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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Monsters, Memories, and...Cookies?

Alpha is a great horse...in New York. In his 6 starts on the New York circuit, he is 4-2-0. Outside of New York, or specifically at Churchill Downs where his other two career starts have been, he is winless. In fact, he hasn't even finished on the board; he ran 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He is, in other words, this year's Stay Thirsty. This is not to detract from his Jim Dandy win. He ran a good race under Ramon Dominguez in the slop. I say good because he reeled off each quarter in an even 24 and change pace. Nothing spectacular, but it got the job done. If he could win outside of New York, he would be a major contender in the division. But he doesn't win outside of New York, which makes a Breeders' Cup win and possible championship honors look like nothing more than pipe dreams for the colt and his connections.
 
 
Like his stablemate Bodemeister, Paynter is a colt with a heckuva lot of talent. In the span of about 5 months, he has gone from a maiden winner to a Grade 1 winner with a few nice races in between. He still has some work to do if he hopes to de-throne I'll Have Another (who I have taken to calling "Cookie" on account of the story behind his name), but his win today in the Haskell showed tremendous promise and flattered Cookie's Santa Anita Derby win. He has shown that he is versatile, and as he continues to gain experience, he will, in my opinion, be one to keep a close eye on. Stablemate Bodemeister looks to be his biggest threat and watching those two duke it out will be fun.
 
 
Winter Memories needs to be in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. End of story. Last year, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup was the year end goal for this talented daughter of El Prado. While that Grade 1 race is a fitting goal for any top female turf horse, not running in last year's BC F&M Turf did Winter Memories a huge injustice. Right now, she is the one to beat in the division, and her closing kick is phenomenal. Last year she was great, and she has kept her form, if not improved upon it. The Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes is next up for the beautiful gray. She has not been asked to go 10 furlongs yet in her career, but I do not see the added distance being an issue.
 
 
When I think of Calder, I think of a track that creates many horse for course types (Fort Loudon is an example that comes quickly to mind), which is not surprising considering the meet schedule. In a sport where most tracks have a short meet, Calder stands out in that there is racing for a majority of the year. So when a two-year old starts racking up victories at Calder, you have to wonder if this horse is the real deal of just another Calder monster. That is the question I am currently asking in regards to 2-year old Two T's At Two B (Untuttable-Seductive Lady, by Langfuhr). This chestnut colt is 3 for 3 lifetime, all at Calder, with two wins coming in ungraded stakes races. His average winning margin is about 5 1/2 lengths, and he has so far shown a preference for being on the lead. He looks good winning, but I want to see him run outside of Calder before I make any solid decisions about his abilities.
 
 
Richard's Kid still looks great at 7! What else can you really say about this hard knocking son of Lemon Drop Kid? I think he fell off a lot of people's radars last year and early this year due to racing outside the United States. He failed to find the winner's circle after taking the 2010 G1 Goodwood Stakes, his last start in the U.S. before shipping overseas, but he has looked tremendous since returning to his home turf. I am not sure if he is as good as Game On Dude is this year, but a new track record at a mile and a half in the Cougar II Handicap says a lot about his capabilities. And thank God he is not a gelding! It is more than a little gratifying to see a horse at the top of his game still competing past his 3-year old season, and he will be a huge asset in the breeding shed when he retires. Plus, he will be one that we can look back on and say, "Remember when..." rather than, "What a shame he didn't race longer."
 
 
Kettle Corn can't catch a break. If he is not having to face Game On Dude, then he is having to face Rail Trip, who is rapidly returning to his 2008-2010 form. Like Richard's Kid, I don't think Rail Trip is as good as Game On Dude, but it is nice to see him returning to the top. As for Kettle Corn, he's in good shape as long as he can avoid Game On Dude and now Rail Trip.

 

Amazombie just keeps showing why he's the reigning Sprint champion. He started the year slow at The Factor's favorite distance in the in G2 San Carlos and he lost a tough one to Shackleford in the G2 Churchill Downs, but he hasn't finished off the board this year, all in graded stakes. Wherever he starts next, you better believe he'll be the one to beat.  A repeat championship looks well within the cards, too, but he'll have to turn the tables on Shackleford, who seems better suited for sprints than routes, in order to do so. 

 

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Older Comments about Monsters, Memories, and...Cookies?...

She came in 4th as a 3 year-old, and she was racing 6 wide on the turn in the QE II. This year she's older and more experienced. I really don't think distance will be an issue for her. Remember, her dam still holds the track record at Keeneland for 1 1/8 mile, and her sire line is impressive.
I knew Winter Memories could take the Diana, and I love the way she often has that burst of a run, but I think the BC Ladies Turf would have been too much to ask of her last year. Going against older females in the QEII Challenge Cup, she came in fourth at 9f. See how she does in the 10f Flower Bowl, but the BC Ladies turf is 1/8m. longer and Capital Plan awaits in Ca.
That's where she needs to be! Anything less would be an ever bigger injustice than her not running last year.
Toner is saying the Breeders' Cup will be a go this year for Winter Memories, and she looks even better than last year.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.