This Side Up

This Side Up: Young Guns Seek Juvenile Momentum

You can't really resent someone hoarding the ammunition, if he only needs it because he's being forced to play Russian roulette. That's pretty much how things are for all those new, unproven stallions who corral such huge books of mares. Yes, I remain ever aggrieved on behalf of those quiet achievers who never get commercial traction, despite results that will almost invariably prove beyond their emerging rivals. But I do feel increasing sympathy for the young guns, because their margin for error is zero. They have to land running, or...

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This Side Up: A Very Different Experience-but Euro Strategy Same as Ever

It's the baby I can't get out of my mind, try as I might. Maybe you feel it shouldn't have been out at all, on such an evening and in such a place: sitting there in its diaper, on a table, under the adoring smiles of the good-looking couple who had brought it into the raucous bar. But then the infant looked very much at home, alternately raising a glass of bourbon and a cheroot to its lips. Only in L.A.; only on Halloween. On closer inspection, of course, the...

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This Side Up: Too Much Heart for Most, Too Much Head for the Rest

So long, old big head. Most who fit that description are good; just not quite as good as they think. But you showed an indomitability rooted, not in arrogance, but in an awareness that the odds of life are seldom easy; that the crown must be earned, not just ceremonially conferred. In your case, it just needed a little extra by way of circumference. The retirement from stud of Tiznow (Cee's Tizzy), announced this week, is poignantly timed. In a few days' time, a fresh name will be carved on...

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This Side Up: Fee Cuts Can Reboot the System

As we have come to expect, in a trading environment that nowadays owes so much to their boss, it was the guys at Spendthrift who first put their heads over the parapet. This week, anyway. To be fair, the original lead actually came from Chuck Fipke--a match for the unorthodoxy and initiative even of B. Wayne Hughes, and prepared way back in the spring to waive his 2020 stallion fees altogether. Fipke reasoned that his entire pitch was to small breeders, who were already looking down the barrel as the...

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This Side Up: Arc of Achievement Unites Brant and Mellon

When Ettore Sottsass was asked which of his many diverse achievements had given him most satisfaction, he gave a shrug. "I don't know," he said. "Life is a permanent project. It's a passage from one thing to another." The Italian designer and architect transcended disciplines in a fashion not dissimilar to his compatriot Federico Tesio, whose singular genius was as stimulated by his furniture workshop as by his breed-shaping stud farm. And there's a corresponding breadth of engagement to the man who wrote to the widow of Sottsass, asking permission...

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This Side Up: Whitmore Seeks Fresh Honors For Class of 2013

The seven-year itch, in the current racing herd, represents the best kind of mid-life crisis: reinventing yourself as a champion. An Eclipse Award would certainly be a credible aspiration for Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) should he derail the Volatile (Violence) express in the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga Saturday. Next weekend, another flourishing 7-year-old, Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike), will seek to consolidate his ascent to the top of his own division in the GI Whitney S. Over the past two weeks, meanwhile, their contemporaries Zulu Alpha (Street Cry {Ire})...

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This Side Up: Vekoma Points Weaver Towards Fresh Honors

In these contentious times, at least the cavaliers of the turf seem to clinging to suitably knightly ethics. Last weekend, Honor A.P. (Honor Code) and Code Of Honor (Noble Mission) made a righteous stand on either coast; and Saturday's main event, the GI Ogden Phipps S., now adds Point Of Honor (Curlin) to this overflow of rectitude. In her case, however, the duplication of honors would primarily encompass trainer George Weaver, whose success with Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the Carter H. at Belmont last weekend was his first at...

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This Side Up: Nadal's Retirement Leaves 'Classics' Clinging to Status

So that's why they had to split the GI Arkansas Derby. One division apiece for Kipling's "twin imposters,"--Triumph and Disaster. Though we've all felt otherwise, from time to time, Lady Luck is as proportionate as she is indiscriminate in her dealings with Thoroughbreds. If Bob Baffert is better placed to absorb the loss of a servant as talented as Nadal (Blame), only a barn of such depth could have achieved the level of Triumph, in the first place, to have meanwhile registered a commensurate sequel of Disaster. It's not the...

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This Side Up: The Authentic Potential of Charlatan

"Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes." So said the man who instead gave us a means of measuring tremors once they have actually happened, Charles Richter. But how about when an earthquake announces a Charlatan? Because on the equivalent of the Richter scale, for those who try to quantify a horse's talent against the clock, a 105 debut Beyer for 'TDN Rising Star' Charlatan (Speightstown) at Santa Anita last month represented a convulsion that brought every other member of his crop crumbling to the ground. Some even whispered the...

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This Side Up: How a Pointless Race Can Have the Best of Purposes

Peter Eurton knows. He has been training since 1989, after all: the year of Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. One, on the West Coast, began his sophomore campaign in an allowance race at Santa Anita over 6 1/2 furlongs, before moving up in distance for the San Felipe 17 days later. The other started out in the Swale over seven furlongs at Gulfstream--the fourth running of a race that had already been won by Chief's Crown and Seeking The Gold--before going up a furlong for the Gotham, and again for...

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This Side Up: How Reliable a Signpost is the Yearling Market?

If there's anything as groundless as the commercial market's obsession with new stallions, it's the haste with which they then tend to be abandoned. We all know that drawing definitive conclusions even from first runners can be premature. Some great stallion careers have been built on apparently thin foundations, while conversely many a prolific rookie has sunk without trace. Galileo (Ire) started out with 13 juvenile winners, less than half the "star" of his intake in Europe, Bertolini. On both sides of the ocean, many of those stallions to have...

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