2017 Clubbers: Watch Your Inbox

For all 2017 Clubbers, keep an eye on your inbox later this week to get the final spreadsheet and the rollover form for 2018 from Jeff Maday.  We, of course, really hope that you’ll all join us again as well as telling your friends!

The amount returned this year is $74.27.  The compares favorably with the $42.93 from last year.  This means to roll over and join up again next year has decreased to $175.77 from a shade over $200 last year.

Obviously the quick injury and retirement of Jerry’s Two Tickets hurt a lot and the decision, as I mentioned before, of sending Belle to KY rather than Hawthorne probably hurt some as well.  She also was her own worst enemy as far as nicking herself up.  Every year we learn something and that certainly includes me as well.

We’ll take those lessons into 2018, learn from them, and once again make a run at an enjoyable, educational season.  We hope you’ll all come back and join us!


Belle Sold

The group that bought Belle was finalized yesterday, the check was made out and a group of 9 – nearly all former Clubbers – bought Belle for $2000.

Keep in mind, this is the same amount that we sold Vanderboom Ridge for at the end of last season – and he won his last race at $4000.  There were a couple of things working against us to get her sold off for more money.  The primary issue we have is the one we we always have – God and everyone know we have to be horseless by 12/31.  Secondarily we had a filly that could not win her last race at $5000 and she then proceeded to cut herself in her stall which did two things: kept us from racing her again to show she’s just fine and absolutely cuts back on the “eye test” factor.

We may have been able to get $2500 from a third party for her but the additional $500 for her to go someplace we don’t know didn’t seem to be the way to go for an additional $3 for everyone.  Additionally our mission is to try and educate folks about ownership so they want to do take a run at ownership, either solo or in a partnership.  This was a way of accomplishing that goal.

She had a nice run for the Club even though we ended on a bit of a down note (though a third place at Churchill Downs is pretty cool) she did give us a pair of wins – both at home.

Her first win was in a nice starter allowance race where she returned $28.40 to her backers.  This is the highest mutual that a Club horse has ever returned.  I would have to delve a little deeper but it could also be the Club’s first win in a starter allowance as well.

Her other win was a romp in a $6250 claiming race where everything seemed to go her way and she took full advantage of it.

A couple of things I would have done differently: I would have sent her to Hawthorne after Canterbury and tried to win as many as we could before we got claimed as we have done in the past with Ask Eddie and others.  Keeneland and Churchill may have been too tough for her, especially since we were looking to get her claimed.

To that end I would have stepped back from plans to try her longer on the turf.  That was a mistake on my end.  I should have opted to go shorter and cheaper.  If she got claimed then, no big deal.  It was the end of the meet anyhow and while it is nice to follow a horse through the fall, it’s also nice to win at home and it’s not the end of the world if we lose a horse at the end of the meet.

However she did return over $20,000 to the Club and helped make up a little bit for the mis-step with Jerry’s Two Tickets.

As mentioned in the last post, we will be gathering bills and auditing the account and by the end of January we should have a solid final accounting. I hope that you will seriously consider rolling your return into the 2018 Club – we’d love to have each and every one of you back!

For those of you following along, look for details and sign ups for new members shortly after the first of the year.

Not With A Bang, But A Whimper

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot:

This is how the season ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Belle recovered from the cut in her leg but with weather curtailing training at the Trackside Training Center at Churchill Downs, we have run out of time to get her ready enough for a start at Delta Downs.

The good news is that a group formed from current and former Clubbers will be picking her up to race her in 2018.  After shopping her for a bit but not getting any serious takers the decision was made that if we had to sell her inexpensively (like we did Vanderboom Ridge last season) it made more sense to let some Clubbers buy her and continue up the ownership ladder.

The money is being gathered now and the group formed so the deal should be consummated by the middle of next week.

We will collect bills at the end of the month, finalize expenses and put the 2017 Club to bed in mid-January (hopefully) –  Just in time to kick off the 2018 Club!

There will be no change in fees for 2018 and I would anticipate enrollment again staying open until the end of February and be able to start shopping Oaklawn with Nevada and either California or Illinois with Clay in March.  While there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to get two horses, enrollment has held pretty steady around the 150 mark which should allow us to move forward on two fronts.  If we’re able to draw more participants – all the better!

Belle’s final stats for the Club were 9 starts with a pair of wins and a third with over $20,000 in earnings.  We’ll do a more complete recap soon.

Belle: Work, Move, Race

Belle will be moving to Arkansas with the rest of the Litfin stable in about a week.  Before she leaves she’ll get a breeze at the training center to test her out and make sure she’s ready to roll and we’ll enter her at Delta Downs.  She’s been training well and her ankle is healing nicely, though slower than we would have liked – though she’s finally nearly ready.

We are also actively looking to sell her off.  If that comes first we may forgo shipping to Delta and adding the extra cost. If we can sell her in Kentucky, we’d do that as well.

While she’s caused her own issues at the end here, I think if I had to do it again I would have sent her to Hawthorne with Clay.  With the lower level of racing there we perhaps could have won a race or two and had her claimed in the process because she would have looked more attractive there than she did in Kentucky.  Hindsight is 20/20, though, and we’ll make the most of it.

Trying to Get One More

Belle continues to be her own worst enemy as she cut her leg in her stall and we were unable to enter her for the final day at Churchill.

The Litfin barn moves to Oaklawn on December 1 so we will try to heal her up and send her up to Turfway for one before the move – but she doesn’t race until she’s healed. We’re also exploring the possibility of shipping her down to Delta for one from Oaklawn in December (it’s a 4-hour ship).  We will also be pursuing a private sale in the interim as well including the possibility of putting together a group to buy her and continue to run her with Nevada.

For those of you following along, the Alumni Group ran today at Churchill with Perfect Movement, a horse claimed back at the beginning of the month for $16,000 after their Vacanza was claimed.  He moved up to $30,000 and was able to close well to finish 3rd in the 7th.


Belle Eye Thanksgiving Weekend

It looks like Belle will be ready roll again next weekend.  We’ll be looking at a $5000 claimer.  While there isn’t one in the condition book there is thought that there will be a few written for closing weekend.  If not, we can ship up to Turfway and run there where there are more of those kind of races run, albeit at lower purses.

Entries will start being drawn this weekend and we’ll keep looking at the extras to see what we can get her in.

There are folks interested in buying her if she doesn’t get claimed – including some that want to form a second alumni group to do it.  I’m not opposed to that but it is a very different animal than the Club: there is potential for loss, higher buy in, carries over year to year, etc.  You can email me at ted@grevelisracing.com if you may be interested. Most likely she will get claimed and the point becomes moot, but just in case.

Back on the Track

Belle was back on the track this week and she is doing well.  She came out of the race just fine and Nevada and the team will be getting her ready for her next race. We don’t have an estimated date yet but we do know that we’ll be looking at the same level and distance.  If we can get a draw inside to post 3 or so, we’ll be looking at a different result.

She did well finishing third mired out in post 12 and she fought hard to make sure that she finished 3rd.

We will be looking to get her claimed this next race but there are also folks interested in buying her privately as well, though a claim would be better.

Hopefully we will have a target race picked out to point to next week and we can gear up for one last dash for a photo!

Belle Third

Brilliant Belle and Rafael Mojica, Jr. made the best out of a tough draw and finished 3rd today at Churchill Downs, earning $1800 in the process.

The 12 post in a sprint, especially with a filly that breaks alertly (usually) is problematic at best.  Raffie was able to get her off the early pace and she finished strongly, fighting hard to maintain third.

We’ll see how she came out of the race and look to have her back at this same spot.  I think with a better draw we will have a shot at closing out the year with a win.  She drew some attention today with her run and was markedly better than two of three horses that were claimed out of the race (the winner was also claimed)so hopefully we’ll get a sale out of the next race as well.

Belle – Race Preview

Welcome to Churchill Downs!

Belle will be taking on a full field of $5000 claimers in the 10th race this afternoon (about 6:10 our time – watch and wager at Canterbury whilst enjoying Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup).

Our girl drew the outside for the six furlong dash and will have Rafael Mojica Jr. aboard.

Prom Theme (Danner/Burke) – An off the pace type, she ships in from Ohio after faltering in conditioned $5000 claimers.

Wildwood Kantheros (Litfin/Lanerie) – Nevada’s other entry certainly got the better of the draw.  A stalking type, she’s been off since Canterbury and should be well positioned early.

Honey C (Tapp/Zuniga) – Stepping up from the bottom in Indiana and Ohio.

Kate N Abs Reward (Valenzuela/Jimenez) – While a little flat her last few starts, she’s also been running a bit higher.  She drops in here and could be prominent early.

Titfortat (Caldwell/Canchari) – Won at the bottom at Ellis but faded a bit in her last at Churchill in September.  She’ll be quick and one of the pacesetters.

Muddle (Lauer/Miranda) – Couldn’t break through at the lowest levels against home breds in Ohio, faces open today.

Lucy B (Fosdick/Pompell) – Big class drop and speed should have this one playin catch me if you can.

Leanne n Susan (Romans/Gazader) – Won at $8000 here before a summer break.  She came back w/ a lackluster performance on a class drop and had another 6 weeks off.

Alittlecomplicated (Garcia/Torres) – Reeled off a pair of wins in a row at Thistledown and has come south for a shot at Churchill where she’s 1 for 4.  Will be running late.

Big Island Blonde (Holthus/Sarvis) – Four very rough performances at Oaklawn led to a layoff after the Hot Springs meet.  This is her first back since then and she returns at the bottom.

Teacup Twirl (Walsh/Perez) – Indiana bred taking on open company where she is yet to break through.  Early speed out of post 11 is rough.


I won’t sugar coat it – this one is going to be tough.  While she is certainly not outclassed here (she’s certainly worth more than the $5000), being mired in the 12 hole as alertly as she breaks will be problematic.

She absolutely cannot push the pace the way she did last our or her chances to win will against disappoint through the first quarter mile.  That said, it is very hard to get a stalking trip from outside without some help.

If the break can be spread out a bit, Rafael may be able to get her into a decent position during the first furlong and settle off the pace.  Another potential partner could be the weather.  If it’s wet enough we could see some scratches and that would shift us inward a few spots which would be very helpful/

A lot is going to depend on where we can be the first quarter mile and if she can get first jump on the early leaders and take advantage of the stretch to grind out a win.

Good luck, everybody!