Further complicating Horse Racing’s Older Male Division, To Honor and Serve fended off a late run from Mucho Macho Man to win the 2012 Woodward Stakes by a neck at Saratoga Racetrack this past Saturday.
At the start, the speedy Rule quickly established the early lead and led around the clubhouse turn, down the backstretch and on the far turn as well while carving out fractions of :23.3 for the first quarter mile, :47.2 for the first half mile and reached the six furlong marker in 1:10.4.
On the turn for home, Rule was joined on the lead by Trickmeister, who was laying right off Rule all the way around, and To Honor and Serve, who took to the outside.
After having put the early leaders away, To Honor and Serve suddenly found himself confronted by 4/5 favorite Mucho Macho Man, who didn’t exactly get the best start to a race I’ve ever seen. As a team, they battled step for step down the stretch with To Honor and Serve holding sway.
“The trip was perfect,” winning jockey John Velazquez said. “I thought those two (Rule and Trickmeister) horses might go (to the early lead), and Mike Smith would take back (on Mucho Macho Man), and I expected they were going to send Rule from the rail. It worked out perfect. I talked with Bill, he said, ‘Don’t get into a wrestling match with him; just kind of let him do a little more.’
“After the half mile pole, going to the three-eighths, I gave him his head and let him get a nice rhythm. He got to the quarter pole in hand without asking him to do anything.”
“The break cost him the race,” trainer of Much Macho Man, Kathy Ritvo said. “I just didn’t want to break that bad and give the other horses a couple of lengths. He ran a good race. I was hoping he was going to catch To Honor and Serve, but he’s a tough horse to catch.”
“I told my story the last time about how I thought the heat had him agitated in the Suburban, and he didn’t do very well in the 97 degrees that day,” winning trainer Bill Mott said. “I think he just threw a real stinker and he did come back today and prove he was a pretty darn good horse.”
To Honor and Serve ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.2 and paid $9.30 to win. The complete official order of finish was Mucho Macho Man, Cease, Trickmeister, Stay Thirsty, Rule, and Gourmet Dinner.
Results of other notable races this past weekend include, Emcee, who blew away his rivals in the, race before the Woodward, the 2012 $500,000 Forego Handicap.
Emcee laid just off the early pace before taking command down the stretch to pull away to the 4 1/2-length win.
“My horse broke good and was right in the game,” winning rider Alan Garcia said. “Turning for home, when I asked him, he ran and did it very well. I was very confident. It was a great post today, better than last time. All I wanted was for him to break good and take it from there. He did it the right way.”
The face of the race changed dramatically when Shackeford, who would have taken money at the windows and would have been the likely pacesetter, was scratched the morning of the race.
“He had a little cough last week and a little cough this morning, so we’re going to play it safe,” Shackleford’s trainer Dale Romans said early Saturday morning.
Romans later added that The Kelso Stakes (September 29 at Belmont Park) and the Breeders Cup where Shackleford’s plans for the rest of the year.
Out west, undefeated Executiveprivilege was in a life and death struggle to get past stubborn leader Beholder to win the 2012 Del-Mar Debutante at Del-Mar. Executiveprivilge broke well and settle back towards mid pack early before firing off the turn with dead aim on the leader.
Beholder proved a stubborn foe and clung tenaciously to a 2 1/2-length lead down the stretch. Executiveprivilege, who was bearing out badly down the lane, was able to grind and whittle away before surging her nose on the wire in the last stride of the race.
“She’s a good filly and she did her best today,” winning rider Raphael Bejarano said. “I thought that filly on the lead (Beholder) was going to come back to us. I didn’t think she’d hold on like that. I got busy on my filly. I think she got out because she was running so hard; it’s not that she’s green. She changed leads when we were going out and she just kept going. But she got there. I thought I’d won it. I knew it was close, but I thought I’d won it.”
“I didn’t give Rafael any instructions,” said winning trainer Bob Baffert. “The way the track’s been playing, you don’t know whether to let them run early or take them back”.
“Turning for home I saw (Beholder) had a really good lead, and I thought (Executiveprivilege) had her work cut out for her. She really had to dig down”
Executiveprivilege appears to be one nice filly and now probably heads to the Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly race as the favorite. She sould be dangerous in that race as she shown me talent, speed and determination. Also, her third dam is Filly Triple Crown winner Davona Dale.
Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2012 Horse of the World Frankel is being pointed towards the October 20 Group 1 Champion Stakes for his next race, according to racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.
“Following discussions with Sir Henry Cecil, Prince Khalid has decided that Frankel’s next race will be the Champion Stakes atAscoton October 20,” Grimthorpe said…
Can’t wait to see him again and evidently I’m not the only one as the track has already sold out of tickets for that day.
**** Theatrical, the 1987 champion turf male, was euthanized Friday night due to the infirmities of old age at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm near Lexington, Kentucky.
“We were honored to stand Theatrical and have him at Hill ‘n’ Dale for the past 11 years,” said John G. Sikura, President of Hill ‘n’ Dale. ”He was not only a great stallion, but had become like a member of our family.
Theatrical, 30 or about 105 in human years, was bred in Ireland by Mr. and Mrs. Bert Firestone, retired with a mark of 21-10-3-2, $2,924,115.
Theatrical’s best race was the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Hollywood Park when he tallied a half-length win over Trempolino, winner of the prestigious Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
**** Fed Biz, one of my top Triple Crown prospects this past spring, proved he was back with a gutsy neck win in the $100,000 El Cajun Stakes at Del-Mar last Friday.
Fed Biz, ridden by Joe Talamo and unraced since February, came back strong (showing great guts and heart) after being passed mid-stretch by the talented Jimmy Creed.
If you rcalled Fed Biz went to the sidelines after impressive wins in two one-mile starts this winter at Santa Anita Park with was being called “off in the hind end”
“That was quite a horse race,” winning trainer Bob Baffert said. “Two really nice horses going at it. I told Joe, ‘Don’t win by a lot,’ and he followed my instructions.”
The Stakes win was Baffert’s 100th all time.
**** 2012 Haskell Invitational Stakes winner Paynter, in my book, is officially now battling for his life as he suffered several significant setbacks on Monday in his bout with colitis, prompting owner Ahmed Zayat to say the next 24 hours are critical to his recovery.
On Monday evening, Zayat revealed on his Twitter account that Paynter had developed clotting in his veins resulting from low protein, for which he was being treated with plasma. He also had developed an infection at the catheter site, and Dr. Laura Javsicas, the attending veterinarian for the colt, was having difficulty finding a suitable vein to use. (The catheter is how Paynter receives his nutrients and medications).
“I personally have zero tolerance for the word ‘suffering,’” Zayat posted on his Twitter account. “It is important that we give our warrior a chance to fight and battle his illness but [we are] also keeping our eye on our goal which is to get him healthy and happy—but not at any cost”.