Our spring season has been made considerably brighter by Deep Ocean’s untiring efforts and the revelation of Gorki Park, who has shown us he knows how to be a proper racehorse.
Deep ran 4th in the big handicap a week ago at Longchamp, showing he does have the ability to run competitively in tough company despite his heavy penalty in the handicap ratings. He may have another crack on May 18th over the 2,000-meter straight course here in Maisons-Laffitte, or he may wait a bit longer. At some point he’s likely to come off form a bit, because he’s been working hard and running great. The problem is he really can’t ever have much of a break, because he gets too fresh around the yard and turnout time isn’t an option given the state of his legs. He just has to keep training until he decides he doesn’t want to any more, and he seems quite far from that point. Horses with arthritis issues are like people – you can’t stop moving or you’ll stop permanently. In any case, he seems to be good spirits and happy to keep working, so we’ll keep working. His fourth place in the Tierce netted him another 6,690 euros and brought his career earnings to 105,000, making him our first horse to top 100,000 euros. (In all fairness, he already had 30,000 on the books when he came to me, so I can’t claim total credit.)
Gorki Park, meanwhile, confirmed his promising second place at Longchamp with a win at St. Cloud last Wednesday. He overcame a horrible draw and really gutted out the finish, because about 100 meters from home he looked like he might be beaten. But he fought to the wire with the second- and third-place finishers and managed to get his nose in front this time, beating a field of 19. The race was the second division of the Tierce, so he took home the winning prize of 15,000 plus the French-bred premium, taking the total purse to 24,600 euros. He came out of the race fine and I think he’ll probably do this again in the not too distance future. He picked up a 2.5 kilo penalty for the win, but I think he can still be successful off that mark.
The other horses are coming along, and we’ll have a few runners at the end of next week. Grey Falcon might test his wings again in Chantilly; he didn’t get off the ground last time out in Compiegne, but he’s a huge, late-developing horse and seemed to be going through a growth spurt (again!). He is improving steadily now and we should see something from him soon. Our new recruit Gold Knight is likely to have a go as well, and before long Eternal Gift will be back in action. His gelding went extremely well and he seems to have lost nothing (except some unnecessary bits).
Hard Way had a MRI scan last week to check on the status of his neck fracture. The news is mostly positive, in that the bones have healed in a way that will not compromise the spinal cord and all the fragments have fixed themselves in non-threatening places. He is having some arthritis in those vertabrae, though, and it remains to be seen how he handles training going forward. So far, it seems he definitely wants to race again (and soon, if he has anything to say about it), but we’ll have to wait until early June because he will be positive from the general anesthesia for five weeks.
And a bit of sad news on the home front: We lost our old basset hound, the Professor, last week to a combination of old age and heart failure. He was just shy of his 14th birthday, and he had a long and very good life. Coco the doberman is still not sure what to do with herself, since Prof was the head of the household and definitely told her what to do and when to do it. But she is adapting and I think we’ll be a one-dog house for the moment. We all do miss the crabby old man, though.