Cup of Coffee: Calling Fair

- -

The text came at 9:49 Saturday morning.

“You see that?”

I hadn’t, but I knew what it meant.

Fair Eva had won.

Stroud-Coleman Bloodstock’s Matt Coleman sent the text, moments after Frankel’s daughter, Fair Eva, skipped away with the Group 3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot Saturday.

“Unfortunately, no, I’m all in at Saratoga.”

Coleman fired back.

“Put Fair Eva in your paper, she is a superstar.”

At that point, I was in between standing in line for a press pass and going to the stakes barn to take photos of Ron Moquett’s shedrow for Fasig-Tipton’s Stable Tour, so writing about a superstar – even if she was closer to London than Saratoga – actually made sense.

Coleman doesn’t use the word superstar lightly. We have shared observations, via text, email or in person, every time we’ve seen something that rocks us since meeting when he was finishing the Darley Flying Start program in 2006. We’ve bought horses, sold horses and shared the highs and lows of racing, from Kauto Star’s wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to a rained-off card at Saratoga a few years ago to the day Junior, a horse I told him we should buy, won at Royal Ascot. This game is to be shared and we’ve shared it.

When Coleman mentions a horse or a race, I go to my computer like Pavlov’s dog.

It’s always worth it.

“Check out Valdez who won the bumper at Warwick today.” We bought Valdez and won six races with him, earning a trip to Cheltenham for the Arkle.

“Dawalan is for sale. Look him up.” We bought Dawalan for Irv Naylor and he was champion after three starts in America. 

“I like Covert Love for America. She might be for sale.” We tried but failed to make anything happen and watched her win the Irish Oaks and Prix de l’Opera.

Of course, they don’t always turn out like that, there have been some duds, but at that moment, when watching that race, whether we’re going to make something happen or not, we are fans, enthralled by a moment in time when a horse is very good.

Fair Eva, who will never be for sale, provided that moment when I got back to the office Saturday afternoon. Firing up the replay, I leaned back and watched a horse run because she’s good at it.

Fair Eva broke slightly to her left from the far left stall on the straight course at Ascot, but righted herself in strides. She hopped to her left as Kachess came over on her. Frankie Dettori was far from concerned, allowing the chestnut filly to chill, composure coming with every stride. Always on the left of all her rivals, Fair Eva galloped along on her right lead, about eighth, chilled, flicking white socks well past her white nose. Somewhere, at what looked like the three-eighths pole, Fair Eva rolled to the lead, leaned right and Dettori waved his whip in his right hand and smacked her (oh, how dare he?), like shaking a can of beer, she responded, lowered, gathered, strengthened, exploded. By the wire, Dettori was more worried about pulling her up than anything else.

The rare ones gain strength as they go – Zenyatta and Frankel are the two who come to mind in my lifetime. In the middle of the race, they look like they’re going fine, at the end of the race, they look like they’re never going to stop.

Trainer Roger Charlton, who gets his 2-year-olds ready by their own clocks, saw the same thing.

“Fair Eva has done everything really professionally and looks very good. She has a wonderful action and, like most Frankels, takes a bit of pulling up after the winning post, which is a good sign,” Charlton told the Racing Post. “She could clearly go another furlong and let’s hope next year she might go a mile. She is in the Moyglare, a race Frankie mentioned when he got off. I wouldn’t really want to run her on soft ground because she has such a good action.”

With the win, Fair Eva became the favorite for next year’s 1000 Guineas.

They say, breed the best to the best and hope for the best, well, Juddmonte has the best. They bred Group 1 sprint winner African Rose to the undefeated Frankel and got Fair Eva.

Frankel has produced seven winners from nine starters (the other two have placed). Fair Eva won a Group 3 stakes in her second start. Queen Kindly placed in a Group 3 in her second start. Cunco finished third in a listed stakes in his second start. And they look anything but precocious, hopped-up, best-day-of-their-lives 2-year-olds.

We are in the midst of watching the next great stallion become the great stallion.

As a racehorse, Frankel wowed the world. As a stallion, he’ll rock the world. I’ll be watching for texts from Matt Coleman.