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Clif Hickok: Have You Considered a Thoroughbred Today?

June 28, 2013 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

Me in the winner's circle with Twilight Eclipse

We knew we had a good one in True Blue Nation! She impressed from the first day webought her at the yearling sale. I saw her often at Crupi's New Castle Farm in Ocala Florida, as she started her 2-year-old development. Of all the 2-year-olds in the various barns this year she was the first to make it to the races!

Now Tom Albertrani has a reputation for both a low first time starter win percentage and slow(er) workouts (we support his training approach by the way).

So when True Blue Nation went postward on June 21 against five other first time starters, she was almost expectedly dismissed at 17.80 to 1 in the betting pool. The next highest priced horses were the Darley entry at 5.80 to 1. That made us the rank outsider. Not to mention the Todd Pletcher trainee at odds on in the race or the other horses trained by Mark Hennig, Rick Violette or Kiaran McLaughlin -- all top shelf trainers!!

So, True Blue Nation exploded out of the gate, was never really challenged and cruised home the winner by 5 1/4 lengths! Click here to watch the race. 

Next up the Schulyerville Stakes (G3) at Saratoga on July 19 (opening day). If she wins that race or any other Stakes race at a NYRA track this year she gets a $100,000 NYRA bonus to boot! WOW and WOW!

Fast forward to June 28 (remember the slow workout comment above), when two WPT charges worked side by side handling the four furlong distance in a rapid 48:54 seconds making Empire Dreams and Flat Jack the 4th fastest of 23 working at the distance. Did I mention they are also trained by Tom Albertrani? One would expect a half mile in 50 or even 51...well, not this morning! You can rest assured Tom didn't instruct the exercise riders to "go in 48 and change." These two horses had their own plan this morning and they had some fun kicking it up a notch!

Under my "someday peanuts, someday shells philosophy," we've had allot of peanuts recently! These horses are all putting smiles on the faces of their Partners. Where they go from here is up to the racing gods, but, we like all their respective chances.

The uncertainty of it all is one of the most endearing qualities of the Thoroughbred experience and those people who support them, care for them, and relish their accomplishments. As the Infinity car commercial states, “What are you driving?” To paraphrase - Have you considered a Thoroughbred today?

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