Sunday, May 23, 2010

Flat As A Pancake

(photo credit: Leslie Morley)

Tabby Lane finished her Canterbury debut up the track today. She finished 5th out of 6 runners. There is no way I would have thought she would have finished that far out of the money, but she did. I don't know where we'll go next, but I can guarantee you that it won't be a Stakes race.

She broke a little off and was pushed to the outside for several strides and started the trip down the backside in last. That's about where she stayed around the racetrack. She closed up a bit and then dropped back and couldn't even catch the one horse in the race I thought didn't belong, Lady Countdown. She picked up a "thanks for playing our game" check for $210. Kind of like a year's supply of Turtle Wax.

Earlier in the month I had a beef with the Prairie Meadows chart writer who claimed that Tabby was "no factor". She wasn't, but she was also carried 10 wide through most of the turn - a bit of information that I thought was more pertinent to a future handicapper than no factor. I was less than impressed with the chart. Different race, same comment and this time, our Canterbury writer was right on the money. No excuses, simply "no factor".

We had a great turnout. Half the partners were there and we had a great time with the earlier races with Diane, Joe, Stephanie, Cody and Alicia. We picked up Chris with some friends in the paddock before the race so we had a nice contingent out there. My wife and I even got to finally meet up with longtime Internet buddy, horse lover, stellar Canterbury employee and photographer extraordinaire (see above!) Leslie Morley. I feel badly for the partners that we didn't do better, however my hope is that they enjoyed the experience.

It was also my first outing to Canterbury this year and it was great to see old friends and some of the best track personnel in the business - from ticket punchers to F&B servers to Media Relations guru Jeff Maday to track president Randy Sampson (how many other track presidents walk the physical plant on race days?). The weather was very sketchy early and probably contributed to the low turnout for a Saturday afternoon. In fact, the rain didn't stop falling until about an hour before first post. Anyone who had thoughts of coming out to the track probably had second thoughts. By the time the weather cleared up for good the race day was in gear. None of that kept the folks that did come out from having a great time. Every stretch run was still accompanied with cheering and yelling and the physical plant was emptied out to the apron for every race. Drawings for military personnel; t-shirt giveaways; Canterbury bingo and the other promotions helped keep the day moving between races and Kevin Gorg was once again a great paddock host. Despite the spate of scratches and short fields, patrons enjoyed a great day.

While it was nice to be back, it's nicer to be competitive. We'll let Tabby unwind a bit after this race and take stock of her and see what the next move will be. Hopefully she came back clean and we can chalk it up to one of those days and survive to fight another day.

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