Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Visit, A Fade & A Change

Three of the five of us in Fizzy Pop's (Slew Gin Fizz-Pop Pop BB Gun-Red Ryder) ownership group took a ride down to Canterbury yesterday to check up on how our boy is doing. Sure, we could have just called our trainer, Bernell Rhone, and asked, but what fun is that? Besides, Laura needed to get her license anyhow in case our race filled this weekend and none of the rest of us that picked up our badges were around. So we worked hard in the office for an hour or two to get a bit ahead of the game and took an early lunch to go see our boy.

A trip to the backside when you only have one horse in training can be a bit anticlimactic. It ends up being a grand total of an hour and a half of drive time back and forth and you spend maybe 10 minutes with your horse. It's still 10 minutes very well spent, in my opinion. I'm sure Fizzy was disappointed as well because the last couple of times I've been by I brought peppermints and this time I had my wife's car so I didn't have any with me. I know he enjoys them, but better yet, I knew that Laura and Josh would have enjoyed feeding him a couple. A definite opportunity missed there.

The dogs were still up on the back side when we got there so we parked just inside the security gate and started to walk over to the Rhone barn. On the way we ran into Lianne Rhone (maybe Butler? I'm not sure if she uses Butler or not, mental note to ask next time) who rides Fiz from time to time in the morning and is basically an assistant trainer in the barn. She remarked at how well Fizzy worked Tuesday and how strong he is. She mentioned that Dean (jockey Butler) said he was striding great. Then the bad-ish news. When Bernell pulled up he said it didn't look like the race we were targeting was going to fill. He was right. It didn't and so we wait. In the interim we had a nice visit with Fizzy. I promised Laura I wouldn't put her picture up, but I made no such promise to Josh, so there he and Fiz are up on the the top of the page.

I Am Woman Fades to Fifth

I Am Woman tried to get off the snide at Pocono last night and all did not go well. It actually was hauntingly familiar. She came off the gate really well but got beat to the turn by Allamerican Excel who was dropping in from $7000. It was a change in tactic for Andrew McCarthy driving Allamerican Excel as she's been trying to come off the pace from the outside posts she's been saddled with. The change in tactics worked as once she got the lead from our gal, she wired the field and won drawing off by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:53.3. Fifth, where I Am Woman finished, was clocked at 1:55.2, or .1 out of second. If you were a glass half empty person, she was also only .2 out of 8th.

The positive here is that she paced faster then she ever has and her last quarter was :30 flat, better than her previous efforts. A few big negatives: she once again was passed in the stretch, which is disheartening; and while it may have been her fastest mile to date, it was only by a tenth of a second. I don't call the shots with her, so I'm not sure what's next. While the purse money in PA is great, it's not that great if you never win any of it. That said, shipping her all over creation is expensive and counter-productive as well. Her pedigree is nice enough (Blissful Hall-Wild Proposition-Laag) but without much of anything distinguishing her on the racetrack, it's tough to make a case for breeding her.

Borel Off of Mine That Bird. Period.

After learning that Clavin Borel may opt off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby (Gr. II) for a ride in the Jim Dandy (Gr. II) on the same day, trainer Chip Woolley asked Calvin to commit to his horse for the season. Borel apparently could not do that and that sent Woolley looking for a new rider. I can understand Woolley's point. I have a Derby winner and Triple Crown contender and you only want to ride him when you have nothing better going on? You'd think the Kentucky Derby winner - and the only horse to hit the board in all three Triple Crown races - would get a little more respect than that.

I kind of look at it this way: I understand the Rachel Alexandra deal. She is a special, once in a lifetime kind of horse. Mine That Bird is not. That said, I don't believe he is the flash in the pan that I thought he was after the Derby either. The fact that he is a gelding and could race in the major handicap races over the next two to three years should be a factor in Borel's decision. Sure, one bad step and that's that, but I'm not sure if he has to "live for the moment" in this spot. Again, I can understand taking the ride on Rachel, but to leave the Derby winner for Warrior's Reward? I don't see it.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the Warrior's Reward angle either. Unless that owner also has some other horses that Borel normally rides. Oh well, a chance for another jock to pick up a nice mount.

IAM just sounds like she is overmatched at the level there. A trip back to the Midwest is probably what she needs to perk her up.

NewHorizons said...

Fizzy Pop was definitely looking for those peppermints! Oh well, a nice scratch on the withers would surely suffice!

Borel and the Mind That Bird saga continues, something of an Equine Soap Opera indeed....however, I would like to see Chantal Sutherland back in the irons...just my thoughts..

Hoping IAM finds her niche and continues to move forward in her career!

(StandardbredGal on Twitter)

Ted Grevelis said...

Thanks for checking in folks and especially for taking the time to comment.

As we were walking away I could tell Fiz was looking at me with those big horsey eyes saying, forgot the peppermints!

I also think that IAW is a bit overmatched. She's a smallish filly competing with mares several years older than her, but my philosophy is always Run 'em where they can win. I don't have the final say in this one, so it remains to be seen what her future plans are.

Pamela B said...

After Borel dumped the Bird in the Preakness, I wonder if the horse didn't completely trust him. I wouldn't either. The Bird deserves a rider who is completely committed to him.