February is humming along with another four wins including Eighttofasttocatch's upset win of a tough optional claimer on February 16 and Our Jaks' handy win of a maiden claimer on Monday. Those two wins pushed our yearly total to nine which is on par for the year's goal – which my website manager insists on reminding me every time we win a race or he's bored. It was his idea to put install the Win Ticker on the right. We'll take it, nine wins in seven weeks, including Red's Round Table's stakes win (photo on left).
I was really proud of Eighttofasttocatch's performance and Sheldon's effort. I have always liked the Maryland-bred, but have struggled to get him to settle in his races. He's put in some tremendous efforts for us over the years (a win at Belmont, a third in the Maryland Million) but he was on a bit of a skid going into the optional claimer.
We decided to remove the blinkers and we spent all week galloping the veteran in company to try to get him to chill out. As a trainer, you do a lot of planning, tinkering, fretting and sometimes it all pays off. Whew, it was fun to see him settle off the pace and kick clear. Sheldon has played an integral part in our success and I appreciate his willingness and confidence. I told him I thought the horse would settle, that he needed to settle, then he goes out and puts the plan to work like a Black and Decker power tool. Beautiful.
Lisette finally got the job done earlier in the month for Bill and Gretchen Devers. I think Lisette was just waiting for the purses to increase before cashing in for her connections. On February 3, Maryland racing saw the first purse increase in years, we needed it. Allen and Audrey Murray also enjoyed the dividends as Lisett's sire, Louis Quatorze, stands at their Murmur Farm. Congratulations to all.
Fourteen out of our last 22 starters have finished first, second or third.
OK, we need one more win in February (I just checked the ticker) and we'll be on target. Keep em coming.