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Look of Eagles - a Farm Diary

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  Quote given88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2019 at 9:44pm
Great stuff Todd, both on the horse and the GOT front
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  Quote mtk76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2019 at 4:34pm
Great line here:
Her Hand is on the worst losing streak since the 0-16 Detroit Lions

Some GOT comments from me:
1. I couldn't help thinking if Hodor had saw how useless The Three Eyed Raven was in the whole effort he would have said hold your own f$cking door. Seriously the three eyed raven seemed useless and just an odd plot line.

2. Found it weird how the 2nd dragon goes down so easily to an errant harpoon yet a solo Dragon crushes everything. Were the tactic changes that great?, Danerys just over confident or the other dragon the runt of the litter?

3. I think Jon's loyalty can easily be explained he never really saw the dark side of the Breaker of Chains. Tyrion had no excuse at all though. His charterer really lost his way he is no longer witty and was better as a funny wh0re mongering dwarf.

4. Jamie's redemption arc was really odd and well what was it meant to say? Life is complicated and well change isn't likely?

My top 3 Game of Throne episodes of all time:
1. “The Rains of Castamere” - The Red Wedding enough said.

2. “Battle of the Bastards” - Best battle I have ever seen period. Not saying tactics just the action.

3. “Baelor”
Ned's head on a platter. Killing him off like that was gutsy and set the tone.

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  Quote shadyrest5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2019 at 6:49pm
INTERESTING! THANKS
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2019 at 2:01am

1. Man, I really hope they pay off the 3 eyed Raven stuff on Sunday. I confess, I never liked any of that and really lost interest in Bran after the hold the door episode, but it just seems like he should have some role to play.

2. From what I've read, it is because Daenerys was surprised and according to the D&D notes in Behind the Throne she "forgot" about Euron's fleet. Most of the tactical decisions in this season are so stupid even the worst General would never make them so it's really not worth breaking down how an aerial unit would never be surprised by a naval unit but whatever, sure, I guess. We all know why any of the dragons died was to cut down Dany's forces artificially. None of this holds up to scrutiny so we just have to accept it. I mean obviously the best strategy would have been when she first landed on Dragonstone is to send Drogon and burn down the Red Keep, the city surrenders and the war is over. Ultimately the problem they had was that Dany was playing in God Mode after crossing the Narrow Sea and there was no credible threat that could challenge her and make the viewer think she might lose. I don't know if that's a bad thing, I mean I would love to have another season of politics with Fire and Blood Dany on the throne and Jon doing his Hamlet act, with Sansa trying to plot against her.

3. Jon is another who needs a big last episode. If he becomes the Queenslayer, refuses the throne and goes north to play ranger I won't be thrilled. But, in 2019, if they put the white guy on the throne they are going to upset the woke crowd. I have no clue how I would end Jon's story and these questions really kind of illustrate why Martin can't finish the books. I just want Jon to do something heroic again.

4. Almost every woman I know is crushed by the Jaime arc. Jaime's circular arc is maybe foreshadowing to the dark ending coming for the series? Maybe it doesn't matter who is in power, people just suck and always make decisions that benefit their base interests.

I hate the Lannisters so 1 and 3 aren't in my episode list. In fact, I won't rewatch either of those! I take comfort that Eddard and Robb were avenged. I can't believe there is only one episode left. My final survival speculation:

Daenerys - 75% dead (set up to be 'punished' for 'going mad')
Tyrion - 90% dead (I mean, I don't know how he survives betraying D, and if you break down his entire stupid plan what was it? Like best case scenario, what does he achieve? Cersei and Jaime escape - is there any way D lets him live for doing that? After she already thinks he has been working the Lannisters and I'm not saying he was but he certainly had divided loyalties)
Jon - 25% dead (I have him on the opposite end of Dany, if Dany burns or kills Jon and ends up the ruler. I don't see anyway both of them live)
Sansa/Arya 0% dead (I don't see how Arya dies after surviving all that last episode. Who would kill Sansa unless Dany flys north and burns Winterfell?).

I don't think we care about anyone else at this point. Drogon maybe? Does Arya kill Drogon? Bronn? Drogon can't live if Dany is dead (not sure they can kill Dany with Drogon alive). Dany's death is going to be really hard on me and remember I started this season firmly on Team Sansa. I felt Sansa was the only one dying who would affect me at this stage. That's why I say this was great storytelling because I'm really invested in the Dragon Queens fate and am clinging to hope that they somehow, someway work this thing out.   
      
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  Quote mtk76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2019 at 1:06pm
Perhaps the dragon senses the bloodline and even he follows Jon after D's death...
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 6:07pm
Stormborn

A game I enjoy playing is Crusader Kings II. The part of the game which I most enjoy is that you cannot "win" the game. It is a Medieval simulation where you play the role of a dynastic family, either a Count, Duke or King. The most challenging part gameplay is trying to take a Count to the Throne. I'm sure this concept sounds familiar under the backdrop of Game of Thrones. Here is the thing though, your families fortunes are only as good as the position your ruling noble holds. Even as a King, should you die, your entire family could fall apart if you don't have a clearly defined path of succession. One of the most important aspects of the game is having children, finding good wives for your sons and making advantageous alliances with your daughters. Bloodlines are everything. You come to learn about Medival laws of succession such as Agnatic-Cognatic or Absolute Cognatic. These will become more important in the SPOILER Game of Thrones section below. What is pertinent for horse racing is the bloodlines we build and carry on in the SIM. These will have a lasting and tangible effect on future results. They build your SIM dynasty.

Storm Cat has long been a stallion around who I have built my bloodlines around. When he was active, I considered him the prize breeding to acquire. I built a band of Storm Cat mares hoping some would become foundation mares. None ever had the success of Mother of Dragons but each started having daughters of their own and they had runners and today they came to the forefront bringing me a G1 victory, a G3 victory, a victory in the URC Preakness and a 2nd place finish in the Irish 1000 Guineas. I know, that's three G1 wins this seasons, and you read these pages that doesn't happen to me! But let's put that tremendous run of success aside and look at the bloodlines. Storm Cat is the DDS of all 4 runners, Galapogos, Mariella, Murmaider and Deckon Thar.

Galapogos, who won the G1 Golden Goose Sprint, is out of the More than Ready mare Summertyme Sadness who is the daughter of Octobriana. Octobriana is a Storm Cat x Machiavellian x Deputy Minister. She was an open stakes winner earning $244K. Octobriana herself has only produced one stakes winner, the sprinter Hannity. However, she did a $500K earner out of Tizway and Summertyme Sadness herself made over $250K so she has had some success as a broodmare but never has even had a runner get a graded placing before. Summertyme Sadness was her first runner and Galapogos is the first runner from her. The City Zip son was bred for pure speed and the combination of City Zip x More Than Ready x Storm Cat is three degrees of fast. I used Highland Reel with Summertyme last year and he is decent but still maiden after 5 starts. However, after seeing that Galapogos didn't get good until he was 4 and knowing Highland Reel likely will produce older runners I'll put him on the shelf until fall now. Summertyme Sadness presents me with two options - trying and match her speed with a strong stamina influence or go all speed. I'll likely alternate between years seeing which ends up being more successful. You may note that this is my second City Zip G1 winner this year. He really gave something to remember in his last class.   

Mariella, a 3yo filly, won the G3 mile long Leopard Stakes. She is a daughter of War Front bred to the Lemon Drop Kid mare Velvet Velour. Velvet was graded-placed but never a stakes winner although she did make over $400K. She is a daughter of the Storm Cat mare Diablerie, who was a contemporary of Mother of Dragons facing her on the track a time or two. I really liked Diablerie and raced her a staggering 56 times. That number, for a blue blood horse like her, may seem astonishing in the modern SIM. Diablerie made $918K and like Octobriana she has been more steady than spectacular getting one millionaire in Bjorn Ironside and Velvet who were her two most successful runners. Like Summertyme Sadness, Velvet's first runner is a graded winner. There is hope that both Octobriana and Diablerie have now passed along daughters who will be successful broodmares.

Murmaider, who has run 2nd in the German and Irish 1000 Guineas this classic season, is from the Galileo mare Dei Gratia who is the sole progeny of the Storm Cat he-mare Deus Vult. Deus Vult was actually named after the first Crusader Kings game as this was the war cry of the Crusaders and appears in game when a crusade is called. Deus Vult was a graded-placed stakes winner of over $500K. Galileo didn't do much with the AEI here as Dei Gratia was worst than Deus Vult, but she too produced a graded winner in her first offspring the G2 winner Nobiscum Deus by Dubawi. He went on to become a millionaire and Murmaider's who has three open stakes wins to go with her classic placings, has over $500K in earnings. Unfortunately, I used star sprinter Harry Angel with Dei Gratia this season and the runner debuted badly. Needless to say, I likely won't be giving Harry Angel another shot. I am really proud of Murmaider, she has been on the board in 9 of 10 career starts and gave me a thrill in two classic races. An excellent 3yo season for the daughter of Constitution.    

Lastly, we have Deckon Thar who won my first URC Triple Crown race. A big, gray son of Arrogate, he is from the Mineshaft mare Imperator Furiosa who is the daughter of Storm Cat mare Selina Kyle. Furiosa wasn't great as a runner winning only 3 of 20 races. Deckon Thar is her first runner. Selina Kyle wasn't good either also only winning 3 of 20 races. Deckon Thar has already equaled the 3 wins of his mother and grandmother. Selina Kyle has produced one stakes winner, Succubus Barbie (by Malibu Moon) and she, in turn, is a serious black-type producer herself producing stakes winner Space Barbie and 3yo stakes-placed runner Malibu Barbie. Selina looks as if she has passed on at least two daughters who can produce quality runners and she has several daughters yet to be bred (Selina's first five runners were all fillies) including Blake Lively who is set to be paired with City Zip this year. Often the work you put into a pedigree doesn't pay off in the first generation, and as we saw here when you select a champion stallion you can find your investment paying off a couple of generations down the line.

Now we come back to bloodlines in Game of Thrones. Remember when I said Tyrion was on the worst losing streak since the winless Lions? Well, he kept those losses coming with his last "plan" in the show. I'll cut Tyrion a little slack because I don't think D&D ever really knew what "breaking the wheel" meant. It probably meant different things in different seasons or maybe it was just something cool they had Dany say back when she first met Tyrion and then later tried to define it but never really could. It certainly is not what Tyrion suggested because what Tyrion threw out to the remaining Lords and Ladies of Westeros was about the dumbest pull it out of your rear idea you could imagine. The whole reason Monarchies have lines of succession is to avoid exactly what Tyrion said the Six Kingdoms should adopt. He literally threw out an idea that Dark Age Petty Kings knew was stupid. With a line of succession, the realm does not go into chaos when the King dies because you know who is the heir. Kingdoms fall apart when you have no heir as all the nobles try to put their own candidate on the thrown. This is literally what happened in the War of the Roses which Martin based his backstory on. Myth is full of the dying King which leads to the dying land, this is the entire story of Morte d'Arthur. The land suffers when there is no King. It is 100% certain that Westeros will fall into chaos again after Bran dies. This was not breaking the wheel, this was another in a long line of stupid decisions that any student of tactics or history would see a mile away they writers forced upon Tyrion.

I can't talk about Daenerys right now. It is too emotional. Too heartbreaking. Let me get this straight, Jaime Lannister crossed an entire continent, killed an eye-liner pirate, took two swords into the kidneys, and entered a dying castle to be with the woman he loved. But Jon has a 10-minute conversation and decides to stab his love in the heart? Frack you, Jon. I can't imagine how it must feel for women in their 20s who grew up with Daenerys as a hero and role model to see her murdered by her boyfriend. What an awful, incredible betrayal. Beyond that, a banner day for the Starks who pulled off a landslide election getting:

1. The Queen in the North
2. The King of the Six Kingdoms
3. The King Beyond the Wall
4. The Admiral of the Ocean Sea

I didn't realize Arya always had this life long love for the ocean she developed at landlocked Winterfell, but sure. I mean, she couldn't have played explorer for 4 months out of the year and still been married to Gendry? The end of the show does set up a plethora of sequels: Arya - The Legendary Journeys, Sansa and Robert - The Winterfell Years and of course the Prince That Was Promised. Look, I hate Jon right now, but for those saying what did it even matter if he was a Targaryen or what about the Azor Ahai prophecy - that can all still come, from Jon's son. At the end of the series, Jon clearly is ignoring his sentence to the Night's Watch and leading "his" people (who love him remember Tormund boasting in Winterfell after the battle with the Night King) to the true north. This is not unlike Dany leading her small khalasar into the desert following Drogo's death. Drogon survived and flew off, he clearly knows Jon has Targaryen blood and will come to seek him out someday. As I noted above, Westeros is going to fall into chaos again after Bran dies, so if we say Bran is in his early twenties, that gives them a wide range of years to work with. He could die young because of his injury or he could live for a while to accommodate the heroes journey of Jon's future son (Rhaegar I assume). Jon can easily find a fierce warrior princess type in the North, like a Ygritte version of Drogo and with that Rhaegar is born with Drogon to help give him what was stolen from him, with fire and blood - and so the wheel turns on and on....
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2019 at 8:46pm
On the Origin of Species

Today I am going to talk extensively about mare selection, what we can control and how our choices affect our future success. But first I want to mention two horses who had particularly exciting results recently. First is Raze Redeye who ran 2nd in the Japanese Derby picking up an enormous paycheck while posting a 109 SP, which I believe is the fastest I've had a 3yo run this year. I was fairly aggressive in the classic season this year really taking to heart the adage that these will be the easiest G1 races your horse will ever run in. My runners shipped across Europe and Asia and could be found competing with vigor. I must say, I really enjoyed the 3yo classic season in 2019. Raze, who is an Adlerfulg, came back a bit tired after the race and I can see why after running that huge number. Hopefully, he'll be back for the French Grand Prix. Secondly, I got a throwback performance from Briseis who picked up her 10th win and the purse money gave her #1,365,699 in career earnings. While that number may not mean anything to you, it is highly significant for Briseis because it moves her into my top 10 of all time earners. In fact, she now sits right next another famous filly of mine, Bush Wins Again. This had the potential to be the last race for Briseis who I am itching to breed to Justify, but her 108 SP and the fact that she led by 6 on the lead at one point in the race has me thinking she wants to go after BWA (who has $1.41M). I don't know, she would need another two allowance wins to get there which seems like a lot at this stage - Briseis has 26 starts and while BWA had over 40 you have to get things done a lot more efficiently in today's SIM. We'll see how things go, all I know is that it was so much fun to see her running in top form, really brought back memories of her glorious 3yo season.

Now let's tackle a topic that has immediate relevance to your success on the track - choosing which mares to build your future dynasty upon. First, and excuse the obvious if you already have a broodmare band, you need to breed, buy, or claim some broodmares. Broodmares drastically reduce the cost it takes to produce horses and it allows you to have some consistency in what you may expect from a new runner. I cannot stress enough how much having broodmares increases your chances of success. There is also the added benefit of seeing your bloodlines develop and prosper. For me, there are few things more satisfying than getting stakes winners from mares who were stakes winners. Alright, I know I need broodmares Todd, but how do you know what mares to invest in? Here are five guidelines for your consideration.

1. Established stallions are always preferable to new sires - Stallions like Galileo, Tapit, and War Front are sure things. They are never going to be downgraded or lose value. These sires have reached the pinnacle in the SIM rankings and their value will only go up in your broodmare band. They are like holding Amazon stock. Conversely, new sires represent a tremendous risk. None of us have any idea how American Pharoah, Justify, Gun Runner, City of Light, Golden Horn and so on are going to turn out at stud. I've lived through many high-value stallions who turned into complete credit/BP sinks such as Afleet Alex, Rock Hard Ten, Smarty Jones, Point Given, Fusaichi Pegasus, Henrythenavigator and so on. These mares now have comparatively little value and I would imagine they are rarely used in large broodmare bands today.    

2. Emerging Stallion speculation can pay large dividends I understand that it isn't feasible for the average SIM player to just go out and breed Galileo and Tapits. Fortunately, for the smart breeder, there are emerging stallions who will make excellent broodmare investments who you can pick up for half the price. I'm talking about sires like Quality Road and Snitzel who you can still get for relatively cheap. They are proven as top end sires, even if the SIM hasn't caught up with them yet it will in the future. There are proven and emerging stallions from 100-500 cost points that fit this bill. Here is where you should be making your largest investments.

3. He-Mares are your friend With the introduction of gelding this has become more difficult cutting down the available pool and forcing the breeder into taking more risks. Still, there are horses out there. You don't need me to tell you that it's near impossible to get a Curlin mare. They won't show up in claims and if one goes to auction it will cost $5 million. However, you can find Curlin runners. He-mares you can only use once, but if you get a filly in the breeding you have picked up a broodmare. It's unlikely you'll find stakes-winning Curlins but you can find allowance winners who have been regulated to claims. Now, you'll have to bite the bullet and pay the 400 fee but the payoff can still be significant. If going this route, I'd look for runners who had previously put up high SP times. If a good pedigree horse has run a 110+ previously he may be worth you taking a chance on. Eventually, you'll move away from this type of breeding or phase them out immediately but they can be an enormous kick start for your breeding operation.

4. Is the Juice worth the squeeze? When you have your carefully bred, bought, and stolen mares you'll quickly find that some produce and some don't. Therein lies the dilemma facing all breeders, how long do you stick with a mare? This is an art not a science and personal preference will play a large role in your decision. Ultimately, only you will be able to know when to cut off a mare and send her to the hidden zone. If a mare has produced 4 straight claimers, guess what her 5th is likely going to be? Now, if you don't care about getting claimers then that won't bother you and in fact, one really successful strategy is using free E level sire cards to use with mares costing you nothing but likely producing a lot of BPs since the mare has a strong back end even if the sire does not. Maybe you even have a mix, mares who receive a certain grade of sires who you are trying to get stakes horses from and mares who are BP producers. Which brings me to the final point...

5. I have too many mares! Eventually you'll have too many mares that you can never possibly use in a given breeding season. Since right now there exists no way to sell or trade your retired broodmares they just continue to accumulate, year after year and since none of them die they will stick around until they are 20 years old. Some mares will become foundation blue hen darlings who will establish dynasties within your ranks that you'll be incredibly proud of - these will be easy to use each season. However, getting to others can start to feel like a chore, an obligation, a..gasp...job even. When that starts happening you can get burned out. This is why it becomes important to develop goals and projects around your mares that are really only limited by your imagination. Right now in Dan's Derby pursuit project he has a specific type of mare he is using. I'm am trying certain mares to merge prominent Euro and American bloodlines. The possibilities are endless. They are your mares, do something creative!



Edited by waremblem5 - 03 Jun 2019 at 8:47pm
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jun 2019 at 9:21pm
Participation Trophies

Today I'm going to hand out some participation trophies to the 12 worst 2yo debuts that I've had in 2019. This will likely be the only trophies these horses will ever win, so let's enjoy their moment in bold typed mediocrity. In cases of ties, I have broken the deadlock based on sire power - the better the sire, the more was expected and therefore the lower you rank on the list.

12. Thistletwit - 56. I visited More Than Ready way back when he was at Vinery (which no longer exists). They went the whole nine yards with him when showing him for me with his mane in braids and everything. I've always had an affinity for him and try and throw his sons some support as well. Tom's Ready, the sire of Thistletwit, showed up on the Derby Trail in 2016 and he went on to earn over $1 million. He also has something of a sire pedigree with his dam side being Broad Brush x Deputy Minister. Well, breeders didn't take to him in Kentucky and he's already in Lousiana. I bred him to the stakes-winning mare Maleficent (hence the name Thistletwit) who is a Corinthian with a major backend (Danzig x Seeking the Gold). Maybe not the most blue-blooded combination but with an LA tag some modest expectations. The filly debuted with a 56 on the dirt and then followed that up with a 56 on the turf. She may linger around because those low scores were good enough for a 4th and 2nd which really does highlight the benefits of state restricted racing.

11. Primavesi - 56. I've never used Klimt before, but after last year's magnificent season I started looking at what Quality Road had out there in way of stallions. Klimt won two graded races at Del Mar as a 2yo, including the G1 Del Mar Futurity. His pedigree is the sort that makes me pay attention, Dixie Union over Storm Cat Yum) over Broad Brush. I gave him a pairing with a Bernardini x Danzig mare and didn't find any success. The mare has now failed with him, Uncle Mo and Speightstown so her future doesn't look good. Followed the 56 up with a 57 on the turf so this filly looks bad, will get a route and then, pending results retirement.

10. Los Cabos - 56. I've had some success with Chitu in the SIM, he is one of the Florida sires that can get a runner. That wasn't the case with this filly ran 11th in her debut. She is from an Elusive Quality mare who hasn't had A list chances with Kantharos and The Factor but they aren't exactly bums either. This likely 0-3 beginning crosses herself out from future covers. Haven't raced Los Cabos since her debut, she's at the farm hoping for a miracle in speed infusion.

9. Chanel Classic- 55. You've heard me talk about Not This Time is a value sire worth using before. That didn't turn out to be the case here. I paired him with a mare who had her first runner last year the Curlin x More Than Ready mare getting a big Pioneerof the Nile breeding. The offspring ran good times but kept losing. No times worth writing about here as the 55 was followed up with a 59 on the turf. Mare has Danehill as her DDS, so I may try a turf stallion next year despite being a Curlin.

8. Aerwyna-55. The first major disappointment on this list, Aerwyna is by US Navy Flag from the SW Sebring mare Dark Willow. Dark Willow has produced G2 winner Fleur de Mal (War Front) and a good allowance horse by Deep Field. As a son of War Front, I expected US Navy Flag to at least do something but this debut leaves him a ton of work to do going forward. Dark Willow is a graded producer and an outcross (Dynaformer underneath) so she'll see plenty of covers in the future but US Navy Flag is in the doghouse from which he won't recover anytime soon.

7. Vaux le Vicomte-55. If you ever find yourself in Paris and have time for a day trip you must visit Vaux le Vicomte. The Chateau served as the inspiration for Versailles and is spectacular in its own right. Nicolas Fouquet, who built Vaux Le Vicomte was arrested by King Louis - on paper for treasury misappropriation, in reality, because the King was jealous of the Chateau's grandeur. Louis hired the gardener and architect and thus was Versailles given form. My horses named after Vaux le Vicomte haven't fared much better than poor Fouquet. Vaux Vicomte, the mare, was a Golden Horn bred to a G1 winning Montjeu. She was only 1/8. This daughter of Snitzel took on all her mothers' bad traits and looks to be headed for an equally bad career. A lot of below average fillies in 2019 I'm suddenly noticing... I can only hope distance improves her but I am already fearing the worse.

6. Rozalin-54. I gave this Havana Grey filly quite a chance with the Theatrical mare Demon Queen who had previously seen More Than Ready and Kingman. That More Than Ready mare went on to produce a G3 winner so this bloodline can get horses. The speedy little Havana Grey was unable to do much with his chance though as Rozalin seems destined for early retirement or claiming. In point of fact, she went into a 125K MC affair second time out and barely improved to a 57. She sits at the farm as I ponder her fate.

5. Laharl-54. Here is another failed pairing with a fast turf sprinter. Harry Angel is the culprit here and like US Navy Flag this puts him in the doghouse. He was paired with Dei Gratia, a Galileo x Storm Cat mare who has a G2 winner by Dubawi and is the dam of Murmaider who ran 2nd in the Irish 1000 Guineas this year. I can't believe this pairing didn't work out as I was almost certain it would produce a stakes-quality sprinter/miler. I wholly blame Harry Angel for this fiasco. Laharl did improve to a 60 second time out but that is so far from even average that this is almost a lost cause.

4. Sammamish-52. I sort of really liked the pedigree of Seattle Serenade and I certainly liked the WA state tag. I've never used him before and matched him up with big-time pedigree/moderate success More Than Ready mare (Nijinsky x Buckpasser backend). She mostly produces claimers (although she does have one stakes winner) so I wasn't expecting a ton. I got that 52 which at least can be worked with in WA races. Hoping to uncover a gem I'll get a grinder instead.

3. Raconteuse-51. Like Gretchen Weiner in Mean Girls trying to make Fetch happen, I have sort of dabbled in building a turf empire in Florida restricted races. Rainbow Heir seemed a likely candidate to use in these goals. She's at the farm considering how much work she has to do after the 51 debut. Midnight Lute mare asks me, why oh why did this get hung on me?

2. Sheboygan-51. Sioux Nation, the sire of this filly, has a great name and is a son of Scat Daddy. Neither of that helped here and this Cape Cross x Dynaformer mare won't be improved much here. I mean I had to use Sioux Nation because of the name and I feel Scat Daddy has SIM juju so I don't regret the breeding, only the result. Mare, who is a scratch bred (Blushing Groom the DDS) had first runner last year by Churchill who hasn't won yet. Looks like a dead end bloodline.

1. Hawespiper-50. Congrats to Hawespiper for the lowest debut SP in 2019!This colt finished dead last in his debut with that barely out of the 40s time. This officially ends my Jess's Dream support. I believe I used the son of Rachel Alexandra 4 or 5 times over the last two years with very little to show for it. Adding insult to injury is that Hawespiper is from my mare Bloodflowers who was one of my personal favorite runners. And look, maybe Bloodflowers hasn't been great because she is a Posse and even though she was a graded winner and a millionaire and has a Storm Cat x Mr. Prospector backend she just might never be a good broodmare. But I'm trying to get her to be above average at least and a 50 debut isn't getting it done. Well, at least she produced an award winner of sorts here.

Finally, before signing off, I'd like to give a nod to one horse who some actual success through perseverance and patience. Cthulhu Dreaming got his first stakes win in a CA 2-mile race. The 5yo son of Unusual Heat twice survived $40K Maiden Claimers to carve out an impressive career for himself. He's made it to $375K in career earnings and hasn't finished worse than 4th in two years. Consistent, sound and gritty, I'm happy he earned a trip to the winner's circle in a black type race.
Author of The Third Bride and Bloodflowers, Breeder of Horses, Painter of Miniature Armies
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2019 at 10:07pm
Fireworks

I've always felt that one of the most clever things a musician can do is record a song with a holiday tie-in. If the song is any good, it will achieve semi-immortality for the artist as the tune will be played on that holiday for decades. For example, every 4th of July Party in the USA will remind Americans of Miley Cyrus. Party in the USA will be in the rotation for countless Independence Day mixes, cookouts, and playlists. Even if you claim to hate Miley (the horror!), you will inevitably find yourself mouthing to words to heyyya its a party in the U.S.A. (Before we leave Miley, has everyone seen her episode in the new season of Black Mirror? I've always said Miley has extraordinary comedic chops and here she gets to display both those and some dramatic acting. Highly recommended.) Sometimes there are events in SIM racing that produce a similar effect on a trainers memory. Ragnarokkr achieved that this past weekend for me when he won the Eclipsed Stakes, his second straight G1 victory.

A SIM version of the Coral-Eclipse (contested this week and featuring the famous Enable) the prestigious race in real life has been won by such formidable racehorses as Sea the Stars, Giant's Causeway, and Golden Horn. A strong field consisting of 4 other G1 winners, Zeus, riding Ragnarokkr for the third straight race, took the son of City Zip back biding his time before unleashing his customary closing rally. Making up a prodigious amount of lengths in the final 200 meters, Ragnarokkr crossed the finish line in 2:00 1/2 taking the lion's share of the $1.5M purse. Those earnings elevated his career total just over $1.5 million as well which thrust him into my top 10 earners. Beyond that, Ragnarokkr firmly solidified himself as my best horse in training and has set himself up for a potentially magical 2019.

Ragnarokkr has become a G1 turf horse from a pedigree that wouldn't normally show up at Royal Ascot. He is from the Curlin x Rahy stakes-winning he-mare Twilight. Rahy has clearly imprinted a turf proclivity on him much the way he did on Giant's Causeway. City Zip became an all-around dual surface sire in the SIM. I looked at all the City Zip graded winners from his viewable winners:

Turf Long - 9
Turf Sprint - 2
Dirt Long - 6
Dirt Sprint - 11

City Zip had 11 Turf graded winners and 17 dirt. 15 routers and 13 sprinters. Quite versatile and really capable of getting any type of horse. City Zip's last 3 classes in the SIM were elite, among the best in the game. He produced winners at a 92% rate 18% stakes-winners and 6% graded. Two classes average over 70 stakes-winners and his last class likely will get near that number or surpass it (there were 265 runners in his last class). City Zip was going for mid-300s in his final 2yo class as his elevation to elite status wasn't widely seen. There are always major values out there in the breeding trenches. Unfortunately, City Zip appears not to have left a stallion behind unless Improbable really turns his career around (and then succeeds at stud...so yes, a longshot).

The Third Bride also had a run of note finishing second in the G1 Priceless which should set her up well for a solid chance at Saratoga this August. A nod must be given to Dan at this stage, The Third Bride being out of his HoF mare Mother of Dragons and I have attempted to mirror a training pattern with Ragnarokkr that he used with Spiced Turtle. There is a wealth of past experience and information to draw upon that may or may not improve your own horses' chances. Hockey assist from Claude Giroux here.

Is Extended Rest random?

One area where I haven't been able to discern much of a pattern is when a horse comes back tired. I wonder if it is a random event? I've pulled on claimers before after running them every 2-3 weeks for an extended period of time but sometimes I get examples like I did this week from Iron Duke. He ran 7/16/18 then was off until 10/6/18, ran 11/8/18 then off until 1/19/19, ran 3/27/19 and just ran 6/30/19. Clearly, too much racing wasn't the issue. Could be the distance, Iron Duke hasn't raced less than 13-furlongs since 8/15/17. Or, maybe it is random. Doesn't it often feel like the SIM is this vast unexplored wilderness? We may believe that we crack some of the code, but in reality, we are still wandering in the weeds like a Percy Fawcett looking for fabulous treasure.

Streaming

I've been watching the Women's World Cup and Alex Morgan and Team USA are one game away from hoisting the trophy. On Amazon, I've recently watched Good Omens (decent, funny, interesting twist on the theme, I like what I see from Adria Arjona) re-watched the first 8 Friday the 13ths (glory era is 3-5 with 4 being the best) and have been dabbling in The Lost World series as a guilty pleasure (I see you Jennifer O'Dell). On Netflix Dead to Me starts slow but builds and the final 3 episodes get really good. The new Confession Tapes are really engaging. From the CW, the new season of The 100 is going on. Finally, let's talk about Westworld. I didn't get into it when the show first came out, my thinking being I don't really want to see a robots in the West show. I recently watched the first two seasons and I have to say the show is borderline brilliant. It isn't what you thought it was and just when you think you understand where it is going the show reinvents itself. Key moments include a magnificent samurai movie breaking out mid-season and Evan Rachel Wood's character is sublime, terrifying, engaging and one of the great HBO protagonists. Highly recommended.

Happy 4th of July everyone!
Author of The Third Bride and Bloodflowers, Breeder of Horses, Painter of Miniature Armies
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  Quote waremblem5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 9:06pm
Allegory of the Cave

Today we are going to touch on the perfect form of what our SIM horses may be or have been. If you ever read Plato, you will be familiar with the allegory of the cave. For those who haven't broadly speaking, everything we see in the world is like shadows on the back of a cave wall. They are imperfect forms of the actual thing - so your spoon is a shadow form of the most perfect spoon. Everything has a perfect or ideal form. In horse breeding terms, Spiced Turtle is the perfect form of a Sebring. There will be no other Sebring as good as Spiced Turtle and every other Sebring is an imperfect form of him. When we as breeders put together a horse we may do for many reasons; it's fun! I'm drunk! I like the sire! I want to earn BPs! I want to win stakes! As always, our pleasure (or disappointment) is in relation to our expectations so having a horse be a (much) less imperfect form in our breeding we likely aren't too broken up. It is only in that last category (stakes!) where we get disappointed.

What happens when we fail, sometimes dramatically, in our quest for that ideal form? Are we the victims of mathematical probability? Did we miscalculate our own machination? Were there abilities present in the horse we were unable to bring out? I believe this is the question which most vexes the introspective trainers. I'm going to take a look at some of my own failures and reflect at what might have gone wrong.

We'll start with an average breeding that I feel had some chance of success. Practical Joke x Tapit x Honor Grades. Practical Joke is arguably the best son at stud of $150K sire Into Mischief, the Tapit is a G1 winner who is a bit of a conundrum producing 2 stakes-winners and 6 claimers. Now granted, the 6 claimers are a red flag and that may be what did in this horse who was retired after 3 starts. Efforts 56,58 and six months in MC 65.

Street Sense x AP Indy x Woodman - debut with a 65. I'm a bit discouraged with this effort. IRL Street Sense has several graded winners with Indy. Mare has one graded winner and 5 claimers. Hmmm. Again that claimer red flag. When do we stop using a mare that produces claimers? Should I go with 3 strikes and you're out method?

Camelot x Dubawi x Redoute's Choice - I really can't believe this didn't work. 59 debut. This is one of those where I am sort of stunned then annoyed after watching the race. I shake my head, tell the Chromebook, "Look that should have worked," and move on. Of course, sometimes our pairings do work and this is the time of year where we start bidding farewell to our veteran runners.

The end, beautiful friend, the end

You heard me speak many times in these pages about Charlevoix. She was an extremely good form of Toronado who won 15 races in her career hitting the board 30 times. Charlevoix was retired with $621,591 in earnings. She was bred to Deep Impact and produced an (unraced) colt named Shogun World. She'll be missed. In 2 1/2 years of racing, she only finished off the board twice at one point winning 11 of 12 races. It was a remarkable run of consistency and I always felt a quickening thrill when I saw her name listed in races to be viewed.

Always hard to say goodbye to a G1 winner, especially a classic winner, and that's what I did with Prince of Terror who was the 2017 French 2000 Guineas winner. Prince of Terror highlights something that is always perilous for trainers to determine - when is your horse in peak form? Sometimes, with horses as with life, we can always be looking ahead thinking that their career will start at some ambiguous point further down the road. What we don't realize is the best things will be are right now and we should be taking advantage of the opportunities. The Prince was elite from August of his 2yo year through May of his 3yo season. That isn't a lot of time but in that span he went from allowance winner to G2 winner, ran 3rd in the BC Juvy Turf and won his French classic. He finished with $1,109,685 in career earnings and was he-mare bred to Galileo. His one throw at the dartboard looks like it may have been true as his son, Terrordrome, won his debut with a 78 SP.

The Battle of the Golden Road

Here is my ranking of the top 5 battles in Game of Thrones:

1. Battle of the Golden Road - Only battle in the series where our loyalties are divided. We all want Dany to bring fire and blood to the Lannisters, except we really sort of like Jaime now and don't want him to die and don't kill Bronn either.

2. Hardholme - Amazing how a battle breaks out completely unexpectedly. Jon's swordplay is top-notch in this one and we fully realize what a threat the White Walkers are (even if they didn't turn out to be)

3. Battle of the Bastards - Best pure action sequence battle of the series. We see several tactics (or lack thereof by Mr. Snow) play out and the cinematography is A+. Ramsey could almost be looking at his carefully put together SIM horse implode when the Knights of Vale charge.

4. Battle of King's Landing - Unpopular opinion maybe but I loved it when Dany burned King's Landing to the ground. I felt it was glorious vengeance for all the smug Rains of Castemere gloating the Lannister engaged in for the decade we watched the series. Eddard, Robb, and Aegon all were avenged.

5 Battle of Blackwater - The original amazing spectacle and the fight that I feel truly elevated GoT to a new level.

Why do I bring all this up? Well, Dan and I engaged in the first of what might be several battles on the road to the Derby this weekend in the Sword of Light Stakes. We both were armed with Empire Maker sons, his Yggdrasil Tree and mine Draconomicon. Clearly, the naming process for both was full of pretentious grandeur. Each young colt brought out his best finishing 1-2 with Draconomicon prevailing while posting an 89 SP. The victory and strong time have me sending Draconomicon to the Del Mar Futurity where he will face more from Dan's army. By the way, if regardless of what happens in the Derby, the Derby Trail is certainly going through Dan's horses. His many 2yo stakes winners going after the black type calendar like the Hound seeking ale (or chickens). Should make for a thrilling and enjoyable road to the Derby.

A brief nod to Not This Time filly Diora Danger who picked her 2nd stakes win and rebounded nicely from her injury earlier this year.
Author of The Third Bride and Bloodflowers, Breeder of Horses, Painter of Miniature Armies
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