Posts Tagged ‘Big Tiz’

Farm Hopping: Hello, Union Rags!

by Jarrod Horak

Earlier this week, I ventured to Lexington, Kentucky with Candice Curtis and Stacy Edwards to visit with some of our favorite equine stars.

First stop was Lane’s End Farm. We spent some quality time with the likes of After Market, Candy Ride, City Zip, Curlin, Discreetly Mine, English Channel, The Factor, Lemon Drop Kid, Pleasantly Perfect, Quality Road, Smart Strike, and Union Rags.

Seeing these equine legends brought back some handicapping memories. I was in the early stages of my stint with Racing On The Net when Lemon Drop Kid captured the Belmont Stakes, and he was one of my first significant online play of the day winners.

I made my first trek to Santa Anita Park for the 2003 Breeders’ Cup and Pleasantly Perfect won the Classic that year.

Jarrod and rags 2

Fast forward to 2012 and Union Rags was my Derby horse. He had a less than ideal trip that day but redeemed himself in the Belmont Stakes. He retired shortly after the Test of Champions and I relocated to Kentucky just in time to visit the regal looking son of Dixie Union. He was taking a nap when we first arrived but curiosity got the best of him and he came over to see what we were up to. I rubbed his nose a few times and the gentle giant went back to sleep in the blink of an eye.

Some delicious refreshments were offered including chili and quiche. Real men don’t eat quiche but I had some anyway before out next stop — Ashford Stud.

Coolmore America is an impressive operation with an imposing group of young stallions including Cape Blanco, Dunkirk, Hansen, Lookin At Lucky, Stay Thirsty, and Uncle Mo. It was also a pleasure to see veteran sires Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant’s Causeway, Tale of the Cat, and Thunder Gulch.

Candice got her picture taken with her early racing idol Thunder Gulch, and for Stacy it was all about Stay Thirsty.

Hansen horse

Hansen stood out with his soft, light coat. He seemed a bit edgy at first but calmed down nicely once he got outside and allowed us to get up close and personal. Our picture perfect day was not over yet, because we were only a hop, skip, and a jump from Three Chimneys.

Stacy told me to wear my Big Brown hat since she knew we would be visiting the 2008 Derby winner, but before that I had to get a glimpse of my 2001 Derby horse, Point Given.

Point Given horse

I was all over Point Given before, during, and after the 2001 Triple Crown trail, and I even traveled to Big Sandy to watch him romp in the Belmont Stakes. He seemed unaware that I was there but just as I was about to walk away he pranced over and allowed me to share a moment with him. To his right was young stallion Caleb’s Posse. Brilliant Speed was just down the road and Ice Box was in the middle of his meet and greet with the fans.

We journeyed outside and as we walked down the path, a horse handler looked at my hat and said “I know who you want to see.” Actually, Colonel John was my Derby horse that year, but I played along.

Big Brown horse

Big Brown is a magnificent looking bay son of Boundary, standing at 16.1 hands, and he seems to know that he is a Derby winner.

We proceeded to walk a bit further down the path and were greeted by Marketing and Communications Director Jen Roytz. She was very gracious and asked us if we would like to see any horses.

She showed us Exchange Rate, Red Giant, and War Chant, and walked us to the next viewing area to visit with I’ll Have Another’s proud papa Flower Alley, who seemed to set a world record for chowing down his food. Jen was very excited about showing off low profile sire Lewis Michael, and we were more than happy to the share our day with the handsome son of Rahy.

Before we left Three Chimneys, we had a lengthy conversation with a veteran bloodstock consultant and helped ourselves to some food offered during the open house. Chili was on the menu again, and although it was tasty, I have to give the cook-off award to Lane’s End.

Wise Dan

We hopped in the car and headed to our final destination, Keeneland. It was the first day of the January sale but before hitting the pavilion, we toured the grounds, snapped some more photos, and reminisced about last year’s stakes winners through the eyes of the lawn jockeys.

As for the sale, Trip for A. J. (hip 241) went for $310k, and we left after Big Tiz (hip 299) brought down the gavel at a cool $600k.

This was our first of many planned Kentucky farm visits. 2013 is off to a wonderful start and that spring aroma in the not too distant future can only mean one thing – live racing at Keeneland is just around the corner!

If you would like to view more of our farm adventure pictures, please visit Stacy’s Kentucky Horse Racing Photos page.

Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic 2011 Report – Blind Luck is back!

Older Fillies and Mares

Blind Luck garnered a 96 BSF for her late running tally over Switch in the Grade 1 Vanity at Hollywood Park. Last year’s 3yo filly champ has now won back-to-back after landing the place in five straight. She goes next in the July 16 Del ‘Cap or the Aug 6 Clement Hirsch.

Blind Luck

Blind Luck photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Nine furlongs is not the best distance for Switch but she was hardly disgraced in the Vanity and it could have been much closer if Rosario pulled the trigger sooner. Last year’s BC Filly & Mare Sprint runner-up will probably target that race again but might stick to the route game for now.

Santa Margarita winner Miss Match ended up a solid 3rd in the Vanity. She might be better on conventional dirt.

St Trinians is clearly not the same mare that gave Zenyatta a scare in the 2010 Vanity. She runs well fresh and could use a bit of a breather.

Unrivaled Belle flipped in the paddock prior to Belmont’s Ogden Phipps and was forced to scratch. The Mott trainee subsequently retired so there will be no Ladies’ Classic repeat for the daughter of Unbridled’s Song.

Awesome Maria took full advantage of Unrivaled Belle’s absence in the Phipps and uncorked a 100 BSF for her winning effort. She is 4-for-4 in the graded ranks this year and look for the Pletcher trainee to show up at the Spa this summer.

Life At Ten has not been the same since her infamous last place effort in the 2010 Ladies’ Classic and could hit the breeding shed in the near future if he career continues to sputter.

Havre De Grace looked good capturing the Azeri, Apple Blossom, and Obeah to begin her promising 2011 campaign for Larry Jones. The Delaware Handicap is next and she could take on males later this year with continued development.

Three-Year-old Fillies

Two graded routes on tap this weekend for sophomore fillies. Joyful Victory takes on Buster’s Ready in the Mother Goose at Belmont Park and Plum Pretty is the one to beat in the Hollywood Oaks.

Joyful Victory

Joyful Victory photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Joyful Victory is one of my favs but she will have to elevate her game in the coming months. She looked great in a pair of wins at Oaklawn (Honeybee, Fantasy) earlier this year but is 0-for-3 in Grade 1 races after a disappointing 4th in the Kentucky Oaks. The Mother Goose came up light and she is an obvious low odds threat.

Buster’s Ready raced wide chasing a fast pace in the Black-Eyed Susan and was clearly second best behind visually impressive winner Royal Delta. The Todd Pletcher trainee continues to improve and could give Joyful Victory fits on Saturday.

Alseera is a $500,000 Keeneland sales grad for Kiaran McLaughlin. She exits back-to-back wins and might get brave if able to shake loose early in the Mother Goose.

{Check out the 3-year-old filly power rankings at Horse Racing Nation}

Plum Pretty just lasted over St John’s River in the Kentucky Oaks and was supposed to go in the Mother Goose but a slight temperature altered her plans and she will now go in the Hollywood Oaks.

Bob Baffert’s fleet filly should get a soft trip on or near tepid early splits at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

Zazu rallied for the show in the Kentucky Oaks and has beaten Plum Pretty on two of three occasions. She needs pace help and won’t get it in the Hollywood Oaks.

Big Tiz owns fine early-pressing speed and attracts PVal for her Oaks assignment. She could beat Plum Pretty if that one stubs her toe.