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.
Everyone’s busy this time of year, whether they’re producing awards dinner programs, recovering from travel or gearing up for spring. Oh wait, that’s just our crew here at This Is Horse Racing.
Everyone else is plenty occupied, too, and now that the snow is gone in Saratoga (not counting the little that came down Wednesday night), there are rumors the Oklahoma will open soon.
It’s been a while since we served up a Here & There, but here goes anyway.
“Tell the truth, what was more never-wracking, the Eclipse Awards or the New York Breeders Awards?” – NYTB Annual Awards Dinner emcee and retired jockey Richard Migliore to former co-owners of Eclipse and NY-bred champion Dayatthespa
“A good jockey.” – Owner/trainer Kate Dalton when asked about the key to Cat Feathers, New York-bred champion steeplechase horse
“I’m 24.” – Joey Migliore, when asked if he could drink a beer in front of his father
“It’s the greatest thing in the world.” – My Meadowview Farm’s Len Riggio on breeding a homebred graded stakes winner like Samraat
“How do you handicap it, do we have a shot?” – Ken Ramsey on International Star being a finalist for champion New York-bred 2-year-old male in 2014
“Speechless.” – Jerry Frankel after he and former co-owners of Dayatthespa collected their second of three trophies at the New York Breeders dinner
“Google spit out Samraat.” – Riggio partially explaining how his homebred colt got his name
“We saw Javier the night before and told him ‘1:13’ and that’s what we got, 1:13.” – Dayatthespa’s co-owner Steve Laymon about pre-race strategy with Javier Castellano before last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
“Upstart, I believe he has a really serious chance.” – Barbara Vanlangendonck on champion New York-bred colt’s Kentucky Derby potential
“There’s some really legitimate horses in there, but we all know the Derby, the best horse doesn’t always win because of the traffic, the size of the field, but still, it’s something we all want to win.” – Vanlangendonck
“You still have an 859 number?” – Trainer Chuck Simon to TIHR’s Tom Law
“My wife’s family is from Vermont so I know all about snow.” – Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton’s vice president of sales, on the winter of 2015
“We were here last couple days. This was a very, very strong market. I’m tighter with clients money than I am with my own money and I wouldn’t spend it. I can’t justify it, but we’ll be back in April with a few dollars to spend and hopefully we can get lucky.” – Trainer Cal Lynch on trying to buy at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training
“Wisconsin losing this would be like Team USA beating the Russians and then losing the gold-medal game.” – Joey Migliore, who wasn’t even close to being alive for said 1980 Olympic gold-medal game, but we like the analogy
“I have this theory, if you don’t pull on them, they won’t pull on you.” – Trainer Jazz Napravnik, on the art of riding hard-pulling horses
“I was kind of hoping for that.” – Trainer Julie Gomena, after winning the Budweiser Imperial Cup with Balance the Budget
“He’s like a pony to do anything with.” – Trainer Jimmy Day about Carolina Cup winner Diplomat
“You need to give your man Max a hard time about his new ride.” – Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. Life is good in Keene and at 2400 Newtown Pike; the Max is Max Hodge and the ride is a Mercedes
By the Numbers
0: Email newsletters sent out by TIHR last Saturday after editor in charge (Tom) flaked out. We’ll be back this weekend.
3: Number of times emcee urged cackling crowd to quiet down during NYTB award presentations.
4: Christmas trees on Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs, finally uncovered from the melting snow.
9: Tractors parked in the lot at the corner of Union and East Avenues last week, ready to get to work on the Oklahoma Training Track.
11,213: Reported attendance for last Saturday’s Wood Memorial card at Aqueduct.
26,357: Crowd that turned out for Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes program at Keeneland, the same day the University of Kentucky played in the Final Four.
38,647: Attendance for the Santa Anita Derby card at Santa Anita Park, reportedly the best in five years.