This is Horse Racing
English movie producer Nick Ryle was talking with a friend, about sports, about film, about stories, when the subject turned to champion steeplechase jockey A.P. “Tony” McCoy. “What a great story that would be,” Ryle told his friend. “We should film that.”
Summer officially arrived earlier this week and the serious countdown is on for Opening Day at Del Mar and Saratoga. First things first, however, with one last weekend in June and another edition of Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal.
ST Publishing Inc.’s co-founders and co-editors Joe and Sean Clancy were honored during the American Horse Publications’ annual awards dinner last weekend in Orlando for their editorial material published in 2015.
Pick your cliché, any cliché, when talking about the fickle, walking-on-eggshells nature of raising young Thoroughbreds and it might not be far off base.
Surely you’ve heard or read the one from the late Charlie Whittingham, about how “horses are like strawberries … they can spoil overnight.” Then there’s the opposite, more conventional and less etched-in-stone mantra that basically says trees and flowers aren’t the only things that bloom in the spring in Kentucky, that horses flourish in the bluegrass in the best season in the Commonwealth.
Inti might not have become Invasor for Shadwell and Kiaran McLaughlin. But, he did become the horse who changed everything for Cyril Murphy.
Apprentice jockey Ashley Castrenze got her career off to a flying start back in April, winning with her first mount at Tampa Bay Downs, and she’s kept winning throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
The 19-year-old daughter of retired jockey Jackie Acksel and late trainer Charles Castrenze won a dozen races from 40 mounts through Saturday and from Sunday to Thursday she’s named on horses at Monmouth Park, Delaware Park, Parx Racing, Penn National, Belmont Park and Pimlico.
The final serving. Royal Ascot’s five-day extravaganza comes to a close with another six-race menu of 2-year-olds, distance and sprint handicaps, Group 1 sprinters and a stamina-zapping 2 3/4-mile handicap. Aidan O’Brien leads all trainers with five wins while Frankie Dettori, with four wins, holds a one-race lead over Ryan Moore.
No rest for the weary a week after putting the Triple Crown in the books. This week’s Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal, is packed with all the previews of Stephen Foster Day at Churchill Downs, Songbird’s return at Santa Anita Park and much, much more.
It’s Friday at Royal Ascot. Two remaining days and then we’ll have our mornings back. Tepin Tuesday. Lady Aurelia Wednesday. Thursday, well, Thursday, belonged to Ryan Moore who doubled on Order Of St George and Even Song and Alan King who won his first race at Royal Ascot with Primitivo. American-breds have won four. And counting…
It’s Friday, jump on over to the beach. Or more appropriately, the Shore, as the summer steeplechase schedule kicks off a few days before actual summer with two races at Monmouth Park.
The jumpers go in the first and the third – so no chance to bet the double, though maybe there’s a Pick Three to be had – with a first post of 12:50 p.m. Words to live/bet by: Don’t let Jack Fisher go at a price; jockeys and trips matter; watch horses for Saratoga. Oh, and thank you New Jersey racing for the opportunities.
Another Triple Crown season in the books, Royal Ascot past the halfway point, summer racing underway and a serious countdown to the start of the Saratoga Race Course meeting. If you’re counting – and who isn’t really? – it’s just five weeks away.
David Bourke makes it pretty clear about his position as a trainer of racehorses. “This is more or less a hobby,” he said. “It’s not something I pay my mortgage with.” Of course, if 2016 continues the way it started, he might have to give up his job as a blacksmith.
Bourke is 2-for-2 as a trainer this year, and heads to Monmouth Park Friday with Curve Of Stones in a $35,000 handicap hurdle. The third race of eight on the day starts at 1:43 p.m. and lured a field of 10 including stakes winners Sacred Soul, African Oil and Andi’amu. Curve Of Stone is responsible for both wins (and starts) on Bourke’s ledger this year and could vault to the top of the novice division with another win about a year after joining Bourke’s small stable.
Hump Day at Royal Ascot. Two days down, three to go.
The American flag is waving strong after Tepin lit it up Tuesday and Lady Aurelia hammered a 7-length win in the Queen Mary Wednesday for Stonestreet, Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori.
Chad Brown felt like the butt of a joke earlier this year when he got word that Prince Khalid Abdullah planned to transfer global superstar Flintshire into his care for a 6-year-old campaign in the U.S.
“It’s like you think you’re being punked,” Brown said last Saturday at Belmont Park, shortly after Flintshire made quick work of a strong field in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Tepin. Tepin. Tepin. Royal Ascot opened Tuesday, American champion Tepin had a mountain to climb – soft ground, straight course, no Lasix, no nasal strip, travel – and in 1:43.98, she had scaled the mountain. Hell, she moved it. Winning the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes with simplistic grace. Our sport has been under international fire, mostly over Lasix and the use of other medication, Tepin lit her own fire Tuesday at Royal Ascot.
Owner Robert Masterson thought big, trainer Mark Casse (pronounced Casey by the British interviewer before the race) delivered a perfect horse and Julien Leparoux rode Tepin with confidence and conviction, leading the stands-side pack without hesitation.
It was beautiful.
Royal Ascot continues with its second day. Can we possibly top the first?
Elliott Walden took the call in early March at his hotel in Ocala, where he recently arrived to scout potential classic prospects in his role as president and chief executive officer for Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm at the OBS March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training. A little more than two months out from the start of this year’s Triple Crown series, it looked like WinStar might be without a starter in the Kentucky Derby for just the second time since 2006. The business of reloading, restocking and looking ahead to the next group of prospects well underway.
It’s time for Royal Ascot – five days of the best racing in the world.
Last summer, in the TIHR office, we tried to compare calendars.
“What are you doing in the second week of June?" 'Well, there’s Royal Ascot.' "You’re going?” 'No, I’m not going, but that’s what I’m doing that week.'
With that in mind, we bring you Royal Ascot 2016.
Wesley Ward didn’t hesitate when asked about his horse who changed everything.
“Unfinished Symph,” Ward said, a week before his annual assault on Royal Ascot. “He was awesome.”
At first, Graham Motion joked about running 4-year-old filly Miss Temple City in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April. The idea, he thought, was to avoid champion Tepin in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley even if running in the Maker’s 46 meant facing males.
Even though there was no Triple Crown on the line, the 148th Belmont Stakes will go down as highly memorable renewal as Todd Pletcher's Destin and Steve Asmussen's Creator dueled down the stretch in front of 60,000 fans and finished inches apart. At the wire, of course, it was WinStar and Bobby Flay's Creator the victor by a nose. Photographer Tod Marks has the photo highlights.