…Nice to see major racing back on network TV other than the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup. NBC’s coverage of Saratoga has been a refreshing change and it’s great to see top racing getting some national TV exposure.
…Trainer Bob Baffert is loaded this year. He’s seemingly got a top contender in every non-turf category and his new star Coil won the Haskell over a stubborn Shackleford, looking much like the 2nd coming of his sire Point Given who also won the race. Now the word is that Baffert’s 3-year-old star The Factor might come back near the end of Saratoga and if he’s anything like he was in the spring, he’ll be a “factor” through the BC Sprint.
…Regarding the Haskell, once again Shackleford “gave way grudgingly”. Haven’t seen a fighter like him in a long, long time.
…Congratulations to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer on his induction into the Racing Hall of Fame. Those of us in Northern California have followed his career closely as he has been the perennial leading trainer on that circuit for as long as most of us can remember. Hollendorfer and his wife/assistant trainer Janet are amazingly hard working hands-on horsepeople that rarely take a day off. True to form Jerry flew in for the induction on Friday night and was right back on a plane to saddle horses on Sunday. While Hollendorfer is ruthless at the claiming box on the track, very little is written or known about his softer side, as he has been known to pay the bills for backstretchers down on their luck. Now that ‘Dorf is on the national stage with his super filly Blind Luck and his HOF induction we think he’s finally getting the recognition and respect long deserved on the national stage.
…Kudos to Mike Smith and Chantal Sutherland for their willingness to participate in the “Battle of the Exes” match race at Del Mar. Corny as it was, it did get people talking got people out to the races. Despite the fact that neither jockey seemed to really endorse it wholeheartedly, they did it for the good of the sport.
…The US racing press has made much of the fact that no “big horse” has emerged from the pack this season (OK, maybe Tizway is starting to assert himself as the division leader). Over in Europe they have an embarrassment of riches. The grand mare Goldikova won the Prix du Rothschild for the fourth straight time and is on track to try to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile for an unprecendented fourth time as well; the 3-year old Frankel, named after the Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel is being hailed as one of the greats of all time. In the Classic division, Workforce and So You Think staged a race for the ages in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last month. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world the mare Black Caviar remains undefeated heading into the 2011-12 Australian Racing season.
…Anyone looking for a summer reading diversion should check out “Lord of Misrule” by Jaime Gordon. This work of fiction won the National Book Award this year, and tells the tale of a small group of race trackers at the bottom of the class ladder looking for that one big score that can change their lives. Lovers of fine prose and racetrack stories will find equal satisfaction in this breezy read. The author based the story on her experience working at Charles Town in the 1970s. Also on the literary front, fans of “Seabiscuit” author Laura Hillenbrand will enjoy her latest book “Unbroken” an amazing true story of an American soldier’s survival in a brutal Japanese POW camp during WWII.
TrackMaster Senior Handicapping Analyst, TV Critic and Book Reviewer
Posted in General Industry, Thoroughbred Races, Thoroughbred Racing