Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Recap: Belmont Stakes, Henry Cecil's passing, Ramon Dominguez's retirement, and the Stephen Foster Handicap

This week has been a rollercoaster ride in the sport of horse racing, and it seems improper to recap last weekend's Belmont Stakes and discuss tomorrow's Stephen Foster Handicap without mentioning everything in between. 

Saturday, June 8: Although there was no Triple Crown on the line this year, racing fans hoped that the Belmont Stakes (Gr. I) would spit forth the dominating three-year-old colt of the young year. The Belmont did do that--kind of. Rather than leading the field through a strong pace as he did in the Kentucky Derby, Palace Malice--who had skipped the Preakness--instead took advantage of a relatively quick pace to capture the Belmont, with Oxbow finishing a strong second and Orb third.

Oxbow again impressed me deeply by remaining close to the strong pace and finishing well. This colt is tough, tough, tough and definitely one to watch over the upcoming months. Hopefully Calumet Farm will keep him in training as a four and possibly five-year-old, too, as the Awesome Again get tend to improve with age.

Watch the Belmont Stakes here and read the Blood-Horse article here.

Sunday, June 9: On this day 40 years ago, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes, thereby becoming the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Read my post about this magical day here.

Tuesday, June 11: Sir Henry Cecil, a legendary trainer in the United Kingdom, passed away after a long illness. The last great horse he trained was none other than Frankel, the British superhorse that captivated the world in 2011 and 2012. Read Cecil's obituary on the Blood-Horse here.

Wednesday, June 12: The 2012 Broodmare of the Year, Lisa Danielle, proved her worth yet again when her 2010 filly by War Chant won her debut race. Enchanting Lisa stalked the pace like a professional racehorse before drawing away clear in the stretch with her ears up. As a half-sister to Wise Dan and Successful Dan, she has large shoes to fill. But if her maiden win is any indication, that won't be a problem. Read the Blood-Horse article here.

Ramon Dominguez on Little Mike before winning the 2012 Arlington Million

Thursday, June 13: Top jockey Ramon Dominguez announced his retirement from the saddle. Hospitalized with a skull fracture after a bad fall at Aqueduct in January, Dominguez had originally hoped to return to the saddle by the Triple Crown races. Instead, upon the strong advisement of his doctors, he retired. His absence left a large hole in the sport, but there had always been that hope that he would return soon. It's very tough to know that the hole is now permanent. I wish Ramon all the best, and sincerely hope he returns to the sport in some form--it desperately needs a man of Ramon's class and integrity. Read the Blood-Horse article here.

Friday, June 14: Another tough, tough, tough horse that happens to be closely related to Oxbow, Paynter returned to the races today by easily winning an allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park. Paynter--who finished second to Union Rags in the 2012 Belmont Stakes--nearly died after suffering from colitis last year after winning the Haskell (Gr. I). Colitis has a high mortality rate so it's simply amazing that Paynter was able to not only overcome it, but bounce back well enough to successfully return to the races. Read the Blood-Horse article here.

Saturday, June 15: Tomorrow is the Stephen Foster Handicap (Gr. I) and Fleur de Lis Handicap (Gr.II). The former features Successful Dan, Fort Larned, Golden Ticket, Take Charge Indy, Ron the Greek and Pool Play--about as classy a field as you can get this year. The Fleur de Lis features Royal Delta and a personal favorite of mine, Wine Princess (by Ghostzapper, out of Azeri). My husband and I will be there, so look for a post with photos over the next few days!

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