Banana-mine–uh what was that???

I was sick today, and I mentioned “banamine”. I know that many of my human friends own horses or have owned or worked with horses in the past and are familiar with just what banamine is. But there may be some of my human friends who are not so familiar and may wonder just what the heck I am talking about.

Banamine is a trade name used in the United States for the drug – flunixin. The drug is in the class of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. The first part is pretty easy to understand, flunixin is not a steroid. The second part is pretty easy to read, too. Flunixin works against inflammation. Usually, flunixin is used for colic, muscle pain, to lower fevers and for certain joint diseases.

Flunixin can be adminstered via a needle in the muscle or the vein or as a paste in the mouth. Generally the quickest way to have the horse receive the benefits of the drug is via an injection in the vein. That is usually how I receive flunixin when having a colic episode. I will start to get relief within about 15-20 minutes if it will work for my pain. If I don’t have relife by then, banamine alone will usually not work for my cases.

So there you have it. It’s a funny name, but it’s a medicine that has proven very useful for me, since “Bute” the other typical painkiller is not one that I can use, as it worsens my GI issues or causes GI issues if I take it for something else.

Blue Blue Sea



Claim is the Name of the Game

I know that many of my friends are not lifelong, hard-core horse racing fans, so from time-to-time, I’ll write about some aspect of the sport to help educate my friends more. Once you’ve watched a few races, you’ll start to hear terms like “Allowance” “Stakes” and “Claiming”. All represent classes of racing and can give you some indication as to the level or quality of the horses running in the race.

Let’s start with “claiming” in this article. Claiming is something I know so much about. I ran 41 times and only 5 of those times were not in Claiming races. Claiming races can also be called “claimers.” Unfortunately, claiming races represent the lowest class of runners. About half of the races run each day are claimers.

Claiming races can be run at any distance. The main feature and where such races get their name is that any horse in the race can be bought. Each claiming race will have a money limit that horses can be purchased for. For example, in my race in 2002 at Rockingham Park ( I was entered into a claiming race where the claiming prices had to be between $4,500-$5000. My owners at the time entered my for the top price of $5,000.

Can anyone claim a horse out a claiming race? Not exactly. You must be a licensed  owner or the agent of such an owner who have a horse registered to race at the meet or you must obtain a certificate from the stewards prior to the races for making a claim.

Prior to the race the “claim” must be made. That is, if you had wanted to buy me in the above race, before the race was run, you would have put in your claim to buy me. After the race, I would have been yours. I won that race, so who gets the purse money? My former owner would have received the money. The owner who put the claim would get me.

It’s definitely a buyer beware market because you would own the horse you claimed no matter what. The horse might be in tip-top shape. The horse might be injured. The horse might be dead. It doesn’t matter, you still pay the money and own the horse. Running a horse in a claiming race is also a risk, especially if the horse does well.

Generally, claiming tags can be as low as $1,000 and go as hight as $100,000. Those $100,000 races are very rare. The higher the price, the better the horses generally are in the race. Some horses start out their careers or very quickly end up in the claimers. You will also tend to see older campaigners who have fallen off their previous higher class form being “dropped” into the claiming ranks.

There are two variations of the standard claiming race: Maiden Claiming Races and Optional Claiming Races. Maiden Claiming Races simply are claiming races as described above but are for horses that have never won a race before. The first race I ever won was a Maiden Claiming Race. After winning a race a horse is no longer eligible for any maiden racess.

The other variation, Optional Claiming Races, means an owner can run a horse in the race for a claiming tag or can opt not to do so. That’s the general definition of the race. In reality, it’s a mix of a claiming race and a starter allowance race. We’ll go into a bit more detail on optional claimers in my next stop in the racing definition blog – Allowance Races.

When you watch a claiming race, keep in mind that these horses are most likely to be the ones in the greatest danger. They are the ones who will quite likely need a new career quickly, so if you might be looking to adopt an OTTB, you just might see one who catches your eye in the claiming ranks. Afterall, that’s where a good-looking chestnut gelding was running just a few years back, but I wouldn’t know who that would be – wink-wink.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s by a nose or daylight, a win is a win!

Your pal,

Blue Blue Sea

Junebugred – KY Derby Contender

In the September 2010 Keeneland yearling sale, a chestnut colt went through the ring and sold for a mere $20,000 dollars. While most of us would not consider $20,000 a small amount of cash, consider that Seattle Slew sold as a yearling for $17,500 in 1975. With inflation, that sum would be considerable more than $20,00.

Junebugred was that chestnut colt who went through Keeneland ring in 2010. While it is way too early to compare any of the current three year olds to the great Seattle Slew, it’s important to note that Seattle Slew was considered a bargain at that price in 1975.¬† With over $95,000 in earnings already, Junebugred can already be considered a bargain for that $20,000. On top of that, he is a legitimate contender to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Checking, Junebugred’s pedigree, reveals a dosage index of 1.91 with a distribution squarely in the center – the classic distance – the Triple Crown races. He is by CORINTHIAN (Pulpit) out of the Dixieland Band mare, DIXIE MELODY. Corinthian ran 12 times, winning 6 and finishing out of the money only 3 times. Dixie Melody ran 7 times herself, winning twice. Both parents won ran in stakes company with Corinthian winning and Dixie Melody placing. Throughout his pedigree you will see the likes of such classic winners as: Northern Dancer, Easy Goer, AP Indy, Seattle Slew, Alydar and Secretariat.

Junebugred himself has raced three times so far in his career. His first out as a two year old he finished a non-threatening third. He raced again as a two year old. This time he broke his maiden in a battle with a determined foe from the 1/8th pole, finishing a length ahead. In January of 2012, he made his three year old bow, this time in stakes company in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Again, the colt faced setbacks, but was determined not to cede the lead once he had it, winning by a neck. In winning the Smarty Jones Stakes, Junebugred proved that he could hold his own in stakes company, beating the talented filly On Fire Baby and the well thought of Optimizer. More importantly, his handling of whatever was thrown at him – issues at the start, traffic issues and a determined foe – that he had the toughness to handle it all.

Going against Junebugred may be his breeding cross. Pulpit and his sons crossed with Dixieland Band mares has not been particularly successful. True Nicks only rates this cross as a C+. Cause for additional concern with his chances on Derby day is his late birthday. Junebugred was foaled on May 23. Such late born foals are not even actually three for the running of the Kentucky Derby. Often that can make a huge difference.

Should Junebugred stay healthy and make it to the gate for the Kentucky Derby, he may have the deck stacked against him on age and breeding, but I wouldn’t count him out of being a serious contender if he does make it in.

Fight to the finish and keep in the money!

Review of My Racing Heart

“Vivid memoir . . .Mooney is an adventurer at heart, and she escorts us with an unscrupulous, generous eye through her romance with the track.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

Published in 2002, Mooney’s tale of life, family and racehorses is certainly not new, but if it’s one you missed, it’s well worth picking up a copy and reading it. Mooney’s pace and method of weaving together her personal story, her grandmother’s history and life on the track are perfectly done to capture the reader’s attention and draw them in for a run to the wire.

Mooney begins by drawing us into her beloved grandmother’s world when the track was considered no place for a lady. The pull of the track is too much for her grandmother, and she ignores tradition, expecially when she travelled to watch the first Triple Crown contender she fell for – Regret – the champion chestnut filly who would storm home to be the first girl to win the roses. That determination and spunk were passed on to Mooney along with a love for the track.

Mooney recalls splendid days with her grandmother where they two of them would study the racing forms and make their picks for the coming KY Derby trail. She recalls with fondness and anguish her backing of my great-grandsire, Alydar, as he came in second all three times in the Triple Crown to Affirmed.

Not only is this a book about racing, it’s history and color, but it is also a story about family and bonding. It shows what racing can be at it’s best – a microcosm of our triumphs, failures and finest moments. I rate this book a solid 5 stars on my 1-5 scale for books. If you have not read this fine book, I encourage you to pick up a copy.

Nan Mooney’s blogsite:

That is all from Blue Blue Sea who is breaking free and heading for home!

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