Showing posts with label Racing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Racing. Show all posts

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Breeders' Cup Del Mar

I've been looking forward to going to Breeders' Cup at Del Mar for a very long time, since I knew that it would be held there, and it's FINALLY here! There are a couple of bloggers that I know are going. My plans have been a little up in the air, so if I haven't reached out to you, I will soon. If there are any other bloggers going, feel free to give me a shout. I'd love to catch up with you where the turf meets the surf!

The day after BC at Keeneland 2015

BC Santa Anita 2016

Bourbon BC 2015. Because bourbon.

Freaking love Tourist! Can't wait to see how he does as a sire.

Arrogate. No need to say more.

Gun Runner's on fire right now.

Gary Stevens BC 2016

Monday, November 2, 2015

Breeder's Cup 2015 Trip: American Pharoah

I don't even know where to begin on our trip to Lexington for the Breeder's Cup, so I'll just get to the best part (and probably the only part that most people care about): American Pharoah.

I'm not exactly one to get mushy over Bob Baffert, but no matter how a person feels about him, no one can deny how truly amazing American Pharoah is. 

Let's start with his last work to prep for the race:

Yeah, when a horse of his quality works like that, in that time, that easy....well, it's a little hard to see them getting beat. Watching this put any doubts after his defeat in the Travers to rest. The Triple Crown winner was not only back to looking like his same old extraordinary self, he may have possibly looked the best he has in his entire career.

Sorry about the blurry pics, I was more concerned with watching than quality pictures, so it was a point in the general direction and shoot kind of thing.

In the post parade, even if you had no idea which horses were in the race, AP looked like the winner (I was about thirty feet away from him). He was calm and relaxed, pure class. His weight was good and his coat gleamed. Most of all, he oozed confidence. Everything about him gave the impression that there wasn't a horse on the planet that was going to beat The Champ that day, much less one in the race. 

When it came to Espinoza, I got the feeling that he didn't have a care in the world. It didn't seem like he was cocky, he definitely didn't come across as nervous. More than anything, pride for the horse underneath him was shining through. Everything about Espinoza's demeanor said "I'm on the best horse in the world and he's going to win this. I'm just here to enjoy my last ride on him."

I'm sure you all saw the race. A few jumps out of the gate American Pharoah was just galloping along with his ears pricked while the riders on every other horse in the race seemed to choose riding for second rather than risk it all going hard after AP. It probably wasn't a bad decision on their part. 

See ya!

American Pharoah winning the Breeder's Cup Classic after winning the Triple Crown was impressive. The fact that he did it so easily while setting the track record was absolutely incredible! 

*The value of the track record was initially questioned  by some because track records are reset when the track surface is changed. Keeneland went from dirt to synthetic back to dirt. When it was discovered that American Pharoah had run the fastest 1 and 1/4 mile EVER, over any of the surfaces at Keeneland, the different footings became irrelevant and his feat became even more extraordinary.

Y'all just sit back and watch while I make history.

I doubt that I can ever describe what it was like to be that close to American Pharoah as he ran past me towards such an amazing victory. I don't remember the cheers of the crowd or hearing the race being called. The one thing I will always remember is seeing what true perfection of a thoroughbred running looks like. Every detail of the grace and athleticism of American Pharoah as he soared by will forever be ingrained in my mind. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

I don't know if I was still high on watching AP, if it was the bourbon, or if being out of those heels and carrying a pizza, but I ended up looking like I was hitchhiking in front of our (ridiculously overpriced) crappy hotel. I was attempting to sum up exactly how awesome the day was.

I'll cover the rest of the trip in my next post.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spastastic Fun

I was going to write about home, but I'll just give a quick rundown and then get to the hopefully more entertaining  part.

My family and friends are still completely awesome. Obviously. They still love me even if they only get to see me every couple of years. I love the fact that I come from a horse family and have SO much support behind me!

 I thought that people were being overdramatic when they told me how bad Les Bois (the track) has gotten. They said that the racing secretary/office was a pain in the ass, that the track surface is horrible, that the vets aren't very good, and that it basically just isn't a fun place to be anymore. They weren't totally wrong (one vet didn't seem all that bad), It certainly isn't as pleasant as it used to be. On a good note, I had heeded their warnings enough that I didn't have too many high expectations, so at least I wasn't disappointed much. The 105-110 temps that happened the entire time I was there were absolutely miserable. THAT really sucked! I still maintain that Les Bois is one of the best tracks to watch races at and it could still be a fun place to run horses. It just doesn't seem to be right now. There are some really lovely people that I adore there and it was worth the headaches just to get to see them again. The best part is that being there made me appreciate the tracks we are normally at all that much more. Except for The Downs at Hellbuquerque, it takes the cake for shitty tracks to be at.


Other than seeing my family and friends, the best part was getting to take a lesson with my mom's trainer. She is a very sweet person and let me ride her horse, Sasha. Sasha is showing 4th level right now, schooling higher levels.

No I wasn't making her fix my stirrup for me. Though I'm not sure what I was doing....

I was totally exhausted and cooking to death (hot weather is not something I do well with), but I sure wasn't going to miss the opportunity to ride a horse like Sasha! I messed up A LOT, but I had a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

Anyway, here's how my thinking works when  I'm completely exhausted while riding a more advanced horse than I'm used to. *I apologize in advance to those of you that don't like videos. I did edit them down to spare you from the several times I had to go around the arena to get something at least half way right. No need to thank me.

"A double? When was the last time I rode in a double? Like eight years ago?"

"Oh wow! I am being a spaz with these reins."


"Do I need to loosen up on the curb? Agh! Poor girl! I'm sorry, so sorry!"

"I totally want to steal this horse. Do they still hang people for that in Idaho? Eh, it'd probably still be worth....oh crap! What did C just tell me to do?"

"Did she say to half pass or circle? I'll just do a bit of both so that I'm covered either way."

"Oh yeah, she knows pirouettes. I can probably stop riding her like she doesn't now."

"I wish I weren't deaf, because I'm pretty sure I totally just butchered whatever C was trying to tell me to do. Yeah, no. I'm positive I did."

"Why in the hell am I struggling so much with these reins! Ah crap! That was the curb not the snaffle. Damn it!"

"This horse is freaking awesome!"

"I hope I can get Indy to at least this point  one day. This is so much fun! Oops! I almost ran over Mom. Again."

"Holy Hell! It's HOT!!!"

"I should probably just try to stay out of her way on the changes. Obviously she is much better than I am at them."

"Eh, circle/oval. They're basically the same thing. Close enough."

"When was the last time I schooled passage? Let's see, I schooled piaffe like over ten years ago...never passage though. I don't think. What are the aids again? I know that I've read about them at some point."

"I have to bounce more in my seat?! I've been working my entire life to not bounce!"

"I actually got a few steps! How did I do that? Maybe she just got tired of me embarrassing myself and gave me some pity passage. Who cares! That was soooo much fun!"

"I hope that my mom got that on video. You know, just in case it never happens again."

So, there's the general just of it. C has done a very good job with Sasha, it was obvious that she had been built up from a solid foundation, there were no holes. C is also very, very patient because I was having a hard time hearing and focusing. After being able to hear what she said in the video, I understand a lot more what she wanted (it took me five minutes to figure out that C was asking me to try for passage). Hopefully, I get to ride Sasha, or any horse, with C again because I really enjoyed the lesson. Preferably when I'm not delirious from hellish temperatures and long trips.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fire and Ice

This past weekend was the first of racing for the Arapahoe Park meet, and even with the awful weather, the show must go on.

Indy enjoying some rare sunshine.

We had two in on Sunday. Honestly, it wasn't looking good when it came to the weather. A big and nasty black cloud came through and delivered some very much NOT needed rain about an hour before our first horse ran. Then a miracle happened and it went away!

The first horse we had running was Script  (by Whatsthescript out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare) in a Maiden Special Weight. He has tactical speed, so we figured that he would be close. I was really happy with where he was placed, and then the rider dropped him down on the rail behind horses. At the time I couldn't see it, but I guess he said he had to. I about had a heart attack and was really worried that we wouldn't get through. The rider swung him back out in the lane and Script won by a length. 

The track was sloppy and slow, so he didn't exactly set a track record.I think that my biggest accomplishment of the day was that I got the mud knot in his tail to stay in. No, I didn't tape it. I'm not in the win picture because our groom wasn't back and I had to stay at the barn to get Hirsch ready.

After Script ran, I flew to the test barn to take care of Script and the fiancé went back to the barn to finish getting Hirsch(by Street Sense out of a Stormy Atlantic mare) ready to go. I spent the next half hour rotating between being drug and having to drag Script around the test barn. He's lucky he's so lovable most days because he was a real pain in the ass while I was waiting for him to cool out enough that they could take the urine and blood samples.

I was just getting back to the barn with Script when the fiancé was leaving to head up for Hirsch's race. Script needed to cool out a little more, so I had to stay at the barn for Hirsch's race too. The SO seriously owes me....

Right as Hirsch was about to run, I was finishing putting Script away and then the vet showed up to medicate a horse. By the time I got the live feed up, the horses were already loading. The live feed is always about thirty seconds behind and I heard the announcer say something about Bourbon Sense pulling away to win, so it kind of took the fun out of watching the race.

Hirsch and another horse were out on the lead and then he drew off to win by six lengths. He actually ended up running a faster time than they did in the stake, that we had nominated to and opted out of running in, the same day. No, that doesn't mean that we should have run him in the stake, that he would have won it, because time isn't everything. Unless both races played out exactly the same, which they didn't, you never know what would have happened. What the time and the quality of the race that he ran did tell us is that he can probably be competitive in stakes company here. He's earned a shot at them at least. I am glad that we put him in the allowance, a win like that should be a good confidence boost for him.

I call him Hirsch because he deserves to be nicknamed after a higher class of bourbon. I couldn't call him Bourbon because we already have a horse with that barn name.

A couple of days before the race I had told Dennis, the jockey, that we put him on my favorite horse. I also told him that he would fit and get along well with Hirsch. When Dennis came by later that night, I asked him what he thought of Hirsch. His response was, "You told me and you were RIGHT!" That's my favorite thing about Dennis. I can tell him when he'll fit a horse well or that he'll like one and he won't just blow it off as me being some naive, dumb chick. A lot of riders will. You know, because obviously if you don't have testicles, you don't have brains.

Anyway, Sunday was a good day.

Bourbon looking gorgeous.

Monday was not.

We had Sandhill Lady, a Colorado bred mare, in a state bred stake. Everything that could go wrong did. She was the one that we were most confident about running in the slop because she gets over that kind of surface very well. This is getting to be a long post, so here is a list of everything that went wrong or screwed us on Monday.

1. We drew the #2 hole in an eleven horse field. That's okay if your horse has speed. Sandy does not.

2. Sandy stomped the living shit out of my foot while I was getting her ready.

I'll go get it X-rayed if it isn't feeling/looking better by tomorrow.

3. The one day that we needed it to rain, the sun came out and completely changed the track surface, drying it out too much. Of course it pissed rain after the races were over.

4. She broke slow out of the gates causing the rider having to take a bit of a hold of her so she didn't run up right into the hole that was quickly closing between the #1 and #3. Basically, we were screwed from the first jump out of the gates. Horses weren't able to make up much ground with the way that the track was yesterday.

5. The riders on the horses on the lead were just quietly sitting there. We needed a stupid fast speed duel in the front end to give Sandy any type of shot in the race and it didn't happen.

I'm not saying that we would have won or anything, she finished 7th and got beat a REALLY long ways. It's just that it was pretty much a shitty day for luck. It happens.

Don't turn around, but there is a huge beast getting ready to lick you to death. Also, this was before I pulled her mane, so that shaggy look adds even more to the threat of danger.

I still really like the mare, it wasn't her fault (though I'm still a bit pissed about my foot considering she tried it once more with me and also almost got the fiancé too). She came out of the race all in one piece and that's all that really matters. There will be other races.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Ultimate Question

About that birthday present....

Cute, right?

So he technically wasn't intended to be a birthday present, but that's just how the timing worked out and that's kind of what he ended up being. Either way, he's mine.

Anyway, Question (by Whywhywhy out of a Dayjur mare) isn't exactly new to me. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, that picture probably looked kind of familiar to you.

Question before he was claimed last year.

We trained him off and on for an owner for a few years before he was claimed last year.
He's not a great racehorse, but he is (or at least was) a good mid-level horse. He's what we call a check-getter, meaning he has a high on-the-board percentage. In short, he's honest and rarely throws in a real clunker.

As a three year old, not filled out yet.

Most notable highlights during the times we had him:

Question's lifetime stats. They looked better before he was claimed last year.

2nd Colorado Derby 1 1/16 miles
1st Allowance 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.74 New Track Record
2nd Ruidoso Derby 1 1/8 miles
2nd Harvest Stakes 5 1/2 furlongs
*There's other wins and placings, but these are the most notable.
The current stats of the horse that beat him in the Colorado and Ruidoso Derbies
The stats of the horse that beat him in the Harvest Stake. At least he got beat by nice horses.

Anyway, being at the track, I've learned that you have to be willing to let horses go because you never know what will happen. When Question got claimed, I didn't cry or freak out, but losing him bothered me more than it should have. At the time, my fiancé said that Question would probably end up running for $5,000 or less (way less than half of what he was clained for) here next year (I'll explain that guess in a minute). He said that if he was, it'd be worth considering taking him back.

So how did my fiancé know? Question can be a real ass. He's not mean or anything like that, but he is a bit of a bully. If he can intimidate someone and get away with stuff, he will. He is quick and strong and can do bad things before a person even realizes it.

Let's see, this is hard to explain....

Best Example:
We had a jockey work Question a couple of times and warned the rider to never completely let his guard down. The rider thought we were crazy because Question is actually really nice to ride for the most part. He's not spooky or a runaway and he does everything right. He did everything perfect the first two times.

The third time was pretty much the same story, and the rider just had a loose rein as they were starting to walk off the track. Question, out of nowhere, lets out a squeal and does what looks just a bit worse than a crow hop. However, he was so quick and he is so powerful that he sent the rider flying. The poor guy was not only really high in the air, but he also landed a rather impressive distance in front of the horse.

This is where most horses would take off. Question just stood right where he was, the reins dangling, and looked at the rider like "Dude, I SO got you. Just because I could." That is his mentality. Keep in mind that Question had just worked a pretty decent time for five furlongs and should have been tired enough to not pull that crap. Obviously, he wasn't.

There are many other things that Question does to be a pain in the ass. He is absolutely horrible to get ready on race days. One time, the fiancé was gone and I had to get Question ready for a race by myself. I must have looked like I got hit by a bus by the time I was done. I called the fiancé and told him that if he EVER made me run that horse by myself again, I would quit (not really, but I was pretty pissed off by that time). The most annoying best part is that once you start to head for the paddock, the horse is absolutely perfect. *Question did get a little better to get ready eventually, but it took a hell of a lot of time.

Pigeon killer.

Question can be really pushy and obnoxious if you don't get after him, he can get wild jogging back after he gallops, and he loves to buck and play on the walker to set the rest of the horses off.

All of this combined with a long lay off and huge price drop (HUGE red flags) ...so why was I dumb brave enough to still claim him?

First off, we had enough current information to know that he wasn't completely crippled. We knew he could be obnoxious enough to make someone want to get rid of him. We also knew that he wasn't really fit and that he isn't an easy horse to get fit to run. However, for all of that, it was still worth the risk. I don't know, I guess I just have a lot of respect for this horse.

He may be an ass, but I still adore him.

"He's NOT a very nice horse!" *pouty voice*- Question's groom as I get ready to lead him away. At least the kid wasn't upset about losing him...like, at all.

Question is about the most athletic horse I've ever seen (and that's comparing him with Grand Prix jumpers at the farm I worked for in Toronto and Ocala). He may be an ass in the mornings, but when it comes to down to race time, he shows up. I don't think there has ever been a time when I felt like he flat out didn't try. If he got beat, I always felt like he had a legitimate excuse or it was a rider and/or trainer error or he just got beat by better horses. He has heart, he's athletic, he's powerful, and he's actually bold when it comes down to it. Okay, he's a little cocky too. On top of that, he is a very good looking and well built horse.

Anyway, for better or worse, I talked the fiancé into claiming him even though he had his doubts. Like I said before, Question wasn't fit, and he ran horrible. My heart about jumped out of my throat when he was eased even though he still finished the race (this is around the time that the fiancé decided he was my horse instead of "ours"). I figured that it wasn't anything too horrible when he was still putting full weight on all four legs. He walked off of the track and didn't look too bad. I felt a lot better when he went to jumping and bucking while he was cooling out on the walker.

There are some things to fix (mostly fitness and strength related), but he isn't lame.He doesn't need time off and we were able to continue with his training. I don't know if he will run well again after that race or not, sometimes they don't after that kind of experience. I think he will. If he doesn't, I will retire him while he's still sound.

It's always been my dream to have Question move onto a jumping career. I know that he can jump (you don't even want to know what makes me think so). He already has a solid foundation. He could easily do a training level dressage test correctly (as long as he doesn't get the urge to plant you), and it wouldn't take much to get him to first. He knows his changes and he isn't scared of anything.

I don't necessarily want to be the one to jump him (he would deserve better and braver), but I could polish off the flat work and then hand someone else the reins. I've always thought it'd be cool to own a nice jumper if I can afford to. If I can't, then I know a couple of people that could handle his shenanigans and would gladly take him (this is realistically what will most likely happen). In dream land, he would win enough money that I could retire him and afford to own him through his second career (almost 0% chance of this happening). In reality, I'll consider myself lucky if he can win a couple more races.

So, that's probably the most unromantic "I got a horse for my birthday!" story you've ever heard..... I still like my "gift"! (:

Anyway, I normally wouldn't go into this much detail about a horse we have in training. Since he's mine I can do what I want. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'm the only sentimental idiot dumb enough to claim him anyway. No one else on the planet is going to look at him, think he can probably jump if he can't run, and drop on him.

 Whatever, I have to play tough-ass racetrack, behave like the men, chick all of the time.  I'm allowed one moment of girly weakness right? #noregrets

On a good note, at least his name is appropriate.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Yeah, life has been super busy. Again. Shocker, I know. Of course, this means I've fallen off of the blogger bandwagon. Again. As much as that fact annoys me, it's really probably a good thing. If you're not busy, you're not making cool dressage stuff money. Right?

Little Miss Blaze Face 
Anyway, I figured doing a quick catch up and, hopefully, a look into some future posts would be good. Even if it takes me a year, I will write these posts DAMN IT!

1. Garrit-Claes Bierenbroodspot clinic.

She can go so nice when she wants....
Loved it! Learned a lot! My friend took a few pictures and hasn't had time to edit them yet, but I will try to get a post up about the clinic soon.

2. Indy

She was absolutely awesome for the clinic and continued to be afterwards.

Getting driven on a day that I couldn't muster the energy to ride.
For a couple of weeks. Then, in typical Indy fashion, she decided that she really doesn't need to work that hard just because I ask her and turned to her efforts to pick a fight so that she has a legitimate excuse to act like a heifer. I've been really good about being patient and fair with any corrections, but I've also spent a lot of my rides with every cuss word in the book quietly coming out of my mouth. Hey, I need to vent and it's a lot better than losing it and going bat shit crazy on her. Whatever works. I have no problem getting after a horse when they need it, but doing it in a fit of rage isn't going to help.

On a good note, her ass is looking fantastic!
J is awesome and understands how frustrating it is. Her lessons help so much and she has been really good about helping me remember that I just have to keep riding Indy through it until the little brat figures that she is just making it harder on herself when she acts like a jack ass. I swear this horse is either going to make me or break me.

3. Winn

The rainbow after the storm. Let's hope it's symbolic.
His feet are still sore, but he is starting to get better and I think I can start riding him again soon. All I want is to be able to ride my sweet (and trained) boy.

4. Racing

We have gotten some new horses in and some of the ones that had a break are starting to get fit again. We've had to sell/are selling some of the lower level horses to have room for the new ones. We're actually down to fourteen horses right now, but have one more coming back in from being turned out along with three two year olds that should be making their way to us soon.

Yeah, my chances of getting a vacation in the near future are pretty much nonexistant. I'm certainly not complaining about the business, but I am so DAMN tired! Like the crawl out of bed and partially collapse a few times type of tired. It's not necessarily the physical work, but the mental aspect on top of it. Constantly thinking about what you need to do, what you need to remember, what you need to get, etc. 24/7 for a barn full of horses for years catches up with a person.  Rarely having more than a few hours away from the track can be brutal. There are no breaks, no vacations, not even a day off, to look forward to. Just more work. Every. Single. Day. For the rest of my life. At least, it is feeling that way right now.

At least Butters gets plenty of rest.

There should be a lull between Denver and Phoenix this year, assuming we don't go to Zia (please God, noooo!). Fingers crossed that we can turn all of the horses out for a couple of weeks and get some time off.

Oops! That one got longer than I intended. Apparently, I needed to rant a bit.

Hirsch knows that I'm a complete sucker for him. Even the fiancé admits how much this horse likes me. After we bathed him before his race, the fiancé was holding him out in the sun and Hirsch kept trying to drag him to me. Love this guy so much!

Anyway, I want to do a post about some of the new horses and the challenges they present. As much as I complain about being tired, I do love my job. It's interesting, challenging, and I love the horses.

5. Projects

Hopefully I don't need either trailer in the next couple of days.

I have been working on an art project and a craft project for a couple of friends. Sorry, Jess. I will get it done eventually :) They should be done and shipped soon. I'll post them when they are. Provided that they don't suck, of course.

6. New Blogger Series

I wouldn't forget about you guys :)
I haven't forgotten about all of you awesome newbies out there. I will be getting in touch soon.

Completely off subject here, but to the idiot that cut half of this horse's forelock off: I do not like you. At all. I've never even met you and you make me crazy. That is all.

That's pretty much the general gist of my life lately. Hopefully I can start finding the time to blog more soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rising From the Ashes

It's so nice to be back in Phoenix! This city is such a huge improvement over Hellbuquerque. From the second I pulled in, security was great to deal with (see my security experience at the Downs of Hellbuquerque here) and everyone has been extremely friendly, other than our neighbors that seem to hate us for no reason other than they are bored. Whatever. I can deal with that.

The fiancé galloping Reya

Right now, we have fourteen horses at the track and no groom yet. Needless to say, I've been working my ass off. Fingers crossed that we find one soon because that is a hell of a lot of work for just the two of us.

Indy is settled in at her new barn and I love it there so far. She has a big stall and the place has large turnout areas, a covered arena, a couple other dressage arenas, a training track, a jumping arena, and a pretty awesome looking cross country course (not that I will ever use it, but who knows). There's even more there, I just haven't explored the whole place yet. The trainer and the couple of people that I have met so far have been very welcoming. I'm really excited for my first lesson!

It was hard to leave without Beefs, he's traveled with me so many miles over the years. I wish so much that I still had him with me and miss him every day. I do feel like starting at a new barn will help me get past losing him. I loved it out at JL and MB's, but being in a city and at a track that I like also, makes life as a whole seem much better. It feels like a new start.

So, I guess that's it for tonight. I've fallen behind on everyone's blogs again and am hoping to get caught up as soon as possible!