Friday, July 31, 2009

Frustration squared

If you think I was frustrated before, imagine travelling half-way to PA only to find that the race comes off the grass and Linda wants to scratch Ahvee’s Destiny. Rhoda was more frustrated than me but I wish it was Linda in the car with her on the way home rather than me. What are the odds we can make it on August 9th?!

On the hopeful side, Linda says Conseated Lady’s workout was much better than it seemed and she remains sound.

Anyone wanna buy me dinner tonight?! I probably wouldn’t be good company tonight anyway.

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We’re about to leave for Penn National without being sure we’re going to race. We may be in the car for 10 hours, round trip, depending on traffic. Since it’s Friday and poor weather, that’s a realistic estimate. Ah, the joys of horse racing!

Yesterday, another of Linda’s horses, Awakino Cat, won the race that Ahvee’s Destiny was scratched from in Saratoga. Alan Garcia gave him the perfect off the pace trip, which he didn’t do with Arielle’s Song’s last race.

Conseated Lady breezed a slow 4 furlongs at Saratoga yesterday. Hope this doesn’t mean she’s hurting again…

Wish you all a great weekend!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

We're on... I think

Weather, weather, weather!

Before discussing the race, let me inform everyone that your prayers were successful. Don is home and doing well, thank God and thank you! Apparently, I will have to start referring to him as “the Cat,” but I hope he doesn’t need nine lives.

Now, horsie business… Ahvee’s Destiny had a choice of a stakes race against boys in Saratoga tomorrow at 5.5 furlongs and the Jennie Wade Handicap for fillies and mares at Penn National on Friday night at 5 furlongs. Penn National – shorter distance against the girls but have to ship her for a 5+ hour trip. Rain at Saratoga now and forecast tonight. Rain forecast for Penn National. Tough call but we’re going to Penn National.

After all the problems since her May 15th race, she’s a little thick in the girth (I can relate). So, she really needs to race even though Smart and Fancy, her nemesis, will be at Penn National. It is hoped, at worst, this will get her into shape for a quick turn around and a stakes race at Saratoga on August 9th for fillies and mares. Right now, we’ll just take it one step at a time.

Hear the Footsteps had diagnostic surgery. The result was the discovery of a 50% tear in a knee ligament. Ligaments don’t heal. So, he’ll recover from his surgery and then we’ll decide what to do. He’s out at least two months.

Arielle’s Song is now at Saratoga. After she settle in, we’ll figure out when she can race. Katy’s Office Girl and Conseated Lady will look to the second half of the Saratoga meeting for their first try at racing.

A word to you bettors out there. I think our betting to win on a horse like Ahvee’s destiny hurts our odds because of the relatively small win pool. Consider using her in exotic wagers (exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily doubles, pick 3’s and 4’s, where available). Odds are you’ll get a better return for your dollar.

I have to admit, I don’t like the rain or the feeling I got that she’s not in perfect shape but she has a lot of heart. So, GO AHVEE’S DESTINY!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Your prayers are working! While Don is not out of the woods, he’s doing better today. So, keep those prayers coming.

Today is the beginning of what is known in Judaism as “the nine days.” The ninth day is called Tisha B’Av (the ninth of the month of Av), at which time it is said, hundreds of years apart, the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. During the nine days much destruction was meted on Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Of course, similar themes can be found on most any date in the calendar but this is a big one. So, especially during this period, I don’t take anything for granted about Don’s recovery. I’ll just keep praying for it. Go Don!!

On the horse front, Hear the Footsteps had arthroscopic diagnostic surgery. No chips but we would have been better off with an easy chip removal. Instead, his ACL is torn and cannot be mended by surgery nor by nature. He’ll have to live with it. How successful of a racing career he can have remains to be seen. At least, it’s not supposed to be life threatening, even if he races on it.

Conseated Lady had a 4 furlong workout at a decent pace and continues to stay healthy. Her soundness still needs to be proven. If she stays healthy, hopefully, she’ll race in the second half of the Saratoga meet. Same is true of Arielle’s Song who will need several weeks to acclimate to new quarters. Alan Garcia keeps apologizing to Linda for his baffling ride in her Arielle’s song’s last race.

Katy’s Office Girl, our 2-year old gray, is also aiming for a start at Saratoga before the end of the meet. And, the Queen of our stable, Ahvee’s Destiny, is doing much better. We are aiming for the 5 furlong $100K stakes at Penn National on July 31 to be followed by a 5 ½ furlong stakes at Saratoga on August 9th.

If she is outstanding in both those races or misses one of them, she will aim for this year’s version of the exciting Stakes Race she won last year by a head in a race that had 4 entrants trained by Linda Rice. Ahvee’s Destiny won by a head, while 2nd, 3rd and 4th were the other Linda Rice entrants! Last year it was called The Mechanicsburg. This year it is The Troy. I guess they honor different upstate New York cities.

Remember, you can always see past e-mails by going to my blog (link below). And, please, please continue to include Gidon Stern in your prayers.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


People always ask me if the horses know me. Perhaps, if I had lived with them like the Brits who lived with the lion named Christian (if you haven’t seen their reunion on youtube, you must see it), they might remember me. However, some I have barely seen much less spent time with. When Katy’s Office Girl got colic last week, I thought I might lose her without getting to know her. Some said it would have been easier that way. They might be right.

This message is not about horses. It’s about people… friends, like you and me. I don’t often tell you how important you are to me. Today, however, my very good friend Don Stern lies in a hospital with his life in the balance. It reminds me that we all need to tell each other how much we value our friendship. In the last month or so , we went to dinner and the theater with the Sterns, played golf with Don and don’t you know it, Barbara rescheduled her doctor’s appointment so they could join us at Belmont for Arielle’s Song’s race and dinner.

We’ve traveled with them to Europe and the Caribbean and for a one day round trip to Saratoga to see Ahvee’s Destiny win and get a Winner’s Circle photo. Jeremy’s wedding in MA and Gabriel’s wedding in Naples, FL. Jeremy worked for my company for a year or two. So much more in a period of over 35 years.

Yet, it doesn’t take continuous close contact to make good friends. In fact, there was a period where we didn’t see the Sterns for over 10 years. Nonetheless, closeness and deep affection remain. As they do with most of those who get these missives.

My Jonathan is living in my college buddy, Jules’s mansion in L.A. Another college friend, Allen (whom I did not see for 20 years after college) helps me keep some assets. I’m regularly in touch with my childhood friends like Zvi, Len, Milty and Dave. Can’t wait to see my new friend Patsy in Saratoga and just wish I could see all my Stamford friends more frequently. Nonetheless, I know I can depend on all of you. The others have fallen by the wayside. Thank you all for your friendship (even the one’s who are pissed off I didn’t mention them by name… your turn will come). I feel very lucky to have you as part of my life.

Please join me in a little prayer for Don. His name is Gidon Stern. Gidon ben Rut for the Jewish prayer for wellness. I hope that someday those who have not met him will get the opportunity. Then you can take some credit for your prayers working out.

There’s more to tell about the horses… but not today.

Much love,

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nothing went right

The purpose of Arielle’s Songs race today was to get more race experience and learn to “rate.” Some horses just want to run as fast as they can and burn themselves out, so they have to be taught to run at an easier pace before, hopefully, unleashing a strong run late in the race. Putting Arielle’s Song off the pace were the specific instructions given to jockey, Alan Garcia. Instead, she got a quick start and he gunned her to the lead. Her first quarter in 21 1/5 was probably the fastest quarter mile run at the current meet. Naturally, she burned out. More importantly, it was a setback to her training. Boo!

Ahvee’s Destiny is 85% better but her next race could come in less than 2 weeks, so she needs to improve to 100% rapidly. We’re pointing her to either an overnight on Saratoga’s opening day or the Penn National race we’ve been talking about. Still leaning towards the latter but we’ll see her progress, the weather, etc.

Hear the Footsteps continues to show soreness in his knee. So, he will have diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday, which will hopefully also repair any problem found. Forget about him for Saratoga.

Katy’s Office Girl continues to do well. No more signs of colic. Yay!

We’ve been winners and we’ve been losers and, surprise, surprise, winning is much more fun!

Two friends had a horse in today’s one mile featured race. One took the lead and looked like she’d run away with the race, only to stop with a quarter mile left to go. The other one came on strong late but couldn’t catch the winner. Disappointment all around.

OK. Ahvee’s Destiny didn’t win a race until her third attempt. Hopefully, Arielle’s Song will have the same good fortune. Hope springs eternal….

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Arielle's Song

Today we’re off to Belmont to see the big, strong, very independent and very tough horse known as Arielle’s Song. Do we expect to win? Not likely. One of the other entrants beat her by 8 lengths in her maiden voyage two weeks ago (Outpost is the name of that one). Nonetheless, we hope it is a positive learning experience for her.

I’ll update the conditions of Ahvee’s Destiny, Hear the Footsteps and the others over the weekend.

In the meantime, Saratoga is around the corner. First day of racing is July 29. We’re there from August 8th to 29th. Last year, we wondered what we would do for the two weeks. Then, we didn’t want to leave. Now, we’ve extended to three weeks and we’re wondering whether we can replicate last year’s experience.

Hope to see some of you there!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lame update

I should have described the difference between “lame” in the horse world and the way we think of it outside the horse world. In daily use, it means a disability. In the horse world, it means a sore foot. Yes, there are differences in severity. Ahvee’s destiny was acutely lame. Nonetheless, it is not career threatening and often resolves in a short time. In fact, we were hoping to run her Sunday at Monmouth, if the Penn National stewards would have permitted it. Since we had to scratch, they demanded a Vet’s note. This means Ahvee’s Destiny cannot run anywhere for 10 days. So, not only is she hurt, she (and we) are being punished because she’s hurt. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Well, it makes sense to them because they need to fill races with entrants. They worry about trainers entering but not intending to race. So, they hope their severe form of recourse discourages trainers from scratching their entries. Just like regulators everywhere use a heavy hand, it is no different in horse racing. Save us from our policemen!

In the end, Ahvee’s Destiny will not race until the Penn National stakes race on July 31. Unfortunately, she will not have the benefit of a prep nor the time she would have been in residence at Penn National acclimating to new surroundings.

Katy’s Office Girl is doing much better after her bout with colic. Thank heaven for that. Hopefully, we’ll get to know her in a few weeks, when we see her daily in Saratoga.

Arielle’s Song will, hopefully, continue her training with another race this Friday at 4:30 at Belmont. Alan Garcia will be aboard (Cornelio Velasquez, who rode her last time, will be aboard her stable mate, Gentle Ride. I guess he wanted a more gentle ride than he got in Arielle Song’s first race!). Garcia should be good for her. He knows how to get a horse moving late in a race.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Ahvee’s Destiny came up lame today and will not run tomorrow.

What a week!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Good news!

Katy’s Office girl is back in her stall in Saratoga. She appears over the colic problem. She will be walked the next few days and if all is well will go back to training. YAY!

Hear the Footsteps X-ray is being compared to prior x-ray. Nothing has been seen on the current x-ray. If that is the same after comparison, Linda will continue to evaluate him day-to-day.

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What a way to start the week… Katy’s Office girl is having an attack of colic where the intestines wrap around themselves. If it cannot be cured quickly, it can be fatal. She’s at the clinic in Saratoga.

Hear the Footsteps continue to show mild soreness/lameness. He will be re-X-rayed today. If nothing apparent shows up, Linda’ll keep an eye on him and make a decision about his short term future by end of month. Of course, if something shows on the X-ray, she’ll have it dealt with immediately.

Arielle’s Song continues to be difficult to handle. She’s scheduled to run on Friday to further her education and maturity (hopefully). She’s so high-strung that Linda thinks it will be 3 weeks in Saratoga before she settles in to new surroundings.

The Grand Dame of our stable, Ahvee’s Destiny, will appear in an allowance race at Penn National Wednesday night. If all goes well, she will stay at Penn National until the end of the month when she will compete in a stakes race with a purse of $100K on July 31st.

Naturally, it is disturbing to hear of horses getting sick or injured. You feel bad for the horse and for yourself. Unfortunately, it’s part of the “game,” as they like to call this business. I guess it is a little gamey but not in the sense they meant it.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back from Belmont

Today we went to see friends’ horses race. We lunched with patsy and her daughter Lisa, watched the $500K Man O’ War Stakes and then went down to the paddock to see Meriwether Jessica (Patsy’s horse) and Canadian Ballet (Obviously NY Stable) get saddled. Ballet came in second by a nose and beat us a head at Pimlico on May 15th. Today she took the lead immediately. She’s a very fast horse out of the gate. Then, coming around the stretch turn MJ seemed to catch her but drifted out only to come back at her again. Stride by stride MJ kept closing but when they hit the finish line, Canadian Ballet held off MJ by a neck and made Rick and Dave very happy. Linda was happy her horses finished 1 – 2. Unfortunately, the race also made Patsy and Lisa very frustrated. Patsy has the most 2nd place finishes I’ve ever seen. So close, yet so far is assuredly frustrating!

At least Ahvee’s Destiny will not have to face Canadian Ballet or MJ on Wednesday night at Penn National which is 20 miles outside Harrisburg, PA. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of other competition from the boys, including Awakino Cat from Linda’s barn. This is a prep race for two stakes races that take place on July 31 and August 1. We are pointing for the filly and mare race on July 31 with a $100K purse. So, the benefit is that A.D. will get to run on the track and then stay there for the two weeks, so she can train there and acclimate to the surroundings, including the fact that the races take place at night. Of course, we’re planning on being there. (Yes, we are a bit nuts!)

On the good news front, Conseated Lady ran a fast ‘bullet” (fastest time at the distance [3 furlongs]) workout at Saratoga today. It’s her best to date. If we get lucky and she shows no recurrence of a soundness problem, this may be an indication she’s healed and ready to race. YAY! Let’s hope.

Linda plans on racing Arielle’s Song once more at Belmont before the action shifts to Saratoga. I’ll keep you advised.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Arielle's Song

So, she finally ran her first race. She was last coming out of the gate, made a very wide move around the stretch turn, improved her position but was no threat to the front runners who ran a very fast time. The race chart is attached.

As her jockey, Cornelio Velasquez said, “she was very green!” She was also very tough to handle. Cornelio says she should do better at longer distances. We’ll see what the future brings.

Ahvee’s Destiny’s next race will be either July 12 at Monmouth or July 15 at Penn National. If she goes to Penn National and runs well, she will stay there until the end of the month for wither a $100,000 race against the girls or a $200,000 race against all comers.

Conseated Lady is in Saratoga and had her first workout since her last time off for injury. I need to find out how she came out of it.

At least we got a race in. HOORAY!

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