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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

News and Notes and Chilling - Dec 19

- A "major announcement" is forthcoming from Curlin's connections; that according to Marcus Hersh in the Daily Racing Form.

The breeding season is nearly upon Kentucky, and Curlin is nowhere near a stallion barn. Instead he is in steady training at Fair Grounds with Steve Asmussen, who, for lack of any other directive, continues to train Curlin with an eye toward an early-season 2008 campaign.

"Right now, I think he's the best horse in the country, and we're going forward from there," Asmussen said Tuesday morning. "I definitely have ideas in my head." [DRF]
Zanjero, who Asmussen said is pointing to the Oaklawn Handicap, as well as a host of other second and third string three-year olds of 2007, Daaher chief amongst those, are no doubt hoping that Curlin finds a nice home at a Kentucky farm. Without the presumptive Horse of the Year, and with Midnight Lute's distance prospects uncertain, the outlook for next year's handicap division would be cloudy at best. A lot is riding on the pending decision. 2008 could be a showcase for a potential superstar, or another nondescript year for the older horse division. I'm sure the Mythical Commissioner of Racing would be working furiously behind the scenes to encourage Curlin's return.

- You may notice that the Stallion Register page for Pavarotti has been corrected. I'd noted in a prior post that it erroneously claimed that the horse had run Triple Digit Beyers of 105, 107 & 108. Fellow TBA blogger Jose Guerra of Warstone Farm fired off a letter to Bloodhorse, and not only received a response from them, but from Walmac Farm, who stands the sire at Hartley/De Renzo (Walmac South) in Florida, as well. They apologized to Jose for the mistake, and the page was corrected to read Triple Digit BRIS Figures of 107 & 106; so he not only lost the Beyers, but one of the figures as well.

That evening I received an email from George Hills of Walmac's Bloodstock Sales department. Considering what I considered to be the relatively light-hearted nature of the post and the fact that I'd written "I imagine it's some kind of innocent typo," I was taken aback by its tone.
At the end of the day, a simple error was made by someone at the Bloodhorse and hopefully the issue has been resolved however, I do regret that you felt compelled to write a blog as negative as the one you did however, it is obviously your prerogative to do so.
Hmm, touchy, touchy, eh? I mean, I can do 'negative' too, but I really didn't intend that post to be in that vein, and I don't think it reads that way. Was just having a little fun, and I of course couldn't pass up the chance to blast Giuliani.

Anyway, be sure to check out Jose's excellent series on the "Best and Worst Stallions of 2008" over at his Warstone Farm blog.

- A couple of names in the news today that we haven't seen much of lately. Governor Spitzer has hired William Mulrow to head his political operation, and to help expand the governor’s relationships with business and labor groups. You may recall that Mulrow, who vied unsuccessfully to succeed Alan Hevesi as State Comptroller, is a principal in Excelsior Racing. That group has once again receded to the sidelines after briefly emerging for the Senate's latest franchise hearing a couple of months ago.
An administration official said Mr. Mulrow would not assume his duties as political adviser until the franchise competition was settled. [NY Sun]
In the seemingly unlikely event that Excelsior gets a piece of the action, he would be required to divest his financial stake in the group.[NYT] The motivation behind the hiring is two-fold. The Sun has reported that Ms. Spitzer is urging her husband to make a clean break from the top advisors involved in Troopergate; the governor is said to be mulling other major changes to his political team. [NY Sun]

In addition, Spitzer is looking ahead to next year's elections with an eye to helping the Democrats assume control of the Senate; the GOP has a two-seat edge, with a special election pending to replace Republican Senator Jim Wright, who will be retiring at the end of the year.
Spitzer aides believe that [Mulrow's] seniority, sizable Rolodex and range of experience would help the campaign bridge the different camps within the Democratic Party in New York.
Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Bruno have been openly feuding since the summer, and a strong effort by the governor to win Mr. Wright’s seat for Democrats is unlikely to help. Indeed, Mr. Bruno is already angry with the governor merely for attending fund-raisers earlier this month for two likely Democratic challengers to members of his caucus.

“How do you govern if you’re at war with somebody?” Mr. Bruno said at a holiday lunch with reporters on Tuesday. The fund-raisers Mr. Spitzer attended, he said, were “a continuous declaration of war heading into the session,” which starts in January. [NYT]
There's been this understanding in the "old Albany" that governors accept the political alignment of the two legislative bodies and don't intervene in local elections. Spitzer already broke that rule last year, and, if it's at all possible for relations between he and Bruno to get worse, this is the way to do so. I'm sure it doesn't put the Senate Majority Leader in an accommodating mood, with respect to the franchise or anything else.

A news item that was overlooked last week was the nomination of Glenn Suddaby to a federal judgeship by the Bush Administration. Suddaby is the federal prosecutor who has been investigating the business dealings of Bruno. The investigation would presumably carry on under his replacement; but it's been going on for so long now, one wonders if anything will come of it.

- And finally, a couple of Xmases ago, I recommended SOMA FM's Xmas in Frisko internet radio stream (available on I-Tunes and at their website) for some truly twisted holiday tunes. That program is still available, and is still not for the easily offended. However, this year, I guess I'm a bit mellower because I'm preferring their Christmas Lounge: Chilled holiday grooves and classic winter lounge tracks. (Kid and Parent safe!) So check it out, and chill out for the holidays. (And that means you too, George Hills!)


Anonymous said...

Classic response from Walmac. Why are bloodstock sales guys so sensitive? In my days writing for an industry pub, I recall several times that I was "dressed down" for reporting the simple truth about a stallion prospect. Of course, my pub advertised those stallions, so the stakes were a little higher for us to be sensitive.

One guy actually complained that we mentioned a horse "won his first six starts, but was retired after being unplaced in the Grade 1 (can't recall the race)." Too much focus on the negative, he claimed.

Well, those are the facts. Not sure how else I could have put it (assuming I wasn't in the tank for the farm). Now that I think of it, I wonder if that was a Walmac, too.

The fact is, if stallion marketing weren't so laughable, maybe those guys wouldn't have to be so sensitive. Just be honest!

Anonymous said...

It will be nice if Curlin does run at 4-yrs old, if only for the good of the sport. I pretty much loathe all of his owners (both new and old) but recognize the attention he can bring to races.

Who knows maybe he'll even develop into an excellent horse. Right now I'd only say he's a very good one. Just don't expect a Spectacular Bid at 4 like campaign ;> 4 or 5 starts is all we'll likely see.

Anonymous said...

You are probably right about the light campaign Glim, but 4 or 5 starts is better than zero and we can hope Assmussen, who does not usually coddle his charges like some other big time trainers, will perhaps be a little more sporting.

Yes he still has something to prove, but thankfully he will get the chance to do so unlike so many others.

I happen to have a higher opinion of him that you do(thought it was an excellent 3yo crop top to bottom), hopefully it will be proven on the race track.