Here & There – February 23

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Festivals here, festivals there; we’ve got them all covered for the most part in this week’s edition of Here & There. The Maryland Jockey Club rolled out a spread for its Winter Festival at Laurel Park last weekend, minus the winter of course, and the Cheltenham Festival is closing in quickly.

We reported on both in our own way and wound up with plenty of leftover tidbits to fill Worth Repeating and By the Numbers. Our fans like the Name of the Day feature in The Saratoga Special so we tossed in a Name of the Week here, too.


Worth Repeating

Fan at Laurel Park Saturday: “You got all the money.”
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche after winning the Wide Country Stakes: “Not yet.”

“Tell him he’s missing all these good stories.”
Carmouche about TIHR’s Sean Clancy, who was not at Laurel

“Nice and smooth, like taking off from the airport and going in the air my brother.”
Carmouche, on whether he had any trouble with China Grove in the Wide Country

“See what happens?”
Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr., on the good winning a major race can do for a career, while talking to reporters after the General George

“I worked some horses for Leo O’Brien at Saratoga and we went to the training track and we jumped a few fences. I said, ‘No, I can’t do this, no, I’m not a steeplechase jockey.’ The fence was this high (knee) and I did it, but I didn’t like it.”
Carvajal, on his days an exercise rider in New York

“Bodhisattva . . . Bodhisattva.”
Laurel Park announcer Dave Rodman, a Steely Dan fan, as Bodhisattva the horse upset the John B. Campbell Saturday.

“Why is he reading a book?”
Laurel Park fan, as a pony boy – looking at the program – rode by Saturday

“Whewwwbb, he’s a monster. I see him in the morning. He’s phenomenal. I see him work and I’m like ‘wow.’ My horse doesn’t work like his horse. His horse runs really well. And my horse does too. I’ve got no complaints.”
Trainer Gary Capuano, comparing his Miracle Wood winner O Dionysus to trainer Cal Lynch’s El Areeb

“Like California Chrome’s trainer, I’m still learning”
Trainer Jose Corrales, comparing himself to Art Sherman after winning the Campbell with Bodhisattva

“It is a nightmare, a lots of things can happen to horses between now and The Festival. These horses are athletes and there are always going to be training problems. You get niggles and injuries when you are pressing buttons. It is in the lap of the gods – you are always on edge.”
Trainer Paul Nicholls, after favorite Thistlecrack was ruled out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup by trainer Colin Tizzard

“Mistake and slither.”
Comment on British chaser Pain Au Chocolat’s form (it was a big mistake)

“I just feel like if I don’t run him three times I’d be ready for the Belmont and not the Derby.”
Trainer Ian Wilkes, on why he decided to give McCraken three preps before the Kentucky Derby

“If I said I knew he would be 4-for-4 in his career, no, I’d be lying, but he was a nice colt.”
Wilkes on seeing McCraken at Lambholm South a 2-year-old

“One’s only thought is, goodness, what price would he be for the Champion Hurdle if we were still going down the hurdling road?”
Trainer Nicky Henderson about Arkle favorite Altior

“The world ends if you do not get one.”
Henderson on the pressure of winning at Cheltenham

“Neither are in their apprentice years but they have been fantastic together.”
Henderson on veterans Davy Russell and Whisper

“He has a long raking stride – longer than any horse we have got here.”
Trainer Colin Tizzard about Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Native River

“There is no way I would want one horse to win more than the other – all I want is for both horses to run their races and come back fit and sound, and may the best horse win.”
Tizzard, who aims first and second favorites Native River and Cue Card at the Cheltenham Gold Cup


Name of the Week

Luzinski. By Flashy Bull. Who is a Phillies fan?


By The Numbers

1: “GO CRABCAKES” tie at Laurel Park Saturday. The Maryland-bred 3-year-old filly finished second in the Wide Country, her first defeat after three consecutive wins.

1: Out-of-town trainer who swears Laurel Park’s homestretch is slightly uphill. We’re not sure, but it’s a great conspiracy theory.

55: Winners trained by Nicky Henderson, the all-time leader, at the Cheltenham Festival


This Week in Stable Tour History

Last summer, as part of a stop on the Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour at Saratoga, trainer George Weaver mentioned 2-year-old colt Reason To Soar, who lived in the barn’s outdoor stall. The son of Soaring Empire liked his surroundings, and kept an eye on barn visitors – be they human, equine, canine or other. “We like this colt,” Weaver said then. “He’s a real handsome dude and he carries himself well. He likes it out here. I think it’s the best stall in the barn. He can watch horses get turned out, he watches stuff come and go all day.”

It took awhile, but the now 3-year-old won his debut by 6 1/4 lengths Thursday at Gulfstream Park for Weaver and West Point Thoroughbreds. For the pari-mutuely inclined, he paid $17.40.