Tag Archives: Third Start

She just might make a runner yet

Her pictures look even better when she runs well. Mrs. Murphy comes back from her second place effort under Angel Stanley.

Her pictures look even better when she runs well. Mrs. Murphy comes back from her second place effort under Angel Stanley.

Hay season has put me a little behind schedule in terms of writing things, so let’s go back in time a little bit, shall we?

Last Saturday, Mrs. Murphy had her third start. After a third-to-last effort in her debut and a fading last in her encore, her racing career had so far left much to be desired. Her trainer was optimistic that her form would come around, but she had yet to show it on the racetrack.

Regardless of her performance, a horse with my name on it is more than enough of an excuse to justify a trip to Pinnacle Race Course.

Mrs. Murphy was in the second race. Though having a horse in a race early in the card can create the occasional time crunch getting to the racetrack, it is nice to get all of the jitters out of the way and be able to enjoy the rest of the day’s races without feeling like a spring about to uncoil (maybe that’s just me…). Plus, the earlier the race, the sooner one can get his or her win picture if the day should warrant it.

As the horses walked over from the barns, I started looking for that big white star right above the eyes that set Murph apart from the rest of the field. The group of horses and their handlers all came by – no star.  After making another sweep through the field, I noticed the silver and blue blinkers of the Russell stable covering her face. Bingo.

As usual, Mrs. Murphy looked spectacular, but there was something about her that looked different. She seemed leaner, more fit. After her last start, her trainer said she was still coming around in terms of conditioning. It seems she had progressed by leaps and bounds in the last eleven days, which was definitely a good sign.

Remember during Murph’s last race when I noted how well-behaved she seemed despite her bloodlines suggesting otherwise? It appears she got the memo.

Shortly after her handler was given his yellow #4 smock before entering the paddock, Mrs. Murphy went up on two legs, nearly flipping all the way over on her back. She came down a loose horse with her shank wrapped around one of her front legs. 

This could have gone downhill very quickly. She could have fled the scene and taken a few practice laps on her own – Best case scenario: she’s quickly wrangled and brought back to saddle, but not before tiring herself out and removing herself from serious contention. Worst case scenario: she bolts and that tangled shank causes her to go down and never get back up. Either way, I would have spent an awful lot of time on the road to see a non-starter.

Instead, she stood calmly and allowed herself to get scooped back up by her handler and taken to the paddock without further incident. My blood pressure eventually returned to its normal level.

Mrs. Murphy saddled and left the paddock without causing much of a ruckus and calmly went through the post parade and back to the gates under jockey Angel Stanley.

Meanwhile, I hurried to the betting window to place my Standard Unproven Murphy Horse Wager (TM): $2 across the board. During the glory days of Royal Charley’s racing career at Great Lakes Downs when he was a threat in just about every start, that number would jump to $5 across and five more to win, but Murph has a long way to go before things get to that point (and yes, I know that’s still relatively chump change. I’m a college student. Not much money to play around with). When the gates opened, she was giving 12-1 – the longest shot on the board.

The horses were loaded without much fuss and were released just as quickly. 

Mrs. Murphy took roughly the same spot in the early goings as she had in her last race, right in the front pack just off the leaders. She didn’t have the lead this time, but she was in the discussion. Murph kept her position heading into the turn when the leader, Kindasweet, began to pull away. From where I was standing, it looked like Mrs. Murphy was beginning to lose steam again, the same as her last race. I began to wonder if she just wasn’t cut out to be a racehorse and prepared my new, expensive camera (more on this at a later time) to photograph the eventual winner as she made her closing strides.

Just then, I heard announcer Matt Hook exclaim something like “Mrs. Murphy is making another move.” I focused in my camera to see a rider with blue silks and a yellow cap making a move toward the leader on the outside. She was actually doing it! I set my camera on “Burst” and held the shutter button down as Murph inched closer to the leader. However, in my excitement as the two got closer to the wire, I became more concerned with watching the race and ended up with a bunch of pictures of the top of the riders’ heads. I haven’t yelled that loud in a long time.

Mrs. Murphy ran hard, but could not get past the leader and finished second by a length. As a breeder, I do not get a paycheck, unless she wins, but considering her first two starts, this was as good as a victory. She showed she could compete on the racetrack and last longer than four furlongs; something her mother struggled with her entire career.

I got $14 and change for the place and show bet payoffs, so even though she did not win, I did come out ahead for the race. After this race, it is doubtful she will demand 12-1 odds for her next few starts. Regardless, I am incredibly stoked to see if she can finish the job in her next go-round.

Though she did not finish the day in the winner’s circle, the race offered hope that doing so was a realistic goal. Though the breeder’s check is an obvious reason to root her on, the main reason I want Mrs. Murphy to succeed is to keep the Echo Hills bloodline going and show it can still compete in Michigan. Murph’s granddam, Janies Echo, still lives at my grandpa’s farm (she’s 26 years old) and I would love to see her family tree keep going strong for generations to come. 

Make no mistake, Mrs. Murphy is not my horse. But there are so many ties back to my family, from the name to the bloodlines to my grandpa and I being named as her co-breeders, it still feels as though she were running under our own colors.

For a chart of the race, click here.

Behind the jump are some of the pictures I took of Mrs. Murphy’s day at the races…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Pictures, Pinnacle Race Course, The Family Business

Mrs. Murphy’s third start completely overshadows Regret Stakes, Michigan-Bred Derby

Rare is the day when a maiden claimer takes top billing over a stakes race. This is one of those days. Mrs. Murphy leaves the paddock with Angel Stanley aboard.

Rare is the day when a maiden claimer takes top billing over a stakes race. This is one of those days. Mrs. Murphy leaves the paddock with Angel Stanley aboard.

At the beginning of the day, the plan was to post a preview of Saturday’s Regret Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Then I checked the entries.

Mrs. Murphy is scheduled to make her third start this Saturday in a $12,500 maiden claiming event going 5 1/2 furlongs. The purse is $6,600.

I don’t care if they resurrect Man O’ War to run in a match race against Secretariat; Murph gets the duke.

Mrs. Murphy looks to improve from her last race on June 9, where she faded to last after challenging for the lead for four furlongs. Murph will face three foes from her last start, who finished second, third and fourth in that race. 

To be honest, I am not sure what to expect out of this race. Her trainer said she likely learned a lot from her last start and she is becoming more focused and better conditioned, so those are signs that suggest improvement (let me be optimistic, damn it).

Understandably, Murph’s odds are the second longest on the board at 12-1. Considering Mrs. Murphy’s finishes in her first two races, I can not imagine what the 15-1 Ariel’s Ryder did to deserve longer odds. I assume I will find out when I get a look at the program.

It should come as no surprise that I will be there to see the race in person. Expect some kind of recap in the days following the race and, of course, lots of pictures.

Also somewhere down Saturday’s card is the first stakes event for Michigan’s three-year-old fillies division, the $50,000 Regret Stakes.

Can Moon Charmer find the winner's circle again this Saturday? Federico Mata poses aboard the winner following the Michigan Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Can Moon Charmer find the winner's circle again this Saturday? Federico Mata poses aboard the winner following the Michigan Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

The six-furlong Regret features an eleven-horse field, which may very well be the most competitors the track sent to the gates all year.

The field’s lone stakes winner, the Robert Gorham-trained Moon Charmer, will look to reclaim her blacktype success after finishing in the middle of the pack in races at Indiana Downs and Hawthorne Race Course this spring. Owned by Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC, the Indian Charlie filly upset the field, including stablemate and eventual Michigan Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year Skyline Star, in the Michigan Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Pinnacle last November. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons aboard Moon Charmer.

Also entered is maiden winner Silent Tears, who comes in off a week’s rest from her maiden victory. The Gold Case filly scored a front-running win in the Maiden Special Weight event as the 0.80-to-1 favorite, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. She is owned by Felicia Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbred, and is trained by Ronald Allen, Sr.. Federico Mata gets the assignment.

The morning line favorite, Baba Booyah, enters the race off a second place allowance effort on June 9. The Daylight Savings filly was soundly beaten in two Allowance Optional Claiming tries at Hawthorne this March, but broke her maiden in her first start at Pinnacle. Ricardo Barrios retains the mount for owner Marion Gorham and trainer Robert Gorham. 

Here is a full list of entries for Saturday’s Regret Stakes…

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Oh Fiddlestix / G. Laurente / J. R. Jackson / 15-1
2. Flint / J. J. Delgado / J.R. Jackson / 20-1
3. Hakuna Matata / A. O. Stanley / L. R. Uelmen / 8-1
4. Peak of the Storm / R. L. Knott / L. Penner / 7-2
5. In the Frame / L. J. Frazzitta, Jr. / L. R. Uelmen / 20-1
6. The Girl Rolls / O. Bernal / J. R. Jackson / 15-1
7. Moon Charmer / J. Skerrett / R. M. Gorham / 5-1
8. Silent Tears / F. Mata / R. D. Allen, Sr. / 9-2
9. Ittybittymeadow / I. R. Gonzalez / R. M. Gorham / 6-1
10. Creative Secret / M. B. Chen / J. C. Rupert / 12-1
11. Baba Booyah / R. Barrios / R. M. Gorham / 3-1

Also on the stakes schedule for the weekend is Sunday’s $12,500 Michigan-Bred Derby at Mount Pleasant Meadows. The 350-yard race is the first final of the year for Michigan’s three-year-old Quarter Horses.

Anniversary Annie will be one of three horses entered by the Rettele barn in Sunday's Michigan-Bred Derby at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Richard Rettele is aboard in the photo, but Julie Veltman will get the assignment Sunday.

Anniversary Annie will be one of three horses entered by the Rettele barn in Sunday's Michigan-Bred Derby at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Richard Rettele is aboard in the photo, but Julie Veltman will get the assignment Sunday.

The likely favorite will be Carol Rettele charge Hez Fastforthecash. The Heza Fast Man gelding won stakes races at Mount Pleasant and Beulah Park during his juvenile campaign. He proved his mettle against older competition earlier this year, finishing fourth in the May 24 Spring Sprint Stakes at Mount Pleasant, but only missing the top spot by a neck. Hez Fastforthecash is owned by Coronet Farm and will be ridden by Richard Rettele. 

Another entrant with stakes success is Im The Saint. Owned by Debra Redmond and trained by Renee Wilson, Im The Saint won last year’s GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity. Nate Alcala will get the leg up on Sunday.

Also entered is allowance winner Anniversary Annie. The First Wrangler filly’s lone off-the-board finish was a fourth place effort against Im The Saint in the Stallion Service Sale Futurity. She is owned by Mark Mercer, trained by Carol Rettele, and will be ridden by Julie Veltman.

Here is the field for Sunday’s Michigan-Bred Derby…

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Mama Cole / No Rider / D. N. Gates / 8-1
1A. Sagas Quick Dash / O. Delgado / A. F. Cunningham / 8-1
2. Red Tail Fox / W. Ortiz / C. Rettele / 12-1
3. Justa Toolin / L. Gates / D. N. Gates / 6-1
4. Anniversary Annie / J. Veltman / C. Rettele / 4-1
5. Spinning Planet / M. Holmes / D. J. Evans / 20-1
6. Hez Fastforthecash / R. Rettele / C. Rettele / 3-5
7. Mood For The Dash / J. F. Delgado / A. F. Cunningham / 10-1
8. Im The Saint / N. Alcala / R. Wilson / 2-1

9 Comments

Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pinnacle Race Course, Stakes Races, The Family Business