Archive for May, 2010

A foothold with connections

Monday, May 31st, 2010

hastings-l-1Stirrups. We take them for granted. But 1,000 years ago they brought about an important change in mounted warfare.  Many historians even credit them for the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Ancient Western cavalrymen – Assyrian, Persian and Greek – essentially rode bareback (without framed saddles) while wielding their shields and lances. The solid frame saddle developed by Romans to give their cavalrymen greater security, also enabled them to fight more effectively.

But when stirrups were attached to a saddle,  the energy of a running horse could be transferred to the weapon being held by its rider – as Harold’s foot soldiers found out as they struggled against the stirrup-equipped Norman cavalry at the Battle of Hastings.

I was inspired to research this topic a few days ago, after I watched an early episode of science historian James Burke’s landmark PBS Series “Connections.” The episode begins with a nuclear bomb in a briefcase, jumps back to the Battle of Hastings and the stirrup, which triggers a series of connections from the longbow to the plow to crop rotation to gun powder to water wheels to metal mines to barometers to electro-magnetism to inter-stellar communication.

Click here to watch the episode and settle in for a wild ride. If you’ve never watched “Connections,” you’re in for a treat.

Smooth sailing for LHR Smooth Jamie May in Breeders Invitational

Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Phil Hansob

Phil Hanson

LHR Smooth Jamie May added $80,618 to her bankroll today with a 225-point win in the Breeders Invitational Derby in Tulsa. Bet Hesa A Cat earned $46,860 as runnerup with 219.5 points.

Ridden by Phil Hanson for by South Lazy H Ranch, LHR Smooth Jamie May held the top cumulative score of 440 points from the go-rounds (218 and 222) and drew first to work in the 23-horse finals.

“She’s got so much eye appeal,” said Hanson of the Smooth As A Cat daughter. “And she tries to be good for you and tries to do it right.”

This is the 4-year-old mare’s second championship win. She won the Bonanza Cutting in February, and placed third at Arbuckle Mountain and was a finalist (13th) in the NCHA Super Stakes. She has career earnings of $150,042.

“She really didn’t have a shot for the Futurity,” said Hanson, who explained that LHR Smooth Jamie May came down with EPM, just a few weeks before the big event and he laid her off until 10 days before the Bonanza.  
 
Hanson purchased LH Smooth Jamie May as a 3-year-old from her trainer, Scott Johnston.

Bet Hesa Cat was ridden by his trainer, Austin Shepard, for the Bet Hesa Cat Syndicate. The red roan son of High Brow Cat had previously placed third in the Tunica Futurity and fifth in the Augusta Futurity.

Breeders Invitational Derby Non-Pro
Dustin Adams scored 220 points to claim the non-pro championship on the Doctress Orders, the horse that he rode as non-pro reserve champion of the NCHA Futurity. The Dual Rey daughter, a non-pro finalist in three other major events in 2010, was bred by Adams out of Boonsmal Doctress, earner of over $210,000, who Adams rode to claim three non-pro championship titles.

2010 Breeders Invitational 4yo Novice

Friday, May 28th, 2010
221.5
g
HYDUALIN CAT R: RONNIE RICE O: RUSS DE CORDOVA
(SMOOTH AS A CAT x HYADUALIN DOLLY, by DUAL PEP)
Earned: $20,721

(more…)

2010 Breeders Invitational 4yo Novice Non-Pro

Friday, May 28th, 2010
218.0
g
HYDUALIN CAT R: RUSS DECORDOVA O: RUSS DECORDOVA
(SMOOTH AS A CAT x HYADUALIN DOLLY, by DUAL PEP)
Earned: $18,093

(more…)

Bill Shoemaker and the Belmont

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

shoemakerIn the Pantheon of racing, the late Bill Shoemaker is mounted on a special pedestal. His career spanned 41 years and from 1970 until 1991, when Laffit Pincay surpassed his 8,833-win milestone, Shoemaker held the all-time record for most wins. He was also the first jockey to win over $100 million and the first to win a million-dollar race – the Arlington Million on John Henry.

Although the Triple Crown eluded him, he won the Kentucky Derby four times and remains the oldest rider to ever win the race – he was 54 when he claimed the 1986 Derby on Ferdinand, the horse who also made him the oldest rider, at 56 in 1987, to win the Breeders Cup Classic, in a dramatic photo finish with Alysheba.

Shoemaker rode two horses to victory in the Preakness Stakes and he holds the record for the best winning percentage in the Belmont Stakes with five winners from 11 starters.

In 1999, I was privileged to interview Shoemaker, who was being honored at the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship. During the interview, among other things, we talked about his Belmont Stakes winners. (Click the links to view the race replays).

“Gallant Man was the best one and a-half-mile horse I ever rode,” Shoemaker said of his first Belmont winner. “He could beat anybody going one and a-half.”

Shoemaker rode into a storm of controversy with Gallant Man in the 1957 Kentucky Derby, when he mistook the 1/16the  pole as the finish, allowing Iron Liege to catch him by a nose at the actual finish line.

“I misjudged the finish line,” said Shoemaker.” I was up and down (in the stirrups) real quick, but he relaxed just a jump or two and that made the difference between winning and losing.

“They suspended me for 15 days. But Mr. Lowe was such a great owner,  he wouldn’t run Gallant Man in the Preakness. He said, ‘I’ll wait until the Belmont when Shoe can ride him.” (more…)

2010 Breeders Invitational 5/6yo Non-Pro

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
221.5
g
PANTERA CAT R: MICHELLE ANDERSON O: ANDERSON CATTLE CO
(HIGH BROW CAT x SHESA SMARTY LENA, by SMART LITTLE LENA)
Earned: $17,098

(more…)

2010 Breeders Invitational 5/6yo Ltd Non-Pro

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
219.5
g
DULCES JOKER R: HEATHER STILES O: HEATHER STILES
(DULCES SMART LENA x MISS JOKER TANQUERY, by TANQUERY GIN)
Earned: $6,897

(more…)