- Roman Ruler sizzled six furlongs in 1:10 1/5 and Bob Baffert now says he’s leaning towards the 8 1/2f Dwyer at Belmont on July 4 instead of a sprint stakes at Monmouth.
"I'm not crazy about running him at six furlongs…..That work today put a lot of air into him, and working that fast with bar shoes was pretty impressive. I have several options if he runs well there. I can always cut back in distance after that." [Bloodhorse]The bar shoes are for his persistent quarter crack problems that knocked him off the Derby trail. The Dwyer could be a great race, with Greeley’s Galaxy, Oratory, and Flower Alley all possibilities.
- In a direct and firm rebuke to Governor Bush, a Florida court has ruled that the state legislature violated the intent of the referendum approved by the voters of Broward County, and that the pari-mutuels can install slots by July 1. The judge asserted that the tracks cannot be prosecuted for installing the machines, and that he would establish regulations if the legislature does not establish them by then. It was Bush who encouraged the state House to insist on unreasonable tax rates and less lucrative “Bingo” type machines instead of the Las Vegas slots that it was generally assumed were being voted on. Given the nature of the judicial rebuke, I would think that the judge would authorize the slots the tracks want if it comes to that.
It’s not a good week for the Bush brothers. The Senate yesterday once again refused to end debate on John Bolton’s nomination in the face of the administration’s continued stubborn, but typical refusal to release information requested by Democrats and some Republicans as well that no doubt must contain information damaging to the nomination if not to the administration as a whole. Maybe there’s more evidence that they lied us into war? There’s speculation that the president may skirt the Senate and arrogantly take advantage of a 5-day July 4 Congressional break to give Bolton a “recess appointment” that would be unprecedented given the short length of the recess. That would be good through January 2007, at which point the president will hopefully be more of a lame duck than the one in the AFLAC commercial. If he takes that unconscionable step (and would anyone be surprised?), your trusty blog proprietor may just implode and turn this into yet another political blog, for which there is absolutely no use given the plethora of good ones out there. The Washington Note is one of the best, and has been on top of the Bolton situation from the start; and, as usual, Steve Clemons has the latest.
- Rapid Proof has been DQ’d from first in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy that was run at the Fair Grounds on March 19 for a drug positive, costing his connections the $300,000 winners purse, ouch. Trainer Hal Wiggins has been slapped with a less onerous $1000 fine, not much of a deterrent it seems, and he issued the usual ‘I don’t know how that happened’ denials. In questioning witnesses during the five-hour hearing, Joel Turner, Wiggins' attorney, frequently touched on the possibility that the horse was supposed to receive a legal race-day medication but had been given the wrong drug by mistake. [Times-Picayune]
Dr. Steven Barker, the chemist who heads the LSU lab, said the level of dexamethasone in Rapid Proof's blood and urine indicated that the drug had been given two to four hours before the race. "This horse would have had an advantage that other horses would not have had," Barker said.In any event, there’s no relief for the bettors as usual.
Dr. Cindy Baker, a University of Florida veterinary pharmacologist testifying for the defense, agreed with Barker's assessment about when the drug was given but disagreed with his opinion on the drug's possible effect on Rapid Proof. "The bottom line, did this drug alter the performance of the horse? In my opinion, no," she said.
- Father’s Day was a big event at Monmouth too, as over 27,000 people turned out. Perhaps the NTRA should take note of this and coordinate a National Pick 4 program on that day instead of the day before. The feature was the grassy Restoration Stakes, and it was taken by Houseofroyalhearts, a 3 yo colt by Chester House, the late half-brother to Empire Maker, in his first try on the grass. When a stallion dies, he’s totally eliminated from both of the stallion register sites I use as if they didn’t exist, and there’s no way to get any statistics on his progeny at all. I think it’s a point of interest to know how Chester House’s foals are doing. This is a serious gap, and perhaps someone should start a Dead Stallion Register! According to my trusty deceased horses list, Chester House succumbed from cancer at age 8.
Houseofroyalhearts’ second dam is a half-sister to Landaluce, the 1982 2 yo filly champ, who died that year of an unspecified disease. According to this passage I found from a book said to be called Lukas in Action (via this web page…how do I find this stuff?):
"She took ill on November 22 and her condition steadily declined. On the morning of November 28, a day that in the best of worlds she would have flown at the side of the winged horse, she died. Lukas stayed by her side during her last week of life. She died with her head cradled in his lap.Oh man…
There were no tough guys at the track that afternoon. And on at least one day, winning and losing were not so very significant. The commonplace was unimportant, for it was not lost on the crowd, nor anyone for that matter, that it was unlikely they would ever again see her kind. For one brief glorious moment a legend had passed by."