By Warren Eves
Sometimes the Trackman’s comments don’t tell the whole story.
Take the featured eighth race on Jan., 27 at Oaklawn Park as an example.
Two fillies made my Virtual Stable list–third place finisher Regal Joanne(3.00-to-1) and sixth place finisher Southern Symphony(32.70-to-1).
Here’s what the footnotes under the chart for race eighth on January 27 reported.
“Regal Joanne behind the pace, raced in some traffic two off the inside in the turn, lacked room with a furlong to run, got through, finished up with late interest to be in time for the show. Southern Symphony behind the pace, in traffic along the rail in the turn, lacked room a furlong out, moved out, even finish.”
My Virtual Stable comment for Regal Joanne was logged as follows: BTL’d 3rd; away straight and true from gate, 2nd open stages, settled 4th, blocked to top(-1-1/2), never really found clear running lane(-1) until too late and saved show; 1-27. The official chart will have her beaten 3 lengths but she actually never had a fair chance of winning when running for a claim price of $62,500.
My Virtual Stable comment regarding Southern Shmphony was logged as follows: Rider probably made a wise decision to save her for another day after this horrible trip; broke clean from p2 but was not quick(-1) and 7th early, eased up fence, locked in 5th on turn(-1), blocked to top(-1), squeezed in tight to fence(-1-1/2) in stretch, use in exotics next out vs. similar. She was finishing sixth beaten 5-1′2 lengths. Most likely she will be ignored at the windows the next time she surfaces. She’s worth using off this bad trip.
Keep in mind the person who calls the charts during live action performs a difficult job. Even though he can refer to the video replay when in doubt, he writes his comments in only a few minutes time. I’ve known some of the best of chart callers over the years. Not everyone is capable of doing the difficult job. For most part the Trackman does great work.
We’ve been doing trip notes for many years. It was clocker John Wilson(who is still at it in California) who encouraged me to add a lengths lost notation in my commentary. We keep our “consistently conservative” lengths lost notations inside parenthesis(??).
Notes scribbled across my official program–Just reviewed race 9 at Oaklawn on Jan., 25 and realized Bluegrass Type, second in the $7,500 claimer, was ridden by a new face. He’s an 18-year-old named Alex Canchari. ”I wanted to be a jockey my whole life,” Canchari said on a video put out by Oaklawn Park.……………………I found it hard to believe a four-year-old named In Jeopardy had failed to break his maiden in 10 times. But that is the case for the Randy Morse trained olt who finished third the first two times he stepped onto a racetrack at Ellis Park. The fitted In Jeopardy with the hood on Jan., 26. He was dropping to an all-time low level in a maiden $15,000 claimer. After breaking from post 7 he was bumped hard from both flanks. That incident alone, would have been curtains for most horses. In Jeopardy still had the lick to gain a short lead outside one foe. He cleared by two lengths into the turn. In Jeopardy tired late under right-hand urging and finished second for the second time in his career. If In Jeopardy had avoided getting slammed after the start he probably would have graduated……………..Jude Feld: ”It is highly possible a few of the good colts won’t get into the Kentucky Derby.” That’s what my friend Jude tweeted on Tuesday, Jan., 29. You’ve already heard my rants about bad upper management team at Churchill Downs so why bother? These people are arrogant. No other way to say it, and they do not listen to constructive suggestions that I used to pass their way…………………..Kudos to Barry Irwin who I have known since our days way back when in California racetrack press boxes. He took the morons at the TOC(Thoroughbred Owners of California) to task in a piece he wrote in the Thoroughbred Daily News(Jan., 29). ”The drug problem in California is not Lasix.” Irwin wrote. ”The drug problem in California is any drug that is used on race day. If Bute were allowed and not Lasix, then Bute would be the problem. The problem remains that Lasix is still a drug and racing has a drug problem. So TOC, and Dr. D(Dr. Mark Dedomenico) stop wasting your resources and energy trying to win a battle that in the end will sink our ship. I urge you to stop pouting and throwing tantrums because somebody is trying to take away your horse candy.” Amen Barry. I couldn’t have said it any better…………..Maybe it was by design, maybe not, but when Albert Stall sent Limonte around two turns for the first time it resulted in a bad trip on Jan., 26 in New Orleans. Limonte, who had won his debut at Churchill Downs and then ran fourth at the Fairgrounds, had good early lick to lead. Victor Lebron then eased him back early on the backstretch. It could have been by design but what happened was not good. Limonte was locked in and got backed up badly to be sixth on the fence to the top. By the time. He was sixth in deep stretch and once they angled away from the inside he appeared to have run. Limonte should benefit from the experience………………The internet never ceases to amaze me. Ran across a tweet regarding the call of the 1935 Kentucky Derby. Sure enough, the call of that race was made by my late friend Bryan Field. And there-in lies the story. When I was a young man who in my early years as publicity and advertising director of Saratoga Raceway, Mr. Field was my my advisor as was the late Stan Bergstein. I was invited to visit Waterford Park where I met with John Edwards. The track owner made me a job offer, complete with all the perks, that was hard to believe. In those days I called Mr. Field before making any decision. The conversation was short and sweet. Here was Mr. Field’s response to my question about the job offer: “Son, if you liken to take that job, don’t ever call me for advice again.” He hung the phone up. He was gone. Mr. Field didn’t mince his words. I took his advice. Edwards raced under the Fourth Estate Stable name………………..This just in via the internet from Rodd William Stowell in Nevada where he operates a radio station. Rodd is one of the best harness handicappers in the land. He used to play The Meadowlands regularly, and did right well. Then things got a little hairy last year and he didn’t play as regularly. Business is way up at the Meadowlands this year because the operator is catering to the big players. We call them “whales” in Las Vegas. Here’s what Rodd had to say about the current up trend at The Meadowlands: “And after last year it’s bleakest year of existence to put all that money in for the new building, and increasing to 3 nights, they should continue to push and go to 4, and get all the regular players back. By the races being so competitive it’s fun to watch. I hope to go back for the Hambo this year, and then head to Saratoga.”