Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday February 21, 2010

Bruce Brown wasn’t at Belmont Sunday morning. He was at the christening for his new son. But Steve Zorn and I were able to have a nice chat with his assistant Maria.

Bruce thought Talking Blues might be ready to race by last Friday (Feb. 19th), and tried to aim him for that race, but it didn’t happen. Talking Blues came back very slowly from the race on January 17th. He didn’t like that heavy track, it took a lot out of him, and, as we know from past experience with him, he gets sore after he’s worked heavily, and has to take the time to get better from that (leg wraps and buckets of ice water are what do it). This time, just about when he was ready to start training seriously up to his next race, bad weather set in, forcing all the trainers to exercise their horses less (no breezes; no gallops) for a few days, and then, for two days, totally closing the training track. Unfortunately, that period was exactly when Talking Blues was finally ready for a good pre-race breeze. If he’d had it then, he’d probably have raced last Friday. But he didn’t get that breeze until the Monday before the race – and that four-day span just didn’t give him enough time to recover. Most horses need several days of jogging after a breeze, then a gallop or two, so it’s usually a week between a breeze and either another breeze or a race. For Talking Blues, it’s even longer. When we saw Talking Blues on Sunday morning, he was back in the barn after a jog; he jogged again on Monday, and galloped on Tuesday. Bruce wants to get one or two solid breezes into him, and wants to make sure he isn’t feeling sore after those, before he is ready to race. Once the horse has had a breeze or two, he’ll let Bruce know if he’s ready. Winter training is difficult for all.

Steve and I spent some quality time hanging out with Talking Blues at his stall. He seemed happy and alert, and engaged in a serious contest with Steve over Steve’s coffee cup. Luckily, Talking Blues lost that contest, so he definitely will not be testing positive for caffeine.

Next, we stopped by Leah Gyarmati’s barn, where Strings and Arrows looked a little tired, but otherwise in good shape, after Saturday’s race. (Leah said: “You should expect him to be tired today. He ran a good race.”)

Strings and Arrows had a productive race, finishing a fast-closing fourth, as he continues his development as a racehorse. Strings and Arrows was soundly bumped after the break but continued on in a very game fashion to finish fourth in a field of nine. Comments were made about Strings and Arrows’ calmness before the race and his long fluid strides down the stretch. Leah Gyamati firmly believes Strings and Arrows will get better as the distance gets longer, and she’s also looking forward to trying him on turf.

Iguazu is still in Florida, and Bill Turner said that he’s slowing down just a bit on our colt’s training, to give him the time he needs to develop physically. Iguazu comes from a late-developing family, so this is not entirely surprising, though we’re all impatiently looking forward to his return to the starting gate.

Bagavond is still on the farm in Virginia and is getting his jogging in every day, outside when the weather permits, and indoors, in the big arena, on snow days.

The Claiming Partnership is still evaluating horses. Steve and Bruce had a few possibilities, but after further review decided to pass on them. They are still looking, and there could be a new horse in the barn any day. As partners continue to join we are able to expand our search for a horse. Anyone that would like more information on this partnership can contact me at 1-888-989-7223 or email at cvfsales@gmail.com .

If anyone wants to come join us on our Sunday barn visits, just get in touch at 1-888-989-7223 or email at cvfsales@gmail.com .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday Feb. 14th

February has been a no-races month, so far, for Castle Village Farm. The weather and the difficulty in finding races that fit our horses conditions are the main causes.

Steve Zorn and I were out at Belmont Sunday morning. Talking Blues had already been out on the training track by the time we got there, but we met up with Bruce Brown on the rail, then walked back to Bruce’s barn, where I left Bruce a VERY large bag of carrots that a restaurant owner friend of mine had given me for the horses.

Talking Blues missed a few days of training when the training track was closed for bad weather. Most important, he missed the last breeze that he needed to get set up for a race, so the decision was made not to enter Talking Blues in the race originally slated for Monday, 15 February. The race was not used by the racing office, anyway, so other trainers must have felt the same way about entering their horse. Talking Blues will have a breeze this week, then Bruce and Steve will discuss next race possibilities.

We also got to see Strings and Arrows gallop on the training track. He looked very strong, pulling his rider along. Leah Gyarmati was in Ocala for the two-year-old sale, so Herbie Castillo was in charge of the barn in her absence. We could see that Strings and Arrows is training very well, but there do not appear to be any distance races in the condition book until March. Leah will ask the racing office for a two-turn NY Bred Maiden Special Weight to be put up as an extra on the overnights. Such requests are usually granted, but then it depends on the number of entries to determine if the race will be used.

Iguazu had another significant breeze the other day in Florida, and, according to Pat Turner, came out of it just fine. A few more breezes and Bill Turner will start looking for a race for Iguazu. Bill said that he should know by the end of this week what Iguazu’s likely racing schedule will be.

Bagavond continues to be well taken care of on Diana McCLure’s farm in Virginia. Last week’s blizzard, on top of the one that came just the week before, has left more than 20 inches of snow on the ground. Diana reported that they’d been thoroughly snowed in all week, and that her husband Michael had been putting in long hours clearing the paths and driveways. At one point, just before the second blizzard, Mike had everything cleared, only to have the wind cover it all up again. By some miracle, Diana said, they didn’t lose power, so they were able to continue to keep indoor areas warm and to draw fresh water for the horses. Fortunately, they have a big indoor arena, so Bagavond was able to get some work in. Turf season can't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday, Feb. 5

Partner Paddy O'Hara came along with Steve and myself on our barn visits this past Sunday and said how enjoyable it is to see the morning workouts and to have that chance to talk informally with our trainers.

Paddy commented that there is so much more to racing than what the average fan knows. All of you are invited to join us one morning for a tour of the Belmont backstretch and conversations with CVF trainers. Sundays are the preferred choice, but we are flexible enough to arrange this for any day of the week.

Strings and Arrows had a very good untimed breeze at one mile the other
day. We’d been looking forward to racing him this Thursday, but the racing office did not use the race we were pointing him to.
Instead, they used an open-company maiden special that was carded especially for Darley (which is owned by the Sheik of Dubai) and a few of the other owners who have very, very expensive horses. Leah and Steve discussed entering Strings and Arrows in an upcoming six-furlong race for NY Breds, but have decided against it, because, since his last race, Strings and Arrows has been training to run a longer distance. We are looking for a NY Bred Maiden Special Weight race at one mile or longer. There should be one soon, because it is not an uncommon race. The overnights are where we are expecting to find the race for Strings and Arrows, so, more than likely, it will be short notice to everyone for his next race. We will do a posting as soon as we have any additional information.

Talking Blues continues to train well and is ready to race again. We’d hoped he’d be in a race on Sunday, but the racing office didn’t use that one. Right now, there is a race in the condition book for Monday, February 15th (Presidents' Day). Bruce Brown and Steve are thinking of entering him in that one. The race is for NY Bred Claiming $15K at a distance of one mile and seventy yards. We’ll keep you posted on that one, and we hope to see lots of you at the track if the race goes.

Iguazu had a nice half-mile breeze on Saturday.
Pat Turner reports that Iguazu came out of the breeze in excellent shape. He walked the shed row on Sunday, was back on the training track Monday for a jog, and galloped on the training track on Tuesday. Bill and Pat are hoping to keep Iguazu on a regular weekly breeze schedule and get him to a race as soon as he has sufficient conditioning. No word yet on exactly when that will be, but there's a one-mile maiden special in the Gulfstream condition book on February 27th that could be a target.

Bagavond is snowed in. The part of northern Virginia where Bagavond is spending the winter was one of the hardest-hit areas in last weekend's snowfall. The area around Berryville got almost three feet of snow.

Diana McClure reports that all the horses are fine; she and Michael have managed to dig out their driveway, and clear the paths between the barns and their house so they can feed and water the horses, but it'll be a while before the jogging track is open. Meanwhile, the local roads are still in very dicey shape, and more snow is expected tomorrow and Wednesday, so Bagavond's outdoor excursions may be limited for a few days more.

Just as an idea of the conditions in that part of the world, Althea Richards, the breeder and co-owner of Iguazu, who has a farm not too far away from Diana's, reports that she spent most of Saturday afternoon trying to brush the snow away from her satellite dishes and that "it was like trying to repair the Hubble telescope."

Because of the weather, Jean and Steve aren't sure yet whether they'll be able to get down to visit Bagavond this weekend as they’d planned. It all depends on how effective the plows are, and how much more snow falls in that area tomorrow and Wednesday. They're still hopeful, though.

The Claiming Partnership continues to grow, and Steve and Bruce continue to evaluate horses. CVF entered into an agreement with another group of NY based owners, who wanted to be involved specifically with Castle Village Farm, so we may be able to claim at a higher level than we’d first thought. Shares in the claiming partnership are still available, and we will continue to upgrade our search for a horse as more partners get involved.

Anyone who wants more information on the Claiming Partnership or any of the CVF horses please let me know. I can be reached at 1-888-989-7223 or email cvfsales@gmail.com.