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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Notes - July 20

- Another grave injury to a jockey yesterday, this time at Finger Lakes, where Omar Camejo is in guarded condition at a local hospital. Jockey agent Bob Jobson, on the scene when Camejo was being attended to, said, "He was barely breathing when the first help arrived. ... He was spitting blood. ... They did a tracheotomy and put tubes in his lungs to help him breathe." [Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester)]

- Funny Cide's connections are trying to figure out what to do with their now 5 yo faded star after his anemic performance in the Brooklyn Handicap. Robin Smullen continues to use the heat as an excuse - "His temperature was elevated after the Suburban. It wasn't what you would consider in the range of heatstroke, but it was way above normal." But Bill Finley in the NY Times points out that the gelding has raced successfully under those conditions in the past.

Funny Cide has handled the heat before. It was 80 degrees for the 2004 Suburban, in which he finished third, beaten by a neck. It was 81 degrees for this year's Suburban and 80 degrees when he ran so dismally in the Brooklyn, not the sort of extreme temperatures that should cause a horse a problem. [NY Times]
Perhaps his connections should recall that he's a NY-bred, and look for a state-bred stakes for him just to get him back on the board and possibly regain some confidence. If he's even able to handle that at this point.

- Interesting story from Ellis Park via Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page.
Dr. Mitzi Fisher, longtime state veterinarian, recently was asked by the racing authority for her resignation. On Thursday, recent hiree Dr. Camme Miles was working the starting gate when Blades Hill, second choice in the field of seven at $2.20-$1, should not have run.

In a combined 42 years of charting races, the two chart callers at Ellis Park representing Equibase Co. LLC had never seen a horse flip in the gate, get stuck in the stall for one minute, extracted, reloaded and allowed to compete in the race.

Stewards, who should have withdrawn the horse, noted the vet said the horse was OK. Miles said the horse wasn't washed out or limping, and noted that she had grown up in the western United States and lots of quarter horses flip in the gate. She also said the jockey, Eddie Zuniga, said he would ride.

This isn't quarter-horse country. When horses are on the ground, they come out. It was poor judgment on behalf of protecting the betting public. Blades Hill had to have been scared out of his mind. He was last at every call, never was competitive and beaten by nearly 15 lengths. Those holding tickets weren't happy. [Evansville Courier & Press]
This article in the Thoroughbred Times seems to link Dr. Fisher's departure to the developing story concerning ignored drug positives in Kentucky.

- At least one resident in the area around Lincoln Park is unhappy about the plans to add 1,750 more slot machines to the greyhound track. "We have a lot of late-night traffic...Those people are wide awake because they were playing the slot machines." Yeah, those slot machines are sure invigorating; I'm sure they get everyone all hepped up. Nonetheless, many people in Lincoln, RI point to a local ordinance requiring a referendum to approve any expanded gambling, but state legislators have held that an expansion consists of a change in the type of gambling, not just adding new machines.
"How can you add 1,750 new machines and say you're not expanding gambling?" said resident Anthony Baglini. "That is just very insulting to the intelligence of the people that live around here. Call it what it is." [Providence Journal]
- Among the first year sires who sent offspring through the ring at the Fasig Tipton yearling sale this week was Officer. Though just 5 of his 12 foals that went into the ring drew high enough bids to sell, they averaged $128,400. Officer (Bertrando) represents the In Reality sire line, is totally free of Mr. Prospector (his broodmare is a granddaughter of Seattle Slew through Septieme Ciel), and his only instance of Northern Dancer is in his 6th generation, as time marches on. His high seller went for $180,000, and is indeed out of a Mr. Prospector line mare through Carson City.

Officer was undefeated going into the 2001 Breeders Cup Juvenile, coming off a dominating win in the Champagne, his 5th straight victory. He was the 3-4 favorite in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Belmont for Baffert, but got involved in a speed duel with fellow freshman sire Came Home (who had 3 of 5 sell at the sale for an average of 115K) and faded to 5th, five lengths behind winner Johannesburg ($16.40). He won only once more in 3 tries after that debacle, and that was in his only start as a 3 yo, the Zany Tactics Stakes at Santa Anita. You can watch that race as well as his Champagne on this page, though they have the links reversed. Note the complete effortlessness with which he won each. In the Zany Tactics, Trevor Denman exclaims "Officer is just cantering out here - Just an amazing performance; if he goes any slower he's gonna start trotting as he comes to the wire." But that was his last race and he was off to stud at Gainesway for $12,500, since raised to 15K.