Krantz Stable Updates
End of Fair Grounds Report
- Published: April 14, 2005
- Written by Bryan Krantz
It's that time of year. Spring has sprung. The clocks have been set forward and the kids are thinking about the countdown to summer. It was amazing how quickly the time flew from Thanksgiving to Easter. With only two horses in the racing stable this year for the Fair Grounds race meet there was enough action to keep our full attention.
Destiny Calls' falter in the Louisiana Champions Day Distaff was softened by her win in Delta Downs' Premier Night Distaff for the second year. Later, on a dreary day in early March she dominated the field in the prep race for the Red Camelia Handicap run on a watery sloppy track in a driving rain at Fair Grounds. Her next start would be the Red Camelia on Easter Sunday, the last day of the racing season.
The Red Camelia has been run as a handicap stakes since 1975. It was originally a six-furlong (or three-quarters of a mile) distance. In 1984 it was converted to a distance of one mile on the turf (grass inner course). In all the years it has been run in dirt or turf the highest weight ever assigned by the handicapper to a starter before this year was 122 lbs. Three-time winner of the race, Hope List, carried 121 pounds to her third victory as her highest impost in 1997. Three-time winner Sarah Lane's Oates carried 122 pounds in 1999 and 2000. Last year, Destiny Calls carried 122 pounds to her win as she lowered the stakes record time by four-fifths of a second to 1:37.05 on a turf course rated as firm. This year's impost of 123 pounds was no surprise and actually is a compliment in terms of where she stacks up against the horses that have run in the race over the years.
The reason horse races are run is to see who the winner is, not who the best horse is. Destiny was at her best and Robby Albarado returned to ride the last day at Fair Grounds after spending Saturday at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., to ride in their signature event, the Lane's End Stakes (a prep race for the Kentucky Derby).
Of the other contenders in the race, Vitamin Bag had shown class and speed in two earlier turf wins, making her a tactical consideration in how the race would play out. There were others in the race who would press the pace as well. These considerations became magnified when overnight rains softened the turf course and the official track condition was listed as "good" at the start of racing. With the earlier 4th and 6th races being run on the turf, the wear would make the condition "good" to "yielding." A soft turf does not favor a front-runner, especially at Fair Grounds. The good news for us was Destiny would be quite content to set off the pace and wait for the right time to move.
She had shown her versatility at Delta Downs and we felt the race would set up similarly. The first part of the race went nearly according to the script. We chased Vitamin Bag through a fast first quarter mile in 23.67 and were a length behind her as the horses straightened down the backstretch. Then inexplicably, Robby drove Destiny past Vitamin Bag through a path on the rail. Vitamin Bag now took up the chase and both mares blazed a half mile in 48.08. A fast half on a dry turf at Fair Grounds normally would be run in over 49.00. Vitamin Bag fell away and others came to press the pace after Destiny carved a three-quarter timing of 1:13.80. This was suicidal and the closing runs of Autobesarah and Merry Mary were just too much for Destiny to hold off. She fought gamely inside the sixteenth pole to the wire but didn't have enough left to overcome the closers, yet hung on for third beaten a length from Merry Mary (carrying 116 pounds) and a neck from Autobesarah (carrying 115 pounds) with the race finishing in 1:39.68 (near 14 lengths slower than last year).
Robby offered an explanation saying she wanted the lead because she was on the inside of the other horses in the race, whereas at Delta she was on the outside of the speed. All riders have an explanation like that tucked away after the favorite they just rode got beat. He rode a textbook race at Delta in order for Destiny to win. I guess we're all only human and it all balances out.
Destiny Calls has been sent to Al Stall Jr.'s barn at Shreveport under the watchful eye of Pam Fitzgerald to prepare for the Irving Distaff at Lone Star Park in Dallas on April 16. If all goes well we will give her a short vacation after the race in anticipation of a fall campaign beginning at Louisiana Downs.
A little trivia about the Red Camelia Stakes ... The second-place finisher in 1976 was a filly named Gabrellia J, owned and bred by Marie G. Krantz. The winner of the 1993 race was Blueyesnlonglegs, owned and bred by Vickie L. Krantz, becoming the first stakes win for the owner and breeder. This was also the first stakes win for the owner/breeder/trainer combination of Vickie Krantz and Gary Palmisano, and as Paul Harvey used to say, that leads us to the rest of the story.
Blueyed Lass has given us another reason to be optimistic about our stable for next fall. Her first two races were impressive wins. In both she showed the same lack of mental maturity or "greenness" Coach Rags had displayed in his early races. She also has shown an aptitude for longer distances.
After her success the logical next step for her was the Sarah Lane's Oates Handicap run on Saturday, March 26, the second-to-last day of the Fair Grounds race meeting. The race was first run in 2003 and was the first stakes race for Destiny Calls. She finished second on a turf course that had water pooling on the inside from heavy rains. The 2005 running was only slightly different.
While the turf condition was labeled as firm on the chart it should be noted the condition was posted before the races began and a substantial amount of rain had fallen throughout the race day before the Sarah Lane's Oates was run as the 10th race.
The rain and soft turf were much more of a concern to the highweight and favorite in the race, The Beter Man Can. The Beter Man Can was assigned 123 pounds off of four stakes wins in her career. The most impressive win came in the Tiffany Lass Stakes on January 15. The Tiffany Lass is the first of two prep races for the Fair Grounds Oaks run in March. In the next race of the series, the Silverbulletday, The Beter Man Can was fourth by 6 3/4 lengths in the Grade III race (a top quality field). Now here she was the favorite in the Sarah Lane's Oats against Louisiana breds. Blueyed Lass was assigned 120 pounds as second highweight.
There are many arguments about assigned weights in handicap races. It is a very subjective exercise to grade horses by what weight they should carry individually to handicap their talent to bring all runners together in a theoretical tie or "dead heat." The higher weight horses give weight to the lower weighted horses to make the race even. One of the sports legendary figures, Arthur "Bull" Hancock, summed up what I think is the most practical perspective about weights. "There's those that win," he said, "and then there's those that get weight." In our case we were a little curious as to how Blueyed Lass, a non winner of three races in her life could be rated only three pounds lighter than a multiple stakes winner.
As it turns out, Blueyed Lass might be that good. As the fillies broke the gate, the early pace in the race was set by The Beter Man Can. Surprisingly Blueyed Lass was second and maintained the second spot until the far turn. She slipped or stumbled and lost ground as several horses passed her. After the horses turned for home she looked like she was starting to fade when My Foriels On came up on the outside of Blueyed Lass and she began a rally that carried her to the wire. The Beter Man Can was out-finished by a neck to Miriam L. but was only a half-length in front of Blueyed Lass, who finished a rapidly closing third ahead of My Foriels On by a neck.
With her third place finish Blueyed Lass becomes the third generation of her family owned/bred/trained by Vickie and Gary to be stakes placed out of the four generations we have owned. The first stakes performer was her maternal grand dam Blueyesnlonglegs who produced Coach Rags and now his half-sister Blueyed Gal's first foal, Blueyed Lass. This is a proud accomplishment at any level of our sport.
The Easter holiday was wet and exciting. We didn't get the brass ring in either race but the consolation prize for both horses is we think there is more success to come for both. Blueyed Lass has been sent to Clear Creek Stud for a short vacation. She and Destiny Calls we be joined later this summer by our 2-year-olds as we start the seasonal cycle over again.