Secretariat

Bid, Book, and Beyond

It was 43 years ago on September 8 that Spectacular Bid won the Marlboro Cup in his first start against older horses. If you thought you knew the complete story of Bid and those who guided him through his Hall of Fame career you were mistaken. Jack Gilden’s new book “The Fast Ride” provides both the memorable and sordid details in revealing the untold story of one of the all-time great Thoroughbreds. Bid’s true greatness also is detailed here by yours truly through stats and recollections.~ Steve Haskin

Bid, Book, and Beyond

By Steve Haskin

 

I lived through the Spectacular Bid years. I covered his Preakness for Thoroughbred Record as a photographer and was at his Belmont, Marlboro Cup, Jockey Club Gold Cup vs. Affirmed, and walkover. I hung out with Buddy Delp after the Belmont, interviewed him on the phone at his home, and wrote several columns about the colt. I even visited Bid at Claiborne Farm and years later at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, New York.

Yes, I knew jockey Ronnie Franklin was a raw immature street kid with no experience and was being thrown into the fire too early. And I knew that trainer Buddy Delp’s braggadocio and occasional outbursts knew no limits. And I knew owner Harry Meyerhoff’s second wife Teresa was much younger than him and that they made for quite an odd couple in outward appearance.  But they were all supporting players to the horse Delp called “the greatest horse ever to look through a bridle.”

However, I recently found out I only thought I lived through the Spectacular Bid years. Author Jack Gilden in his book “The Fast Ride: Spectacular Bid and the Undoing of a Sure Thing” convinced me I hadn’t. So now after reading the book I amend that statement by saying I existed through the Spectacular Bid years, witnessing only the performance of the lead character on stage and not knowing the full extent of what was happening behind the curtain. Yes, I cheered, marveled, and stood in appreciation at each bravura performance by this magnificent superstar. But offstage, the human frailties of the supporting cast went unnoticed, until now, more than four decades later. Although the book did not alter Spectacular Bid’s accomplishments in any way, it certainly altered the narrative of his story that is now being told for the first time.

“The Fast Ride” is not a typical biography of a horse, as was Peter Lee’s well-chronicled book on Spectacular Bid a few years ago, as it skimmed over a number of Bid’s races. What it is is a riveting book about how a horse with a fairly modest pedigree and price tag, ridden by a young inexperienced jockey not equipped emotionally for such a big stage and trained by a brash Maryland hardboot, can go on to become one the all-time greats despite the shortcomings and self-destructive actions of those around him.

Gllden went behind the scenes of “The Spectacular Bid show” and revealed the dark side of one of the greatest shows in racing history.  He did make a number of detours, spending several pages on the background of supporting players like jockeys Angel Cordero and Jacinto Vasquez, which most racing fans are already familiar with. But this book is geared toward both racing fans and readers in general who would be interested in their backgrounds, as well as the backgrounds of many of the horsemen and horsewomen who had Bid pass through their hands and helped guide him toward his place in racing’s pantheon. In the end, we know who all the characters are, minor and major, and the roll they played in telling the complete story.

Gilden was fortunate that those close to Ron Franklin, who died in 2018 at age 58, were so revealing, especially Delp’s son Gerald , who is in poor health and was willing to strip away all the layers and disclose his own weaknesses and years of addiction, as well as the struggles of a vulnerable and immature Franklin. This refers to his and Franklin’s excessive drug use during and after the Bid years, which shockingly was supervised by Buddy Delp, who often partook in the rapidly growing ritual. This was a son by telling his story after all these years was freeing himself of his demons at the expense of his own father and an “adopted” brother who was taken into the family’s home.

Delp also was said to be a heavy drinker who could get mean while intoxicated. As Gilden wrote, “It got to the point where Gerald, who arrived at work at 5 a.m. every day, dreaded his father’s stumbling appearance at 8 or 9 because the old man was already reeking of booze and paranoia.”

Another invaluable voice in the book was Cathy Rosenberger, who was Gilden’s eyes and ears into Buddy Delp’s organization. She was able to reveal a great deal about Franklin when he first arrived at Pimlico, knowing very little about working around horses. She also introduced him to a number of key sources in the book.

Gilden comes at you with machine gun-like swiftness, shooting holes in all the misconceptions we have had about Spectacular Bid’s career in regard to the people who helped orchestrate it. However, none of their failings affected Bid’s performances on the track.

The author takes us to Belmont Park on the morning of the Belmont Stakes after Delp was informed by groom Mo Hall that Bid had stepped on a safety pin in his stall. He attempts to put the puzzle together as to what transpired that entire day and the uncertainties that followed regarding whether they should run the colt. We still can’t be 100 percent sure to what the extent the infamous safety pin incident affected the colt’s performance and Franklin’s fragile psyche in the race, but Gilden paints as clear a picture as possible. Bid would wind up going after an 80-1 longshot early in the race and never looked like the horse who won the Derby and Preakness, as he had little left in the stretch, finishing third to Peter Pan winner Coastal.

Let me interject here my own discussions with Delp regarding the race and its aftermath: I remember when Delp eventually broke the news of the pin to the press he was pretty much branded a liar, and, while he understood their skepticism, he said his mother “cried like a baby” at the accusations. Even long after the race Delp would tear up and become emotional when discussing his decision to tell Franklin about the safety pin, which he felt affected his ride. However, many still scoff at the safety pin excuse.

Delp did tell me that after returning to Maryland from the Belmont, he called noted Kentucky veterinarian, Alex Harthill, who told him what to do about the foot, and said if there was no improvement in seven days he’d have to come to Maryland. Seven days after the Belmont Bid seemed fine, but the next day the colt was dead lame.

When Harthill arrived, he used a miniature plane to remove little bits of the hoof at a time. When he noticed a black spot embedded deep in the hoof he bore into it with an electrical drill.

Delp recalled, “Suddenly this thick black stuff starts shooting out of there like a fountain. It was completely infected. Doc looked up at me said, ‘Hey Bud, where are all those sonofabitches who called you a liar?’ He told me if we had left it alone much longer he likely would have lost the foot, and possibly worse.”

According to the trainer, after Harthill’s drilling procedure, he then had blacksmith Jack Reynolds fly in and fit Bid with a special piece of aluminum on his shoe. Delp said he fed him gelatin to build up the bone and medicated the coronet band to stimulate blood circulation and help the hoof grow back.

A little over two months after the Belmont, Bid returned to the races, winning an allowance race at Delaware Park by 17 lengths in track record time with new jockey Bill Shoemaker aboard. A great horse was about to grow into a legend.

One other note about the controversial and often volatile Harthill, who is vividly portrayed in the book — according to Gilden he had treated Bid before the Belmont, but had to sneak into the track in the trunk of a car because he was banned from the premises.

One of the most compelling parts of the book was the ongoing feud between Franklin and Cordero that resulted in fisticuffs in the jocks room. Cordero knew how to get into your head, and Franklin, still an undisciplined teenager, opened the door wide for him and then tried to close it the only way a kid growing up in a tough neighborhood knew how.

We also learn a great deal more about Harry Meyerhoff than we knew, especially in regard to replacing Franklin following the Belmont. According to Gilden, Meyerhoff blamed Franklin for Bid’s defeat, feeling he was too fearful of Cordero during the race, and his reluctance to be associated with a jockey who was a known drug abuser, even though Meyerhoff and Teresa were recreational drug users themselves. The last thing Meyerhoff wanted was for the scrutiny into Franklin’s use of drugs to eventually trace to him and Teresa.

But the main storyline of the book in addition to Bid was the self-destruction of two human beings, one of whom had the skills to be one of the top riders in the country, but followed those he trusted into the deepest abyss and was never able to get out. As a result he faded into obscurity, as did Gerald Delp, who might have become a top trainer following in his father’s footsteps. Instead it was those footsteps that led him astray, resulting in continued drug use, two failed marriages, and serious financial trouble. Gilden described it as “the father who had engineered the son’s metamorphosis from child to addict.”

I don’t know Gilden, but in addition to his crisp writing style, it is obvious he has the knack of making people comfortable enough that they are willing to open up to him and tell him things even he wasn’t prepared for. You could almost feel the book coming to life for him as he sat there listening to them ripping off the band-aids exposing the under belly of the Spectacular Bid story.

For those who don’t know or cannot appreciate the true greatness of Bid, let us deviate from the world of literature and into straight fact, with a personal touch added.

Spectacular Bid won Grade I stakes on the lead and he won coming from 10 lengths back. He was the ultimate racing machine and proved it at ages 2, 3, and 4. Following two defeats early on at age 2, he won 24 of his next 26 starts, with his only two defeats coming at 1 1/2 miles, which included the safety pin incident. He ran seven furlongs in a near-world-record 1:20 flat and 1 1/4 miles in a world-record (on dirt) 1:57 4/5, a time which has not been equaled in 42 years. He broke seven track records and equaled another at seven different tracks and at distances from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. In addition to the World’s Playground Stakes, in which he ran seven furlongs in a blazing 1:20 4/5 over a dead racetrack, believed to be the fastest seven furlongs ever run by a 2-year-old, he ran 1 1/8 miles in a track-record 1:45 4/5 at Hollywood Park and a track record 1:46 1/5 at Arlington Park, both carrying 130 pounds, and 1:46 3/5 at Belmont Park as a 3-year-old, defeating older horses. He also ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40 2/5 over a slow track at Hollywood Park carrying 132 pounds.

In all, Spectacular Bid won at 15 different racetracks in nine different states, and carried 130 pounds or more to victory five times, while rattling off 12-race and 10-race winning streaks. It is the only time in memory that has been accomplished. In his only other defeat at 1 1/2 miles, he was beaten by the previous year’s Triple Crown winner Affirmed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup after being forced to miss his prep in the Woodward Stakes due to a virus and getting a questionable ride from Bill Shoemaker, who broke a step slowly and allowed Affirmed to crawl on the lead in a four-horse field. After being passed by Coastal on the inside, Bid battled back and tried hard to catch Affirmed, but was beaten three-quarters of a length.

As his coat lightened as a 4-year-old, he was like a ghostly figure hurtling down one stretch after another in isolated splendor. With his head held high and his powerful legs stretching across the racing universe he not only went undefeated in nine starts in 1980, there was never a horse in front of him at the eighth pole.

Bid, however, had been suffering from a nagging sesamoid problem that was discovered after the January 5 Malibu Stakes and was present throughout his entire undefeated 4-year-old campaign. Daily tubbings and Butazolidan helped, but following his victory in the Amory Haskell Handicap under 132 pounds, Shoemaker noticed he didn’t feel 100% right. Delp just wanted to get him to the Jockey Club Gold Cup to close out his career, and continued treating him and making sure he was walking sound. But first came the Woodward Stakes, which wound up being run in a rare walkover when Bid was the only horse entered in the race. Delp instructed Bill Shoemaker to just have him cruise around the track and let him get a good work no matter how long it took him. His priority was protecting the horse in order to make the Gold Cup.

But Shoemaker, despite never fully asking him to run at any point, still allowed Bid to close each of his final two quarters in a mind-boggling :24 1/5. Horses rarely come home their last quarter that fast in a normal race going 1 1/4 miles, never mind closing their last two quarters that fast running against no one. By running his mile and a quarter in 2:02 2/5, faster than previous Hall of Fame Woodward winners Buckpasser, Kelso, and Sword Dancer, Bid re-aggravated his sesamoid injury, which forced his retirement.

Bid remained a major part of Delp’s life until the day he died, as he would retreat to his den, sit in his easy chair, and look up at a vision that would brighten his day. There above him was the face that became the focus of his life for three years. Wherever Delp went, from Florida to California to Illinois, he would take the painting of Bid.

“It’s a head shot of him looking out of his stall, and he’s pricking his ears,” Delp said 20 years later back in 1999. “I look at that painting every day and see that familiar left eye looking back at me. That’s just the way I remember him every morning when I got to the barn. It’s as if it was 20 years ago and he’s looking at me, waiting for his morning donut. He wanted that donut and in fact demanded it. He loved the powdered sugar.”

Reading the book sparked my own memories…

I remember photographing him at the Preakness on assignment for the Thoroughbred Record. With my future wife Joan positioned on the outside rail and me on the photographer’s stand in the infield, we watched him striding out so powerfully as he whizzed by us.”

I also thought back to being in Joan’s office (when she was public relations coordinator for NYRA) overlooking the finish line at Belmont Park watching Bid complete his historic walkover. Eight days later we were married.

In 1998, Joan and I went to visit The Bid at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, N.Y., along with our then 14-year-old daughter, Mandy. He no longer bore even the slightest resemblance to that charcoal gray 3-year-old with the star on his forehead. But he still held his head high with pride, and when he looked at you, that fire and spirit of his youth still shone through. He was Spectacular Bid, and he still knew it. And you knew it.

Milfer Farm owner, Dr. Jon Davis, told us at the time, “I still get goose bumps standing next to him.”

As did I that day at Milfer Farm, seeing him interact so playfully with my daughter. I have a photo album I can open, with photos of Mandy and Bid, and show it to her. And I can tell her, “You remember these pictures of you with this magnificent white horse named Spectacular Bid? Well, his trainer once called him the greatest horse ever to look through a bridle. It was quite a preposterous comment at the time.  But who’s to say he wasn’t right?”

Yes, Delp could be outrageous in some of his comments and some of his actions and those close to him knew it all too well.

As Delp said, “I never once blew my own horn. I only blew the horse’s horn. But, hell, he ran a lot faster than I talked.”

But Delp also knew how to listen, just as he had listened to Spectacular Bid. What the horse told him can be found in the pages of the history books.

In Gilden’s new fascinating book Delp is portrayed in many ways and you can make of him what you wish — a Hall of Fame trainer who was blessed with the horse of a lifetime, someone who could be brazen and insolent, or someone whose actions in his own home were darker than anyone knew.

“The Fast Ride” also strips Ronnie Franklin clean to the bone, unveiling a troubled, vulnerable, immature, but talented young rider who like many children in their fantasies had hopped aboard a beautiful rocking horse and was able to make it go faster and faster until it seemed out of control. But in Franklin’s case that rocking horse was real and it was Franklin who would be out of control.

Secretariat died in 1989, then Alydar in 1990, Forego in 1997, Affirmed in 2001, Seattle Slew in 2002, and The Bid in 2003. Just like that they were all gone, and with them the end of racing’s golden era. We will never see the likes of Spectacular Bid again, in what he accomplished at 2, 3, and 4.

Franklin, Delp, and Meyerhoff are also gone, but thanks to Jack Gilden and his quest to unlock the true story behind an equine legend we were able to find a silent voice waiting to shout to the world in Gerald Delp, who could have uttered Ishmael’s closing line in Moby Dick: “And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”

 

Photos courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club, Milt Toby/Blood-Horse, Bob Coglianese, and Steve Haskin. Steve will be on vacation next with the Askin Haskin column returning Sept. 26

 


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256 Responses to “Bid, Book, and Beyond”

  1. Lynda King says:

    The legend Stradavarious has been officially retired.
    Best wishes for a long and happy life and a successful stud career.
    I will miss him on the track but it was time.

  2. TommyMc says:

    Did Society signal her arrival on the big stage with her performance in yesterday’s Cotillion? She didn’t just win. She blew her rivals away. If Joel Rosario was riding Society, I would have paid more attention to her. I’m not completely surprised. Steve Asmussen always has his trainees ready for their best on the big days. John Goggin reports below that Society earned a 100 BSF for her winning run. If she moves forward off of that she could be hard to catch on November 5th. The Distaff is looking really competitive this year. A nice mix of younger and older horses.

    • TommyMc says:

      Don’t forget about Echo Zulu. A big win after being reunited with Ricardo Santana could have her going to the Breeders Cup Distaff or maybe even the BC Filly & Mare Sprint. Steve Asmussen has a barn full of talent. How many Breeders Cup races does he win this year? Well, Steve don’t turf. And if Epicenter runs in the Classic, he may be running for 2nd. His best chances are probably the 2 Juvenile Dirt races on Friday and the Sprint & Distaff on Saturday. I’d set the over/under at 1 1/2 and bet the over.

      • TommyMc says:

        Speaking of the Breeders Cup, I’m one guy that loves the 2-day event. They will offer 5 BC races on Friday and 9 more on Saturday.
        The Breeders Cup people love themes. They tried having Friday be “Lady’s Day”. Now, they have the Juvenile races on Friday. I don’t like either of those “themes”. The Distaff belongs on Saturday, and they smartly moved it back there. But, the BC Juvenile also should be on Saturday IMO. There might be a Derby winner among those youngsters. I also think they should beef up the Friday card with 2 more Breeders Cup races. A Juvenile Dirt Sprint and bring back the BC Marathon on Dirt. They always have a “marathon” somewhere on the undercard anyway. A Juvenile Dirt Sprint could be a place to go for Gulfport and Damon’s Mound. And move the BC Dirt Mile to Friday.

        • Matthew W says:

          Count me among those that prefer the original one big day of seven races….sprints, dirt miles, ladies turf races just thin out The Classic, and Turf races, which have far less speed ( Classic) as well as less contentious Turf races ( without fillies)….sometimes less….is more!

          • Matthew W says:

            I’m not sure if my post will go thru, so I made another…. I’ll name six fillies, that were prominent in the 6 fur Sprint: Very Subtle, Safely Kept, Xtra Heat, Desert Stormer, Honest Lady, Soviet Problem….there are also many fillies that competed in the 12 fur Turf—Speed and Stamina are equal in both, when they added more races they weakened the races, as a whole…and the Dirt Mile gutted the Classic, of speed!….It’s why I liked the one day, seven race format— because it had better fields!

            • Matthew W says:

              Unlike the 6 fur Sprint, and 12 fur Turf…the 10 fur Classic requires STRENGTH, so by all means have a Disraff and a Classic. But 6 fur Sprint and 12 fur Turf used to be stronger fields, BECAUSE they included fillies! We dont need filly sprinter or filly Turf of dirt mile ….less was more!

  3. Here is my take on the Pennsylvania Derby… Baffert trained Taiba beautifully for this race and had him ready for a big effort in which he produced. Nobody in that field was going to beat him yesterday. Zandon got a great ride by Rosario with a ground saving and patience ride along the rail. I know that the trainer and rider of Cyberknife say he did not like the track (I am not sure of that with especially the way he finished)… They also said they wanted him a little bit more forward in the race but he was in about the same position in the Haskell. I think the jockey made a mistake of not getting him to the rail when he had a chance on the backstretch and saving ground but instead he had him wide through out the race and the jockey seemed a little hesistant at the top of the stretch on were he wanted to put him. I would definitely not run him in the classic or mile on Breeders Cup day. I would rest him and maybe look at the Clark Handicap 1 1/8 mile ($750,000) on November 25th for his next race. I will give him time to regroup and with the proper works (thought his works before the Penn Derby could have been a little quicker ) He should improve as a 4 year old. If Taiba comes out of the race good Baffert wants to take him to the Classic against Flightline and LIG but it will probably be futile ,especially against Flightline, which is fine but probably wants to finish ahead of Epicenter and then have strong claim for 3 year old of the year honors. One more thing and most here may not agree but I would actually like Rich Strike to be in the Classic. If all the runners show up in the Classic as expected it should be a lively pace and if his jockey shows patience ( I thought his jockey moved him too quick in the Travers and he flattened out a little in the stretch) he may pick up 3rd or 4th. His works though for the Lucas have been a little “pokey” though for my liking but he loves Churchhill Downs..

  4. Mike Relva says:

    Give SO a break Lukas!

    • Agree… She is just going through the motions right now.

    • Mike Sekulic says:

      If you’re referring to SECRET OATH I agree with you that she needs a break. Unfortunately, Lukas has never been great at giving horses a break – he just keeps going and going – because he doesn’t read those signs very well. She got blitzed the other day, and I think she’s simply going in the wrong direction right now, so I’m not optimistic at this point that she will even hit the board in the Breeders Cup Distaff.

  5. John Goggin says:

    Beyers….
    Taiba 108
    Society 100

  6. Matthew W says:

    Taiba was sent fast, out of there, but Mike got him switched off nicely….he got in a brief picket, and swung widest, had they stayed down there they win by six. But Mike knew what he had! That’s a man pushing sixty!

  7. TommyMc says:

    I just saw on TVG that BB said that Taiba will be coming for Flightline though he doesn’t know how close they will get. At least we know that it won’t be a “walkover”.

    • Jeff says:

      Tiaba is the real deal, really should have three Grade 1 if properly ridden in Haskell. He is the top threat to Flightline but unfortunately will be so far back his late kick won’t matter, unless LIG goes on a suicide mission.

      • Mike Relva says:

        Cheerleader! And….. no chance he can even warm up FL.

      • Liam says:

        Jeff – how would a jock know how a horse should be ridden when said horse has only had a couple races under his belt? You’re right, his recent performance shows he’s the real deal. IMO Taiba is not that not far behind Epicenter. When they run head to head we’ll figure that out. And I believe it’s obvious as the sun rising every day that 3yo’s usually can’t hold a candle to the older division.

  8. TommyMc says:

    On the topic of Steve Haskin’s column about Spectacular Bid and the new book “The Fast Ride”, I just watched the original ABC broadcast of the 1979 Florida Derby. It was so long ago that I didn’t believe author Jack Gilden’s description of the race. Well, I was wrong. Young Ronnie Franklin gave “The Bid” one wild ride. The first thing that I thought of was “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”. Fans of Disneyland will get that one. Eddie Arcaro on the ABC telecast didn’t pull any punches in his post-race analysis of Franklin’s ride. “The Bid” was so good that he won easily despite the adventure that Franklin treated him to. In the book, Franklin is said to have blamed the wild trip on the other riders ganging up on him. Maybe that’s partly true. But, I think that when you have a horse that is so much better than the others, the best policy is to stay on the outside in the clear.

    • TommyMc says:

      More on the book when I finish it. Probably late tomorrow or Monday. I was slowed by handicapping the Parx card.

    • Matthew W says:

      And then after staying inside in the Florida race, he takes Bid widest both turns, in the Bluegrass, if I recall correctly…I still don’t think the Belmont was Ronnie’s fault, I still think Bid was a tired horse, I was at Schwanie’s, having lunch..and struck up a conversation with Art Sherman…he said the distance didn’t get Chrome beat, in the Belmont, nor was it the hoove injury….Chrome was a tired horse, and he and Victor both knew it… but Shoe fit The Bid! Had they replaced Ronnie, after that Florida ride, I think Bid wins the Triple Crown, Shoe was “meant” to ride Bid.

  9. Matthew W says:

    People who weren’t around, then—wonder what it was like, when Bid ran….it was like this: two really good three year olds…will be 6-1, in the Classic, if what’s his name is in the gate…..was impressed today, by Taiba, and those massive hind quarters..

  10. TommyMc says:

    I still can’t believe what a huge favorite Taiba was. He went off at 7-5. Zandon 3-1 and Cyberknife 4-1. I wasn’t surprised that he won. Just that he was so heavily favored. But, the bettors at Parx have been pounding the favorites all day. Hopefully, we’ll see Taiba in the Breeders Cup Classic despite BB’s glowing comments about Flightline. I understand that the owners have to do the best thing for themselves. Afterall, it’s a business. An expensive one at that. But, I think most of us fans want to see the best horses in the biggest races.

  11. TommyMc says:

    I was wrong about Adare Manor. Maybe she’s just a Santa Anita horse. She is a really beautiful looking filly though.

    • Lynda King says:

      Society ran away with it.
      Green Up a respectable 4th. Effort got her 56,000.

      • Davids says:

        Lynda, remember the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”? That’s Parx racing results.

        “Hey diddle, diddle!
        The cat and the fiddle,
        The fish jumped over the moon;
        The little dog laughed
        To see such sport,
        And the dish ran away with the spoon”

        • Lynda King says:

          Hello Davids, yes I remember the nursery rhyme.
          I had a big book with dozens of nursery rhymes and a record (33&1/3 ) of rhymes.
          I am very impressed with quality and success of Gun Runner’s first raving crops.
          Read a comment today from someone in a FB group that she was going to be keeping her eye on the Gun Runner / Tapit crosses.
          It is early of course but it certainly looks so far that Gunny nicks with most every line.
          On another note…poor Zandon seems to be destined to be the best man in his races much like Hot Rod Charlie.
          Will be very curious to see how Taiba does against Epicenter and Flightline should they meet up in the Classic.
          It will be the best of the best and Taiba might not have as easy a race as he had today.
          Watched most all the coverage for Queen Elizabeth. No one but no one can present pagentry and tradition like the British and Scotland. Most of the time I was in tears and when Emma, her Fell pony was waiting at Wndsor and Her Majesty scarf was on her daddle, I just lost it.
          I can genuinely say that I have never had the respect and admiration for anyone as I have had for the Queen with the possible exception of our President George Washington. Just a bit of trivia, President Washington wrote his Farwell Letter to the Nation the same fay as Her Majesty’s funeral. A good friend of mine from my childhood said it best I think. Queen Elizabeth reminded us of our Mothers and Grandmothers. It was end of an era and one of last few still alive from that era , the likes of which we will never see again in our lifetime and probably forever.
          H.
          .

          • Davids says:

            Lynda, your friend is spot on about Queen Elizabeth II, she does/did remind us of our mothers and grandmothers. Friends of mine think the same as well.

            Yes, poor Zandon, he’s always there but is somewhat disadvantaged by speed favoring tracks. Churchill, Keeneland and to a certain extent Belmont suit his still of running at other tracks he’s rushed a bit which detracts from his finish. Even so, a long rest now and I think we’ll have a much stronger individual as a 4 year old. Zandon does look, from internet only, as though he needs to put more weight on.

            Around half of Gun Runners stakes winners come from A.P. Indy line mares which is a bonus, although nothing from Bernardini mares as yet. Stamina doubling up. Gun Runner’s second crop is devoid of a stakes winner thus far which is a little puzzling. Have you been watching the sales? The Constitution colts were my pick of the yearlings.

            The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be run on October 2 and prior to weather/posts I like: Alpinista, Vadeni and the outsider Al Hakeem. Outside posts are a distinct disadvantage. Take note.

            • Lynda King says:

              Hello Davids, you are correct about Gunny’s second racing crop. Have no explanation for it, just hope it is not a trend. The yearlings are still bringing good prices. He is private treaty now and I read he will be shuttling to Australia of all places.

              Yes I do follow the auctions up to a point. IMHO, however, no two year colt is worth these prices high figures to over a mil8on dollars. One has to be a billionaire like Zeydan or be a China Horse Club or have a ownership list that is as long as my arm to afford them. I think it hurts the sport. Reading that Hronis want to race Flightline at 5 does not surprise me. The brothers buys horses with the intention of racing the horse. The co-owners however are the ones kicking back on that idea. He is another horse whose racing career will come to a screeching halt because he is too valuable as a stud to continue racing.That is why I was cheering for Greeen Up in the Cotillion. She sold at auction for 10K though that was probably to a pin hooker. The filly is a Virginia bred from a very small operation close to Winchester (top of the Shenanndoah Valley). Her damsire is not well known outside of Virginia of course but he did produce a number of successful horses on the track.

              A friend posted a photo of American Pharoh that she took a few weeks ago when she visited Ashford. He is thin…can count almost every rib and his coat was dull. Probably the reason he did not shuttle this year. That is the sad side of these 75 plus milion dollar stud deals..to get that ROI these stallions are getting worn out in the breeding shed.

              It is being reported that the Queen Consort is going to take over the Royale Stud. King Charles lll really has no interest in horse racing but he said to be a traditionalist so since horse racing , The Royal Ascot and the Windsor Horseshow are all family traditions, I hope he continues to support them as well as Her Majesty’s conservation efforts for breeds that are on the endangered list.
              We fo not know how much of the latest hurricane we will be getting. There are several different scenarios as to its path. There is also a very g9od chance it could be a Cat 4 or 5 when it hits Florida. That will be devastating if it is a 4 or 5. Our local meteorologist said weeks ago that the reason the hurricane season hadn’t amounted to much was because of desert dust storms in the Saudi peninsula which have now abated. We are having at the moment a cool start to Autumn. Temps at night are down into the 50’s..almost sweater weather. Relieved that our local hay farmers did manage to get up a very good crop of fall hay. We have three hay seasons here (spring, summer and fall).

              Thanks for the info on the upcoming Arc. I will check them out.

              One more tidbit. Colonial Downs had a very successful turf season. The cards were full. Aiden brought a few down from Saratoga to enter incasethere were last minute scratches but there were not any. Still think Colonial Downs would be perfect for European style turf racing (like Kentucky Downs ).

              • Davids says:

                At this stage the Southern Hemisphere mares are doing the traveling but should the progeny of Gun Runner take off in Australia they will definitely shuttle Gun Runner. Gun Runner has a beautiful pedigree and most importantly for Australian breeders there is no Danehill blood there. Moreover, early precocity and stakes winning 2 year olds are predominant requisite here. Not keen on shuttling valuable sires.

                I know it’s unpopular but if Flightline was my horse I wouldn’t be racing him at 5 years, not so much the return from stud fees, I just fear the dirt surface wear and tears only with the tight angles on knees and ankles. I just wouldn’t gamble with a horse that comes along once a century.

                Stay safe with the weather forecast you’ve mentioned above, life is full of fear these days with the weather/climate constant. They are predicting a wet summer in Australia so hopefully, that comes to fruition. It’s the wildlife and livestock that is devastated the most by bushfires. People usually avoid danger but for most animals it’s a death trap.

                • Lynda King says:

                  Davids, rhe report I read was that he will be shuttling.
                  Anyway, I am of the opinion that shuttling is hard on these stallions, not because of the travel but because they are basically being used for breeding year round. Yes, they do get about 8 weeks off between seasons but live coverb breeding takes a lot out of these stallions.
                  Even horses in a natural environment do not breed year round Mares do not start cycling until April and stop by usually September. Because of the desire to have a foal born as close to January 01, the mares are given hormones and put under lights for human convenience. Did you know that the fertility rate for Thoroughbreds is lower than horses bred during the natural cycle.
                  I know of and visited a large Arabian horse farm in Paris , Kentucky. The owner of the farm was part owner of a very successful Polish line racing Arabian. The stallion shuttled to Kentucky and was there for two years. That I can see. But a 240 mare book from February to June then shuttl8ng halfway around the world to breed over two hundred mares is ridiculous in my opinion.
                  I do not know why Americsn Pharoah is so ribby and his coat has lost its bloom and his muscles have lost definition but I truly think that it was the result of the shuttling and is probably why he is not shuttling this year.
                  As to Flightline, in my opinion, he will not come back at 5 because of a very lucrative stud deal.
                  The Hronis brothers feel that if he is healthy there is no reason not to race him at 5.
                  And I am going to respectfully disagree about the wear and tear.
                  This might tick some people off..but if Baffert or Lukas was the trainer I would agree because they both trains hard and fast. But not Flightlines trainer.
                  Anyway, not something I am going to lose sleep over. Just chalk it up to the way the game is played in the United States now. It is all about the stud deal…breed to breed, not breed to race.

                  • Davids says:

                    Lynda, in The Blood-Horse and TDN on July 19, 2022 they both claim “Three Chimneys is exploring the Southern Hemisphere market with its top sire, Gun Runner, without physically shuttling this year’s leading second-crop sire overseas.” Things May have changed since then but I hope not.

                    Yes, the over-serving by shuttle stallions is excessive now, when it started, shuttling, a book of 50 mares was regarded as the max. They claim their reproductive methods have improved so much since then that stallions can take the excess load these days. Well, that’s a judgement rather than a scientific opinion.

                    That’s interesting about the ‘natural method’ being more successful in getting a mare in foal. I always felt the lights/hormones could only do so much as remarkable as often are.

                    Hopefully, American Pharoah is given a few years off or stopped altogether.

          • Ms Blacktype says:

            Lynda, I agree about the Queen reminding of us of our mothers and grandmothers. My mother, who nearly 99 and still living, could easily be the Queen’s sister — similar in appearance and unfailingly gracious and kind (even with five children!). I hope she has as easy a passage out of life as Queen Elizabeth. And I’m ironically pleased to hear that Camilla will take over the Royal Stud — back in the 1980s we all thought of her as The Other Woman! (which she was, but she should have been the First woman, Diana notwithstanding).

            Hope the hurricane lands only gentle blows (and a little rain) in your area. The west coast of Florida seldom seems to get a direct hit (I watch that area because I spent a third of my childhood there), but the rest of the Gulf Coast doesn’t need a bad storm either. Be safe.

            • Lynda King says:

              Hi Ms Blacktype.
              The Queen Consort evidently loves horse racing. She was an equestrian back in the day.
              Her Majesty had such a depth of knowledge about Thoroughbreds , bloodlines and racing that they will be big shoes to fill.
              She last rode Emma back in July before she left for Balmoral.
              Her last week’s were bittersweet. One of her Corgis died (rhe oldest one) died shortly after she arrived at Balmoral.
              She was so pleased that one of her fillies won her race the day before she passed.

              My Mom was 96 when she passed. She had live in care givers because of two hip fractures within a year. We were able to keep her in her home until the Tuesday before her death on Thursday. Her sodium plummeted totally unexpectedly and she went into cogestive heart failure. I had made plans to leave late Thursday night and travel to Virginia on AMTRACK. Got the call around 12 noon on Thursday that she had coded and since she had a do not resuscitate order they called me since I was her medical POA. Hardest decision I ever made in my life. I could hear the doctors trying to bring her back. Did not want her to die alone so I over rode the DNR. She lived for about two hours, enough time for a close family member to arrive at hospital and for her immediate family to speak to her one last time. I had spoken to her hospitaler just before I spoke to my Mom and asked her if she was in pain or suffering and her response was no, that she was dying and would not be able to hear me. Oh what a witch, wanted to reach through the phone and smack her. Anyway, aftermy daughter and 2 grand daughters spoke to her on the phone she passed away peacefully. The charge nurse told me that she rarely sees anyone pass as peacefully and serenely as my Mom.

              I so hope your Mom, when the time comes passes as gently as mine. It made losing her so much easier. Like The Queen dhe was in total control of all he’d f aunties, only had mobility issues and just suddenly went into congestive heart failure.

              As to the hurricane , we do not know yet what course it will take into Florida. I am a little concerned because my family lives in Florida and both grandaughters attend the Unversity of Florida and live in Gainesville. Also have several good friends who live there.
              Big worry here will tree toppling high winds. I live in a very rural area in NE Georgia. Hurricanes and tornadic thunderstorms ( we are in a mini tornado alley) are just the course of nature here. All we can do is be prepared as best we can, expect the worst and hope for the best. Luckily flooding is not a big concern here.

              • Lynda King says:

                Correction…in total control of all faculties.

                • Ms Blacktype says:

                  What a beautiful, heartbreaking story about your mother, Lynda. It really is true that the dying often have moved beyond interaction with us for hours and even days before they go. I experienced that when my mother in law died. Not like those pretty deaths in the movies, but often absolutely peaceful.

                  I went to grad school at UF and toppling trees will definitely be an issue there. And I go to Asheville often and remember people complaining months later about a September hurricane decimating the place. So I understand your concern! Get your bottled water in and batten down the hatches.

                  About the queen’s horses: so glad she went out with a winner!

                  • Lynda King says:

                    Ms Blacktype, we are closer to the Greenville, South Carolina dappled than the one in Atlanta.
                    Greenville Fox Weather gave us a heads up last night that if the storm continues on the projected path that can expect some severe weather (severe thunderstorms and pop up tornadoes that could be on the ground for a long time).
                    If that develops that is actually of greater concern to me than the heavy rains and gusting winds.
                    I have been in four tornadoes (one here and three in Virginia) and two of tornadoes in Virginia and the one here resulted in property 9damage.
                    The one good thing here is that we have an excellent EMS and can hear the tornado sirens and receive a text on my cell phone as well. I have a real fear of tornadoes based on previous experiences, especially if they are night time.

        • Lynda King says:

          Davids, just read that Blackbeard might be headed to the BC Sprint.Oh dear. If he does come what will Americans say about his antics…LOL. ( this is per an interview Aiden that it is being considered).

          • Davids says:

            Lynda, after watching the Quality Road debacle, I’d have second thoughts but racing is pure business these days. Some decisions deplore you don’t they, while, at the same time, the old adage comes out “the horse comes first.” You wish.

            Blackboard is doing you proud, though. I thought you’d be over the moon with the Middle Park stakes win. Did you see Tahiyra win the Moyglare Stud Stakes the other weekend? I fell in love with her on fist asking and the pedigree is perfect for the 1,000 Guineas.

            • Lynda King says:

              Hi Davids, yes I was over the moon about his latest win. Feel like Aiden will make a good decision about shipping him.
              Guess some people wonder why I like these devilish horses. Can’t love Arabians, chestnut mares and Australian Cattle dogs ( also a red head girl) and be wiling to tolerate them being devilish sometimes.
              I will check out Tahiyra.
              Been slightly out of the International loop for about a week. Been hauling in hay for my little herd of brombies.
              Also the temperatures here have cooled way down. Low Wednesday night in the mid forties. Spending time outside.
              Usually pot pansies in the Fall. If I cover them if it gets down to freezing they will last all winter and into the late spring.
              If I still lived in Virginia you can bet the farm that I would have been at Colonial Downs and made a good effort to meet the O’Brien team. I think I mentioned that they came down from Staratoga to Colonial Downs in case horses were scratched.
              Hope that if and when you ever come to America that you will visit Colonial Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge moutains in the western part of the state. Think you might be surprised to see how much the Blue Ridge looks like the Highlands in Scotland.
              .

              • Davids says:

                Lynda, I have seen parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and you’re right about the similarities with the Highlands of Scotland. We used to live in the US, New York, throughout parts of my childhood and when I worked in the film industry. Moreover, my father worked for Shell so we travelled a lot, living in numerous diplomatic quarters around the world. I have family living in England, Netherlands, Australia, and the US so home has never really been a constant place for me. There are positives and negatives with all that dislocation.

                Melbourne is home at present, it’s a beautiful city, friendly people, and totally safe day or night. Where I’m living there are 4 large parks only a few minutes walk away as is the city. Flemington and Moonee Valley are a 15 minute tram ride away while Caulfield a bit longer by train. You can walk to Flemington if you feel eager.

                Good luck with Blackbeard entering the Breeders’ Cup, he wants to win.

                • Lynda King says:

                  Davids are you by chance on FB or ate willing to share your e-mail address with me?
                  I so enjoy our conversations on all topics, not just racing but feel that I overstep the boundaries on Steve’s site when I go off topic.
                  He has been very gracious snd not said anything but I might be pushing the limits.
                  Have several friends in Englsnd. One lived here in America for a number of years and met through a horsemans association we both belonged to.She has since moved back to England but we sill stay in touch.

                  • Davids says:

                    Yes Lynda, I really enjoy our conversations and others had said they enjoy our conversations as well. Steve, wants people to discuss things on his forum as it builds a community, he just despises negative waffle. Moreover, it’s fun when a whole group can pitch in to discuss what’s happening.

                    Unfortunately, I’m not on Facebook.

    • Davids says:

      More the case that Parx is a very quirky track – speed favoring, then the middle part of the straight seems golden. Mike Smith played the track like a virtuoso violinist in the Pennsylvania Derby. Encore.

    • Matthew W says:

      Well, she lost her last race there, too…she ran those two big races and regressed….I did note the 12 days between one of her recent works, Bob is a 7 day guy.

      • Matthew W says:

        Also….after Del Mar they moved to train up at Santa Anita, where for whatever reason their main track was VERY deep, which could take a lot out of a horse….I understand they have fixed that situation, nut for 10 days or so that track was slow…

  12. Matthew W says:

    If…..they decide on no 2023 racing for Flightline….could they at least face off with Life Is Good, in The Pegasus?

    • TommyMc says:

      Has it already been decided that Life Is Good is not running in the BC Classic? A Classic with Flightline, Life Is Good, and Epicenter as the marquee players would be very nice.

  13. TommyMc says:

    Looking at Saturday’s Cotillion at Parx, I think Adare Manor will run a big race, but the rail horse, Green Up, has caught my attention. At first glance, I didn’t think that Green Up passed the Class test. However, I watched a replay of her last race and she beat Interstatedaydream very easily. The same Interstatedaydream that beat Adare Manor in the Black-Eyed Susan. Green Up has won 4 in a row. All by open lengths. The last one at Parx. A race over the track is always a good thing. That
    100 BSF that she earned in her last equals what the outside horse, Society, ran in her last race. It’s also the best number run by any horse in the field. Does Green Up “bounce” off that performance? It was a big jump from her usual. Green Up only cost $10,000 and has already banked over 20 times that amount. If she wins on Saturday, make that 80 times that amount. Well done, Team Valor. If Society, Adare Manor, and even Beach Daze go too fast, Secret Oath might just get a dream set up. Or, maybe Green Up and Adare Manor stalk Society and take up the running in the stretch. Another good race. It should be for a million bucks.

    • Matthew W says:

      I would be shocked if Green UP goes off 6-1! I see her sitting right off of Adare, and those two making the exacta!

    • Liam says:

      Green Up cost 10k at auction. She was was privately purchased by Team Valor after her maiden running 2nd at 25-1.

      • TommyMc says:

        Which means that Team Valor probably paid much more. Thanks.

        • Liam says:

          The cost of a privately purchased racehorse should be disclosed. It creates more transparency for those who fund the sport, the betting public.

          • Lynda King says:

            Just curious why is the price paid in a private sale of importance to the betting public?
            A lot of Thoroughbreds are sold privately. They are not all sold at auction.
            Breeding to some stallions are also purchased via private treaty.

            • Liam says:

              Lynda, I believe all sales information should be documented to the public. If auction sales info wasn’t of any significance, why have a link to access what that info is on the equibase website? Yearling prices influence to the betting public how much a horse is meant in how they may perform when he or she runs.

    • Lynda King says:

      TommyMc, I think Green Up is an interesting filly as well. She is a Virginia bred which of course adds to my interest. She also has an interesting pedigree. Her dam line goes back to some European bloodlines that we do not usually see in most pedigrees.
      I always cheer for the small breeders success.

  14. TommyMc says:

    This year’s Turf Monster at Parx on Saturday didn’t draw the same kind of horses that it did last year despite it’s $300,000 purse. It did draw an overflow field of 12 with 1 also-eligible and 2 MTOs. But, no standouts IMO. In fact, a win by any of the 12 wouldn’t surprise me. Especially, after last year’s “ultra-crazy” result when former $10,000 claimer Hollywood Talent won and paid $219.20 to win. That’s 108-1. Not easy in what turned out to be a 9-horse field. Last year’s field had the Beer Can Man, FireCrow, Carotari, and Caravel. No such horses this year. My advice: tread lightly. The problem is that the Turf Monster kicks off the only Pick-5 on the card. At Parx they call it “The Philly Five”. So, I’m forced to deal with it. I’m contemplating a ticket that looks something like this: 12 x 3 x 1 x 1 x 3 x $.50= $54 ticket.

    All of this begs the question: What happened to Hollywood Talent? I lost track of him after his late scratch from last Fall’s Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. I’ll look him up and report back.

    • TommyMc says:

      I forgot to mention that Hollywood Talent was 10-years old when he won last year’s Turf Monster. He just had his first race back on
      August 22nd in a 5-furlong dirt sprint at Parx when he finished 5th. That was his 11-year old debut. He was off for 11 months. That
      Turf Monster must have had an adverse effect on him. This is one case where maybe they should have retired the old fella after his big win.

    • TommyMc says:

      Hard to believe, but I’ve uncovered another horse that went off at even higher odds than Hollywood Talent in last year’s Turf Monster.
      West Fork, an also-eligible who has scratched IN to this year’s race, went off at a whopping 170-1. That means there were 2 horses that went off at over a 100-1 in only a 9-horse field. West Fork goes 2nd off the layoff today and looks like he’s been pointed to this race for the last eleven months. 20-1 on the Morning Line, West Fork is a former $5,000 Claimer. The bad news is that he hasn’t won in a very long time and breaks from the extreme outside post.

  15. John Goggin says:

    Real nice field in the PA Derby….winners of the SA Derby, Arkansas Derby, Ohio Derby, Florida Derby and the West Virginia Derby all will try this race.
    This weekend also marks “The European Road to the Kentucky Derby” with big races for two year olds in both England and Ireland.

  16. Matthew W says:

    I’m going to box Skippy, Taiba, Zandon….I like Skippy and Taiba….

  17. TommyMc says:

    I’m surprised to see Taiba installed as the 5-2 ML Favorite for the Pennsylvania Derby. Cyberknife 3-1 and Zandon 5-1. I like Taiba best and thought I’d be betting on the 3rd favorite. Zandon’s 5-1 looks like the value to me. Zandon and Cyberknife are both on rising numbers patterns. Cyberknife is very adaptable. He can race on the lead or come from off of the pace. I won’t jump ship on Taiba just yet. You never know what odds the horses are going to go off at. Zandon and Cyberknife are both coming off of 105 BSFs in their last race and should be very attractive to bettors. This could turn out to be one of those situations where Taiba’s slightly lower BSFs could benefit his backers. BSFs don’t always tell the whole story.

    • Matthew W says:

      I’m not surprised to see Taiba favored…I actually think he will go of 2-1, maybe lower! This horse was rushed, and changed barns, twice—-now he’s more settled, and when you consider the barn….I think he will go off race favorite

      • Davids says:

        Taiba’s done quite a lot of travel for such an inexperienced colt, a trip too many for this one?

        • Liam says:

          With the spring/summer meet of Hollywood Park being put to rest in histories footnote of racing, west coast 3yo’s have to venture east if they want to be relevant. I believe Taiba is more than seasoned now to handle the rigors of travel. His TG number, I assume, was better than Cybers’ in the Haskell.

          • Davids says:

            Baffert was tossing up the Awesome Again Stakes for Taiba as an alternative to the Pennsylvania Derby, which Country Grammer is also aiming at. He may regret choosing the Pennsylvania Derby. We’ll see.

        • Matthew W says:

          I look for value….at 5-1 Zandon looks good, but Skippylongstocking is whom I am settling on, I like the race spacing, I thought the Travers horses were exhausted…Skippy has three weeks longer to prepare, he’s a bit slower than some but not that much…and he is getting better..

  18. When it comes to the Pennsylvania Derby I see it as a 2 horse race ( not sure why Icy Storm , B Dawk and Naval Aviator are even in the race other than to take up space) between Taiba and Cyberknife, who I consider the best 3 year olds in the country (sorry Epicenter fans but JMO) and are evenly matched. I will be rooting for Taiba ,as I am a big Bob Baffert fan, who has been working like a champion and expecting him to win. Cyberknife has a more recent race which I see as an advantage for him. Weather wise the race looks like it will be run under clear skies and a fast track and both horses have good post positions.

    I hope for a clean race with no mishaps or jockey errors ( I do not expect either horse to be on the lead in this race) and may the best horse win !!!

    • Davids says:

      I am not enamored with Epicenter but his record against Cyberknife is rather conclusive.

      Lecomte Stakes: Epicenter 2nd – Cyberknife 6th

      Kentucky Derby: Epicenter 2nd – Cyberknife 18th

      Travers Stakes: Epicenter 1st – Cyberknife 2nd by many lengths.

      • Matthew W says:

        Agreed! Horse has run all good races this year, Travers and Derby was best in both by far….stands out, in this crop, over everyone with the possible exception of Taiba, who has been rushed….if he wins on Sat Taiba vs Epicenter COULD be a nice matchup…..but Epi is clearly on top.

        • Davids says:

          Matthew, it will be interesting to see if Charge It makes it back to the track this year. A powerful performance in the Cigar Mile or Malibu Stakes would be a nice fillip for next year.

          • Matthew W says:

            Davids I forgot about Charge It! I bet on him in his initial start, and he ran too good to lose….that race he ran was impressive—looking….but Belmont does get huge win margins sometimes…and he beat nothing….so I’m still on the fence, with Charge It…what I DID like was how he never got a breather, in that 23 length win, he was taking pressure inside…and just blew them away..

            • Davids says:

              Yes Matthew, I’d like to see Charge It do it again before becoming a true believer but I tend to believe what we saw. Fingers crossed with Flightline probably going to stud next year.

      • You are correct Epicenter has been ahead of him in 3 races but I feel Cyberknife has an excuse for all of the.

        Lecomte…. Cox said the horse was immature and sort of a head case back then he is different from back then.

        Kentucky Derby … Jockey error…… got him caught up in that frontend meltdown.

        Travers …. He was put on the frontend. Even Gary Stevens, (FOX commentator for the race that day ) said after the race that he is sure that is not were F Geroux wanted him) as no other horses went for the lead. Unfortunately Geroux had no other mounts that day and put him on the rail in the stretch which was not the best part of the track that day plus the fractions he ran in the early part of the race were too fast (compare his fractions to those of Olympiad in the JGC) for him to sustain and yet he finished a valiant 2nd. Go back to Steve’s article in this blog ” Vet Alan Dorton and Lindsy Reed Add to Rich Strike Fairy Tale” and look at my comments i made on August 24. I did not want him on the frontend … In hindsight in the Travers I wish he would have gotten left at the gate. But such is racing and Epicenter got the better trip that day. Turn the tables and let Cyberknife get the trip Epicenter got that day and vice versus we would be singing the praises of Cyberknife today.

  19. Steve, Thank You for enlightening all of us on John Gilden’s book , The Fast Ride. Although I have not read it, I hope to in the near future as it does sound it will be a good read. As far as Buddy Delp he might have had his faults (and who doesn’t) , his training of the Bid in his 4 year old season will always be considered by me to be the “GREATEST” training of a thoroughbred ever. He had the Bid ready to run his best for every race entered that year, and with the many track and world records he set that campaign I think it is hard to argue it wasn’t. And for Flying Paster he might have been just as good as the Bid but to me was given many poor rides by Don Pierce. I wish he would have had Chris McCarron in the stirrups , but what is done is done.
    One more thing, I will always fault Ronnie Franklin’s ride for the Bid miss winning the Triple Crown regardless of the safety pin issue !!!

  20. Matthew W says:

    A heckuva Penn Derby! For a Longshot melikes #4 Skippylongstocking, will box with the two favorites. ..Rosario takes over for Prat, on Zandon, I thought Prat gave him some good rides, I’ll let him beat me—but he’s a good horse …

    • Liam says:

      The Cotillion for 3yo fillies has some nice one’s entered. The big one, Nest, is sitting this one out. Also, looking thru some of the PP’s on Equibase, I’d like to see the private purchase price for a racehorse entered under the auction tab. Team Valor has one entered that was sold after running 2nd in it’s maiden in May of 2021 at 25-1.

  21. TommyMc says:

    I’d like to make some comments about Zandon. I still like Zandon. He was my Derby horse at 6-1. In the Pennsylvania Derby I’m torn between Zandon and Taiba. Zandon drew the rail for Saturday’s race which should be fine for him with his style of running. He just needs some pace in front of him and he might just get it. He picks up Joel Rosario who is a master of judging the pace and a Grade I specialist.

    I mean no offense when I say that I don’t think that a mile and a quarter is his best distance. Look at the 2 times he ran a mile and a quarter. In The Derby, Zandon looked like he was ready to pounce on Epicenter and win the race before flattening out while Rich Strike passed them both. Did he “hang”? In the Travers, Zandon again made his move. Forget about Epicenter. Nobody was beating him that day. But, Zandon looked like he would surely pass Cyberknife for 2nd. Again, he looked like he flattened out and got nosed by Cyberknife for the “place”. Did Zandon “hang”? Did Cyberknife just fight back? I think it’s that last 1/8 of a mile. I think that a mile and an eighth is Zandon’s distance. Like when he looked so good winning the Bluegrass. That’s the distance that he gets on Saturday. No Epicenter. Rosario on. Two nice works since raced. One of them a “bullet” 5-furlongs. If Taiba doesn’t beat him, Zandon could find himself in the winner’s circle.

    • TommyMc says:

      Zandon is still on a rising numbers pattern. At least by using the BSFs. He’s tied for “best last race BSF” with Cyberknife. They both earned a 105 Beyer when Cyberknife beat Zandon by a “whisker” for 2nd in the Travers. The question is whether or not that Travers race took a lot out of both horses while Taiba was resting up down at Del Mar?

      Taiba has been off since his “head” loss to Cyberknife in the Haskell at Monmouth two months ago. Since then, Taiba has been training up a storm. Starting on August 13th at Del Mar, Taiba has had 6 workouts. Four of them “bullets”. He should be “fit & ready” off those 5,6, and 7 furlong works. BB is back in business and excels at having a good horse ready for a big race.

      Big Money Mike has been winning at 22% for the year. Sure, he picks his spots. But, not bad for an old guy. I’m an old guy. Mike Smith is just old for an athlete. I admire him even if sometimes it doesn’t sound like I do.

    • Davids says:

      I believe 9f will always be Zandon’s pet distance but as a 4 year old Zandon should be more effective at 10f. I don’t think he hangs so much as ‘somewhat’ flattens out on his run due possibly to a long campaign, he keeps trying nonetheless.

      The Pennsylvania Derby looks wide open to me, with numerous upset chances a plenty. How the track plays at the time of the race could be a distinct advantage to a runner, but who and how is the big question. I like the way We the People is rounding back into 9f after the Belmont Stakes ‘adventure.’ Good luck, I can see half the field winning.

  22. TommyMc says:

    Joel Rosario takes over on Zandon. Flavien Prat goes to We the People.

    A big 13-race card at Parx on Saturday. One pick-5 and five pick-4s.
    Good sized fields and some big fields

    Parx really made an effort. I’m impressed. Even the 3 non-Stakes races have $100,000 purses which helped all 3 draw big fields.

  23. TommyMc says:

    They will draw the Pennsylvania Derby Day Card today at 2pm.

  24. TommyMc says:

    Could the presence of Flightline in this year’s Breeders Cup Classic cause this year’s BC Mile to be possibly the best edition ever run? Let’s hope that enough quality horses show up in the Classic to give the John Sadler trainee at least a “test”.

    • Matthew W says:

      He was “tested” by the Dubai World Cup winner, who finished 7 lengths clear of 3rd place….

    • Matthew W says:

      I think yge BC DIRT Mile should be done away with! In my opinion it takes away from the Classic AND Sprint! Dirt Mile is nothing like TURF Mile, in my opinion …I wish the Breeders Cup was ONE day…..NO filly Sprint. ..NO Dirt Mile. .NO Filly Turf….just- :2yo Dirt races. 6fur SPRINT. Mile Turf….1 1/2 Mile Turf……9fur Distaff…and CLASSIC, SEVEN Saturday races!

  25. Mike Sekulic says:

    Being the fan of COUGAR II that I am, I sent a letter to Bud Delp, in the early 1980’s, about his horse CAGEY COUGAR. I was very pleased when I received a handwritten letter from him telling me about the horse, along with an official win photo of one of the horse’s stakes wins. I thought it was extremely nice that he would not only write to me but also purchase a photo for me as well! I was impressed by his manners and kindness.

    At some point after that I noticed the horse wasn’t running anymore, so I wrote to Delp again, and he was thoughtful enough to let me know that CAGEY COUGAR had died.

    Bud Delp was blessed to have trained SPECTACULAR BID. Not everyone who is fortunate enough to train one of the top two great horses of all time! Good for him. May he rest in peace. I think my experience with him was really quite nice.

    • SJ says:

      Mike,
      You are very fortunate, since many trainers of current era would only respond to you if they knew it would garner a media response. Bud Delp was not of this time, as many trainers then considered the fans for their true importance and not for self-serving purposes. You do appreciate Delp’s efforts as stated. Continue to enjoy, and I can relate to your appreciation of Cougar II.

      • Matthew W says:

        The only time I saw Bid….my brother and I had walked towards the receiving barn. And Bud knew we were not allowed to do that, but instead of telling us that he conversed with us! We were 23 and 21 years old, Bud Delp was a TREASURE, who was looked down upon, by the racing elite, which is possibly why he proclaimed Bid as “The greatest horse to look thru a bridle” …this was before he won The Derby, and at the tail end of a decade that had Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Ruffian, Affirmed, Alydat, Forego—Bud said it….and I for one believe he was correct.

      • Mike Sekulic says:

        Over the years, I have found that many trainers pretend not to remember certain horses, or claim to have no idea what happened to a particular horse. I have also noticed that most trainers don’t want you asking any questions about their horses. I think this is a byproduct of the tragic ending that many racehorses face, and the secrecy that the racing world quietly agrees upon to keep the ugly part of it all sort of “hush-hush.” So, I think what Bud Delp did was not only really nice, but honest and transparent. If only the majority of people in racing were like him!

        • Matthew W says:

          I totally agree with you….I look at those races at Sha Tin….14 horse fields, of geldings …Sha Tin, Hong Kong…..the fans love those horses, and mewonders….after they can no longer race— what becomes of those beloved geldings?..

          • Matthew W says:

            Every Wednesday there used to be a farm auction. In Woodburn, Oregon, and I used to stop by, on the eve of the auction, to see if there was anything that I wanted—I used to buy and sell from that auction, it paid the rent…..in the back was livestock, and there in the back of the back were race horses, no longer sound…..heads low, to be auctioned, mostly for slaughter, and I would bring apples, and talk to them, thru my tears….and they were happy, again…..