- Walter discussed Principle Secret, the Christopher Paasch-trained winner of the Best Pal stakes at Del Mar on Sunday in the comments section here. Just watched the replay on the Cal Racing site, and it was a very nice performance indeed. He was three wide on the turn and swung even wider than that turning for home, and glided home easily getting home in 30.87 for the last 2 1/2 furlongs...and that was with all that ground lost.
Reader Stalusk commented on the horse's breeding, and the sire who indeed hasn't set the world on fire is the Storm Cat stallion Sea of Secrets. He currently stands in California for $3500, having been exiled there from Walmac in Kentucky. Sea of Secrets caused a bit of a stir in 2003 when a son of his to be named Diamond Fury sold for $2.7 million as a two-year old. At the time it was considered a huge pinhooking homerun for Becky Thomas, who had bought the colt for $30,000. After The Green Monkey, it seems more like a foul popup.
Principle Secret is out of [a mare by] the dead Slewpy sire Gray Slewpy, who was a minor stakes winner and a sire who accomplished little before passing of colic in 2001.
Diamond Fury has won three races and over $100,000, which in many cases would be a wild success. But he's considered a bust at this point, and so, thus far, is his sire. Sea of Secrets started with high hopes, but has just six winners with his 4th crop two-year olds this year.
- Laffit Pincay, Jr. (what does that make his son Laffit on HRTV?) and Larry Saumell, representing the Jockeys Guild, were denied entrance to the jockeys' room at Philadelphia Park on Sunday. The riders there have formed their own local group, and the Guild is trying to bring them into the national fold. Philly Park CEO Hal Handel told the Inquirer: "The riders tell us they're representing themselves, that the [national] guild doesn't represent them.....If riders here want the guild to represent them, that's their prerogative. If it doesn't represent them, then the guild has no standing here." Pincay and Saumell had to wait until after the races to enter the room.
Philly Park is one of the tracks that has not increased their insurance coverage for on-track accidents; it's still stuck at $100,000. That figure is slated to increase to $250,000 once the casino gets going. In negotiations with the jockeys, the track is insisting that the riders pick up part of the tab to increase the level to the $1 million that many other tracks have adopted. Handel delivered the standard racetrack defense. "Remember that they're not our employees. We have no employment relationship with them at all....These are the employees of the trainers and the horsemen."
Handel said that $1 million in coverage next year could cost as much as $600,000, but acknowledged that many tracks, such as Penn National near Harrisburg, had such coverage.You wonder why anyone is riding there, or at other tracks with minimal coverage. But some riders I suppose have no choice but to ply their trade where they can get mounts. And in Pennsylvania, there's the allure of the increased purse money that will enrich jockeys who choose to stick out both the wait for slots, and that for adequate insurance. Here's hoping that all of them will make it through to see both.
"If somebody jumps off the roof of a building, that doesn't mean we're going to do it," Handel said. "Penn National had issues for both West Virginia" - where it owns Charles Town Race Track and Casino - "and Pennsylvania. They were under attack by a West Virginia congressman, and they chose to do this." [Philadelphia Inquirer]