Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So long, farewell: Zenyatta, Not Bourbon and a personal fave retired

Where did everybody go?

It seems as though someone left the barn door open. In the past 24 hours Zenyatta, Not Bourbon and Southdale made a run for it. And another champion, Mt. Sassafras, has passed on to greener pastures.

Raise a glass to Not Bourbon

First off, Joe Drape and the New York Times announced Superstar Horse Is Retired With Hope She Bears Another:

The great mare Zenyatta was retired Wednesday and will be sent in early December to her new home at Lane’s End farm near Versailles, Ky. Her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, however, have yet to pick a stallion for her first date in the breeding shed sometime in 2011.

As the Zenyatta news Tweeted its way around the universe, an email arrived announcing that the 2008 Queen's Plate winner Not Bourbon had been retired to stud. The Blood-Horse reported Champion Not Bourbon Retires to Norse Ridge:

Charles Fipke’s homebred Canadian champion and classic winner Not Bourbon will enter stud in 2011 at the Hunderup family’s Norse Ridge Farm near King City, Ontario, Canada, for a fee of $5,000 Canadian funds, with special consideration to approved mares. Five-year-old Not Bourbon was retired with seven wins from 16 races and earnings of $1,085,309.

Not Bourbon wins the 2008 Queen's Plate

For more info on Not Bourbon, visit the Cara Bloodstock and Norse Ridge Farms websites.

Emma-Jayne Wilson and Southdale

As if that wasn't enough, a little later in the day I click into a DRF report by Bill Tallon to discover, Southdale retired following Autumn (halfway down page):

Southdale, a disappointing sixth here in last Sunday’s Grade 3 Autumn, emerged from the race with issues that have led to his retirement.

A homebred 4-year-old colt owned by Rod Ferguson and trained by Ian Black, Southdale won the Grade 3 Eclipse and Grade 3 Durham Cup this year while earning $325,760 from a seven-start campaign.

Last year, Southdale had been a leading candidate for the Queen’s Plate after finishing a close second in the Plate Trial but was injured during the running and did not return to the races for more than 11 months.

“We’d like to stand him in Ontario, but we’ll have to find someplace for him,” Black said. “He’s a good-looking individual, he’s well bred, and he has high-class speed.”

Southdale soaks up some love on the backstretch

(As many readers know, I was particularly fond of the Ian Black trainee and followed the horse closely on his path to the 2009 Queen's Plate. You can read more about that in my Feature Stories section.)

The same piece announced that Mt. Sassafras, who was retired in 2000 and had spent the past 10 years as a companion horse on Nancy Sullivan's farm, was euthanized.

Mt. Sassafras wins the 1997 Gulfstream Park Handicap - defeating Skip Away and Tejano Run

Mt. Sassafras, the 1996 Horse of the Year in Canada, was an extremely popular horse at Woodbine. Over the course of his career he won the G1 Gulfstream Park Handicap, two editions of the G3 Dominion Day and the G3 Eclipse. The Minshall Farms fellow recorded second place finishes in the Breeders' Stakes and Durham Cup (twice), and nailed the bottom of the triactor in G1 Meadowlands Cup, the G1 Molson Export Million and the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap. The gelding also finished third in two thirds of the 1996 Canadian Triple Crown, hitting the board in both the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes.

Gone, but not forgotten. Thanks for the memories!

Mt. Sassafras thrills the Woodbine crowd in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic won by Alphabet Soup

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Fortunately, there are still a few horses racing left to cheer for!

Golden Moka injects some energy to the Discovery Handicap

Racing away from Woodbine is the Brian Lynch trained Golden Moka who looks to bounce back from his fifth place finish in the Super Derby this weekend at Aqueduct. The DRF reports, Golden Moka brings solid credentials into Discovery Handicap:

A field of seven entered Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race that is the last open graded stakes of the season for 3-year-olds in New York.

The most accomplished entrant is Golden Moka, owned in part by former jockey Rene Douglas, who purchased the colt on behalf of Good Friends Stable after viewing tapes of his three winning races in Panama last year, and turned him over to Woodbine-based trainer Brian Lynch. Golden Moka missed a start in the Queen’s Plate due to illness, but captured the $500,000 Prince of Wales at 10-1 in his Canadian debut.

“Since he had won three allowance races in Panama he was not eligible for any easier races here, so we took a shot,” said Lynch, who formerly trained for Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm, the breeder of Golden Moka.

$100,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III), 3YO, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Golden Moka (ON), E Razo Jr., 118, B A Lynch
2. Stormy's Majesty (NY), E S Prado, 116, D G Galluscio
3. Teaks North (FL), J Valdivia Jr., 117, J Sallusto
4. Overcommunication (KY), J R Velazquez, 114, T A Pletcher
5. Not Abroad (MD), N J Petro, 116, K Ritvo
6. Al Muhtasib (KY), E Castro, 115, K P McLaughlin
7. Dominant Jeannes (KY), R Maragh, 114, T Albertrani

Trainer Mark Casse wisely took a pass on facing Uncle Mo in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and pointed Grey Stakes winner Blue Laser at the Delta Jackpot instead. ESPN reports, Blue Laser favorite for Delta Jackpot:

The Jackpot will anchor a program of eight stakes worth a cumulative $2.3 million. The card is the richest in Louisiana and will feature a $100,000-guaranteed pick four that runs from the fourth through seventh races. The Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess for 2-year-old fillies at a mile will be part of the sequence that ends with the meet's richest race, the Jackpot.

Blue Laser, who won the Grade 3 Grey at Woodbine on Oct. 10, will break from post 8 in the field of 10. He had been under consideration for the BC Juvenile on Nov. 6 and last month shipped to Churchill Downs to train for the race. But his connections changed course and decided to point to the Jackpot.

"There were a few reasons," said Mark Casse, who trains Blue Laser for WinStar Farm. "I would say one, we thought he would enjoy a little more time. You have to remember he's only run on Polytrack. He's stayed at Churchill, and it's given us a chance to have three or four breezes over the dirt track. We would have been going into the Breeders' Cup with only one dirt work. Now, we have three or four.

Also racing in the Jackpot is former Bob Tiller trainee Classic Legacy who finished third to Blue Laser in the Grey S.

$1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III), 2YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gourmet Dinner (FL), S O Madrid, 119, S W Standridge
2. Classic Legacy (FL), J Talamo, 117, B Baffert
3. Aces N Kings (TX), C H Borel, 119, H B Johnson Jr.
4. Rush Now (KY), R Albarado, 119, A W Dutrow
5. Clubhouse Ride (KY), P A Valenzuela, 119, C A Lewis
6. Bug Juice (NY), J Castellano, 119, B N Levine
7. Decisive Moment (FL), K D Clark, 117, J D Arias
8. Blue Laser (KY), S Bridgmohan, 122, M E Casse
9. Sweet Ducky (KY), J Bravo, 119, K J Breen
10. Dreamsrunwild (LA), I V Diego, 119, S Duke
Also Eligibles:
11. Justin Phillip (KY), G Melancon, 117, S M Asmussen
12. Trubs (KY), J M Campbell, 117, A M Stall Jr.

Meanwhile, Saturday's Woodbine card is looking strong with the G3 Kennedy Road to feature a field of seven including Canada's 2008 Horse of the Year,Fatal Bullet.

Thank you, Thank you very much. The world's fastest Elvis impersonator - Fatal Bullet

Also in the mix are Field Commission and Signature Red who made the exactor of the prep for this event. General Brock, who ran third in the prep, will make the gate for the Kennedy Road along with locals Forgethestorm and Paso Doble. Ravalo ships in from Laurel, for trainer Donald Barr, off a trio of turf tilts. (Turf to poly angle, anyone?)

$150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Forgetthestorm (ON), C Sutherland, 115, J Carroll
2. Signature Red (KY), L Contreras, 119, S C Attard
3. Ravalo (KY), J Sanchez, 115, D H Barr
4. Fatal Bullet (FL), E R Da Silva, 126, R Baker
5. General Brock (KY), T Pizarro, 115, E R Charalambous
6. Field Commission (ON), E Ramsammy, 117, D J Vella
7. Paso Doble (KY), E Wilson, 115, D C MacRae

* * *

If you're an avid reader - and you must be or why else would you be here - you might want to track down a copy of Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon. The novel is a finalist for the National Book Award. The Washington Post reports, 'Lord of Misrule' headed for winner's circle?

There are racetracks and there are racetracks, and in all eras, they are worlds apart from the world most of us live in. The racetrack in Jaimy Gordon's "Lord of Misrule" is a half-mile oval only tangentially in the same game as Churchill Downs or Santa Anita, but even though Bing Crosby or Penny Chenery may have never been to a place like Gordon's fictional Indian Mound Downs, chances are some horses they knew would recognize it. Indian Mound Downs is the last stop and the lowliest venue; the horses who run there are expected to be drugged and lame, while their trainers are expected to be crooked. All forms of cheating and violence against people and animals are so routine that anything unusual, like a horse with talent, sparks fear.

Into this world comes an innocent, Maggie Koderer, girlfriend of Tommy Hansel, a peripatetic trainer who has been sent to Indian Mound with a string of possibly superior horses to win some purse money and get some experience. Maggie and Tommy are young and good-looking, and the old groom, Medicine Ed, expects that they will come to grief. The only question is how.

* * *

Do you like long shots? Audre Cappuccitti's Euro Platinum shocked the Jammed Lovely S. on Wednesday night at odds of 40-1. The long shot took the second leg of a nifty $19,347.00 payout for the $1 Pick Four. Nice work!

Euro Platinum worth his weight in gold to P4 players

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Keep track of the latest horse racing news by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.

Still need more? Check out my archived posts including Feature Stories and Photo Essays.

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