Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saturday is Derby Day

It's the time of year when breeders, owners, trainers, and arm chair jockeys are anxiously waiting to see who the next triple crown hopeful will be. Tradition, glamour, and big bucks starts with the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Day is the first Saturday in May, which happens to be this Saturday, May 2nd. The Run for the Roses is the first $2 million jewel in the triple crown of horse racing held at Churchill Downs in Lexington, Kentucky. The second race is the $1 million Preakness at Pimlico Park in Baltimore, Maryland on May 16th. And the final jewel and most grueling race is the $1 million Belmont at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on June 6th.

Kentucky Derby distance: 1 and 1/4 miles. Blanket of roses draped over winner.

Preakness distance: 1 and 3/16 miles. Blanket of black-eyed susans.

Belmont distance: 1 and 1/2 miles. Blanket of white carnations.

I always pray that both horses and their jockeys get around the race course safely. Then I can celebrate.

My bet is on the current longshot, General Quarters, trained by retired biology teacher, 75 year old Tom McCarthy. Tom deserves to win, with his only horse ever making it to the Derby. May the sun and the stars shine on you Saturday, Tom, so you will know the thrill of winning the Kentucky Derby.

I think it'll happen for many reasons too deep to mention here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tin Cup Chalice

My heart is aching.

Tin Cup Chalice, who on Monday was named the 2008 New York-bred champion 3-year-old male, was killed Friday, April 17th in "a freak accident" during training hours at Finger Lakes, according to trainer and part-owner Michael Lecesse.

Lecesse said that Tin Cup Chalice was jogging clockwise on the Finger Lakes main track when a horse who was breezing counterclockwise blew the turn coming into the stretch, bolted to the outside fence, and crashed right into Tin Cup Chalice. A television report out of Rochester, N.Y., identified the other horse as Zany, who also was euthanized.

Lecesse said he thinks Tin Cup Chalice died because of injuries to his spinal cord, but that an autopsy would be performed on the gelding. Lecesse, who owns Tin Cup Chalice along with Scott Van Laer, said the horse was insured.

"He was sort of paralyzed behind," Lecesse said. "He didn't have any movement in his back legs. We couldn't get him up. We worked on him for an hour, hour and a half."

Lecesse said that jockey Pedro Rodriguez, who was on Tin Cup Chalice at the time, was examined at a local hospital for neck pain, but was released. Gennie Cook, who was on Zany, also escaped injury.

Lecesse said he had entered Tin Cup Chalice in a race for Friday's opening-day card at Finger Lakes, but the racing office didn't use the race because it only had five horses.

"If he would have been in today, he wouldn't have been on the track this morning," said Lecesse, who added, "it's nobody's fault."

Tin Cup Chalice, a son of Crusader Sword, won the first seven starts of his career. That included a sweep of the Big Apple Triple, which included the Mike Lee at Belmont, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes and the Albany at Saratoga. In becoming the first horse to sweep the three-race series, Tin Cup Chalice earned his connections a $250,000 bonus.

After suffering his first defeat, by a neck in the Step Nicely Stakes at Belmont last Sept. 14, Tin Cup Chalice won the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park. Tin Cup Chalice earned an invitation to the Japan Cup Dirt, a race in which he finished 13th.

Lecesse said Tin Cup Chalice had been training "like a superstar."

"I was looking forward to having a great year with him," Lecesse said. "He's the best horse I ever trained."

I'm sorry, Mike. It's tough losing a horse like that, especially one who held so much promise.

Tin Cup Chalice was cremated. His ashes will be spread on Finger Lakes Race Track infield.

Another equine hero gone.

main article by David Grening
Daily Racing Form

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Shots

Be sure your horses all have their Spring shots. In upstate New York our horses get "stuck" twice over a six week period of time. The first series of shots were on March 3oth.

My horses got their rabies and rhino/flu shots along with a blood draw for a selenium check and Coggins. The next series of shots will be on May 6th, when they get their West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Western Encephalomyletis* + Tetanus (EWT) shots.

*EWE is a virus that is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus can also be transmitted by an infected horse as well as by birds bitten by infected mosquitos.

Our horses give so much and ask for so little. Protect them! Be sure they get innoculated against those unseen viruses that can kill them.