One week, two winners!

Ray of Hope runs a clinic on winning in Cagnes-sur-Mer

Chicken dinner! Ray of Hope gives us our first win of the year (and of the Cagnes meeting). Good old Ray absolutely loves it down here and the wide draw was no problem at all. He was in control from start to finish and won without a single crack of the whip.
From Gina Rarick on Facebook

Ray was cursed with the worst draw on the 2000m fibersand course in Cagnes, 16 out of 16. However, Mickael Forest, who knows the horse perfectly, ran it just right, taking control of a field that never threatened. It was a demonstration by the jockey and horse team that controlled events from beginning to end.

Ray has now run 11 times in Cagnes-sur-Mer, with an incredible record of 4 wins*, 4 seconds, and a 6th. Only twice was he out of the money.

*Ray actually won 5 races but was distanced once to second.

Bleu Astral holds on for the win!

Coralie Pacaut held on to win with Bleu Astral. Crossing the finish line first, by a short nose, ahead of  Magic Mystery who was finishing very strong. Coralie managed the ride very well taking advantage of an open rail to pick up ground on the backstretch, then gain and hold on the lead until the end.

This marks Bleu’s first win since his long layoff because of an injury in 2017, and a job well done by all of the team to bring him back to form. Special credit goes to Cat Ternynck and Kimara Hoste for helping him in his rehabilitation.

It was a very good year

Winners for Gina Rarick from the 2018 season.

Looking back

Time flies, and so it is the moment for a quick look back at the year that was 2018. We had 151 runners this past year, and 80 of them came home earning some money; Twelve of them won, and our total yard earnings topped 400,000 euros for the first time, finishing at 410,258. We never have more than 18 horses in training at any one time and started a total of 31 different horses. That makes those numbers something our team can be proud of. We had some sales-ring thrills this year, too, watching Ardara Belle top 200,000 euros in the Arc sale.

Looking ahead

In the 10 years that I’ve been a public trainer, the numbers have improved every year. We have every expectation that the trend will continue in 2019. We have some very interesting horses in the yard at the moment, and the search for even better performers never stops. But nothing can happen without our owners, and this is the moment to say a huge thank you for coming aboard and having the faith to stay aboard!

We are going to put every effort into making 2019 a truly spectacular year for our yard and our owners. As you all know, French racing is struggling and after next year there will be some serious questions about prize money and the situation going forward. So over the next year, let’s take all the money we can, and hope that France Galop can sort itself out so that next year when I’m writing my annual wrap, it won’t be an obituary for racing.

Heading south

We’re off to Cagnes-sur-Mer in two weeks to start the year with a bang, and after that, we have some very specific goals to reach. We need more winners and more black type next year. Stay tuned to see if we can make it happen!

July racing update

July was a very busy month at the yard. Avenue du Monde (Champs-Elysees) ran her final race, we attended the Tattersalls Horses in Training sales in Newmarket, two new horses entered the yard from claiming races – Never Compromise (Astronomer Royal) and Surewecan (Royal Applause) – and we ran the racing festival in Vichy.

Avenue du Monde’s last race

Avenue du Monde’s last race before becoming a broodmare was in Vichy on the 20th of the month, the last day of the festival. We were hoping that she would drop to the third division of the handicap that day but ended up in the second with Grey Sensation (Aussie Rules) and Gascon (Heliostatic).  Gascon proved to be the best of the three on the day finishing a good second while Grey picked up fourth and Avenue was just out of the money at sixth.  By then, we were running on a turf that was well worn from the week of racing and the heavy rain that fell the Monday before and again that day.

Ray Of Hope finds his form

Earlier in the month, we took Ray of Hope (Layman) back to Deauville and the fibersand and he ran much better than his previous outing at Longchamp. This time picking up second place, one of two that he would run this month.

Ray of Hope earing the yard its 19th second-place finish of the year in Deauville, the 31 July 2018.

Further notable runs included Gascon again, finishing fifth at Compiegne, Never Compromise was seventh in a Quinte handicap and Mr. Chuckles (Arcano) adding a seventh in the second division of that same Quinte handicap.

The Mickaëls – Forest, and Barzalona – did most of the riding except for Mr. Chuckles who was ridden by Delphine Santiago and Maxime Guyon who rode Gascon in Compiegne.

The best paying horse in July was Ray of Hope with his second place on 4 July, paying €9,90 for a one euro place bet.

The week that was…

We entered last week optimistic. We had some good chances at the track, the horses in the yard are in form, and Gina had just returned from a successful trip to Royal Ascot.

Things, however, started to unravel mid-week. Mr Chuckles – Arcano and Caribbean Escape (Pivotal) – who is in peak form, was entered in a handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, only to be eliminated from that race. A new entry was found for the following week, but that one started to look complicated for him, so he will have to wait a few more weeks before running again.

Gina, hesitant to run at Longchamp for what are known problems with the track (unevenness of the ground that was not properly maintained during construction the last two years), decided to forge ahead there and so we went to France Galop’s Thursday night after-work meeting, Jeuxdi,  a nice play on French words and marketing effort that did actually succeed in getting a younger public to the racetrack, albeit most of them were nowhere near the racing and unaware that it was taking place.

Ray of Hope – Layman and Risque de Verglas (Verglas) – ran that night, his second race after more than a year off to repair a hind-leg fracture. The jockey who was supposed to ride, Mickael Forest, couldn’t make it because his flight was canceled. With much deliberation on the way to Longchamp, Gina reflected on her options of available jockeys. We weren’t sure that the rules of racing would allow the one she chose to ride, Mickaelle Michel, to take the ride. In the end, the stewards deliberated and she saddled up and did a fine job on such short notice.

Ray looked perfect, and seemed ready to race, but didn’t fire in the stretch. He will try again next week in Deauville on the surface that he prefers, fibersand.

Saturday we headed back to Longchamp to try and get our first results at the new ParisLongchamp, which reopened in April after two years of work to install new grandstands. This day we arrived with Eternal Gift – Layman and Get The Ring (Linamix) – who has won at Longchamp and Grey Sensation – Aussie Rules and Sensasse (Imperial Ballet). Eternal Gift was not the horse that we saw a couple of times earlier this year.  Gina had this to say the following day:

Eternal Gift has earned his retirement. I’ll never forget pulling him out of the box in Newmarket all those years ago (2012!) and what a stunning horse he was. He still is, but it’s now time for a second career. He’s won four races and placed 27 times in 65 races, and given many good memories to four different owners, particularly to Clément Rollin who has looked after him for nearly five years now. Ponito, as he’s known around here, will give someone many years of enjoyment to come. He retires with no health issues, four good legs and a kind heart. We’re looking for his next home, but we will take as much time as we need to find the right one!

Eternal Gift is available to a new home. You can see some photos of him in this gallery. Contact us for more information.

The second runner Saturday was the standard-bearer of the High Street Racing syndicate, Grey Sensation. Like Ray earlier in the week, we went into the race expecting good results, but this time with a cheering block as several High Street members showed up for the event.  

Grey looked every bit the part, but like Ray of Hope on Monday, simply didn’t fire in the stretch. Mickael Forest felt that the unevenness of the surface didn’t help so we’ll send him out again on a track that we know will suit him better.

We hope that we’ll have a winner at ParisLongchamp soon, but we’ll wait a while for the surface to get sorted out before returning to this track. We have other options.

So, what was supposed to be a good week for Ecurie Rarick, didn’t quite end up that way. But as the old saying goes, “That’s racing”.

 

Annex has the perfect answer

Réponse Exacte taking the Prix Mesnil le Roi in Maisons-Laffitte, June 16 2018.

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 wins by a nose!

Avenue du Monde won the Prix Wemyss Bight at the wire in St Cloud the 15 June, 2018 (Scoopdyga)

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.

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.

Continue reading “Labor pains”

The agony and the ecstasy of social media

So it seems this blog is all but dead. My fault. Facebook’s fault. I resisted, in the beginning. I hated the idea of Facebook (not least because that was what the New York Times called their personnel directory, which seemed insulting and…well, impersonal). But a few years ago I cracked. My excuse was that I needed to be on Facebook for marketing purposes, which turned out not to be wrong. Facebook has been a useful tool for that. It also has been a colossal time-wasting addiction, but I digress. And it has also eaten my blog.

Facebook, for better or worse, is an extremely quick and easy way for me to update anybody who cares or claims to care about all the comings and goings in the yard, the races, the results and just random tidbits (that would contribute to the time-wasting part). I have a pretty large following there, and I have been resorting to communicating that way instead of by blog, which some of you have actually noticed. To those of you who still check back here regularly, I apologize. And once again, I will try to do better. Meanwhile, if you’re not already signed on to Facebook, just do it. It’s really not so bad. And if you’re paranoid that signing up to Facebook will open your entire private life in every intimate detail to cyberspace, don’t be. Facebook only knows what you want it to know, so just don’t tell it anything. They don’t need to know your birthday, your address or anything else pertinent. You need an email address and a name. That’s pretty much it. Sign up, “friend” me (yes, Facebook has verbed the noun) and I’ll add you to the Gallop France group there and you’ll see everything that’s going on.

Right, so some of you are still resisting. For you guys (all five of you, so I hope you appreciate it!), here’s what’s going on in a nutshell: Hard Way has resisted retirement yet again, and ran a comeback race down in the country yesterday at the ripe old age of nine. He finished third of eight runners. I had hoped he would win, because to say the competition was weak would be the nicest thing you might say. But third still requalifies him for handicaps, and he probably needed the run after six months off. Despite rock-hard ground, he seems to have come back OK.

Gorki Park also ran his comeback race, finally, after nearly six months off, and he came 4th in a 20-runner handicap in Maisons-Laffitte. He looks like he should be just as useful this year as last. He’s grown up a bit and will stretch out in distance this year – if we can find him a decent race, which is easier said than done at the moment. King Driver, our other stable banker, is just back from a short break. He finished third at St. Cloud in mid-May, but chucked off his jockey (twice!) and ran loose for quite some time around the racecourse before he got down to work. That was him telling us as clear as he could that he was ready for a vacation, so he got one. He’s back in training as of tomorrow after having spent a month at the spa  – a stud just north of us that specializes in massages and has a great water-walker to keep the muscle tone while on vacation.

Melrand and Pahlavan also had short stays there, as did Risk Well Taken, an unraced two-year-old who went for two weeks after coming up with sore shins. Risks’s stay there was nothing short of miraculous – she came back nearly 20 kilos heavier and bulging with muscle. Our other unraced two-year-old, Impulsive American, was almost ready to debut when he picked up a virus of some sort, which will set us back a few weeks. Pahlavan and Ray of Hope also got it, but they all seem to be on the mend now.

Charitable Act has been retired; his iffy joints were getting the best of him so we decided to stop while he was still sound enough for pleasure riding. Greatest has also moved on to greener pastures, but is still racing and just finished 2nd for his new connections. We wish him well – I always thought he was a good horse, but we were persistently unlucky with him. Clearly, a change was in order!

La Mer seems finally on track after having just about every problem a growing horse can have. She is back galloping, and will hopefully run a maiden in Deauville in early July. Eternal Gift has finally come down in the handicap to a mark he should be able to win from, and he’ll get a try in Amiens on Saturday. Gut Instinct also should be able to win a small race soon, but she would be better on softer ground. She has some good entries coming up, though, so I’ll have to decide whether to brave the good ground or not.

That rounds up just about everyone, I think. And reading back, I see the other problem Facebook has caused. Since I no longer write much more than a sentence at a time, it seems I’m losing the knack. I’d better get back to it, or I won’t be able to write that novel I’ve been talking about for the past two decades!

Winner, winner!

I’ve waited years to finally get a winner at Longchamp, and this month we got two: Hard Way won his handicap two weeks ago, and Eternal Gift followed it up with a win last Saturday. Hard-working Deep Ocean was in the money again this past week, and King Driver ran a fantastic comeback after a year off to finish third. Grey Falcon dropped in a check, too, confirming that the yard is definitely in form.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. Hard Way followed exactly the same pattern as he did last year: After his comeback race out in the country, he was ready to tackle Paris and found his favorite jockey, Christophe Lemaire, who rode a perfect race to give me my first winner at Longchamp. It was a 3,100-meter handicap, and Hard Way aced it carrying top weight of 60 kilos. His efforts got him back into the Bloodhorse magazine in America, with his longtime fan John Gilmore doing the honors. The next day, Grey Falcon stepped up in class and distance when he ran second division of the Quinte handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, trying 2,400 meters for the first time. He nearly wired it, just getting caught at the post to finish second by a short head. He has been really unlucky not to win yet, but he’s knocking on the door and it should happen soon.

Eternal Gift finally stepped up his game at Longchamp last Saturday, winning a mile handicap by a neck. I knew he was progressing, and he certainly showed us that he preferred the good ground and galloping track of Longchamp to the muddy traffic circle he found in Amiens. It was his third race back after gelding, and I think he’s going to be a useful horse now. He picked up three kilos in the handicap ratings, which isn’t great, but he still has margin for progress.

We barely had time to get him off the truck Saturday night before we loaded up Deep Ocean, Gold Knight and Not Bad for a Boy for the trip down to Vichy and the week-long racing festival there. Deep Ocean finished fourth in the Quinte on Sunday (we were all sure it was third, but there was just the shadow of a nose in front of him), but Not Bad didn’t distinguish himself in his claimer. It was his first race back in a year, though, and he has been a bit sore in the back, so he deserves another chance or two. Gold Knight showed quite a bit of improvement in his claimer on Monday. He didn’t get up into the money yet, but he did give us hope that we’re on the right track.

The star of the week, though, was King Driver, who was coming back after year off almost to the day. He had some serious health problems last year, and I was never able to get him to his potential. He showed that those seem to be behind him now, though, running a strong third. It was a very easy field of 18, and he would have won if he had kept to the rail instead of coming out to the stands side. He is still very green, having run only six races in his life before Wednesday, and there was a good crowd at the track and it was a night meeting, so once he hit the front, he just looked at all the people rather than pay attention to racing. He has come back very well and is likely to run in Deauville in early August.

In between the racing, I went to the Newmarket sales, where we found an addition to the yard optimistically named Greatest. He is a four-year-old gelding by Anabaa out of a stakes-winning mare, and he seems to want soft ground to run his best. So we’ll build him up and get him ready for a fall campaign. A half share in him is available, so contact us if you’re interested.

Next up might be Hard Way and Grey Falcon on Thursday in Chantilly. I don’t particularly want to race them against each other, but they are in the second half of the Quinte handicap and there aren’t many runners declared, so it might be too good to pass up. In any case, I’m pretty sure Hard Way will go, but I’m still undecided about Grey Falcon, who might prefer softer ground. Hard Way is really a soft ground horse, too, but he doesn’t really care what he gallops on as long as he feels good and wants to run. Both will gallop tomorrow morning, and I’ll decide for sure then. All of the horses are struggling a bit with the heat, and storms are forecast for Tuesday, which might make the going a little easier.

After that, we’ll gear up for Deauville in August, although we’ll probably have fewer runners than in July. Competition is tough there, and unless we have very good entries, it makes more sense to wait until September. In any case, the horses will tell me what they want to do. All I have to do is listen.

Sunrise waits for a spot

Satwa Sunrise was eliminated from her race this past week so didn’t get a run, but she is certainly ready to race. She’s been working very well, and there’s been no sign of any respiratory distress that would indicate a bleeding problem. (Her previous trainer galloped her on Lasix, even though she couldn’t race on it – thankfully.) Her next entry will be Dec. 21, and we have a priority after being eliminated last time, so hopefully she will get a run. Only a race will really test whether conditioning trumps pharmaceuticals, as I believe it will.

It’s very tough to get into races in Deauville; there were 134 horses entered for Satwa’s race, and 96 start declared for 16 spots. This results in ridiculous “double” and “triple” priorities by the end of the meeting. I hope to race Surrey Storm next Saturday, but there are 71 entered. I have to hope for a lot of forfeits and that France Galop will add a second race.

Deep Ocean was supposed to run next Saturday, too, but he has come down with something and is out for the moment. He had a fever and was coughing this week; we have had a terrible year for viruses even though we have taken every precaution in disinfecting boxes and making sure every horse has their own tack. Vitamin C is helping, too, but it’s been very frustrating. I can take some solace in knowing I’m not alone; there are lots of horses coughing out there in the morning from various yards. I was hoping we had already had our share, and now Deep comes down with it (whatever “it” is – lab results are due back tomorrow).

The rest of the team seem fine, touch wood. Now it’s just a matter of finding the races we need.