Showing posts with label Arapahoe Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arapahoe Park. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

All or Nothing

"I know you're tired. Keep going, keep trying. Just a little longer. You can get there. Finish strong."
-my thoughts that were applied as much to myself as the horses this weekend.

 I watched this before Hirsch's race. It just seemed fitting, as cheesy as that may sound. The numbers and odds all said that the chances weren't great, but everything about the horse was telling us different.

Last weekend was the end of the Arapahoe park meet. It was a REALLY good one for us!

Photo credit: Coady Photography 

It started out with Sandy winning the 1 and 1/16th mile Spicy Stake. We had claimed her for $5,000 last year and ever since The Fiancé had been saying that we were going to win The Spicy with her this year. This is very unlike him and it still shocks me that he was so confident. The fact that it actually happened makes it all the more interesting. Positive thoughts can do amazing things, I guess.

Photo credit: Coady Photography

Sandy, who went off at 3rd choice at 5/1, won the race by a nose. Her and the 2nd place horse were 11+ lengths in front of the rest of the field. She ate a lot of dirt and had to weave through some traffic to get there, but she kept digging in and I'm extremely proud of how hard she tried! Russell, her jockey, rode his ass off too. They both gave it their all and it worked!

Big Momma getting some love from her owners Neil and Roger, and jockey, Russel Vicchirilli.

*Side note: Scriptonite ran 4th in a $3,200 claimer on Saturday, which I was happy with considering that he had bruised his foot so bad that he couldn't even hardly walk after the Boise race and hadn't run in 45 days. I thought it was especially good for a horse that was "finished". Apparently, people took it upon themselves to diagnose him so even though they've never so much as touched the horse. They also proceeded to inform the lady that wants Script when he retires of his doomed racing career. No, I'm not mad. It is what it is. If I worried about everyone that loves to stir shit up, I'd never get any rest. I guess it's a compliment, no one would bother with us if we totally sucked. The only thing you can do is laugh it off and keep focused on the things that really matter.

I love this photo, by photographer Carrie Sigglin, of Script getting bathed! Photo credit: Carrie Sigglin Photography

Photo credit: Coady Photography

On Sunday, we had Hirsch in the $100,000 Arapahoe Park Classic. It was a long shot after how bad he ran in Boise (I forgot that I didn't do a post on the Boise trip, he REALLY threw in a clunker), but I wasn't really deterred over that. After he got back to Denver, he flourished. He was good mentally and physically. If we were going to take a shot, now was the time to do it. We certainly didn't have anything to lose, so why not?

We knew Dennis would have to ride another horse in this race, it ran 2nd in the Classic last year, so we got the second leading rider of the meet, Dennis was leading rider (CONGRATS BUDDY!), to come and work Hirsch. Theriot fit Hirsch perfectly and in the two times he got on him before the race, you could tell that the pair was going to be a force to be reckoned with. *Hirsch picks his people and if he doesn't like a rider, you might as well not bother.

Hirsch and Brian Theriot

"My name is Hirsch and you seem kind of okay so I will now allow you to kiss my nose."

The Fiancé said before the race that he doesn't want to go out there not to lose, but to win it (yes, there is a difference). He didn't want the rider to play it safe, he wanted Theriot to be aggressive. We knew that no one expected Hirsch to be able to make the 1 and 1/8 mile distance, but we had adjusted his training for it. We knew that the other riders wouldn't want to risk burning up their horse to chase a horse they would be anticipating to stop. Theriot understood that too. It was all or nothing. Hirsch was either going to run 1st, 2nd, or last. It didn't matter where we ended up, but we were damn sure not going to play it safe.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography 

Hirsch is a very quick horse. I told Theriot to not be afraid to open up three or four lengths on the rest of the field, make them catch him. That's exactly what he did. They made a good run at Hirsch coming down the lane, but he had cat and moused them the whole way and held on to win by a length at 7-1 odds. *He probably should have been 10-1 or higher, but his owner is very popular at the track (I often refer to him as The Godfather of Arapahoe Park because you can't sit down and talk to him for more than ten minutes without someone coming up to respectfully shake his hand and ask what he thinks about one thing or another) and when he told his friends that Hirsch could win the race, they believed him. A few of our other owners had a lot of faith too.

The Fiancé and The Godfather of Arapahoe Park aka Dale enjoying the moment.

This was Hirsch's first stake win. It's the biggest purse we've ever won and our second Black Type win (stakes with a purse of $50,000 or more). Sandy's stake was the third largest purse we had ever won. Yes, it was a very good weekend!

I can't even begin to describe how much I adore everyone in this picture with me!

I'm so extremely grateful for the horses we have and especially for our owners. The fiancé is very particular about who he will train for, he strongly believes in quality over quantity when it comes to horses AND owners. Having awesome owners has made life all that much more peaceful and we really appreciate them!

20 starts- 7 wins, 1 second, 2 thirds
35% win percentage, 50% ITM (1st,2nd, or 3rd)
Ranked 5th of 86 trainers with earnings of $172,447
Ranked 11th by wins.
4 stakes wins, 2 allowance wins, and 1 Maiden Special Weight win. (We only ran two horses in a claiming race, so I'm not too upset we didn't win any of those)
Average earnings per start: $8,622.

Bourbon Sense:
4 starts-3 wins
Ranked 1st of 508 horses with $77,400 in earnings.
1st- Allowance 6 furlongs purse: $13,000
1st- Allowance 5 1/2 furlongs purse: $13,000
4th- Front Range Stakes 7 furlongs purse : $40,000
1st- Arapahoe Park Classic 1 1/8 mile purse:$100,000

Colinda Dawn:
2 starts- 2wins
Ranked 5th of 508 horses with $48,000 in earnings
1st- Goeorge Wafer Memorial 1 mile purse: $40,000
1st- Colorado Derby 1 1/16 mile purse: $40,000.

Sandhill Lady:
4 starts- 1 win, 1 3rd
Ranked 16th of 508 horses with $30,151 in earnings.
1st- Spicy Stake 1 1/16th mile purse:46,055

3 starts-1win earnings: $6,438
1st- Maiden Special Weight 5 1/2 furlongs purse: $10,000

Snow Bunny:
1start- 1 3rd earnings: $4,000
3rd: Goerge Wafer Memorial 6 furlongs purse: $40,000
*The winner of this race was disqualified for carrying the wrong weight and Bunny was moved up to 2nd. However, the trainer of the winner is trying to get the ruling overturned and she may get moved back down. The Fiancé is siding with the winner on this, the weight being wrong was more a clerical mistake than the trainer's fault, and it isn't right that he should get disqualified. It's okay if Bunny gets moved back down to third. The fiancé has helped the winning trainer out a lot with his appeal and apparently the good karma came back to us this weekend. I'm proud of Ty for standing up for what he thinks is right even though we stood to double our money (we get half of what Bunny makes) if the winner was disqualified.

I'm not bragging or starting to get a big head or anything like that. I understand just as well as anyone that our barn could get cold at any second, which is why I appreciate how well the meet at Arapahoe went for us even more. I am very proud of the horses, The Fiancé, and even myself. We all worked really hard and I'm officially, completely exhausted. Two weeks of racing in Farmington, NM and then we get to go on a vacation for 2-3 weeks before heading to Phoenix. It will be our first significant break from the track since 2009.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Filly Power

The fiancé and I had a good week.

Last Sunday Colinda Dawn won the George Wafer Memorial Route and we ran third in the George Wafer Memorial Sprint with Snow Bunny (both stakes for 3 year old fillies).   

You can watch Colinda's George Wafer Memorial win here.

Colinda went to the lead out of the gates and ended up winning by 2 1/4. Dennis, her jockey, came back and said that she was still looking around at everything (she got herself beat by a half length in a stake in Phoenix because she was convinced she saw dragons in the infield). You can see in the replay that she is just out there screwing around. That doesn't mean I'm any less proud of her. She was barely even tired after the race and it was her first race off after we gave her a 30 day break, 85 days since her last race. I told the fiancé and Dennis that I'd rather she do it easy and be messing around than be all out to win.

Colinda coming back with outrider and friend, Haley.

The fiancé decided to nominate her to the Colorad Derby for the following Sunday just in case she came out of the George Wafer really good AKA breathing fire. She did.

I was fairly certain Colinda would run well in the George Wafer as long as we had her fit enough. The Colorado Derby made me nervous because the colts and geldings she would be running against were quite a bit more accomplished than the fillies she beat. Plus, Colinda is speed and almost the entire field was speed.

What made me feel a little better is that she trained like a monster the day before the race. That still doesn't mean we went into the race overconfident.

                  Such a diva!

It turns out that I didn't need to worry. Colinda went to the lead and never looked back. Dennis said it felt like they were out for a two minute lick when he was on the backside and that was with her going a fairly good clip on a fairly slow track. She pulled away from the rest of the field to beat the boys by 9 lengths.

Watch Colinda's Colorado Derby win here.

Now, when you do something like win a stake with a filly and enter her back in another stake against the boys to run a week later, you're going to catch some crap. People will think you're greedy or cruel or both. They don't know Colinda and they don't know my fiancé. Colinda has fire running through her veins and  she LOVES her job. The fiancé is very conservative as a trainer and he especially isn't going to risk hurting, as I refer to her, "his princess". Colinda has way too bright of a future to take an unnecessary risk or enter just to run. The fiancé thought she had a good shot at winning it, he wouldn't have bothered if he didn't.

         PC: Coady Photography

Like I told one lady that admitted to thinking Ty was crazy initially, she came out of the Wafer on tilt. It was either work her or run her, might as well run her.

Thank goodness Colinda and Dennis (who didn't doubt Ty at all) put all doubts to rest. She didn't just win, she did it impressively.

Colinda and jockey, Dennis Collins.

Dennis came back from this race saying that Colinda still wasn't completely focused. She did seem like she put a little more effort into this race. Dennis had to keep getting after her a little, not to keep her going, but to keep her from losing too much focus down the lane. Colinda trains well in the mornings, doesn't do anything wrong. There's not much we can do to make her more focused on race day other than let age and experience take it's course. Colinda is perfect in the paddock, post parade, and gates. She doesn't do anything wrong, just isn't 100% professional when she hits the lane on the lead yet. In the meantime, I'm still as proud as can be of her and hopefully her talent continues to make up for her distracted moments.

Colinda with Dennis and owner, Eleanor

The fact that Colinda won a stake coming off of a layoff and then came back a week later to win another stake by even further against a tougher group is impressive. She gave us everything we asked of her and more. We're very lucky to have her and that she has an amazing owner!

Thanks to Colinda the fiancé is now ranked 6th by earnings and tied for 8th for wins. That's with only 11 starts. I'm not bragging at all. Racing can be very hot and cold, I'm extremely grateful to have good horses that are running well right now.

Also, Colinda is now ranked 1st by earnings. She probably won't stay there because there aren't anymore stakes for her here and there are a couple of $100,000 dollar stakes at the meet (that she can't/won't be running in), but it's still nice to have her there for the time being.

*I may have made it sound like Dennis isn't happy with Colinda. That couldn't be further from the truth. He absolutely loves her and stops by everyday to pet her. When he says she's not focusing, he isn't complaining. He's just saying that if she can do this with being distracted, just think what she can do if she isn't.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pinto Power

With the rain gone, I've actually been able to ride! It's a good thing too, because I was going crazy without my saddle time and, I'm assuming, wasn't the most pleasant person to be around.

A racehorse's first time doing dressage. Hopefully, it helps strengthen her long topline.

Anyway, I'll just get to the point. WINN IS SOUND! As in, he feels fantastic! And guys, he's SO amazing to ride!

Blurry screenshots work, right? Also, it probably looks like I'm asking him to lengthen a little here, I'm not. I wouldn't ask him for that when he isn't fit.

I'd forgotten how nice it is to get on a horse and be able to focus on myself, to not constantly have to help the horse. It's not like I can just sit and do nothing, but I don't have to spend the entire ride micromanaging the basics.

What I am most excited about with Winn is how good he is in the hind end. I've ridden him since he was three and he's always been weak in that area. He moved more like a hunter (not saying there's anything wrong with hunter movement) and no matter what me or anyone else did, he never seemed to get enough strength to be able to handle the collection at anything above second level. Now he feels and moves like a dressage horse! I feel like he can get strong enough to go further.

He's not even fit right now and he has twice as much power in the hind end as he ever has.

I think that gelding him helped a lot. He really filled out in the back half of his body since I did and he's gotten lighter in the front. *Bonus- I no longer have to deal with a 17.1 stallion that goes straight up in the air on his weak hind end when he hears a horse a mile away whinny. I'm sad that he won't have more foals, but his ability to reproduce wasn't worth risking both of our lives over. Plus, he's so much happier now.

Feed me, human!

The other thing that helped was L, the lady that does the adjustments and laser in all of our horses, working on him. She adjusted him last Fall and his hind end has been phenomenal since. I can only imagine where he would be if we hadn't had to deal with his feet problems. I know there are quite a few people out there that don't believe in chiropractic for horses. Honestly, even I think that only about 10% out there get effective results that last, but if you had seen the before and after of Winn, it might change your mind. I wish that I'd known her when he was three.

So, I am finally able to completely enjoy my lovely horse! While Winn is at the track, we are taking advantage of the hill and working on getting him even stronger. He seems to really enjoy not being confined to the arena. He's been really well behaved with the exception of the one day he was a little too fresh. I'm not going to hold that against him.

Sandy thinks that doing some dressage work is actually kind of fun even if she is still a racehorse. Talk about a horse that will have no difficulty moving on to a second career.

I still want to find a place to board at, but I'm a little worried about how I'm going to have time to work at the track, ride a couple of horses after the track closes, spend an hour+ of my day driving, ride Winn and Indy, and then do evening chores. I'm already tired and I don't want it to end up that they only get ridden three days a week because I don't have the time and energy to drive out to ride them. I'm still trying to figure that one out, so we'll see. In the mean time, I'm going to enjoy having them here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Not Complaining

Please remind me that I love being in Denver.....


So I've made it a goal to not complain in this post. I like it here, I really do. So what if it has rained a bunch since I've been here? A hail storm isn't a big deal either. It only snowed once. It never hurts for most of the horses to have a few days, or a week, off because the mornings that it isn't raining the track surface is shit. That's no big deal right?

    This cutie always brightens my day!

I don't mind that our groom is still soaking up the sun in Mexico (I really don't mind because he is probably the best employee we've ever had) and that I have to spend about 70% of my day cleaning stalls (that part I really do mind). It's okay that I haven't had time to go look at barns and meet with trainers for Winn and Indy. I can always ride them here. Oh wait...I can't because I'm stuck in a cold and muddy shithole cleaning horse shit all damn freaking day long.

Sandy enjoying one of the few good days.

Okay. I'm done bitching now.

As soon as the weather improves, I'm sure that I'll be back to being happy here.  After all it's clean, mostly quiet, and laid back. We have some really awesome owners to hang out with (I'm not kissing ass, they really are THAT cool). 

There is also a super nice barn with a very good trainer that I'm going to go check out. If I can be 100% sure that I will have the time to take full advantage of such a perfect situation, it would be more than worth the investment. If not, there is the less expensive one that also looks nice, from what I've seen online.

Lucky, the two year old that is now my project. If it ever dries out here.

Indy is perfectly happy sitting in her stall eating all day. However, I've decided that she is now going to be called Fatness Evergreen until some of that food gets worked off instead of ending up on the ground for her to lay in.

Winn is happy too, other than he's pissed off that he can't have a whole bunch of luscious green grass that is growing all over the place. He thinks his new special diet is a really stupid idea. On a good note, he is sound again. 

So, all I need is for the weather to get better and our groom to return and I might actually be able to get something accomplished with my horses. Maybe.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Riding, Racing Recap, and Random

I couldn't just post about one thing today, so you get a little bit about a few things.

I'm going to pretend that everyone is this excited about that fact....


Beefs had laser therapy yesterday and he felt REALLY good today (thank you H). He started out much more relaxed and even though we didn't get those moments of huge impulsion, he was more consistently active in the hind end along with using himself better. The good moments are coming more and more frequently.

What I focused on today:
1. Riding the hind end
2.Getting him to reach for the connection more consistently instead of curling up
3. Transitions (however slight) within the gates.
4. Sending him more forward into my hands when he wanted to back off, hallow his back, and get above the bit.
5. Getting him to use his hind end, top line, and the base of his neck better.
6. Keep his neck from shortening in all three gates.

*I was too lazy to edit, so you get it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Feel free to judge, I ride better after I've been criticized :) Also, yes I know that shirt looks horrendous to ride in, but I'm trying to fix my polo tan.

Apparently my left wrist decided to join my left foot in being spastic. Whatever.

I'm not going to say I accomplished all of these things, but there was general improvement. In short, you can see a fairly good difference between the videos from a few days ago (click here) and today. He may look a little more inconsistent in the connection at times today, that is because I was riding him into the connection instead of messing with my hands to keep it (hopefully, that makes sense). I still feel the work was a lot higher quality.

I guess I should mention how well behaved this is for him being at the track. Especially since the bugs were really bad (he doesn't typically have helicopter tail). If he does this well here, he is going to really rock away from the racetrack.

Harley and Dennis-win #2 at the meet
Harley won her second race in a row here yesterday. Everything has just kind of clicked with her these last two races. We drew to the outside for both, Dennis (the jockey) fits her really well and she relaxes well for him out there, and she is doing well as far as health and training in general. These last two races she has run very professional, doing everything Dennis has asked of her. Good girl!

Woody (#7) heading to the gates

Woody ran 2nd yesterday, out nodded and beaten by a nose. This meant that we were a nose away from winning our last four races in a row. Not that I'm complaining, but crap! Anyway, after having one mishap after another for his last three races, I was just happy that everything went smoothly and he put in a really nice effort. BTW, if you ever want to see a really pissed off jockey, go talk to them after they get beat by a nose. What mattered to me was that Donnie gave him a smart ride. He made all the right choices with where he put Woody in the (very weird run) race. Shit happens, hopefully next time.

Random (photos and video):

It's a man's world...

I'm not sure who is babysitting who.

"I think he's full."
Looks at his mouth
"Yep. He's full."
Kid is hysterical!

More dark clouds coming our way. Shocker.

H working on the mare we just claimed. I call her Gigantor or Sasquatch (the horse, not H).

Apparently Beefs prefers his lunch over grazing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hang time

*WARNING-boring dressage ride recap. I included pics to help with the monotony though. Hopefully. Unfortunately, there was no one around to document Beefs' awesomeness today, so you get random photos.

Picture from after the storm last night

Beefs was acting just a little inattentive today when I was tacking him up and I was thinking that today might not be our best. Visions of him being all like "SQUIRREL!!!!" and doing his best bronc impression popped into my head. He's an athletic little bugger and it's not easy to ride when he does that. Whatever Beefs, you're still going to get ridden even if you act like a spaztard (yes, new word). I did just a bit of ground work with him to get him focused on me. He stopped screwing around, let out a big sigh, and we went to work.

Beefs loves Gunner. I'm not sure the feeling is necessarily mutual.

In the video from my last post you can see that his trot work was flat. He was going through the movements, but not really using himself like he needs to (though it was better by the end of the ride). His walk and canter are really nice if he isn't unfocused. The trot work is definitely our weak spot along with being what will prevent us from moving up.

What Gunner really thinks.

Shockingly, Beefs was extremely good from the get go. He wanted to gawk at a couple of things initially, but listened once we went to work. He was much more relaxed in the trot today and even did some really nice leg yields.

After warming up, I went to sitting trot and Beefs , out of nowhere, was all like "Look what I can do!". His back lifted, he sat in the hind end, he reached into the bit. He stayed connected and in front of my leg. Then there was the suspension. Holy bounce!!!! Where the hell did that come from?! It shocked me so much that I about could have fallen off. Needless to say we did a couple of circles like that each way and then cooled out.

Who couldn't love him with a face like that?

Me getting high quality trot work from Beefimeus was going to get rewarded big time! Plus, using himself like that had to be more tiring than any amount of canter work would have. I truly believe if you get that moment you've been aiming for, the best way to get it more often is to stop for the day. Asking for more, after I finally got what I wanted from Beefs, wouldn't have been much of a reward. He knew he did well and that I was happy. Beefs is extremely smart and sensitive. He was pretty damn proud of himself after that and he's not going to forget how I reacted to his newly found dream trot. So proud of him!

Beefs and Gunner sending love from Arapahoe Park!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Foot inserted

I guess I have to put my foot in my mouth about complaining over not being able to get a horse into the right race here. Princess ended up winning even with having to run her at a higher level than I wanted to. Like the jockey's agent said, it's a good thing the $5,000 didn't go.

This is a video of Arapahoe Park announcer, Jonathan Horowitz calling Princess's race. It was taken by Denver Post photographer, Karl Gehring.

I'm so proud of my girl! She's improved so much in the last sixty days. I think she's pretty proud of herself too. Adrian Ramos, the jockey, rode her perfectly!

I'm glad I bought her. Her previous owner was going to sell her for a recipient mare. She is too nice for that!

Also, Bit by Bit is doing a bridle giveaway. Check it out! http://www.talesofanewbiehorsebackrider.com/2014/06/contest-two-horse-tack-bridle-giveaway.html?m=1

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting back in the swing of things

Normally I absolutely love getting to Denver, and I am really glad to be back, but the weather has sucked for the most part. Fortunately, the last couple of days have been pretty nice and sort of made up for it.

The day after we got to Denver:


After that it was cold, then decent weather, then rain, then three straight afternoons of this:

Tornado watches, warnings, and sirens. I accidentally deleted the original video, you can watch it here http://instagram.com/p/oPC-tPs1Xl/
So of course it rained more, but between storms and on the occasional good days I did manage to get some riding in.

 Me and V up on the hill

 Me and my new riding buddy, M. She's awesome!

Beefs hanging in the sun after his ride

 Me and Beefs

 Love my GunGun

 Track girls

The first weekend of racing sucked. So much weird shit happened that I honestly felt like we were cursed. Oh well, I guess that's horse racing. Though it usually isn't this weird.