Friday, August 28, 2009

Poor Tyler Baze... ...Breeders' Cup Challenge 17 down & 46 to go


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Y2K (00') top apprentice jockey Tyler Baze who does his best ridding in Southern California would have been the center of attention at Del Mar Racetrack if it weren't for a pesky broken finger that will keep the twenty-six year old out of action this weekend. Baze sustained a broken finger last weekend and is scheduled to see a specialist on Tuesday, as reported by Steve Andersen of the Daily Racing Form.
The timing of the injury couldn't have been worse for Tyler who is currently second to only to Joel Rosario with 29 wins from 172 mounts at the current Del Mar meet. Rosario, Del Mar's leading rider has collected 39 wins from 189 starts, for a win average of 21% just four percentage point better then Baze's 17%
This weekend Baze was scheduled to be aboard the favourite in both of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win & You're In" races being held at Del Mar this Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday David Flores will inherit likely race leader and sure fire favourite Monterey Jazz in the $300,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap. Flores is no stranger to the horse having guided Jazz to wins in both the Strub Stakes and the Texas Mile at the beginning of 08'
Craig Dollase has made an open challenge to the field... ..."I dare anyone to challenge us" said the abundantly confident trainer of Monterey Jazz. Don't let Dollase's comment fool you, the race is a $300,000 race, so nobody is showing up for this one intent on an expensive work-out or a "test" of the race-course. What Dollase meant is that he dares anyone to challenge Monterey Jazz on the lead. Dollase was also quick to point out that he doesn't mind Jazz "running off" (allow the horse to just run loose on the lead with no restraint) because of the races relatively short flat mile distance.
On Sunday Rafael Bejarano will get his chance to inherit the favourite when he gets a leg up from Trainer Neil Drysdale aboard Obrigado in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap. Bejarano is scheduled to make his first start in over two months this Friday following a horrendous accident which occurred during the first week of the current Del Mar season. Rafael's face absorbed the majority of the impact which might explain his expedient return to the starting gate. 
Zoltan Black

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Coming to terms with Derek Jeter... ...A personal journey


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I despise Derek Jeter... ...but lately I've found myself coming to terms with the facts.
Jeter is the modern day Yankees equivalent to Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig and Mickey Mantle. He possesses both the pizazz of Joe DiMaggio and the October dominance of Reggie Jackson.
The fact that I have so painfully come to terms with day Derek Jeter will be a member of the famed Monument Park at the brand spanking new House that George Built at the corner of East 161st Street & River Avenue (New Yankee Stadium).
Monument Park is an outdoor museum that contains a collection of plaques and retired numbers, honoring the most prestigious member of baseballs most storied franchise, the New York Yankees.
Billy Martin, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and no-number honouree Miller Huggins are just a few of the 26 honoured in Monument Park.
So, why #2?
Derek Jeter hold countless all-time Yankee records. Most career singles, Most hits @ Ol' Yankee Stadium and Most career doubles just to name a few. Jeter is also second on the Yankees all-time hits list, fourth in games played and tenth overall in both the RBI and Home-run categories? From the short-stop position!! Absolutely incredible.
Jeter who grew up just down the Pike, in near by Pequannock, New Jersey has always been a fan favourite in the Bronx and with 10 all-star appearances, 4 World Series rings, 3 Golden Gloves and another 3 Silver Slugger Awards it's no wonder Jeet's is so popular in New York. It's that same ga-ga for Jeter popularity that has caused me to despise one of, if not the, greatest player of the modern era. Sure, at one time I thought Barry Bond was the marquee player of the steroid era, but as those waters continue to muddy it seem increasingly more likely that Derek Jeter name is not on "that list". And if it were? We'd probably never know it.
Zoltan Black
The "list" I referred to in the final sentence is a reference to a list of 104 players who tested positive for banned substances during a 03' amnesty type testing session that involved all Major League players. The testing was carried out on the condition that the number of positive tests had to register below 5% to avoid formal testing and penalties. Despite the promises of both Major League Baseball and the Players Association to keep the names of the positive testees anonymous, names from that list are slowly finding the light of day.
Extra Point to me for being able to use the term testee, in a totally appropriate fashion.
And congratulations to Derek Jeter. Your cheap smile and greasy hair have officially won you another fan, me.

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Del Mar Mile: Monterey Jazz can cruise - NTRA

August 27th, 2009
Del Mar Mile: Monterey Jazz can cruise - NTRA
Steve Andersen

Opportunity knocks in Travers - NTRA

August 28th, 2009
Opportunity knocks in Travers - NTRA
David Grening


August 28th, 2009
Alex Waldrop

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama may need Hockey Style Face Shiled.. ..Mr. Hasawaywithwords


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Thanks to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post for bringing to life an issue I had long thought lost its legs.
Former NCAA hoops superstar J.J. Reddick, the NCAA's career leader with 457 three-pointers and a 40.4% three point average has been strapped to the bench in Orlando, since being drafted by the Magic 11th overall in the 06' NBA Draft. Reddick has not only had to adjust to a lack of playing time, seniority and press coverage but recently J.J. has had to dodge cheap shots from Washington Redskins corner-back DeAngelo Hall.
Before detailing Hall's offense let me be the first to tell you that I've made no secret about the lack of respect I have for Mr. Hall.
As if a lack of playing time isn't enough to get under the skin of the twenty-five year old native of Cookeville, Tennessee, J.J. Reddick's request to receive either "more playing time" or a trade was flat-out denied by Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy at the tail-end of 08' season.

"Right now it would be very hard to fit him in. I know it's also hard to keep sitting him on the bench... Should we be playing him? Right now we're going good so we probably won't disrupt things"
Now big-mouth defensive-back DeAngelo Hall claims he once shutdown the the two time ACC Player of the Year in a State Championship Game, where DeAngleo held J.J. to "like" 12 points, well Mr. Hasawaywithwords dropped "like" 31. 
To make matter worse diminutive DeAngelo (5'10) claims he could still shut down the pint sized NBA shooting guard.
Pint sized in terms of an NBA shooting guard is about 6'4, nearly half a foot taller then Mr. Hall who stated that he would have pursued a basketball career if he hadn't stopped growing (not sure if this one's Mr. Stienberg or a direct quote from Mr. Hasawaywithwords)
The topic rolled around to J.J. but that's not where it started according to Mr. Stienberg of the Post who says that the conversation began with DeAngelo's dream to one day sharing the court with the President of the Unites States Barack Obama. (Remember Mr. President this guys has a history of spitting, so if your going to do it, and I think you likely will as you appear to be quite the gamer, perhaps hockey style face shields will be in order) 
Ok that's enough DeAngelo bashing for one day, but is it really bashing when your standing up for one of "your" guys?
To be honest I've never spoken to J.J. but the little bastard has cost me a boat load of money, so I think it's fair to say I know just what kind of baller J.J. really is. The young man is soft spoken and certainly not one to give DeAngelo the press coverage he so eagerly desires but on-court J.J. is a stone cold killer, a three-point dagger shooting assassin, lurking in the wings, hell bent on delivering the deathblow (killshot).
Again I'm getting a little carried away trying to defend J.J.
At the beginning I had intended this piece to be an offensive launched against the NBA powers that be, the power that have kept one of the College basketballs most deadly shooters strapped to the bench for three straight seasons. Instead I have wasted my space deflecting comments from an ungrateful, multi-millionaire, comments directed at a man that Mr. Hall knows full well will no reciprocate.
I have the utmost confidence that J.J.'s comments on this issue will amount to little more than a one liner in tomorrows paper (if he even give Mr. Hasawaywithwords that much)    
Unfortunately it has become abundantly clear that this reporter is unable to exhibit the same refrain.
Zoltan Black 
J.J. Reddick has averaged 38% from the three-point line over three NBA seasons despite averaging a minuscule 14.4 minutes per game.   

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Commentator Retired... ...Does this mean there's a job opening?


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Following a disappointing effort as on odds on favourite in this Saturdays Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, multiple Grade 1 winner Commentator has been retired from active competition.
The decision was mad just hours after the completion of Saratoga's Saturday feature following a meeting between owners Tracy & Carol Farmer and New York based uber trainer Nick Zito. The decision to end Commentator's racing career midway through his eight year old campaign seems on paper slightly perplexing.
Why retire an animal of Commentator's class if, as Nick Zito stated "Physically there's nothing wrong with him, other than age" 
Commentator is a gelding (castrated male) so he posses no breeding shed value. This explains why Commentator, a horse that won more then half of his twenty-four career starts, bankrolled over two million dollars and won the Whitney Handicap twice was still running races rather then passing down his genes.
What is does not explain is why after a third place effort behind longshot winner Bullsbay and classy vet Macho Again in this years edition of the Whitney Handicap the decision has been made to shut down Commentator for good?
New York Racing Association (NYRA) Executive Vice-President Hal Handel say he's in favour off a public sendoff at Saratoga sometime before the end of the current meet "Obviously, he's been a  star here, and I think he's a very sentimental favorite for a lot of people. It would be nice way too wrap up his career to have him honored here."
Zoltan Black
Commentator Career Record: 24 Races, 14 wins, 1 second and 4 thirds. Incredible. Commentator only missed the tote board (did not finish in the top three) five time in his entire career, no wonder he's a "sentimental" favourite

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breeders' favorites unproven on turf - NTRA

July 31st, 2009
Breeders' favorites unproven on turf - NTRA
Ron Gierkink

Well Armed goes for San Diego repeat - NTRA

July 31st, 2009
Well Armed goes for San Diego repeat - NTRA
Brad Free

The Breeders Stakes.. ..Final Leg of the Canadian Triple Crown


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Being Now Public's track-side pundit has it's advantages.
The biggest one being, that I can post my selections, cold hearted and braggadocios without the risk of losing even a dollar. This is great because my opinions cost me a minimum of $2.00 at the race-track and because I generally have a lot of opinions this could mean risking a whole whack of money.
With that being said tomorrow at Woodbine Racetrack thirteen hopefuls will go to post for the final leg of the Canadian Horse Racing Triple Crown the Breeders Stakes. Eye of the Leopard (Queen's Plate Winner) and Gallant (Prince of Wales Stakes) will headline Woodbine's eighth race on Sunday afternoon well newcomers like Hisaki, Perfect Shower and Full Throttle will look to steal both the spot light and the lions share of the $500, 000 purse.
Keino West, Flip for the Coin and Mr. Foricos Two U join Eye of the Leopard as the only horses in this years Breeders Stakes to have tested all three surfaces that the Canadian Triple has to offer. First it was the synthetic (poly) track at Woodbine for the Queens Plate in early July. After the Queen's Plate, Canadian Triple Crown hopefuls turned their attention to an old fashioned dirt race course at Fort Erie for the Prince of Wales.
Tomorrow afternoon at 4:37est the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders Stakes will be run over the super classy E.P. Taylor turf course at Etobicoke's Woodbine Race Track.
Although the Canadain Triple Crown does not share the same rarefied air as the American version of the same competition, it's easy to see why Woodbine regular like myself and track handicapper Jim Bannon feel that the Canadian Triple Crown is just a difficult to master.

The last time a Candian Horse won the Triple Crown was 03' when Mike Keogh trainee Wando won all three races in the summer series. Before Wando their were three horses in the 90's that managed the feat Izvestia 90', Dance Smartly 91' and Peteski 93'. Compare that to the American version of the same series and the result are clear. No horse has claimed the American Triple Crown since Seattle Slew and Affirmed claimed back to back crown during the late seventies (77', 78')

It would appear, given the facts that the Canadian Triple Crown is much easier to win then it's American counter-part, however recent changes to the main track at Woodbine may put this facts on hold.
On August 30th 2006 Woodbine Racetrack changed it main track from traditional dirt to a synthetic surface know as poly. Poly is made of mostly rubber and is said to be a lot gentler on the equine athletes. This meant that the Queen's Plate which has been run since 1860' over a traditional dirt course would be run over a synthetic surface for the very first time in 2007. Because the Prince of Wales and Breeders Stakes are run over plain old dirt and beautiful flowing grass respectively the addition of a synthetic surface race mean the Canadian Triple Crown is run over three completely different surfaces.
Those unfamiliar with the day to day operation at any North American Racetrack may not understand the significance of running races over three different surfaces
Before Poly there was only dirt and turf, horse who performed well on the turf were no guaranteed to repeat on dirt and like wise for dirt winners. However modern horse racing has new runner, the synthetic run and there is really no guarantee that he/she will be able to repeat their performance on either of the other surfaces. Polytack racers have proven to be an even stronger niche group which tracksiders like myself have dubbed Poly Killers. These horses experience dramatic improvements when switched from dirt/turf course to a synthetic surface.
With that being said I would leave Eye of the Leopard off of my win tickets on Sunday afternoon as he is a clear example of one of those "Poly Killers" I had mentioned earlier. 
My Selection: Reservoir
I must admit this was an easy one. I've had my Breeders Stakes winner picked Eye of the Leopard was parading in the winners circle on Plate Day.
Julia Carey's charge Reservoir did not make the trip to Fort Erie after being the pace setter for this years Queens Plate but that was all by design. Julia has been aiming Reservoir towards the E.P. Taylor turf course, more specifically the Breeders Stakes and that is why Reservoir was given some time away from racing rather then making the trip to Fort Erie for the second leg of the triple crown.
Good Luck
Zoltan Black

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