Outclassed

While there were several good size class drops heading into the race today at Oaklawn, it didn’t seem that Horny was THAT outclassed by this field.

He was.

He broke well and Justin Shepherd settled him into position 6th in the 7 horse field.  The leaders, including the dropper from $32,000 – and eventual winner – Smart Spree, took off and never came back.  In fact, when the horse on our outside nosed in front of us in the first quarter mile, the horses barely changed position through the finish line.  They clocked the first quarter in just about 22 seconds flat and 3/4 in :57.22 before finishing up the six furlongs in 1:10.26 over a track listed as ‘good’.

Justin said that he broke well but started playing with his tongue almost immediately all the way down the backstretch.  He finally started to get into the bit some turning for home but the damage was done and Shepherd let him finish mostly under his own power with just a couple of taps to keep him straight.  The horse that finished 6th was life and death to do so with his jock wailing away on him to get him home.  I’m glad Justin didn’t go that route, but rather kept him mind on business made him finish and didn’t sour him on the experience.

He’ll ship to Canterbury next weekend and we’ll look to have him ready for that second weekend with some rest and class relief.

Not the way we would have chosen to start the season but it’s not the end of the season either.  We’ll get him where he belongs and look to win some races this summer.

Race Preview: Dos Cuernos

Oaklawn Park is a tough place to win and this race will be no exception.  It is a small field but Horny isn’t completely outclassed here.  It’s an interesting mix of horses competing for the $28,000 purse in the $12,500 claiming race going six furlongs in tomorrow’s third race (estimate post time 2:25 PM CT).

For those of you new to the Club, before each race we try and give an overview of the race and thoughts on how we can win. Here is the field:

Wildcat Shoals (Chleborad/Loveberry) – Horse is 0-11 at Oaklawn and the last pair of races at this level have been even but non-threatening.  Best efforts have been just off the pace.

Smart Spree (McKnight/Mojica) – This guy is tumbling in class from $32,000 to $12,500 – begging to be claimed.  The question in races like this is: is he dropping to get a win or because he can’t compete? We won’t know until we see him run! He should be forwardly placed and try and outclass the field home.

Channel Won (Young/Quinones) – Making his seasonal debut after a 2018 that found him in the money over half the time.  Trainer Scott Young is 20% off the layoff and here is another one that will likely be pushing the pace early.

DOS CUERNOS (LTFIN/SHEPHERD)

Family Code (Hartman/Elliot) – Picked up his first win in his third race after a year and a half layoff and his first off the claim from Robertino Diodoro to Chris Hartman.  He’s moving up from $8000 after a stalk and pounce win last out.  Likely to settle in behind the speedsters inside.

Coleman Rocky (Garcia/Lara) – He hasn’t shown much since coming to Oaklawn and immediately showing in a $6250 Starter Allowance.  He has certainly been trying much tougher company in allowance, starter and optional company.  Back into a straight claimer here for the first time since being claimed for $10,000 at Churchill Downs.  He should be coming late.

Iter (Mason/Bridgmohan) – Another big class dropper coming in from $25,000 last out.  Managed a couple of Oaklawn Park scores last season but finished out of the money in two start this year.  Today drops to the lowest claiming price we can see in his PPs and should be trying to stalk the early pace and pounce late.

This is the part where we like to outline how we can win the race.  Horny will need some racing luck for sure and will have to step up a bit.  I can see him at Canterbury flourishing at 6.5 furlongs – six may be just a bit short while a mile might be too long.  That said, that’s not what we’re facing here.

He’s not a pacesetter but he does have the race speed inside of him.  They should be able to clear and we should be able to settle in behind them.  He likes to come from relatively far out of it, but I’m hoping we don’t lose touch with the field early.

A potential wild card will be the weather.  Hot Springs is expecting storms tonight and rain tomorrow.  Horney does have a win over a wet track as well as a pair of thirds in 5 attempts.  Smart Spree on the inside (2 out of 3) and Iter (1 for 6) are the only others in the field with wet track wins.

If we can stay in striking distance of the leaders and have something left in the tank late, it should be an exciting finish.  Frankly, at this level I’d be happy to hit the board and take down 10 – 20% of the purse and pay for shipping and some training costs before the barn heads north after the Kentucky Derby.

Though I am on the road this week, I will be watching from a rest stop somewhere.  Many of you, though, can watch and wager at Canterbury Park if you can get away from work in the afternoon!

GOOD LUCK!!

First Race of the Year Thursday

The 2019 Club will make our first start of the season on Thursday at Oaklawn.  Horny will head out in the 3rd race, a $12,500 claiming race for horses that have not won a race since November 25 going six furlongs.  It is a seven horse field and we’ll be breaking out of post four with Justin Shepherd aboard.  Estimated post time is 2:25 Central Time.

As some of you have already noticed, Horny won on December 18 at Mahoning Valley so how can he be eligible for this race?  Reading deeper into the conditions, in parenthesis, the condition of the race reads: “Races where entered for $8,000 or less not considered in allowances and eligibility.”  That race at Mahoning was a $7500 claiming race and thus didn’t count for eligibility into this race.

The decision to run here was an interesting one.  We try and run the Club as close to “real life” as we can so folks can get the experience and understand the decision making process involved.  There are times, however, that decisions are made that are contrary to what might be done if we weren’t the racing club and we’ll try and point those out when they come up.  This race is an example of that.

Horny is in a little bit over his head here.  While he’s not as outclassed as I thought he would be, it would be a surprise if he wins (as noted by his 12-1 morning line odds).  However, the horse was ready to run, feeling good and not eligible to run at Canterbury until the second weekend.  A race this weekend sets him up perfectly for that weekend. In a “normal” circumstance we would have run him back at the same level ($6250) to try and get a win and if he gets claimed, he goes.  Eventually there would be another horse.   Given that the meet is closing in a few weeks and claiming activity, especially at the lower levels, is getting frenzied, we decided to “protect” the horse and run him a little higher in order to dissuade a claim.

Horny is healthy, sound and has potential to win some races at Canterbury.  He would be difficult to replace before we open here and, as the Club, we want to hit the meet running so we entered at this level instead of lower. (Side note: Karl is looking for a horse as we speak but we may end up claiming one with him opening weekend).  So, as a Club decision, we protected the horse while in a “real world” scenario, we wouldn’t have run so high. You run to try and win, not protect your horse from being claimed.  We will not be doing the same once we get here.

Of course anything can happen in a claiming race but should we lose Horny at this level we would have done so whilst doubling our money.  That definitely would be a balm to the soothe the loss.

All of that said, the race didn’t come up as tough as I expected and we certainly have some hope (which I will cover in the race preview in a couple of days).

Good luck and can’t wait for the gates to open on the 2019 season


Reminder: RSVP to the coffee and donuts the morning of May 11, 9-11 open house style,  by the end of the day on Thursday, May 3 to ted@grevelisracing.com.

Kickoff Coffee Scheduled!

Mark May 11 on your calendar:  That is the morning we will be hosting our Canterbury Racing Club Seasonal Kickoff Coffee, Juice and Donuts!

As in past years we will have the cabanas on the apron between 9-11 AM.  We’ll be able to watch horses work, do some Q&A and get to know each other better. It is a great time to get in the spirit of the Club, put faces to the names and get to know other Clubbers with whom you’ll be enjoying the season. And, if things work out well, we could be racing later that afternoon.  There is even a chance that we can keep the cabanas for the entire day – but we won’t know until we get closer to the day.

We really need folks to RSVP to this event so we can get an accurate count for the Canterbury food and beverage department, so please let me know if you are coming and how many there will be in your party via email: ted@grevelisracing.com.  I need to know who is coming by the end of the day on May 3.  I will send occasional reminders over the next couple of weeks but please do not forget…don’t get shut out!

NOTE:  PLEASE don’t RSVP in the comments!  Send me an email so I can keep track correctly. Thanks.

Cuernos Means Horns and Other Info

We learned that Dos Cuernos means “Two Horns” in Spanish.  It should mean “great eater of hay”, however.  Reports out of the Litfin barn is that Horny enjoys his alfalfa hay more than anyone else in the barn.  He’s put on some weight, muscled up some and is training well.

It is very likely that we will have one start at Oaklawn before heading north to Canterbury.  We would anticipate him running at the same level we claimed him at ($6250) or at least close to it.  We should know more about that in the next few days.  As mentioned in a previous post, we’re not allowed to run until the Oaklawn meet is over and, since the meet isn’t over until Derby Day, that precludes us from running opening weekend.  The timing should work out well to come back and run the second weekend of the meet depending upon on the races available (keep and eye out later this week for a post on the Condition Book and selecting races).

Horses should be arriving at Canterbury in a week to 10-days and we’ll start looking forward to racing at home!

As a reminder, your VIP card will be coded identifying you as a Club member and provide you free admission throughout the meet.  If you don’t have a VIP card, you can pick one up at the information booth outside the card club near the valet parking entrance.  You will need to have your card scanned for admission on race days.  And don’t forget to use it when placing your bets or playing cards to earn points for a wide range of rewards (you can get details on the program at the information booth).

Welcome to the Team “Dos Cuernos”

Welcome to the team Dos Cuernos.  We claimed Dos Cuernos with Nevada Litfin out of the opening race at Oaklawn Park on Thursday, April 4.  “Dos” as he’s known in the barn (a group of former Clubbers claimed a horse earlier in the meet “One Bet From Even” earned the nickname “Uno”…”Dos” seemed appropriate on a couple of levels).

As you can see, his weanling photo shows a much darker horse but greys are born dark and “roan out” over time.  Now he’s a handsome grey.

Dos is a 5-year old son of Tale of Ekati out of the Smoke Glacken mare Imanheiress.  He has started 30 times and has four wins, three seconds and four thirds.  He is well travelled and oft-claimed (you can review his lifetime past performances below).  He should be competitive here from $5000 – $7500 and be able to win us some races.

He finished 3rd in the race we claimed him in over a sealed and sloppy racetrack making a belated bid to get up.

The rules at Oaklawn state that a horse claimed there cannot run until after the meet is over.  Some tracks have a 30-day after claim rule – it varies from state to state.  This season Oaklawn has moved to a new schedule that has them running through Kentucky Derby Day which means the earliest we can run here would be the second weekend of the meet – which we will be hoping to do.  Traditionally that is also the weekend when the “kick off” coffee and donuts at the track is scheduled.

The Club now has one runner.  Karl Broberg is still on the lookout for horse number two, so finger crossed that we can start the season with a pair!

Dos Cuernos Lifetime PPs