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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Two For the Money: Loved the efforts made by the exacta finishers in the Lecomte Stakes Saturday at the Fair Grounds. It might have been only a 10-pointer, but both horses have star power with continued development and will be major players on the road to the Classics.

The winning Enforceable broke maiden going a mile and an eighth—at Saratoga. That trip, that early, speaks to lung capacity and inherent class.

In his stakes debut, Enforceable finished third, beaten six lengths by the mighty Maxfield. But he was coming hard late despite the mini-turn-back and class hike.

And Enforceable was coming on again, beaten two lengths over a sloppy Churchill Downs oval, by a horse he drew away from on a fast Fair Grounds footing over the weekend.

That colt, Silver State, broke maiden on debut at Churchill a neck shy of 10 lengths, then lost a head-bobber going a mile in his second start, the sloppy surface preparing him for his Jockey Club Stakes victory to come.

On Saturday, Ricardo Santana Jr. eventually was able to get over to the inside from post #9, then had to work his way between rivals before securing running room outside, gathering momentum with each stride and closing the gap on Enforceable in the final jumps.

The thing is that Enforceable, who did get first run, still gave the appearance of a horse that was just beginning to lengthen stride at the wire.

Like Santana and Steve Asmussen, Julien Leparoux and Mark Casse have done some great things together. Seems they are about to do that once again.

Don’t Let the Pasco Distance Fool You: Tampa Bay Downs Pasco Stakes, is a good warmup for the Sam F Davis, Tampa Bay Derby, or anywhere Ralph Nicks wants to run Liam’s Lucky Charm next.

The blinkers experiment produced positive results and nothing says he has to be distance challenged. His pedigree does look sprinty, but we don’t know enough about young sire Khozan can bring to his offspring–given the amount of blacktype in his own pedigree.

‘Liam’ was beaten 10 lengths by recent impressive winner Chance It when coming back on relatively short rest in the 1-1/16 miles In Reality, his two turn debut, after thumping him the time before in the shorter Affirmed. We’ll all find out soon enough.

(In)finite: That’s right, the sky might be the limit for Finite, who is now 3-for-3 in races of a mile or longer, including two rounding two turns.

Finite’s victory in the Silverbulletday over some promising stock was amazing in that she had every right to be beaten going one mile and 70 yards in her first start since November, appearing twice in midstretch as if she would be beaten. She did bend but never was broken.

Somewhere down the line, we can’t wait to see Finite, Lake Avenue matchup. We’re sure Mr. Mott is waiting for that opportunity as well. Indeed, firs the Oaks, then the Kentucky Derby.

Again this was Team Asmussen-Santana, the trainer, who in gaining his 2,000th states victory–think about that number for a moment–is looking more like the Midwestern Classics version of Bob Baffert in terms of depth of talent.

And we’re not selling anyone short, not Mr. Brown, Mr. Casse or Mr. Pletcher. And did we mention Brad Cox, or Dale Romans, or Barclay Tagg, or Brendan Walsh, trainer of Maxfield, or Michael Trombetta and Independence Hall, who will seen action again soon.

Eye Openers: There were many but two leap to mind, one from Monday’s Martin Luther King Day card at Aqueduct. The first came on the Lecomte undercard, where Charming Lady broke maiden impressively on debut for Tom Amoss, trainer of 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress.

Well supported, she was covered up early following a tardy start, extricated herself from the inside pack in midstretch, angled out sharply and was striding away strongly in the late stages, looking for more furlongs to conquer. It’s rather late in the game, but there’s no telling how good.

While our focus is on young horses at this point of the season, I was really taken by older mare Saguaro Road. Just love the way the five-year-old mare travels, head low as if one could balance a glass of water on her back as the rider sits there waiting to press a button.

At that point, she demonstrated a sharp turn of foot; blowing the Interborough field up in what seemed a matter of strides, going from fourth to first in a flash. We realize it was only seven-eighths but what a neat mare. Michael Stidham should have plenty of fun with this one in 2020.

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8 Responses

  1. I was reminded of the 2018 LeComte when I saw Bravazo’s name in the PPs for this Saturday’s ungraded Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park. It was Bravazo’s last victory and that makes me wonder if so hard a race so early on the Derby Trail for 3YOs was a contributing factor to his unrealized potential and eventual demotion from this year’s Pegasus.

    1. Was reminiscing like being in a time tunnel during the stretch of the rainy,muddy PEGASUS when noticed Seeking the Soul coming down the stretch like this horse has done so many times,albeit late in the race[s],and placing. Horses like Seeking the Soul and others remind me of a friend of mine who,after so many yrs,still bets closers,ever since he bagged thousand$ on Johnny Campo`s Temperance Hill in the better days of racing. That was some race !! .Personal note; J.Campo,James Gandolfini [Sopranos] and my late father,Matteo… all three could have been brothers or cugini,cousins.Same shape,head,facial expressions.,maybe even cardiac health problems. RIP .

      1. Boy ,did i really get the wrong name !! Pleasant Colony,not Temperance Hill,1981 Kentucky Derby,with Jorge Velazquez,in his prime and being the top jockey for the next half dozen yrs or so. P.Colony,whose breeding line goes to Ribot had won another big race in New York a couple of weeks earlier [Metropolitan ? ].Congrats,again !

  2. I,

    No one really knows that answer except those closest to him, but a few observations. In the main, he was campaigned very aggressively against the highest level of competition. Sometimes horses can have the heart taken right out of them.

    Do believe the LeComte is too early and distance too short to do that. But certainly the Kentucky Derby is a race that has badly impacted the future career of many good horses, a case of–for them–too much too soon.

  3. Pleasant Colony also won Preakness and was third in Belmont. Also won 1981 Wood. Temperence Hill was trained by Joe Cantey and paid $108.20 in Belmont (1980). Ex-wife Charlsie newly inducted in HOF as read here at HRI.

    1. Even the old tapes look interesting as we were betting them at the local OTB,in my case two stores down !Also Pleasant Colony won with a few ticks off the track record of the GREAT,INIMITABLE Secretariat.,forever in a class by himself. I also liked John Henry and the Affirmed -Alydar rivalry where the inside horse won every race albeit by a short distance..Talk about a ‘horse for the course’,among a few,HOUSEBUSTER, at Saratoga at the same distance of seven panels ! Yes, ” Those were the days “….of horse racing ,boxing,baseball,hockey fights.,newspapers..and more. PS; Kudos to that equine lady athlete, Geniune Risk,,,and spunky Julie Krone who,unfortunately,we forget how good she was..the best female jockey ever !

  4. The Julie Girl was also great on the turf. Also liked Jersey’s own, Rosie Napravnik. Hockey fights featuring Dave Schultz from Philly Flyers. Games would get out near midnight sometimes due to all the penalties called. Broad St. Bullies won it all in ’74 and ’75. Fred “Fog” Shero Ranger coach. Eddie Giacomin in net. Let’s Go Rangers…

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