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Bad Blogger is very busy and tired and should be reading or studying or working or something, but I just thought I would say:

Winter Memories vs. Summer Soiree. I need it like breathing.


I finally had the chance to really watch the Del Mar Futurity this morning which, if you’re a regular reader, you will know caused me to spaz out like a spaz on the first watch-through. Well, normally when a race intrigues me I watch it about a squillion times and pick it apart–like a spaz–until I’ve memorized the flight path of most of the horses that ran. Often when I do this, the lustre of the first go-round fades a little because I come to understand the luck of the trip, or the little mistakes the jockeys made, or whatever.

Not this time.

This wild and wacky Futurity only gets better with age. New things I noticed? First, how many runs Drill made. Bob Baffert said that Martin Garcia was supposed to teach the promising youngster how to rate in the Futurity, and boy howdy did he: tracking beautifully in the third flight, Drill shot up on the rail on the backstretch, actually lost some ground on the turn only to swing out and kick like he meant it in the stretch. A very promising aspect of this run was how well he kicked despite a) not being bred or really looking like a horse who would like the polytrack and b) the unforgiving-to-kickers nature of Del Mar in particular. You’re not supposed to get away with losing ground on the turn at this racetrack. This is the second time Drill has done so.

And of course: the incident in deep stretch. Shying from a left-handed whip, Majestic City (who had the lead in mid-stretch as five horses lined up imposingly across the racetrack) bolted to the outside. He crashed first into favoured Creative Cause, who checked hard but could not avoid collision with Drill. So it was that Creative Cause’s shoulder slammed full-force into Drill’s haunch, which twisted wildly out for a single stride before the son of Lawyer Ron called upon his evidently boundless athleticism and not only righted himself but won the photo finish with Majestic City. Majestic City was then disqualified to third behind Creative Cause.

In the usual side-view replay you can’t really see the full extent of the incident except inasmuch as it affected Creative Cause. To really appreciate it, you gotta see the front view, which plays after the race in the video I linked above. And then have a look at this spectacular photograph by Benoit Photo.

Baffert has announced that Drill’s road to the Breeders’ Cup will pass through the GI Norfolk Stakes at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. But despite having just won a Win And You’re In BC Challenge race, the son of Lawyer Ron is not Breeders’ Cup nominated; his owners will have to fork out a hundred thousand dollars to make him so. I don’t imagine they’ll want to do that until after the Norfolk, which will be Drill’s first race on natural dirt. I don’t think they’ll have much to worry about; the horse runs like a dirt horse, comes from many lines of dirt horses (Lawyer Ron, Storm Cat, Fappiano, Lord Avie) and lives under the tutelage of a trainer who has made the transition from poly to dirt both a work of art and a casual habit.

But the best part of all this? I get to fall in love with a two-year-old. I really do. In an age dominated by one-hit wonders and babies made of porcelain, Bob Baffert is one of the few trainers left who can keep a horse sturdy, fast and dollar-sound for years. Lookin at Lucky won the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk, then ran second in the Juvenile and won the CashCall Futurity before being crowned two-year-old Champion, only to come back and win the Eclipse as a three-year-old as well; it’s not as though this is the road less traveled for Baffert’s horses. I don’t have to worry about Drill breaking, as a horse in the care of Todd Pletcher or Steve Asmussen would be almost guaranteed to do. If Drill is the real deal, and boy does he run like it, he could be the Derby favourite in December and remain so until May. He could set early light to the Derby fires, ignite the spark that is so quick to douse itself these days. He could really be special, and tough enough to prove it.

And in a day and age like this, that’s goddamn exciting as hell.

For the record, my favourite babies of the season are:

Colt: Drill
Filly: Miss Netta
Though if I employ my logic gland, I’m stuck between My Miss Aurelia, Millionreasonswhy, Stopshoppingmaria and Weemissfrankie as well as Miss Netta, who’s only a debut winner for now. But Miss Netta made me some monies when I pegged her at 7-1 and beat her field with surprising authority, so maybe the racing gods will smile on me with her as they did with Munnings (Munniiiiiings).

Okay, so on Haskell day Bob Baffert was all depressed and sadface because this two-year-old whose debut he’d been all giddy and excited over did not go well. In fact, it went godawful. The horse ran like a claimer and finished eighth. Of course, Coil then won the Haskell looking like Point Given, and so the two-year-old was more or less forgotten.

Fast forward to August 13th, and Drill quietly wins his second start, shooting clear at the three-sixteenths and just holding on for the win. Baffert must have seen something he liked in the performance, despite the quickly-vanishing nature of Drill’s winning margin, because he entered him in the grade one Del Mar Futurity this evening.

With baby Thoroughbreds weaving wildly across the track, slamming into each other with the full force of their massive and still-growing bodies, here was Drill. Carrying the now extremely familiar red and gold silks borne by Lookin at Lucky and Coil, he sat off the pace this time and swung out wide into the stretch for Martin Garcia. And then, with five two-year-olds stretched across the track, it was only a matter of who could kick hardest. In the end, while favourites Creative Cause and Majestic City wrestled just to his inside, the son of Lawyer Ron and a member of his only crop made the lunge that counted.

And stopped the clock in track record time.

That’s right. Faster than The Factor.


Omg. Fillies. Enough with the heart attacks you’re giving me. And stop making me cry, geez.

So, now, Jerry Hollendorfer: your move.

If I still had the patience to put tags on posts like a regular person, I would have created one for “bad blogger” by now. Instead, I will use the fact that I haven’t as extra proof of how bad a blogger I truly am.

In any case, a ton has happened since the last time I posted, which was approximately forever ago. Stay Thirsty has become the frontrunner to win the Eclipse Award for three-year-old champion; depending especially on what happens at Saratoga this weekend, his most formidable competition for Horse of the Year will almost certainly come from Blind Luck and Havre de Grace. That was probably the case anyway, but with Grace running in the Woodward and by proxy Blind Luck’s record against her, this is the perfect opportunity for the star fillies to cement their position as the most talented older horses in the country. Anyone who has been watching Bad Blogger for any length of time will already know that I’m head over heels in love with little Lucky and will slobber and cry like a little girl whenever she does anything. If she does enough to get the big one, you may never hear from my puddle-shaped remains again.

I’m with Steve Haskin on Uncle Mo: go for the gold. Run in the Penn Derby and the Classic. What this horse did, coming back from an excruciatingly painful condition to run like the devil in a prestigious Saratoga GI in his first race back, is nothing short of heroic. He made my mother cry. And since all sorts of sounds are coming from the Repole Camp that Mo will probably not run as a four-year-old (which causes me great pangs of grief), there is absolutely no reason not to try and gun it to the finish line. Haskin says it better than I could; his column is here. There is, of course, the argument that the Dirt Mile may attract Shackleford, Sidney’s Candy, Twirling Candy and The Factor–which would make it a stellar contest even without Mo–but… can you imagine?

No Overdriven in the Hopeful this weekend, which means that this “GI” will host a field essentially of maiden winners. J C’s Pride set a track record in his score, but as a son of lights-out sprinter Henny Hughes he doesn’t appear to have much of a future as a sophomore Classic contender and, should he win the Hopeful, will provide more of a preview of next year’s sprint division. You know, assuming he doesn’t break before then. Is it obvious I’m a little bitter about modern baby training methods?

And while I’m talking about things that make me bitter, JOCKEYS: stop being morons. What is with all the domestic violence, anger management problems and DUIs? Coa, Albarado, Smith, Borel, Desormeaux, Baze… When I have zillions of monies and train all the racehorses, I will instantly fire any jock that behaves like an idiot who is allergic to common sense. Bravado and testosterone: two reasons my sentimental-favourite jockeys are Rosie Napravnik and Kayla Stra (and Chantal don’t feel left out I love you too my main Canadian lady). Oh, and also I have a problem with the weight system that pushes these people to abuse themselves and probably doesn’t help the psychological situation, but that’s a subject for a whole other blog or six.


The Factor is a massive, certified badass? Yeah. That’ll do. Dear Factor: I’m sorry about the name but I love you anyway. One day I will own a son of yours and I will call him Faux News. And maybe Tide Goes In or Can’t Explain That.

I’m so bad.

With any luck, Bad Blogger won’t be so Bad in the coming weeks and will actually pay attention to the things which are happening. In the meantime, a bombardment of pictures!

Calendar of Nerdisms

September 2011
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