Thursday, August 26, 2010

It is a duel of the wives at Monmouth: Kantharos and Pathfork, two freshmen, show huge promise

It was Sunday’s seventh race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey. Larry Collmus, the announcer at Monmouth, was confronted with an unenviable task. The names of two horses in the race were Mywifenosevrything and Thewifedoesntknow. The former led into the home turn and the latter mounted a serious challenge. Larry Collmus, a 25-year veteran in the race-calling business and never married, had to be extra cautious as he described the action. “Mywifenosevrything-Thewifedoesntknow, they are one-two, of course, they are,” Larry alerted the fans to the unique situation.

Mywifenosevrything went on to win. As the line loomed large, Larry exclaimed, “mywifenosevrything more than thewifedoesntknow, whew.”

Mywifenosevrything is trained by a woman. Thewifedoesntknow is trained by a man. Larry Collmus was asked to appear in a TV show called Inside Edition. “In 24 hours, I have become from a relatively unknown to a celebrity. Fans are calling and sending messages from all over,” Larry said.

A race that I attended in 2009 but could not this year is the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. It is the state of Washington where Microsoft is headquartered. The 1600-metre, Grade III race with a $250,000 purse, was run on Sunday and was won by Noosa Beach. Ridden by Ricky Frazier, Noosa Beach stalked the pacesetter and went clear early in the lane to win by a length and a half. The time was 1 34.8 seconds. Noosa Beach returned $5.60. Doris Harwood trains Noosa Beach. Assessment, winner of the Longacres Mile in 2009, was third.

Noosa Beach is by Harbor The Gold (by Seeking The Gold) out of Julia Rose who is by Basket Weave. Noosa Beach was stepped on by another horse immediately in the stall to the right and despite an early miscue, ran on stout-heartedly to land the spoils.

Jockey Ricky Frazier explained. “Gallon, the horse to my right, stepped on my mount’s right leg within a few yards of the start. Noosa Beach stumbled hard and recovered. It shows how much class he has.”

We will now take a look at a freshman who is taking the racing world by storm. On Monday, August 16, the Grade II ($142,500) Saratoga Special was run. It was over 1300 metres on the main track. There were only four runners.

Kantharos, a Lion Heart colt, was the 15/100 favorite. Yes, you could not have bet Kantharos in India. A 26% tax is out of the question. A 10% deal would have given you five rupees for a 110-rupee risk. Sure, it does not make sense. Kantharos, Garrett Gomez up, won by seven and one quarter lengths on a muddy track in a time of 1 18.63 seconds. Steve Asmussen trains Kantharos for Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables. Gomez was substituting for the injured Robby Albarado.

In three career starts, Kantharos is unbeaten. The two year-old won his debut at Churchill Downs on May 13 by eleven and three quarter lengths. Kantharos won the Grade III Bashford Manor also at Churchill by nine and one half lengths on July 3. The cumulative margin in the three races is 28 and one half lengths. Contessa Halo (by Southern Halo) is the dam of Kantharos.

Trainer Asmussen commented. “Gomez (jockey) said that in the first 50 yards, he was not on the bridle much at all, but after he went a little ways, he got into himself. What he has done at these sprint distances is very impressive. We’re greedy and want to get a little more.”

On a personal note, I opposed Smarty Jones and thought Lion Heart could win the 2004 Preakness at Pimlico racecourse. I was at Pimlico and was witness to the demolition job that Smarty Jones performed. As it turned out, Smarty Jones failed in his bid to win the Triple Crown.

There is a two year-old star in Ireland, The Jessica Harrington-trained Pathfork is two for two and last Saturday, the Distorted Humor colt ran away with the Group II Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. Ridden by Fran Berry, who is just beginning to shed his boyish looks, Pathfork, the 10-11 favorite, ran 1400 metres in 1 23.45 seconds. Pathfork’s dam is Visions of Clarity who is by Saddler’s Wells. Pathfork broke his duck in his debut in a 1400-metre race at the Curragh on July 18. Pathfork’s win impressed the bookmakers and there was a quote at 8/1 for the 2000 Guineas in 2011.

Richard Hannon is the 10/11 favorite to be leading trainer in England. The winning formula is a combination of races won and money earned. At the moment, Sir Michael Stoute has 50 wins from 317 starts for earnings of 2,589,027 pounds. His two principal check-getters are Harbinger and Workforce. Harbinger has been retired. Workforce had a poor run in the King George and is not likely to race anytime soon.

Richard Hannon has 161 wins from 884 starts. His earnings stand at 2,489,258 pounds but he is firing on all cylinders. Take a look at the Aidan O’Brien numbers. The Ballydoyle maestro has seven wins from 66 starts. He has earned 2,314,885 pounds. His money has come from wins in prestigious Group races.

Mark Johnston has 164 wins from 1002 starts. Richard Fahey, Paul Hanaghan’s patron, has saddled 120 winners from 852 starters.

Here is a look at the jockeys’ numbers. Paul Hanaghan leads with 143 winners from 805 runners. Richard Hughes has ridden 120 winners from 658 starts. He has 85 wins with Hannon’s horses. Ryan Moore, out of action at the moment, has 104 wins from 542 starts. Joe Fanning rides for Mark Johnston and has 101 wins from 643 starts. Kieren Fallon is at 91 from 559 starts and is winning races at a steady clip.

Now we will consider the numbers of those who are known to fans in India. Silvestre de Sousa has 62 from 394 starts. Martin Dwyer has 59 winners from 410 trips postward. David Allan has 50 from 365 outings. Adrian Nicholls has steered home 49 wins from 264 runners. Paul Mulrennan has 38 from 438 starts. Tom McLaughlin has 23 from 169 starts. Mickey Fenton is 18 from 248 starts. Duran Fentiman has ridden 16 winners from 269 runners. James Doyle is at 11 from 168 runners.

In the next blog, we will look at what is happening at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California. There is news about jockeys. A horse who won a million-dollar race has been taken off the active list. There is stakes action galore at week’s end. Saratoga has a stakes-studded weekend schedule. Del Mar hosts the Pacific Classic. Curragh has the Moyglare Stakes on a day when three other Group races will be contested.

Chicago, Thursday, August 26, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tom Krish,
    As soon as I read this I went to `You Tube`and saw the Video of the 7th at Monmouth. Believe me I was the 348102th person to have viewed it. Compare it with the number of viewers who watched Epsom Derby or Kentucky Derby or the Dubai World Cup or any other big race ON youtube, very seldom the figure exceeds a few thousands.Larry Colmuss was unknown just a week back and now more than a million know who he is.
    I am thinking of buying a couple of race horses and name them `Zara Hat ke` and Zara Bach ke, or may be `Its me` and `No its me`.
    But I doubt very much if the Anouncer was in an unenvious position. He must have enjoyed thoroughly.