Book Six – Episode 2: World-Class Bloodlines, Mid-Atlantic Focus

Book Six continues with Episode 2, which turns focus to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Yearling Sale.

Joining me on this week’s edition of Book Six is Melissa Bauer-Herzog of Pyrois Media!

Since there are two of us, we discuss two hips of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic in detail — both of whom are by stallions whose first crops are two this year, and both of whom have fascinating pages.

We start with a look at hip 19, a filly by Real Solution out of the Perfect Soul mare Winsome Woman, who goes through the ring on October 1.  This filly is inbred to one of the classiest stallions of the last forty years.

Then, we discuss hip 162, a colt by Super Ninety Nine out of the Touch Gold mare Fleet and Fancy who goes through the ring on October 2.  His pedigree is a perfect example of looking to a regional sire to reproduce breeding patterns that have succeeded on the biggest stages.

Dive into them both in the second episode of Book Six!

Listen here, or subscribe on Google Play or Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode!

Book Six – Episode 1: Seeing Double Maplejinsky

Welcome to the first episode of my new podcast!

Entitled Book Six, it is dedicated to unearthing the hidden gems in sales catalogs: pedigrees from the back pages of national sales, or from regional sales, that get my heart racing and my mind churning.

The first episode is right here, and fittingly, it discusses a horse coming up in Book Six of Keeneland September: hip 3848, by Tale of Ekati out of Indy’s Million.  This colt is inbred 3×3 to Maplejinsky.

This got me wondering: what’s so great about Maplejinsky?  Have her lines been crossed before?  What happened?

Find out in the first episode of Book Six!

building Catholic Boy’s foundation

When I think of Catholic Boy, I think of the unheralded hard work that goes into building a great horse’s foundation.  I think of running in circles, measured circles, incessant circles.

In the week and a half leading up to the Breeders’ Cup last year, I spent the mornings trackside, radio clipped to my side, spotting Breeders’ Cup horses and calling their names and positions up to the camera nest.  Most of the horses wouldn’t spend much time out on the track.  They’d come out, jog a circuit or two, three at the most, then go back to the barn.

Not Catholic Boy.  He’d come out, we’d spot him, they’d show him on the camera for a while.  Then, a flurry of activity.  Horses would come in through the backstretch gap, there would be five or six other superstars of our sport to cut between.  Then, another lull.

“Anyone out here?”, the camera spotter’s voice on the radio would crackle.

I’d look up, see a familiar bay horse with a familiar maroon Bridlewood Farm saddle pad draped over a towel numbered 803.

Was it because he debuted at Gulfstream long after the geese, the cranes, and the best horses in the nation had returned north for the summer?  Was it because he skipped the traditional final round of preps, training straight from the With Anticipation in August all the way to November, around and around and away from the shouting throngs gathered along the rail on Saturday afternoons?  Was it because the name Jonathan Thomas didn’t roll off the tongue as easily, from years of repetition, as Aidan O’Brien or Chad Brown or Charlie Appleby or Graham Motion?

I’d push my button.  “Just Catholic Boy, coming past the seven furlong gap now.  Everyone else left.”

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Pacific Classic Preview

Saturday will mark the 28th edition of the Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s marquee race for the handicap division.

The race has always been contested at a mile and a quarter over the Del Mar main: polytrack from 2007 through 2014, and dirt otherwise.  The race offers a $1,000,000 purse, as well as a Win and You’re In berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the winner.  Thus far, no winner of the Pacific Classic has gone on to win the BC Classic in the same year.  Pleasantly Perfect (2004), however, had already won the BC Classic the year before.  Bertrando (1993) finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that same year, overtaken late by 133/1 longshot Arcangues.  Recent winners have, like Bertrando, come close in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  2016 winner California Chrome finished second behind Arrogate in that year’s Classic; the next year, Collected finished second behind Gun Runner in the same race.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Pacific Classic, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Arlington Maiden Notes – 8.17.18, Race 2

Today’s Arlington second is a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies, at five and a half furlongs on the polytrack.  It’s a smaller field than most recent two-year-old maidens at Arlington, with just seven entered.  It also, unlike most of the juvenile races over the last month or more, contains only first-time starters.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of today’s second race, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

TwinSpires Blog: Bankroll builders on the Arlington Millon Day undercard

Tomorrow’s Million Day card at Arlington is full of stakes races — but a cashed ticket on the undercard is just as good as one in a stakes race!

Over at the TwinSpires blog, I have spot plays in three of the undercard races.  Two of the plays are in juvenile maiden races — you know I love delving into and handicapping those two-year-old maiden races! — and one is in a claimer on the turf.

Take a look, and let me know your thoughts in the comments here.  Good luck tomorrow!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Bruce D. Memorial Stakes Preview

The Bruce D. Memorial Stakes is the only one of Saturday’s five stakes carded for the polytrack, and the only ungraded stakes of the group.  Originally run as the Straight Line Stakes between 2012 and 2014, it was renamed in 2015 to honour R. Bruce Duchossois (1950-2014), son of Arlington Park chairman Richard Duchossois.  Bruce Duchossois was involved in horse sports as well — though he made his name in the eventing world, not the racing world.  He rode Kim’s Song to the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year title in 1973, and served as vice president of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.

Though the race is an open stakes, locals have done extremely well over its history.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Bruce D. Memorial Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Pucker Up Stakes Preview

This race is named after Pucker Up, the 1957 Champion Older Female Horse.  Owned by Dan and Ada Rice (who campaigned 1965 Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair) and trained by Jimmy Conway, she went on a tear at age four.  At Arlington, she beat her own sex in the Arlington Matron.  Out at Washington Park, she took on the boys in the Washington Park Handicap and emerged victorious.  The daughter of Olympia also took her form out of the Chicago area, winning the Beldame Handicap at Belmont that year.

Arlington has carded a race in Pucker Up’s honour since 1961.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Pucker Up Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Secretariat Stakes Preview

Secretariat’s Triple Crown run in 1973 ensures that he will remain top of mind as a dirt horse. Even the Arlington Invitational, his first race back after his historic Belmont Stakes, was a dirt race. However, the final two starts of Secretariat’s career happened over grass. His turf debut came in the Man o’ War Stakes (GI) at Belmont. The surface change did nothing to dull his dominance. He got to the front, and scored a five-length wire-to-wire victory. His final career start came in the 1973 Canadian International (GII) at Woodbine, also over the grass. He came from off the pace this time around, but the result remained the same: Secretariat won by daylight.

The next year, Arlington Park instituted the Secretariat Stakes.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Secretariat Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!