All posts by cactus SON

Shark Week — Saratoga Edition: Jerry Bailey

The fourth week of July marks the start of our two favorite summer traditions: Saratoga and Shark Week. So last night, we recovered from an epic opening weekend at the Spa by turning on the Discovery Chanel to watch Shaq standing on the bow of a boat screaming for sharks. And as the Big Aristotle dove into infested waters searching for the mythical Megalodon, our mission became clear—”Shark Week–Saratoga Edition.”

Bailey

Today’s shark always seemed to exhibit the cold-blooded instincts of a shark on the prowl during his dominant years at Saratoga during the 1990s and early 2000s. After Angel Cordero, another Saratoga Shark, retired Bailey took over as the alpha male in the Saratoga jockey colony. Bailey made it a goal every year to win the title at Saratoga, a feat he accomplished 7 times. He ruled the Saratoga jockey colony with an iron fist.

Bailey, unlike Cordero, was the regular rider from some the eras most prolific trainers, namely Bill Mott and Bobby Frankel. Bailey, or J-Money as he is known by the Thorobros,  appeared to always be riding the best horse. But this was an illusion, as he knew how to get the best out of horses and weave through trouble. Much like a shark,  he perservered through a tough trip in order to claim a visit to the winners circle. His calm under pressure seemed to be second to none, waiting until the perfect moment to pounce and take the race by force.

Bailey also was known for sharking mounts away from his peers, by proclaiming and backing up, that he could ride their horses better. Like any other shark, Bailey wanted the biggest and most tasty prey and would do whatever it took to get it. He was never satisfied with the status quo, he was always hungry for more.

Bailey won every major stakes at the Spa including a record seven running a of the Test and six running shoes of the Hopeful. One of his best rides that displayed both his calm nerve, expert sense of pace, and furious finish was in the 2002 Test. It also happens to be this Thorobros favorite race of all time. Aboard Bobby Frankel’s filly You, Bailey sat well off a torrid pace set by Todd Pletcher’s Carson Hollow. Rounding the turn Bailey asked his mount to start making up ground along the rail. As they reached the top of the stretch, there appeared to be no room for You, but Bailey bidded time and found a tiny seam on the rail to dart through. Then Bailey pulled along side Carson Hollow with Johnny V aboard, and the two went punch for punch to the line with You prevailing by a nostril. It’s a race that has to be seen to believe, so please check it out https://youtu.be/oCuJjhBBCS 

Bailey’s shark-like dominance of Saratoga came to an end with his retirement in 2006. But Bailey couldn’t stay away, continuing on in the industry as a TV commentator. In his new line of work he still asks like a shark, asking tough questions and never fearing to put his opinions on the line, or to question the tactics used by his former peers. Once a shark always a shark.

 

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Shark Week Saratoga Edition: Angel Cordero Jr.

The fourth week of July marks the start of our two favorite summer traditions: Saratoga and Shark Week. So last night, we recovered from an epic opening weekend at the Spa by turning on the Discovery Chanel to watch Shaq standing on the bow of a boat screaming for sharks. And as the Big Aristotle dove into infested waters searching for the mythical Megalodon, our mission became clear—”Shark Week–Saratoga Edition.” In honor of Shark Week, we will profile the Sharks of Saratoga, legendary horses, jockeys and trainers who loomed large meet after meet and devoured all competition in their paths.

Today we are featuring Angel Cordero Jr., the King of the Saratoga Seas. Not only was he clearly the King by winning 11 consecutive riding titles from 1976 to 1986, he did so by displaying many shark like characteristics.

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He was clearly held a mental edge on his competitors by toying with Jean Crueget like he did with his ride in the 1984 Whitney aboard Slew O’ Gold. A race in which he admittedly talking trash down the backstretch.

Cordero also won all of those titles without being the “go-to” rider for many of the larger training outfits; he did whatever he had to to assert his dominance.  He was fearless on the track, taking any tactic, regardless of the risk, he thought might work to get to the Winners Circle.

And his shark mentality didn’t end when he hung up his saddle in 1992. He has since become the a shark-like agent on the grounds, by taking the book and hustling mounts for leading riders Johnny Velazquez and Manny Franco.

His dominance over his opponents, his  killer-instinct and his willingness to take risks to get to his prey make Angel a cold-blooded killer at Saratoga.

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Food for Thought While Watching Derby Preps

The Kentucky Derby, the best known race in America and possibly the World, is likely the most “handicapped” race. In hopes of finding a winner on the first Saturday in May, many fans scrutinize the various preps around the country to find their pick. Like the vast majority of handicappers out there, we love our statistics. Using the past to predict the future is at the heart of nearly every handicapping strategy. Many try to use a specific horse’s past to predict their next performance. However, for big races a more historical approach is often utilized to find the similarities and trends in past winners to lead you to the next winner.

In order to help you find the 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner, we have evaluated the past 15 winners, and the races they prepped in, to find trends to watch for and follow over the next few weeks.

Continue reading Food for Thought While Watching Derby Preps

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Watching the Derby in History’s Backyard: Derby Day at the Racing Museum

The Kentucky Derby is a great reason to throw a party. It’s an event where everyone dresses to impress, comes with a pre-determined theme, engages the party-goers with the chance to pick a winner and presents an opportunity to drink an otherwise obscure cocktail. What more could you ask for?

Kentucky Derby parties are held all over the country on the first Saturday in May, especially in cities and towns with ‘Racing Fever’. Saratoga Springs is no exception, and starting in 2015 the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has hosted one of the best around.

Continue reading Watching the Derby in History’s Backyard: Derby Day at the Racing Museum

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HorseMadness II: Cinderella Championship – Jim Dandy v. Onion

We have reached the HorseMadness II Championship after a month long competition battle to see who will be the last Cinderella still dancing. Thank you to all who have voted and helped us conduct this poll. But now on the ‘ship! 

Jim Dandy v. Onion

It is interesting to note the similarities between these two Cinderellas, and what it says about our readers thoughts on what makes a great upset. Both defeated a Triple Crown winner, at Saratoga the Graveyard of Favorites, in that Triple Crown winners’ championship season.  As lifelong Saratoga enthusiasts (read: obsessed diehards), the ‘Bros could not be any happier that the Spa takes center stage in the Championship. But although these Cinderellas danced on the same stage, they were far from the same “type” of underdog.

Continue reading HorseMadness II: Cinderella Championship – Jim Dandy v. Onion

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Horse Madness II – Elite Eight: Canonero II v. Jim Dandy

Welcome back to Horse Madness II, the quest for racing’s greatest Cinderella. Ironically, the bracket of upsets has been dominated by chalk, with all favorites advancing to the Elite 8. Some great matchups ahead, ripe with opportunities for upsets, so stayed tuned…

Canonero II v. Jim Dandy

This matchup is a face off between one of the most famous Cinderellas in the history of the sport (Jim Dandy) versus a great underdog with an unimaginable path to success in the 1971 Derby and Preakness. Continue reading Horse Madness II – Elite Eight: Canonero II v. Jim Dandy

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Horse Madness II: Onion v. Court Vision

Welcome back to the second round of Horse Madness 2016! We are through the play-in round, and an updated bracket is here: Horse Madness 2016.

Two more Cinderellas dancing in this madness: one a David to the Goliath that was Secretariat. The other, a hard-knocking stakes winner who finally achieved Breeders’ Cup success in his third attempt against a classy field and denying Goldikova a spot in the history books.

Continue reading Horse Madness II: Onion v. Court Vision

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Horse Madness II: Canonero v. Angle Light

Welcome back to the second round of Horse Madness 2016!  We are through the play-in round, and an updated bracket is here:  Horse Madness 2016

Today we have a matchup of horses who ran in the Decade of Champions: the 1970s. Although both Cinderellas, Angle Light and Canonero could not be more different. Angle Light, was a Kentucky blue-blood with strong American connections, and a need-the-lead running style. Canonero II, was a sun of an Epsom Derby winner who got no love in the  auction ring and was sold as to a Venezuelan businessman, made left his best impression on American by his last to first triumph in the 1971 Kentucky Derby.

Continue reading Horse Madness II: Canonero v. Angle Light

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40 Days: A Salute to Saratoga – Fasig Tipton Sales

From Mary Lou to Tom; Jim Dandy to Fourstardave; Siro’s to backyard tailgating; and morning workouts to give aways; Saratoga has a cast of heroes, customs, and institutions which make it, in our opinion, the most unique sporting venue on Earth. Over the next 40 Days, we will profile 40 of these legends and traditions, adding our own memories and experiences from 30 plus years of summering at the Spa. It’s our Salute to Saratoga. We hope you enjoy following along.

It is often said that every night is a party in Saratoga. There is always something exciting going on, whether it’s Saturday Night at 11pm or Tuesday at 7:30. A perfect example of that is one of the biggest and most high-profile events during the Saratoga season was this past Monday and Tuesday evening: The Fasig-Tipton Select Yearlings Sales.

Continue reading 40 Days: A Salute to Saratoga – Fasig Tipton Sales

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