All Together won the W. Gary Baker Memorial, a restricted stakes at Virginia Fall. The veteran son of Danzig (I love writing that) deserved a win after clashing with the best in the game for 32 prior starts over jumps. The $40,000 stakes is restricted to horses who had never won an open hurdle stakes. I questioned it for a minute…All Together hasn’t won an open stakes…? Gallant horse who always shows up for work. Good for Sam Jones to win a stakes after a tough Saratoga.
Dakota Slew took over in a sloppy timber feature but won with polish, holding off Brother Sy who ran well to be second. There is nothing like the second-to-last timber fence at Glenwood, especially after a slow pace. Whew, my heart flutters when I watch it. Favorite Cornhusker lost Mark Beecher at the fence at the bottom of the hill. Yes, even Mark Beecher can fall off. The jockey rebounded with a cool ride aboard veteran Country Cousin for Julie Gomena in the maiden timber. The son of Lear Fan (right up there with Danzig…he’s got to be the last son of Lear Fan still going…). Cool horse, well deserved.
Kudos to Doug Fout for providing a great course. And kudos to the Virginia Fall Race committee who raised the money for the feature and put on a great show. Nothing like rain on a Friday.
I took a different tact to the races, leaving my voice recorder in my pocket and socializing along the stones at Glenwood Park. Amazing concept. Only one child fell down and drew blood, but she’ll live to fight another day too.
In other domestic action, Wise Dan won Keeneland’s first million-dollar race, the Shadwell Turf Mile. Turning his head at the start (it reminded me of when he turned his head and looked out his back window on closing night of Saratoga), he broke last, passed two horses, found a spot, then simply lengthened his stride to win easily. The two-time champ won by a length. He had won his last three by a combined length. Next stop, Breeders’ Cup.
Treve returned to her greatest hour and relegated it into her second greatest hour. The 4-year-old won her second consecutive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Her first was brilliant, her second was better.
The best image was published in The Racing Post. Taken by Edward Whitaker, Treve walks to the winner’s enclosure, jockey Thierry Jarnet’s arms are raised, fingers in the air. Treve’s mouth is wide open. Professional and amateur photographers click. Fans – wedged on stairs, into rails applaud. One stands out, amid the throng, there is rival jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, in green and black diamond silks, leaning over the rail clapping for the champ.
This summer, she paddled to the start at Royal Ascot, watching on TV, her career looked over. Trainer Criquette Head-Maarek regrouped, tinkered, told us all to have faith. One of the best lines I’ve ever heard came from a client when I was taking a shot with a horse. He simply said, “As long as you’re right.” Treve’s trainer was right.
In a new series…What I like better about England.
On a non-descript Monday card at Pontecraft, the card opens with 2-year-olds, going a mile and a quarter, restricted to horses registered with the European Breeders Fund. The second race is for 2-year-olds as well, going 6 furlongs, rated 0-85. The third attracts handicap horses, rated 81-95 and goes a mile. The fourth is a conditions stakes, going 2 ¼ miles. Yes, 2 ¼ miles. The fifth presents a mile invitation for $15,000 claimers. The sixth offers a mile and a half to handicap horses rated 56-70. The seventh is a mile maiden. Seven races, ranging in distance from 6 furlongs to 18 furlongs. Winners ranging from Oceanographer, a 2-year-old son of Sea The Stars for Godolphin to Golden Spun, a 2-year-old American-bred son of Hard Spun. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about lead ponies.