The racing - most of it anyway - was at Pimlico this weekend as stakes-filled lineups dominated Friday and Saturday. Orb didn't win, so we'll have to wait for a Triple Crown winner (again), but the Preakness delivered a little bit of everything including a record-setting 14th Triple Crown race win for trainer Wayne Lukas with Oxbow. Amazing.
"Two more years, Sweetie, I've got a job for you." - Trainer Linda Gaudet, trying to hire trainer Tim Keefe's 13-year-old daughter Carlin
"That's why we keep our heels in our pocket." - Catherine Ladd Kenneally, as it started to rain at the Preaknees (she did indeed have a pair of heels in the pocket of her jacket while wearing more weather-appropriate shoes)
"There's something strange about wearing a Maserati shirt while driving your Nissan." - Shug McGaughey employee Anna Martinovsky
"That's a mismatch right there." - Trainer Shug McGaughey, about a photo of himself, Jenn Patterson and Orb
"At Payson Park you hear cows mooing and see deer in the infield. At Gulfstream, you hear sirens." - McGaughey on Florida's winter training climate
"Expensive." - Duncan Patterson, on what it's like to be the father of the country's most famous exercise rider Jenn
"Horse (manure) . . . every time, right?" - Preakness fan, comparing the fragrance of deposits lefts by horses and cows
"I start out with none and then put it on if I have to." - Shug McGaughey on running horses with equipment such as figure eights, nosebands, tongue ties, blinkers, etc. Kentucky Derby winner Orb runs without any kind of noseband.
"Because I didn't know how to spell it the right way." - Owner Mike Pegram, on how Govenor Charlie got his name
"I'm surprised they didn't send you jumping today." - Graham Motion to TIHR's Tom Law in the paddock Saturday at Pimlico
"I can limbo this one." - Pegram, going under the outside rail near the winner's circle shortly after winning Black-Eyed Susan with Fiftyshadesofhay
"One thing everybody needs to remember is they're animals and they're great to work with and to be around. But they're not football players, who have teammates to help them out. It's just them. And one bad day can make a difference." - Niall Brennan, who broke and trained Kentucky Derby Orb, after the colt finished fourth in the Preakness
"How about that double?" - Calumet Farm advisor John Stuart, after Skyring (Dixie Handicap) and Oxbow (Preakness) won back-to-back on Preakness day
Take A Number
1: Guy in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey (88, Patrick Kane) at Pimlico on Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Day.
1: Pimlico security guard who helped TIHR's Jack Clancy knot his tie in the stable area Saturday morning. Thanks Teshan Hayes.
2: Preakness starters saddled on the turf course; the other seven went inside to the paddock, supposedly to avoid the crowds.
14: People in the grandstand ATM line before the ninth race on Preakness Day.
Air Traffic Control
The skies over Pimlico were full during Preakness Day as airplanes tugged banners for a variety of companies - some big, some small. Among the diverse mass marketers were: Mahon - Your Local Plumber, Bengie's Drive-In Theatre, XpressBet, Horse Races Now, Bay Café, Longines and the Millstream Inn.
Handicappers' Report Card
TIHR put on its handicapping hat and tried to find some winners over the weekend. Friday at Pimlico, Tom Law correctly picked five of the seven stakes winners while Joe and Sean had two each. Saturday, Tom and Joe had two apiece while Sean had one. Over jumps at Radnor Saturday, Tom and Sean each had two winners while Joe came up with just one. The steeplechase season race is getting tighter: Joe 25, Tom 23, Sean 22.
We'll catch up, but Saturday's card at Radnor produced several memorable moments including another hurdle stakes win by the ageless Decoy Daddy. The 11-year-old Irish import led most of the way and fought off Gustavian - despite conceding 12 pounds - by a half-length in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup over hurdles. Brianne Slater trains the winner for Irv Naylor. Carol Ann Sloan was aboard for the horse's second win of 2013. Country Cousin finished third.
Over timber, another veteran won a tight one as 12-year-old Rainbows For Luck ran down Hot Rize in the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup for Greg Bentley and trainer Eddie Graham. Jody Petty rode the winner, who scored by a nose. Straight To It finished third. Graham doubled on the day, as he began with a maiden hurdle win by Clorevia Farm's Dr. Skip. The son of Eddington rallied from just off the pace and ousted West Is Best by 2 ½ lengths with Petty in the saddle. Foolish Surprise stayed for third after leading early.
The regally bred Martini Brother (A.P. Indy-Island Sand) won a $30,000 allowance hurdle for Bill Pape, trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Darren Nagle. The 5-year-old edged Absolum by a half-length with Bodie Island third. Pape, Sheppard and Nagle teamed up to take an open claimer, with Dugan. The 9-year-old scored by 1 ¼ lengths over Organisateur wth Complete Zen third. In the finale, owner/trainer Michael Leaf collected his second win of 2013 when Black Pond scored in the maiden claimer for jockey Kiearan Norris.
Next stop for the jumpers is Saturday at Fair Hill, a home game for us. Bring your money as it's a rare chance to bet on American steeplechasing.