The Wise and Powerful Athena

Athena

In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and courage and so very much more! It is appropriate then that on my farm the daughter of Allez Tam is named Athena. Athena is the half-sister to Achilles and Rocko and Aiden, as all four of them have the same sire, an American Warmblood stallion who is the son of Song (who also lives where I do). Athena takes after her father in coat color, but not much else in terms of build and looks and personality.

Athena was born on June 14, making her birthday very close to my human’s day. Outside of me, I think Athena is my human’s favorite horse at the farm I live on. Athena may be the smallest of the four American Warmbloods who were born on the farm where I live, but don’t let that full you. That girl is in charge! When she was very young, she looked like a pure Thoroughbred baby (her mother Allez Tam who you’ve met is a pure TB) tearing up the field and being mostly independent from her mother early on. She had a few stumbles during wet days in the paddock, but she was always up and off to the races again in short order.

Athena does like to be the head of her herd, but she is not as pushy as some of the other mares on the farm. She and Sapphire were good friends when they were in the field together and tended to rule together, but when Code Red (Song’s daughter) came on the scene, things became strained between Athena and Code Red. Code Red is definitely more pushy. For the sake of all, the mare fields were split up. Nowadays, Athena lives with her dam, Allez Tam, North Kerry Lass and Satin. These four get along fairly well though Athena does like to be the first to get treats and food.

Athena is only about 15.2 hands high, but her potential should be unlimited in the right hands. She likes to work and mostly GO! She’s still working out things under saddle. She’s definitely a solid, well-built girl with a firecracker mind. I like Athena most days, just not when she’s getting too many of my mints or is eating in a stall next to me and making ugly faces because she thinks I might steal her food. Like me she does crib. She learned that from her dam, Allez Tam.

It’s good to be back introducing my friends on the farm to all of you!

Feeding a Superstar Equine: Whey Better than It Looks!

Most of you know that I am a special horse. In 2006, I was afflicted with a horrible string of colic episodes, lost a bunch of weight and was finally diagnosed as having a malabsorption disorder. My disorder is similar to what a human with Crohn’s might experience. I was only supposed to live 1-2 years, but here I am in 2012, alive and well! The big key to keeping me alive and happy has been the help of Dr. Stratton-Phelps of All Creatures in California . She is a very talented and wise nutritional vet. Through her guidance, we have created a diet that keeps me going. I wanted to let you know a little more about all the ingredients that go into my special diet.

First up is whey! It truly is way better than it looks and sounds! Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. After the milk has been curdled and strained, there is a liquid that is leftover. That can then be processed into a powder that is especially popular with bodybuilders, as it is high in protein. Sounds yummy, right?! No, I didn’t think so either and didn’t like the look of it on my food when I first started on my new diet. In fact, I pretty much said “No Whey!” When my food kept coming with it though, eventually I had no choice. Now, I eat my food right up, unless I’m not feeling well. I’ve even come to rather like the mix of the ingredients, including the whey.

Why whey? Well, for the same reason the bodybuilders love it–all that protein. A side effect of my disorder is that I will have periods where my protein levels can become low. That can lead to weight loss as my body tries to find other protein sources, usually muscle mass! I need extra and easy-to-digest sources of protein, and whey is the answer.

So it may not look appetizing, may smell a little funny and have a rather disgusting origin, but I am keeping whey as part of my diet!Image

On the Outside Looking In – Gemologist

The Kentucky Derby 2012 is less than 2 months away and while Union Rags, El Padrino and Creative Cause are topping most lists for Kentucky Derby favorite, there is still time for other horses to make an impression. One such horse is Gemologist.

Unfortunately, as the Kentucky Derby graded stakes earnings rules go, Gemologist is one of the many horses on the outside looking in. Gemologist currently has $103,855 in graded earnings. Typically, it takes $200,000 to be assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. While he hastn’ made it in yet, there is still time for him to earn enough to get into the gate.

Gemologist has the classic pedigree to make him a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. By the amazing sire, Tiznow, only horse to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic twice and out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Crystal Shard. Although his dam was unraced, she features solid racehorses from quite a ways back – Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer. He sports a respectable 2.73 dosage index with a distribution falling heavily in the classic distance.

Gemologist has been flawless in his four career starts, three as a two year old and just one as a three year old. His debut saw him win by five lengths in a Maiden Special Weight. In his next start, an allowance at a mile and 1/16th, he again set the pace and won by 2 lengths. In his last start as a two year old, he made his stakes debut in the mile and 1/16th Jockeky Club Stakes. That field featured other well thought of foes in Optimizer and Secret Circle and Ever So Lucky. This time, Gemologist waited off the pace and dueled with Ever So Lucky for the win. The appearance of both  Currency Swap and Gemologist in a one mile Allowance race at Gulfstream on March 16, brought excitement to what would have been just another race on the card. In his three year old debut, Gemologist did not disappoint. He handled the field and the talented Currency Swap en route to a seven length win. Again, he returned to the role of the pacesetter and wired the field. Impressive!

Impressive, but will he be ready for the Kentucky Derby field should he make it in? Pletcher states his next start will likely be the Wood and then the Kentucky Derby. While it is possible for a lightly raced horse to come away with the roses, they usually have been tested much more. The Kentucky Derby with its large field and super-pressure requires a horse who has been in a “fight” or two and has not backed now. It will be interesting to see what kind of field shows up for the Wood if that is indeed where Gemologist next goes and see how he handles such a field. For now, he’s on the outside looking in, but he’s certainly an exciting prospect to watch.

I’m turning for home and will talk with you later,

Blue Blue Sea

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 (http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=RKM&dt=09/04/2002&ctry=USA&race=1) 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

Russian Greek – KY Derby Contender

Russian Greek is a beautful nearly black three year old colt by Giant’s Causeway out of the Grindstone mare Sand Dollar. Russian Greek sports a pedigree that includes Kentucky Derby winners: Secretariat, Grindstone, Unbridled, Northern Dancer, Swaps and Chateaugay. In addition, his pedigree also includes such horses as Alydar, Storm Cat and the great filly Mariah’s Storm.

Such a pedigree clearly shows that Russian Greek has the kind of classic breeding needed to win on the first Saturday in May. His dosage index sits at a solid 1.77, indicating he should have the stamina plus turn of foot needed to handle the classic distance.

On top of pedigree and dosage index, actual race record can show clues to potential for Kentucky Derby success. Russian Greek has run four times and only lost one of those efforts. He won his first race as a two year old, which was run on dirt. As the Kentucky Derby is run on a dirt track, it can be instructive to see if a horse can handle the surface. In that first race, Russian Greek easily handled the surface winning by five lengths. His next race proved to be his only lose. He came in fifth that day and never was any threat. It is important to note that his only loss came at six furlongs, a sprint. The Kentucky Derby is considered a route race. His next two races were route races and he won both, both were also Stakes races. His style of winning those two races also can point to KY Derby success. He proved in those races to be a deep closer with a big late kick to come up with the win. In the California Derby, his last race out, he was described as having a “bold rally” to win.

Potentially working against Russian Greek is that he is based in California. Historically, California horses do not fare well when they travel to Kentucky. Additionally, if most of his races continue to be on synthetic surfaces, there will be the question as to how he will handle dirt, in particular the Churchill surface, though he has logged one win on dirt.

Providing he can stay healthy and continue to run well, I believe we will likely be seeing him in Kentucky on the first Saturday in May. I will be interested to see what he does in his next planned race, the El Camino Real Derby.

Keep running toward the finish line my friends!

Blue Blue Sea

Kentucky Derby 2012

The Kentucky Derby may seem like a long ways off, but before you know the first Saturday in May will be here, and coz you humans like to sip one too many mint juleps, it will be too late to make any sense of who’s who in the Kentucky Derby field. 🙂

That’s why it’s wise to take a moment now to start scouting out potential Kentucky Derby horses. Then you can watch as the prep races are run and narrow it down, have your pick or several picks, make your bets early on Derby day and drink all those mint juleps. You’ll either be celebrating with another or drinkin another to forget how much you lost on the ponies. Why do you call us ponies? You know we’re horses right?

Anyhow, I’ll be taking some time in the weeks ahead to feature a horse who might be a Kentucky Derby contender. I try to stay away from the big names this early out, so don’t expect me to be blogging about Hansen or Union Rags and the like, not for now at least. Everyone will be watching them right up until Derby day should they make it that far.

So get ready to hear who an OTTB (that’s off-track Thoroughbred) sees as potential candidates that might not be the big names when I talk about them. My first one coming up will be Russian Greek, a horse that’s rather intriguing to me.

From in the stable,

Blue Blue Sea

Happy Birthday to Me!

Welcome friends to my blog – Stable Thoughts. I will post here short blogs about whatever I feel like – things I observe in the horse world, human world or other animal world or all of the above.

I am starting this blog on my birthday and what a birthday it was. My human visited with a special cake made just for me. I’d like to say that I chomped it down and was very happy with all the wonderful cards and mints sent to me by my friends. Well, I was very happy with those mints and ate several, thank you all! But what I wanted most of all was to get outside and stretch my legs a bit and play in all that snow! Knowing that was what I most wanted, my human let me out without too much fuss.

Once I was outside, I was a bit dissapointed to find that the snow had melted and refroze into ice, not so much fun to run and roll in, but it still felt good to be outside.

I am now not only officially 13, but have actually turned 13. On birthdays, I tend to find myself looking back and forward. Does that make sense? Last year, one of my little brothers got to leave Puerto Rico where our dam is and come to the United States. I wish our dam could come back home, too. I am sure she misses the fine KY fields where she lived until the year I was born. And then I think of my sire, Sea Hero, who has become the oldest living KY Derby winner. He’s far away in Turkey, not the kind you humans eat, but a country I’m told. I know he must miss those VA fields where he took his first wobbly steps. I miss KY myself. Paris is such a wonderful place for a young foal to grow up. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling since that day 13 years ago when I stepped into the world. I’ve been to Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusettes, West Virigina and now Maryland.

As I look forward to another year, I am thankful for all my equine friends, the wonderful new human friends I’ve met through the Internet, the humans who come to visit me and the human who I call my own. I hope to live at least another 13 years knowing such wonderful individuals.

Be kind,

Blue Blue Sea

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