Two months down, ten to go. It’s hard to believe – or is it? – that spring is on the way and with it warmer weather, better racing and a lot more time outside.
Sure signs of late winter and spring popped up this week with the start of the 2-year-olds in training sales season.
The start of the steeplechase racing season is three weeks from Saturday, when Aiken takes its traditional spot at the front of the line.
Significant Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks preps go down this weekend, with the Gotham in New York and the Santa Ysabel (featuring Songbird) in California.
We’ve got a slightly slimmer version of Here & There for this week, in honor of shedding those extra winter pounds. Enjoy.
“You don’t have a ton of pressure right now, you’re just trying to cut 10 seconds off your next time, or something like that.” – Boyd Browning discussing wintertime deadline pressures to TIHR’s Tom Law
“I showed that brochure for 10 years and then one guy said, ‘You spelled ark wrong.’ For 10 years I fooled everybody, including myself.” – Trainer Michael Dickinson, whose wet-weather turf gallop is called Noah’s Arc in a farm brochure
“Right up there with the Horse of the Year show. I love a Horse of the Year show.” – Michael Davies, co-host of Men In Blazers soccer podcast, trying to compare the relatively irrelevant British Capital One Cup football tournament
“We moved about a zillion tons of soil.” – Dickinson, highly unscientifically estimating the amount of earth moved to create a bank for the Tapeta Farm warm-up track
“We have a wacko file.” – Michelle Hamrick, assistant to Dickinson, on the unsolicited training advice that comes to the office
“I’d like to tell you they watch CNN, but they watch Tom and Jerry.” – Dickinson, on the barn television choices
“No, we’re just going to get the money.” – Browning, when asked if he does anything non-racing or sales related while he’s in South Florida
“After all these years I finally get a blurb.” – Saratoga’s Bob Decelle after making his Here & There debut last week.
Name of the Week
Cub Reporter: What Fasig-Tipton’s Boyd Browning called TIHR’s Tom Law last week.
By the Numbers
1: Soda can crushed in an overhead door during the Tapeta Farm press event.
12.1: Percentage increase of page views at thisishorseracing.com for February compared to February 2015.
17.7: Percentage increase in visits at thisishorseracing.com for February compared to February 2016.
23.9: Percentage increase in visitors at thisishorseracing.com for February compared to February 2016.
$1.8 million: Price paid by Bill Farish, Woodford Racing and Robert LaPenta for colt by Tapit out of Bethan, by Giant’s Causeway, that topped Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale Wednesday at Gulfstream Park.
$21,590,000: Total receipts for Wednesday’s Fasig-Tipton Florida sale, up 7.4 percent from last year. The sale’s average was up a whopping 44.9 percent to $327,121.
$24,110,000: Total handle for last Saturday’s 13-race Fountain of Youth card at Gulfstream Park, up from $20,680,000 in 2015.
Good News of the Week
Hermitage Farm owner, successful breeder and former Churchill Downs Inc. Chairman Carl Pollard pledged $1 million to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to launch the TRF’s $20 million four-year endowment campaign. Pollard challenged the TRF to raise $19 million and if it does he will make his contribution. Proceeds from the endowment will be used primarily for horse care expenses. Robert Evans, non-executive chairman of Churchill Downs Inc., also joined with a four-year commitment of $250,000.
Tweet of the Week
Andy Serling (@andysesrling): “That the Easy Goer-Sunday Silence still elicits strong emotions is a testament to the great talents of both horses.”
Follow-up of the Week
Friend of The Saratoga Special and intrepid “correspondent” Bob Giordano read our Feb. 20 Weekend Interview with Ralph Theroux, spotted a hole and filled in the blank. Discussing his favorite racetrack hangouts from days gone by, Theroux mentioned “from the old days, there was a gin mill right out the back gate at Saratoga. I don’t even remember the name of it. Kind of where the Mexican Connection is now.”
Giordano delivered the answer, via text and email last week.
“Don’t know if Tom Law passed on the name I gave him for the name of the ‘gin mill’ Ralph T. walked to in his early days at Clare Court. It was the ‘Club 41’ (41 Nelson Ave).”
Now, if we only had a picture…