Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bummed out

I was so upset by Ahvee's Destiny's performance Saturday night that I haven't written about until today. The race at Colonial Downs in Virginia set up perfectly for her, when the toughest competitor, Suzzona, scratched. I thought it was a sign… Watching her vie for the lead and look good coming into the stretch, I thought she had a chance, even though I already knew the result. She got burned out in a speed duel (though the competitor she raced against came in second and A. D. has raced that way successfully before) and faded to 7th. It was hard to watch.

I didn't get to watch the race live because it's time conflicted with my need to be at synagogue services to say Kaddish for my father. All during the services, my adrenalin was flowing in anticipation. I wanted her to win so badly, not just for the purse money but to validate the decision not to breed her this year and race her instead… and I love that horse. She's kissing both me and Rhoda now. You know, Linda, in an interview, said she had two kinds of owners. One kind just wants the numbers and success. The other treats the horses like pets. Bet, you can guess which category we were in!

Awakino Cat had a nice breeze today. Linda is worried that he seems a little fat, even though she's been working him more. Today, she decided to try some stomach medication, in case there is a physiological reason, she's not aware of. BTW, everyone wants to know what Awakino means. It's an area of New Zealand that is near the water. Apparently, the original owner's son did lots of traveling and they named the horse after this area. He may run at Monmouth on the 10th of July. We'll see.

Linda said she liked a race for Hear the Footsteps on July 9th but is looking for other ones as well. Holy Blitzer is on the "move out of inventory" list but she has a sore ankle. Ever exciting Katy will run before long again.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Katy today, Ahvee Saturday night

She came out of the one hole and quickly went in her opening direction… backwards, or so it seemed. It's hard to watch her on TV because she's often not in the picture. After dropping back to last, Ramon started her moving in the stretch turn. He hoped to find a gap between the wall of horses in front of him, but he couldn't, so he had to take her 5 wide. She started to pass the others. Go Katy, go! Soon she was fifth, fourth, third, second. Go Katy, go! She's overtaking the leader… but then the finish line is being crossed and she is second a half-length away. So, until next time, when we'll try again to Go Katy, go!

Linda wanted to skip yesterday's Presque Isle race for $100,000 purse to get easier competition at Colonial Downs Saturday night. While yesterday's race was won a half second slower than Ahvee's win in that race last year, Ahvee will have to face the likes of Suzzona at Colonial Downs, who has won her last three in a row and Colony Club, who beat her at Monmouth on June 4th. So, no slouches Saturday night and they're still forecast for thunderstorms each day through Saturday night. It's frustrating but that's not to say she can't win… just that it will not be easy. Go, Ahvee's Destiny!



Monday, June 20, 2011

Holy Blitzer, Ahvee's Destiny, et al

First, Holy Blitzer. Johnny Velasquez took her to the front but two others stayed with her. He didn't urge her to the lead, just let her settle in third. Coming around the stretch turn, he made his move and came even with the two in front of her but then she seemed to run out of gas… "empty out" as the jargon goes. Johnny said, in retrospect, he was sorry he didn't urge her to the lead because she may do better on the lead. As it was, she came in dead last, way behind the next to last horse because when she gave up, Johnny didn't try to press her but save her for another day… when she'll be back running against cheaper claimers.

Many have asked how things are going with my trainer, Linda Rice. We still disagree at times. Because Ahvee's Destiny ran such a poor race at Presque Isle Downs last month, she was hesitant to send her there against some good fillies and mares on the synthetic surface. I felt we should just throw out that race because Harry Vega let her get caught at the gate and she doesn't run well from the back of the pack. And, of course, she won that race last year for her biggest purse. On a good day, she should be able to take those competitors. Nonetheless, I would have felt more sanguine about sending her to Colonial Downs on the grass, if the weather forecast would promise to give her a firm track… but that doesn't seem to be the case. The weather calls for heavy showers on Thursday and isolated showers until race time Saturday night. Ahvee's Destiny doesn't like wet grass, so I would have rather tried Presque Isle. Linda is counting on the competition being easier at Colonial, Hope she's right.

It's Truly Ahvee had surgery last week to release his check ligament. According to Surgeon, Liberty Getman, it was a big ligament and will likely reduce the strain on his tendon that has torn twice. In the meantime, that tendon is healing well. Let's hope she's right and the horse I almost called "Stuck with You" is able to race successfully. So far, he's looked beautiful but lived up to his "almost" name.

Based on the latest Ultrasound, Cricky'sGoldenEyes's tear is healing nicely. Hopefully, with sufficient time, he will be able to make it to the races for the first time. Linda had been liking how he looked in training before he was injured.

Katy's Office Girl will run at Belmont in the first race on Wednesday with Ramon Dominguez aboard. She could be competitive at this level ($20,000 claiming). She loves to come from the back. So, it will depend on how close Ramon can keep her to the pack, race pace, etc. We'll see if the weather holds for her to go one mile on the grass.

Best to all,


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Holy Blitzer

Blitzeris entered in a tough race today at Belmont. It's the 8th race on the grass and he's the longest shot on the board based on the Morning Line. The best thing that can be said is that John Velasquez, this year's Ketucky Derby winning rider, is in the irons because Ramon Dominguez has chosen to take another mount.

Ahvee's Destiny is entered in presque Isle's Downs $100K Satin & Lace Stakes. Last year this was her only victory. Linda will make a decision on whether she will run her here or demurr for the $50K Buckland Stakes at Colonial Downs in Virginia on Sunday, June 26. Weather is iffy in both locations but at Presque Isles it's a synthetic all-weather surface, while Colonial Downs  is on the grass and if it comes off, she would likely not compete.

Katy's Office Girl is entered in the first race at Belmont on Wednesday, June 22 with Ramon up. It's a mile on the grass, if the weather holds up. She's in the one slot (Post position #1).

Have a nice Father's Day… it's my first one without my father.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday in New York... New Jersey... Brooklyn... and CT

Wow! We did it… and we passed through Staten Island too. Of course, that was our only glitch on return, when an accident on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge doubled the time for our trip to Brooklyn. Missed the wedding smorg but not the ceremony!

What, you want to know about racing? It turned beautiful at Monmouth just as we neared post time… but then post-time was delayed because it was the 2011 Irish Festival Day at Monmouth and the bag-pipers were marching on the track. So, my DVR settings got the marchers but not the race! Luckily, Rhoda was beautifully bedecked in green. I told everyone I was her oversized leprechaun.

Awakino Cat, in the meantime, came to the paddock with a little sweat but looking calm. We were happy that Alan Garcia was riding because he's guided him to victory several times and we like Alan… but it turned out he wasn't there. He went off to ride in Canada. Eddie Castro was aboard with instructions to get him out there and ride an aggressive race. Unfortunately, he spent a good deal of the race near the back. However, when they turned for home, he took Awakino to the outside and was coming on. He did make up some ground but Joe Bravo, who had ridden Ahvee's Destiny to her 2nd place finish at Monmouth last weekend, came charging through horses on General Perfect. It was a daring move by rider and horse and it worked. Awakino couldn't catch the first two and came in third, two lengths back. Still it was his best race this year. Hopefully, he's rounding into shape.

We like Monmouth. Someday, when our schedule is a little more relaxed, we may spend the day.



Friday, June 10, 2011

Awakino Cat

It's Belmont Stakes Day tomorrow. But, for Awakino Cat, his Stakes day is Sunday at Monmouth Park. He's entered in the 7th race on the grass. Alan Garcia will be his guide in the $65K John McSorley Stakes. He'll be running from Post 3. We'll be running all day.

We start with a memorial service for Rhoda's Uncle Meyer in NYC. Then, we proceed to Elmont, just down the road from Belmont Park, for the Unveiling of his headstone. On to Floral Park for a BBQ at the Kriegers. Then to Monmouth for the race followed by a trip to Brooklyn for a wedding. Interesting that both the memorial and the wedding are for people named Steinmetz. I think we'll be tired by the time we make it back to Stamford.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Avram & Rhoda's Almost Excellent Adventure

I often say, "almost doesn't count!" Today it counted, at least a little.

It was a beautiful day for a drive.. and drive we did. First to Belmont where Hear the Footsteps opened as the even money favorite when Writing on the Wall, a horse I had been interested in claiming scratched. By Post time, Mr. Vegas, who came in ahead of us last time, was the favorite. The race was very formful with Mr. Vegas going to the front and Hear the Footsteps stalking him. Cornelio Velasquez, who has yet to win a race for us, might have let him trail by a little too much but when they straightened out for the stretch run, he got Hear the Footsteps going. For a minute, as he was charging down the long stretch at Belmont, I thought he was going to make it… but he just missed by a head. 2nd place.

We were disappointed. It was so close. Nonetheless, we have to be impressed by this horse who has run 8 times and never been off the board… 2 wins, 1 second and 5 thirds. If he didn't have some physical issues, he could have been a great Graded Stakes race contender.

After watching the replay of the race, we took off for Monmouth in Oceanport, NJ. It's a nice little track - homey, quaint and well-maintained. Ahvee's Destiny looked a little nervous in the paddock. She was wet with nervous perspiration and she seemed sullen. Nonetheless, she looked beautiful… as did Rhoda, who was decked out in a beautiful dress and hat. yes, she was hoping for a photo in the Winner's Circle!

She was the morning line favorite but the crowd had made her third choice, quite rightly, I thought, based on her recent record. The bell rang and the gate opened. Ahvee's Destiny stumbles. Had I seen it when it happened, I would have been very worried about her, but I didn't and she didn't seem to notice because she recovered and was head and head with the eventual third place finisher in front of the pack. So, they went around the track. When two horses challenge each other like that, it can be very stressful and tiring. Straightening out in the stretch, it seemed like the other horse was inching ahead of A.D…. but she came on again to take the lead. Unfortunately, a longshot who had been stalking the two leaders, came on the outside and passed us in the final strides. Still it was a magnificent effort. This field was pretty soft and she may find it difficult to find such competition again, but for today she was right up there. We have a reason to hope for victory in the future. Yay, Ahvee's Destiny!

All-in all, a worthwhile adventure with two exciting races and more to look forward to. Yes, it can be fun even when you lose… just not usually!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chasing horses

Hear the Footsteps is entered in Saturday's first race at Belmont going off at 1PM. Ahvee's Destiny is entered in Monmouth's 8th race, the Fort Monmouth Stakes at 4:47PM. The drive time from Elmont, Long Island to Oceanport, NJ is about 2 hours (supposedly even in traffic). Time back to CT is 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Of course, there's CT to Belmont… all in all a lot of driving… with a synagogue appearance before and after. Whew! I'm tired already.

More about the races, soon to come.