Monday, August 15, 2011

Tabby on a Roll

Tabby won again.  For the second race in a row, third of the last four and four of the last six, Tabby Lane found the winner’s circle.

I wasn’t worried when the race was pulled of the turf course because of overnight rains but I was concerned when I received a text from the track that the front-running Jody’s Included scratched from the race, potentially leaving speedster So Divine on the front end all alone.  I was hopeful that the Chicago shipper, Dontrguewithrichie, would help the pace along, but I was still concerned.

As the race shaped up, So Divine did get to the front and did have some company from ‘richie, but the fractions were considerably slower than the previous race and speed had been holding over the Canterbury Park surface – all reasons for concern during the race.

Dean Butler had Tabby much closer to this slower early pace in order to give her as good an opportunity as possible to be able to close into it when the time came, never more than 2 ½ lengths off the front.  As they headed into the far turn in the one mile race, Dean slid her to the outside and started to range her up on the leaders, a little earlier than she usually does.  Dean, of course, knew something we all didn’t – how much horse he had underneath him and how little everyone else had.

Tabby got a head in front and then extended from there.  So Divine, possibly still a bit tired from her outstanding effort last out, faded through the field while Bernell Rhone’s other trainee, the old warrior Frontier Franny, finished second and ‘richie settled for third.  Tabby won by 6 ¼ lengths and made it look easy.

With her victory, Tabby hit a couple of milestones.  She is now the winningest horse in this stable’s history, breaking the four win tie she had with the standardbred You Slay Me.  She also moved into a tie for third place with At the Buzzer and SS Victory of all time wins by Even the Score progeny at eight (Tabs had 3 when we claimed her).  Both are still active campaigners, At the Buzzer in Louisiana while SS Victory is in Ohio.  The second place horse, Amabo is retired while the current leader, Tie, has 11 wins after reeling off six in a row earlier this season in $5000 Starter Allowances at various eastern tracks before finishing third on July 23rd.

It’s going to be a little tougher for Tabby to move up that list because we’re going to challenge her a little bit now.  Today she ships off to Remington Park where she’ll face a tougher competition but also race for higher purse money.  While a contributing factor, the money wasn’t the primary consideration in shipping her with a month left in the Canterbury meet.  There were only a couple of races that met her conditions in the condition book and, at the end of the meet, it is hard to know if they would fill.  If the races did not fill we would be left with two options: ship to Remington then or run where we don’t want to. 

The problem with shipping in that late is that we would get a later preference date.  A preference date is set when a horse arrives on the grounds and can also be a function of the timing of its last race.  The later we get there the worse our date so if the races we want to enter prove popular, horses with better dates get in first.  If we wait a month, don’t get a race, then ship and have to wait another 3 – 4 weeks, that’s a lot of wasted time with a sharp horse.  This wasn’t the easiest choice to make but I felt it was the best one. 

I had told her before the race (yes, I do go and talk to her) that if she won it easy it would be time to move on and make things a little harder for her.  She did and that’s why we’re going instead of staying and trying to be the winningest horse of the summer meet with 3 (she’s tied with 2 others – but the only claiming horse).  I may have lost her the chance to get that title, and possibly claimer of the meet title, but I feel it was the best choice at this point in her career.

I will miss her, though, and hope I get a chance to get to Oklahoma to see her.

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