Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Different yet not random thoughts on racing.

1. If racetracks and the racing industry wanted to stop cheating, they could. They don't. It isn't that simple, but it is that simple. Everyone inside the game knows who the cheaters are. Some don't want to get involved, while others don't really care that the cheaters cheat, as long as nobody (the press and the public) finds out and makes a big deal about it. If not for the PETA video, most of you wouldn't even be reading this blog.
2. Why not just have a track veterinarian for every track that does a mandatory one week (random) unannounced inspection of every horse on the grounds? If you don't pass inspection or can't answer for why you are doing something unethical that will surely harm the long term interests of the horse, then the horse goes on a 6 month can't race list. 
3. I often wonder when it became so acceptable that certain horses are not racing to win in a race and we all accept that as okay? It goes against the very principles of why we started to have races in the first place. Racing became too much business and not enough sport. Still is that.
4. You can't win every race, or even most races, but you can try to. If you aren't, you are cheating the bettors. No bettors, no industry.
5. People don't come to the track and bet on the horses mostly because it isn't worth the money they charge you for that. Nor the time involved. That is the number one issue racing must address and the one they never do. If everyone is going to stay home and bet and watch on the internet, might as well get rid of 90% of the tracks and have us all wager on the same track, no matter where that is. Is that what we want to happen?
6. Big whales betting is great for handle, but long term, it is the last nail in the coffin of racing if they keep counting on that. Once they get tired of racing, and move onto another form of gambling, who will be left to bet? The 2 dollar bettor is already sick and tired of hearing that these big whales control the pools and get a huge rebate on top of that..which is basically the whales taking a slice out of your wagering dollar on the front end. That is just total insanity.
7. If you want the industry to be drug free, you have to get rid of the drugs. No matter what most say, if others have access to them and you have to compete with them, and they are legal (lasix, bute, other bleeders and pain killers) then you are going to use them to stay competitive. Don't expect even the most honorable of owners to be martyrs because the industry can't get their shit together. It is easy to say that they should--when it isn't your money. Fair is fair.  If you want them to stop, make everybody stop. Honorable owners are willing to follow the rules, but they aren't going to lead themselves into financial slaughter.
8. Here is something Jeff Gural did right. He made all trainers and owners sign a waiver that if they wanted to race at HIS establishment, a racetrack, they had to agree to terms, and if they violated those terms, they were out. That is the best way to avoid the appeals and stalling tactics so many trainers use to game the system, like taking their suspension when they have no horses racing for any money of note. Good for him.
9.No horse should ever run on medication. Medication is for or to prevent sickness. If you are sick, you don't go out and compete at the highest level of competition. If we give meds to horses, it should only be to treat them after a race or to make them better from an ailment. Instead of treating every bleeder in the racing world with lasix, we should stop breeding horses that need it. Right now, the opposite is the case. Instead of managing racehorses pain so they can compete, we should breed sounder, more durable horses. Like we used to before 2 year olds ran insane speeds on fragile legs to try and recoup ridiculous yearling prices and stud fees. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
10. If you think a National Racing Commissioner would solve all or most of racings problems, you are as delusional as those that think Asmussen is going to get a long suspension for what he has done. Neither is going to happen. A commissioner is needed, but he or she cannot solve racings problems. Only provide a platform and leadership to do so. People in racing have to want real change and act like it matters enough to get it. Most don't. They are happy as long as the purses are high and they are getting their slice of the pie. When that happens, they turn a blind eye to any problem, until it starts affecting them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29th, 2014: Woodbine Selections and Comments

 Best Bet: Marquis De Sarah, Race 2

Longshot chances:

Falcor Bluestone
Up The Credit
A Nashty Business

Race 1

1. Loki Di Vie
2. Valorscross
3. Sixth Man

Chevious Cole is your likely post time favorite. He came with a huge rush last time and looked good doing it. When he was sharp in late fall, that was his preferred style. Most times though, he sits too long and doesn't get there. He is also prone to breaks or having to be held hard to avoid running. He is in the mix, but probably overbet. In a win 4 ticket I would use him, but not for the win in this race.
Devries Hanover gets Fillion, which normally wouldn't be an issue. Jamieson has driven him for the last few starts, but he is away. This horse is a tough drive and not knowing him is an issue. He is very prone to acting bad behind the gate and running in the race as well. Last time he advanced, but was under a hold and not fully driven. Likely another short price, and I would avoid him, although he is capable if he behaves and finds good flow early. 
See R Chin Win broke last time after she made the lead and let another horse go. She was already gapping when that happened, Phil pulled the plugs and got no response, then she was very rough behind and looked sore before she went into a full run. I would not use her at all. She is marginal with these types to begin with.
Power Move comes off a vet scratch sick which was preceded by a very poor finish 9 days before and a long layoff before that. He is also an infrequent winner who tends to hang in the lane. Can't see him tonight.
Valorscross was parked the mile last time, went a huge trip and got up late to take it. His second start off the layoff. He tried Gold types last year and did well enough. Obviously he is being pointed in that direction again. He is possible, but I would beware of a bounce of that hard effort. While Eddie Green is a capable driver, he isn't a WEG guy and wont get the favors that come along with that. That has to be considered. Hence, why he got parked the mile last time.
Our Mojo is 0 for 39 the last two years and coming off a no try effort from the 10 hole. He has had a lot of chances and failed just about every time. Can he get the show spot. Probably, but only if others fail, which is also possible.
 Sixth Man gets Renaud again, who seems very capable and good with young trotters. He also brings in his fair share of longshots. I could see him getting there if the trip worked out. 
He is 2nd off the layoff and was in with a much tougher bunch than these last time, getting a solid 4th, while trotting in 1:58. 
Loki De Vie is hard to like on his current form and record, but he does have ability. He seems to leave enough to get stung every time. In this field though, there are not many strong leavers. If he could get a 2 hole trip (which is possible) he is capable enough of beating this bunch, which he did 6 lines down the page. He is my top call, by process of elimination.

Race 2

1. Marquis De Sarah
2. Barockey
3. Waasmula

Addison Bay is one tough mare, who can take tons of air and still finish. But, she is wearing down a bit. Even when she was dominating a month ago, she looked sore and was kept out and rolling. Last time she looked even worse as the failed chalk. I would play away from her this time, with the likely short price she is going to bring again. She finished 3rd last time, but didn't look good doing it.

Wassmula was super sharp last time, as she cleared and just kept going, easily handling this bunch. That is two very sharp efforts in her last 3. However, she loses that good form as fast as she gets it. If she isn't the fave, she will be 2nd choice, and you have to get value on her to play her. I don't see that this time. Short field helps her, as at times she doesn't like to work for it and is better stalking on a helmet and coming late.

St. Lads Peeper put two very good efforts together to gain 2nd to Addison Bay when she appeared untouchable, but last time looked to be losing her form sharply. She isn't the type that handles these when she is not at her best. I would avoid her this time and wait for a return to form or a drop. Many are sharp in this class right now, and she needs a weaker bunch when she is at this level.

Barockey gets Chris C. and you never know what he will do. Will he send her and try to sit the 2 hole, take her back like Billy D last time or send her down the road like Anthony used to? She is always dangerous, because on her best day she is as good as any of these. But, like Waasmula, when she is bad, she is terrible. The price will likely be good this time,  so, beware of her in a field with many going in the wrong direction form wise. She raced pretty good to get 5th last time, with a 26.3 final quarter. 

Laneside Lexus was sharp for about a month and won a few times, but even at this level she was marginal. Last time she dove down, had a pocket trip on the lively leader's back and blew by her in the lane. She wont get that here. Horses like Barockey, Waasmula and Marquis De Sarah want the same trip and are better than her. Can't see her this time with this tougher bunch.
So that leaves Marquis De Sarah, who had very sharp form around the New Years and held it for a few weeks. She won her second last a step below this, then got hung leaving from the 7 hole in the first quarter last time to make the lead and was still a very solid 2nd to the sharp Waasmula. With the rail and the likelihood of a backstretch retake, I can see her going all the way this time. 
She has never really lost her form, just ran into Addison Bay when she was unbeatable. Unlike others in here, she comes to play every week and is always in the hunt. Lets not forget that Lucky Luc was once one of the top drivers in the world and on WEG,  and he didn't forget how to outdrive guys when he knows he has the power. Like he does this time.

Race 3

1. Magic Will Work
2. Falcor Bluestone
3. Northern Spark

This is a grab bag of non performers, many with horrible form and low winning percentages. Even the ones that are racing "okay" don't inspire any confidence. If you must play this race, look for a price that justifies the lack of confidence you get in any of these.

 Order By Commander was very good for about 6 weeks, but then went off form sharply and has deteriorated quickly. I can't see any reversal here. I would not play him under any circumstances.
Northern Spark was already tailing off when Johnson claimed him 6 starts ago and the Johnson magic has done nothing to reverse that trend. Can he pop up any time and reverse that? Yes, but when? In this bag of rats, I would consider him, but only if I saw 8 to 1 or higher. They have tried various styles with him and none have worked. He just simply isn't good right now.
Everything I have said about the two above applies to Frill Seeker, but he wasn't even good for long. Two starts, then he went back to his horrible ways. Can't see that changing from this post.
Wine Photo gets a barn change, but unless that guy is practicing voodoo, I can't see how this horse who has been distanced in his last 3 has any shot.
Falcor Bluestone has been off 6 weeks. However, B. Baillargeon has a habit of doing that with trotters and then they come back live. If anyone comes out of the pack and surprises this bunch, it could be him from the 3 hole. He has shown good gate speed in the past when he is good. Beware.
Magic Will Work seems the only one here with any form and some class to back it up. She won many in a row in the fall when she was sharp, beating much better than she faces tonight. The rail will help, just like the 10 hole hurt last time. My top call with a weak bunch. I expect to see Anthony out and rolling before the half and be his usual aggressive self with her. If she doesn't get stung, she can get it done.
Open All Doors looks okay enough on paper, but does little to inspire any confidence when chances present themselves. 

Race 4

1. World Away
2. Donau
3. J Ds Caleb Man

Smokin Bear got whipped last time at London by Amazon Art and Calgary Seelster, two horses that wont do in this class on this curcuit. He tried to cut the mile the time before and packed it in sharply then too. No shot.

Pouvoir Duharas finally won at the bottom last time when Emerald Lexus jumped it off and the others with pace were trapped or arriving too late. Now he meets others who he can't currently handle. Not tonight for him. 

Kindly Poet looked terrible last time, almost running most of the way. Even for him, he looked worse than normal. Chris C books off him for World Away. Nuff said. 

Cams Tux moved up to this level last time after 4 decent efforts at the lower level without winning, which he rarely does. He looked bumpy gaited and lame last time. Avoid until he drops back, and get a price then as well.
 Roethblissberger and Midnite Romp both have bad posts and don't usually compete well with these types even from good posts. Have to see more before they can be played anywhere but the bottom level.

Up The Credit has had two back now and not looked good in either. He has the back class to whip these, but doesn't show it anymore. Beware, but can't see him tonight with Gois and others who are sharper. Keep an eye on him, he is likely to pop one of these days.

J Ds Caleb Man has pretty good form, but he moves up and has never shown he is a win threat with these. He can make the tri though, under the right circumstances. His tactical late speed helps him with this bunch.

Donau is a horse you hate to play. He finds ways to lose. 
He got beat by DJ Lance, a horse who isn't even an 8 claimer, when he had him clearly beat in the lane. Then, he was claimed for 25k by Auciello, who sees something in him most of us don't. However, some of these are just as bad and he raced better than most of them last time. A short price is likely coming, so I wouldn't play him because of that, but he is in the mix. Post 8 definitely hurts him, as he will have to work hard for it, something he doesn't like to do. He probably goes off less than 2-1, which is something I see as a major overlay. Who beats him though?
Which leaves World Away, my top pick. He raced tough last time only to get boxed in until late. He has the back class, early speed and handiness to best this bunch, as long as he has a clear lane turning for him. He has a tendency to stay in too long. Sometimes that pays off, other times not. I would want to see at least 5-2, and 3-1 would be better. The 8-1 morning line would be a gift if you could get it.  You wont.

Race 5

1. Thor Seelster
2. Dreamfair Bogart
3. Ozzy Ozzy

 Myagi Hanover, Doctor Lily and Twin B Cruiser show no evidence they can go with these currently, even on a top effort.

Ozzy Ozzy has been away since December, when he was showing signs of trouble by either running or attempting to run. Maybe the time off has helped, but he likely needs one. He does have talent, and when good, he could easily handle this bunch. He is a half brother to Mr. Herbie, and that does mean something. He is possible off the shelf. Hayter is good at having them ready. 

Pretty Boy was "good" Pretty Boy last time. You never know which one will show up. Like the one above, he is dangerous, but not reliable. I can see a short price this time, so I will avoid him. If playing the win 4, I would use him. He seems to make breaks for no reason, then comes right back the next week and is good. He might turn out to be a nice older trotter. That doesn't mean anything tonight though.

Tyson Bambino raced super last time, and had been knocking for a few weeks. As mentioned earlier, Renaud is good with trotters. Can he double up? Maybe. But I would say he needs one to get used to these. He went 1:56.4 last time, a new record for him. He might have lost some zip doing that. 

Muscle On Broadway bombed out last week after a decent winning effort against a very soft bunch the time before. Before that, he had shown signs of soreness, and that seems to be an issue for him. I see a short price this time and I would avoid him. Even in the Win 4. He runs hot and cold and I see frigid times ahead for him.

Dreamfair Bogart raced pretty sharp last time from the 9 hole, parking a long way to make the top and then lasting until deep stretch. He doesn't always show up, but he is more consistent than most in here and has the speed. He is in the mix, but not my top choice.

Thor Seelster comes in off the claim, where he bagged two in a row in London. Don't be fooled by the times. His last mile was at least a 1:57 here and that would likely get it done with these. He has more than he has shown. He is a stalker and a strong finisher, and the longer stretch likely helps him here. He weaved through heavy traffic to win the 2nd last start and then went a long way outside last time to blow by the favorite in the lane. Top call, and a likely decent price.

Race 6

1. Dali
2. Alexie Matoosie
3. Daddy Warbucks
 An interesting and contentious bunch. Probably the toughest to sort out of the night.

Anderlecht opened up five on them last time but gave it up at the tote board. At this age, he has trouble lasting with the better ones. Can't see him tonight, but he is still capable.

Machal Jordan has two in a row, 3 of last 4 with Mayotte and moves up. I like the horse, but no thanks. Odds and class are stacked against him tonight.

Cougar Hall raced super, back half in 55 to get second to a tough In Commando last time. However, he can't dominate and bully these types like he did moving up the ladder. He is possible, but others look better than him right now. One class lower and he would be a lot tougher.

ThePaninsulaHotel is very good one class down, but needs a perfect trip and some racing luck in the lane with these. I will go against him tonight, but he is a triactor factor for sure.

Wazzup Wazzup has raced poorly 4 weeks in a row. His form is going the wrong way, and he doesn't get to braven up with some of these. Take a pass on him tonight. Watching for a return to form when he goes lower soon.

Casimir Jitterbug certainly has the back class to handle these. He jogged last time, but Monte Christo is a long way from Dali and Modern Legend, and others who have pretty good form and decent enough class. Pass on him tonight, but he is dangerous. Post 9 really hurts him. He is better near the front and then sitting a trip. Not going to get that tonight.

Modern Legend drops out of the Preferred tonight and avoids Apprentice Hanover. That makes him dangerous. But, he hasn't done much on his own to suggest he is the top call here. Tri factor though. He isn't the same horse currently that he was the last couple of years. He may have to go lower to get it done.

Daddy Warbucks has shot up the ladder for Brealey in only 6 starts. Bottom level into the Preffered, where he was okay but overmatched. With the right trip, which he needs, he can be there. Phil seems to get along good with him, and knows you can't use him much until the tote board. That screams out 3rd or 4th.

Alexie Matoosie got nailed on the line last time by Machal Jordan. He hasn't lost that habit of coming up just short that he had when he used to race here. Speed is there. Class is there. If Dali falters he is the likely one to get it done, but the price will be short and I don't see enough value there.

Which leaves Dali, who when in form would be 1-9 with these. He has been off 3 years breeding mares, but appears to come back super sharp and Waxman is the type to have him ready to wire them. Luc knows him well, and I would hope to get 2-1 or higher. Top call and if he takes 2 seconds off the second qualifier, he gets it done. 

Race 7

1. Jenna Casimir
2. Dreamfair Eclipse
3. Back Yard Baby

No standouts in this bunch. Hard to see a play that makes sense.

Jenna Casimir and Dreamfair Eclipse are the only two that make any sense, and show enough, but both also have their weaknesses. 6 weeks ago, Jenna Casimir dominates these. Can she regain that form? Maybe. She gets top call only because she is still racing okay and has a post and driver that suit her out and going style. She might just outlast them.
Dreamfair Eclipse gets there every now and then, and the revolving driver wheel has landed on Randy. Sometimes he has good nights, sometimes not. Last night he was good. Last weekend he was colder than a Foreigner song. Who knows? Would want 5-1 to play her, and I don't see that coming tonight.
The rest don't show me anything to recommend them, although one of them is likely the winner. Take a flyer if you like something. 
Back Yard Baby has been there before, and gotten beat lately by horses that moved up and did well. She has a minor shot for a big price.

Race 8

1. Classic Gent
2. J J Shark
3. Grin For Money 
 Joshua My Boy drops a notch, but has been going the wrong way on the form cycle for 3 weeks now. When he is bad, he is very bad. Would have to see a reversal to play him. Not tonight for me.

Brocks Fortune moves up again, off two starts where he didn't get it done. Can't see him being in the mix with these. Likely a claimer is in his future.

Stonebridge on Ice looks to be over his head with this group at this late stage in his long, successful career. Only worth playing at the bottom level, and even then, he needs a perfect trip.

Nickle Bag gets Chris and drops a level off pretty good form. However, he wasn't as good last time as he was hanging in the lane, while he was sharp and moving forward the previous starts. I would stay away from him and the likely short price he brings tonight.

Sing For Me George has done very little in his two starts back to show he can compete with these. He was on his hands and knees to beat Donau last time. Nuff said. 

Cool Rock, a one trick pony who only takes way back and tries one big move from the final turn home is tough to play when some of these keep going. He is possible, but I don't like him tonight off the likely race/pace scenario. 

Drain Daddy packed it in last time and Jack ditches him for Kopas's horse. Post really hurts him. Watch him for next time or for a drop in class. Not tonight. 

Grin For Money takes a sharp drop to where he has won before, but post 10 really hurts him. He can get there, but a lot would have to go right. With his consistent back half speed he is always dangerous.

J J Shark was second in this class two starts back and is in the mix. But as a horse who comes late, like many in here, he is likely to have lots of traffic issues. 

Which leaves Classic Gent, my top pick, a lukewarm one at that. He has good gate speed and tonight might be the night to use it and then sit a 2 hole trip. That kind of tactic can get him there at a price. As long as he doesn't try and go coast to coast. Too many closers in here to pull that off. The slight drop in class and decent post help his chances. Not many in here would be strong enough to park him, so he can leave with confidence.

Race 9

1. Lets Leavum
2. Up Front N Crazy
3. Joseph Gerard

No standout here. Mixed bag of horses who win when they are good and lose a lot when they aren't.

Lets Leavum beat these when last in with them. He can get it done. CAN. Not will. He is no cinch. Top call by default.

Up Front N Crazy leaves enough to be in the mix and has done well for Perriera since the claim. Likely short price though. He might just outlast/outstagger them. Might.

Joseph Gerard is a very effective closer if the cover keeps him close enough to make the most of that. He could get it done, if the trip works out.

Fork parked all the way past the half last time and then just kept going. He doesn't hold his form at all as a rule. Avoid. 

A Nashty Business shows flashes of being good enough with these, and some of the drives have been suspect. If luck were to go his way, and he falls into a good trip and good flow, he could pay a big price. Could. 

Some of the others have a shot, but all of them find ways to lose or are in tougher than normal. Take a shot if you like one of them. Hard to recommend any of them though.

Race 10

1. Jac Spade
2. Mister Icon
3. Dapper Denzil

Genesee returns from a vet scratch lame in the post parade when it was obvious he was hurting bad. He had showed signs of that for a few weeks and now he is fire-saled for 15. Hard to know what to expect from him. Watch him parade and make your call. I will avoid him, especially now that he is 4 weeks out of the box.

First Impression moves up and is hard to like with these better ones. The way he races, he can always hit the ticket, but he does little to suggest he can beat these types. I will pass on him until he is back in for 8k.

Real Rocker raced good to take down the sharp Mr. Big Head last time, but he has been locked on a line for weeks (maybe longer) and he wont get away with that tactic with this bunch. He would have to be better, much better, and I haven't seen any evidence of that.

Hoboken Hanover raced pretty good to get 4th with better last time, but he is never consistent or to be counted on. Many times he is off stride before the gate or trying to be. Speed is there, but these put more pressure on him. Pass.

Big Bay Point got scooped up on the 12k fire sale and he still didn't get it done that night. Showed nothing with these last time for 20k. Have to see some improvement before he is even considered viable again. He does have big back class and Cirasoula is the type that fixes these up, so beware of him if you are looking for a flyer, price horse. Not for me though. He has not impressed me yet. He looks chewed up and spent.

 Mister Icon is the hot form horse. Jogged twice for 8k, getting claimed the second time and moves up sharply for Riley, who seems to have some magic potion since Christmas. Beware and he has a legit shot. Many of these are either former or recent 8k horses, so he isn't giving up much on class with them.

Dapper Denzil has been pretty good for months, and Paul McLean has taken him back several times and improved him. He did look a bit sore coming to the wire last time, but Paul is the type that knows how to fix up and keep them good. I wouldn't play him on top for a short price, but he wouldn't shock me if he gets it done. 

Jac Spade was tons the best last time, and Campbell knows him well. Us older guys remember when Campbell was one of the top guys on the circuit, and he could keep horses like this good for a long time. Right now, he has a pretty big edge on these. And he is travelling better than ever, something I would not have said 3 months ago. He looks for 3 straight here, and I think he can get it. Not a cinch, but...Top call.

Race 11

1. Evenin of Pleasure
2. Winning Dream
3. Burning Shore
4. Ideal Race
5. Twin B Legend
6. Sunny Beach Day

 Better Get Ready gets a trainer change from J. Nowelselsky to Riley. I can't see him one upping Jeff, who is a very sharp guy. Likely takes lots of money because of it, which means others present much better value. 

Curious Phoenix shows nothing to suggest he makes the top 5,  let alone win. Major pass on him.

Emerald Lexus is a horse I never play. He always looks one step away from running and he does that a lot, as he did last time when he was actually going to win. He is always dangerous, but rarely good enough to back that up. I will pass on him again.

Twin B Legend is the type that could step up and win this race. He weaved through traffic to get up for 2nd on Monday night, and moves back up, but really, it isn't a move up. He could easily light up the toteboard. Beware of him, but everything would have to go his way. Others seem a shade better than him right now. 

Ideal Race drops again, and has the back class to crush these, but has shown no zip for two months. He is in the mix, if he shows up and is driven aggressively. He has had 3 bad posts in a row and draws well enough this time to attempt a retake down the backside. Can he keep going if he tries that? Can, if he is good. Is he? Hard to say. Gillis horses reverse form very quickly. Don't forget that. I don't.

Burning Shore showed a lot of talent and promise last year as a 3yo, but never panned out. He seems to be coming around, and his recent form says he will be there at the wire. I wouldn't discount him, but he seems a tad camera shy. If my top pick gives it up (which he does sometimes) he is the likely one to pick up the pieces.

Four Starzz Hold Em has taken some nice steps forward and raced good, but these are much tougher. He is likely better off back in an 8 claimer. He is a Hi 5 factor, but don't see him on the triactor ticket. Doesn't look like he can beat 1:54 anymore, and many of these still can. 

Sunny Beach Day comes very late, and that seems like all he can do, so he would need a hot pace to race into. Don't see that this time. Another who is a legit bit player, but not a top 2 candidate.

Which leaves Evenin of Pleasure, who drops off good form and was another who looked like a serious horse at 2 and 3 but didn't pan out. Certainly, he can win this. Sylvain helps his cause. 3rd start off the layoff and he likely gets it done. But, Winning Dream has beaten better and is also one to contend with. He seems to go down the road, sometimes lasting, other times packing it in. Which one shows up tonight? He takes a huge drop tonight. 
Between the two of them, I see it as a pick em. I went with Fillion. Better winning percentage.
















Saturday, March 22, 2014

And Steve Asmussen as "The Joker"

The following is a (interpreted) statement given by Steve Asmussen in the fantasy world that he apparently lives in.

"Today, with great sadness, I have relieved Scott Blasi of his duties as my assistant trainer after 18 years of service. I have to say that I am in total shock that he treated my owners fine animals this way, and that his foul language and repulsive attitude were so upsetting to many (including me) who saw that on the videotape now circulating.
I have never seen any such behavior from him before, nor did I have any knowledge (as head trainer) that he was attempting to run a former Kentucky Derby second place finisher (Nehru) with horrific feet until he had to be put down. Nor did I have any knowledge that he was giving Thyroxine to my whole stable to make them feel better and run although they are lame, nor did I know he was using shock treatments to try and fool the state veterinarians.
I in no way condoned any of these actions and actually had no knowledge they were going on. It is not standard practice to do any of the things he was doing in that video. He was acting on his own account and was not instructed in any way by me to do these things. 
I have and always will have the best interests of the horses in my care and the owners who supply me with these horses."

Said Steve Asmussen to nobody who will ever believe his total load of crap.

When reached for comment, Scott Blasi was very succint.

"Holy Batcrap Batman."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A tale of two warriors.

We all know about warriors. They are brave. They are generally fearless. And in most cases, there is a victor and one who is slain by the victor. It is the nature of warriors that such is the case.
What makes them warriors is also what ends up taking them down. They will fight to the end. No quit in them. Only another warrior will slay them. They won't slay themselves.They rarely go quietly into a happy retirement.
Last night, two racing warriors faced the post once again. One achieved a milestone that very few ever do. One faced a sad reality that many do.
Lets start with the happy milestone warrior.
Kindly Poet has been a pretty good high end horse for many years. Almost from the time when he first started racing, he raced at the top of the food chain. At one point, he beat the best there was out there. He won the Open at Woodbine a few times when he was at his best. He even won some legs of some tough stakes series. He didn't do it often and he wont be remembered one day in any discussion of great horses. He is a very good horse who had his day in the sun. Like many others. But unlike many others, he has lasted much longer. Long enough to earn a million dollars. Which he finally achieved last night. As a now 11 year old, he has done it the hard way. No big stakes victories to pad that total.
Kindly Poet is also an exception in that he was a homebred and has only had one trainer and set of owners his whole life. That can make a difference sometimes. Less chance for taking risks and liberties that can lead to very bad results. Not a certainty, because that can happen anyway. Even with the best of intentions, accidents happen. Bones break. In Kindly Poet's case, he has certainly been lame many times in his life, and has the vet-scratch-lames to prove it. I don't recall his gait when he was a younger horse, but I certainly have noted it in the last couple of years. He definitely doesn't race and travel like a sound horse.
But, he is a warrior. He keeps showing up. Now 11 years old, he does it at a much reduced level. His wins and earnings are certainly diminished now. It even took him a couple of starts to get that last cheque to go over a million. Last night he achieved that. That can never be taken away from him.
Is it time to stop with him? Maybe. But in relative terms, he is still somewhat competitive and can earn a fair buck. He is viable enough to be raced and sound enough to keep doing it. The time will come when that is not the case. Will they stop with him before its too late? Maybe. Some do. Some don't. 
Seton Hall also raced last night. In many ways, he is similar to Kindly Poet. He is durable. He has been successful enough. He has raced 363 times, won 55 of those and made $328,000 over the course of his life. Pretty good by racehorse standards. He wasn't a great prospect as a yearling, only bringing $9,000. So, in many ways, he can be considered quite the overachiever. What he lacked in talent, he made up in grit and durability. Many warriors carry that mantra.
Some people have benefited from watching and wagering on him over the years. He raced, mostly week in and week out, for many years. More years than Kindly Poet in fact. Seton Hall was 13 years old as of last night. I say was, because while Kindly Poet was getting that cheque to put him over a million, Seton Hall broke a pastern and had to be put to sleep. Not nearly the happy event that Kindly Poet achieved last night.
Seton Hall was also different than Kindly Poet in many ways. He wasn't a homebred. He was bred to be sold, which he was. He raced well, but he was no world beater.
Seton Hall was never more than a 20 claimer. He actually never even won a 20 claimer. He won several 15 claimers, but that was about as good as he would get. He was steady. If you owned him, he made money or at least paid his way. 
And many people owned him. And trained him. At least 10 different trainers over his career. That isn't uncommon for a claimer. And for the most part, Seton Hall was a claimer. A claimer who got claimed a lot. When he was good, and classified right, he was successful and a pretty good claim. But as claimers do, he would lose value as time passed.
Seton Hall also had his share of vet scratches. But many horses do. In fact, he was vet scratched just the week before he died last night. Should he have been stopped with? Probably. We can never know for sure. But likely, his lack of performance lately, added to his advanced age, wear and tear and the vet scratch last week were signs that were ignored and he paid the ultimate price for that.
Although, in spite of his declining earning power, he had been in the top 3 in 4 of 7 starts this year. He still seemed raceable under those standards. 
Being a warrior, when put on the track he still tried to fight the good fight. He didn't just stop and refuse to race anymore. He kept trying until he was slain. Slain by the cruelest foe of all--his inherent desire that was bred into him. Compete and keep trying, even when you should stop. That is what warriors do. They go into battle, even when they know the likely outcome is their own demise. In the case of Seton Hall, it wasn't a choice he made. Others made that for him. He was just the willing and loyal soldier who obeyed the command.
We all know that is racing. Accidents happen. Horses break down. Some live to tell about it. Some don't. Some break bones for no reason other than shit happens. Most times though, horses break down because they are raced until they do.
Kindly Poet and Seton Hall had their similarities.
They both earned their money the hard way. Overnights and a few hundred or thousands at a time. Kindly Poet did it at a much higher level, but basically, they were the same type of horse.
One will now rest in peace. His warrior days now over. The other will continue to fight on. Battling the younger, stronger, fresher rivals who were just a gleam in their breeders eyes when he was at his peak.
Just four starts back, Kindly Poet won a conditioned race at Woodbine. He can still compete. But, the time will come, just like it did with Seton Hall, that maybe it isn't wise anymore to race him. He will keep trying, because that is what warriors do. It is up to us to make them stop. They wont. They will die trying. As Seton Hall did. 
Hopefully, Kindly Poet will see the day when he gets a good retirement and lives out his days. For now, he will likely continue to do what he always has. Probably the only thing he knows how to do. Race on a racetrack for money.
Last night, one warrior was slain by the cruelest warrior of them all. Father time in the racing game. You can't beat that warrior. So far, Kindly Poet has. So far.