Thoughts before the New Season Starts

Wow…it’s been ages and nearly an entire SIM season since I’ve blogged here. The new season (31) hasn’t started yet but the whole annual exercise in galloping yearlings got off with a bang. It’s interesting to watch the reactions to the gallops particularly those on the higher ends. There seemed to be quite a few scary goods or specials not to mention a whole slew of Wows/Stakes especially for mixers. Plus even more discussion on whether or not the new addition of the bloodline analyst Eliza Doolittle has been useful or not in terms of improving the quality of yearlings. As if the gallops most accurately reflect the quality of yearlings but that’s a debate that takes place ever season, is what the gallops really mean in the scheme of things in terms of the future racing and breeding careers of these youngsters.

After all, my fastest two year old turf router is Chat Orphan who galloped “okay” but had some nice works.   Comparable to two winged yearlings by Tattered, Tattered Emerald and Tattered Lady.  It remains to be seen how the three of them will run in competition. Will the gallops matter more than the works or will other factors come into play? That’s a source of much discussion as well.

I’m still not convinced that “scary good” or “specials” really exist although they seemed almost to be endemic with mixers especially this season along with the Wows/stakes which seem to be increasing dramatically with the huge influx of new bloodlines in those disciplines which may be a step ahead or behind the influx of new races at all levels including claimers. It seems pretty close at this point and it’ll be interesting to see how those dual aspects of mixer racing continue to play out in this season and others ahead.  For the thoroughbreds, there seemed to be quite a few Wows, not quite as many as two season ago before the game changed to a newer version (4.5) last season.

This season, I had two Wows, down from four last year. None in mixers for the first time in two years and none in the dirt miler division either.  They both seemed somewhat random based more on how the slide drifted than just breeding.

The first I found was black colt who arose from the hot stud Tattered and one of my broodmares Attractive Risk.  I was really happy more for it being out of one of my favorite mares than the Wow itself.  She’s one that some people told me to ditch because of her sire line but I had enjoyed racing her and liked her breeding actually.  I bought her for the first time for $12,000 and ran her a few times and noticed that she favored longer races like two miles along, winning her final two races. Alas, she was claimed for $15,000 likely to serve as a test mare for someone who had just purchased the stallion, The Wilding. I actually own that product Attractively Wild and race her in bottom level claimers.

I’m a sucker for buying back my own horses and I bought back Attractive risk for $15,000 (her claim price) at auction along with another mare I liked named Eleos. Attractive Risk was retired so I bred her to Streamer and got Royal Tassel.  I thought I messed up a bit with her breeding a long router to Streamer who also likes to go long but Royal Tassel’s been pretty nice.  She broke her maiden at three when she started moving up to a 1 1/4 miles and placed second in a sponsored stakes and fourth in a Grade I. She spent the rest of the year trying to pick up wins and will start out this year in a nonwinners race in India.  After that she’ll move up to a 1 1/2 mile race which will probably be more her speed.

She’ll race a couple of years and then retire for breeding and hopefully will do well.

Attractive Risk’s second foal for me was Risk to Burn the result of a second breeding to the soon to pension The Wilding. Didn’t work out quite well. But she won a claimer first time out before I sold her.

Next was Carole Lombard by Precipice who I hoped would infuse some speed in her long routing ability. In her works, she also favored longer routes and though I liked her a lot, I sold her at auction because I felt at that point overwhelmed with too many horses.  I think she’ll do well especially when she stretches out at three.

I bred her to Tattered because he’s a very nice turf runner and he’s fast.  He seemed a good choice for Attractive Risk who’s mostly strong. I like him to test cross with other mares including multi-surface mares and have had good results breeding him so far with the first aforementioned ones to race later this season.  Plus he seemed to cross well with both Three of Crowns offspring and Feature Attraction which dominate Attractive Risk’s pedigree.

Don’t know what to make of Wows really…my only two that raced (and remained Wows) both placed second in the mixers’ portion of the Steward’s Cup this year.

The other Wow/Stakes was interesting. This dark bay filly by Dr. Ghazi, a brand new stud who excelled on dirt but especially all weather.  Not surprising given his pedigree.   I bred him to three mares, including one by Magician and another, was Never Leaves, my very first Steward bred purchase.  But it was Proud Eclair that produced the Wow with this brand new stud. I purchased her at auction for $12,500 when she was a yearling and she’s by multi-surface sire Life Worth Living and out of an End of the Line mare named Creme Brulee. I wound up owning her as well and recently pensioned her. She had a rating from the Eliza Doolittle chick of having no potential for either flat or chase racing and that she’d be lucky if she had produced even one winner.  Well she produced two in Proud Eclair and Columbine (by Rocky Mountain) but they each only won once apiece.

Proud Eclair only worked and raced on the all weather so it’s not clear whether she had potential either on the dirt or turf. She had dirt/AW on one side and turf/AW on the other.  But with her first foal, she produced a wow by a dirt/AW racer and possibly sire as well.

I insured her filly mostly because I’d go nuts if she got permanently injured before I found out where she might like to excel given that I love the multi-surface horses.

So those were my two yearling Wows/Stakes and it seemed a bit daunting that so many others had those types of horses and scary goods/specials by the dozens.  Still, it remains to be seen how well they’ll do on the race track given that they’re so many of them especially right now.  Imagine dozens of Wow or higher dirt routers going at it, you’ll probably see faster races but most of those horses are going to lose more than once because if you have 10 Wows in a field, only one of them can prevail.

In actuality, their performances can vary as I’ve discovered with my own horses that fall in that category.

Fanning the Flames  I purchased this son of Steward’s Cup Marathon winner Worth the Effort and Symbol mare Fading Fire for $125,000 as a two year old in training. He was kind of the casualty of my inexperience mapping out stakes campaigns, poor guy  but he managed to make more than twice his purchase price back despite that.  He’s still my personal favorite.

Fiona Corona  She’s by Goldmine and out of my CAM Fiona Springs and became my first Wow homebred. The fact that she loves running buck naked makes her easier and pretty fun to campaign. I was conservative with her at two but she placed second in stakes competition, earned some money and then crashed and burned at the Steward’s Cup.  She came back at three and something just happened, she got faster. She didn’t place highly all the time but ran fast in races where the first 7-8 places are within a length or two. She did win the Feta Cheese Stakes against older to prep her for the SC but I hadn’t even planned to run her. I skipped the female quarter championships not so much to duck the other females but b/c she filled out the field but had the lowest points so I worried that she might get bumped out of the field by a last minute entry. So I put her in the open quarters championship b/c in a nine horse field, that’s not as much a problem plus it was a little bit softer than the female side. She sprinted her eyeballs out and finished a close second to the eventual male champion with a 76 speed figure. She’ll be back this season with bells on.

B Ball Dashin  is a colt out of the new standout sire Driven Dashin who was a good alternative when Dbacks was benched with infertility and Dbacks mares were looking for a sire for their offspring in a discipline that’s still got growing pains.  B Ball Star was a daughter of Dbacks I purchased and ran briefly before retiring to breed.  She’s got three foals on the ground, two wows and a winged, not bad.  B Ball Dashin had a really good first season unlike Fiona Corona but unlike her, he needed two pieces of equipment and being new to QH racing, it’s a toss up between  racing with the one or trying out additions which could hurt the horse’s performance in hopes of landing the right combination.  B Ball Dashin got his butt kicked in the match race style SC race but still had a good year.  I don’t think he’ll get a four week break before next year’s rendition but hopefully that second piece will be nailed by then.

Blue Jeans Baby was my first TB Wow although alas when the game switched to 4.5, she became a wing. Still, she’s been an exciting filly to handle benefiting greatly from the crossing of Voracious with an Original Tough Guy mare which has turned out quite well for quite a few breeders.  Hafi Adai won one race in 15 starts and not while I owned her. Towards the end of her career I tried to get her claimed at Dropping Downs but fortunately for me, there were no takers as she’s been a useful broodmare. Her offspring are mostly dirt milers with some AW ability (as Blue Jeans Baby clocked in at around 49.04 for four furlongs) thanks to both her sire and also grandsire Loki Dynasty.  Blue Jeans Baby worked decently but not spectacular as a yearling but even while she dropped to a wings at two, she greatly reduced her four furlong dirt work to 46.04. She became my first youngster to be insured.  When she hit the track, she ran second twice with two good speed figures and then won with a 72 before finishing out the year with another win, this time at a “mild drive” and a speed figure of 76.  She’ll probably start out in an allowance by week three.

Kentucky Sunlight was purchased as a yearling at auction for $450,000 and she’s a daughter of Reis who’s kind of an interesting if mixed up sire. Her dam Kentucky Hello by Kentucky Trophy just died. She broke her maiden first time out at a mile but then I broke her with a seventh place finish in the Olympics Stakes race and she’s not quite come back from that yet partly due to equipment issues. She’s needing lasix but so far that second piece is elusive. Next time out she’s wearing earmuffs. She’s got lousy starts and fades at the finish so hopefully the noise is just freaking her out a bit.

Bridge Jumper:  This is a filly by a nice sire named Big Gamble and out of another Original Tough Guy mare named Original American only it’s spelled wrong.  She ran a base 46.16 but when she combined her shadow row and tongue tie, she wound up running 45.88 on the dirt and 48.88 on the all weather. She’ll be starting around week eight on the dirt.

unnamed QH filly–She’s by Sunny Attitude and out of B Ball Star (who produced B Ball Dashin) and it’s a shame that the stud’s owner had a dust up about something and gelded his stud in protest. I avoid 99% of the drama on the SIM  mostly because I already did high school and also because there’s still many nice people to converse with there but gelding a stud…to each his own I guess. Anyway, this filly is another that needs two pieces of equipment but hopefully the hind wraps and tongue tie will do it. She’s probably going to start out with the 650 yard races just to see how she does at that shorter distance given her sire’s pedigree.

unnamed TB filly:  I can’t name this filly to save my life but she’s out of Boise’s final crop and I believe that Boise seriously will go out with a bang.  She’s out of Career Performance who I bought for $50K when the Steward put her on the sales page where she stayed for two seconds. She’s a half to Queen of the Broodmares, Now and it took forever for me to do anything good breeding wise with her but Boise did the trick, her filly worked very, very well. Hopefully, she’ll race well as she’ll start out at the dirt mile…with a name by then.

Play the Saints: He was a nice surprise out of a “formidable” Automobile mare in Santa Susana. He’s by the very hot stud Adjust the Sound and he’s a very good worker. He’s set to start in short sprints early in the season and was insured even after he avoided the bucked shins.

So Wows have done okay in my barn, but then I’ve done pretty well with wings too as the majority of the stakes horses are winged or great and a bulk of the money earning runners are “nice” or “okay”.   I got into a couple discussions and I think some folks almost sounded horrified that I wasn’t jettisoning my claimers because the focus is after all supposed to be on winning stakes, Steward Cups and SIMMYs.  But the fact is, for the majority of us it takes a long time to get to those places, and it’s the claimers often most that pay the bills.  One way to raise money to be able to buy a nice Steward Bred or breed a nice horse is through the earnings of your runners at all different levels.

The Steward’s Cup turned out much better this year than last year. I stayed away from the thoroughbred division except for all weather where I dropped in La Bella Dame in the SC Synthetic  Marathon.  She was fifth in the shorter and  all-girl Matron last year but she likes to run a distance of ground. She ran on the turf twice and finished first in an allowance and third in the Black Sands Stakes before prepping with a 1 1/2 mile foray in a dirt stakes.  She did win the 1000 Ships Stakes in her best performance yet before scoring a nice fourth against males in the Marathon. She’ll be back this year mostly because she’s fun to race and alas, so far it doesn’t look like Chretiens’ daughters produce much in the shed. That’ll give me a year to think about what might work for her in that second career.

Next year, as far as the Steward’s Cup, I hope to send B Ball Dashin and Fiona Corona back.  I’ll probably nominate two all-weather milers in Tim McGee and Glimmer of Ice to run possibly in the all weather mile race. I wish that they had two races divided by gender because I’ve had females I’d like to enter but not in an open race.  Though ironically, the all weather miler division seems mostly female dominated.   Glimmer of Ice (by Even in the Snow) won and placed in stakes at three and hopefully will be like Haze of Winter and like being four or five better.  But while she’s pretty solid, so far she’s not been very speedy.  Tim McGee’s a fun son of End Result who likes to do dirt and all weather from the mile to the routes but while he’s hit the board for the most part in his races, all his wins have been at the AW mile.  He pulled a surprise with a nice second place finish in the Storm of Sound Stakes where he blazed a 76.   That woke me up.  He might run in the Bad Weather Stakes if he vets well after his big race or he’ll stay in Sunday Park and do an allowance. Glimmer of Ice is going to run in the Good Weather Stakes.

Esme Cullen a daughter of Fang and a Magician mare named Magic Flame looked good last year placing third in the Juvenile Fillies Bound Stakes on AW and hopefully she’ll improve this year along with Deserves a Sundae a daughter of Deserves a Shot who picked up her racing at year’s end. She’ll be facing a tough crowd likely in stakes company during week two.

As far as what’s called the “real” SC races, probably not sending any horses unless Play the Saints turns out to be really good or Blue Jeans Baby steps it up….or…

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About Butterfly Collective

I'm just an ordinary person doing ordinary things in a not so ordinary world
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