Monday, April 30, 2012

It is amazing how the circle of life works.

Barbaro's father, Dynaformer, died yesterday, on what would have been Barbaro's 9th birthday. Dynaformer had suffered a heart incident, which turned out to have been a ruptured aortic valve on April 14, while in his stall. He was 27.

Amazingly, he recovered from the episode enough to have been turned out in his paddock each day following the event, but, as Dr. Jim Morehead, the resident veterinarian at Three Chimneys put it: "Dynaformer told us when it was his time to go. Amazingly, he had been comfortable after his initial crisis on April 14 and had been able to go to his paddock daily. A normal horse would not have survived his initial cardiac episode. He did everything on his terms, including deciding when he'd had enough.”

“Dynaformer impacted the industry in a way that few ever have or will," said Three Chimneys president Case Clay. “More than that, though, he was an awe-inspiring horse to be around. He commanded respect and his toughness was undeniable to the very end. He reminded me a lot of Seattle Slew in that when you were around him, you knew you were in the presence of greatness.”

Commanding and ornery, Dynaformer was a stallion that passed on his statuesque size and desire to win to most of his offspring, including all of Barbaro's brothers. He ranks in the top .5% of all sires by average earnings per starter and he is the sire of 130 stakes winners, including 61 graded winners: 25 grade 1 winners and 18 millionaires. To say that he has left his mark on racing is an understatement.

There will be a memorial service at 12:30 on May 4 in the stallion cemetery at Three Chimneys.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beach Rescue

It's a tough video to watch but it should be made easier by the knowledge that all these dolphins who washed up on a beach in Brazil were rescued by beachgoers and returned safely to the sea. Bravo!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Deja Vu

Deja vu all over again.

Union Rags, above, trained by Michael Matz, has arrived at Churchill Downs to begin Derby preparations. He can be found in Barn 42, stall 10, the same stall Barbaro occupied when he won the Derby in 2006. Matz was also Barbaro's trainer.

“He’s in the same barn and same stall as Barbaro was six years ago,” said Matz. “He’s even got the same groom, Eduardo Hernandez, Barbaro had when he won the Derby.”

Another Derby hopeful, Went the Day Well arrived at Churchill about a half hour before Union Rags. Went the Day Well can be found in the stall of last year's Derby winner, Animal Kingdom. Went the Day Well is also trained by Graham Motion.

And who says horsemen are not superstitious?!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Both Brothers in Same Race

Your eyes are not deceiving you: Nicanor and Lentenor are both entered in the same race at Pimlico on Saturday but only one will run. Which one: Lenny at post position 2. Nicky at 11 is also eligible and both are entered to make sure one got in. Note the same jockeys named on both, a dead give away that one will be scratched.

Race 10, with post time at 5:24, probably on HRTV if you get it. A mile on the turf so lets hope for dry weather, which is not in the forecast at the moment.

Safe travels to all.


Henry S. Clark S.

Purse $75,000. (Includes $25,000 – MBF - Maryland Bred Fund). For Three-Year-Olds And Upward. By subscription of $100, $250 to pass the entry box. $250 additional to start with $50,000 Guaranteed, (plus $25,000 for Registered Maryland Breds) of which 60% to the winner, 20% to second, 10% to third, 6% to fourth, 3% to fifth and 1% to sixth. Unearned guaranteed purse money is split between the horses that start and finish the race. Weights: Three-Year-Olds, 120 Lbs.; Older, 124 Lbs. Non-winners of a Sweepstakes in 2012 allowed, 2 Lbs.; $50,000 in 2012, 4 Lbs.; $40,000 in 2012 allowed, 6 Lbs. (Maiden, Claiming and Starter races not considered in estimating allowances). Preference to starters with highest career earnings in 2011-12 on the Turf. Horses may be placed on the also-eligible list. Trophy to the owner of the winner. Nominations closed Wednesday April 18, 2012 with 39 nominations. (If deemed inadvisable by management to run this race on the Turf course, it will be run on the main track at One Mile and One Sixteenth) . One Mile. (Turf) (Rail at 20 Feet)
P# PP Horse Virtual
Stable A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 El Commodore (KY) 5/G LA D Centeno 118 G A Griffith 10/1
2 2 Lentenor (KY) 5/H LA L Garcia 118 L Delacour 8/1
3 3 Concealed Identity (MD) 4/G LA S Russell 118 L S Gaudet 5/1
4 4 Hudson Steele (KY) 5/G LA C P DeCarlo 118 T A Pletcher 5/2
5 5 Kingofthebluegrass (KY) 5/H LA J Pimentel 118 M J Trombetta 20/1
6 6 Monument Hill (MD) 6/G LA J Rocco, Jr. 118 G Weaver 9/2
7 7 Paris Vegas (KY) 5/G L A Castellano, Jr. 118 T H Voss 30/1
8 8 Pocket Patch (PA) 7/G LA F Boyce 118 F W Stites 20/1
9 9 Sleepless Knight (KY) 6/H LA E Trujillo 118 K J Breen 8/1
10 10 Humble and Hungry (KY) 4/C LA H Karamanos 118 I Correas, IV 4/1
Also Eligibles:
11 11 Nicanor (KY) 6/H LA L Garcia 118 L Delacour 5/1
12 12 Lil Mr B (MD) 4/G M Franklin 118 S T Berger 30/1
13 13 Monzon (MD) 4/G LA H Karamanos 118 I Correas, IV 20/1
14 14 Not for Silver (MD) 6/H LA J Pimentel 118 M J Trombetta 30/1
15 15 Colgan's Chip (CA) 7/G LA M G Pino 118 A W Dutrow 8/1
16 16 Bandbox (NY) 4/C LA A Castellano, Jr. 118 R Jenkins 10/1

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Derby Workouts

Its under two weeks to the big day and most of the contenders have arrived at Churchill Downs to test the track and get in their final workouts. Here is a great video of some of the big names who have already set some nice early morning fractions. Stay tuned for my Derby picks. You might be surprised.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thar He Blows: A White Orca!

Courtesy of Animal Planet, this is a rare site: an all white male killer what that was spotted off the coast of Kamchatka in Eastern Russia. The whale's name is appropriately Iceberg and he is estimated to be about 16 years old, based on the size of his dorsal fin. In the second clip he is seen cavorting with the rest of the members of his pod, who appear to have accepted him, in spite of his unusual appearance.

Only two other rare white orcas have ever been filmed in the wild before and those presumably did not survive into adulthood.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Congresional Hearing on Horse Racing

April 30 is the date for a hearing on health and safety issues in horse racing before the subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing was called by U.S. Rep Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania who chairs the subcommittee and the location is Unionville High School in Kennet Square, Pa, which is located in his district.

Testimony will be by invitation only and so far Roy and Gretchen Jackson as well as George Strawbridge, all thoroughbred owners and breeders, are slated to testify. According to Bloodhorse, the hearing has been in the works for about two weeks, on the heels of the New York Times articles about the dark side of horse racing and about a month after two members of Congress re-introduced the legislation that would ban all-race day medication in racehorses.

I can tell you where the Jacksons and George Strawbridge come out on this issue since they have already testified against medication in racing at the previous congressional hearing on horse racing back in June 2008. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they point out that they have a already gone on the record against medication in horse racing.

Let's hope that this time around something will come of their efforts to clean up the sport and that this hearing is not merely for show. Something tells me that in an election year, this may not be the cae.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Great Rabbit Hunter Returns

Ah Spring, when a young man's fancy turns to love and an old dog's fancy turns to rabbits. The rabbits made a guest appearance over the weekend and Phoebe was immediately on the case.

Saturday night she refused to come inside until the wee hours and then hovered and whimpered near the door. I knew what was out there but decided to wait until daylight to see for myself. Of course by the next morning, all that remained was what you see in the photo above: an excavated hole, some rabbit fur and lots of dried grass clippings that at one time must have been used for warmth.

I am not sure if rabbits actually used this nest or simply constructed it because by the time I found it it was empty. And Miss Phoebe was feeling a bit peckish as I discovered this morning in various places outside and in which leads me to believe something was consumed.

Not to worry, the Great Rabbit Hunter seems chipper this morning and ready to resume patrol but it is raining and for the moment, that has put a damper on her mission and the scents of cottontails.

Ah Spring, when one would think the rabbits would learn not to nest on a property where the Great Rabbit Hunter resides. But don't tell her I suggested it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Courtesy of Vetstreet,comes the news that the late Dick Clark was not only a music lover but also a pet lover. Apparently his house was filled with dogs, many of whom were named after Top 40 hits, and the pooches were even known to roam his corporate offices in Burbank. Some apparently knew to wait by the elevator to gain access! Not all the pups were perfectly behaved and there are also stories of dogs stealing food from people's desks. One thing is certain: Clark and his wife, Kari loved their pets. They celebrated their birthdays and had a special dog-sized shower installed in their home. Somewhere we know that Clark has been reunited with the members of his beloved pack who waited patiently for him at the Rainbow Bridge and they are all romping to great beat.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Its a Dog Eat Dog Election

OK, we know you are sick of hearing about Irish Setter Seamus strapped to the top of the Romney's station wagon during a family trip to Canada, but it turns out that dogs have been important political assets (or not) during other elections, specifically Roosevelt v. Dewey in 1944.

Here is an excerpt from Roosevelt's speech in which he talked about the rumor started by Republicans that he had mistakenly left his beloved Fala (Scotch terrier) on one of the Aleutian islands during a presidential visit and then sent a navy destroyer to fetch him:

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family don't resent attacks -- but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I'd left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him -- at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars -- his Scotch soul was furious. (laughter) He has not been the same dog since. (laughter) I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself -- such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!

Too bad Seamus can't speak for himself to explain Mitt's actions. Bottom line here is that Americans love their dogs and apparently this is nothing new.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When to See the Vet

So my recent run-in with Amos and a wayward dog in the dog park--actually Amos's run-in with the dog--which left Amos limping and me making a sling out of my jacket so I could help propel him back to the car, got me thinking about veterinary emergencies.

Here is a list from the AVMA of 13 injuries that require a vet visit:

Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn't stop within 5 minutes
Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
Injuries to your pet's eye(s)
You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
Seizures and/or staggering
Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
Heat stress or heatstroke
Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more

Amos, by the way, is fine. Still a little skittish when we go near the area where the sneak-up-from-behind adventure occurred, and actually happy to be on a leash by my side, which is leaving Phoebe free to roam and very, very happy. So for now, we are all good, But always take your cell phone when you go into the park with your dogs and a bottle of water, which came in very handy to toss on the dogs when they were going at it, and by, the way, worked perfectly.

That's my advice from the trenches. Feel free to add yours.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seamus Redux

It's just not going away. The dog story that will not die is probably the one he wishes would take a hike....Of course, he could just get another dog and make sure he let it ride inside....

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Tips

It is officially tax day--trust me in this house, we would never miss that deadline--so in honor of forking over some taxing checks, here is one dog who cost his owner $1.5 million. See I thought you would feel better.

Above is a picture of the chosen one and his litter mate--both Tibetan mastiffs--that sold to a Tibetam business man for the princely sum of 41.5 million back in March 2011.

And this is the handsome fellow today, weighing in at about 180 lbs. The dog is named Big Splash and according to his owner he is worth every penny because he is "a perfect specimens."

Go ahead. Mail that check to the IRS. Tell em Big Splash sent you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Graded Earnings Chart for the KY Derby

Courtesy of Bloodhorse, here is the way the graded earnings race is stacking up for the Ky Derby. Check and see where your favorite falls. Remember there are 20 starters in the big race.

Kentucky Derby Graded Earnings Chart

Graded Stakes Earnings of 3-Year Olds
Last Updated April 14, 2012 @ 11:42 p.m. ET

Chart by Dick Downey. Restricted to Nominees to the Triple Crown.

Rank Horse Graded Earnings Owner(s) Trainer Last Race
1. Hansen $1,550,000 Kendall E. Hansen & Sky Chai Racing (Harvey Diamond) Mike Maker 2d Toyota Blue Grass
2. Daddy Long Legs $1,294,030 Michael Tabor, Mrs John Magnier & Derrick Smith Aiden O'Brien 1st UAE Derby
3. Union Rags $1,170,000 Chadds Ford Stable (Phyllis Wyeth) Michael Matz 3d Florida Derby
4. Dullahan $855,000 Donegal Racing (Jerry Crawford) Dale Romans 1st Toyota Blue Grass
5. Creative Cause $836,000 Heinz Steinmann Mike Harrington 2d Santa Anita Derby
6. Wrote (IRE) $756,630 Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith Aiden O'Brien 3d UAE Derby
7. Gemologist $703,855 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt) Todd Pletcher 1st Wood Memorial
8. Sabercat $701,429 Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC Steve Asmussen 3d Arkansas Derby
9. Take Charge Indy $698,400 Chuck & Mari Beth Sandford Patrick Byrne 1st Florida Derby
10. Secret Circle $670,000 Mike Pegram, Karl Watson & Paul Weitman Bob Baffert 2d Arkansas Derby
11. Bodemeister $660,000 Zayat Stables LLC Bob Baffert 1st Arkansas Derby
12. I'll Have Another $601,000 J. Paul Reddam Doug O'Neill 1st Santa Anita Derby
Daddy Nose Best $545,558 Bob and Cathy Zollars Steve Asmussen 1st Sunland Derby
14. Liaison $393,000 Arnold Zetcher LLC Bob Baffert 6th Santa Anita Derby
15. Alpha $380,000 Godolphin (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) Kiaran McLaughlin 2d Wood Memorial
16. Prospective $367,327 John C. Oxley Mark Casse 6th Toyota Blue Grass
17. Trinniberg $324,500 Shivananda Parbhoo Bisnath Parboo 1st Bay Shore Stakes
18. Done Talking $311,000 Skeedattle Stables Hamilton Smith 1st Illinois Derby
19. Drill $300,000 Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman Bob Baffert 2d Northern Spur
20. Went the Day Well $282,000 Team Valor International Graham Motion 1st Spiral
21. Rousing Sermon $270,000 Tree Top Ranches (Mr. & Mrs. Larry D. Williams) Jerry Hollendorfer 3d Louisiana Derby
22. Mark Valeski $260,000 Brereton C. Jones Larry Jones 2d Louisiana Derby
23. El Padrino $250,000 Let's Go Stable (Kevin Scatuorchio & Brian Sullivan Todd Pletcher 4th Florida Derby
24. Reveron $220,000 Stipa Racing Stable, Inc. (Walter Stipa) Agustin Bezara 2d Florida Derby
25. Isn't He Clever $191,333 J. Kirk and Judy Robison Henry Dominguez 8th Arkansas Derby
26. Optimizer $184,708 Bluegrass Hall LLC (Brad Kelley) D. Wayne Lukas 9th Arkansas Derby
27. Castaway $162,000 Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith Bob Baffert 7th Sunland Derby
28. Currency Swap $150,000 Klaravich Stables, Inc. (Seth Klarman) and William H. Lawrence Teresa Pompay 11th Illinois Derby
29. My Adonis $140,000 George and Lori Hall Kelly Breen 7th Wood Memorial
30. Brother Francis $135,000 Norman Cheng Jim Cassidy 5th Santa Anita Derby
31. Mr. Bowling $115,848 Brereton C. Jones Larry Jones 12th Louisiana Derby
32. Howe Great $112,500 Team Valor International (Barry Irwin) Graham Motion 5th Toyota Blue Grass
33. Longview Drive $102,834 Steve Beneto Jerry Hollendorfer 9th Santa Anita Derby
34. Scatman $101,875 JEOG Racing LLC Mike Lauer 9th Toyota Bue Grass
35. Morgan's Guerilla $100,000 F. Thomas Conway, Jack Conway, Trey Thornton & Gary Carter Mike Maker 2d Illinois Derby
35. State of Play $100,000 Team Valor International (Barry Irwin) Graham Motion 3d Transylvania Stakes
35. Teeth of the Dog $100,000 J. W. Singer LLC Michael Matz 3d Wood Memorial
38. Shared Property (g) $99,700 Jarry Namy Tom Amoss 5th Louisiana Derby
39. Stirred Up $96,000 Robert LaPenta Bob Baffert 3d Sunland Derby
40. Blueskiesnrainbows $90,000 Bad Boy Racing LLC & Whizway Farms Bob Baffert 3d Santa Anita Derby
40. Tiger Walk $90,000 Sagamore Farm Ignacio Correas IV 4th Wood Memorial
42. Jake Mo $88,333 Stephen R. Brown Allen Milligan 11th Arkansas Derby
43. Cozzetti $85,000 Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. (Fred Brei) Stanley Gold 4th Arkansas Derby
44. News Pending $80,000 Klaravich Stables, Inc. (Seth Klarman) and William H. Lawrence Dake Romans 7th Florida Derby
45. Gung Ho $76,000 Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey Mike Maker 3d Toyota Blue Grass Stakes
46. Z Dager $75,000 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat) Steve Asmussen 8th Louisiana Derby
47. Handsome Mike $73,500 J. Paul Reddam Doug O'Neill 4th Spiral
48. Silver Max $72,000 Steve C. Snowden, Seth Lauffer & WillLauffer Dale Romans 1st Transylvania Stakes
49. Golden Ticket $70,000 Magic City Thoroughbred Partners Ken McPeek 2d Tampa Bay Derby
50. Hakama $59,000 Harry C. and Tom O. Meyerhoff Michael Trombetta 3d Illinois Derby
51. No Spin $56,354 Black Gold Racing Tim Ice 4th Sunland Derby
52. Neck 'n Neck $56,000 A. Steven Miles, Jr. Ian Wilkes 5th Florida Derby
53. Fort Loudon $52,000 Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. (Fred Brei) Stanley Gold 6th Florida Derby
54. Ever So Lucky $50,377 Augustin Stable Jonathan Sheppard 10th Toyota Blue Grass
55 Heavy Breathing $48,875 Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf, et al) Todd Pletcher 7th Toyota Blue Grass
56. Paynter $45,000 Zayat Stables LLC Bob Baffert 4th Santa Anita Derby
57. Cigar Street $40,000 Jake Ballis & Rashard Lewis Steve Margolis 4th Louisiana Derby
57. Finnegans Wake $40,000 Donegal Racing Dale Romans 10th Louisiana Derby
59. Holy Candy $37,500 John Sadler Craig Stables & Donkey Island Racing LLC 4th Toyota Blue Grass
60. Midnight Transfer $36,000 Warren B. Williamson Carla Gaines 7th Santa Anita Derby
61. Laurie's Rocket $35,333 Willis D. Horton Dallas Stewart 10th Southwest
62. Stat $33,334 Bartolazzo Stable LLC Todd Pletcher 6th Arkansas Derby
63. Our Entourage $33,000 Repole Stable Todd Pletcher 5th Illinois Derby
64. Atigun $31,428 Shortleaf Stable, Inc. Ken McPeek 5th Arkansas Derby

According to a Churchill Downs press release issued on Feb. 16, 2012, in case of a tie for the final entry position or the determination of all remaining starters, preference is given to horses that accumulated the highest earnings in non-restricted stakes races. If a tie still remains, the final spots in the starting gate will be determined by lot or a “shake.”
For the first time since 1984, there will be an “also eligible” list with as many as four horses eligible to draw into the field until scratch time on Friday, May 4 at 9 a.m. ET.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hansen Second in Blue Grass Stakes

Thirteen horses were entered in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday-Hansen did not scare anybody away! What a pleasure it is to watch the nearly white colt. Between his distinctive color and his bright yellow silks, it is easy to follow his race.

Actually in this particular race it was especially easy to follow him since he broke sharply, went straight to the lead and stayed there until Dullahan caught him about three strides before the wire. Actually Dullahan ran an amazing race, flying from tenth to first down the stretch, hitting his stride and moving into that second gear that I think eluded Hansen.

Take nothing say from the white colt. He ran a good race and now both he and Union Rags are going into the Derby having had disappointing final preps. Makes for an interesting first Saturday in May, doesn't it.

Hansen got beat up pretty bad by his jockey who started hitting him at the top of the stretch desperate for the second gear. This race may have taken a lot out of him. Union Rags, by contrast had an easy time of it in the Florida Derby where he really didn't run until the stretch.

Personally I don't think Hansen will be in the money on May 5 and don't rule out Dullahan, half brother to Mine That Bird, another late stalker. Also remember that this race was on poly track while the KY Derby is on dirt. No factors of dirt flying in the face on polytrack.

One thing Hansen did do, however, was run the race exactly how one should run the KY Derby: break well; go to the front; set the pace and then pull away down the stretch. The only thing missing was the pulling away which may have been a result of fast fractions in the early going.

Do you have your Derby horse yet? Dullahan just might be making his way onto my list but I still love Union Rags.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Forget Mr. Smith, Meet These Washington Top Dogs

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You know Mr. Smith went to Washington but did you know that the halls of Congress are filled with four legged friends? A great ABC News story about the barking that goes on on Capital Hill and it isn't all coming from the elected officials.

Opossum Snowboards

Ok just file this one under too bizarre to delete. It is courtesy of Liberty Mountain Resort in Vermont where at one point this winter they must have had snow, because, as you will see in the above video, Ratatouille, the opossum goes snowboarding. That's right, a nocturnal marsupial (note those pink claws) can hang ten with the best of them.

I truly have nothing else to say except the only opossum I have ever seen had to be removed by the Animal Control officer (one was lurking behind one of my huge front door terra cotta pots and the dogs went crazy barking at him) because they are believed to carry rabies.

Enough said.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dog Fight

I know, I know, the dog-in-the-kennel-on-the-roof-of-the-car story has been heard and repeated many, many times. It was 30 years ago, goes the defense. And it was an airtight kennel that he liked? How can a dog "regularly" climb up there anyway? Have you ever seen dog climb up on the roof of a car?

I am not going to tell you who to vote for.

But I would not vote for a candidate who put a dog in a kennel on the roof of his car and drove to Canada with him up there or one who would makes this behavior the centerpiece of an ad against him. Haven't we all got bigger issues to worry about?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Human-Vet Medicine

There has been lot of debate about health care for dogs lately, partially stemming from the recent article in the New York Times that delineates the state of the art treatment that many pets are getting these days.

And while expense seems to be the last things on the minds of those pet owners who get their dogs stem cell transplants or stents, I think many people are forgetting that many of the medical techniques that humans take for granted in their care, actually began in dogs. This is predominantly true in cancer treatment where the field of comparative oncology, recently made a division of NIH, has been pushing the boundaries on all kinds of cancer treatments for humans that start in pets, but also in orthopedics, where race horse have been receiving stem cell transplants for athletic injuries that have been remarkably successful.

And it is not always the New Bolton Center vets who are doing the break through treatments. As many of you know, Amos suffered an aggravation to his elbow arthritis over last weekend due to a run in with an aggressive dog in the park. He came up limping and after it was determined that nothing was broken, my vet started a treatment that included increased pain and anti-inflammatory meds, acupuncture and the use of a Class 4 laser. Amazingly Amos was walking perfectly after two laser treatments. After one, he was putting weight on all four paws, something he was not doing when we arrived for the first treatment.

That Class 4 laser is something I wish I had for my back but you try to find a doctor who has one. They are few and far between on the human side of things even though they have been proven to work in dogs and horses.

So don't poo-poo those dog medical procedures because in many ways they are getting better care than we are and that may in fact have to do with the fact that we are actually paying actual fees for service (or at least our insurance companies are).

There are a lot of times when I wish my vet would treat me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sliding Doberman

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT show this video of the sling Doberman to my dogs. There will be no living with them until we get a pool with a water slide.

No joke.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Front Runner

Here's a great story to remind us of what happens to those horses who travel the road to the Kentucky Derby but never make it to Churchill Downs.

Six years ago, while Barbaro was running away with all his Derby trials, there was another horse competing, named Doctor Decherd, who ended up finishing sixth behind Barbaro in the Florida Derby. Loyal fans of Barbaro followed his career and found him racing as a five year in a claiming race at Lone Star Park in Texas. It was there that he suffered a career ending injury and the Fans of Barbaro stepped in to finance his retirement.

One of those fans, Barbaro Lively, has written book about the experience. It is called Front Runner.

You can read an interview with Barbara here, and find a link to order the book. All the proceeds, by the way, aid in Dr. Decherd's continuing care.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hop to It!

I know Easter is over, but rabbit season (in my backyard, at least) has just begun. In honor of those hopping bunnies who torment my dogs daily, and probably will leave me another nest front and center, I thought I would show you what others do with their rabbits.

Click here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Peace, love and happiness this Easter! (And no, it's not Phoebe. We already know what she does with rabbits...)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dogster Press

Great new press on

Click here for the link!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Not Snakes, But Penguins on a Plane!

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Pete and Penny, two adorable penguins from Sea World were on their way to New York (San Antonio to Atlanta; Atlanta to New York) for the filming of an upcoming Discovery Channel series, "Frozen Planet," when the captains of the Delta flights gave their handler permission to walk them up and down the aisle so everyone could see their fellow passengers!

I wonder if they got miles.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nicanor Races Tomorrow at Keeneland

Nicanor has drawn the #1 post position for Race #8 at Keeneland on Friday--tomorrow to be exact! It is an interesting choice since it is a 7 furlong distance on the Tapeta track. I don't remember Nick running 7 furlongs except as a there year old very early in his career so I wonder if this is the only race that seems to fit his present needs. It is his first race back after a length layoff so perhaps 7 furlongs is all he is up for.

In any event, the race looks pretty tough with Hoofit (#3) being a strong contender, but then they are all tough challengers.

I understand that TVG will be carrying the races from Keeneland if you are a subscriber. Otherwise, you'll just have to wait for the replay on Equibase (again, need to be a subscriber) or You Tube, eventually.

Good luck Nicanor. Safe trip on Good Friday.

Race 8 - 4:42 PM Double-Exacta-Trifecta($.50 min)-Pick 3 ($.50 min)(Races 8-9-10)-Superfecta ($.10 min)


Purse $65,000. (Includes $6,200 – KTDF - Kentucky TB Devt Fund). For Four Year Olds And Upward Which Have Not Won Two Races Other Than Maiden, Claiming, Starter, Or State Bred At A Mile Or Over In 2011-2012 Or Claiming Price $100,000. Weight, 123 Lbs. Non-winners Of $32,000 Twice Since October 6 Allowed 3 Lbs. $45,000 In 2012 Allowed 5 Lbs. Claiming Price $100,000 (Races Where Entered For $80,000 Or Less Not Considered In Allowances). About Seven Furlongs. (All Weather Track)
P# PP Horse Virtual
Stable A/S Med Claim $ Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 Nicanor (KY) 6/H LA $0 R Maragh 118 L Delacour 15/1
2 2 Capt. Candyman Can (KY) 6/G LA $0 C J Lanerie 118 I R Wilkes 5/2
3 3 Hoofit (NZ) 5/G LA $0 J R Velazquez 118 H G Motion 6/1
4 4 Steve's Double (MD) 8/G L $0 M Pedroza 118 G L Knight 30/1
5 5 Rescue Squad (KY) 6/H L $0 R Albarado 118 C R McGaughey III 10/1
6 6 Noble's Promise (KY) 5/H LA $0 A Garcia 118 K G McPeek 4/1
7 7 Golden Yank (KY) 7/G L $0 S Bridgmohan 118 G A Thomas 15/1
8 8 A Diehl (KY) 7/G LA $0 J Graham 123 G R Arnold, II 12/1
9 9 Successful Dan (KY) 6/G LA $0 J R Leparoux 118 C Lopresti 2/1

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baby Elephant Roll

It is no secret that I love elephants and this adorable baby investigating a snowfall at the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam has got to make you smile. His reaction, the very same one toddlers and golden retrievers exhibit: rolling around in it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Florida Derby Reflections

A day or two after the disappointing third place finish by Union Rags in the Florida Derby, Michael Matz told the Thoroughbred Times what he thought about the race, the ride and the impact on his horse:

Matz said he hopes both Union Rags and his jockey, Julien Leparoux, come out of the third-place finish with additional knowledge that will be useful in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. He was pleased that the race did not appear to take a whole lot out of the Dixie Union colt.

Matz said the slow pace and perhaps some aggressive race riding from El Padrino's jockey Javier Castellano, who rode Union Rags at two before giving up the mount in favor of Algorithms, proved costly in the Florida Derby.

“I think he ran his race, I just think they went slow the first part and there wasn’t much we could do about it,” Matz said. “The good part is I hope that Julien learned about the horse a little bit more. When they did go that slow, I think he would have tried to press the pace, but he was stuck in that trap and couldn’t get out of there. He knows he’s on a horse that people are going to try to get him beat, and that’s what happened. The good thing about it is Julien will put himself in a better position where he won’t let that happen again.

“I’m sure Julien is harder on himself than everyone else is and that he should have got him running a little bit more at the beginning, knowing that speed was holding up,” Matz added. “Once Javier got that position, Javier was more interested in beating Union Rags than the other horses.”

Phyllis Wyeth’s homebred Union Rags made a willing late move in the stretch as the 2-to-5 favorite to take third behind Take Charge Indy and game runner-up Reveron, but the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner never seriously threatened the victor.

“Obviously, I think he only ran the last quarter of a mile, so hopefully it wasn’t a tough race on him. Maybe the good part of it is that he didn’t run a hard race going into the Derby,” said Matz, who saddled Barbaro for victories in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby in 2006. “But it was just disappointing because I thought he was the best horse going in.”

At the other end of the spectrum, trainer Pat Byrne reflected on Take Charge Indy's win:

“It was pretty straightforward. He broke sharp and Calvin did a super job,” said Byrne, who trained 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick and 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Awesome Again.

Byrne said Take Charge Indy, who is out of Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady, used his tactical speed to his advantage in the Florida Derby to punch his ticket to Louisville for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

“He’s an awful fast horse. … You know, the racetrack was in great shape and there was no secret how the racetrack was playing,” said Byrne, who picked up his first stakes win since September 2005. “My horse has tactical speed and he’s fast. I wouldn’t call it a souped-up track. Horses were running on or close to the lead. My horse can be close or taken back.”

Byrne said Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s Take Charge Indy will be shipped to Churchill in ten days. The Florida Derby was his first stakes win, but the dark bay or brown colt finished second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) at two and also was fourth in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and fifth in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

“We ran in three Grade 1s, so I wouldn’t have run him in graded stakes if I didn’t think he was special,” Byrne said. “He’s always shown a lot of talent. He has a tremendous amount of raw talent. He’s been on the immature side, and I’ve always said that the more time he gets, the bigger and stronger he’ll be.”

Two horses, two different trips in the same race and the question going forward will be what is the impact of each journey on each horse?

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2

Too good not to share even if it is a day late! Happy April!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Take Charge Indy Charges Florida Derby

Take Charge Indy took charge of the Florida Derby, going almost wire to wire under Calvin Borel to surprise everyone who sent Union Rags off as the 2 to 5 favorite. The winner went off at 7 to 1 odds which proved that some in the crowd recognized his potential, including his trainer Pat Byrne who decided there weeks ago to bypass the Tampa Bay Derby for the stiffer competition in The Florida Derby.

To be fair, the fractions were very slow and the strategy of the race seemed to be to box Union Rags in any and every way possible--which was accomplished until about half way down the stretch when jockey Leparoux finally found running room and Union Rags showed us another gear. He finished third by a length and a half , which is to his credit since at the top of the stretch he was about four or five lengths out of it.

What do I think? Well if it was that easy, they wouldn't call it horse racing. I still think Union Rags is the horse to beat but the question becomes how will he react to being boxed in by nineteen horses instead of seven? I do think his jockey learned today to let him go a little earlier--he held the horse very tightly down the back stretch and in my opinion waited too long to ask him to make a move. It was a good learning experience and remember he did not need to win the race to make it into the Derby as many of the others (like the winner) needed to do.

Next week is the Santa Anita Derby which should cloud the picture a little more. But the good news is that the pressure is off Union Rags for the time being, which is a very good thing. He may not go off the favorite in the Derby--another good thing--and his jockey may have learned that the way to beat those slow fractions (another deliberate attempt to take Union Rags out of his element), is to let his horse set the pace.

That's also the way to win the Derby. Go out in front. Get away from the traffic and run away with the race.

It is now officially getting interesting. And that is no April Fools.