Tag Archives: Cigar Mile

The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Clark Handicap & Cigar Mile

Clark Handicap

Clark, sales, leftovers
Post-Thanksgiving traditions
The fall meet’s feature

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#1 – Dubious Miss
Gelding with girl’s name
Dirt looks like his third surface
Steps up at Churchill

#2 – Apart
Stablemate of Blame’s
Could be deja vu for Stall
Hot at the right time

#3 – Successful Dan
Rolls on the fake stuff
But he can ball at Churchill
Could collar leaders

#4 – Giant Oak
Illinois’ finest
Lacked killer instinct this year
Would love a class drop

#5 – Redding Colliery
A lead-grabbing colt
Solid in mid-level stakes
Live if he can last

#6 – Brass Hat
Popular geezer
Better efforts were on turf
Should take bettors’ cash

#7 – Stately Victor
A second-tier soph
Built resume on poly
Outlook’s not rosy

#8 – Win Willy
Gray Oaklawn hero
Faces his toughest challenge
Worth a ticket slot

#9 – Regal Ransom
Break on top or bust
Taking a chance with young jock
Won’t run off with it

#10 – Demarcation
Ack Ack runner-up
Big player in overnight stakes
Graded gets dicey

#11 – Duke of Mischief
Handicap stalwart
Capable of stealing one
In between cold snaps

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Who’s the Clark winner?
Apart separates from foes
Five, three behind him

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Look behind the jump for the Haiku Handicapper’s selections for Saturday’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.

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The Haiku Handicapper: Cigar Mile Recap

Tale of inquiry
Bribon made me look foolish
A new loss to mourn

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The Haiku Handicapper: Hill ‘N’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap

As promised, here is my 5-7-5 breakdown of tomorrow’s Grade 1 race at Aqueduct. I hope you like it.

If you would like to handicap along, click here.


#1 – Visionaire
Clear sight in Bishop
Mr. Magoo in Jerome
Outlook here? Fuzzy

#2 – Arson Squad
Fizzled on fake stuff
Caught fire in dirt return
He’s the wild card

#3 – Harlem Rocker
Stronach’s Prince winner
Good efforts, not mind-blowing
Super? Sure. Win? Nope.

#4 – Bribon (FR)
Makes a huge step up
This ain’t a mid-week feature
My pick for dead last

#5 – Tale of Ekati
Needed the layoff
Came back strong, but can it last?
Tale of exotics

#6 – Monterey Jazz
Long layoff, long trip
He’s a rock star with Flores
Rust brings sour notes  

#7 – Storm Play
New rider, same name
Undefeated, untested
An upset special? 

#8 – Wanderin Boy
Curlin’s punching bag
Weaker field, shorter distance
This could be his race

#9 – Kodiak Kowboy
Established sprinter
New jockey, longer distance
Too many questions


Who’s in my top three?
Wanderin Boy finds a win
Place: five, Show: seven

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Please excuse our dust

It was recently brought to my attention that there was no way to directly contact me on this site if one felt the urge to do so. As with any new project, there are still some kinks to work out. I am always looking for ways to improve the blog, so keep the suggestions coming.

The issue has now been resolved with the help of my shiny new “Contact” page in the top menu bar. Now, if you want to further discuss something, give me a suggestion, send me hate mail, or find out my address to send me Hate Mail, you can now do it with ease.

As for what to expect in the future, The Haiku Handicapper segment should make its long awaited return shortly. I had originally planned to cover the Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs, but it appears the NTRA website did not select it to be its feature race for the week, meaning no free past performances. An appearance at the local simulcast joint in the near future is unlikely and I am not going to shell out a buck fifty to Equibase just so I can write short, choppy poetry (Stinginess: the sign of a truly great poet), so I may just hold off for the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). Stay tuned.

Also, I will be chiming in on the second phase of construction at Pinnacle Race Course, as well as commenting on the results of the poll. In other words, consider this your two-minute warning that the poll will be closing soon. If you have not yet given your opinion about the track’s proposed additions, be sure to do it soon before it is too late.

And as always, if something significant happens in the world of racing, I will probably spend some time discussing it on top of everything else.

If I do not get to any of this before the end of tomorrow, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

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Curlin calls it a career…?

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi leads jockey Robby Albarado and Champion Curlin out of the paddock before the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1).  

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi leads jockey Robby Albarado and Champion Curlin out of the paddock before the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.

It’s official. At the end of the year, reigning Horse of the Year Curlin will be retired to stud.

This news has left me somewhat torn.

On one hand, I can not fault majority owner Jess Jackson for wanting to protect his investment. In these days of retiring any horse with a flash of talent after its three-year-old campaign (or in some cases, a decent two-year-old stand!), Jackson kept Curlin in the game and brought him to just about every dance while his rivals settled into their new careers.

Every time the Smart Strike colt set foot on a racetrack, Jackson put the big stinking paycheck tied to his star’s stallion potential in jeopardy. One bad step or dull effort would have taken huge sums of money out of Jackson’s pocket. But he still moved forward and Curlin did little else but reward him for his confidence. I have nothing but respect for the man and his respect for the sport.

At the same time, this does not stop me from wishing he would stay in training. When it comes to seeing the greats do their thing, I am a very greedy person; especially when the athlete in question is still sound of body, as I would assume would be the case with Curlin.

I must admit, I am a little biased in my position. As I have mentioned time and time again, I had the opportunity to watch Curlin race in person over the summer when he ran away with the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs. Because I was there to cover the race for the Thoroughbred Times’ website, I had the privilege of seeing the champ up close in the paddock, on the track and in the winner’s circle. I was less then three feet away from Curlin when I took the picture you see in this post, and I probably could have reached out and touched him during the post-race commotion if I were not so afraid of getting tackled by security.

I will share the full story of my Stephen Foster day at a later date, but for now I want to describe a couple observations about Curlin I largely formed from my few moments in his presence.

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