Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I Am Woman (no, that is not her above) heads postward at the Meadowlands tomorrow to qualify for the races. It's a turning point for her. Five months ago she made her debut at the Historic Track in Goshen, NY and was dismal. She just blew the tight turns at the old oval and fished 20 lengths out of it. She made one pari-mutuel attempt after that at Chester Downs and just could not stay with the pace.

She was always a smallish filly and though well bred (Blissful Hall-Wild Proposition) definitely lagged a bit behind her peers in development. I've held out high hopes for her and she's been staked to Late Closing events at the Meadowlands in February, but first she had to grow a bit and show she could pace with the big girls. She's been able to do that so far and has been working her way down to the magical 2:00 mark through the winter. On Thursday night we'll see how much progress has been made.

Qualifying is a unique event in horse racing and is the exclusive purview of Standardbreds. Qualifying races are usually held in the afternoons and are designed to determine if a horse is ready for the bright lights of prime time racing. In some instances horses that have a tendency to break stride during races are qualified to make sure they can stay on gait. In others, like our girl, they are filled with horses that have been away from the races for a while and need to show that they can mind their manners, stay on gait and are fast enough to race at the this particular racetrack. Sometimes it's not even the horse, but the driver who needs to prove that he/she belongs in the sulky. Generally speaking, you just need to qualify - you don't need to break the track record to do it. Qualifying races are usually a few ticks slower than pari-mutuel races. However, I would like to see I Am Woman hit two minutes in her attempt. I think it would send a nice message to all of us if she can qualify cleanly, well within herself and in a nice time to boot to show she's ready to pace under the bright lights at the Big M.

When I bought into her last year (12.5% through VIP Stable - great outfit I've learned a lot from) I did so with some research and education, but I also bought with a gut feeling that I Am Woman was going to be something special. Tomorrow night we'll start to see if I was right.