Posts Tagged ‘Ice Box’

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.

2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic Preview

Post positions were drawn for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Monday and below is the advance I wrote on Horse Racing Nation.

Uncle Mo gets the 5-2 morning line nod over Havre de Grace in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Uncle Mo

Uncle Mo is the 5-2 BC Classic favorite - photo by Eclipse Spoprtswire

Two-year-old champ Uncle Mo has overcome health problems to be the improbable favorite in the biggest race of the year. The Pletcher/Repole runner was forced to miss the Triple Crown series with an intestinal problem and has been a force since returning at Saratoga. He ran too good to lose in the G1 King’s Bishop and exits a visually impressive score in the G2 Kelso at Big Sandy. He has yet to win beyond a mile and a sixtenth so Saturday’s ten furlong trip is a question he must answer.

Havre de Grace will take on the boys but that should not pose a problem because she beat the gents in the G1 Woodward at the Spa in September. She tuned up for this with a facile triumph in the G1 Beldame and tries to become just the second female to ever win the BC Classic.

G1 Jockey Club Gold cup hero Flat Out will try to turn the tables on Havre de Grace. The fantastic filly got the jump on him in the G1 Woodward but the ten panel trip might even the odds. He is training well for this engagement but both wins this year occurred at Belmont Park.

Overseas invader So You Think gives conventional dirt a whirl for Aidan O’Brien. The classy New Zealand-bred has captured eleven graded/group events on turf in Australia, Great Britain, and Ireland from seven furlongs to a mile and five sixteenths. Saturday marks his third start in five weeks but he seems to thrive on activity and can compete here if he handles the footing.

To Honor And Serve is stuck out in unlucky post thirteen and figures to attend the pace with railsitting longshot Prayer For Relief and G1 Goodwood winner Game On Dude. The Mott trainee exits back-to-back sharp prominent throughout wins including the G2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept 24.

PA Derby runner-up Ruler On Ice deserves a look at a big price. The surprise G1 Belmont Stakes winner gave To Honor And Serve ten pounds and showed newfound rallying ability over a speed favoring surface at Parx last time. He will be finishing under Garrett Gomez.

Stay Thirsty hit his best stride at Saratoga this summer with wins in the G2 Jim Dandy and G1 Travers. He was last seen landing the show in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and must prove he can fire a big shot away from his New York home.

The remainder of the Breeders’ Cup Classic field consists of Drosselmeyer, Ice Box, Rattlesnake Bridge, and Headache.

Breeders' Cup Classic

Breeders' Cup Classic Odds