Smile Politely


HGCSeveral stories have been cropping up in the racing world lately, and because some of them don’t relate to each other, I’ve compiled a list of all things “must-know,” because everyone wants to be in the know!

Rail Trip

After winning his first graded stakes race in the Grade I $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, Rail Trip is embarking on a lofty schedule that includes the Goodwood, possibly the Pacific Classic, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. After his first five wins in as many starts, it seems two runner-up performances finally taught this talented colt how to really compete. With the older horse division looking more and more threadbare, Rail Trip is a welcomed addition to the fold of rising stars.

Pioneerof the Nile

Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile has been retired due to a soft tissue   injury. After finishing in the worse career-placement of his life, 11th in the Preakness Stakes, Pioneerof the Nile was entering training in preparation for next Saturday’s Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park when the injury was detected. He would’ve made a great older horse. Just when you thought we couldn’t possibly lose anymore 3-year-olds…

RevengeI Want Revenge

After the Daily Racing Form reported that IEAH filed a counterclaim against co-owner David Lanzman over the status of I Want Revenge, the future doesn’t look so bright for the rest of the Wood Memorial winner’s career. The Racing Form reported: “The counterclaim of the lawsuit contends that Lanzman was aware that I Want Revenge had suffered an injury to the same area [in his right front fetlock] on April 10, but had withheld the information from IEAH. The suit claims that I Want Revenge could have been treated for the injury then if the horse had not resumed training so quickly after the injury was diagnosed.” I Want Revenge was the morning-line favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby before being scratched the morning of, something that had never happened in the 135-year history of the race.

Blood-Horse further reported: “IEAH’s counterclaim says “at this point in time it is believed that the colt’s racing career is over at worst, and at best, he will never perform at the graded stakes level again. At no time was IEAH informed of any injuries suffered by the colt until they became aware that he was being scratched the morning of the Kentucky Derby. The colt was scratched from the Derby due to a torn ligament in the right front ankle, the exact location of the injury that was being treated beginning April 10, 2009.””

This news is not only sad for the future of a most gifted horse in I Want Revenge, but disgusting that an owner would put money before the welfare of his horse. Let’s hope that Lanzman is banned from ever racing horses again.  


After turning in two winning performances on turf, Barbaro’s little brother, Nicanor, will attempt his first test against graded stakes competition in the Grade II $750,000 Virginia Derby this Saturday at Colonial Downs. Trainer Michael Matz may have finally figured out on which surface the three-year-old Dynaformer colt belongs, but he certainly has found no easy spot for this first-time stakes starter. The Virginia Derby is setting up to be a tough test, as Nicanor will be going up against a full field of more seasoned horses like Hold Me Back, Battle of Hastings, El Crespo, and Affirmatif. While the Virginia Derby will be Hold Me Back’s debut turf race, there are few factors that weigh in Nicanor’s favor for this one, though he will go off as the early 7/2 favorite.

Rachel Alexandra

She’s baa-aack! Co-owner Jess Jackson announced Tuesday that his dominating filly, Rachel Alexandra, will be targeted toward the Grade I Haskell Invitational to try the boys a second time. The Preakness winner will be facing a huge field of talented colts, including Belmont winner, Summer Bird, Munnings, Papa Clem, Atomic Rain, and possibly the Florida Derby winner, Quality Road. Hang onto your hats, this summer is going to be explosive!


The Grade II Virginia Derby will air live from Colonial Downs on CBS. Coverage starts at 5:00pm and post time is scheduled for approximately 5:59pmET.

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