Part 3 Breeders' Cup Thoughts: Countdown
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West Point Thoroughbreds President Terry Finley will share his thoughts leading up to the Breeders' Cup. This is the third installment.
This is Breeders' Cup week. That sounds incredible to say. All five of the horses worked over the last several days. Each worked well, so now we sit and wait. The anticipation might get the better of me by the time all is said and done.
Debbie and I just got back from a weekend trip to Florida to see my son Ryan, who attends school in Bradenton. We had a great time. I even turned off my cell phone the entire time we were there (well almost).
We won the Prom Stakes at the Meadowlands on Friday night in fine fashion with DJ Lightning. We manage the undefeated filly for a client, Don Brooks and his family. They looked great in the winner's circle. Seeing those smiles is what it's all about.
Saturday morning I received a note from a good friend, Spencer Thorton, with whom I have much in common. His note read "Your filly had a better time last night in the Prom than I ever did at any of my proms". I thought it was a funny line.
I've received several notes and calls from "friends of West Point" over the last several weeks concerning our growth, success and the upcoming Breeders' Cup. It means alot to have a longtime client reminisce on their relationship over the years with us.
In a sport where winning at 20 percent of the time is considered outstanding, it's fair to say that the other 80 percent of the time we ride a roller coaster of emotion full of ups and downs. While our primary focus is on the horses, the competition, the strategy, etc. it's also about the people and the relationships that go into owning or co-owning horses. You can imagine how much it pleases me to provide positive updates on these five horses competing at the top of their game.
Awesome Gem, Dream Rush and High Finance will arrive at Monmouth on Wednesday. Lear's Princess and Irish Smoke will arrive the following day to take up residence on Monmouth's backstretch.
As the starter says just before he springs the latch at the starting gate "Get Tied On" - I say to the West Point Thoroughbreds connections: Get Tied On!
As usual, I want to give you an update on the horses:
Awesome Gem - He put in his final work on Saturday. He went a sparkling six-furlongs in 1:12.4 and galloped out seven-furlongs. The work was delayed by about ten minutes because of an incident on the track, but Awesome Gem was a complete professional. He stood in the chute while they cleared the track then went about his business. He flies to New Jersey on Wednesday morning. There's no doubt in my mind that he is ready to run a big race.
Dream Rush - As Rick said after Dream Rush worked on Sunday, "It's all done except the shouting." We'd already completed her major work, so Saturday's half-mile in 47.4 was designed to simply keep her on her toes. We'll see what the draw holds for us on Tuesday, but Dream Rush enters the Breeders' Cup with all cylinders firing.
High Finance - Rick worked him an easy half-mile in 48.3 on Sunday. Rick setup our two horses so that they would not need to do much this week. Many times, success can be attributed to good planning, and we wanted to cover all our bases in case the weather turned bad. We would have been completely comfortable if we didn't get to breeze this weekend, but now we get to tinker under the hood and tune the car up for maximum performance.
Irish Smoke - It does not look as if the Alcibiades shook her confidence at all. She worked an eye-popping five-furlongs in 58.2, and she did it while well in hand. Her jockey, Julien Leparoux, was aboard for the work and said that she felt great. We'll find out on Saturday how big an impact the Alcibiades surface had on her last performance.
Lear's Princess - She put in her last work at Belmont going an easy half in 50 flat on Friday. Three-year-old fillies do extremely well in the Distaff, and I truly do believe that Lear's Princess is still a filly on the improve. It's hard to say how the Monmouth surface will play, but I think we could run Lear's Princess on the beach and she'd still run her race.
Finally, I'll make several diary entries this week as the action will pick up considerably over the next few days. I'll be back with my thoughts on the races and competition after tomorrow's post position draw and after the races on both Friday and Saturday with (hopefully good) news?