RSS Feed for this Blog

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pain in the Gluteal

- Great catch by reader Glimmerglass, who recalled that Cowboy Cal's supposed gluteal muscle pull injury sounded rather familiar. Here's the story on the similar woes suffered by The Green Monkey during Saratoga 2006. Ah yes, remembering the good old days, way back when he was still a two-year old with 16 million reasons why a bright future still lay ahead. Team Pletcher may want to keep an eye on Cowboy Cal for any signs that he may just suck too. Seems that Jav Privman has already dismissed his chances given that he doesn't give the horse a single mention in his article in the Form on the Toddster's "sneaky" Derby prospects.

If the colt does make the Blue Grass on April 12, and does enough to qualify, he'd be going to Churchill off a schedule that might have been considered unconventional just a couple of years ago - preps on Jan 1, Feb 16, and then not for almost two months. And that's even forgetting the fact that he will have prepped only on grass and on the Keeneland Poly, which, to me, is the synthetic surface that plays most like a turf course. Monba, the only other Pletcher horse to be listed in Pool 1, is scheduled to make his three-year old debut this weekend in the Fountain of Youth. That's ten weeks before the Derby. So, given the trainer's preference for at least four weeks between races, I don't see where he would have more than one more prep. I think we'd all like to see this 'less-preps-is-more' approach be quickly and assertively discredited; but given Street Sense's win off of two preps, I guess that won't be happening anytime soon.

So, while Glimmerglass also questioned the wisdom of Mott sending Majestic Warrior directly to the Louisiana Derby for his three-year old bow, there's not really time for allowance preps anymore if you're going to limit the amount of preps AND be able to qualify on graded earnings. It's not surprising then that Tale of Ekati is also being slated to make his 2008 debut there; and it's obvious that each of these colts will be attempting the two prep step approach as well.

- What do you think is going through the minds of the Breeders' Cup folks given the announcement that Santa Anita will not only scrap their current hybrid surface for a new synthetic one; but won't even do so until after Hollywood's spring/summer meeting because some horses that run at the Inglewood track train at the Arcadia facility!!? [LA Times] Just three months before the sport's showcase day, Santa Anita will be ripping up the track and starting from scratch! Imagine if the site of the Super Bowl was a dirt pit around Halloween!! Well, actually, given what has occurred thus far, maybe the BC is getting ready to give Santa Anita a ten-year franchise (thought you wouldn't be seeing that word around here much anymore, eh?) on the event!

A couple of particularly interesting tidbits from's comprehensive and quite worthwhile article on yesterday's Synth Summit of the CHRB (meaning: please read it in its entirety):

John Shirreffs, who has been a constant voice of skepticism on the surfaces, noted that he's seen a lot of bleeders amongst young horses, and David Hofmans added that while he has had bleeders, he hasn’t seen the debris in the trachea that he saw from a dirt surface. That's the first possible real-life example I've read relating to the question, which we've often posed here, of what the hell is in that stuff, and what effect it might have on horses and humans who breathe it in. Can't say I'm surprised to read that there would be "debris" in the trachea (yuck). The further question, which we won't know for quite some time, is what, if any, are the long-term health effects.

And, amidst the dissonance of opinions and experiences that are apparent in the report, I think it's fair to say that horsemen generally agree that the surfaces are kinder to the animals. But Garrett Gomez told the board that it's also kinder on him. “My body has felt tremendously better.....They really help with the wear and tear on our bodies." As long as, that is, he's not getting rocks in the face and debris in his trachea.

- Excuses for the two dead heat winners of the Delta Jackpot for their disappointing follow-ups: Z Humor washed out in the paddock; Turf War was slightly hurt.


Anonymous said...

did you misread? "he hasn't seen debris" in the trachea as in a dirt surface.

Alan Mann said...

>>did you misread?


Anonymous said...

I see that Joe Harper from Del Mar is still talking up the wonderfulness of synthetics. He will do this right up to the day that Del Mar decides to remove this foolishness and then he will simply talk out of the other side of his mouth.

Anonymous said...

You have to hand it to Bill Mott, who I do respect, for the trial by fire methods. In addition to Majestic Warrior decision he's running Z Humor again this weekend.

While perhaps washed out in the paddock before the Sam Davis - 'Z' still ran in the race. So putting him back, 8-days later, into the Fountain of Youth with a far more skilled field will be interesting.

One can only assume Mr. Zayat was calling the shots with that decision.

Anonymous said...

Certainly not Mott's usual MO.