Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Recap

It was an exciting weekend for horse racing--well, for me! The annual Eclipse Awards presentation was Saturday night. It wasn't closed captioned (closed captioning is a crapshoot on HRTV) but I didn't mind--I knew who the nominees were and could lip-read all the winners as they were announced, except for Royal Delta (sorry, Laffit).

As I expected, Wise Dan swept Turf Male, Older Male and Horse of the Year. After he won, I mentioned to my husband that a colt hasn't won Horse of the Year since Curlin in 2008. My touching moment of the night award goes to Javier Castellano and John Velazquez for accepting Ramon Dominguez's Outstanding Jockey award in his absence. Dominguez is in intensive care with a displaced skull fracture after a spill at Aqueduct on Friday.

Also, three of "my" horses won over the weekend--two were runaway winners!

Ron the Greek handled the slop like the professional that he is with a 11-length victory in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream. An expected challenge from Mucho Macho Man never manifested and the big bay was pulled up by Mike Smith. It was later found that there was nothing amiss with him--he had simply hated the track. You can watch the race here. A self-labeled "hipster" Ron the Greek fan, I have liked the horse since his early Derby trail days three years ago. He fell into a rut with allowance races over the following year before being turned over to trainer Bill Mott, who worked magic with the horse. Ron the Greek has been a consistent runner since then. "Ron" reminds me of another blue collar-style horse I enjoyed a few years ago--Musket Man. Both horses were dropped by full sisters by Fortunate Prospect, out of Flambeau (by Dixieland Band).

Regalo Mia, a lovely bay filly with chrome (those always win me over) nabbed her first stakes win on Saturday in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream. It's always a huge thrill to see a horse you've been following get their first stakes win. By one of my favorite stallions, Sligo Bay, she is out of the Red Bullet mare Shake It Up. You can see her win here.

The Derby Trail officially started with Oxbow's 11-length win in the LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Oxbow, a lovely bay roan, caught my eye last August at Saratoga while I was taking photos of 2-year-old colts before a maiden special weight in the paddock. A quick look at the past performance charts for his race revealed his name to be the delightfully simple Oxbow. By Awesome Again out of a  full sister to Tiznow, Oxbow is closely related to the tough Paynter (also by Awesome Again, out of another full sister to Tiznow). Unfortunately Oxbow was pulled up and vanned off that afternoon at Saratoga. He later popped up on the worktab and all seems well--I have no idea why he was vanned off, but it clearly wasn't a serious injury. You can see his win in the LeComte here.

Oxbow in the paddock at Saratoga, August 2012

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