I know I said the other day that I was going to post a bit of a recap of the weekend soon, but I have had an incredibly busy week and just haven’t had a chance. I know many of you seem more interested in my personal goings-on, but I still like to share my thoughts on things going on in the industry.
First, my condolences go out to Tackleberry, who suffered his first loss in a while after finishing fourth in the Charles Town Classic Stakes. He led throughout but just didn’t quite fire down the stretch to take the win. He’s still the man as far as I’m concerned, though. Duke of Mischief took that win by two and a quarter lengths over controversial Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude.
Disappointments seemed to be the flavor of the weekend all around once again with Derby preps. A favorite of mine since last year, Santiva, just didn’t fire in the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland. He didn’t quite have the running room he needed and it was just not his day. I would definitely toss this race aside when looking at him on Derby Day, though I feel at this point the Derby has set up beautifully for Dialed In. Longshots Brilliant Speed and Twinspired duked it out for the top two spots with Brilliant Speed nosing out Twinspired at the wire. Running a very solid race there, though was Newsdad who looks like he’s turning out to be a nice one.
Most disappointing of all was The Factor who has some legitimate excuses for his failed effort in the Arkansas Derby. After getting outshook for the lead by J P’s Gusto who went flying in :22.54 and :46.53 for the lead, The Factor never really settled. He also displaced or “flipped his palate” which is when a horse essentially has a little flap blocking his airway and starts to gurgle as they struggle to breathe. This happened in the first turn and considering he couldn’t breathe for the remainder of the race, he still ran an OK, though disappointing seventh. I wouldn’t rule him out of the Derby entirely, but I still think even if he gets his way on the lead, it will be hard to stop Dialed In from running him down in the long stretch. Archarcharch took home the win in that race.
Speaking of legitimate excuses, it was discovered that Uncle Mo had a gastrointestinal tract infection during the time he ran his disappointing race in the Wood Memorial. This is certainly a good reason for him not to fire and to looks as horrible as he did down the stretch. The good news is he won’t miss any training as they treat for the infection and I hope he can get back to the Mo we all know from last year. I do think he got out of the Wood what he really needed in his first start, so hopefully it’s enough for him to be a solid contender come May.
To continue to dampen a disappointing weekend, there was a tragic accident with a very promising maiden at Santa Anita. I believe I mentioned a horse called Dominus who was a very impressive maiden winner back in March. He beat a very talented horse called Tokubetsu who I was eager to watch break his maiden on the weekend. Instead, he broke his front left leg turning for home. He broke sharply and opened up by five turning for home, looking like he was going to gallop away a very impressive winner. Unfortunately, he went down sharply and had to be euthanized. Jockey Martin Garcia who was aboard him at the time came out of the ordeal a little bruised but no worse for wear.
Also, I’d like to report on a spill at Woodbine on Sunday. Emile Ramsammy went down hard when his horse broke down in the ninth race. The spill was very nasty looking, but surprisingly Emile came out with just some bruising and nothing broken. He is expected to be back at it this weekend.
On a positive note, Winter Memories made her much-anticipated debut at Keeneland. Many may be aware she had been posting numerous workouts down at Palm Meadows and she came out firing after missing in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year. She won by a neck after coming from the middle of the pack in the Appalachian Stakes over Dos Lunas.
On a personal note, now, you may recall the other day my excitement as I will be able to return to the saddle after a repairable tear was found in my shoulder – a SLAP tear – after two and a half years of battling for its discovery. I’m extremely anxious to get back into the saddle, but my wait is going to be a bit longer than I had initially anticipated. Kudos to our lovely healthcare system, it will more than likely be about 8-12 months before I will actually be able to undergo surgery and it will then be another 4-6 months of recovery and rehabilitation before I will get the all-clear to return to the racetrack.
Hopefully I will be able to get my butt into an exercise saddle in the summer/fall at Woodbine next year. While last Friday I expressed some interest and thought into it, ever since then the idea has been blossoming and I’m currently planning on returning as a jockey in 2013 depending on how everything goes. Here’s hoping the next year and a bit passes by as quickly and as positively as possible!