Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 29-30, 2015 - Travers Day

Let's Go To The Races - August 29-30, 2015
This is a non-commercial blog

Time Ordered Races - printable file


Steve Haskin puts perspective on the Travers: "Loss can't derail Pharoah Phenomenon"


Some thoughts: No one connected with this horse should waste one moment second-guessing themselves. And Pharoah himself owes us nothing.
Keen Ice was lucky on Saturday, he caught a tired horse that, as we have seen, on any other day he couldn't get close to AP. Even a tired American Pharoah almost pulled this off.
Time enough to regroup and prepare him for a last hurrah in the Breeders Cup. In the meantime, the American Pharoah celebration can continue, we can watch him train, watch him meet and greet, we can revel in living to see something really special and the sport, at least for a short period, be in the spotlight for something positive.

As Dottie used to say about Zenyatta, "Every time she crossed the finish line, she took all that was good about the sport with her." The same can be said of American Pharoah: His campaign this year has been one long "happy dance" for the fans. No worries, Pharoah. You lost not one ounce of respect. You are and always will be a "winner", no matter what you do from here on out.

American Pharoah himself may not have been aware the effects of travel and competition were bound to catch up with him.  The signals Pharoah sent were all positive. With the positives Pharoah put out, Baffert would have been pilloried had he decided not to run him. He would have been asked, and rightfully so, "based on what?" As it was, the tired horse almost pulled it off. He was never farther back than second.  He is still the champ! They beat a tired horse yesterday, but not by much...he was never farther back than second. Even after the race, he is still the class of the field...he lost nothing in defeat.  by Deltalady

Travers Equibase Chart - click here

Race Replay with slow-motion, different angles, head on


Hard to believe, but it's true: 4 have tried,
with only Whirlaway succeeding. More below on this story!
Read about the amazing career of Whirlaway, known by his fans as 'Mr. Longtail'!
American Pharoah, by virtue of his skimpy tail has been nicknamed
by some as 'Mr. Short Tail!" Will he succeed? Today is the day we will find out!



Travers Day coverage on NBC begins at 4:00 EDT, Saturday 
UPI's Robert Kieckhefer gives a great overview for this weekend's racing, focusing, of course
on the big doings at Saratoga - click here


August 28 Gallop - Helmet Cam

Will the Pharoah Phenomenon Continue?
American Pharoah a 1-5 favorite in 10-horse field for Travers
American Pharoah arrives at Saratoga for Travers Stakes
American Pharoah draws post 2 for Travers
Baffert hopes American Pharoah meets Beholder in breeding shed
Steve Haskin issues his "advisory":  Travers Stakes: High Anxiety
American Pharoah news montage - TwinSpires
American Pharoah photo montage

National Racing Report 8-24-15 from Saratoga, published August 26). Maggie Wolfendale and Jason Blewitt recap the week's Stakes action and look ahead to this Saturday's Travers Stakes.

‘Maria’ Charges Into Personal Ensign | TDN [Thoroughbred Daily News]
Tepin seeks rebound in Ballston Spa
Haskin: Deep in the Heart of 'Texas'
Flintshire holds class edge in Sword Dancer
Private Zone looms large in Forego; Holy Boss tops King's Bishop
Smart Transition fires bullet for Travers
Dame Dorothy, La Verdad headline Ballerina at Saratoga
Video - Dan Illman DRF Live - They break for the races and return for comments

Video - Mike Smith on the El Cajon for Saturday at Del Mar
     Mike also talks about what it's like to run against American Pharoah

Stopchargingmaria, Untapable meet again; Two by A.P. Indy, America & Got Lucky also here

AND LOOK WHO'S IN THE SWORD DANCER! Some overseas talent coming, no doubt lured by the $1 Million purse: FLINTSHIRE (GB). Germany, France and Brazil are also represented. And my favorite,. TWILIGHT ECLIPSE! Lest we forget, March 23, 2013: Set new world record of 2:22.63 for 12f on turf in winning the Pan American S. at Gulfstream Park. Also, Twilight Eclipse was purchase at a livestock sale for $1,000 before winning his first two races. Looks like RED RIFLE will likely be the favorite, since he has beaten a couple of his rivals in this race recently. Sword Dancer with an international cast   Video - TVG International Cast in for the Sword Dancer


WHIRLAWAY - the only Triple Crown winner that has won the Travers, sometimes called the "fourth leg of the Triple Crown." Two nice articles about Mr. Longtail, the quirky horse that won the Triple Crown in 1941, and at the same time launched the dynasty of Calumet Farm. Below that are a short video of Whirly's TC run, and then ESPN full documentary on the career of this remarkable horse.

Brisnet - Kellie Reilly - Whirlaway cameo                      
Whirly may have driven his famous trainer to the edge of insanity, causing Plain Ben to declare him to be the "Dumbest horse I've ever trained," but Jones also knew that Whirlaway was the fastest horse he had yet trained, and continued to spend hours with the colt in an attempt to cure him of his bad habits and fears. Only Plain Ben's love for Whirlaway and his confidence in the horse's talent kept his patience intact.  From Brisnet's Kellie Reillyc- Read more

Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame - Spiletta
Whirlaway had the genetic deck stacked against him when he drew his temperament card, as both his sire and his dam had reputations for being excitable....    Hence Whirlaway inherited plenty of raw ability with a complimentary set of psychoses to match, and this heady cocktail was served up early in his two-year-old season.

The elder Jones was said to refer to Whirlaway as "The Half Wit" due to his lack of ability to run in a straight line. He had the habit of bearing out, and when he was in the lead he liked to slow down and zig-zag across the track, apparently bored.

Whirlaway with Ben JonesThe chestnut colt with the flying tail began his racing career on June 3, 1940 with a narrow victory in Chicago under Jack Richard. He was far superior to the rest of the field, as evidenced by the fact that he covered virtually every inch of the track, with special attention given the outside rail, while the rest of the youngsters ran a straight line.

Since Whirlaway was both the most promising and the most difficult horse in the Calumet lineup in 1940, Ben and Jimmy Jones decided that the fairest way to split the workload was for one of them to concentrate on Whirlaway while the other trained the rest of the barn. Ben Jones became Whirlaway's dedicated tutor.

Frightened by many things in his environment, he was difficult to saddle, prone to rear and jump, was known to miss the break, and had a penchant for going extremely wide in his races. So intractable a pupil was he that Jones called him the "dumbest horse I ever trained."  From UTHOF - Read more

  Short video about Whirlaway's Triple Crown run

ESPN Video: Whirlaway documentary - 46 minutes


A Closer Look At The Travers at Saratoga Race Course: America's Oldest Stakes Race for Thoroughbreds (from the Saratoga web site and Wikipedia)

First held in 1864, the Travers was not run in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912, thus the numbering of the races does not match up with the year of inception.

When the Saratoga Racing Association named the Travers Stakes for William R. Travers (one of the founders of America's oldest race course), they sought only to honor a man who'd made his mark on the sport of horse racing. Mr. Travers' horse, Kentucky, won that first in 1864.

Almost immediately, the Travers became a prestigious event, as word spread that the race was designed for only extraordinary three-year-old horses. The race has been run at four different distances during the course of its history to-date:
  • 1¾ miles (2.81 km): 1864 to 1889
  • 1½ miles (2.41 km): 1890 to 1892
  • 1¼ miles (2.01 km): 1893 to 1894, 1897
  • 1? miles (1.81 km): 1895, 1901 to 1903
  • 1¼ miles (2.01 km): 1904 to present
The present distance of 1 ¼ mile is a perfect distance for contemporary three-year-olds. The race is open to colts and geldings, carrying 126 lb (57.2 kg) and fillies, carrying 121 lbs. (54.9 kg).

The Travers creates memories every year, for thousands of people. Too many wonderful experiences to recount here, but some of those memories that have been shared by large numbers of race fans:
  • In 1941, Whirlaway became the only horse ever to win the superfecta: he'd won the Triple Crown, then went on to take the Travers, as well
  • In 1962, Jaipur won by a nose-bob in track record time over Ridan, who was considered to be more talented. The long battle (the entire 1 ¼ mile) saw the two horses duke it out the entire distance of the race.
  • In 1982, Runaway Groom (Champion Canadian three-year-old), who was trained by John DiMario, arrived at the Saratoga backstretch after a very long and exhausting season. He'd competed in the Canadian Triple Crown: he won the Prince of Wales Stakes, the Breeders' Stakes, and finished second in the Queen's Plate. Runaway Groom's Travers victory made him the only horse in racing history to beat the winners of that year's American Triple Crown in the same race. (Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol; Preakness Stakes winner Aloma's Ruler and Belmont Stakes winner, Conquistador Cielo.)
Point Given, a gorgeous, big, 17hh monster, won the Travers on August 25, 2001. That day, Point Given drew a record Travers Stakes Day crowd, 60,486 fans. The race brought in a total betting handle of $34,529,273. This was also a Saratoga record to that date.  Read more at source

 For the past five decades the canoe floating in the infield pond at Saratoga is painted with the winner’s colors. In 2012, a dead heat resulted in the colors of Alpha and Golden Ticket being represented, with a second canoe added for the historic milestone.


After a race has concluded, return here and click on the CARD for a race replay from BloodHorse. About a 20-minute time delay.

Everyone's sweetheart

Time Ordered Races - printable file
Race Index
Free Past Performances for Saturday's races

Friday is 'state bred' day at Saratoga
1:00 ET  Funny Cide S Sar $200,000 2yo 6.5f    R1    CARD
2:06 ET  Fleet Indian S Sar $200,000 3yo f 9f    R3    CARD
3:13 ET  Seeking the Ante S Sar $200,000 2yo f 6.5f    R5    CARD
4:21 ET  West Point S Sar $150,000 3&up 8.5f Turf   R7  CARD
5:29 ET  Yaddo S Sar $150,000 3&up f/m 8.5f Turf   R9    CARD
6:03 ET  Albany S Sar $250,000 3yo 9f  R10    CARD
9:30 ET  Generous Portion S Dmr $150,000 2yo f 6f R6 CARD

2:35 ET  PERSONAL ENSIGN G1 BC SAR $750,000 3+ F/M 9F   R6  CARD Replay
3:10 ET  BALLERINA S G1 BC SAR $500,000 3+ F/M 7F    R7    CARD Replay
3:47 ET  KING'S BISHOP S G1 SAR $500,000 3YO 7F   R8    CARD
4:25 ET  FOREGO G1 BC SAR $700,000 3+  7F    R9    CARD
4:58 ET  Smarty Jones S G3 PRX $300,000 3yo 8.32f    R10    CARD
5:05 ET  SWORD DANCER G1 BC SAR $1,000,000 3+  12F T R10  CARD
5:39 ET  Violet S G3 Mth $100,000 3&up f/m 9f T   R11  CARD
5:46 ET  TRAVERS S G1 SAR $1,600,000 3YO 10F    R11    CARD
6:09 ET  El Cajon S (L) Dmr $100,000 3yo 8f    R3    CARD
6:20 ET  Ballston Spa G2 Sar $400,000 3+ f/m 8.5f T   R12   CARD
BC = Breeders Cup Challenge races

Personal Ensign: Sheer Drama guts out victory
Runhappy wires field in King's Bishop and set a new record
Post race interview Travers winner jockey, Javier Castellano
Keen Ice's owner, Jerry Crawford on the Travers
Flintshire crushes them in the Sword Dancer 
Private Zone runs away from Forego rivals
Will Runhappy's Rags To Riches story continue to Breeders Cup?
Unbridled Forever prevails in Ballerina

Profiles of each of the Travers Stakes contenders - NYRA

Saturday, Saratoga, post time: 5:46 p.m. EDT  R11
TRAVERS S.-GI, $1,600,000, 3yo, 1 1/4m                      NBC coverage begins at 4 EDT
1 Upstart Flatter Ortiz Jr. Violette Jr. 15-1
2 American Pharoah Pioneerof the Nile Espinoza Baffert 1-5
3 Mid Ocean Mineshaft Franco Weaver 50-1
4 Texas Red  Afleet Alex Desormeaux Desormeaux 8-1
5 Frammento  Midshipman Ortiz Zito 30-1
6 Frosted Tapit Rosario McLaughlin 6-1
7 Keen Ice  Curlin Castellano Romans 12-1
8 Tale of Verve  Tale of Ekati Stevens Stewart 30-1
9 King of New York  Street Boss Leparoux McPeek 50-1
10 Smart Transition Smart Strike Velazquez Shirreffs 20-1

3:13 ET  Smart N Fancy S Sar $100,000 3+ f/m 5.5f T  R5    CARD
5:13 ET  Vice Regent S WO $125,000 3yo 8f Turf   R9    CARD
5:14 ET  Philip H. Iselin S G3 Mth $150,000 3+  9f    R10    CARD
6:09 ET  Torrey Pines S G3 Dmr $100,000 3yo f 8f  R3 CARD

Lady Shipman sets record in Smart N Fancy

A list of all the Breeders Cup Challenge races
Randy's Rankings - Breeders Cup


DRF American Pharoah site - Videos, Races, and more 

 American Pharoah workout 8-23-15

Interview with Zayat on decision to go to Saratoga

RACHEL'S KIDS MAKE THE GRADE ON THE TRACK AT SARATOGA! Curlin's boy and Bernardini's daughter winners on debuts!



Palace Malice retired from racing
Steve Haskin: The Legacy of John Nerud
Steve Haskin: Nerud, The Fox, and The Rivalry
A racing giant passes away - Jon White on John Nerud
Beholder belongs in Classic
‘Plenty Of Options’ For Golden Horn | TDN [Thoroughbred Daily News]


Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21-24, 2015

Let's Go To The Races - August 21-24, 2015
This is a non-commercial blog


Beholder tagged favorite in Pacific Classic
TVG Pacific Classic - Lady at the Track
Pacific Classic undercard features Del Mar Handicap and Pat O'Brien

Sweet Home Alabama at the Spa - Analysis
DRF: Saratoga Video Report
I'm A Chatterbox, Curalina lead confusing Alabama

Check out DRF Live

Don't forget - After a race is completed, check back here and click on CARD for race replay (about a 20-minute delay)



Time Ordered Races - printable file
Entries Index

All times adjusted to EDT - Subject to change

10:40 a.m. ET  COOLMORE NUNTHORPE S.-York, G1, £310,000, 2yo/up, 5fT
Result  2 year old filly didn't win, but she distinguished herself in defeat!  Race replay

4:40 ET  Ontario Colleen S G3, Woo, $150,000, 3yo, f, 1mT  R8   CARD
4:22 ET  Troy S, Sar, $100,000, 3+, 5 1/2fT R7  CARD
5:21 ET  ARLINGTON-WASH FUT. G3, Arl, $100,000, 2yo, 7f  R7   CARD
5:46 ET  MONMOUTH OAKS G3, Mth  $100,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m  R11   CARD

6:07 ET  ALABAMA S G1, Sar, $600,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/4m  R10   CARD
6:40 ET  PAT O'BRIEN S G2, Dlmr, $250,000, 3+, 7f  R4   CARD
8:40 ET  DEL MAR H G2, Dlmr, $250,000, 3+, 1 3/8mT  R8   CARD
9:10 ET  PACIFIC CLASSIC G1, Dlmr, $1,000,000, 3+, 1 1/4m R9   CARD

3:34 ET  Victoria Park S, Woo, $125,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m  R6   CARD
4:40 ET  Play the King S G2, Woo, $200,000, 3+, 7fT  R8   CARD
5:43 ET  CLIFF HANGER S G3, Mth, $100,000, 3+, 1 1/8mT  R11   CARD
6:03 ET  Tale of the Cat S (r), Sar, $100,000, 3+, 6f  R10   CARD
8:40 ET  DEL MAR MILE G2, Dlmr, $2000,000, 3+, 1mT  R8   CARD

3:45 ET MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, Sar, $83,000, 3+, 1 1/8 mi  R6 CARD
4:52 ET  SUMMER COLONY S, Sar, $100,000, 4+ f/m, 1 1/8 mi  R8 CARD
Jess's Dream (Curlin - Rachel Alexandra) in Race 6, debut
Rachel Nicole (Rachel's full sister), Race 8


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Haskell Invitational

Let's Go To The Races - August 1-2, 2015
This is a non-commercial blog




Talk now is, where should he go next? My vote is only Grade 1 races should be considered. Let the money follow the horse, which it will. Baffert says unbelievably, he is getting better. He obviously loves his job. In the words of Penny Chenery, "LET HIM RUN"!

Post race press coverage:
There's American Pharoah, and then, everybody else
Dazzling Haskell adds to burgeoning legacy
How did American Pharoah come out of the race? He cleaned his feed tub!
BloodHorse - Frank Angst
Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah Finishes First at the Haskell ...
American Pharoah Wins Haskell Invitational
In-Depth-New York Times-16 hours ago

 American Pharoah highest rated in the world by TimeForm
 Mark Milligan, Timeform’s handicapper for American racing, commented: “The thing with American Pharoah is that he makes everything look so easy. His high cruising speed and exceptional stride set him apart from his peers, and it probably isn’t going overboard to say he has a touch of the Frankel’s about him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised were he to finish the year having surpassed Cigar’s 138, and become Timeform’s most highly rated North American horse ever.”

Among US horses this century, Wise Dan (2012 and 2013), Point Given (2001) and Curlin (2008) all achieved annual ratings of 134. The fillies Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra earned ratings of 131 and 130 respectively in 2009 and would have received an additional sex allowance when competing against males.

 What's going on with American Pharoah after Haskell


For most fans of horse racing, American Pharoah has brought some good news for a change to a sport that seems to be beleaguered with negative press. It is refreshing to browse the racing news each day and find that American Pharoah seems to be everywhere, spreading his own brand of sunshine and happiness. We all are well aware of the shortcomings of the sport, but for at least a little while, we can bask in the glow of having lived to see the 12th Triple Crown winner in history.

Lots of good racing over the next few days, including a Grade 1 race at Del Mar on Saturday, the Clement Hirsch will see BEHOLDER and WARREN'S VENEDA square off in the G1 Clement Hirsch; FROSTED, COMPETITIVE EDGE and TEXAS RED will meet in the G2 Jim Dandy; UNTAPPABLE, STOPCHARGINGMARIA, and TIZ WINDY in the G3 Shuvee.  And, of course, on Sunday, the return of AMERICAN PHAROAH in the G1 Haskell Invitational. For more details on racing in the U.S. as well as racing across the pond at Glorious Goodwood, see the UPI racing preview below.

Yesterday, Friday, July 31, American Pharoah gallops at Monmouth Park, video courtesy of Monmouth Park and TDN:  Video of American Pharoah gallop at Monmouth Park, 7-31-15

Getty Images

Full NBC coverage of the Haskell Invitational on Sunday begins at 5:00 p.m. EDT

NBC coverage leading up to Sunday's Haskell - video - several videos

UPI Weekend Racing Preview - click here
Who could ask for more in a weekend of racing: Triple Crown champ American Pharoah returns, Solow at Glorious Goodwood, five graded stakes at Saratoga and another at Del Mar.  Oh, wait. There IS more. Lots more. The $750,000 West Virginia Derby highlights an eight-stakes card at Mountaineer. Beholder and Untapable, the top fillies of 2013 and 2014, are both in action. Woodbine has graded stakes action and Arlington has state-bred stakes as the International Festival of Racing looms just two weeks hence.
And in Canada, there will be no Triple Crown winner, eh?  Read more at source

NBC Sports analyst Laffit Pincay III takes a look back
NBC Sports covers American Pharoah arrival at Monmouth Park

American Pharoah - Courtesy Sarah K. Andrew

Steve Haskin: The Day the Haskell Came of Age

1987 Haskell Invitational - Bet Twice & Alysheba - Video
2009 Haskell - Rachel Alexandra - A filly for the ages

Haskell purse increased to $1.75 Million as American Pharoah arrives
Triple Crown Winners - Their second act - Jay Privman looks at Secretariat

American Pharoah arrives at Monmouth for the Haskell
American Pharoah installed as the 1-5 favorite in the Haskell
Monmouth's Pharoah Phan Phestival has something for everyone
Monmouth New Jersey racing enjoy spotlight

Arlington Park grandstand burned to the ground,
July 31, 1985 - Photo:

The day and night that Arlington died
Thirty years ago today, July 31, marks an amazing episode in the annals of horse racing. It was the day and night that Arlington Park, the scene of historic races by the likes of John Henry, Citation, Secreariat, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, and scores of others, as well as the home of the first 7-figure purse for a single race, was turned into a fiery rubble. What followed over the next three weeks was nothing short of a miracle and a true example of American ingenuity and can-do spirit.


After a particular race is completed, return here and click on the CARD below for BloodHorse replay and race result.



Time Ordered List of Races / Entries - printable file
Race Index

3:13 ET  AMSTERDAM S G2, SAR, $200,000, 3yo, 6 1/2f  R5   CARD
4:30 ET  West Virginia Governor's S, Mtn Prk, $200,000, 3+, 1 1/16m R7  CARD
5:03 ET  ALFRED G VANDERBILT H G1, SAR, $350,000, 3+, 6f R8   CARD
5:10 ET  WEST VIRGINIA DERBY G2, Mtn Prk, $750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m  R8   CARD
5:38 ET  ET  BOWLING GREEN H G2, SAR, $250,000, 4+, 1 3/8mT  R9   CARD
6:13 ET  JIM DANDY S G2, SAR, $600,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m  R10   CARD
8:40 ET  CLEMENT HIRSCH S G1, Dlmr, $300,000, 3+, f&m, 1 1/16m R8 CARD

More on today's races
Frosted, Texas Red square off in Jim Dandy
Scratches from Jim Dandy are Upstart and Competitive Edge, who will run in the Haskell
Made from Lucky heads to West Virginia Derby
Beholder, Warren's Veneda square off in the Clement Hirsch

12:57 ET  Lady's Secret S, Mth, $100,000, 3+, f&m, 1m 70yds  R4   CARD
2:06 ET  Caress S, SAR, $100,000, 4+, f&m, 5 1/2fT  R3   CARD
3:10 ET  Teddy Drone S, Mth, $100,000, 3+, 6f  R8   CARD
3:47 ET  MATCHMAKER S G3, Mth, $150,000, 3+, 1 1/8mT  R9   CARD
4:25 ET  MONMOUTH CUP G2, Mth, $200,000, 3+, 1 1/16m  R10   CARD
4:40 ET  Seagram Cup S (Can-G3), Woo, $150,000, 3+, 1 1/16m R8 CARD
5:05 ET  OCEANPORT S G3, Mth, $150,000, 3+, 1 1/16mT  R11   CARD
5:52 ET  HASKELL INV'L G1, Mth, $1,750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m R12  CARD
6:07 ET  SHUVEE H G3, SAR, $200,000, 3+, f&m, 1 1/8m  R10   CARD
7:10 ET  Real Good Deal S (r), Dlmr, $200,000, 3yo, 7f  R5   CARD

More on today's racing
Haskell undercard
Madefromlucky heads West Virginia Derby
Untapable looks for Shuvee relief
Lochte seeks winning for in Oceanport

For a look at the fields in all the races, be sure to check out the printable Time Ordered Races List
Sunday, Monmouth Park, post time: 5:52 p.m. EDT - NBC coverage 5:00 EDT
WILLIAM HILL HASKELL INV'L S.-GI, $1,750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m
1 Upstart Flatter Bravo Violette Jr. 118            6-1
2 Competitive Edge Super Saver Smith Pletcher 118   8-1
3 Nonna's Boy Distorted Humor N/A Pletcher 118   30-1
4 American Pharoah Pioneerof the Nile Espinoza Baffert 122   1-5
5 Mr. Jordan Kantharos Lopez Plesa Jr. 118   15-1
6 Keen Ice  Curlin Dsrmeaux Romans 118   12-1
7 Top Clearance Majestic Warrior A. Castllno Catalano 118   30-1
8 Dontbetwithbruno  Tiz Wonderful N/A Pletcher 118    30-1