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Sometimes things don't work out quite as planned. Frozen tracks this morning meant that the Gusdal string had to hack canter on the black rather than do fast work on the yellow. Orpello was supposed to be in front, followed by Quiet Zain and then Ray of Hope. As you can see, Ray had other plans, Orpello took issue and Quiet Zain wanted to pass them all but Pascal had the final say. Not the prettiest work in the world, since everybody is fresh and they had all been primed to gallop. They'll get to stretch out tomorrow. ... See MoreSee Less

Harry Rarick, Gaëlle Béchade and 3 others like this

Patricia OchsStill what a pretty run!

6 hours ago
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Bleu Astral giving a lead to Grey Sensation, who was occupied with Born Fearless, a two-year-old filly who we hope to debut at the end of the month. She is finally learning to extend her stride, and she showed huge progress this morning. We have to make sure to keep pairing her with horses who can push her and make her learn. ... See MoreSee Less

Wagihe El Halouat, Gaëlle Béchade and 10 others like this

Belinda WhitsonOmg these gallops 😍

4 hours ago   ·  1
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Live (almost) from the training gallops this morning: Iron Born and Gascon head to head for a little speed on the black track. We use this gallop for the shorter bursts - here, they're doing about 600 to 700 meters of decent speed, but not more. Galloping upsides brings on the younger horses like these. Iron will have his debut in Deauville on Thursday and Gascon, on the inside, has only just started to work. ... See MoreSee Less

Robert Howard Chapman, Lori Gregorich and 17 others like this

Susanne L. BornGascon just started? Looking very good already!

12 hours ago   ·  1
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Bleu Astral at Compiegne

The good news is already out, but worth repeating: Bleu Astral was an easy winner today in Compiegne. Great ride from Alexis Badel, who judged the pace well and won from the front. We knew Bleu had the ability, but he needs to be settled enough to use it, and he was today. Bravo to the team, and to all the members of High Street!

Unusual weather we’re havin’…

I just got back in from changing the horses’ clothes for the fourth time today. I turned the heat on. Then swatted a mosquito. It’s mid-November.

When a friend of mine gave me an American Pharoah t-shirt on Arc weekend, I didn’t think I would get a chance to wear it before next summer. But this past week temperatures have topped a sunny 22 degrees (71 Fahrenheit). More than half the horses had already quite sensibly grown their winter coats. A couple have resisted. Turns out they had the last laugh.

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Labor pains

The pheasant that could have ended my life this morning chose not to, for which I was grateful. Far away into my own thoughts, I didn’t see him preening alongside the trail until the last second – Hard Way was nearly on top of him, bowling along toward home in a huge extended trot. Too late to stop, all I could do was crouch lower to the saddle and hope he didn’t choose that second to fly off, which would have resulted in me flying too, probably straight into a stone wall. The pheasant stayed put, and Hard Way coasted past – he probably didn’t see him, either.

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Big Leagues

You know you’ve jumped into the deep end when you bring an undefeated horse to the racecourse and you go off the longshot.

Ella Diva has done everything we’ve asked so far, but tomorrow we’ll see what’s really under the hood. Luckily, she can’t read the program, because she’ll be standing in the starting gate next to a slick miss trained by Andre Fabre who cost 720,000 euros as a yearling. On her other side will be a royally bred Khalid Abdullah filly trained by Pascal Bary. The two of them are supposed to finish first and second in the race, the only question is in which order. Ella doesn’t know that, though, so she will do her best to crash the expensive party.

Four other horses are also fighting for the scraps. None of these fillies has run a mile, so there are a lot of questions to be answered tomorrow. What we do know is this: Ella likes a fight, and she needs a decent pace. The problem is who will set it. None of the horses are necessarily front-runners, so we might run the risk of having to go in front. I hope not. Six other trainers are going to bed tonight hoping not, too. Well, maybe not – Andre Fabre is probably going to bed tonight wondering about his next polo match. He’s done this so many times I can’t imagine he worries about anything one way or another. Not so for us. This is our big day. We’re hoping our little filly does her best, and we hope her best is good enough to keep her in the mix. Stay tuned.

Beyond There be Dragons

We are heading into uncharted territory. Finally, after seven years of training, we have a Good Horse. And that means the weeks ahead are about to get quite interesting.

I thought Ella Diva was quite a nice filly when I bought her out of a claiming race for my English owner. We’d been looking for a horse for months, tried to claim a few and failed, and were getting increasingly frustrated at the process. But we kept hunting, and in late June at Clairefontaine, there was a claiming race for two-year-olds that looked promising. We liked two or three on paper, and Ella Diva was one of them. When I saw her in the parade ring, she ticked all the boxes. Physically, she was just about perfect – not too big, but well put together, with straight legs, a clear eye and good, harmonious muscle. Even more impressive was her demeanor. She had only run once before, when she debuted a winner in Craon, but she was strolling the parade ring like she had done it a hundred times – calm, confident, paying no attention to other young horses acting silly.

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Gina Rarick, Trainer