Friday, April 17, 2015

Bad Bows and Good Bows

We had it all planned out: Ellie would head south and not miss any training this spring;  she had grown up and, more importantly, she seemed to have matured between her 3 and 4 year old years; we now knew she would be a router and not a sprinter so we could get her ready accordingly.  Yup we had it all planned out.
Then we get “the call”.  Well, not THE call, but a crappy one none-the-less.  Her trainer had come in that morning and felt some heat just below her knee.  She was a bit tender but not enough to take a bad step.  Still, it bore watching so we waited and the first few days it seemed like maybe she just slept on herself wrong.  Then the heat and soreness were back and an ultrasound was done.
She bowed a tendon.
A human way to think of it is tendonitis or a tendon tear.  However you look at it, though, it is NOT good for a racehorse.  The prescription?  Ninety days of stall rest and then a slow resumption of activity in after taking another picture to make sure that the damage is healed.
As a Minnesota bred who probably can’t compete in open company outside of the state you might as well have told us her career was over.  Which it now is.
There is no way that we could have her back for this season and that meant another full year on the bench and it wasn’t fair to her partners to put them through that.  Who knows what would happen to this poor, snakebit mare next!?  She had a tough season at 2 with shins, she didn’t do well at 3 and now, with her 4-year old season closed, it’s time to find her a new job.  We’ll get her rehabbed and then we will see what the future has in store for her.  It’s part of our responsibility as owners and one that we take seriously.

Mr. Lexis was purchased privately out of California a few weeks ago and shipped to trainer Clay Brinson at Hawthorne Race Course.  Mr. Lexis is a lightly raced 4-year old gelding out of the Valid Appeal mare Tracy V and sired by Badge of Silver.  He was bred by former Governor Brereton Jones in KY and sold for $45,000 at Keeneland.
He went and raced in Peru where he missed by a neck in a Grade 1 as a maiden but did finally break his maiden in South America and followed that up with an allowance win before shipping to the US to work under trainer Peter Miller.
After 10 starts at Santa Anita and Del Mar without a win against allowance and mid-level claimers, we picked him up and sent him east where he looks to make his first start Saturday in a conditioned allowance over the turf at Hawthorne.  He was installed as the tepid 7/2 morning line favorite so we should get a pretty good handle on what this group has on its hands.
When one door closes, another opens.  The door has closed on Ellie but now opens for Mr Lexis.  The racing cycle rolls on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chugging Along

Ellie checking out the sites at Turfway Park.

March is trying to make it's lion-like entrance in Minnesota but it's first attempt appears to have fizzled out.  Thankfully.

Around the region, thoroughbreds are trying to get ready for the 2015 Canterbury season while, nearby, others are already into their 2015 racing season (Midwest Paddock Report story on Hawthorne ).  We're definitely not quite there yet.

We have learned that Elusive Edition (Ellie) is working well and has definitely increased her lung capacity since starting up her training at Turfway Park under the tutelage of trainer Michelle Allen.  Michelle has sent us videos of Ellie working and it appears as if she really has the desire to run. 

Last year was a year of immaturity and growth for her. In 2014, Ellie was very ADD - especially when heading over to the racetrack.  She likes to take everything in and process.  We always figured that she was very bright which was echoed by her groom last season and confirmed by Michelle in Kentucky.  While I'm glad we have a smart horse who has the ability to learn, sometimes I think I'd be okay with just a dumb jock that can run!

So far I have resisted asking the obvious question: is she going to make a racehorse this season?  I wanted a good 30-days under her belt before I went that route.  Rounding into shape is no time to try and make that kind of determination.  Additionally, while getting ready for her debut season last year, everyone around her felt that while she might not be something special, she should be able to at least break her maiden and win a bit if placed right.  As we know, she didn't so morning observations can only tell you so much. We'll wait and hope to get down there to see for ourselves how she's looking at some point and go from there.

Heather beautifully captures George as a yearling in a rare quiet moment!

The little guy, George (Tabby Dacat - Eastwood Dacat/Tabby Lane/Even the Score) is doing well.  He whacked his head a few weeks back and cut himself pretty good.  He needed stiches so there was an unplanned vet bill, but what can you do?  Yearlings get themselves in trouble. You just have to hope that it's never too bad and they learn from whatever mischief they get into.  He's a big boy and appears to be a bit alpha-ish, which is good to me.  I want a bit of an edge to him.  I want him walking on to that racetrack with the type of confidence that says "I own this place!"

We march on (pun intended) and continue to get Ellie ready; get the Canterbury Racing Club some horses; get the alumni group launched; and look for just a few more partners to round out this year's claiming group.  There is a lot going on and while time seems to be on our side, May 15 will be here before you know it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Midwest Paddock Report

I had teased a few posts back about a new venture we were working on and now we're ready to unveil it.

The Midwest Paddock Report is a combined effort of my photographer better half, Heather Frisbie, and I to bring a spotlight on racing here in the Heartland.  I can't guarantee a lot of things in life, but one thing I can guarantee is that we will have growing pains.  As painstaking as it was for two non-techies to build this site, I can absolutely guarantee that once we get rolling we're going to find all kinds of things we wished we would have done differently.

Ideally we would launch with comprehensive coverage of the entire Midwest from Ohio to the Dakotas and down to Oklahoma.  Ideally.  However since we are a two-person operation working on a limited (read: "no") budget, we are starting with a still ambitious, but much more doable, agenda of covering Minnesota and Iowa. 

While our focus in owning and breeding has been in Thoroughbreds, we are going to try and include our Standardbred cousins as well.  I don't know if that's going work but we'll see.  My roots in harness racing go back to college and trips to now defunct Lewiston Raceway in Maine which was my first continuous exposure to live horse racing (after an amazing Preakness experience in 1985) with college classmate and lifelong friend Paul Mooney.  I really enjoyed harness racing, have owned small pieces of pacers in the past and have included Scarborough, Dover and Pocono Downs, the Meadowlands and Pompano Park in my travels over the decades.  Admittedly the popularity isn't the same as Thoroughbreds and if the interest isn't there we will pare back to "the Flats", but we're going to give it a go.  Where we have dual meets going we will also cover the major stories in regional Quarter Horse racing with the same caveat.

We have a section that we call "Around the Region" where we will preview and recap stakes races around the Midwest and performances that should be highlighted.  We're hoping to rely on readers to pass along story ideas and horses to watch to help us bring those stories to the people.

Speaking of people, we will be spotlighting folks in racing from time to time in our "In the Paddock" section.  We'll take movers, shakers and all around interesting people and ask them 5 questions.  A quick look at what they do and how they affect the game.

We'll also touch base on the bigger picture in our "National Scene" section.  Admittedly I'm not altogether sure how we're going to do that and it's really not going to be our focus, but it's important to give some regional perspective to the Triple Crown Trail and the Breeders' Cup.

Currently we're relatively advertising free with the exception of a couple of spots for Google AdSense, but that will change - mostly as I get adept at creating advertising and working with the widgets to be able to place the ads where I want to so they look good and deliver value without detracting from the site.  While we may be a labor of love right now, we don't intend on it being that way forever so feel free to inquire since this will get some priority in our development queue.

We're going to be looking to inject personality into our coverage.  We'd like to be a place where you come for your Midwest racing news as if you'd be sitting down with coffee with your neighbor and discussing the last night's race.  We'd like to entertain as well as inform and generate discussion.

Before I wrap, I'd like to thank family and friends that have reviewed and critiqued the birth process.  You've all be indispensable.  Truly indispensable was Frank Vespe, founder of the wonderful Mid-Atlantic on-line magazine, The Racing Biz, who provided us with advice and continues to be an inspiration.

We invite you take a look and let us know what you think.  While you're there, follow the Midwest Paddock Report on Twitter and you'll soon be able to "like" our Facebook page as well. We look forward to hearing from you!