Ramon and Rachel on the mend - By Tom Krish
Posted on - 24 Feb 2013
Ramon and Rachel on the mend
By Tom Krish
The 2013 Indian Turf Invitation Cup is a week away. Kolkata is getting ready to host India’s biggest weekend of horse racing. Would it not be appropriate to take a look at what is happening around the world?
The Fountain Of Youth Stakes, a 1700-metre race on the dirt for three year-olds, will be run at Gulfstream Park in Florida on Saturday. It is a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Violence, a Medagliad’Oro progeny, is in line to make it four for four in his career. Winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade I Cash Call Futurity, Violence, trained by Todd Pletcher and to be ridden by Javier Castellano, is the 3/2 favorite. Violence is a 14/1 chance for the Kentucky Derby with the British bookmaking fraternity.
Trainer Pletcher is rarely at a loss for words. “Violence has done well and everything has gone as planned. We ran him in the Cash Call because of the time of year the race is run and Hollywood’s synthetic track plays more like a dirt track,” he averred.
Do you remember Johnny Murtagh? Retained rider for Ballydoyle, Murtagh resigned from that high profile job two years ago. He had a stint with the Aga Khan and John Oxx in Ireland and was let go last year in controversial circumstances. Jockey Murtagh had two rides at Dundalk’s twilight meeting on Friday. He faces an uncertain future.
Talking about Dundalk’s all weather Friday card, all seven races were won by riders Indian fans are familiar with. The program began at 6 20 PM and ended at 9 20 PM. Rory Cleary rode in India in 2010-11. Jockey Cleary connected with three winners, at 5/1, 3/1 and 16/1. Pat Smullen, you may remember, was in Mumbai for the Derby. Jockey Smullen had two winners at 7/1 and 6/1. Chris Hayes won with a 7/1 outsider. The honour of bringing home the 11/10 favorite in the finale went to jockey Joseph O’Brien. There is only one ‘flat’ meeting per week in the Emerald Isle and it is Dundalk.
Jamie Spencer was in India in January. He had a winner in Mumbai and another in Kolkata. Spencer is a globe-trotting rider. He went to America to ride in California. Then he was in Dubai. Now and then he goes to England to ply his trade. Jockey Spencer won Friday’s second (2 PM) race at Lingfield with King Bertie, the 4/5 public choice. I have often said that jockeys are amazing human beings. Spencer is a great example. King Bertie is trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam who sent out Authorized to win the 2007 Epsom Derby. Authorized gave Frankie Dettori his only win in England’s Blue Riband.
Saturday’s Lingfield card includes the Blue Square Bet Winter Derby Trial Stakes, a listed race. It is on the all weather and is over 2000 metres for four year-olds and up. The winner’s purse is 20,983 pounds. Planteur, a six year-old by Danehill Dancer out of Plante Rare by Giant’s Causeway, is the favorite. Planteur, in April 2011, was victorious in the Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp. In that race, Planteur beat Sarafina, Cirrus des Aigles and Cape Blanco. Adam Kirby gets the riding call on Planteur at Lingfield. Marco Botti is the trainer.
Caulfield is a suburb of Melbourne less than 10 miles from the centre of the city. There will be three Group I grass races at Caulfield on Saturday. Caulfield is left handed. It is 2080 metres in circumference.
Sophomores will be in the spotlight in the 1400-metre Cathay Pacific Futurity. Freshmen vie for supremacy in the 1200-metre Patinack Firm Blue Diamond Stakes. The SportingbetOakleigh Plate is a handicap over 1100 metres.
What about Black Caviar? The six year-old mare went 23 for 23 at Flemington last Saturday. She won the 1000-metre Black Caviar Lightning Stakes in a time of 55.42 seconds, a track record. Black Caviar won the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot in June 2012. She suffered a setback and was nursed back to health by trainer Peter Moody. Luke Nolen was the winning jockey.
Peter Moody exulted. “I’m so proud of her and my team. The job was done and we thought it was over. To come back and run a record, I am lost for words.”
Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse Of The Year, is progressing after surgery last Wednesday. Her colon was repaired. She developed complications after delivering a 140-pound filly by Bernardini. Rachel Alexandra beat the boys in the 2009 Preakness and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Calvin Borel was her rider.
A word or two about Ramon Dominguez. Jockey Dominguez has won three Eclipses in a row for being the leading American rider. On January 18 at Aqueduct in New York, a day before the Eclipse was announced, Dominguez had a fall and suffered a skull fracture. He is responding to treatment. It is not known when the 36 year-old Dominguez will return to race riding. Dominguez rode Little Mike to victory in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2400 metres) at Santa Anita last November.
I have word that ColmO’Donoghue will not be in Kolkata for the Invitation Cup. There is every possibility that Sreekanth will have the ride on Shivalik Hero. Jimmy Fortune will be aboard Super Storm. Torolocco will most likely be partnered by Paul Mulrennan. Hemisphere is a horse that Richard Hughes would ask for and get especially after ‘coming out of the clouds,” in Jim McGrath’s words.
Yes, Jim McGrath is coming. He will call the Invitation Cup. Those who enjoyed Jim’s calls in Mumbai over the Derby weekend should get ready for a ‘double delight.’
Anit Casyab and Deepak Rajpal will handle the media duties. They will conduct the interviews and keep the fans posted.