Tag Archives: Valley Loot

Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade (2000-2010)

Another year is quickly coming to a close.

Year-end honors are being awarded or debated, while racing fans and participants alike are reflecting on the 2010 racing calendar.

The end of 2010 also allows for the opportunity to reflect on a much bigger scale. Depending on one’s guidelines for defining the decades, we are either wrapping up the current ten-year stretch or we are in the midst of the ’10s.

Either way, enough time has elapsed to discuss the last decade in Michigan Thoroughbred racing – the highs, the lows and all points in between. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the highs.

Over the last 11 years (to account for both schools of thought and avoid confusion we’ll include 2010), Michigan has produced solid runners on the local, regional and national levels. Michigan has proven it can produce a Thoroughbred that compete anywhere.

This state has had some good ones in the ’00s, and it is time to decide who is the Michigan-bred Thoroughbred of the decade?

Behind the jump are ten horses whose careers have put them head and shoulders above the rest of their Michigan-bred counterparts. Some have exemplified dominance at Michigan’s Thoroughbred ovals, Great Lakes Downs and Pinnacle Race Course. Others have competed, and won, at some of the most prestigious racetracks in the world.

Each horse on the list has a reasonable claim to the title. The resumes for each candidate are included to display that claim and help voters make their decisions.

Does the flash of brilliance Cashier’s Dream showed in her tragically short career put her over the top? Tenpins’ graded stakes coups? Secret Romeo’s regional dominance? Valley Loot’s success in the latter half of the decade? Meadow Vespers’ near-invincibility in the Sire Stakes? That Gift’s transition from a stakes-level competitor to a hard knocker? Rockem Sockem’s staying power in the middle of the decade? Sefa’s Rose’s ownership of her division? Weatherstorm’s quick start? The early-decade success of Born to Dance?

To make your selection, just go to the poll on the left side of the page and click on the horse you feel is the most deserving of the title “Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade”. Feel free to back up your vote or campaign for a horse in the comments. I look forward to hearing some constructive debate on the subject and reminiscence on the careers of the state’s best.

And the nominees are…

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Valley Loot regains form in older females Sire Stakes

After a year with more downs than ups, Valley Loot reminded fans why she is the state’s defending three-time horse of the year with a hard-fought win in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes for older fillies and mares, an astounding fourth straight victory for the mare in the series of races.

The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare broke alertly and battled Guns And Giggles for the lead coming out the gate. She settled back to third behind Guns And Giggles and She Could Be Good as the field made its first pass under the wire. Guns And Giggles stayed a couple paths off the rail down the straightaway and entered the first turn with a length advantage. The top three were each separated by about a length heading into the backstretch in the same order as they came into the turn. The two trailers began to draw closer to Guns And Giggles on the backetretch, with Valley Loot making the boldest bid three wide.

As the field entered the final turn, Valley Loot had drawn even with Guns And Giggles, while Baba Booyah moved up from the second flight to challenge She Could Be Good for third. Valley Loot quickly disposed of the pacesetter, but was then faced with a rapidly gaining Baba Booyah on her outside. The defending champion led her challenger by a half length at the top of the stretch, and under heavy urging by jockey Federico Mata, began to pull away. Baba Booyah attempted to re-rally at the sixteenth pole but could not reach the winner before the wire.

Valley Loot finished a half length ahead of Baba Booyah for her first win of 2010. Secret Candy improved her position late to finish third, five lengths behind the runner-up.

Valley Loot completed the mile and one eighth race in 1:56.23 over a fast dirt surface. She was the field’s second choice at odds of 2.40-to-one.

Bred in Michigan by Marilyn McMaster, Valley Loot is owned by Lisa Campbell and trained by Ronald Allen, Sr.. Both Campbell and jockey Mata finished the day with three wins in the six Sire Stakes races.

With her fourth Sire Stakes win in five starts in the series, Valley Loot improved her career record to 14 wins from 32 starts. Her career earnings now total $584,885.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

1 – Valley Loot (Federico Mata) 6.80 / 3.80 / 2.40
7 – Baba Booyah (Jeffrey Skerrett) 5.00 / 3.40
8 – Secret Candy (Ronald Allen, Jr.) 6.20

One Mile and One Eighth
Time: 1:56.23


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2010 Sire Stakes Preview: Older Horses

Baba Booyah, Valley Loot square off in older females Sire Stakes

The old guard of Michigan’s older females division will try to hold off the youth movement for at least one more race in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Nine fillies and mares will compete to add a Sire Stakes win to her resume in the 1 1/8 mile race. Valley Loot has won the last two installments of the race in this division and will go for a third this weekend.

She will face a challenge from Moonbeam Handicap winner Baba Booyah. The four-year-old Daylight Savings filly pulled away to win by five and a half lengths in the Aug. 21 stakes race at Pinnacle. She enters the Sire Stakes off a third place finish in the Oct. 2 Farer Belle Lee Handicap. Trainer Robert Gorham will once again give Jeffrey Skerrett the leg up in the Sire Stakes for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC.

Valley Loot has had a down year in 2010, but the Sire Stakes is her realm. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare has won three state runnings of the race, as a three-year-old in 2007 at Great Lakes Downs and as an older horse in 2008 and 2009 at Pinnacle. A three-time Michigan horse of the year, Valley Loot comes off two unplaced finishes in stakes races at Pinnacle, most recently the Farer Belle Lee. Regular rider Federico Mata will be in the irons for owner Lisa Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr.

Also entered is the 2009 Michigan three-year-old filly of the year Hakuna Matata. A four-year-old daughter of Meadow Prayer, Hakuna Matata is seeking her first victory since a rallying triumph in last year’s sophomore fillies Sire Stakes. In her most recent start, she finished fourth in the Farer Belle Lee. Owned by White Lake Farms, Inc., Hakuna Matata is trained by Larry Uelmen and will be ridden by Octavio Bernal.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 3-1
2. Shesashooter / T Molina / S M Spiess / 15-1
3. Guns And Giggles / J Cruz / S M Adkins / 10-1
4. Hakuna Matata / O Bernal / L R Uelmen / 7-2
5. Half A Glance / J J Delgado / J Gold / 20-1
6. She Could Be Good / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 20-1
7. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 8-5
8. Secret Candy / R D Allen, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 8-1
9. Stellar Star / R Barrios / D Cluley / 20-1

Romeo Again looks to start streak in older males Sire Stakes

The older males division of the $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course is all about streaks.

Romeo Again will be looking to build on his success in last year’s Sire Stakes, while Meadow Vespers will try to start a new one after having his four-race win streak in the series of races snapped.

Seven colts and geldings will enter the gates in Saturday’s 1 1/8 mile race. Last year’s installment was won by Bipolar Express.

As a three-year-old, Romeo Again pulled away to win his division of the Sire Stakes on his way to a share of his crop’s title. In 2010, the four-year-old Secret Romeo gelding won the Aug. 14 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap. He enters the Sire Stakes off an unplaced finish in the Oct. 2 Frontier Handicap. Romeo Again will be ridden by Federico Mata for owners Lisa Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbreds. Patrick White will saddle Romeo Again in Saturday’s race.

After four straight victories in Sire Stakes races, Meadow Vespers’ signature late drive came up short in 2009 on his way to a fifth place finish. The eight-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding will attempt to get back on the winning track on Saturday. In his most recent start, Meadow Vespers missed by a half length for a runner-up finish in Frontier. Ronald Allen, Jr. will have the assignment for owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele.

Also entered is 2009 co-champion three-year-old male Meadow Wise. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding’s most recent effort was a front-running fourth place finish, where he finished only 3/4 lengths behind the leaders. Owned by Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC, Meadow Wise will reunite with jockey Angel Stanley for Saturday’s race. Trainer Robert Gorham will give Stanley the leg-up.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Meadow Wise / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 9-5
2. Elusive Furrari / J Cruz / S M Adkins / 20-1
3. Out With A Bang / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 10-1
4. Red Bow Tie / T Molina / D W Myers / 15-1
5. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 2-1
6. Meadow Vespers / R D Allen, Jr. / R J Rettele / 5-2
7. Hot Chili / R Barrios / J R Jackson / 12-1

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Farer Belle Lee Handicap draws full field

After two stakes races, a front runner has yet to emerge in Michigan’s older fillies and mares division. However, the picture may become clearer following Saturday’s $50,000 Farer Belle Lee Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

A full field of 12 horses will enter the gates for the mile and an eighth Farer Belle Lee, including eight stakes winners. Last year’s race was won in a minor upset when then three-year-old Moon Charmer outkicked Valley Loot in the final strides to win by a head. Both horses are entered in Saturday’s race.

The division’s most consistent mare during the 2010 meet has been Equalitysdebutante. The five-year-old Equality mare is the only horse to hit the board in both of the division’s stakes races this year. She enters the race off a second place finish in the Aug. 21 Moonbeam Handicap following a five-length victory in the July 17 Larkspur Handicap, both at Pinnacle. Equalitysdebutante is owned by Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. Octavio Bernal will be in the irons for the Farer Belle Lee.

Four-year-old Baba Booyah enters Saturday’s race on the momentum of a five and a half length victory in the Moonbeam. The Daylight Savings filly will make her first start at a mile and an eighth in the Farer Belle Lee. Her two career efforts at a mile and a sixteenth yielded a win in the 2009 Michigan Oaks and a fourth place finish in the same year’s Sire Stakes for three-year-old fillies, both at Pinnacle. Regular rider Jeffrey Skerrett once again has the mount for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trainer Robert Gorham.

Three-time Michigan horse of the year Valley Loot will seek to jump start an uncharacteristically lagging year in the Farer Belle Lee. The six-year-old daughter of Demaloot Demashoot is still seeking her first win of the year, and enters Saturday’s race off an unplaced finish in the Moonbeam. Trainer Ronald Allen, Sr. will give jockey Federico Mata the leg up for owner Lisa Campbell.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Equalitysdebutante / O Bernal / L Penner / 5-1
2. Half A Glance / R Barrios / J Gold / 20-1
3. Top Touch / C P Pilares / S M Adkins / 8-1
4. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 6-1
5. In The Frame / L M Quinones / L R Uelmen / 12-1
6. Twilighted Thistle / A De Leon / R D Spiess / 20-1
7. Silent Sunset / G W Mayhew / J A Lewis / 30-1
8. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 7-2
9. Surprise Gift / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 15-1
10. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 3-1
11. Hakuna Matata / W P Rini / L R Uelmen / 10-1
12. Secret Candy / R D Allen, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 30-1

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Equalitysdebutante, Valley Loot set for rematch in Moonbeam Handicap

After shocking the field at odds of 21.40-to-one in the July 17 Larkspur Handicap, Equalitysdebutante returns to prove her effort was no fluke in Saturday’s $20,000 Moonbeam Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

Equalitysdebutante will face seven rivals in Saturday’s one mile race for older Michigan-bred fillies and mares. Last year’s installment of the Moonbeam was won by Yawm Estoora.

The purse for the race has been decreased from its normal $50,000 value to accommodate for additional race days of regulation from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Equalitysdebutante, a Michigan champion two-year-old filly in 2007, won the Larkspur by five lengths in a front-running trip. The win was the five-year-old Equality mare’s first stakes score since her Juvenile campaign and her most recent start. Larry Penner will saddle Equalitysdebutante for owner Richard Hammer. Octavio Bernal will pick up the mount for Saturday’s race.

Three-time Michigan horse of the year Valley Loot finished second to Equalitysdebutante in the Larkspur, also her most recent start. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare is still seeking her first win of 2010 after running into buzzsaws in all three of her starts this year, finishing second each time. Regular rider Federico Mata will once again be in the saddle for owner Felicia Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr..

Also entered is the Larkspur’s third place finisher, Peak Of The Storm. The four-year-old Peaks And Valleys filly was the front-running winner of last year’s Regret Stakes at Pinnacle and seeks her first win of the year in the Moonbeam. Peak Of The Storm is a stablemate of Equalitysdebutante, owned by Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. Ricardo Barrios will be in the irons

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 7-2
1A. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 7-2
2. Peak Of The Storm / R Barrios / L Penner / 5-2
2B. Equalitysdebutante / O Bernal / L Penner / 5-2
3. Half A Glance / A Ortiz / J Gold / 20-1
4. Hakuna Matata / J J Delgado / L R Uelmen / 4-1
5. Secret Candy / J E Collazo, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 20-1
6. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 6-5

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Equalitysdebutante returns to form in Larkspur Handicap

In October 2007, Equalitysdebutante romped in the two-year-fillies division of the Michigan Sire Stakes at Great Lakes Downs on her way to earning her crop’s top honors. Coming into Saturday’s $50,000 Larkspur Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course, she had only won a single race since.

The five-year-old Equality mare broke her two-year, 13-race cold spell in spectacular fashion with a dominant five-length score in the six furlong race for Michigan’s female handicap platoon.

Equalitysdebutante broke to the front and immediately opened up a length on the rest of the field. The Girl Rolls, Baba Booyah and post time favorite Valley Loot gave chase across the backstretch, with Peak Of The Storm soon coming into contention. The leader continued to maintain her now two-length cushion well off the rail heading into the turn, as Valley Loot emerged as her primary challenger. Equalitysdebutante continued to stay fairly wide throughout the bend and stretched out to a 3 1/2 length lead at the top of the stretch.

Under the intermittent right hand whip of jockey Carlos Garcia, Equalitysdebutante removed any notion of being caught by her rivals in the stretch and drew off to win the Larkspur by five lengths. Valley Loot was locked in a three-way battle down the stretch for second, and emerged 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Peak Of The Storm for the runner-up spot.

The final time for the Larkspur was 1:12.70 over a fast dirt surface. Equalitysdebutante lit up the tote board at 21.40-to-one, the field’s second longest odds.

Equalitysdebutante was homebred in Michigan by Dr. Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. The win in Saturday’s race improved Equalitysdebutante’s lifetime record to four wins in 21 starts, and her third stakes triumph. Her career earnings now total $199,721.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

5 – Equalitysdebutante (Carlos Garcia) 44.80 / 8.00 / 4.80
6 – Valley Loot (Federico Mata) 2.20 / 2.20
8 – Peak Of The Storm (Ricardo Barrios) 3.60

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:12.70

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Former soph stars make handicap debut in Larkspur Handicap

After a 2009 meet spent beating each other up in stakes races, last year’s crop of three-year-old fillies graduated to the handicap ranks and have shown up in force to contest Saturday’s $50,000 Larkspur Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

The six furlong Larkspur is the first stakes test of the year for older Michigan-bred fillies and mares. Of the nine entries in Saturday’s race, seven are four-year-olds. Last year’s installment was won by Yawm Estoora.

As in years past, the road to the older female division’s crown will go through three-time defending Michigan Horse of the Year Valley Loot. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare was a stakes presence in Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania in 2009, with marquee victories in the Golden Sylvia Handicap at Mountaineer Park and a third straight score in her division of the Sire Stakes at Pinnacle. She enters the Larkspur off a second place finish to 2008 Ashland Stakes (G1) winner Hooh Why in a July 6 allowance race at Presque Isle Downs. Regular rider Federico Mata will ride Valley Loot for owner Lisa Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr..

Making her first start of the year is Michigan’s 2009 three-year-old filly of the year, Hakuna Matata. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer filly sealed her division’s title with a 1 3/4 length victory in last October’s Sire Stakes, following a disqualification-boosted triumph in the Ann Arbor Stakes at Pinnacle. Her last start of the year was a runner-up finish in an Oct. 27 allowance race at Mountaineer. Hakuna Matata is owned by White Lake Farms, Inc. and trained by Larry Uelmen. J.J. Delgado picks up the mount.

One of Hakuna Matata’s biggest rivals during her sophomore campaign was Baba Booyah. The four-year-old Daylight Savings filly was victorious in last year’s Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle and placed second after being fouled in the Ann Arbor. She enters the race off an unplaced finish in a June 20 optional claiming event at Pinnacle. Baba Booyah will be saddled by Bob Gorham for owner Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons for Sunday’s race.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 10-1
2. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 9-2
3. Oh Fiddlestix / O Bernal / J R Jackson / 10-1
4. Hakuna Matata / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 8-1
5. Equalitysdebutante / C Garcia / L Penner / 5-1
6. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 2-1
7. In The Frame / J R Martinez, Jr. / L R Uelmen / 15-1
8. Peak Of The Storm / R Barrios / L Penner / 4-1
9. The Girl Rolls / A Ortiz / J R Jackson / 20-1


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Answers to the five burning questions of 2009

The success of Romeo Again helped his sire, Secret Romeo, establish himself as Michigan's breakout sire of 2009.

At the beginning of the year, I posed five questions about racing in Michigan to consider for the following year. Now that the year is almost over, it is time to look back at those questions and see how they were answered.

#1 – Who will be the breakout sire of 2009?

The Answer: In the original post, I singled out The Deputy (Ire) as a sire who could make some noise when his first crop as a Michigan-based stallion hit the track. As it turns out, I was right and wrong. The Deputy was the leading national earner among all Michigan sires who fit my criteria as a breakout candidate – sires considered “new”, “unproven” or in The Deputy’s case “new to Michigan”. However, he made most of his money in West Virginia.

The Petardia (GB) stallion ranked eighth in West Virginia by juvenile earnings with $62,178, highlighted by Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes runner-up Kid Kearny Gabe. The Deputy only sent three juvenile starters to the gates in Michigan to finish 29th in juvenile earnings, with no Michigan-bred stakes starters. However, the West Virginia contingent did show up to represent The Deputy in the Sire Stakes. Kid Kearny Gabe stepped up once again to finish second in the two-year-old males division of the fall classic.

When considering Michigan sires with success in Michigan, the label “breakout sire of ’09” would probably best fit Secret Romeo. The Service Stripe horse sired his first stakes winner when Romeo Again won the three-year-old males division of the Sire Stakes on his way to earning a share of the division’s top honors.

Secret Romeo ranked seventh in general earnings for Michigan-breds in 2009 with $159,612. His second crop hit the track in 2009.

#2 – How will Mr. Conclusive follow up on his dominant 2008 campaign?

The Answer: Not so hot. After a tumultuous winter and a long layoff, Mr. Conclusive missed the board in three starts during his 2009 campaign. Hopefully he can get it turned around for 2010.

#3 – Whose Sire Stakes streak will stay alive – Valley Loot or Meadow Vespers?

The Answer: At the beginning of the year, I predicted that Valley Loot would have a smoother road to a third consecutive Sire Stakes win based on the strength of her division and the quality of graduating three-year-olds she would face in 2009.

After an amazing four year streak that spanned two racetracks and two divisions, Meadow Vespers’ signature closing kick came up empty in the older males division to snap his run. Meadow Vespers, a seven-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding, finished fifth in that race to Bipolar Express, one of the previously mentioned newcomers to the division.

Valley Loot, on the other hand, kept her streak alive with a 1 1/2 length score in the older mares division. The five-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare also tallied her third straight Michigan Horse of the Year honors in 2009. Can she keep that streak going? That will be a question for 2010.

#4 – What will be new at Pinnacle Race Course?

The Answer: In terms of planned Phase Two developments, nothing much. The economic situation of the state, the track and the racing industry understandably made it difficult to expand at this time.

However, the track did make a small, but significant addition that made a day at the races much more enjoyable. The festival tent in in the grandstand area was a big step up from the temporary bleachers that occupied the space in 2008. Aside from providing some much-needed shade and protection from the elements, the additional tables, TV screens and mutuel windows it provided made it much more worthwhile to watch the races from that end of the track. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea.

#5 – How much of a difference will a few extra weeks of pre-meet training make?

The Answer: One of the issues many attributed to the field sizes in 2008 was that Pinnacle did not open up for training until a few days before opening day. A constant stream of heavy rains kept Pinnacle from opening the track, which lowered the number of race-ready horses when the meet began. This year, there were no delays.

The effect this extra time had on the field sizes at Pinnacle is hard to determine. In 2008, it seemed as though the fields were either really big or really small. In 2009, the number was more consistent, but it meant more six or seven horse fields – enough to play most exotics, but not enough to give them the kind of payoffs that make them lucrative. We’ll call this one a push.

Look for the Burning Questions for 2010 in the coming weeks.


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Valley Loot claims third MTOBA Horse of the Year title

Valley Loot won or placed in stakes races at three tracks on her way to being named MTOBA's 2009 Horse of the Year.

For the third straight year, Michigan champion Valley Loot was named Horse of the Year by the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association at its year-end awards banquet.

The five-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare tallied two wins from nine starts during her 2009 campaign for earnings of $112,875.

Valley Loot notched stakes wins in the June 16 Golden Sylvia Handicap at Mountaineer and the Older Filly and Mare division of the Oct. 3 Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course. She finished second in the Farer Belle Lee Handicap at Pinnacle and third in the Larkspur Handicap at Pinnacle, the Autumn Leaves Stakes at Mountaineer and the Windward Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.

Valley Loot is owned by Felicia Campbell and trained by Ronald Allen, Sr.. She was bred in Michigan by Marilyn McMaster. Her regular rider was Federico Mata.

For more information on the winners from the MTOBA Awards Banquet and other happenings during the event, check out my writeup on the MTOBA website.

In related news, I recently accepted a gig writing news updates for the MTOBA website, so if I write anything exciting over there, I’ll post a link to it. Don’t worry, I assure you the new venture will not affect the quality, quantity or objectivity of the content on this site. To quote my favorite recurring character from In Living Color, “Homey don’t play dat.”

As always, I enjoyed myself at the awards banquet. Catching up with people and making new connections in the industry is always a good time.

The silent auction is often my source of reading material for the following year, and there is always some cool memorabilia to bid on. I chipped in a few items myself by donating a few framed photos I took of the scenery at Keeneland Race Course and one I took of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in the paddock prior to the 2008 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Both sold pretty well.

My haul was not as visually impressive as in previous years (I’ve needed a good sized box to carry everything out on more than one occasion), but I still walked out with some goodies. I snagged a set of clubhouse passes to Arlington Park for next year’s meet, so look for a nice recap from the not-so-cheap seats sometime this summer.

In a move to expand my knowledge of the world of horse racing, I bought a book on harness racing – “Harnessing Winners” by Dave Brower. There were also a few Christmas presents in the pile, but to reveal what they were would compromise their surprise value. I’m sure you understand.

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Mata wins three in Michigan Sire Stakes

The following Sire Stakes recaps are presented without shots of the winning horse and rider courtesy of Sunlight Photography, Pinnacle’s track photographers who threatened to have my camera taken away if I photographed anything except the races themselves, which I was “allowed” to do. All of this happened despite having obtained a media photo credential from track management.

But enough about my day, let’s talk about some races…

Bipolar Express wins stretch battle in Classic

Bipolar Express (4) duels to the wire with Demagoguery (7) and Hot Chili (1, inside) to win the Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

After four years of Sire Stakes consistency by Meadow Vespers, Bipolar Express began a run of his own by winning his second straight October Classic race in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The four-year-old Equality gelding broke with the front pack and battled for the early lead with Hot Chili and Mt. Factor before cooling off and taking a stalking position as the field headed into the first turn. Hot Chili dueled from the rail with Mt. Factor, who maintained a small advantage through the turn and across the first half of the backstretch. Bipolar Express sat two lengths behind the lead duo and began to make his move to on the outside with about five furlongs to go.

Bipolar Express gained the advantage heading into the final turn as Mt. Factor began to fall off the pace. As Bipolar Express and Hot Chili battled into the stretch, Demegoguery also began to gain ground. The lead pair traded bobs of the head throughout the stretch with Demagogurey chipping away on the outside. In the final strides, Bipolar Express put a head in front to prevail under jockey T.D. Houghton. Hot Chili finished a neck ahead of Demagoguery  for the runner-up money.

Bipolar Express stopped the clock in the 1 1/8 mile race with a time of 1:54.21 on a fast track. He left the gates as the second choice of 1.60-to-one. Post time favorite Meadow Vespers had his usual ground saving trip, but came up empty in the stretch.

Bred in Michigan by Gene and Phyllis Gilmore, Bipolar Express is owned by Winning Stables, Inc. and trained by Gerald Bennett. The Sire Stakes victory completes a successful re-claim by Bennett, who lost Bipolar Express to trainer Scott Lake for a $25,000 tag two races ago at Presque Isle Downs. Bennett claimed his charge back in the next race for $35,000

With the win, Bipolar Express improved his career record to seven wins from 27 starts. The race was also his second stakes win, after winning last year’s three-year-old Sire Stakes at Pinnacle. His career earnings now total $209,069.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

4 – Bipolar Express (T.D. Houghton) 5.20 / 3.60 / 3.20
1 – Hot Chili (Federico Mata) 6.80 / 5.60
7 – Demagoguery (Godofredo Laurente) 5.60

1 1/8 Miles
Time: 1:54.21

To view the rest of the day’s Sire Stakes action, click the link below.

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