Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Kentucky Derby Field for Saturday, 3 May

There will be 20 colts running in Saturday's 140th Kentucky Derby, unless someone becomes ill, or is injured.  The race covers one and one-quarter miles on the main (dirt) track at Churchill Downs, outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and the purse is worth $2 million.  Starting time is estimated at 6:24 P. m. (EDT).  A few odd bits of information:
 Commanding Curve is a ridgling.
 Four colts are chestnut, sixteen are bay.
 Starlight Racing, owner of Intense Holiday, joined up with Skychai Racing, owner of Harry's Holiday, and together purchased General a Rod last week.
 13 colts were bred in Kentucky, 2 in Florida, 2 in New York, 1 in California, 1 in Louisiana, and 1 in Ontario, Canada.
 There are 5 grade 1 race winners, 6 Grade 2 winners, 4 Grade 3 winners, 1 Black Type winner, 1 Listed winner, and 1 colt each placed in a Grade 1, Grade 2, and a Grade 3 race.
 Twelve of the 20 colts entered have bloodlines that trace back to *Forli, the sire of our stallion of choice at Sleepy Hollow Horse Farm in Micanopy.
 California Chrome is the morning line betting favorite - he is a flashy chestnut with a blaze and four white stockings.  He has run in three races in his career, and has won all three by a (combined) total of 18 lengths.

 Following is the listing of entries for the Kentucky Derby; listed first by Post Position, then by name, then the name of the jockey, morning betting line odds, and, if the colt is related to *Forli, there will be an "*" between the Jockey's name and the odds (odds were set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs):
1.   Vicar's In Trouble,  Rosie Napravnik  *   30 to 1
2.   Harry's Holiday,  Corey Lanerie  *   50 to 1
3.   Uncle Sigh,  Irad Ortiz Jr  *   30 to 1
4.   Danza,  Joe Bravo   10 to 1
5.   California Chrome, Victor Espinoza  *   5 to 2
6.   Samraat,  Jose Ortiz   5 to 1
7.   We Miss Artie,  Javier Castellano  *   50 to 1
8.   General a Rod, Joel Rosario  *   15 to 1
9.   Vinceremos,  Jose Rococo Jr   30 to 1
10. Wildcat Red,  Luis Saez   15 to 1
11. Hoppertunity,  Mike E Smith  *   6 to 1
12. Dance With Fate,  Corey Nakatani  *   20 to 1
13. Chitu,  Martin Garcia  *   20 to 1
14. Medal Count,  Robby Albarado  *  20 to 1
15. Tapiture,  Ricardo Santana Jr   15 to 1
16. Intense Holiday,  John Velazquez  *  12 to 1
17. Commanding Curve,  Shaun Bridgmohan   50 to 1
18. Candy Boy,  Gary Stevens   20 to 1
19. Ride On Curlin,  Calvin Borel   15 to 1
20. Wicked Strong,  Rajiv Maragh  *  8 to 1

  More information on all the colts and fillies racing in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, may be found at :

Various Photos

Don't forget to light your Walpurgis Night bonfire tonight!

Spring in the Ozarks - Big Spring, Missouri

Mother and calf

Spring cabin in the mountains

A child's car seat - circa 1963

One good roll deserves another!

The Kentucky Oaks Field

Yesterday, I listed the 13 fillies who will Run for the Lilies on Friday, 2 May, in the 11th race at Churchill Downs.  The starting gate is scheduled to open at 5:49 (EDT) for the one and one-eighth mile race that has a purse of $1 million.  First, little bits of trivia:
 Of the 13 fillies running, 4 are chestnut and 9 are bay.
 12 of the 13 fillies were born in Kentucky - Thank You Marylou is a Virginia-bred.
 3 fillies are Grade I winners, 2 are Grade 2 winners, and 2 are Grade 3 winners; 2 fillies are Black Type winners; 1 filly won a Listed raced; 1 filly was second in a Black Type race, 1 filly was second in a Grade 3 race, and 1 filly was second in a Grade 2 race.
 Six of the 13 fillies are related to *Forli, whose son, For Bow, was our stallion of choice at Sleepy Hollow Horse Farm, in Micanopy.
  Please keep in mind that I haven't seen any of these fillies in the flesh, nor have I seen any of them race - not even on film.  My choices are made purely from pedigrees, still photos, jockeys and trainers...  I am not in any way, shape, or form, a true bettor - I give myself  $50  to bet with on the day of the Kentucky Oaks and the Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont, and the two days of the Breeders Cup.  If I win, I feel that my study of pedigrees is going well - if I lose, I shrug.  The best horse does not always win the race - there is racing luck to consider, how the horse breaks from the starting gate, where the horse is positioned in the starting gate, who the jockey is, whether there are any accidents, any bumping, any interference, and (heaven forbid!) any break downs; not to mention how the track is "running", whether it has a bias, and whether there are speed horses in the race...  So many factors to try and master...  But that's half the fun of it.
  Here is a list of the horses related to Court Jester and Shadowfax at Sleepy Hollow:  Please Explain (50 to 1) is a Black Type winner, with mfbl (My Favorite Blood Line) in her dam's pedigree;  Rosalind (8 to 1) is a Grade 1 winner, with mfbl in her dam's line; Fashion Plate (6 to 1) is a Grade 1 winner, with mfbl in the sire's pedigree; Aurelia's Belle (50 to 1) has mfbl in both the sire and the dam's lines; Unbridled Forever (12 to 1) is a Listed winner, with mfbl in both her top and bottom; and My Miss Sophia (8 to 1), also has mfbl in both sire and dam's pedigrees.
  Choosing on looks from photographs only, I like:  Please Explain, Sugar Shock, Rosalind, Fashion Plate, Aurelia's Belle, Unbridled Forever, and Empress of Midway.
  Choosing by pedigree only, I like: Ria Antonia, Rosalind, Aurelia's Belle, Unbridled Forever, and My Miss Sophia.
   Combining the two lists from above, with jockeys, and the fillies' racing histories, I like:  Sugar Shock, Rosalind, Fashion Plate, Unbridled Forever, and Got Lucky.
   ** Untapable is the betting favorite, but I don't believe she will win, even though I'll rooting for her, since Rosie Napravnik will be her jockey.  I also like Ria Antonia, ridden by Mike Smith; she won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies race in November - unless Mike performs some superior reinsmanship, I don't believe she'll win, either....**
  Here's hoping for a wonderful, clean race on Friday!
(And, Churchill Downs had a red face of embarassment yesterday - they were showing the saddle cloths for the Derby horses, and someone pointed out that they had spelled California Chrome's name as "Califorina Chrome" ...  )

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring in Old Europe

A quiet alley in Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

Ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece

The Djedep Gorge (or the Danube Canyon) between Serbia and Romainia

Rocks near Corfu Town (Kerkyra), Corfu, Greece

The Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia

Italian countryside

The Tennessee Bird Walk & The Kentucky Oaks Draw

I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head - I believe that it's called an "ear-wig" these days.  The song was released in 1970, and was sung by a husband and wife duet, Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan.  It was a novelty - or party - song.  It reached #23 in the Top 100 Hits List, and was #1 on the Country charts for a week or two.  These are the lines that are stuck in my head:
"So, remember me, my darling, when Spring is in the air,
And those bald-headed birds are whispering everywhere,
When you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear,
That's the Tennessee Bird Walk....    (Chirp, chirp)"
I hadn't thought of that song in years, and I have no idea why it is running around inside my brain today. Spring is in the air, but I have seen no bald-headed birds, I haven't seen them whispering, and I haven't observed any birds wearing dirty underwear walking to the south....  So why is it stuck in my brain?
   Thirteen fillies are entered in Friday's running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks.  Following is their Post Position, followed by the ladies' names, the names of their jockeys, and  the morning betting odds:
1.   Please Explain,  Jose Lezcano    50 to 1
2.   Ria Antonia,  Mike E Smith       10 to 1
3.   Sugar Shock,  Calvin Borel        12 to 1
4.   Rosalind,   Joel Rosario          8 to 1
5.   Thank You Marylou,   Julian Leparoux    30 to 1
6.   Kiss Moon,  Victor Espinoza    30 to 1
7.   Fashion Plate,  Gary Stevens    6 to 1
8.   Aurelia's Belle,  Channing Hill    50 to 1
9.   Unbridled Forever,  Robby Albarado    12 to 1
10.  Empress of Midway,  Corey Nakatani     50 to 1
11.  My Miss Sophia,  Javier Castellano    8 to 1
12.  Got Lucky,   John Velasquez    20 to 1
13.  Untapable,   Rosie Napravnik     4 to 5
I'll write about the fillies tomorrow, and Thursday I'll write about the 20 colts in the Derby.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Various Photos

Enjoying the sun on the snow

Island in Tumuch Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Boat-billed heron

The Wave formation at Vermilion Cliffs National Park in Arizona

A Philippine eagle

Weather, Vikings, and the Derby

I know that the Midwest, South, and East coasts have all be experiencing terrible weather.  Our weather folks said we'd have lots of rain and snow from Saturday night through noon today.  We've had two very brief rain showers (less than 5 minutes each)  and we are having some wind - nothing bad yet in Boulder, but they're having 50 to 70 mph winds up in the mountains.
   It was nice to get home last night and climb into bed with my kits.  Nedi had to nurse on my right arm, as usual, while Lovey hasn't let me do anything unaccompanied.  I've spent 90 minutes with Sasquatch and Tugger on Redwood this morning, and walked Rosie and played with Boo.  I've also swept my patio, fed my squirrels, and have my supper planned.  I'll head back to Tugger and Sasquatch again tonight, and then early tomorrow morning.  Then I'm free for 48 hours - I was going to go down to Denver, but I'm going to stay at home and vegetate (mostly).
   I just received notice that the History Channel is going to do a marathon showing of the second season of Vikings tomorrow, which is Tuesday, 29 April.  The viewing will begin at 2 p. m. and all 9 episodes from this season that have previously been aired, will show again, in order.  Of course, this is the big lead up to Thursday night's season finale - which has King Horick telling Floki he must kill Bjorn (Ragnar's oldest son) and telling Siggy that she must kill all of Ragnar's younger sons in the Main Hall.   -  Somehow, I don't think it happens....
   In Saturday's Kentucky Derby, Ring Weekend has spiked a fever of 102, and will not run.  Since Midnight Hawk is also not running, that means that, at the moment, both Harry's Holiday and Commanding Curve are now included in the top 20 contenders.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Various Critters

Baby squirrels

Asian brown wood owl

Coton de Tulear, dog breed from Madagascar

Greater kudu

Grey fox kit

Weather, and Little Bits

Eighty degrees today, and snow tomorrow night...  Colorado weather can't be beat!  The mountains are expecting 4 to 16 inches of snow Sunday afternoon, evening, and Monday morning.  The weather forecasters say we'll end up with 1 to 2 inches of slush on the ground by noon Monday.  And then we'll have highs in the mid-50s for the rest of the week - well, it is still April; and last year we did get 12 inches of snow on 2 May.   Rosie and I had a great time yesterday, and I visited Sasquatch and Tugger to see how their new pill-gun works.  There is a robin building a nest on one of the deck lamps at Rosie's, so I've turned off the switch, so the light won't bother any chicks (with Nancy and Joel's permission, of course).
  My court appearance for April 29 and 30 has been cancelled - the case has been settled out of court with a plea bargain.  But I believe that I'll take the 30th off anyway, and go down to Denver for the day - wander through the shops on the 16th Street Mall and possibly hit the library for some research.
  I managed to get Joel's laptop cleaned up and running nicely after 3 days.  Last night I clicked "Shut Down" after looking at Kentucky Derby contender pedigrees.  This morning, the laptop states that it is no longer connected to the internet.  I've un-plugged and re-plugged all the connectors, and the power source.  The little so-and-so still says it's no longer connected to the internet.  I went upstairs and disconnected and re-connected all the cables to the main frame, and re-started it.  The laptop still says it's not connected...  I guess I'll leave it up to Joel to "fix" when he returns...
  A week from the Derby!  I'm starting to get excited, and am looking forward to a clean race with no injuries and no objections...  A couple of the colts are still pretty green, so there might be objections, especially with the crowd noise at Churchill Downs.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Chincoteague Island, Virginia Photos

These photos were taken by my friend, Deb Iddings Noll, when she visited Chincoteague and Assateague Islands for the CVFC Spring Round-Up....

A typical Chincoteague Island home, built in 1890

Sick Person in New York State

Disgusting!  The first news item I saw this morning was a report from Yonkers, New York.  Sanitation workers walk through wooded areas once a year, in the spring, to pick up trash and discarded items.  This has been done for the past 15 years.  Yesterday, workers found 25 plastic bags, mostly large, heavy-weight dark plastic, tied to a series of tree branches.  The plastic bags themselves were tightly knotted around the limbs.  Each bag contained the remains of a dead cat.  So far, there is nothing to tie the cats to one another - they were of various ages, and are in different states of decomposition.  Most of the cats were already dead when placed inside the bag.  None were micro-chipped.  It is possible that they were feral cats, killed by a single person.  In any way, I think it is very sick, sad and disgusting.  Anyone with any information is asked to call detectives at 914-377-7724, or call the SPCA's Animal Cruelty Hotline at 914-941-7797.  This person should be stopped as quickly as possible!
   Here in Boulder, a coyote grabbed a small dog and disappeared with it yesterday afternoon on the Bear Creek Trail.  The dog was a Coton de Tulear, a small breed from Madagascar, which is normally less than 12 inches tall at the shoulder, and has a coat like combed cotton.  The owner allowed her dog off leash in an area where a leash is required, because she didn't want to encounter bushes at the edge of a creek, where her dog wanted to drink.  So she removed the leash, the dog trotted to the creek, and while it was drinking, a coyote picked it up by the scruff of the neck and ran with it.  -  It's spring time in the Rockies, people. Wild creatures are prowling and establishing their territories.  There are black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, and large numbers of coyotes on the move, and seeking a suitable summer home.  If you want to keep your pet safe, keep it on a leash or inside.  Allowing your dogs and cats to roam in brushy country with predators around is a very stupid choice to make.
   It's 7 days until the Kentucky Oaks will be run, and 8 days to wait for the Kentucky Derby.  I'm looking at the pedigrees of the entrants, their photos, and their jockeys...  I'll let you know next week about my choices - once Post position has been drawn and announced.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Critters

Donkey with new foal

Bat-eared desert fox kits

Highland calf

Yellow-billed cuckoo

Colorado black bear

Black Bear

Had wind and rain last night - but I was watching the first five episodes of Vikings (season 2) and didn't care.  Rosie and I had a good night, but I awoke at 5 this morning because I heard the recycling bin being "stirred."  I'm used to hearing the clinking and clattering of glass and cans at 5 a. m. when I'm at home - that's when the Millennium takes their trash out.  But I was sleeping with Rosie, in her house, in north Boulder - and the trash pick-up had been Tuesday, for compostables and trash, not for recycling.  So I wandered downstairs and continued to hear things being moved around in the recycling bin - a heavy-duty 50-gallon bin on rollers, with an attached top.  I stepped into the garage, and silently opened the lock on the rear door.  There was a black bear digging in the bin - looking for food, I'm guessing.  The paper recycling bin was open, and stuff was strewn about in the yard, and the bear was digging through the glass and metal bin.  I know very well that what goes into that bin has been washed out with dish soap, so there shouldn't be any food scent left to those items...  But there was the bear.  The actual trash can was empty, but is kept inside the locked garage.  So I went upstairs, after closing and relocking the door, and in about 5 minutes, the bear was certain there was nothing to eat, and so he wandered across the street and down by the creek.  I waited for an hour before I went and picked up all the trash in the yard, and placed it back into the correct bins.  I guess I'll have to suggest either big bungee straps or locks for the cans at night, since the bears are coming down from the hills now, and are seeking food.  (And Rosie slept through it all, thank goodness!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Possible Posting Problems

The laptop I use at Rosie's keeps freezing on me - I've spent 3 hours trying to clear it of junk, but it doesn't seem to have helped any.  Therefore, my blogging will be problematic until Monday...  I'll try to get on line and post, but I can't say that I'll definitely do so.  Just remember to keep your heads up and heels down!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zenyatta & Her Breedings

Zenyatta won 19 of 20 races under jockey Mike Smith

She was bred to Bernardini first,
and produced
Cozmic One:

Tapit was the sire of
Zenyatta's second foal, the yearling

War Front is the sire of 
this year's foal, a filly,
born Easter morning:

The Moss Family has asked for suggestions from Zenyatta's fans about
breeding her this year.
Giant's Causeway is my first choice.
Medaglia d'Oro is my second choice. 

Spring Is In the Air

It is a beautiful day - the sun is shining in partly clouded skies, it's 64 degrees and winds are calm.  I have the window and patio door wide open - and, because some yard work is going on, both kits are inside and not unhappy about it.  I've returned my due library books, and have walked Rosie and Lucy.  I also purchased a couple of lottery tickets on the way home.  Whenever the lottery gets to a certain level, and, especially in springtime, I start dreaming of buying a home on Chincoteague.  I'll need to win the lottery to be able to do so.  I know there's an extremely faint chance that I might actually win, but hope springs eternal, and this is my pocket money I'm playing with...  All bills are paid and current, and the kits and I have plenty of food and supplies for the rest of the month...  Ever since a certain set of "townhomes" was built on East Side Drive, facing the Assateague Lighthouse, I've wanted to live there - and one of the homes is available.  But I also like some of the older homes that have been remodeled with central heat and air conditioning - I just wouldn't know exactly what I'd do until the money was in my bank account....
   Butterflies are appearing, and Lynn Thore's bees and the Chandler bees are busy throughout the neighborhood - most of the open blooms are currently dandelions, but that's OK - we need the bees as pollinators; hopefully the apple trees haven't been damaged so far.  The squirrels are definitely feeling Spring in the air, as are the ducks and geese.  This morning I saw a male house finch feeding a female a tasty worm, and I gave him a thumbs up for his courting manners.  One of the joggers going by asked why I had made the gesture, and when I explained, she seemed amazed; she said she sees the birds when running but she never focuses on what they're doing.  I made the comment that I believed that what I saw and enjoyed was called "stopping to smell the flowers, and/or looking at nature."  She thinks I'm a little strange, from the look she gave me...
   I really enjoyed watching The Blacklist last night on NBC.  James Spader keeps getting better with age!  And the story lines are always well written and intriguing.  I wonder what is shown on the photos that Lizzie looked at last night - the ones that turn her completely against Red.  Are they true photos?  Are they fake?  Have they been photo-shopped?  Do they show Red smothering her father with a pillow in the hospital?  What?  Tonight I have NCIS and Person of Interest to enjoy, and then I'll be waiting for Vikings on Thorsday night.  But I'm sure that Rosie and I will have a lot of fun in between times!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scenes Around the World

Old Tom's Cove oyster grounds watch house, Assateague Channel, Virginia, USA

Spring fog above the Tamis River in Serbia

Lion's Mane jelly fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Flower blooming in South Africa

Strawberry fields in Huyuk, Turkey

The Kuresoo Bog in Estonia

Just Things

A nice, quiet weekend for me...  Currently, Nedi is outside playing with the squirrels, while Lovey is lying in a patch of sunlight on the foot of the bed.  I woke up about ten minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off this morning, so I turned it off.  I drifted back to wakefulness 40 minutes later, with Lovey burbling in my ear and the sound of finches and sparrows singing outside the door.  I gave the squirrels walnuts this morning, and was very happy to see Cashew appear for breakfast.  I hadn't seen him for almost a week, and I know the service dog caught and killed two squirrels last week.  While the owner of the service dog said she'd like to work with me to get help training her dog, she hasn't "had any time" to do so.  The poor dog, meanwhile, howls inside the apartment - and this morning, has been trying to dig his way out through the window.  He's a young dog and needs plenty of exercise, love, companionship, and obedience training...  I feel sorry for both him and the owner, as she will continue to have problems with him.
  I move into Rosie's early Wednesday, and will stay there through the weekend.  Hopefully I can get the family's laptop up and running again.  And it will be nice to see this next to the last episode of Vikings on a 5-foot screen...  I just read an interview with Michael Hirst, the only writer involved with the series (indeed, he's the creator and sole writer), that next year's episodes will include one showing the sacking of Paris - that is an episode to look forward to!  But, as always, I want more; and much sooner than next year.  The first day of filming for the third season has already been set for 2 June, in Ireland.  I'm looking forward to seeing all of the major characters return.
  Zenyatta's filly, sired by War Front, arrived at Lane's End Farm at 12:03 a.m. on Easter morning.  She is a gorgeous bay, with a curling white blaze on her face.  The weather at the farm was so beautiful that Zenyatta and her foal were taken out to the paddock yesterday morning to enjoy the sun, and for the filly to try out her legs.  I still like the name I came up with - Zen Somme - for her;other folks are pressing for Eazter or Eazter Bunny, and a few for Z War Zone or No More Warz.....  I'd like commemorate all of the fallen men along the Somme back in World War I, myself....
14Z outside on Easter morning

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zenyatta's 2014 Foal Arrived!

Zenyatta's 2014 foal arrived this morning - a bay filly by War Front.  I nominate the name of Zen Somme !