Category Archives: live blogging

MAGIC 8 BALL DERBY PICKS!

Last year, I smuggled the Magic 8 Ball into the Infield with me and made a few wagers based on its liquid blue wisdom.  The best it could do was assure me Intangaroo was “Very Likely” to win the Humana Distaff.  I had fun with it, though, so here we go again!

Oh Magic 8 Ball, will the track dry out in time for the Derby?  “Answer Unclear, Ask Again Later”  Fine then…

Magic 8 Ball, wise and infalliable, will the Derby winner go off at odds higher than 10-1?   “Don’t Bet On It”

Ok, will the morning line favorite wear the roses?  “Consult Again Later”  Right, right — the ML favorite has scratched.  How about the Post Time Favorite?  Will that horse win?  “The Stars Say NO”

Will the winner break from the auxiliary gate?  “Focus And Ask Again”  OK, (placing my fingers on my temples) oh honorable Magic 8 Ball, will the winner break from a far outside post position?  “YES”

Will the Derby winning jockey be wearing green silks?  “Chances Aren’t Good”

Will the Derby winning jockey be a first time winner?  “Looks Like YES”

Does it matter if the horse has ever run on a traditional dirt surface?  “Cannot Fortell Now”  Hmmm…

How about the Godolphin horses?  DO they have a shot this year?  “So It Shall Be”  WOW!!  DOes this mean Sheik Mohammed will finally get his Derby winner?  “Looks Like Yes”  OMG!  Will it be Desert Party?  “Cannot Foretell Now”  Ok, how about Regal Ransom?  “Chances Aren’t Good”  So it’s gonna be Desert Party, then?  “So It Shall Be”  That does it, I’m placing my bets now!

Ok, you told me to ask about the track again, will it be a fast track by Derby time?  “VERY LIKELY

SWEET!  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to place a couple bucks on Desert Party in the Derby.  People have picked winners off stranger methods!

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Filed under Churchill Downs, Handicapping, Hot Tips, Kentucky Derby, live blogging

Autumn

As the year winds down and the temps turn cooler, I get excited about the Breeders’ Cup and the year-end awards, the opening of Keeneland and Churchill and Oak Tree.  But this is also the time to remember the horses who have thrilled me in the past, the great champions in the autumn of their lives.  Two of those legends left this life on Tuesday, PRINCESS ROONEY and COZZENE.

Back in 1984, when they called it the BC DISTAFF, Princess Rooney won the inaugural filly/mare

Princess Rooney triumphs in the first Breeders Cup Distaff at Hollywood Park in 1984.  Photo by Tony Leonard/The Bloodhorse

Princess Rooney triumphs in the first Breeders' Cup Distaff at Hollywood Park in 1984. Photo by Tony Leonard/The Bloodhorse

championship at Hollywood Park by 7 lengths.  The race was run at the 1.25 mile distance at that time, the same as the Classic.  The grey mare covered the DIstaff distance in 2:02.2/5, a full second faster than the boys ran the Classic the same year.  Princess Rooney was expertly conditioned by trainer Neil Drysdale for owner Paula Tucker.  She was voted Eclispe champion older mare for 1984, over Life’s Magic.

The Eclipse was a well-deserved trophy for the multiple-graded stakes winner, who also won the 1983 Kentucky Oaks.  Though she was a terror on the track, her progeny couldn’t live up to her golden standard.

Princess Rooney was diagnosed with EPM earlier this summer, and though she was given the best care at Rood&Riddle, her condition didn’t improve.  She will be missed.

Cozzene and Gainesway.  Photo from Thoroughbred Times

Cozzene and Gainesway. Photo from Thoroughbred Times

The year after Princess Rooney’s romp in the Distaff, COZZENE won the second Breeders’ Cup MILE.  I always like watching this race because halfway through, the huge flock of birds engulfs the screen, and the camera angle warps your perspective, and it appears as though the horses have taken flight.  It’s awesome.  At his retirement, Cozzene became a prominent sire of stakes winners, including a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner.  The grey horse by Caro was owned by the potentate of the turf, John Nerud, and trained by his son, Jan.

Cozzene sired Alphabet Soup, winner of the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic, as well as Tikkanen, ’94 Turf winner, and 81 other stakes winners.  Cozzene stood at Gainesway Farm in KY his entire stud career.   

This weekend, 2 of my watch horses run at Keeneland: LICKETY LEMON in the QEII Cup and COWBOY CAL in the Bryan Station Stakes.  Lemon is a big longshot; they didn’t even mention her in the write-up at BloodHorse.com!  But for loyal readers of The Infield, this filly is a wonder on poly, especially the longer distances.  Storm Mesa will try to recapture her west coast form here.  BH likes Ariege.

Cowboy Cal hasn’t run since the Derby, but after a long break, he’s back!  He’s been working a lot, so I hope he’s ready for this.  There’s a security guard I know who’s rooting for him.

One last thing:  I am always looking for more awesome things to do for this blog (I haven’t forgotten the Infield Experience photos…those will be coming up soon) and I think I have hit the motherlode: BREEDERS’ CUP LIVE BLOG!!  Tell your friends!

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Filed under Blogroll, Breeders' Cup, live blogging, obituary, Underrated Racehorses

Infield at Claiborne Farm

Thanks to the McKinley Connection, I got an incredible tour of Claiborne Farm after the backside excursion last Friday.  A short but scenic drive up the road to Paris brought us all to Claiborne’s office, where stallion groom Tony Battaglia waited to show us around.  Battaglia works with Eddington and During.  In 1976, he trained Boldson for the Kentucky Derby (won by another bold horse, Bold Forbes).  He had a lot of great stories about the stallions and Claiborne’s history, and he was quite impressed with my knowledge of racing trivia!

This is where it all happens at Claiborne -- the breeding shed.  The black walls and lack of windows remind me of certain gentlemens clubs here in Memphis.

This is where it all happens at Claiborne -- the breeding shed. The black walls and lack of windows remind me of certain gentlemen's clubs here in Memphis.

Jim and Tony Battaglia outside of Secretariats former stall.  Bold Ruler, Unbridled and Easy Goer also occupied the stall now used by multiple graded stakes winner Eddington.

Jim and Tony Battaglia outside of Secretariat's former stall. Bold Ruler, Unbridled and Easy Goer also occupied the stall now used by multiple graded stakes winner Eddington.

Tony makes a point about Eddingtons career and bloodlines.

Tony makes a point about Eddington's career and bloodlines.

Eddington is over 17 hands tall, as Tony demonstrates for Jim.

Eddington is over 17 hands tall, as Tony demonstrates for Jim.

Jim says he could saddle up right now!

Jim says he could saddle up right now!

Eddingtons handsome blazed face.

Eddington's handsome blazed face.

Claibornes leading sire, PULPIT, mugs for the camera and begs for peppermints!

Claiborne's leading sire, PULPIT, mugs for the camera and begs for peppermints!

HORSE CHESTNUT, 1998 South African Triple Crown winner, and my favorite Secretariat look-alike!

HORSE CHESTNUT, 1998 South African Triple Crown winner, and my favorite Secretariat look-alike!

Jim Gaffney and Candice aka Filly aka The Infield Blogger

Jim Gaffney and Candice aka "Filly" aka "The Infield Blogger"

Here Lies the Greatest Racehorse WHo Ever Lived, Who Had the Heart of Three Horses in One.

Here Lies the Greatest Racehorse WHo Ever Lived, Who Had the Heart of Three Horses in One.

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Filed under Claiborne Farm, Infield Trips, Jim Gaffney, live blogging, Secretariat

Infield on the Backside

Morning at the clockers stand.

Morning at the clockers' stand.

Despite the miraculous nature of modern technology and hour of uploading and formatting, the previous entry was still FUBAR.  Here are some photos from my visit to the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington last Friday morning.

Mary Gaffney, Mary McKinley, Jim Gaffney and Karen Curtis.

Gaffney and Girls: Mary Gaffney, Mary McKinley, Jim Gaffney and Karen Curtis.

 

Horses on track for their workouts at the Thoroughbred Center.

Horses on track for their workouts at the Thoroughbred Center.

The facilitys barns gleam in morning sunlight as a trio work in company.

The facility's barns gleam in morning sunlight as a trio work in company.

McKinleys horse, MO TERMS, sporting red blinkers.

McKinley's horse, MO TERMS, sporting red blinkers.

 

Another shot of Mo Terms, 3yo gelding by Private Terms out of the Chief Honcho mare Moroncho

Another shot of Mo Terms, 3yo gelding by Private Terms out of the Chief Honcho mare Moroncho

You can see the competitive fire in his eye

You can see the competitive fire in his eye

Mo was race-fit and pulling on his rider the whole way around the track, and stuck his head in front at the end of the work.

Mo was race-fit and pulling on his rider the whole way around the track, and stuck his head in front at the end of the work.

JIGGLIN, 5yo mare owned and trained by Scott Moran

JIGGLIN, 5yo mare owned and trained by Scott Moran

JIGGLIN,  Pryamid Peak x Busty, by Fuzzbuster

JIGGLIN, Pryamid Peak x Busty, by Fuzzbuster

At The Wire

At The Wire

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Filed under Infield Trips, Jim Gaffney, live blogging, photos, Secretariat, Uncategorized

InfieldTrip: BOURBON CO. SECRETARIAT FESTIVAL

The Infield is an equal-opportunity blogger:  Top stakes races are not the only places you’ll find people slogging beer and looking at thoroughbreds.  This weekend, I’m headed to Paris, KY, home of the first-ever Bourbon County Secretariat Festival

The event is in honor of His Highness Big Red’s retirement to Claiborne Farm 35 years ago.  The big red horse may be long gone from these earthly pastures, but his memory is still very much alive and drawing people to the tiny town of Paris to see where he lived the last 16 years of his life.

This is a fair-like atmosphere, so I am sure there will be some fair-like, infield-esque folks around oogling the pretty horses.  Among the festivities are horse demonstrations, replays of all Big Red’s TC races, and a Secretariat Look Alike Contest.

And this:  3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 1970’s Costume Contest presented by All Things Vintage and Varden’s Restaurant, judging in the Diamond Theatre

OMG I am soo going to make sure my happy ass is in that spot with the camera!  Afros, platform shoes, bell-bottom pants…now that’s a party!

I’m also visiting a couple farms while I’m up there: Adena Springs KY, home of Ghostzapper and Congaree, and Claiborne Farm, of course home of Secretariat, but now home of Strong Hope, Seeking the Gold and the best Big Red look-alike I know of, Horse Chestnut.

If I have time, I am also braving the crowds to observe the Keeneland September Sale.  Gotta remember not to sneeze or blink or twirl my hair while I’m there, or else I might find myself the owner of a pricey pony!

I’ll have complete updates as the weekend progresses, so stay tuned!  I’m also gonna have my Super Derby & MassCap picks up as well.  Free Wireless at hotels is a miracle of modern technology!

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Filed under Infield Trips, live blogging, Secretariat

Del Mar Live Blogging

Home from work in time for the races.  Seemed like forever to get to the stakes.

Del Mar Mile:

Whatsthescript is the fave as they go to post…

Daytona looks awesome…

Bold Chieftan is nice looking…

Stoneside pretty…Monzante calm & collected…

4 mins to post…Win & Yer In race…I think Daytone has got this…

The polytrack looks like the stuff people use for footing in model horse shows.

One Union canters along, a big, dark, long-striding horse…looks good

HORSES LOADING IN GATE!!

Ha-Cha-Cha-Cha!  Durante Turf Course…

They’re off!! Storm Military in front…DDaytona up close…Daytona in lead!!  MAd closers!!  Whatsthescript!!

Hehehe..it’s kinda hard to live blog during the race…

OOOOO….OBJECTION!!  With that blanket finish it doesn’t surprise me.  Whatsthescript not involved…god, the place & show ponies were way off my radar: Bold Chieftan & Global Hunter.

Next up: PAC CLASSIC…

Post Parade…

Awesome Gem’s seconditis discussed w/ trainer Dollase…West Point’s been dangerous…head tossing, prancing…looks good

Mostacoli Mort…doesn’t “mort” mean “dead” in French?

Barcola looks strong

GO BETWEEN!!  Well Armed could be dangerous…Mast Track is being overlooked…

Student Council looks nice.

One minute to post…heh “Ken RUdolph theory of travel…’just get me home, now!'”

Going in gate…Go Between is fave…I remember when Ron was a FOX Sports commentator back in 1999…

YES!!!  GO BETWEEN!!!  Grinds.  It.  OUT!!!

and….TRIFECTA, BABY!!!  GO BETWEEN/Well Armed/MAst Track = 12 pts for SAUHBR!! 

As Lori Petty used to say, PAY THE LADY!!

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Filed under Del Mar, live blogging, polytrack