Saturday, August 14, 2010

Finally Back on the Board Again

Tabby Lane (Even the Score-Keeley Chay-Rodeo) ran an interesting race for her Canterbury Park finale on Thursday evening. We sent her long for the first time since we claimed her at Tampa Bay Downs trying to stir something in her we saw last time out. Last out was a five furlong dash over the turf course and while she lagged early, according to plan, she finished with a rush. While is was only good enough for seventh place it was a sign of life that we hadn't seen in four starts. We entered her to go a mile and sixteenth for the first time in her career praying like hell it would rain and we could move onto the dirt.

After a month's worth of rain in two days, the 36 hours prior to the race were gorgeous with the ground drying out nicely and the races stayed on the turf. Damn. I had spent the day visiting customers en route to a dinner meeting in New Buffalo, MI. While dinner adjourned just early enough to catch the race if I sprinted up to my room, my boss needed some time so I sat at a bar, my mind initially very far from where it needed to be at the time! After some surreptitious texts from a couple of the partners I learned we finished 2nd, was able to again concentrate to the task at hand before adjourning upstairs to watch the replay.

Tabby broke moderately well. She was caught back on her rear legs, but she came out OK and was second to last down the lane for the first time. No real worries there, we didn't want her near the lead but I was a bit concerned about her action. She looked like she was having a hard time getting comfortable over the turf course again, much as she did the first time she ran over it. She didn't look hurt at all, just like she was thinking, "Man, this crap again!". She settled in OK down the back side and started to make up ground as she was moving into the far turn. A nice move and a certainly a confidence booster for her connections - signs of a heart again! But then through the turn she stalled a bit and into the stretch she was caught looking for room. Jockey Dean Butler shifted her over for some outside room and caught the draft of the poorly breaking Fancy Princess as she dashed off to the win. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Dean had to check her, but she did lose a bit of momentum. It certainly didn't cost us the race, though. Tabs closed with a rush and just nipped (as you can see above!) pace setter Lookouthereicome at the wire for second.

It certainly appears Tabs is OK with the distance. We maybe could even argue that she really liked the chance to unwind a bit more slowly and charge at the end. The turf experiment won't happen again and that is why this weekend Tabby is shipping off with one of the lead loads of the Rhone barn to Remington Park in Oklahoma. The only races we could find for her in the last Canterbury book were over the turf course and that just seems like it would be a monumental waste of her time. She came back nicely and is sound and feels good. I think the time over at Russ Rhone's farm between races did her a world of good as well so we'll say goodbye to racing at Canterbury this summer with the hope that we'll all be back next year healthy and happy and be able to get into a photo or two!

1 comment:

Sandra Warren said...

Hi, Ted. My comment is not about Tabby Lane, but rather about your blogtalk this morning. I can't seem to open up the comment link there, so perhaps you can paste this into an appropriate spot while you moderate it?

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your comments on Burna Dette this morning. As you know, I have Trato at my place, and many people I have met through Trato were partners on Diplo. I have asked these people about Doug O'Neil, and what they think of the situation, and universally, they seemed very uncomfortable. They all like Doug tremendously. Apparently he's personable with owners, which is refreshing. No one wants to think that he was dumping poor Burna Dette. But what other conclusion can be drawn? And if I was a lawyer and Guiol was my client, I'd duct tape up his mouth, for those comments could not have been less helpful.

Horse racing is really struggling in CA right now. We have to build the meager public base that we have so that as people age, there will still be ANYONE at the races. This is not going to happen as long as horses crash to the earth and get up with a snapped-off leg hanging. You were so correct to bring up that it can happen with Barbaro and Eight Belles, but it happens far more often with unsound horses.

While O'Neil may have acted despicably here, I really blame the state vet. When a horse drops in class like that, she should receive EXTRA scrutiny. Many people reported that she was unsound in the paddock. The jock was probably scared to scratch her because he would be blamed for her not getting claimed, and this Los Al jock was hoping for bigger rides at Del Mar for O'Neil. The state vet absolutely failed to do his job. He must be blind. And incompentent.

So let's change the claim rules. Here's my suggestions:

1) Any horse that takes more than two steps down in class must report that morning for a pre-race inspection in a closed barn where the horse can be trotted out without other trainers or potential claimers watching.

2) If a claimed horse breaks down, the claim is voided.

3) Any trainer that enters a horse that breaks down must submit to CHRB examination of every other horse in their barn.

I'm not actually sure that my suggestions will save lives. The lame horses will probably wind up in the slaughter pipeline rather than be entered. But they will at least not crash to the ground on TVG, which I have seen happen three times this week myself, and I'm sick of it. It's time for the CHRB to act to protect the sport.