer distance guy. I'm not holding my breath for another Shared Belief though. He was one in a million and way beyond his time. I miss him terribly.