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Asmussen Reaches In To Take Maiden Claimer Carve; First Samurai Colt Posts Rapid 6.08 FF Winning Debut

By Warren Eves

After watching first time starter Carve kick home to win at first out I went to Oaklawn Park’s third race chart on Jan., 25.

Sure enough Carve had been claimed out of  the maiden $30,000 1-mile and a sixteenth.  Dropping the claim slip in the box was none other than trainer Steve Asmussen for Michael Lansford.

It may have been only the first lifetime start for the 3-year-old gelded son of First Samuri but the effort certainly impressed this hardened observer.

Owned and bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, and readied at the Faigrounds in New Orleans, Carve looked every bit like he was worth much more than that his $30,000 maiden claiming tag.  When he was urged left-handed mid stretch he kicked home in an eye opening 6.08 final fraction.  It’s true the early fractions of the race were on the slow side but there’s no denying trainer Albert Stall probably wishes he hadn’t lost him.  Then again, who are we to question the motives of trainer Stall who does so many things right.  It would be interesting to know why Carve’s factions didn’t debut him in a straight maiden race.

Carve was hung wide on the first turn.  He was always out from the rail making his way down the backstretch.  Carve began his run out of fourth to the top of the lane.  It wasn’t until Victor Lebron cut him left-handed that Carve took off to win by a widening 4 lengths.

Notes scribbled across my official program–Went to the Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan., 24 when a number of turf races were carded.  Good weather was the order of the day but all those turf races came off.  Talked with Charlie “Vagabond” Fay who was working saddling paddock and word was the course was still too soft to allow turf racing.  What a shame…………..Same old story in paddock, Keith Desormeaux can be found in the saddling arena looking at legs almost every race.  He’s off to a good start in New Orleans this winter………….Fay says his favorites out of the jocks’ room would be Richard Eramia, Mark Guidry and Miguel Mena……………….Went up to the clubhouse level for most of the day.  Had opportunity to listen to the babbling of Katie Mikolay, who somehow got the job of post race analysis.  She continues to bring absolutely nothing to the table when it comes to insight any bettor might be interested in.  Her picks are the same vanilla offering as last year.  If you do look at the past performances almost every opinion she offers seems to match the top Beyer numbers in each race.  How do people like this get commentator jobs?  If Ms. Mikolay were to get off the dime and visit the backstretch and take notes of in the paddock behavior like Maggie Wolfendale in New York, then you”d have something worth watching and listening to.  The Fairgrounds is obviously not paying attention to what Mikolay is rambling on about prior to each race…………..How about team Maggi Moss and trainer Chris Richards?  Wow!  They teamed for another profitable run and win on Jan., 24 at Oaklawn Park when Breckenridge romped off the claim.  The eight-year-old gelding was taken for $10,000 off Roger Engel and won nicely.  We looked at the race again several days later and wound up using three out of the race for the future.  Breckenridge got away clean from post 9 and after 50 yards came in to slam into Brassy And Proud.  He settled in sixth.  Breckenridge then made this impressive four-wide move around the turn.  He gained the lead and won clear and we won’t be surprised if he wins right back.  I’m told Richards used to assist one of the Dutrow boys and that’s how Moss wound up with horses with him. Barham, who was second, is also worth a look next out exiting the same race.  From post two he veered in sharply to be away next to last.  Barham skirted the rail moving to the half and then was locked in while blocked on the turn.  He salvaged second in a BTL’d race for sure……….In reviewing the fifth race at Oaklawn on Jan., 24 we noted no claims were made.  Trainer Allen Milligan dropped My Time To Star and shortened the Illinois-bred son of Five Star Day up.  He broke alert, raced head and head with two other foes, then turned back Moon On Fire’s bid into the lane.  The four-wrapper went gamely late and appears to like the Oaklawn Park layout.  He could be good for another……………Don’t know what to make of the handy maiden $40,000 claiming winner Devil’s Blush on Jan., 25.  The four-year-old filly raced in four wraps, was slow away from the barrier and bumped between foes to trail early.  She cruised up in wide path to be fourth.  Once in the straight Devil’s Blush took the lead and finished drawing out while trying and reaching.  These are the kind of graduation runs which leaves even the most hardened horse handicappers wondering what next?……………………Was not surprised by the outcome of the Holy Bull even though I probably wanted to see Rosie Napravnik win it.  I was immensely impressed with Itsmyluckyday when he won his prior race.  I liked what his trainer said after his last race.  Ed Plesa said he was not going to get too high and they would see what happens.  Plesa told jockey Elvis Trujillo not to be wide on the turns.  ”I just wanted to see the best horse win the race,” said Plesa to Claire Novak of the Bloodhorse after the Holy Bull.  ”I believe that’s what happened today.” ……………….Just to let you know not all improvement efforts make my list of playbacks.  For instance the second place effort of Run Withthe Ladies in the fourth on Jan., 25, was an example.  She was dropped from state-bred maiden race down to maiden $25,000 when the blinkers were removed.  She was jostling an inside foe early while 8th, scooted up between foes to be 5th, and steadied while blocked early in the stretch.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is a senior turf writer from the state of California who calls Pearl River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy the late Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, is known for his video tape scrutiny. He currently monitors horse racing in for a major horseplayer. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. His book "Hold All Tickets" is soon to be made available for those who come to this site. It's a factual account of actual events and happenings that took place in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If Warren doesn't know the answer to a question you may have, he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you.


4 Responses to “Asmussen Reaches In To Take Maiden Claimer Carve; First Samurai Colt Posts Rapid 6.08 FF Winning Debut”

  1. Warren Eves says:

    Mark: As you already know I spent most of my adult turf writing career on the West Coast covering Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and the once great Pomona Fair(Fairplex, etc) meet. Sadly, those factions who control things like the TOC(Thoroughbred Owners of California) have methodically made the circuit a greed feed. The recently concluded meet out in Pomona was a sad situation. It wasn’t a wisp of what that meet used to be. No more shippers from the gyps around the country, just a bunch of also rans from the recently concluded Del Mar meet. It is not what many of us used to look forward to, not close! Now the word is, and you best hope this does not happen, that sometime early next year the California circuit(if you can call it that) will go to a three days a week slate. It’s a sad state of affairs when you have somone like Rick Hammerle allowed to continue as the head of Santa Anita racing. He’s never had the background, nor does he realize how he and the members of the TOC have turned the circuit into second class racing. Trust me on this one. If they continue down the leaderless path they are currently on you will see a mass exodus from SoCal to other parts of the country. You cannot expect those who choose to stay in the horse racing business to make ends meet on three day a week racing. In the meantime I will continue to watch the development of apprentice jockey Nicolas by my longtime friend agent Vince DeGregory. It’s about the only thing I look forward to in California these days. This young man has a great attitude, is a great worker, and should give Vince a lot of good paydays before he loses his weight allowance. In the meantime I will continue to monitor races in New York and connected meets while attending the races at the famed Fairgrounds here in New Orleans.

  2. C.Fay says:

    Maybe your right Rebel Eves

  3. Warren Eves says:

    Charlie: She may be a pretty lady and married to the assistant trainer but she simply rambles on and on about the obvious for those who waste their time to listen. It is obvious she spends little or no time on the backstretch, or obtaining observations and quotes from those she is in contact with, and that is why her rambling babbles are a waste of airtime. I never am critical of those who do a lot of preparation before they pick up the microphone. Being pretty is not a good reason to put someone on camera. There are a number of capable lady commentators who to have something the bettor may be interested in. It’s just one more example of how racetrack managers of this day place little importance on what is said by their pre-race hosts. I have said the same thing about linemaker Jon White at Santa Anita. Nice guy but nobody gives a whack about the grand sire of a lower bracket claimer. It’s just not something that has one ioita of importance.

  4. C.Fay says:

    Katie’s comments are for first time track goers-they are hoping to get them to come back

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