Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Time Out!

Most of the partners gathered in my office for the 6th race at Tampa Bay Downs today. Fizzy Pop was making his first start for GRS#1. If you recall we claimed him on March 14 for $10,000. Today he was racing at the $16,000 claiming level going a mile and 40 yards. His morning line odds were 10-1. By post time he was at 16-1. We knew it was an ambitious undertaking going in, but Bernell thought if we could get him going a mile a longer he'd do us proud. He had been training 'superbly' the last two weeks and and it was going to be tough getting him on the grass, so we gave him the opportunity.

Fiz broke alertly and settled in through the first turn running about 6th. Halfway down the backstretch he decided he didn't want to be there anymore and he split horses to take the lead by a head at the 1/2 mile pole. At this point the office was erupting. I said to one of the partners, "I think that move might be a bit early". Sure enough, entering the stretch My Privileged and De Roode caught our boy and even Blasero who Fiz dueled with through most of the turn started to pull ahead. I thought we were fourth, but Fiz had other ideas. While De Roode and My Privileged went on to finish first and second respectively, Fiz slowly ground away Balsero through the stretch and finished a strong third.

The screaming in my office through the stretch was exhilarating. Everyone was pleased with 3rd place. I'd like to say that that I was pleased as well, and I sort of was. But there was some disappointment. I like to win. I do. I'm competitive by nature and I wanted to win. I had to remind myself that we bumped him up two classes in 3 weeks. It was Bernell's first few weeks with him and the first time that Dean rode him in a race. We're all just learning his style and personality. Besides, you can't win them all and paying the bills can be considered a success. By those criteria, our first outing was a success.

Bernell called me moments after the finish to touch base. He said that Dean reported that on the backstretch Fiz was pulling to go forward and rather than fight him, he decided to let him go. Once he got that head in front, though, he got lazy. He battled back gamely, so he showed that he has some fight in him. Dean said he knows now how to ride him and is looking forward to his next start. Bernell and I agreed to touch base in a few days and we'll see how Fiz recovers.

How he recovers will let us know where his next spot will be. We have our preference back now, so we may be able to get him going more than a mile on the turf before the meet ends. If we can't, then he'll ship up to Canterbury and we'll get started on his summer. I'm OK with either way we go. I just hope that he wakes up feeling good tomorrow. We can plot our course forward from there.

1 comment:

David M. Miller said...

I watched the race and thought about how your group must have reacted as he led the field through the far turn in Tampa. Then when Fizz should have chucked it in, he digs in and finds even more! Wow!

I thought to myself: There just HAD to have been some shouting in Ted's office with that run. Congrats to all the connections -- It looks like you guys claimed a live one!