By Warren Eves
Tiger Bourbon and Always Curious could impact the famed Saratoga meet.
Remember when Big Brown was 6 for 6 in 2008 and looked unbeatable going into the Belmont? Most of the experts felt he would surely become the 12th Triple Crown champion in history. Affirmed was the last to pull it off in 1978. International Equine Acquisitions Holdings was the majority owner of Big Brown going in. His factions were wheeling and dealing like horse racing circles had never seen before.
Just like that…..everything went poof!!!!.
Big Brown, whose feet issues were the focus of most, was eased on the far turn by jockey Kent Desormeaux. The incredible roll for both Big Brown and his controversial trainer Rick Dutrow was over. Then came a space of time, and many appeals, Big Brown’s trainer Dutrow was banned in October of 2011 after nearly 70 violations.
Season three for Big Brown runners may get the sire as much attention as he was five years ago.
Tiger Bourbon took a maiden turf 6-furlong race at Belmont July 12, a quality eight horse field likely to be a productive one. He broke on top and raced wide early while not far back of the leader. Once into the straight Tiger Bourbon came out a tad under mild urging and brushed with General Jack. He got to the finish ahead by a 1/2 length.
Eddie Kenneally saddled Tiger Bourbon.
We also liked the effort second place finisher General Jack. We believe third place finisher Bashart has a license to move forward. He’s got a good chance of winning the next time he surfaces. Most likely it will be up the road in Saratoga Springs. This heat may wind up producing more than several good efforts the next time they are led over.
On the next day of racing another Big Brown colt caught our attention at Colonial Downs. Always Curious had lengths of trouble, was far wide off the top and far out of it, only to surge in awesome fashion to win. There’s no doubt the colt he ran down named Afleet Bandit will continue to improve. Afleet Bandit has gotten better with each start since Graham Motion took over the training from D. Wayne Lukas. He was claimed when third at Churchill Downs and went to Motion. Let’s get back to the colt that beat Motion’s colt.
If you want to see an impressive maiden run go back and pull up the 10th race at Colonial Downs, three races after War Dancer won the Virginia Derby over Charming Kitten and Jack Milton. The aforementioned Afleet Bandit took the lead and set a comfortable early pace. In appeared in mid stretch Afleet Bandit had it in the bag. He was well clear. Then it happened.
Always Curious, who had only two beat early, was full of run to begin the run off the first turn. Racing between horses down the back straight he was checked moving to the far turn. That’s where his rider wheeled him outside. Always Curious was at least eight wide and received an unheard of (-3-1/2) number the way I chart races. Far back entering the stretch he staged a huge late surge and was up to win by a half. In the process he posted an awesome LF(last fraction) of 6.19. It was an effort “extraordinaire!”
If the weather doesn’t get ugly, this summer meet at the spa should find juvenile racing back where it was years ago.
Notes scribbled across my official program–Spin The King, a Canadian-bred son of Giant Gizmo, sure did catch our eye while scoring a maiden win in the Clarendon at Woodbine on July 7. Making his first start for trainer Brian Lynch(trained by Robert B. Martin when 2nd making debut) I liked the kind way Spin the King rated in behind the leaders early, split horses off the top, and responded to mainly hand scrubbing to win narrowly……………………..In reviewing a number of races at Woodbine on July 7, a very good first time ever run was noted in race four. A sophomore gelding named Csonka ran too good to lose when making his debut at the difficult distance of 6-1/2. From the rail he got away cleaning but lugged out as he crossed the gap, something a lot of horses will do. He then skirted up the fence and gained a short lead. Inside two on the turn and having the look of a winner in the stretch, Csonka tired in the final 60 yards and faded to second. An outside draw next time may find this guy running even better in a straight maiden race………………….Most horseplayers had to like the debut winning run of Eddie Plesa’s Run for Logistics when scoring by 5-1/2 over nine maiden special weight rivals in race six at Monmouth on July 7. I must have watched the re-run of this five furlong race 25 times. I’ve reviewed tens of thousands races on video tape over a long period of time. What if I told you I think I spotted something that we may be able to capitalize on next time out. A first time starter It’s John’s Turn finished a non threatening eighth–never being a factor at any point. Over and over I watched the horses gallop out. Impossible, I said to myself. It’s John’s Turn had beaten but two and yet there he was galloping out into the turn with the impressive eventual winner. He broke from post eight and was outrun early and showed no run. So what brought about the solid gallop out. Kevin Nichol is the trainer and it will be interesting to see if this observation pans out on the Afleet Alex colt who figures to be sent off at boxcars when he makes his second try in a pari-mutuel race…………………Joyce Young’s Judy G appears ready to graduate off her last run for Barclay Tagg. She saved ground, moved away from the rail to the top, and then loomed up in the one-mile turf test to lose a tough one while being packed out late. Her stablemate Giftie Gie won the race and galloped out strongly on July 12 at Belmont……………….Rafael Bejarano and Ed Maldonado tie for leading rider at Hollypark. That tells you all you need to know how badly the quality of riders has slipped in SoCal. Neither one of these riders would be in the top five if they were to move their tack to New York or Florida……………….In 2002 the AQHA got an out of court settlement. The ruling allowed breeders to register embryo-transfer foals. By transferring embryos from one mar to a surrogate, breeders can produce multiple foals. Only one foal, however, was eliglbe for AQHA registration each year………………..Being a former newspaperman I note some of them are encrypting exclusive stories. On June 23, for instance, “In The Grip Of A Vicious Drug Cartel” was the headline in the Orange County Register in Southern California. It was written by Scott M. Reid. Former quarter horse trainer Adan Farias was charged with being a main player in a money laundering scheme. It is not the position anyone would want to be in. Reportedly Farias trained for the Los Zetas, a powerful drug cartel which has a reputation of killing anyone who gives them reason. By testifying Farias “has put his life in danger” wrote Reid. The good news is the announcement that came our way via The Daily Beast late on July 15. Mexico had arrested Miguel Angel Laredo, known as “Z-40″, the most feared head of the drug cartel……...Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner in 1919, was trained by H. Guy Bedwell. The most amazing TC stat? Gallant Fox(1930) and Omaha(1935) gave Belair Stud Triple Crown wins and both were trained by Sonny Jim Fitzsimmons.