The time has flown by, and I’ve been reminded by more than a few people that this blog has been sadly neglected. So no more: giving in to popular demand (all five of you), I vow to do better. So a general update:
Hard Way the wonder horse will run in Maisons-Laffitte on Friday. I had wanted to take him to Craon on Saturday to run in the same race he won three years ago. It would have been a great story – he’s come back, the entry was good and I might have even tried to put up the same jockey we had then. The track down there is fantastic, and you can’t beat the atmosphere. It’s one of the few tracks in France where people show up and it’s a real event. I entered in Maisons-Laffitte just as a backup, but it turns out that the race here at home looks much, much easier than the one in Craon. It’s a tough decision, because Hard Way has only run twice in Maisons-Laffitte, and both of those attempts went badly. But we’ll give it a third try. If he doesn’t fire in this company, with his preferred jockey, Christophe Lemaire, aboard, we’ll definitely scratch the home track off our list.
Deep Ocean will tackle Longchamp on Saturday if he doesn’t get eliminated. I’m hoping, actually, for France Galop to open up a third division, which would be a good entry for him. As it stands, he might just make the cut and get into the second division of the handicap, and he won’t have much chance there. He is coming off a seventh place in Lyon in a race I had hoped to win. We didn’t get a good trip that day, so I’m hoping for better luck closer to home. Since the entry is questionable, we’ll change jockeys this time, which is probably a good thing. He’s become quite coltish, and he needs a strong hand to remind him what his job is.
Milly (Surrey Storm) ran a clunker last week in Strasbourg, also a race in which I thought we had a good chance. A few things went wrong: First off, Strasbourg is really (expletive deleted) far away and I don’t recommend trying to drive there. Ever. The only way to get there is by crossing Paris, which in our case took two hours – coming and going. Second, our jockey fell in the first race and broke his wrist, so we had to make a last-minute change. Third, the ground was actually quite hard, rather than soft as listed, and fourth, she has just started to go in her coat, and fillies often fall off form just a bit when that happens. I don’t think she’s over the top for the year, because she is working well at home, so we’ll definitely try to get another win in before she goes to the breeding stock sale in December.
Magical Flower is coming back into form nicely after her very long lay-off with a broken foot. She is almost ready to go, and I hope to race her on Oct. 1 or 2. King Driver is on the easy list for the moment; he was supposed to race last week in Fontainebleau but spiked a high fever two nights before the race. We’re still not 100 percent sure what is happening, but it seems to be an intestinal infection, which could be quite serious. For now, he is responding well to antibiotics and he has just started back in light work. Fingers crossed we can put this behind us soon.
Our new recruits Gorki Park, Grey Falcon and Lilac Lane (well, we’re not sure that’s her name yet, but we think it might be) are working well. Gorki is probably the closest to a race. The Falcon still has some weight to lose and he’s a huge beast that is still growing, so he’ll take a little more time. Lilac went through her growing pains earlier and now seems on track and is cantering regularly. Hopefully she won’t be far behind Gorki. All three of them will have a date soon with the starting gate, which promises to be an eventful morning.
So much for catching up…