We don't know what the weather was like at your place today, but the wind made Fair Hill feel like Mt. Everest today. Katie the Labrador didn't seem to mind, though she's sound asleep on the office bed after putting in the miles (see By The Numbers below). As for the team, we rounded up a little of this and a little of that for another installment of Here & There. Enjoy. And Happy Valentine's Day, from Katie and all of us.
“The handicapper gave us a chance for once.”
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies after Ballyandy won a Grade 3 hurdle at Newbury
“Tobefair is just unbelievable. He is so laid back and easy to train. He only beats what he has to on the day and saves his energy for his races. This time yesterday he was covered in mud in a field.”
Trainer Debra Hamer after Tobefair won his seventh race in a row.
“It would be unfair of me to say who was better out of my Gold Cup entries but they are all lovely horses and I am just so proud to have them in our yard.”
Trainer Colin Tizzard after Native River, one of three Gold Cup hopefuls for Tizzard won the Denman Chase at Newbury Saturday, bolstering Tizzard’s three-horse Gold Cup attack
“Definitely jockey error.”
Jockey Aiden Coleman, commenting on Native River’s only jumping mistake while winning at Newbury
“Everyone is going to be asking me to compare him to Sprinter Sacre but I just like to enjoy horses in their own right.”
Jockey Nico de Boinville, after staying unbeaten aboard Arkle favorite Altior
“I wanted to do it a couple times but I never had the horse for it. I guess this was the right time. I gather the people in Baltimore are going crazy over the horse because everyone loves crabcakes.”
Owner Binnie Houghton about undefeated Maryland-bred Crabcakes, who is aiming for Saturday's Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park
“Horse is OK too.”
Trainer Willie Dowling after a writer texted, ‘He’s a natural’ about a photo of Dowling and newcomer Command Control jumping a hurdle
“What does 10-to-4 mean?”
The National Steeplechase Association’s Courtney Reid, who has obviously never talked on a CB radio, to someone who signed off an email with “10-4”
“He’s much friendlier than the last one you looked at.”
Trainer Mike Lerman, to TIHR’s Joe Clancy, about Square Shooter (who’s way nicer than stakes winner Black Mission Fig)
“You never know. What if Walgreen’s goes out of business?”
Lerman, whose barn seems to have cornered the market on Starlight Mints
“If they all did what we expected them to do…where’s the fun in that?”
Trainer Cal Lynch, on the unpredictability of training horses
“Anybody who knocks that horse and says he’s not a real serious contender doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Lerman, after watching the Lynch-trained El Areeb return from the test barn after winning the Withers
“Wellll, it’s going pretty good. I’m watching some of these 2-year-olds go around here and hopefully one of them will be a champion someday.”
Trainer Charlie LoPresti last week, about life as a horse trainer
“If I was a horse you would enter me and forget I got claimed last out.”
Philadelphia sports radio host Paul Jolovitz, after TIHR’s Joe Clancy forgot to call back
“Sorry, but I've got to go to Florida for the next sale.”
Fasig-Tipton's Boyd Browning, rubbing it in to those of us still dealing with winter
“The best part is it shows you don’t have to be born in Kentucky to run.”
Brushwood Stable's Brooks Adams, the man who foaled classy 3-year-old filly Unique Bella, a Pennsylvania-bred
“It was kind of like looking at Hard Spun. I watched him run around too. We were pulling out of the driveway one day and had to stop the car and just watch him.”
Adams, on what it's like thinking about watching Unique Bella grow up at Brushwood
This Week in Stable Tour History
We're going back to our old friend Shug McGaughey again. His charge Inspector Lynley added Saturday's Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes to a growing past-performance chart. Last summer, he was looking for his first stakes victory after losing four in a row and McGaughey had this simple assessment, "I think he's a really nice colt on the grass." The son of Lemon Drop Kid and Criminologist won Saratoga's Grade 3 Saranac a few days later and has now won or placed in four graded stakes. Look out, 2017.
An honorable mention to Todd Pletcher, who touted an unnamed (and unraced obviously) Uncle Mo-Satareh colt last summer at Saratoga. Monaco, who cost $1.3 million as a 2-year-old, broke his maiden by 12 lengths at Tampa Saturday.
By the Numbers
11: Fillies from 11 foals produced by Breeders’ Cup winner Islington. Her latest is a bay foal by Oasis Dream.
104: Degrees in Fahrenheit of the Australian heat wave that caused the rescheduling of super mare Winx’s race.
14: Years of age, La Estrella. The American-bred, British-raced veteran has won 26 races while racing on the all-weather, turf, over hurdles and chase fences. The son of Theatrical has producing win streaks of five (2), six and seven races. He finished fifth in his 14-year-old debut Feb. 10.
€22.3 million: Spent by the Irish at Cheltenham in 2016. Let’s see if they can top that in March.
Where Have You Gone?
Grand Couturier, winner of the Sword Dancer at Saratoga in 2007 and 2008 sired Grand Coureur. The French-bred hurdler has produced a second and a third in seven starts thus far.
Name of the Week
Ya: He’s a 4-year-old trained at Fair Hill by Mike Lerman for owner/breeder Gold Square and is named for an understated cheer by a friend when something good – like cashing a ticket – happens. It also can’t hurt that the name might also be a form of encouragement to a horse in a race. When a jockey says, “Ya!” this horse will know what it means. Maybe.
Restaurant Tip of the Week
We've never eaten there, but we can recommend Black N Bleu in Mechanicsburg, Pa. for racing fans. Restaurant owner Donny Brown is a Thoroughbred owner and breeder in Pennsylvania. He sold the sales-topper at Fasg-Tipton Midlantic last month.