Here & There – April 29

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It’s down to days for the Kentucky Derby, as 20 horses aim at flat racing’s greatest prize. And it was certainly down to years in the Maryland Hunt Cup, as 14-year-old Professor Maxwell won the timber classic. Black Quartz upset Alajmal and Mr. Hot Stuff at Queen’s Cup. Dave Carroll raided Pimlico with Abstraction, who showed moxie to win the Federico Tesio (nice to see the name restored). Here’s your here and There for Monday, April 29.

Worth Repeating.

“He couldn’t have gone any better.” – Exercise rider Jen Patterson, after Orb’s final breeze before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby

“I was going to try to give him 10 days between shipping from Payson to Keeneland, but I’m not sure I can do that, the way he’s acting.” – Trainer Shug McGaughey, earlier in April, about Woodford Reserve candidate Point Of Entry (he breezed at Payson March 31 and Keeneland April 8)

“With the exception of Eskendereya, I don’t remember having one who’s at the top of everybody’s list right now.” – Trainer Todd Pletcher, before Verrazano won the Wood Memorial

“Since baseball has been my life, you always make comparisons. Talk about winning pennants and the World Series, you can only do it with Thoroughbreds. When you look at the horses and watch them compete in the stretch, you realize that they’re athletes. When you challenge them, they respond, that’s what makes it exciting for me.” – Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre, before Game On Dude won the Charles Town Classic

“This is like Belmont Park compared to some of those places.” – Jockey Mike Smith, when asked if Charles Town reminded him of Ruidoso Downs and other tracks where he started

“I watch them ride at that track over at Pamona, they all do that so I thought I’d try it.” – Smith, when asked about leaning into the turns

“Breaking even, and optimistic tomorrow will be the day, as Ruby Walsh is hoping too.” – Steeplechase fan Martin Chamberlin, after his first day at Punchestown (Walsh got more than even, winning 10 races over the final three days of the five-day festival)

“Here comes the Wonder Mare.” – Punchestown announcer, Des Scahill, as Quevega stormed to the last to win her eighth in a row

“My court tennis skills manage to make my race finish look pretty…hard to imagine, I know.” – Amateur jockey (and court tennis player) Justin Batoff

“If he can figure out a British Rail timetable to get to Cheltenham after a few shots of Jamesons and a couple of pints of Guinness then working the joker card should be easy.” – Markel Insurance’s John Egan, after TIHR’s Sean Clancy asked about the joker card in Markel’s Freshman Sire Competition

“I got two, but I’ve never seen a sale like it.” – Trainer Eoin Harty, after the high-clearance rate of the OBS sale

Wow talking about last minute, I just got a call to go ride the last race at Atlantic City Racecourse today, EVERYDAY WE HUSTLIN ;-)” – Jockey Joe Bravo, on Facebook Thursday (he won the nightcap aboard the Derek Ryan-trained Back Away)

“Frost Diner in Warrenton, having a good old diner breakfast with the paper.” – Trainer Richard Valentine, when asked what he was doing the morning after winning the Maryland Hunt Cup

“This looks serious.” – Trainer Eva Smithwick to the Riverdee team as they sent out Hear The Word for the flat race at Middleburg Point-to-Point (it was, he won)

“The old boy did it.” – Amateur jockey Tate Shaw, about Professor Maxwell winning the Hunt Cup

“But I’m having a good time.” – Miles Clancy, 4, when told it was time to leave the Middleburg Point-to-Point party

“You’re too big for that pony.” – Miles Clancy, 4, to Paddy Young as he led Pepper (Tax Ruling’s pony companion) at Middleburg Point-to-Point

“He’s been told that his whole life.” – TIHR’s Sean Clancy about the tallest jockey in the room

“The boys love Joe’s swing set.” – Trainer Eddie Graham about a donated swing set from TIHR’s Joe Clancy

“Whew, Saratoga wouldn’t be the same without that paper.” – Jockey Kiaran Norris, after hearing The Saratoga Special was coming back for another season this year

“They do a great job on this course.” – Trainer Todd Wyatt, walking onto the course at Glenwood Park

“No irons, whipping and driving like a normal thing. It was just crazy, it was a wild ride.” – Jockey Xavier Perez, on his YouTube special aboard Spicer Cub at Pimlico

“If I was any bigger, I wouldn’t be able to sit on my tractor and do the things I like to do.” – Trainer Charlie LoPresti, when asked if his stable had increased since campaigning Wise Dan to a Horse of the Year title

“Needless to say, I’ve got serious post Hunt Cup depression.” Amateur rider Jeb Hannum, after falling in the Maryland Hunt Cup

“Wait. Wait. Wait. I’m getting to that.” TIHR’s Joe Clancy, when describing what happened in the Maryland Hunt Cup to an anxious Sean Clancy

“Take him to the Manor and he grazes like a foundered pony. Bring him here, he’s all wound up.” – Trainer Bruce Fenwick, about Bon Caddo and the Maryland Hunt Cup

“They’re like an old married couple . . . they bicker and complain, but they get along too.” – Trainer Neil Morris, on Sand Box Rules and his in-stall buddy at the Maryland Hunt Cup

“I drive naked.” – Bumper sticker on a Gator at the Maryland Hunt Cup

“How do you spell spectating? Both of my parents are English teachers and I want to get this right.” – Jockey James Slater, trying to send a text about his lack of a Maryland Hunt Cup ride

“Those fences aren’t that big.” – Slater, a few minutes after his horse was scratched from the Hunt Cup field

Second Time Around
This year, jump jockey Mark Beecher is wearing a neck guard that ought to look familiar to savvy fans. The blue pad, sporting the logo of AMLIN insurance company, was worn by jockey Brian Crowley for three American seasons before he retired at the end of 2012. Crowley handed the safety piece on to Beecher, who wore it for Saturday’s Maryland Hunt Cup victory. “It is Crowley’s,” Beecher said when someone suggested the neck guard looked like the one Crowley wore. “He gave it to me. He never got much chance to wear it over timber.”

Jack’s Sporting Goods
Trainer Jack Fisher thinks outside the box when it comes to his racing stable, especially with the equipment needed for racing over timber. The multiple leading trainer’s timber horses wear Adidas soccer shin guards on their hind legs as extra protection. Pretty much all timber horses wear foam-rubber pads on their hind shins, but Fisher goes an extra step by attaching the soccer guards. In addition, Fisher also uses Pow’r Tac, a spray-on adhesive used on baseball gloves and bats, to help the timber bandages stay in place.

Pictures and Moving Pictures
Check out these links to some of the action at the Maryland Hunt Cup and the Queen’s Cup steeplechase meets.

Maryland Hunt Cup video from The Baltimore Sun. Up close and personal.

Maryland Hunt Cup photos by TIHR’s Jack Clancy (second-last fence melee).

Queen’s Cup photos by Tod Marks.