The days are ticking away on the shortest month of the year and it’s starting to feel like spring in some places. Not quite spring fever, but close, and especially so after some bizarre weather up and down the eastern part of the country that made it feel more like summer than late February earlier this week.
Racing clicks right along, with Kentucky Derby preps gaining importance as the big race draws close. Saturday marks 10 weeks to go until the first Saturday in May. If that seems like a long way away, fear not and remember that Christmas was nine weeks ago Friday.
We’ve got a good mix of information and tidbits for this week’s Here & There, with a variety of quips and quotes, By the Numbers, tweets and more. Enjoy.
“If I’m not at the barn I’m reading an iPad or a computer, something involved with the purchase of a horse, claiming a horse, or PPs of one we have in. It’s a full-time job. There’s no hours you can put on it. When you’re awake you’re working pretty much.” – Brad Cox on the demands of training
“That’s one of my favorite races to win.” – Trainer Donnie Von Hemel about winning the Clever Trevor
“I’m trying to watch two horses and I’ve got two clients I’m trying to coordinate so I was probably a little more subdued than normal, but I’ll get pretty excited when one comes running in a half a million dollar race, you bet.” – Von Hemel, about winning the Southwest with Suddenbreakingnews
“You? I’m not getting you.” – Trainer Jack Fisher, when speaking to a hobbled Sean Clancy, about riding the Maryland Hunt Cup
“He just loves New Orleans.” – Cox, giving the simple explanation of Chocolate Ride’s recent run of success at Fair Grounds
“Between us, we have trained 53 Cheltenham Festival winners.” – Trainer George Baker on his blog, after sharing a Cheltenham Preview panel with Nicky Henderson
“Rough night at the Parting Glass.” – The Special’s Jack Clancy, after seeing a photo of himself at Saratoga from a few years ago (see photo)
“I enjoy the articles you post. Some good stuff. The By the Numbers and time-slot previews of upcoming weekend races are a nice little touch. It helps with basic everyday life to have a little heads up to what big race or horse may be running that weekend with a time-stamp next to it.” – Saratoga Springs firefighter and racing fan Bob Decelle
“California Chrome glistens under the Meydan lights.” – Announcer Terry Spargo, after California Chrome trounced rivals in Dubai
“One of my first years in America we were at High Hope and obviously flew in early morning of the race and Jack (Fisher) said he would buy breakfast and Mr. Brewster could buy dinner...so he said fine and we went to Waffle House. It was the first time he'd ever been in a Waffle House...great man and I think he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.” – Jockey Paddy Young on a Facebook message about Andre Brewster
“Writing is really hard for me … I hate it.” – Multiple bestselling author Jon Krakauer
“I love it there. It’s an unbelievable place, it’s how racing was meant to be. Unbelievable venue I guess you would say.” – Cox on Saratoga, where he won four races last year
By the Numbers
7.5: Percentage handle increase year over year for Churchill Downs Inc.’s ADW platform Twinspires.com in 2015.
51: Kentucky Derby qualifying points accumulated by Gun Runner after last weekend’s Risen Star victory, 21 more than unbeaten champion Nyquist and 27 more than Mor Spirit.
132.2: Weight carried by California Chrome in his victory Thursday in Dubai, more than 15 more than his rivals.
$1,793,476.63: Carryover of the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park heading into Friday’s card.
$2,245,137: Purses earned by Irad Ortiz Jr. through the first two months (almost) of 2016, best in North America.
Tweet(s) of the Week
Teresa Genaro (@BklynBckstretch): Waking up to a press release that Janet Jackson will perform at this year's Dubai World Cup. Which is not something I would have expected.
Jeannine Edwards (@jeanninee12): What's the penalty for a wardrobe malfunction in Dubai?
From Jimmy Breslin’s “Sunny Jim, The Life of America’s Most Beloved Horseman, James Fitzsimmons” (and yes, Sean has finally finished it).
“Mr. Fitz was moving to the top now, toward days when the dice would nearly always come up seven. And he was building this career in a period of racing that is always considered the best years the sport ever had. It was a time when they ran only six races a day on a four-day week and winters were spent resting horses and conditioning them properly for the next season, not racing them into the ground in Florida as they do now. It was a sport designed for gracious living – the Sport of Kings they called it.”
Good News of the Week
Multiple stakes winner and $653,396-earner Populist Politics, third in the Grade 2 Super Derby in 2011, was claimed by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stable and trainer Tom Amoss for $4,000 Wednesday night at Delta Downs. Originally owned by Klaravich, the 8-year-old horse was retired on a winning note by his original owner. Populist Politics won eight of 33 starts with eight seconds and eight thirds for Amoss and Klaravich, including five stakes victories.