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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Odds And Ends - Dec 8

- Wilko (Awesome Again), perhaps the most overhyped three-wins-in-16 starts horse in history, makes his comeback on Saturday when he faces six 3-year-old rivals in the $50,000 Larkspur Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

"He had a bone chip removed from an ankle and we gave him plenty of time," said [trainer Criag Dollase]. "The quarter cracks that bothered him all year are healed up now and his feet have grown out. He's like a fresh, new, shiny penny. We're excited." [Bloodhorse]
He’s another three year-old that one could wonder whether he could have made an impact on the division in the fall if his connections didn’t persist in running him in the Derby despite the relentless foot problems that his trainer refers to. It will be his first start since being eased in the Preakness, beating only Galloping Grocer and Going Wild.

- Kiaran McLaughlin sent out two year old colt Jazil (Seeking the Gold) to win the 6th at Aqueduct on Wednesday at .55-to-1 with an exciting closing surge inside the 8th pole; the colt had closed strongly to just miss in his prior start and stretched out to a mile and a sixteenth here. This colt has an outstanding pedigree – he traces directly back to foundation mare Best In Show, his third dam. Broodmare of the Year in 1982, Best In Show won just five races and $53,000. But it’s staggering to see the names of all the stakes winners that have descended from her and her daughters. Actually, Best In show herself foaled just four of them (including Jazil’s second dam Blush With Pride), but according to this piece by noted pedigree expert Rommy Faversham written in September of 2003, her daughters and their descendants were, at that time, responsible for 53 stakes winners out of 494 foals, for a percentage of 11%. These include Aldeberan, Chimes of Freedom, Spinning World, Domedriver, Yagli, El Gran Senor, and Strong Hope, to name a few. Amazing to think that a single mare could be responsible for a virtual entire chapter of racing history.

Jazil’s sire, Seeking the Gold, is worth a mention too. Earlier in the year, I posted of his steadily declining stud fee, which had gone from $250,000 in 2001 to $125,000 this year; I also noted that he finished out of the top 100 on the general sires list for 2004. However, they’ll be no further reduction in his fee for 2006, as he’s enjoyed a resurgent year with 11 stakes winners, including Distaff winner Pleasant Home, and a spot in tenth place on the sires list thus far. He now has 71 stakes winners in his career out of 721 foals, and with a little rounding up, that’s good for the magic 10% that qualifies a sire as being amongst the very elite of his profession. Imagine, if you have a young horse by Seeking the Gold, you have a ten percent chance of having a stakes winner on your hands. That's much better odds than you get on a lot of things in this game. Of course, you'll have to pay for it - his yearlings had an average sale price of $273,000 this year.

- Hollywood Park raised their purses, but that didn’t avert a dismal card featuring seven claiming races drawn for Friday’s 8 race card.
Friday's program drew 55 entries, including one five-horse field and four races with six entrants. The largest field is the eighth race, a maiden claimer for 2-year-olds that drew 12 entrants. Half of the races are for maidens. [Daily Racing Form]