Thursday, March 25, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday March 21

Beautiful day at Belmont this Sunday. Partner Vinny DiSpigno, Steve Zorn and I spent a couple of hours on the rail at the training track.

Bruce Brown stopped by and reported that Talking Blues came out of his breeze in good shape. Bruce said Talking Blues actually breezed four furlongs, but was only timed for three. Bruce wants a week of steady gallops before Talking Blues’ next breeze. After that Bruce should have a better idea when Talking Blues’ next race will be. Steve, Vinny and I also stopped by Talking Blues’ stall in Bruce’s barn to say hello.

Leah Gyarmati told us she’s very pleased with Strings and Arrows’ excellent effort the day before, when the colt finished 3rd in a NY-bred maiden special weight. Leah said that Strings and Arrows definitely wants to go long, and probably on the turf, so she and Steve will be checking the condition book for possible turf races in April. According to NYRA, turf racing is supposed to start on April 1st, providing the turf course is in good enough shape.

We had a report from Pat Turner down in Florida that Iguazu is doing well after his recent breeze, and that he’s been very well mannered breaking from the starting gate. No word yet on when Iguazu might be entered in a race, though it probably won’t be until Bill and Pat get back to New York in April.

We also heard from Diana McClure down on the farm in Virginia. The plan is for Diana and Mike to keep galloping Bagavond through the end of March, then send him up to Belmont in early April. The last three years, Bagavond’s first start of the season came in mid-May, so that’s what we’ll be aiming for again this year.

Steve and Bruce are in the middle of looking for a horse for the new claiming partnership. We tried to claim one last week, but lost out in a four-way “shake.”

We’re happy to report that we now have enough partners so we can look for a horse at the $25,000 level. There are still shares available in the claiming partnership, and we’d be happy to welcome additional partners..

All Castle Village Farm partners, and prospective partners, are more than welcome to join us any Sunday morning at Belmont. Just let us know and we’ll be happy to set things up for you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday March 14, 2010

There was so much rain in New York this weekend that there was no racing at all on Saturday, and the training track was closed on Sunday -- AND Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time -- so only the really, really brave, staunch, courageous, steadfast Castle Village Farmers made it to Belmont on Sunday morning. In other words, Joe was there. And Steve wasn't. Here's Joe's report on his wet, cold, lonely Sunday morning:

Strings and Arrows galloped around the barn this morning. With the training track being sealed, Leah felt this was the best way to keep Strings and Arrows sharp. Leah and Steve will be checking the overnights, so hopefully we will be racing very soon. There’s a race for him in the condition book on Sunday, March 21, so we should be running by then at the latest.

Talking Blues was galloping on the pony track today because the training track was sealed. Bruce Brown said Talking Blues needs a couple of gallops and breezes to get himself sharp.

Meanwhile, down in the slightly warmer south, Bagavond and Iguazu each goes about his spring training. We hope to see both of them back at Belmont by the time the horses are off the inner track at Aqueduct, around the end of this month.

If you’d like to join Joe (and Steve) at the barn on Sunday mornings, or any other time, just let us know.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barn Report - Sunday, March 7, 2010

A nice, warm, sunny spring morning at Belmont this Sunday. Now that the weather’s getting better, Steve and I are looking forward to having more partners join us on Sundays to check out our horses and enjoy the backstretch.

We watched Talking Blues gallop strongly around the training track. The exercise rider said that our boy was full of run and even had to be held back a bit. Bruce Brown said that Talking Blues is coming along well – though, in typical Blues fashion, not quick – and now needs just a steady string of gallops and some breezes to regain his sharpness. Nice weather will definitely help.

While we were at the training track, we got to see Bruce’s horsemanship and ability in action. He had to run out onto the track, practically in the path of the galloping horses, when one of trainer Pat Kelly’s horses broke down on the track, throwing the exercise rider into the rail. Bruce immediately ran out on the track, helping the NYRA outriders control the horse traffic, and tending to the injured horse (who unfortunately had to be put down on the track). Gutsy, selfless work by our trainer.

We also watched Strings and Arrows have an easy jog on the training track, with trainer Leah Gyarmati in the saddle. Leah has convinced NYRA racing secretary P J Campo to put up an extra for Strings and Arrows – NY-bred maiden special at one mile and seventy yards – for Saturday, Match 13th. Entries will be taken on Wednesday, March 10th.

Bagavond, our turf specialist, has been working down at Diana McClure farm in Virginia, where the snow is still on the ground, but he’s been training in their big indoor arena.

Diana emailed us on Bagavond’s progress so far:

“Bagavond is doing great, he has gone back into training and his ankles are holding up well. It is supposed to be 50 degrees today + tomorrow! We can't wait, we still have lots of snow everywhere!”

The plan is still to bring Bagavond back to New York sometime around the end of March, or the beginning of April. Steve was out at Aqueduct yesterday, and said that it didn't look as if the turf course there would be ready anytime soon, so we're most likely looking at sometime in May, at Belmont, for his first start of the season.

Our partner Peggy Rees Smith stopped by to visit Iguazu at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida. Here’s Peggy’s on-the-scene report

“Tim and I saw Iguazu this weekend. Stopped at the barn yesterday late morning, and he was firmly in his late morning nap, curled up on the floor, with lower lip drooping in relaxation, and no acknowledgment of our presence. Glad to see he is so at ease!

“This morning, I showed up early, and he was awake, alert, and with his head over the door. I was allowed to baby him - scratch him under the halter, & pull some sawdust out of his mane, then give him a carrot, and he gnawed on the wide end, pleased to get a good taste, but still spitting out the skinny end as he just couldn't get his teeth around it. I took some pictures, waited until the exercise boy took him out, and watched his gallop.

“He appears to be a healthy, happy horse, and still blooming.”

Thanks, Peggy.

The new Castle Village Farm claiming partnership is going to be even better than we’d hoped. We are now looking to claim at the $25,000 level. That should significantly expand the possibilities that we’ll be able to claim a horse with real potential. It is not too late to join this partnership. If you’d like to become a partner, give me a call at 888-989-RACE [7223] or email me at