Monday, August 17, 2009

Fizzy Pop 3rd in Summer Finale

Fizzy Pop raced evenly Saturday night at Canterbury Park under Juan Rivera and finished third in a $16,000 claiming race that drew more like a $25,000 race in a race that will be our farewell to Canterbury for the summer.

Kudos go out to winning jockey Derek Bell on a brilliant ride aboard Just A Nibble. In my race preview I said that Fiz had a solid shot in this especially "if Derek Bell doesn't gun Just A Nibble to the lead." That's exactly what happened and Bell executed to perfection. The entire racetrack knew he was going to go to the front and try to hang on. After a blistering :22.2 first quarter, Bell slammed on the brakes and went the next half mile in :48.2 leaving plenty in the tank to hold off hard charging Rhone runners Onotheregoestokyo and Fizzy Pop.

From Fizzy's perspective, his trip was solid. I know thew world expected us to go to the front like we did last time and try to wire the field, but there were two problems with that: 1) Fiz didn't grab the lead last out, he inherited it when no one wanted it; and 2) Chasing Just A Nibble would have only assured that neither of us would have won. Rivera was instructed to track and then move midway in the turn and that was exactly what he did. Fiz was eating into the lead steadily through the stretch, but could not get there. Rivera rode him well through the wire and I was very happy with his effort.

Where do we go from here? Well, Fiz will probably head to Oklahoma with the Rhone string, but will head out to the farm for some R&R after the summer. We're guessing about 60-days and then back in training for the beginning of the Tampa Bay Downs meet in December.

I know folks wonder why because Fizzy is in good shape and appears to be lightly raced. This is mostly true. He is in relatively good shape for a 5-year old claimer and is racing well. It's also true that since he's been with us he's been relatively lightly raced. I prefer to think of it as smartly raced. In the 18 months since we claimed him at Tampa for $10,000 he has raced 15 times - not once for less than $16,000 nor higher than $25,000. This has been his sweet spot, if you will. I think this is a reasonable schedule. Fizzy has repaid us with our prudence with a record of 3-3-3 and over $46,000 in earnings. However prior to that, Fizzy had started 20 times in less than 18 months and a record of 6-0-0. A nice win percentage but with no real consistency and raced from $8000 claiming to $28,000 allowance with success comparable to level, as you can imagine.

I know this isn't scientific, but it's my feeling that there are only 'x' number of miles in a horse's legs. A little break now for Fiz to get refreshed, clear his head and enjoy being a horse for a while should help us keep him sharp when he comes back. I'd prefer to race smart then grind a horse into the ground. So far that's worked very well and while we'll miss him until he comes back, we hope that he'll continue to thrill us longer if we give him a short break.

A wise man once told me (and I'm sure he didn't come up with it, but he passed it along to a new owner, as he should), "Take care of the horse and the horse will take care of you."


wendyu said...

Good race, great plan and I'm glad he wasn't claimed from you!

Valerie said...

I echo Wendyu's sentiments. Great job, and glad he'll be with you to race again :-)