Tag Archives: cowboy cal

COWBOY CAL & the Archives

Let’s give an Infield WHoop for Cowboy Cal, who became the top 4yo in the country with his win in the Strub. Yes, I said the Top 4yo. Though the year is still young, Cal has 2 graded stakes wins already on his resume, more than any other member of his crop. He was good last year, but this year he’s dangerous.

I was going through more old Myspace posts and decided to go back to my personal racing archives once again. Next week I will bring out some cool stuff from all those cardboad boxes in my attic!

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SEE YOU NEXT YEAR

With such a high turnover of stars this winter, who is left for fans to root for next year?  Curlin’s retirement leaves a huge hole in the handicap division that won’t be filled by even such middling talents as STudent Council or Zanjero, who are also going off to stud.  The sprint division has lost a great group, lead by Midnight Lute, Street Boss, Bustin’ Stones, Benny The Bull… heck, all of the top sprinters will be in the shed next year. 

So, who will get sucked into the vacuum?  Here are 10 horses I think will be able to step out the shadows and shine on the Grade 1 stage.  Most of them are 3yos who, finally out from under the gorilla Big Brown, will be able to repair the bad rap stuck on their crop.  A few are already established stars who will gallop even higher into the stratosphere.

1) Zenyatta:  Undefeated in 9 starts; can she make it 10 more?

2)Harlem Rocker:  DQ’ed in Cigar Mile victory but will make us all forget that effort next year.

3) Colonel John:  He’s everybody’s favorite grinder, which should make for some thrilling finishes in the big races of ’09.

4)Fatal Bullet:  He ran 1:09 in the BC Sprint but got beat.  The horse who beat him retired.  He’s Canada’s champion 3yo and HoTY.  Plus, he’s a son of my fave Preakness winner, Red Bullet.

5)Proud Spell:  She duked it out with Pure Clan and Music Note and just missed a meeting with Big Z.  She’s on a break now, but watch out when she comes back!

6) Cowboy Cal:  Consistently in the money on turf, dangerous on poly, and just the type who may spring a big shocker on dirt, he’s gonna be a Darley horse, with all the benefits, next season.

7) Court Vision:  IEAH’s successor to Big Brown & Kip Deville, a son of Gulch who can get 1 1/4 miles on turf.

8)Go Between:  The always competitive son of Point Given who is best on polytrack.  Can’t wait to see him in the Big Cap.

9)Cocoa Beach:  Second to Big Z in the Distaff, winner of the Matriarch last month, she’s just now coming into her best stride.

10) The Entire 2009 3yo Crop:  The 2 top prospects are heading for Dubai to train, a slew of promising stakes winners are shipping to winter training grounds, and several talented maiden winners are stepping onto the scene…the 135th Kentucky Derby is only 6 months away!

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COWBOY CAL SURVIVES INQUIRY

Cowboy Cal (inside) wins the Bryan Station via DQ of Seaspeak (outside).

Cowboy Cal (inside) wins the Bryan Station via DQ of Seaspeak (outside).

Cowboy Cal

, making his first start since running up the track in the Kentucky Derby, won the steward’s inquiry in the Bryan Station stakes today at Keeneland.  The son of Giant’s Causeway looked unbeatable coming off the final turn, but longshot Seaspeak hooked up with him in deep stretch.  The two dark bay colts slugged it out in the final furlong, with Cal on the inside bearing the brunt of Seaspeak’s jabs.  The longshot put a head in front of COwboy Cal at the wire.  Stewards spent 5 minutes reviewing the tape before DQing Seaspeak to 2nd.  It was a great return for Cowboy Cal.  It may be too late for him to make the Breeders’ Cup field, but this victory will set him up for a great winter campaign.

CASINO DRIVE, the mysterious chestnut from Japan, won an allowance prep at Oak Tree today.  The half-brother to Rags to Riches turned in an effortless performance against 5 others, proving he could handle the Pro-Ride surface and that his minor hoof problems were behind him.  Casino Drive will be a live longshot in the BC Classic.  He could be the next Arcangues.  However, there are a few Euros who may have a stronger case for victory in the Classic.  Duke of Marmalade, winner of 5 Group I races in 2008, is pointing for the BC, as well as Henry the Navigator and Soldier of Fortune (that sounds like the 3 horses of the apocalypse).  Casino Drive has only run in 3 races in his entire life, and though he has won all 3, he has never faced the quality of competition lining up for the Classic.  That’s not even mentioning the American contingent, who I’ll delve into later this week.

In OMG WTF news, CATO pulled the biggest upset I’ve ever witnessed today at Louisiana Downs:  the colt went off at odds of 182.60-1!!!   The winning payoff was $367.20/$134.20/$53.20 with a $1418 EX and $11,938 TRI !!!

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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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