Here we go again. Another blockbuster day of racing around the world and another edition of the Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the retired Sky Classic.
It’s moving day. Five weeks into the 2015 National Steeplechase Association season, the action kicks into proper gear with three race meets and 16 races. The TIHR handicappers aren’t the only ones looking forward to the action as horses, owners, trainers and jockeys get to the real work Saturday. If you’re keeping score, and you probably shouldn’t, Joe and Sean have started slower than a new bottle of ketchup. The Clancys have four wins each (one each weekend) while Tom singled in the first three frames and struck out last week at the Manor.
Fair Hill Training Center has colts, geldings, fillies, mares, champions, claimers, sprinters, steeplechasers, Arabians, two turkeys, some goats, cats, dogs, people, deer, groundhogs, raccoons, but it's never had a foal. Not until now anyway.
Danzig’s sons Exchange Rate and War Front enjoyed big weekends, but once again this year it was Tapit who was the star sire in North America as April inched towards its midpoint.
The Eclipse Award for writing and his coverage of last year’s Preakness Stakes was first. Then it was the Touch of Class Award from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board. The David F. Wood Memorial Award for excellence in journalism gives ST Publishing’s Joe Clancy a trifecta of sorts and just think; the year isn’t even four months old.
He was bred in Germany. His race record shows starts at Dortmund, Frankfurt, Baden Baden, Liecester, Cheltenham and Aintree. But last weekend, Moneytrain made headlines for winning a sidesaddle exhibition flat race at the Loudon Hunt Point-to-Point Races at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Va.
Nearly all the major Kentucky Derby preps are in the books, the hardware was handed out at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Annual Awards Dinner and the spring steeplechase season is starting to hit its stride.
The Grand National and the Maryland Hunt Cup – seven and a quarter miles in seven days. And flat trainers fret when they have to drag a horse from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness…that’s two and seven sixteenths miles in 14 days. Child’s play.
Whether trainers choose the allowance timber or the timber stakes on Butler Road on the second-to-last Saturday of April, the stakes are the same. Run well, jump well, come back and well and it’s Tufton Avenue a week later. In a rapidly changing world, the Maryland timber season doesn’t change – seven-plus miles in seven days.
Upstate New York awoke from its winter slumber this week and even though the calendar still shows 100 days until the opening of the Saratoga Race Course meeting, the area welcomed back some old friends early Wednesday morning. The offseason season got started early Wednesday at Saratoga’s Oklahoma Training Track, the first horse hitting the track not long after daybreak a little after 6 a.m.
Maker of the Crown is the kind of horse who gets your attention. He’s huge, gray, elegant, masculine. His pedigree is aristocratic. His sire, Empire Maker, won the Wood Memorial, the Belmont Stakes and was second in the 2003 Kentucky Derby behind Funny Cide.
Brereton Jones has won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks twice with homebreds by Proud Citizen – Proud Spell in 2008 and Believe You Can in 2012.
The former governor of Kentucky may have to make room in his trophy case with a pair of contenders for this year’s Oaks in Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes winner Lovely Maria and Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes victress Include Betty.