It’s been an interesting week here in Buffalo where the snowfall just keeps on coming so it’s been difficult to concentrate on the ponies whilst folks are stranded on the Thruway and our south towns friends are trying to dig out of this historic snow storm. But onward…..
If you missed last week’s Kreskin recap of my 2014 predictions, you can still checkout how I batted .500 this year and some of my reaches actually came through. We still have my 2015 predictions and the annual Festivus column to look forward to as we move towards December.
The biggest story since Bayern crossed the finish line first in Arcadia earlier in the month is the matchup on Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 29 in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. For the first time in recent memory, the Kentucky Derby winner will face the Queen’s Plate winner on the turf. Both California Chrome and Plate winner and filly Lexie Lou are both nominated to the $300,000 Grade I race over a 1 1/8-mile distance.
A win in the race could help push California Chrome over the hump for either 3-year-old divisional honors or Horse of the Year honors, which appears to be between Classic winner Bayern, Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf winner Main Sequence and Shared Belief. It would be tough to include the filly Untapable, who struggled when facing the boys in the Haskell, but she may garner some HOY votes.
The Mark Casse-trained Lexie Lou will be coming off an impressive win in the $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita to notch her seventh win in 15 starts.
While the biggest racing this weekend is the $1 million Delta Jackpot at the bullring known as Delta Downs in Louisiana, next weekend will prove to be a big one for the racing fan. Aqueduct will boast the Cigar Mile and Churchill Downs will feature the last Grade 1 route race on dirt of the year in the Clark Handicap.
Voting for the Eclipse Awards in many categories will be difficult based on the results at Santa Anita and in the older handicap division a number of horses defected late in the summer or retired causing the 3-year-old crop to take over. In the Classic alone the top six finishers were all sophomores.
One nice snow-related story here locally, was that Fort Erie Race Track stepped up and offered its barns to 16 thoroughbreds that were stopped at the border on their way to sunny Florida for the winter, but denied at the Peace Bridge of crossing due to the apocalyptic snowstorm we were experiencing. Fort Erie donated blankets and hay and a place to stay for the thoroughbreds that were already groomed and sheared for Florida’s warm weather before hitting the skids at the Peace Bridge. Big kudos to the folks across the border at the Fort.
Before we get back to shoveling and to show we still have a sense of humor during your typical national emergency here are some horses that fit in perfectly to this week’s activities around Western New York:
Snow (USA) (Resolute out of Minting mare Shapely) – This horse born in 1903 actually won three of his four career races. Love that his sire’s name is Resolute, just like the folks in WNY. Career winnings $3,690.
Snow Fairy (IRE) (Intikhab out of Charnwood Forest mare Woodland Dream) – Foaled in 2007, this mare has over £4 million in career earnings in 21 starts with nine wins, four coming in Group 1 races as a 3-year-old. Finished third in the Arc at age four. This one is a true champion.
Snow Treasure (USA) (Northern Dancer out of Hasty Road mare Impetuous Lady) – Foaled in 1978 and sired by one of the most famous race horses to come out of Canada, this one could only must $3,049 career winnings after being purchased in the Keeneland yearling sale for $530,000. Yikes. Remember Snow above won more than that in 1903!
White Beauty (USA) (Robyn Dancer out of Pass the Tab mare Bodhavista) – Born in 1995 and she was a warrior running 43 times, winning 11 races and pocketing over $357,000 in career winnings.
Blue Blizzard (USA) (Marino Marini out of In Excess mare Excessive Cindi) – Conceived in 2010 and raced on the west coast winning three of 14 starts and $59,000 of winnings. Unfortunately she was pulled up and vanned off in a race this past February at Golden Gate Fields.
Snow Storm (USA) (Concord Point out of Chapel Royal mare Wicked Cricket) – Born in 2012, this filly has yet to run, however its namesake has been hovering over the south towns for about three days now.
Honorable Mention – I did find a horse named Snow Blow (ARG) born in 1989 who never raced but had a grand sire named Snow Cat (sired by Arctic Prince) who was owned by H.M. The Queen. Snow Cat ran six times and won three times for Her Majesty.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.