Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 106

Sometimes a trainer can be made to look like a fool by his horses. Today was one of those occasions for me. I really expected my horse at Keeneland to run well though maybe not win, to show up and finish the race strong. Needless to say he didn't and even came out of the race with a throat infection which we somehow had missed. You really need to relish the wins because of days like these.

Day 105

While I feel a whole lot better than I did yesterday, I am still pretty tired and sore. Went to the farm and checked on those horses and the progress of the farm. Honestly I am pretty worthless today in my current physical state and relieved that I have great assistants and managers.

Day 104

Woke up around 1 am with pain in my lower back. Soon was off to the emergency room with an attack of kidney stones. Needless to say I didn't do much all day but writhe around in pain till the stones passed later that afternoon. That was not a good experience to say the least. Supposedly the turf fillies worked really well though I was not particularly interested in them right around that time. Many liken the pain with kidney stones with childbirth. The only thing I have to say about that is that I think if that analogy were accurate there would be a whole lot more single child families.

Day 103

Took it easy today as I wasn't feeling great and have been burning both ends of the candle for quite awhile between the two stables and the farm. 

Day 102

Keeneland must have some influence with Mother nature as the weather for Saturdays seems ideal as opposed to the rest of the week. The two year olds are all progressing nicely and doing everything they are asked. One of them is a little behind physically and we have slowed down on his training significantly. 

Day 101

The weather has taken a turn for the worse as it is cold, windy and rainy. Spent some time with Teresa Genaro of Brooklyn Backstretch and her friend at Keeneland and the farm. Teresa is a high school classmate of mine who I hadn't seen in at least 20 years who writes a terrific blog, the aforementioned Brooklyn Backstretch

Our filly won the finale at The Big A with a big stretch run under Mike Luzzi. Mike rode the horse great and hopefully she can handle the step up to NYB filly allowance company on the turf this summer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 100

It is hard to believe that 100 days has already passed this year. Today was a beautiful Spring day and training went fine. The farm is getting a lot of new customers and calls which is making me very happy. We have a filly in at the Big A in the last race tomorrow that looks like she is in a nice spot. Hopefully the race stays on the turf and we aren't running her back a little too quick. The two year olds in Ocala are scheduled to come up on the 25th which means that when the final two at the Rea's come in we will have all the two year olds at the track before may which is a first! We may even have more than a handful of runners this summer which is also unusual for our stable.

Day 99

Sent some of the young horses to the gate and all did well. A lot nicer today than yesterday though still a little chilly. Spent some time at Keeneland treating some of the horses stabled there. We are in barn 8 which is a great location. Gondorf, the two year old Theatrical colt, has a very high opinion of himself and thinks the opposite sex should also. He gets very upset when the girls ignore him. Posse Valley is coming along very nicely for a horse that was supposedly very unlikely to make it back to the races. She is scheduled to have her first work on Friday. Even my old nemesis Ship's Cabin is looking good.

Day 98

Good day of training. Learned that I know very little about landscaping. Actually I knew that I was clueless but today just reinforced it. Some of the babies are getting a little ornery. Now that anabolic steroids are banned, you have to think twice before you decide to geld one. Some horses have an adverse reaction to being gelded and draw up, losing a lot of weight and having a hard time gaining it back. We used to be able to help those kinds out a little with some Winstrol or just some testosterone but now we cant. It is almost unfair that an intact male horse can have an unlimited amount of testosterone in his system but a gelding can only have a small amount present. Surely the public understands the inability of gelding to produce testosterone and supplementation is a far cry from steroid abuse? 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 97

It is really cold today compared to the recent mild temperatures. We had a big storm blow through Central Kentucky last night and the track at CDT is very muddy which means limited training. 

There have been several disturbing incidents and news stories that have come to light this week concerning major figures in the horse racing world. The disgraceful news that large scale New York owner Ernie Paragallo has been sending severely malnutritioned and abused horses to slaughter was  troublesome. Then the word that Jeff Mullins was found to be illegally treating his runner in the Bay Shore at the Big A while in the detention barn is almost mind boggling. I say almost because nothing either of these two does is really that big of a shock since they have shown the inability to keep themselves out of trouble in the past. 

It is my hope that the New York authorities get both these cases right though I have my doubts that the punishments will be satisfactory. Paragallo needs to be brought up on charges of animal cruelty at the very least. His license to race (though he isn't actually licensed as the owner but is the "stable agent" for his daughter who is listed as the actual owner) should be suspended and the NYTB should consider refusing to register his homebreds from here on in. Having a big ego isn't a crime but failing to properly care for animals that you own and in many cases were responsible for their entry into this world is. While I am not sure about the possibilities of criminal prosecution, holding a racing license in any capacity is not a right and his should be suspended until this case is resolved.

The Mullins story is such a huge problem on so many levels. First of all the guy has an unusually high number of incidents and violations already and this can hardly be excused as ignorance of the rules by a first time offender. The rules concerning what you can and cant do in the detention barn in New York are very clear. There is a reason that the equipment is searched upon arrival at the barn. The fact that he knowingly would violate these rules and be brazen enough to actually do it himself is bad enough. That he did it only hours before he runs possibly the Derby favorite in his final prep race is telling. The substance that he was attempting, Air Power, to give is not a drug, nor is it really performance enhancing. But that is not the point here. It is that Mullins disregards the rules of the sport and is rather blatant about it. He needs to get an unusually harsh suspension. There is a certain responsibility that everyone in the sport needs to accept for the good of the game. The higher profile trainers and owners need to be aware that their actions can negatively effect the entire sport and that if they want to be on that stage they better get their acts cleaned up. Make an example out of him New York. If you are one of his owners you need to pull your horses or you are just as guilty as he is. There is no excuse for outright cheating, especially considering the circumstances and location of the act. Mullins needs to go. Everyone needs to start taking responsibility. Start here, start now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 96

Training was going so well this morning till a little after 9 am. While galloping out after a very nice work, Carl S. took a bad step and was pulled up right away by his rider. Unfortunately he sustained a condular fracture of the cannon bone that will require surgery. He is the first horse that we have had injured in that manner or that severity in a long time. 

The poor luck continued to haunt us at the races as Richwood Silver broke slowly and quit running soon after to finish last.

Day 95

A picture perfect day. Training goes well at all locations and I get out to Keeneland midday to see a huge crowd still filing in. Despite all the problems of the sport of horseracing and country in general, a beautiful spring day at Keeneland makes everything seem ok. Watched all the Derby preps and came away really impressed like everyone else with I Want Revenge. Dont think much of the Illinois or Santa Anita Derbies.

Day 94

Opening day at Keeneland! While it is far from a nice day as the wind is blowing and it is a bit cool, a bad day at Keeneland beats a good day most anywhere else. Have a couple of meetings at the track and everything goes well. Albin works really nice over the wet track at Keeneland. Scheduling the works for CDT for Sunday morning based on the current forecast. Get some business for the farm right away.

Day 93

Opening day at BEC...finally! While there isn't much fanfare as it is a 'soft' opening (the official grand opening and open house are scheduled for April 27th) the milestone is important. As expected the track at CD is too heavy to do much with the horses though some of the babies return to the gate. We ran two at Turfway on their closing day and wound up with a win and a third. Not a bad way to end a really long, depressing meet. 

Day 92

Not a nice day as it is raining and nasty. Not much training as the track is a mess and we cant do anything outside at the farm either. Tomorrow looks a little better though the track at CDT wont be very good. The horses at Keeneland are all doing fine and haven't missed a beat in as the wet weather doesn't stop training on polytrack.

Day 91

Two days to opening. The babies went to the gate and all did pretty well considering they haven't had much schooling there. Went to an auction house and bought a bunch of flower planters, a ladder, etc. Not exactly Keeneland but it served its purpose.

Day 90

Not much time left before the farm is officially open and we are working feverishly on a bunch of projects. The front gate was set today and the sign will soon be up also. The fences still need painting and there is a lot of it! Comeback is no longer a manly man.

Day 89

A really nice spring  day. Worked a bunch and they all went well. Finally had the last draw for Turfway and the next stop is Keeneland.

Day 88

Another disappointing race from Comeback. Not sure why but he doesn't seem to be interested in trying very hard. I believe he is going to get the ultimate equipment change very soon. Last night we won one and had a tough trip in the other.