Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Emerald Downs - Week 1 Recap

Well, not a stellar weekend for myself, but it appears the meet kicked off in fine fashion. There was nice weather and there appeared to be a decent crowd. Not sure what the overall handle was relative to last year (especially the live-on-live handle), but people seemed to be in relatively good spirits. Just time for a few observations from the first weekend at Emerald Downs: 

(1) Headphone Giveaway - Was I the only one disappointed that Don Munger didn't win Beats by Dre headphones this weekend?

(2) Jerre to Carrie - Very impressive winning the feature race on Saturday. I didn't pick her to win before the race but once she walked into the paddock I quickly changed my mind. She looked spectacular and had filled out very nicely since last year. Just shows you how much these horses can change from their two-year-old to three-year-old year. Her sire, Congrats, has been on fire this year. More to follow on her pedigree in a future post.

(3) OB Harbor - Owned by Princess Pigtails, Jody Peetz, OB Harbor rocketed to an impressive victory on Sunday stopping the clock in 100.97 for 5.5 Furlongs. Fractional times for the race


The next fastest 5.5 Furlong time of the weekend was set by Thisdewarsforyou who ran it in 101.92. 

What is amazing is that this trainer and owner can almost set a world record for 5.5 Furlongs but can't operate a basic Emerald Downs television in the Owners' Box. Actually, they couldn't even figure out how to turn the TV on. It took several tutorials by yours truly before these two could figure out how to operate a basic things like volume and channel changing and I am still not convinced they know how to do it. Next weekend I am going to teach them how to use an Atari gaming system. The joystick may be a little technical for them. 

By the way, they were surprised to learn they time races in tenths of a second because they are still using a sundial to time workouts. Eventually I will tell them what a Swatch watch is.  

(4) Emerald123 - Started a friendly Emerald123 contest with two other people and I am already in last. To add insult to injury Emerald 123 had to remind me of something I already know: 

Yah, I know I don't have any friends yet. 

(5) Pick 7 ("Withee Wager") - Now this wager gets interesting with a $6,400 plus carryover going into Saturday. Serious investors realize that we can beat the takeout rate with the carryover and only a 16.1% takeout on all new money coming in. Anyone interested in syndicating a ticket should email me privately. 

(6) El Dorado and Abraaj both had a solid weekend with wins by Classic Grand, Exit Sixty Slew (30-1) and a very good second by Kaabraaj in the feature race on Sunday. Abraaj continues to impress me as a sire and I expect he will get a full book of mares this season (in Washington, 30 is a full book to me). More to follow on this sire in future posts. 

More to follow when I have more time to write some pedigree analysis about our winners last weekend. 

Always Love Your Animals, 


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Opening Day Picks at Emerald Downs

An interesting day yesterday on several fronts. The FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson ended and, spoiler alert, he was found not guilty. I guessed wrong. Chalk another one up for the justice system! Then Ted Cruz, politicians answer to Darrin Paul, won the Wisconsin Primary. Most importantly, Emerald Downs had its Media Day. As good as the Super Bowl Media Day but without having that child Cam Newton:

We also got a little more information on the .20 Pick 7, which is the investment that I am most excited about this year. With a 16.1% takeout and 7 Races, there will be plenty of carryovers allowing for a positive return on investment and a chance to beat the takeout. I will do a write up on this horizontal wager after this weekend when I have more information.

A quick review of the races and my picks for Saturday:

Race 1: I'm terrible at handicapping these lower level claiming races so my opinion in this race should matter little. I will go with Seaside Story and Ducoti as my top picks. They both love Emerald Downs and are dropping down to a level that they win at.

Race 2: Although I don't like the owner, I am going with Pebble Beach (what an elitist 1%er name for a horse) in this one. Been racing against better horses and the last two workouts have been pretty good. The most interesting horse in this race is Lady Diva. This horse has consistently been working every 6 days and has three 5 furlong works under her belt. Also, I wouldn't overlook Will Not who actually showed some decent speed in her prior race. Web of Demons certainly merits consideration. Interesting race.

Race 3: Six S Street looks like the one to beat off of the class drop. If you go back and watch the replay of his last race at Santa Anita the horse was in good position until something went wrong with the stirrups causing the jockey to make an adjustment and giving up valuable position. The horse wouldn't have won the race but showed enough that I give the horse a legite chance here. Allaboutthataction has the rail and speed in a 5 Furlong race which is always dangerous.

Race 4: Another Winter, Stephanie Plum and Nearlycocktailtime all have a decent shot in this race. Tim Floyd looks like he has 97 starters in for opening day. I like Another Winter, but maybe she will be better on the stretch-out as she showed late last year. That being said, she is 2 for 4 at the distance. Stephanie Plum won a nice Starter Allowance to end her season. This nice older mare is probably in the right spot for her return. You would think this race would be a little short for her, but she has placed in all 5 of her starts at the distance. Nearlycocktailtime is placed well and has her favorite jockey aboard.

Race 5: Classic Grand and Look Above look to be the only legitimate threats in this race.

Race 6:  Good luck with this one. I decided to go with the two inside horses Wine at Nine and Power Fleet. Power Fleet is working well and should be able to control the pace. Wine at Nice drops in price and does well off the layoff.

Race 7: Your guess is as good as mine. I ended up on Fire the Trainer. 

Race 8: My Heart Goes On deserves to be the favorite in this one. The 2yo champion has been putting in some solid drills for this race. Should be odds on and will run like it. Jerre to Carrie looks like she is progressing nicely in her works so she deserves a look. Congrats fillies are on fire lately and they get better with age so maybe we will see the same from her.

Race 9:  Highland Rose, Wicked Laugh and For Pitys Sake - Going to take the 3yo fillies against the older mares who haven't broke their maiden. This race is a mind bender.

Have a great opening day.



Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Emerald Downs Season - Pre-season Three Year Old Filly Rankings

Well, let's get this party started again. Finally re-energized after a few months off and a few days of sunshine, I am looking forward to the upcoming season at Emerald Downs. 

Just a recap of my last few months: bought some mares in partnership (true), got sick (true), building a turf course at Emerald Downs (not true and stop asking for one unless you figured out a way to pay for it), running as a third-party candidate for President because I can't believe what I am seeing on TV (the last part is definitely true), binge watched Fuller House (mildly true) and I'm still 100% committed to making our industry the best it can be (very true).  

Most of my time in the last few months has been spent holed up in my man cave working on a musical that combines two of Broadways most celebrated musicals: Alexander Hamilton and Cats. Set in the summer of 1787, it is about a Founding Father's cat that had a monumental impact on the Constitutional Convention and, therefore, United States history. As James Madison once didn't write: "Meow is the time for proportional representation." Story by me and music and lyrics by C & C Music Factory. 

Picture by Will. Anger from nap awakening by Cobweb. 

The feature race in the condition book for Saturday is an allowance race for 3yo fillies who are likely using it as a prep for the Seattle Handicap on May 8. The condition allows for any 3yo filly who has not won a race other than Maiden, Claiming, or Starter in 2016 or who has never won 2 races. In other words: everybody jump in the pool. So we will start the year with ranking the 3yo fillies at Emerald Downs going into this year. Remember, these horses change dramatically between their two and three year old season so there are likely to be dramatic changes as the year unfolds:  

(1) My Heart Goes On - Any discussion has to start with the 2yo filly champion who ran a respectable second in the Gottstein and won the Angie C. Has had a three 5 Furlong works: Martinez seems to have this horse ready to go and I expect that if she enters the race on Saturday she will be the favorite, possible odds on.  

This filly is tough and never seems to miss a beat. Her only knock is that she almost has the same name as a terrible Celine Dion song:


(2) Invested Prospect - Fast and undefeated. Abraaj is making a name for himself as a sire (more to follow in another blog post on this) and this filly is out of the very good No Constraints. I really liked this filly at the sale and was tempted to buy her but John Maryanski was able to snatch her up for $25,000 (Maryanski is always trying to one up me but I must admit he has much better hair than I do). She has already earned that back and now has residual value (my favorite phrase in the english language and the one my barn always mocks me for) as a broodmare. Here is the Northwest Farm Stakes. 

The obvious question is how far can she go? However, she has the right trainer, she has probably matured, and the stakes win was only her second race so she has a right to gather more stamina. If she is entered this weekend in the Allowance race, she will likely have the lead. It is just a question of how far she can go and can she hold off My Heart Goes On.  

(3) Princess Kennedy - Back at Emerald Downs but yet to work. She last raced in January so it probably won't take her long to get fitness back. I expect to see her do damage as the distances get longer. In this blogger's opinion, she ran the most impressive race by a 2-year-old filly last year last year in the Shinpoch: 

Likely will be climbing up the ranks as the season progresses. 

(4) Find Joy - This is a Drosselmeyer that can sprint. Let me repeat, a Drosselmeyer that can sprint. She broke her maiden at 4.5 Furlongs at Pimlico and then proceeded to be fairly competitive in stakes competition and finished 3rd in Allowance Optional Claiming race at Del Mar. She just worked 4 furlongs at Emerald Downs so I doubt we will see her this weekend but is a horse you want to keep on your radar for the Seattle Handicap. You will find her Past Performances here: 

(5) Say it Slow - Yes, she only ran once and yes she finished fourth. However, she finished fourth in a stakes race and she ran very wide and put in a good run. She is by Haynesfield out of Chit Chatter. For people who have a spouse, kids, friends, and a promising career and don't have time to study pedigree for hours on end like me, Chit Chatter is the dam of Grade 1 winner I'm a Chatterbox. I'm a Chatterbox also finished third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. So Dr. Mark and Puhich have some pedigree to work with and a promising future with this one. Just worked 4 furlongs at Emerald Downs. Might not see her until an MSW or the Seattle Handicap but watch out. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Kiss My Lulu. Her MSW race was impressive. She then ran third in the Angie C behind My Heart Goes On and Princess Kennedy and then threw in a clunker in the Northwest Farms Stakes. I am willing to give her a pass for that race and see what she come back with. 

Jerre to Carrie - She had an impressive Maiden Special Weight win in her last race but I'm not sure who she beat. Regardless, she was somewhat competitive in stakes races and she is by Congrats, who is on fire as a sire right now, especially of fillies. 

One horse that everyone should look out for: Sunrise Glow. The horse has not ran yet but will be serious business when she does. Just look at the pedigree: She got her initial training at Pegasus but just recently posted her first work at Emerald Downs. 

Darrin Paul, Emerald Downs answer to Ted Cruz, has a trio of fillies that could have an impact on stakes races, including Sugar Seeker.

Freak Kiki has been solid but has been racing at Golden Gate. Not sure what her future plans are. 

Plenty of unraced 3yo fillies waiting in the wings so this list will keep changing. 

See you this weekend. 

Always Love Your Animals


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WTBOA Sale - Part II

Nobody got the joke in the second sentence of Part I? Go back and read it again. Stay with me people. I know it is late in the season and you are dreaming of sleeping in or Booze Cruises, but there is still work to do. 

As we discussed last time, the average for Washington-breds at the sale was $19,233. Even if we took out the $77,000 for the Tiz Wonderful filly, the average was $17,824 for Washington-breds.  

As promised, this discussion will be about the local sires and some of the national ones that had more than a couple of entries. 

Harbor the Gold - We start with the king of the Northwest: Harbor the Gold. He sold 10 offspring for a total of $219,500 and averaged $21,950.  

Atta Boy Roy: The New Kid on the Block 

Sold 12 yearlings which averaged $18,325. A nice start for the local sire. Atta Boy Roy was lead by a filly out of Crafty Diva who sold for $50,000. An average of $18,325 makes him a so-far profitable sire to breed to. 

Abraaj: Sold 4 for an average of $7,875. He also had 4 RNAs. His offspring have been doing well on the track. 

*I don't view 3 or 4 horses as statistically significant but only two Washington sires had more than 4 sell at the sale and I need something to discuss. Despite only three of four horses sold at the sale, I view this information as important for people to know as they go forward. 

Coast Guard: 3 sold for an average of $12,833. They sold for $17,000, $16,500, and $5,000 a piece. Coast Guard was lead by a very nice looking colt out of Ms. Pixie sold for $17,000. 

Sixthirteen: Sold 3 for an average of $21,666 topped by a hulking colt out of Felice the Cat, making the yearling a half to Mach One Rules.  

Parker's Storm Cat: Sold 3 for an average of $17,333. Lead by another big colt out of Top's Image. 

National Sires with three or more entries at the sale: Kodiak Kowboy ($11,566) and Tiz Wonderful ($30,400)

Part III will focus on successful pinhooks. 

Always Love Your Animals


Monday, August 31, 2015

WTBOA Sale Review - Part 1

Two weeks tis' passed since the WTBOA Sale. I finally feel sane enough to write some coherent about the sale. For the basics you can review the press release here: 

A few things worth pointing out: 

*Well-known pinhooker John Brocklebank spent $383,000 on 10 yearlings. You will likely see his ten purchases in a future sale so it will be interesting to see how some of Washington-breds do at two-year-old in training sales. A good article on Brocklebank and his success can be found here: 

*Of the top 10 horses, 7 of them were Washington-breds; lead by a beautiful Tiz Wonderful filly out of the General Meeting mare Witchy Meeting. She was my favorite filly in the sale. On the boys (or boyz depending on how old you are) side, my favorites were Hip No. 33 and Hip No. 44. The Forestry-Rewritten colt was beautiful and was a missed opportunity a few years ago on my part (note sadness). The other was a Harbor the Gold out of Sunday Morning. 

*Washington-breds averaged $19,233. This is an important internal number that I always like to look at to determine whether it is becoming profitable to breed Washington-breds or not. It appears that things are picking up but I still have some long-term concerns. But we must push on. 

In the next installment, we will look at individual sires and how they did at the sale. 



Importance of State Breeding Programs - Part 1

A good article from July on the importance of having your state breeding program and racing program growing in tandem.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gold Aly's First Winner

The first two-year-old race of the season was Saturday and the winner was Work With Me. The gelding is from Gold Aly's first-crop of horses. Below is an article I wrote for the WTBOA regarding Gold Aly before his first horses went through the sale in 2014. It can also be accessed here (with pictures):'14.pdf

Congrats to Steve Meredith and the crew at Lucky Acres:

(2005 Medaglia d’Oro – Bangled by Alysheba)

At Tuesday’s WTBOA Sale, Gold Aly’s first yearlings will go through the ring. There are three yearling colts scheduled to be sold (Hips Nos. 26, 62 and 90).

Gold Aly is by the prolific sire Medaglia d’Oro. Medaglia d’Oro ran his first two races for owner Joyce Bell and trainer David Vance before being privately acquired by Edmund Gann who sent the fledgling colt to the great Bobby Frankel. Medaglia d’Oro won over $5.7 million dollars during his career including three Grade I races: The Travers and the Whitney and Donn Handicaps.  He also finished second two consecutive times in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He finished his career by running a courageous second to Pleasantly Perfect in the 2004 Dubai World Cup.

Originally standing stud at Hill ‘N’ Dale farm in Lexington, Kentucky, Medaglia d’Oro was purchased by Darley in June 2009 to stand stud at Darley America.  He currently stands for $100,000. 

Originally known for just siring good females such as Rachel Alexandra and Plum Pretty, Medaglia d’Oro has sired good colts such as Violence, Al Khali and Warrior’s Reward.  At the time of this writing, Medaglia d’Oro is ranked No. 8 nationally in total earnings and has sired 11 Grade I winners, including Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

Medaglia d’Oro has strong Northwest connections.  Medaglia d’Oro’s dam is none other than Cappucino Bay, who was trained by 2014 Washington Hall of Fame nominee Marion L. Smith.  Cappucino Bay won the 1991 Mercer Girls Stakes at Longacres before going on to a reasonably successful racing career in California.  In addition, local bloodstock agent Claudia Canouse purchased Medaglia d’Oro’s second dam, Dubbed In, for $65,000 at the 1980 Keeneland November sale.  Dubbed In not only produced Balijumper, but also Maharesred who won the 1988 Joe Gottstein Futurity and participated in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 

Any thought about whether Medaglia d’Oro will be a good “sire of sires” should be extinguished by his son Warrior’s Reward, who is currently en fuego.  As of this writing, Warrior’s Reward has 7 first-out winners from only 18 starters, including Stakes Winner Strawberry Baby and 3 others who have placed in Stakes races, including Bad Read Sanchez who finished third in the Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes. Warrior’s Reward stands for $12,500 at Spendthrift Farm but that is likely going up.

Gold Aly’s dam, Bangled, is by Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba.  Bangled was purchased for $35,000 at the 1991 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  Bangled is a half sister to Grecian Flight who won the Grade I Acorn and over $1.3 million.  After an unsuccessful attempt to make it to the track, she was sold at the 1995 Keeneland January Sale for $57,000 in foal to Wild Again.

Although Bangled was unraced she made up for it by being the dam of three black-type horses, including Grade III Stakes Winner and Grade I placed Anklet. Bangled had several offspring sell for six figures including Gold Aly.

Bred by Brylynn Farm, Inc., Gold Aly, from the first crop of Medaglia d’Oro, was purchased for $120,000 at the March 2008 Barrett’s Two-Year-Old in Training Sale.  Trained by Tim McCanna and owned by Bill Feeley and Ernie Turner, Gold Aly won two starts including a Maiden Special Weight score at Santa Anita and an Allowance victory at Hollywood Park. Gold Aly retired with $80,160 earnings. 
Breeders should look at Gold Aly considering how desirable a cross he is to many of the mares out of our local stallions. Medaglia d’Oro has crossed well with mares sired by sons of Mr. Prospector including Gone West (Violence) and Seeking the Gold (Warrior’s Reward).  Both Violence and Warrior’s Reward are exciting young stallions.

Gold Aly is at Steve Meredith’s Lucky Acres in Yakima where he stands for a private fee.