Friday, October 31, 2008

BOO HOO, again!

Posted by Avram Freedberg

It was boo hoo yesterday because we lost Rexy. Today should have been just BOO for Halloween, but it’s boo hoo because Ahvee’s Destiny’s race has been taken off the grass. Therefore, she won’t be running.

We were really looking forward to snuggling her (as well as potentially winning!). Now, we’re looking at a possible race at Churchill Downs. No, it’s not the Kentucky Derby, just an allowance race she may qualify for on November 8th. Hopefully, we will get to see her at a stall in Linda’s stable at Belmont before she leaves for Florida.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rexy's Gone

Posted by Avram Freedberg

Boo-hoo! As much as I know it was part of the plan, Rexy was claimed today before she ran 4th as a result of a terrible trip. She was slow out of the gate, the horse on her inside came out and forced even wider than her #10 post position. Then, after she recovered and started making her move around the stretch turn, another horse cut her off and bumped her to the outside. It seemed more like the demolition derby than a horse race. After all that, she still finished 4th.

They didn’t announce the claim on the broadcast but Linda was told by phone that she was claimed. It still hurts a little but, as I said, we knew it was the business plan.

Tomorrow night is Ahvee’s Destiny’s Stakes race at the Meadowlands. Since it’s Halloween, they call it the Witches Brew. Last year they had an additional special race for Halloween called the Galloping Ghost. In order to enter, the horse had to be a Gray or Roan thoroughbred. No other color allowed… so all the gray ghosts raced against each other. However, I can’t find it on the card this year. I was looking forward to entering our two baby grays when they grow up.

Well, that’s it. Gotta take those mixed feeling and turn them all into positive feelings for Ahvee’s Destiny. I love that horse!

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To run or not to run ...

Posted by Avram Freedberg

…that is the question.

Rexy is scheduled to run in tomorrow’s 2nd race at Finger Lakes which is a $4000 claiming race (showing how much Linda wants to get rid of her). She is the 2-1 favorite, even though she is coming out of post 10. The problem is, if she runs and is not claimed, she may be ineligible to run at Aqueduct. The Big A doesn’t want horses that are not of a minimum competence level. Therefore, they don’t want horses who have been entered in claiming races for less than $7500. So, as much as Linda would like to see this horse out of inventory, she’s thinking that the best thing to do is to scratch her. We’ll know in the morning.

All the rain has not been good for the turf. Today’s turf races at the Meadowlands were taken off the turf. Presumably, they’ll be on the turf by Friday night but who knows what condition the surface will be in by then. Ahvee’s Destiny likes it firm but I believe we’ll be running in any case. She’s also coming out of a disadvantageous post position, # 11. Nonetheless, she’s a trouper who has won 3 of her last 4 races. So, root for her in The Witches Brew Stakes. She’ll be running against good competition, including 4 horses who finished in front of her in Philadephia.

Personally, I can’t wait to see her, since she will be heading for Florida after the race. If she runs well and comes out well, we’ll probably send her to compete in a stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs on December 13. Then, we’ll let her have a Florida vacation, so she can refresh herself for her 2009 campaign. Go Ahvee! We love you!!

For those coming to the Meadowlands Friday night, instructions follow. See you soon.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talk to the Animals

Posted by Avram Freedberg

Yes, I’m feeling like Dr. Doolittle. Our friend, Pam, went to Saratoga for a wedding last Saturday. So, on Sunday, she visited with Ahvee’s Destiny and Arielle’s Song (I don’t know if she couldn’t find Rexy or Rexy is staying in Finger Lakes).

She called us when she was with each horse and we got to speak to them and hear about their every move. This allowed us to imagine what they were doing. Pam said Ahvee’s Destiny’s ears pinned up when she heard me talking to her and she ran around her stall excitedly. Naturally, it was not long before she wanted more carrots from Pam.

Arielle’s Song didn’t care that we were on the phone. She just wanted more and more carrots. She stretches her neck out and sticks her lips out to get to the carrots. She sort of looks like a dragon when in that position. We all laughed, recalling that exact pose from summertime.

BTW, we renewed our Saratoga rental arrangements for next summer. It’ll either be the first 3 weeks of August or 3 weeks starting with the 2nd week of August depending on the dates for “sales week.” We want to start when the sales week starts. We only got to see the horses parading around last summer and would like to experience the excitement of an auction sale.

Speaking about joining us, several people have said they’d like to come to the Meadowlands Racetrack next Friday night for Ahvee’s Destiny’s race in the Witches Brew Stakes (It’s Halloween!). We’ll probably make reservations for 7ish. Let me know as soon as possible, if you’d like to come and we’ll try and organize it. Hopefully, we can all go to the paddock to see her before the race and to the Winner’s Circle after the race (I hope, I hope, I hope!).

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Thursday, October 16, 2008


Posted by Avram Freedberg

Rexy (not Sheila) ran on Tuesday in a $12,500 level claiming race and finished 4th. She hadn’t run this slowly since she ran 1 1/16 miles in one race and stumbled badly in another. Linda will probably run her even cheaper at $7500. What a shame.

Ahvee’s Destiny will probably be aiming for the Witches Brew, a $60K Stakes race at Meadowlands on the turf on 10/31. We’re so proud of her accomplishments. On top of that, she’s generally very nice to be around.

Hope your days have been good. It’s so hard with what’s going on out there.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

What a day!

Posted by Avram Freedberg

The Dow Jones climbed by over 900 points, Big Brown is injured and retired and we got to go to the Meadowlands Racetrack and spend time with Ahvee’s Destiny. It was an amazing day.

OK, so you can understand that stocks recovering in such a big way is amazing. Big Brown’s forced early retirement is sad. But what’s the big deal about seeing our horse? Well, we’d never been to a race track and experienced a race in quite this way.

First, we went to the Receiving barn. We’d done this at other tracks but here we spent an hour with our horsie. She was so calm, she began yawning (or maybe it was just my ex
citing presence!). She was very snuggly and we stroked her, kissed her and scratched behind her ears. Then, we watched as she was prepared to race.

Her hooves were scraped, so the dirt that was caught between the sides of her horse shoes came off. Uh oh, one of her shoes is loose. A job for the blacksmith when we take her to the Holding barn. Then, a tincture that looked like iodine was applied several times to harden the hoof. Her rear legs were wrapped in protective gauze. She was brushed down and looked beautiful. Then the bit, bridle, shank and other accoutrements were put on her. Finally, her blinkers were put on. They tried two different pair, choosing the ones that fit best.

Now it was time to start making our way to the Holding barn. Before we left she was sprayed with water to keep her cool. It was not particularly hot and she seemed annoyed at the spray.

The Holding barn was a few hundred yards away. Here all the participants in the 7th race are gathered together. Some walked around. Some stayed quiet in open stalls. Some came in with blankets on (most
did not). A few minutes after the sixth race is over, we start making our way towards the paddock.

It turns out the holding barn is at the head of the stretch. So, we march down the stretch to the paddock, which in the Meadowlands, is in front of the grandstand/clubhouse, adjacent to the race track. Here, the horses are saddled and the patrons can watch the horses before the race begins. Our jockey is Chuck C. Lopez. He’s won twice riding Ahvee’s Destiny.

Okay, less than ten minutes to post time and we hear the call, “Riders up.” Samantha, the
Assistant Trainer, boosts “C. C.” onto Ahvee’s back for a short parade around the walking ring and then onto the dirt track. I’m nervous as can be. Happily, Ahvee’s Destiny is not.

While the riders gallop their mounts around the track for pre-race warm-ups, I go to bet. For some reason, the trainers prefer to watch the races on TV (I like to see them with my binoculars outside in the fresh air).
Nonetheless, we stay with the trainer and find seats in front of a big screen TV.

It’s post-time. The butterflys are flying (in my stomach, that is). Ahvee’s Destiny doesn’t get as fast a start as usual. However, “C.C. “ seems not to be pushing her. She falls back to fifth for a moment and, of course, I get worried. C.C. brings her up the rail, saving ground but will have to figure out how to get past the horses in front of him.

He sees an opening and takes it, going three wide into the stretch. For a few moments it looks like we’re not going anywhere and Weeks, a horse who finished in front of Ahvee in Philadelphia, is making
a move along the inside. But then C.C. taps her with the whip to remind her it’s time to move… and she does. He keeps tapping and she gains on the leaders easily, goes past and wins by 1 ½ lengths. We are happy and excited. We wish C.C. had ridden her in Philadelphia, since that was a $200K purse and this was only $47K. Unfortunately, he committed to another mount and we wuz robbed by an inferior ride.

But this is no time to cry. I put on my silks and we rush to the Winner’s Circle. They take the photo
and one more of me and C.C. together with our silks on. It’s a time to celebrate… and we will as we have a house full of guests for the Sukkot holiday.

What a great start to a week!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sweating it out

Posted by Avram Freedberg

Thursday was very nice because I felt insulated in synagogue all day, thanks to the Yom Kippur holiday. My dad, who has become very frail, made it to the service for a while and I got to give him my honor at the Torah. He spent about half an hour in synagogue. It was the first time in about 20 years that he wasn’t seated next to me for Kol Nidre, the night before, or for the balance of the services on Yom Kippur day. I felt alone. At least I wasn’t privy to the economic happenings on Wall Street.

Unfortunately, many people leave mid-day and return after the markets close. Their news brought me out of my cocoon fast enough. The worry and the stomach muscle tightening set in… it wasn’t just fasting. Our economic blues cast a pall on everything.

Nonetheless, I am happy to report that Ahvee’s Destiny will be racing at the Meadowlands on Monday afternoon. She was going to run in a stakes race called the Witches Brew on Halloween. The race track has scheduled Monday’s race as a prep for the Witches Brew. Since turf racing is so contingent on the weather (wet grass usually means running on the dirt), we’re going for it… 5 furlongs on the grass with post time at 3:33 PM.

I always wanted the race track venture to succeed. However, I never thought of it as the main source of income. Hopefully, even with success, that won’t be the case, unless one of them turns into Big Brown or Curlin.

Ofcr. Sheila T Rex will run 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt at Finger Lakes on Tuesday, race #6 with a claiming tag of $12,500. Believe it or not, she will not be the favorite, even at this low level. Post time is 3:25.

May we all be blessed with peace and stability in this very uncertain climate… and lots of winners!

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