Réponse Exacte was the first winner for the new Avenue Marengo annex of Ecurie Rarick. The Rajsaman filly won from gate to post moving away from the field in the last hundred meters of the race.
The Prix du Mesnil-le-Roi – Prix Rose Royal was run on the day of the Fete des Courses in Maisons-Laffitte. Several hundred people were on hand to watch the French national soccer team beat the Australians in World Cup play on jumbo screens. But all eyes were on the racing after the match was over.
Michael Barzalona kept his filly away from the rail with his outside draw in this 1100m (5½ furlong) race but eased toward the rail in the later stages, pulling away from the others.
Réponse Exacte went off as an outsider paying 13,10 for a one euro bet at the track and 16,30 online. Place bets were 3,50. The going was considered good to soft at 3.4. The time of the race was 1’05”79.
Réponse Exacte is one of 8 two-year-old horses in the Ecurie Rarick annex from Ireland, managed by Lisa Gautier, running under the colors of Mme Catherine Hassett.
Avenue du Monde (Champs Eysees and Marla out of Pentire) won the Prix Wemyss Bight, a second division 2100m turf handicap, at the St Cloud racetrack today in the west suburbs of Paris today. She caught the favorite, Santorina(Trajano and Madinella out of Anabaa) at the wire, winning by a nose.
Avenue’s jockey, Michael Barzalona, led her out of the gate easily and placed her comfortably at the back of the field just to the outside of Santorina who was at the rail on the backstretch. The two competitors ran comfortably with the pace, a few lengths behind the leaders.
As they came out of the final turn, the two were side-by-side. Santorina’s jockey, Alexis Badel, went to the rail in the stretch while Barzalona went wide around the field. As they both cleared the other horses, they came together with Santorina in front. However, Michael didn’t stop riding, both he and the horse fought to the end taking the race by a nose in a photo finish.
Avenue du Monde went off as second favorite paying 6,90 for a euro bet and 7,70 online. Place bets were 2,20 and 2,10 respectively. The going was considered soft at 3.6. Time of the race was 2’12”80.
So we have come to this day, after all. King Driver (Domedriver and Queenmara out of King Of Clubs) has been officially retired, and the yard has an empty space that is far bigger than King’s box.
King has been our standard-bearer for nearly nine years. He leaves us with six wins and 25 places from 55 starts, and many, many memories, both wonderful and challenging. I didn’t train him, he trained me.
He was the first (and still only) yearling an owner trusted me to buy at the sales. He taught me about tapeworms, flat feet, pirouettes, broken bones (and how you could discover them years after the fact), the importance of jockey choice (he just simply refused to move when he disagreed), how to load a a horse in the truck (one large German with a huge yell will do the trick), how to spot ghosts (but still, only he could see them), gelding (don’t wait, just do it), but mostly how an incredibly beautiful chestnut with an eight-meter stride length and a heart that no one could match can glide to the finish line first when all the stars align.
Quiet Zain won a Quinte handicap, a first for him and for the yard. Michael Forest placed him in perfect position behind the leaders and pulled out in the stretch with plenty of horse to leave the field behind.
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!
Pretty much the entire yard will get a chance to race over the next three days, which will give us a chance to see how what sort of team we’ll bring to Cagnes sur Mer this year. Most our horses are coming back after a break, and we are really looking forward to see how they’re doing because they’re flying at home.
November sucks, to put it in simple, non-literary terms. It’s dark as midnight at 6 p.m. It’s just as dark at 6 a.m., but colder. There’s no decent racing to be had – the flat season is over and winter racing hasn’t started yet. But there is a faint glimmer at the end of the tunnel, and that glimmer is Cagnes sur Mer.
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.
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.