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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vintage Vinyl and a Classic Race

- Early Saturday evening, I had TVG on and Formulator open, but the audio was on mute, and the phonograph was playing. As some of you may recall, when CD's first came out with its promise of pristine sound with no hiss or crackles, some audiophiles swore that vinyl remained the superior format. They said that digital sound was cold and mechanical, and lacked the depth, warmth, and grit of analog. I was undecided at the time. But now, after a quarter century of digital in its various forms, when I get the rare opportunity, as I did today with no kids within miles, to kick back and crank up some vintage vinyl like XTC's 1980 release Black Sea, I feel as if the CD-naysayers were absolutely right. At least, that's the way I hear it.

I turned the (digital) TV sound back on for the seventh at Hollywood, an interesting two-year old maiden race with some well-bred runners. Sangaree, the 8-5 post-time favorite, is a half-brother, by Awesome Again, to Congaree, who has a full-page ad in the latest issue of Bloodhorse; his first-crop were yearlings this year. One of the great milers of modern times, the ad proclaims. It lists Cigar Mile winners Aldeberan, Forty Niner, Quiet American, El Corredor, and Discreet Cat, and notes that Congaree is the only horse to ever win it two years in a row. Of course, it's only been run since 1988 (wasn't run in 1993). Congaree stands at Frank's Adena Springs in Kentucky for $15,000; his yearlings averaged just over $60,000 this year.

Also in the field was Alonzo (Pleasant Tap), a full brother to Tiago, and half to Giacomo, 14-1 in his debut for John Sherriffs. I think he's named after that Police album Outlandos d'Alonzo, or something like that.

In the race, first timer Cardinal Zin found room up the rail with Alex Solis to upset at 23-1; with 69-1 Option finishing third, the superfecta returned over 25K for a buck. Alonzo was dead last most of the way, and finished 11th of 12. Frank Lyons told the TVG audience that Alonzo quickly galloped out past the field after the wire, and asked to have the tape of the finish keep rolling. But the tape cut off long before we could see what happened. Ken Rudolph, whose name is actually Ken Rudulph, mused aloud: "After eight years of us talking about the importance of gallop outs, we still haven't learned to keep the tape rolling." Huh, did he really say that? This guy must be real popular around the production crew. Then, when he appeared on screen, it was apparent he had some kind of goatee going on. "What is that on his face?" wondered the Head Chef.

The race winner has a very unusual pedigree. Cardinal Zin, by first year sire Whywhywhy (6th on the first year sire list, in large part due to Juvie Turf winner Nownownow), out of a Cox's Ridge mare, is inbred 4x3 to Honest Pleasure; that's a name that I don't notice too much at all nowadays, no less twice in one pedigree. Honest Pleasure was the juvenile champ in 1975 for owner Bertram Firestone and trainer Leroy Jolley; and won the Florida Derby, Flamingo, Blue Grass, and Travers at three. But it was his second place finish in the 1976 Marlboro Cup that many of us remember him most for, and it's always a good time to take a look back at that one, certainly one of the best races I've witnessed in person. Remember that Forego was giving the three-year old son of What A Pleasure 18 pounds.

Into Mischief stalked the pace and took over in the stretch to take the G1 Cash Call at 13-1 for Richard Mandella in his first try around two turns. He's the first Grade 1 winner for his sire Harlan's Holiday, who will climb to #2 on the first crop sire list with the $403,000 in purse money earned.


Anonymous said...

Keep the unusual pedigree notes coming, very interesting.

Rarely see inbreeding today that does not involve Northern Dancer, Mr. P or Turn To (very popular and successful).

Would seem it could be used more for superior type horses such as Honest Pleasure, assuming of course the breeder can overcome the paucity of sires that actually contain the obscure lines.

Anonymous said...

Vinyl Rocks.

Anonymous said...

1. Vinyl is amazing. I actually recently just bought a $500 cartridge for my record player. I may be out of my mind, but, man, does it sound good. Gotta get that XTC album.
2. Can someone who covers Hollywood (hint, you) please talk about the eighth race Saturday. For my money, that DQ of the 26-1 shot to put up the hopelessly beaten (and unmolested) chalk was the worst steward ruling I've ever seen in my twenty-two years of seriously (and I mean seriously) watching horse racing. Comments?

Anonymous said...

Thats why everyone loves Forego.