Monday, September 7, 2009

Niner Nation Has A Horse To Cheer For...

Happy Labor Day everyone.

I am in the minority here, but I love horse racing. I spent many of my teenage years with a pack of buddies traveling between Monmouth Park and the OTW (Off-Track Wagering) parlors scanning the racing forms, smoking fine cigars and hitting the late pick-4.

Now that I live in Charlotte, keeping up with the sport I love couldn’t be more difficult. I can’t even setup an online betting account in the state of North Carolina.

I digress, scanning through the racing form for this afternoons racingcard at Del Mar, it’s a synthetic racetrack out in California, on my day off from work I most certainly found a winner.

In the second race, a maiden for 2-year old fillies at one mile called ‘Forever Young’. If you don’t understand horse lingo it’s a race for 2-year old girls who haven’t won yet. For many of these horses, it's their first race ever. I spot a lock. A must-win.

The six horse. Her name is Saint Isabelle. (Pic right-->) What a beautiful creature! She is making her 2nd start in horse racing today and she has horse handicappers buzzing. She finished 4th last time out. But you ask, why is this on Touch of Green? Give me a second…

When handicapping a race (picking a horse) many factors go into selection. Workout times, pace, track conditions and pedigree just to name a few. Lets focus on the latter.

Saint Isabelle’s dad was Saint Liam, a horse I grew up watching. Unfortunately, I always bet against him. But I don’t hold a grudge. Notice I say ‘was’, Saint Liam tragically died from a barn accident in 2007. Fortunately for horse fans, he has close to 150 babies that will be hitting the track shortly.

Saint Isabelle’s mom is Fortyniner Fever. YES! Fortyniner Fever! She has no racing background. Never touched the track, but she is the granddaughter of a champion race horse Forty Niner. Time for a history lesson…

Back in the ‘80s, the race horse Forty Niner (pic left <---) was the man. Lost the Kentucky Derby by a neck to a girl! (check video) in 1988. Went on to win the Grade 1 Travers and Haskell later that season. He sired (was the daddy) of great race horses including Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note. Makes me proud to be a 49er! I adopt him to be our unofficial mascot! He is still alive, currently resides in Japan. And yes, he's done making babies.

What a race!

Saint Isabelle’s morning line odds are set at 5-1 and she is being ridden by Joe Talamo (If you watch ‘Jockeys’ on Animal Planet you know Joe Talamo). Post time set for 5:30pm eastern time. I will be watching and provide updates on the results. I have confidence she will make granddaddy proud as well as every 49er here in Charlotte!

UPDATE: Saint Isabelle set the early pace, led throughout, but weakened down the stretch, still hung on for 4th.

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