Here & There: Feb. 11

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Ah winter. What more can we say about this winter that hasn’t already been said, grumbled, barked or maybe even screamed?

Spring is right around the corner – or at least 37 days away according to the handy dandy countdown website Churchill Downs has its own countdown clock, and Wednesday it read 80 days until the Kentucky Derby. That’s less than three months.

February is a bear, no doubt, but Valentine’s Day is this weekend, Mardi Gras right after that and next thing you know it’ll be time to fill out NCAA bracket sheets and bust out the green for St. Patrick’s Day. Thankfully there’s plenty of racing, weekends and weekdays, to warm the soul and distract from the mundane. At the very least it’s helping you think of something other than snow and ice.

People are doing all sorts of things to distract them from winter, whether it’s hiking mountains, sledding or wiling away some time on the treadmill. We gladly present this week’s Here & There.

Worth Repeating

“I’m on treadmill so if you hear any funny noises that’s why.” – Trainer Graham Motion getting a workout in last week at home in Maryland before watching one of his runners at Santa Anita Park

“You don’t even let them get out of the paddock.” – Trainer Leah Gyarmati to TIHR’s Sean Clancy, who was trying to buy a jumper prospect – quickly – from a race at Aqueduct

“Drop breadcrumbs.” – Trainer Mark Hennig to Clancy, before he set out on a hike up Black Mountain in Arizona

“More Monday magic by McCoy.” – Racecaller Stuart Machin, after 19-time champ Tony McCoy steered Dewala to win a handicap hurdle at Catterick Bridge

“I would venture to say that if I sweep the Triple Crown with this horse they’ll probably vote for me for owner of the year again.” – Eclipse Award-winning owner Ken Ramsey on International Star

“The only bad side to this whole thing is maybe he’s taking a little away from Frost Giant. We still think Frost Giant is the real deal. He’s the real deal in our eyes and maybe not the flavor of the day, but the smart investors know he is. I just did a bunch of Frost Giant contracts today actually.” – Sunrise Stallions’ Eric Bishop comparing the buzz for Big Brown versus Frost Giant

“At least you have a lot of good pubs within walking distance.” – Sagamore Farm’s Tom Mullikin to TIHR’s partially snowed in Tom Law

“I’m committed to the maiden claimer at Fair Hill.” – Ross Geraghty, after the Racing Post ran a headline announcing, “Geraghty 1-6 to fill McCoy boots”

“Last year we won the same race with a Louisiana-bred, this year we won it with a New York-bred, maybe Kentucky will get back in the game some day.” – Ramsey on International Star

“Over the years Dave has come up with some great calls. He makes races memorable for you.” – Trainer Larry Murray on Maryland track announcer Dave Rodman

“I’m calling Liz from now on. You don’t answer.” – Text from Greg Charkoudian to Tom Law last week (… he called back).

“We’re still working hard to try and get one that will take us where Much Macho Man took us.” – Owner Dean Reeves

“No sleigh riding today?” – Michael Veitch, The Saratogian’s Turf writer, to Tom Law in the midst the latest round of snow in upstate New York

“I’ve been house hunting but the last couple weeks I haven’t even gone up there because you can’t even get to some of these houses that are empty, they’re not even shoveled out to get to them.” – Bishop on looking for real estate in Saratoga

“Champion jump jockey 2003 & 2004” – Racing Post tag of retired jump jockey Matt McCarron on his birthday Tuesday


By the Numbers

62.9: Inches of snow so far this season in the Saratoga area

429: Early nominees to the Triple Crown

4,000: Career wins for Javier Castellano after winning the 10th race Sunday at Gulfstream

21,522: Attendance at Santa Anita for last weekend’s Shared Belief-California Chrome showdown in the San Antonio


Tweets of the Week (Website traffic bragging/politics edition)

From Travis Stone (@TravisStone): Convinced internet commenters would write negative stuff about Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln and maybe even Noah after his ark came ashore.

From Norman Casse (@casseracingnc): “@TravisStone that’s why I don’t bother reading comments.”

From MJ (@MJ42903): “@TravisStone @GrahamMotion esp if they are liberals.”

From Graham Motion (@GrahamMotion): “Will defer on this one RT.”