Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Don't Know What to Expect; Accident Mars Canterbury Card Friday

How's that for honesty? Heading into Tabby Lane's race this afternoon I have absolutely no idea what to expect. If Andy Beyer was handicapping this race he would throw her right out immediately as a horse on the decline. To be honest, I would too. Since shipping north she's been seriously off form and there is no physical reason for it. As a juvenile she shipped from Florida to Ontario to New Jersey and back south again but maybe she got comfy in the five months she was there and isn't thrilled about being north again? We went over every possible angle we could think of and it all left us shaking our heads. So here we go again with what we thought was some class relief ($10,00 Starter Allowance) but turned out not-so-much.

1. Thelifeoftheparty (Rarick/Rivera) - Stomped Tabby by 12 1/4 when Tabs tried Canterbury for the first time. She hasn't run since that date and is using the race as a tune up for the $75,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper (I remember having that dream once...). 8-5 in the Morning Line and deservedly so.

2. Clever Thought (Van Winkle/Eikleberry) - Big win at $7500 followed up by a losing a head bob to Alacazar at $15,000. Will want to get out quickly and try and wire this field.


4. Lilys Shadow (Rhone/Arterburn) -Showed some speed early but faded. To be expected in the first back since late November. Should improve off of this effort and the switch back to dirt.

5. Alacazar (Kirby/Nolan) - As mentioned, a head bob winner last out after being eased the race before. Certainly seems sound as a pound after that effort.

6. Lil Dish (Oliver/Keith) - Runaway winner in a $7500 non-winners of 3 lifetime race last out, her form seems to be strengthening since moving north and should also be competitive in a closely grouped bunch.

If Tabby has shaken off what's been bugging her we certainly have a shot. Canterbury's handicapper mentioned on their website that she's been off form since shipping north and is better than she's showed. Probably the most succinct analysis of her experiences over the last two months. Maybe it's a form cycle issue? It could be between her ears but she shows all the signs of being a happy, well adjusted filly. She galloped like a champ the past two weeks and has show every indication that she is ready to go.

I wish I had sage words or searing insight. She's back on dirt, so that's good. She's going back to six furlongs, so that's good. Dean Butler has chosen to stay aboard her which I appreciate to no end. I can't be at the race due to family commitments in Michigan that day so the odds on her winning just improved again. I wish I had more to go on - all I got right now is hope and a prayer.

Stevens, Nolan, Proctor Hurt in Spill

Speaking of prayers, ours go out to the families of Scott Stevens and Don Proctor who are both still hospitalized after a terrifying spill at Canterbury Park on Friday evening. Stevens mount, Sombre, broke down on the turn for home setting off a chain reaction that took down four of the six horses in the field. Stevens broke his collarbone in two places, ribs, back and suffered internal injuries to several organs as well. Proctor remains hospitalized pending test results on his back. Today's DRF has the latest update. Dean Butler, who as you all know is our top jock, was banged around but able to finish the card and continue riding through the weekend.

Everywhere we look on Facebook and other places we see an awful lot of folks scrambling to help the equine athlete - which is important and long overdue. This accident helps bring into focus how much our human athletes endure to pursue their passion. Jockeys are the toughest, strongest athletes on the planet who are braver than many realize and the spectre of this type of accident hovers over them at all times. Please take some time and visit the Don MacBeth Memorial Disabled Jockeys Fund. There is a lot of wealth and glamor at the top end of this profession, but the majority of riders work very hard and at great risk (does an ambulance follow you around at work?) and only get paid when they ride. A career ending accident can mean a life of poverty and destitution. Visit the website, read up and keep in mind that there is a human element to racing as well.

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