MJ Takes on Five This Afternoon

MARYJEAN looks to run her personal winning streak to three and the Club streak to four in the opener at Hawthorne this afternoon. Post time is 12:55 PM and the race is another $5000 claiming race over the main track, this time going 6 1/2 furlongs. Emmanuel Esquivel is again in the irons.

Here is a look at the field.

1 – Russian Rhapsody (Becker/Ocampo): the only speed in a short field could make her very dangerous. If no one goes with her she could shake lose, slow the pace and make it very difficult for anyone to close – provided she’s good enough and that is debatable.


3 – Lydia’s Angel (Mathews/Perez): Though we soundly beat her last out, she had some trouble at the start and was able to make up a lot of ground. A clean break and we could be battling this one down the lane.

4 – Ridgeway Angel (Seagle/Sanjur): This one had no trouble in the last and was only second best to MJ.

5 – Uptown Babe (Reavis/Colvin): After a long string of starter allowance appearances, she shows up in a conditioned (non-winners over time) $5000 and couldn’t get there, though had some trouble. Now she goes in a straight $5000 race which shapes up to be a bit tougher for the older mare.

6 – Harborton (Brueggermann/Thornton) – Midwest runners are always tough and well placed. She’s want to come off the pace, like most of these, but there may not be much pace to run at.

The short field makes me a bit nervous. With 8 or 9 runners you’re almost ensured a fair pace or, at the least, make it tough for a front runner to spurt away. Russian Rhapsody is lone speed in here but she’s done most of her damage at Fairmont Park, a clear step below Hawthorne and she couldn’t hold her speed in a $4000 race. The rest of us, for the most part, are competitive in here and all will want to be slightly off of that pace.

Uptown Babe and Harborton look like they are going to want to come from further out of it and that may be a difficult chore with no real pace scenario developing. That being said, sometimes you see some of the stalkers beat each other up which could open the way for a deeper closer – and the 6 1/2 distance helps them out some.

Being optimistic that we can get a 4th win in a row and a Club record 5th seasonal win, I’m going to think Esquivel will be able to save ground with the one heading out fast, stay about 4 – 5 lengths off that pace and get first run at the leader heading through the turn and then turning back any late challenge!

Good luck!!


MARYJEAN Looks For 3rd Straight on Wednesday

MARYJEAN, Emmanuel Esquivel up, heads postward in the opener on Wednesday, December 3 at Hawthorne. MJ has drawn the 2 hole in the small, six horse field. The race is 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track. We’re bringing her back again at the $5,000 claiming level.

Post time is 12:55. I will be in Iowa but you can be sure I will be pulled off SOMEWHERE to see if the Club can make it 4 wins a row and it’s record 5th win in a single season!

Preview to come – Good luck!!

MARYJEAN – Photo Phun

Four Footed Fotos, Hawthorne’s picture provider, sent over these proofs of MJ’s two wins for us. We are working on getting a volume discount if there are people interested in buying photos. I’m sure it won’t be as good as what we get with Coady since there will probably be less people ordering and there has to be shipping costs, but I’ll see what I can do.

As an FYI, we have been trying to enter TERICE going long on the dirt for $5000 but the race hasn’t filled. There is one in the book for next Friday so we’ll try again this weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy the proofs!






MARYJEAN – Race Preview

As the weather is cooling off, our girl has been heating up and MARYJEAN heads postward Thursday afternoon as the 4-1 2nd choice in a large field of 12 fillies and mares. The race is a $5,000 claiming race going 5 ½ furlongs over the main track. She drew the rail but is program #2 thanks to the presence of an entry. Emmanuel Esquivel again takes the mount.

Here is a look at the field (in post position order):


3 Ganesha (Perez/Sanjur) – She beat a group like this in October relatively handily while recording a nice 70 Beyer Speed Figure. She rallied from off the pace then but came back a couple of weeks later and had no kick at all. She certainly doesn’t have the consistency of MJ but is obviously dangerous when she’s on.

4 Only Annie Peach (Scherbenske/Thornton) – Not a bad little Minn-bred who knows one way to win: on the engine. We’ll be looking for her to display that early speed in only her 2nd out since the Canterbury meet closed – and hope several go with her!

1 Thundering Hoofs (Retana/Lopez) – Best races have come on or near the lead, which we like to see, but had a very rough first behind Ganesh out after a layoff. She certainly appears to have needed a race and, given that lackluster effort, more than one.

5 Grace of Greatness (Aguilar/Molina) – Another Minn bred, this gal has seen better days – and not so long ago. Mostly a turfer, she won 1st out this season in a non-winners of 1 allowance but since then has had a really rough time. With the cutback in distance and the layoff, I would expect her to revert to her seemingly natural style of getting on the lead.

1A Annie’s Showtime (Retana/Montalvo) – The other half of the entry has also shown speed in the past (not unusual for a short sprint, of course). Her two starts since her summer break haven’t been stellar but in her last she did show that flash of early speed which could indicate that she’s rounding into form. She won’t be loose on the lead, however, and that’s a plus.

6 Patricia’s Image (Tucker/Rose) –Riding a two race winning street at Hazel Park in Michigan, this stalker is going to find the competition a bit stiffer than what she’s used to.

7 Lady Scruffy (Haran/Perez) – Another winner of back to back races at Hazel, she’s finished 9th at Arlington and 4th, well beaten by Ganesh, here at Hawthorne last out. She does like to motor when she can, so hopefully she’ll join the gang early.

8 Our Black Beauty (Holder/Bridgmohan) – Hasn’t been a factor since back to back low level conditioned claiming wins at Canterbury early in the season. Drops to the bottom here trying to regain her form.

9 Lydia’s Angel (Matthews/Ocampo) – The 7/2 morning line favorite, she closed sharply in her last at this level but didn’t have what it took to hold off the top two, losing by only a length. She’s 2 of 15 at Hawthorne but has also hit the board an additional 7 times in those races. She should be a factor in the end and it could very well come down to which of us outkicks the other to the wire – patience and a clean trip may have a lot to do with that outcome.

10 Ridgeway Angel (Seagle/Emigh) – Winner of 4 of 5 off the claim, her last two have been a bit disappointing but they were also at higher class levels. She drops down here and is another with stalking speed and could be there in the end.

11 Aprettyunderstudy (Hellman/Cosme) – Winner of 4 of 8 this season – all at Fairmount – found the allowance waters VERY deep at Hawthorne. Speedster has the far outside and needs the lead. Probably won’t be the winner but she’ll certainly have an effect on the pace of the race.
There is certainly plenty of speed to run at in here. The field is enormous and that does make it a bit tough for anyone coming off the pace because of the traffic issues. You’ll have tired frnt runners backing up and enough horses on the track that will make finding a hole difficult.

All the said, I think we come into this in good shape. MJ shouldn’t be too far off the pace and with her spot on the rail she should be able to settle in a nice spot. When horses get tired they tend to lug out and that will hopefully provide a nice hole that Esquivel can guide her through. This one won’t be easy but I think she’s ready and I really like our chances.

Good luck!

Hawthorne Photos

Here are some photos that I took (the bad ones via my iPhone) and some that Heather took (the really good ones in the barn!) as well as a proof of the Winners’ Circle photo. In case you missed it, scroll down to the previous post for ordering details.

Maryjean in the paddock at Hawthorne before her race.

Maryjean in the paddock at Hawthorne before her race.

Another of MJ in the paddock looking every inch a winner.

Another of MJ in the paddock looking every inch a winner.

When you're a winner you can raspberry the photographer after the race!

When you’re a winner you can raspberry the photographer after the race!

Two dopes and a horse.  Terice as sweet as ever waiting for her turn to head to the post.  Hopefully in the next week or two.

Two dopes and a horse. Terice as sweet as ever waiting for her turn to head to the post. Hopefully in the next week or two.

Why yes, that iIS snow in the winners' circle.  Totally didn't care and absolutely worth the weather and traffic!

Why yes, that iIS snow in the winners’ circle. Totally didn’t care and absolutely worth the weather and traffic!

MARYJEAN – Race Preview

MARYJEAN heads postward at approximately 6:04 Central Time Friday (Race 8) at Hawthorne to take on a field of $5,000 claimers that have not won 2 races in 2014 or 3 races in 2013-14. She is the 2nd choice on the morning line for the 5 1/2 furlong dash.

Here is the field:

1 Prissy Ruler (Wells/Montalvo) – Though she has hit the board a few times, none of the efforts have been particularly threatening.


3 Passionately Sweet (Hellman/Lopez) – Should stay close to the pace but has had trouble finishing races recently until her last. She could be ready to surprise OR it may have been an anomaly.

4 Mirka (Reavis/Colvin) – 15th start of 2015! Dirt form has not been great.

5 Slick Philly (Brueggermann/Aragon) – Morning line favorite. A consistent sort who is bumping up a wee bit in class. Been steady since her return to the races after a year and a half absence. May be lone speed.

6 Magdalenka (Gore/Cosme) – Beaten by our girl the day we claimed her. She hasn’t come close to that 2 race winning streak she had since. The 5 months off didn’t appear to help but perhaps she needed one.

7 Gostosa (Perez/Thornton) – May need a wet surface to be successful. Decent class drop makes her dangerous.

8 The Bosser (Turco/Emigh) – We beat her in our first out at Canterbury. She’s been relatively consistent but unable to win except in a $4000 non-winners in a year event.

9 Salutethehero (Bentler/Slinger) – This class level may be a bit out of her wheelhouse.

For such a short sprint you would expect for there to be more speed in the race than there is. The morning line favorite, Slick Philly, seems to be the consistent speed in the race which could put him in front alone. Salutethehero, Passionately Sweet and Prissy Ruler have shown flashes of early speed but not consistent enough to give me confidence that there will be someone going after Slick Philly. We’ll see if someone goes early and ends up giving us something to run at. If we can get some early pace with someone softening up the favorite, we could be in good shape. If everyone decides that the other gal should do it, though, we may settle for “second best” again.

Heather and I will be at the race. I was lucky enough to have some business in the area before and after the weekend so we’ll be there to root our gal on.

Good luck everyone and good handicapping on the Breeders’ Cup!


MARYJEAN worked four furlongs this morning at Hawthorne. Her time was :49 which was the 4th fastest of the 17 horses that worked this morning. Fun fact: the top work this morning belonged to another Clay Brinson horse, Bambazonki, who covered the distance in :47. She was well within herself and appears to be ready to go next week.

TERICE is listed as the 7/2 Morning Line favored among the projected starters in Saturday’s race. Let’s hope she can get some racing luck this time and bring us home a win!

News and Notes


There really isn’t a whole lot going on right now. Both girls are working at Hawthorne and appear to be doing well. It looks like we’ll be entering next week: TERICE in an $8,000 claimer on the grass (25th) and MARYJEAN in a $5,000 claiming sprint on the dirt (30th). Of course neither are official until we enter and get in the race(s).


Alex is recovering from his surgery and he say he’ll be sideline for about 2 months. It’s great news that the surgery went well and that he will be able to ride again. As many of you have no doubt heard, three jockeys – 2 in Australia and 1 in Indiana – lost their lives riding this past week. It’s easy to forget sometimes just how dangerous this sport is for both the human and equine athletes.


Now is the time to start thinking about 2015. I’m not sure that we will be doing too much different than this season from an operational perspective. There always is a lot of conversation about the Club dynamics and how things can be changed but we end up coming back to the mission of the Club: to educate Minnesotans about horse racing. We won’t lose our focus on that goal and, should members wish to move on to a potential “for profit” group, start your own group or buy a horse on your own – much the better. That is kind of the point, really: to get folks to the point that, if they wish, they can venture out on their own to join existing partnerships, form one of their own or go solo. If you have any questions, please feel free to let them rip. I’ll try and answer your questions the best I can be they about the Club, joining groups or how to start your own.

Both Gals Back and Gearing Up

Both TERICE and MARYJEAN are back in Clay’s barn at Hawthorne and are doing okay. As we thought, TERICE was very keen to move under Tim Thornton in her race and he had to dance a fine line between trying to rate her but not discouraging her so much that she wouldn’t run anymore either. He felt that when she swung to the lead that that was going to be all she wrote but she tired late – perhaps because of her struggles earlier in the race. We know she’s okay on the dirt and has enjoyed success over a sloppy racetrack but the track was sealed (rolled to keep the moisture out) and perhaps a bit hard and wasn’t entirely to her liking.

MARYJEAN was simply too far back early and when the time came to run, she did her thing, swinging wide and passing everyone (almost) in the lane to put 5 1/2 between her and the third place horse but she was just too far from the eventual winner to catch her. It was a solid second and a check that paid the bills ($2600) but she will run again at Hawthorne next. Though the money was good in Ohio, part of the reason Clay was able to get three horses there was that trainer Joel Berndt was heading there with his own and had some room. Otherwise, he says rides to get to the Cleveland area infrequent and, therefore, expensive, so we’ll wait at Hawthorne and look to go about 3 weeks after her last start (October 1).

While there is nothing in the book for TERICE over the turf at this level ($8000), we will wait a few weeks and see what develops. Worst case we will run her back over the dirt again at this level or maybe even a step lower since the objective now for us is twofold – get a win, but also have them move on to new homes.

On another note, here is a link to more on the ongoing saga in Illinois for those of you that are interested: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141004/ISSUE01/310049970/horse-tracks-stumble-amid-painful-wait-for-slots#

MARYJEAN – Preview

MARYJEAN takes on 7 $5,000 claiming fillies and mares today going 5 1/2 furlongs over the dirt course at Thistledown. The race is the 6th.

Here is a rundown of the speed laden race:

Pass Me A Drink (Hunt/KGonzalez) – Good early speed. Won last in dominating fashion but seems like last came from nowhere so there is the potential that she could regress off of that effort.

Sneaky Sweet (Capelini/LGonzalez) – Another who likes it on the front, a very consistent filly who is pushing up in class after the last win off the claim at $4,000.

Friendly Wildcat (Morales/Rosario) – Two since the break/claim has been real clunkers but prior to that…love the front.

Emma’s Image (Radosevich/Skerritt) – Everyone seems to wants the lead, including this gal. She comes from one of the leading barns and has one of the top local jocks on her.

Devaney (Faulkner/Urieta-Moran) – Yet another who does her best running on the engine, she seems to be having some trouble getting her old form back since the break.

Dancewhileitstorms (Dominguez/Smock) – Horse throws in an occasionally good race from time to time, she likes to settle just off the pace and there will be pace in here, no question.


Cashed Out (Morales/DeLaCruz) – One guess where this one likes to go…to the lead…

Well there certainly is going to be pace to run at in here, no doubt about it. I have one real concern: if there is enough real estate for her to make up the ground she’ll need to. She’s won at 5 1/2 before and there is plenty of speed in the race. As long as the fractions can be solid, we should get the pace we want as long as our jockey, Noel Vigil, listens to Juan (he made the trip with Clay’s trio in today) and his instructions.

Race time is about 2:25 Central. Good luck!!