April 11, 2014
Picture: Aurelia's Belle on left and Room Service (winner of Grade 1 Ashland) on right...enjoying their baths on April 11th 2014
This weekend is the final weekend of major Derby prep races! Come Monday the horses running (a.k.a. "the field) will, for the most part, be set, and over the next three weeks we will develop our Derby favorites.
The big news coming out of last week was the very brave run of a horse named Social Inclusion. Quick reminder, horses are able to run in the Derby if they have enough points to qualify. The top 20 point earners, who wish to run, will be allowed to enter. Social Inclusion entered last weekend's Wood Memorial with 0 points, yet a lot of hype. So much hype in fact his owners turned down $8,000,000 for him, before the race!
Needless to say a lot was riding on him in last weekend’s Wood Memorial! He had a great trip, and at the top of the stretch. with a ¼ mile to run he looked like the clear winner…with an 1/8 of a mile to go he looked like he was a sure winner…with a 1/16 of a mile to run he looked like he could win…and then in the blink of an eye Wicked Strong (named in honor of the Boston Marathon) flew past him to win! After that upset, you thought Social Inclusion would surely hang on for second place, but to no avail. The New York-bred scrapper Samraat fought hard and put his nose down for 2nd right on the wire! Wood Memorial article/video
What does that all mean?! Well, 100 points were awarded to Wicked Strong, guaranteeing him a spot in the Derby. 40 points were awarded to Samraat, also locking him into the first Saturday in May…and 20 points were awarded to Social Inclusion, with no guarantees he will be able to start in the Derby. What a race!
This weekend the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will be on in Lexington Kentucky. It’s our Derby prep race and features a full field of 13 horses, with the post time favorite being a horse named Bobby’s Kitten--named after the great horse trainer Bobby Frankel, father of the reality celeb Bethenny Frankel. Bobby’s Kitten is one of the best three-year-olds in the country, however his preferred surface is the turf (grass) and this race is run on Keeneland's poly track. Oftentimes horses who like the turf show a similar affinity for the poly-track, however that same affinity does not always translate to the dirt (the surface for the Derby).
What’s the difference in the surfaces? Dirt is like running on the beach near the dunes, where it is more loose and soft. The turf and poly track are like running on the beach closer to the ocean’s edge, where it is more compact and your foot rides higher on the surface.
Thus if Bobby’s Kitten wins the Blue Grass Stakes and goes for the Kentucky Derby, we will be paying close attention to how he works out and exercises in the weeks leading up to the Derby on the dirt surface.
Our Derby Dreams Update:
School of Hard Rocks did not run well in last weekend's Santa Anita Derby and is off the Derby trail. He rushed into the first turn, being caught wide, and never appeared to settle into the race. He also ran against the best horse in the country...California Chrome. If you happened to have watched California Chrome, he was absolutely magnificent. His ability to engage in the race, relax, and then accelerate was pretty spectacular.
Aurelia’s Belle Update:
She had a breeze (practice workout) that according to her trainer, Wayne Catalano, was “the best breeze I have ever seen on the race track…the hair stood up on my neck!” Wow. Beth and I saw her this morning and she looks magnificent and seems so happy. The dream continues to flourish!
Below are photos of Aurelia’s Belle from this morning (April 11, 2014). Also, I have attached a photo of a friend who has retrained one of our Thoroughbreds for a career in the sport of three-day-eventing. Carleigh is an amazing rider and in this photo she has taught Dynamaker to go over jumps without a bridle on! That's like driving a car with no steering wheel. Instead of the usual "steering wheel," Carliegh uses her legs to tell Dynamaker where to go and encourages him with the position of her hands and the use of her voice to jump. It's truly amazing what good riders and these animals can do!
All the best!