- Highland Cat has returned to the farm in Pennsylvania, where he will be gelded (ouch!) and given a bit more in the way of learning how to be a race horse. We expect him back at Billy Turner’s barn sometime in March, and the trainer remains optimistic. Meanwhile, the 4th and final member of our team, the yet-to-be-named Vicar filly, is now with Turner and will commence training. The goal is still to sell her out of the barn, as Turner did with Mum’s the Word (Real Quiet), but I wouldn’t be upset if we kept her, as I’m quite excited about her pedigree. Besides the fact that I loved Vicar as a racehorse and that he’s off to a pretty good start at stud, her dam (by Belong to Me) is a half to million dollar earner Fit For A Queen, the dam of Zito’s stakes winner Royal Assault, and the granddam of stakes winning siblings Ender’s Shadow and Ender’s Sister.
She also has some interesting inbreeding, including 5x5 to Lady Angela, who is her 5th dam and the dam of Nearctic, the sire of Northern Dancer, and this filly’s great-great-grandsire. So there’s all kind of stuff going on here, including the Rasmussen Factor. But hopefully, she can run a little.
- Mentioned Philanthropist yesterday, and the Form reports that McGaughey said he believes that Philanthropist could blossom into a Grade 1-caliber stakes horse and has already penciled in the $500,000 Donn Handicap on Feb. 4 as an early target in 2006. Shug has three winners in seven starters on the Big A inner track, and keep an eye on two more coming up: Dream Time is entered in Thursday's $65,000 Ride Sally Stakes, while Strategy is being pointed to Saturday's $75,000 Ladies Handicap.
Smuggler, who is from the same female family is back in training down at Gulfstream.
In the same article we learn that trainer Linda Rice begins serving a 20-day suspension, reduced from 45 because she didn’t appeal, for a drug positive returned on her Motor City Mama after that filly won on October 2 at Belmont.
In addition to the suspension, Rice was fined $1,000. In her absence, Rice's horses in New York will run under assistant trainer Celine Parrilla's name.Gee, well that’s another real harsh penalty – a thousand bucks and a 20 day vacation while her horses continue to race. Some trainers probably look at this like a NYC deliveryman views a parking summons – just another cost of doing business.
- Had a chance to take a look at Wilko’s close third at Golden Gate on Saturday. Nice effort, with a ton of excuses. That’s a familiar scenario for this colt, who now has lost 14 of his 17 starts. But in this case, we could possibly buy it. After all, it was his first race since the Preakness, and he did quite well to close (in 22.75 and 11.42) at just six furlongs. He’s headed next for the Malibu, which would be just 16 days rest. Attila’s Storm, the winner of the Fall Highweight, is also being pointed for that one, and I’d read Surf Cat mentioned as well.
- Reader, blogger, and, unlike yours truly, recent winning horse-owner Tote Board Brad railed at the press in the comments section here, and rightly so, for its lack of comprehensive coverage of the Jockeys’ Guild scandal, and as if on cue, the LA Times checks in today with an exhaustive piece that summarizes the whole unseemly affair. The only criticism I have is that it’s lumped into the sports section, whereas I think that a little more mainstream coverage is definitely in order at this point. And why not? I mean, lies, extortion, corruption, phony resumes, assault, theft of shoes and heads……c’mon, people love this stuff, how about a little front page action? Readers of Left at the Gate are familiar with most of the information in the article, but there are a few interesting tidbits and details here that I hadn’t seen previously.
Pepperdine University, where Gertmenian still teaches, released a statement saying that its administrators are "deeply concerned over allegations stemming from Dr. Gertmenian's involvement with the Jockeys' Guild," and have begun an investigation. Well, it’s about time! Gertmenian’s resume was discredited months before the Congressional hearing, yet it’s still posted as fact on the university’s website. There’s at least one other apparent lie on it besides his claims of employment in the Nixon and Ford Administrations:
Ryan LaHurd, president of the New York-based Near East Foundation, told The Times that Gertmenian had never served on the institution's board of directors, as claimed on the professor's resume posted on Pepperdine's website.is definitely worth a look, even if you have to go through the annoying registration process.
Gertmenian was one of a "loose collection of persons" who occasionally acted as advisors but "had no official function," LaHurd said in an e-mail.
- Totally off-topic but certainly relevant in the wake of the recent 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder, this MP3 file is a recording of a scan of the FM dial in New York City on the night of the shooting. A poignant little time capsule of a very tragic night, via WFMU's Beware of the Blog, which is filled with other priceless material and well worth a few hours of your time.