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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fire Sale on Highland Cat

- Highland Cat is entered on Thursday, in a maiden claiming sprint, for a tag of $16,000. And I have to say that I'm confused and not too happy about this latest development. We'd been told how he was a different animal after having treatment on his back, and we were all looking forward to finally seeing a healthy Highland Cat back on the grass, where he showed such promise with a rousing rally for second against 45K claimers last May.

Since his return from his rehab, he's been entered in two or three mid- to high-priced maiden claimers, none of which ended up being used by the racing office. Some partners clamored to ship him out of town, perhaps as far as Florida, where he could get back on the grass. Now instead, he's being put up for fire sale without any prior discussion with the group, and without any indication of why we now feel he's worth less than half of what we did a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, only a sucker (or someone who reads this blog and knows that the horse is fine....or at least we think he's fine) would claim him with his mostly sorry looking lines, and dropping almost two-thirds in claiming price off a seven month layoff. So maybe I'm just being stupid to think that someone would - though that second place on the turf with the 73 Beyer is only two races in the past. Perhaps we'll have our chance to give him his fair chance on the grass after all. But it just seems weird to me that the management would, in the space of a few weeks, go from expressing sunny optimism to talking about cutting our losses, without any obvious event in between to trigger that change of heart. It's not like it's a chance to make some purse money, or for a low percentage barn to get in the winner's circle - the horse isn't going to run on the main as long as there are creatures with four legs in front of him kicking up dirt; and even the winner's share of the meager $10,000 purse (!) wouldn't make much of a dent.

Castle Village has had a lot of success with a lot of horses that I don't own - they even got a stakes win this past weekend with Introspect. I get the feeling that they just don't want to be bothered with our grey gelding anymore. I suppose that any owner will feel a certain amount of despair when their once-promising (as they all are) horse ends up in a cheap, garbage race like this one. I just feel that his grass race provided a sliver of hope, which is all one needs to get by in this game until that sliver turns to dust. I don't think that it's yet that time for Highland Cat.

- Speaking of garbage races, the quality of the racing here is so bad right now that the current condition book includes two races for $5000 claimers. NYRA racing secretary P.J. Campo had no idea when last time horses ran for such a cheap tag in New York except to say it was before his time, at least 10 years ago. [NY Post] And Monday's ninth had to be another kind of new low - a $15,000 maiden claiming event for state-breds! It's just this year that we've seen any maiden claimers for the New York set here...and this race was just as awful as one might expect.

- And going mostly off-topic here, I have to say that I'm really taken aback at all the excitement over the reunion of The Police, whose two August shows at the Garden went on sale today. Now, I know I have weird taste in music, but I was into the band during their heyday. However, I can't think of any albums I've ever heard that have aged more poorly than their last two releases, Ghost in the Machine and, especially, Synchronicity. Just my humble opinion here, and I won't go into sarcastic detail because I know I'm in the vast minority.

I said this is mostly off-topic because the only time I saw the band play live was in the infield at Liberty Bell Park in Philly. It was an all-day concert, and jeez, I just can't seem to recall who else played there that day. Berlin? The Pretenders perhaps? Now there's a band whose music sounds just as fresh and emotional today as it did then. As far as I'm concerned, this Police tour should be arrested.

3 Comments:

John (AKA Not Too Swift) said...

Oh Alan

This is coming from the guy who thought Prince was not really playing the guitar at the Super Bowl but Synchronicity sounds as good today as it ever did and that is very good.

Ken S said...

The Police played JFK Stadium on a hot hot day in August 1983. Openers were REM and Joan Jett.

Tote Board Brad said...

Highland Cat is entered...in a maiden claiming sprint, for a tag of $16,000...a cheap, garbage race...

You east coast elitist. I'd be tickled pink for my filly to win a 16k maiden claimer.

In your defense, I believe you did spend a good spot more on your fella than I did on my li'l lady, which may account for the disgruntlism. Nonetheless, it seems we're both sittin' on maidens. Good luck in the comebacker.