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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just Horsing Around

With the opening day pilgrimmage to nirvana (toga) just a couple days away, it's amazing that summer is starting to come into full swing and that Bills training camp starts Friday in Rochester. E'gads it's football season already? I thought I would list some wishes and thoughts that have been awash in the far reaches of my cerebrum. Today we'll let the lobster goes:

- I'm really excited about the Toga opening day card drawn by NYRA yesterday, consisting of five turf and five dirt races including two stakes and there will be a Spooky Mulder sighting in Race 10. One is a non-graded state-bred turf sprint for 3yos and upward and the feature is the Schuylerville (G3) for juvenile (2yo) fillies. Ashado won this race in 2003.

- If you haven't made your progostications for my little Toga contest go here. NYRA listed probables for this weekend's Whitney and Jim Dandy here as well as for Saratoga's other opening week stakes races.

- It's unfortunate that GoGo Garrett Gomez decided to stay out west for the Del Mar meet after having an excellent go (no pun intended) at it the last two summers in Toga. He's one of my favorite jocks and will be missed during the meet. Not that he won't be busy shipping around the country on weekends to ride some top mounts and you're sure to catch a glimpse of him at the Spa.

- The Alabama is looking to shape up as a rematch between Mother Goose and CCA American Oaks champ Music Note and Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell. Here's hoping EquiSpace favorites Sweet Vendetta and Bsharpsonata join the fray what should be a nice preview of who will be the main challenger to Zenyatta and Hystericalady in the BC Ladies' Classic.

- I've been pretty quiet on the Curlin front. I voted for him to continue the Turf campaign in the various polls you can find out there nowadays. He is currently stabled and training at Saratoga and it sure would be nice to see him in the Sword Dancer on Alabama Day from a completely selfish standpoint. I just don't think it will happen. His trainer has said in the past that they call it "the graveyard of champions" for a reason and there's more money to be made elsewhere. I don't see them shipping to France for a prep and then having to make the walk of shame if he doesn't deliver and thus bypasses the Arc.

- I've heard so much about Hialeah Park in Miami, which has been dark since 2001. Reports by the Palm Beach Post say that CNet founder Halsey Minor is interested in buying the racetrack from the former owner who shut it down seven years ago. Minor also sold GrandCentral to Google last year (translation: the dude is loaded). If they could structure a meet before Gulfstream's winter meet (hurricanes withstanding) with some slight overlap so they could regenerate the Flamingo Stakes, long a Derby prep, ending in February it might just work.

From the old guy front......

- I'm starting the Brett Favre to Buffalo Campaign. Out of the 25 Hall of Fame quarterbacks only my boyhood idol Johnny U played past age 40. Favre turns 39 in October. Let's take a look at some common sense stuff that only makes it a natural for him to join our beloved Bills: It's cold in Buffalo (check). We have frozen tundra (check). We need a veteran quarterback (check). This town would adore him. (check). We are well under the cap (check). Nice cheese factory less than an hour away (check). Roswell Park, one of nation's largest cancer centers located here, could use a celebrity booster who supports breast cancer research (check). Team is on the rise (check). Brett Favre, come on down to the City of Good Neighbors!

- I followed Greg Norman last month at the Senior PGA (with his new bride Chrissy Evert within spittin distance) and I thought his game looked very sharp. The Shark is battling right now to stay atop the leaderboard at Royal Birkdale and become the oldest winner of a major at the spry age of 53. Hell, I'm rooting for him. He'd also become the first man to win the same major in three different decades. What do ya know....

- The venerable Lava Man takes to the turf today at Del Mar in the Eddie Read Handicap. Hope this former champ has some gas left in the tank. The Norman/Lava Man double sure would make today one of those days for the old guys. Maybe he can take a cue from 10 (!) year old Evening Attire winner of the Greenwood Cup at PHA yesterday setting a track record nonetheless in his eight length win!


Steve Zorn said...

Re Hialeah: it was a great track to race at, very kind and forgiving, very fair. I still have a win picture from one of the last years that we ran there. Haven't been back in a few years, but I heard they cut down the beautiful pines on the walking track leading to the track from the barn area. For that matter, they may have razed the barns as well, as they're not protected by the historic preservation designation.

Also, Hialeah owner Joh n Brunetti is, to put it mildly, not the easiest person to make a deal with. Back in, i think, 2003, NY horsemen tried to negotiate a short winter meet with him, but it ended up just being impossible. Good luck to Halsey Minor.

EquiSpace said...

Steve, thanks for your comments and for reading. From what I saw in the PB Post article sounds like they would have to rebuild the barns per the section regarding Pletcher wanting to house some of his horses there...

Here is another article from back in May regarding the state of Hialeah:


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