- I get the sense that Doug O'Neill isn't too thrilled, but the owners pay the bills and call the shots, and Lava Man is going to Dubai for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free on the grass, pending his performance in a workout scheduled for March 18.
“If he works well and comes out of it well, we’re going to put him on a plane on March 20....If it’s an average work, we’re going to stay put.The race would come just four weeks after the Santa Anita Handicap; and O'Neill had previously stated that it would likely preclude him from racing again until after the summer. So please excuse me if I don't get upset if his March 18 workout is ordinary.
“The owners have been dreaming about this the last couple of years. They’ve always wanted to run a horse in Dubai,” he added. “As long as he continues to train well, we’re going to do it.” [Dubai Racing Club Blog]
- More from Larry Jones on Hard Spun and his decision to leave Oaklawn for what will be a prep campaign on Polytrack (Lane's End - Blue Grass).
"He likes every track he's been on except this one. He liked Delaware and he loved it at the Fair Grounds. The Polytrack [synthetic] surface at Turfway is a lot like the one at Fair Hill [Md.], and he trained well there before his race at Philadelphia [Park].But also note that owner Rick Porter added of Oaklawn: "They say it is very similar to Churchill Downs." That wouldn't be good.
"He seems to labor a little too much here. We worked him fast one day and it did take a lot out of him. He just didn't get a hold of the track. We don't have time to goof around now, but I'm confident in this decision. I'm not ready to commit suicide, that's for sure." [Delaware Online]
- The Superfecta Blog has more on George Washington here and here. And the UK's Times Online gets its two cents in:
It is romantic to assume that leading breeding operations such as Coolmore will race their horses endlessly just for the sport. They have long since proved any such expectation absurd. But packing away a healthy and auspicious colt even before the first classic has been run is surely taking pragmatism to new extremes.