In a word, this guy has determination. What an inspiring story. Next time I complain about my frozen shoulder I will watch this and be humbled.


California Chrome’s Last Ride

California Chrome has retired after his run in the First Annual Pegasus World Cup, held January 28th at Gulfstream Park. Chrome came into the race looking a bit off, and finished ninth. His knee looked swollen after the race, but subsequent x-rays show that there’s no damage. California Chrome retires as the highest-earning thoroughbred in North American history, having amassed $14,752,650 in winnings. Time for him to enjoy life at Taylor Made.

On the plus side, Arrogate again showed his blistering speed. After winning the 2016 Breeders Cup, the 4-year old ran a smoking race in the $12 Million Pegasus, finishing more than three lengths ahead of the field.

California Chrome and Arrogate
The two champions must have been comparing notes on the way home! Maybe Chrome was passing the mantle?

American Pharoah rings in the new year with his first foal

American Pharoah Foal
American Pharoah’s first foal was born at 12:30 a.m. on January 3rd.

The first of American Pharoah’s foals, a colt, was born early this morning at the Seitz family’s Brookdale Farm in Versailles, KY. The colt’s dam is Kakadu is a 4-year-old by Tizway and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Protonico.

The timing of the birth was ideal: since all racehorses “age up” the first of the year, it’s a real advantage for a racehorse to be born as close to January 1st as possible, putting them at the older end of their racing age. A couple of months can make a big difference to a two or three year old.

This cute little colt is already reported to have quite the personality.

“A lot of foals are kind of skiddish for the first couple of weeks,” Fred Seitz said. “They don’t really want to be touched or handled, and they try to run behind their mother all the time. This one’s the opposite. You walk into his stall … and the foal just basically walks right up to you and starts sucking on your thumb.”

This little guy is going to be the first of many. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, American Pharoah bred with more than 200 mares in 115 days. His stud fee, for a live foal, was $200,000.

American Pharoah's first foal.

Run, Rabbit, Run

There’s been a lot of discussion since the Belmont about the use of a “rabbit” to set the early speed in a race. Of course, it’s nothing new.

The video above shows the great Damascus with — and without — his rabbit, who was named Hedevar in his races against Dr. Fager; a horse that could not be rated and always got lured into chasing the rabbit.

In the 1957 Belmont Stakes, Gallant Man was helped to his eight length victory by Bold Nero, who was entered in the race to tire out Bold Ruler.

Of course, sometimes the rabbit doesn’t get the message. The very first winner of what would become the Triple Crown, Sir Barton, was entered into the 1919 Kentucky Derby as the rabbit for his barnmate Billy Kelly. He won the Derby by five lengths, moved to Pimlico and  won the Preakness four days later, won the Withers ten days later and then the Belmont. Of course, when Sir Barton won those races there was no “official” Triple Crown; he was awarded the honor once the idea had taken hold, several years after his accomplishment.

Exaggerator Wins the Preakness

Exaggerator, ridden by Kent Kent Desormeaux won the Preakness by 3 1/2 lengths today.

Exaggerator broke Nyquist’s winning streak with a decisive win in the Preakness. The colt definitely liked the sloppy track and had a perfect trip, staying on the rail until he swung wide for his trademark come-from-behind run. (How many pairs of goggles do you think a jockey goes through on a muddy track?)

Nyquist broke sharply and battled for the lead with Uncle Lino, running the fastest opening quarter in the Preakness at 22.38. Unfortunately the fast speed and the muddy track took their toll and Nyquist faded to third with Cherry Wine sneaking in to beat him by a nose.

The blazing pace took its toll on Uncle Lino, too, who was vanned back to the start. Vets found superficial digital flexor tendon inflammation in his left front leg.

Sadly, the Preakness day was marred by two tragedies — 9-year old Homeboykris, a died shortly after winning the first race of the day. He came from behind to win the race but then collapsed on the way back to the barn. Preliminary reports suggest the gelding suffered from cardiac arrest, but a necropsy is planned.

Three races later, 4-year old Pramedya broke her left-front canon bone in a turf race and had to be euthanized. Tragically, the filly was owned by Gretchen and Roy Jackson, who also owned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro who was also injured in the Preakness.