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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Memories and TVG Recap

You Know You Are Getting Old When.... The horse you remember isn't the one that is racing.  Saturday night at the Meadowlands the pacer Nassau Country raced.  When I saw that name I remembered him.  Except one problem, the Nassau County I remember was foaled in 1980 and was by Most Happy Fella - Scarlet Letter by Shadow Wave.  The Nassau County I recalled raced till the age of 11 and set a lifetime mark at the age of 8 with a respectable (for the time) mark of 2:00 at Freehold.  His lifetime record was 216-26-28-39 with lifetime earnings of $89,418 (USTA rule 26.08 indicates a name for the most part may be reused after 15 years passed since the prior horse had any activity.  That is unless the horse's name was Niatross or the like in which case the name is retired).

The 'new and improved' Nassau County (if you can call one dropped in for a $12,500 tag improved) is a foal of 2010 and by Somebeachsomewhere - Tsunami Hanover by Artsplace and has a lifetime record of 61-5-17-5 and $94,968 (in the racino era) and also has a respectable lifetime mark of 1:52 set at the age of 3 at Pocono Downs.

My memory may be waxing nostalgic but even though the 2010 version of Nassau County is faster and has earned more money than the 1980 edition and likely will earn a lot more, to me the older edition will always be the better one.

Sweet Lou went out a winner last night winning the TVG Pace Final at the Meadowlands in a 1:48 mile.   After making a bold move just past the quarter (:26,2), Sweet Lou was home free, holding the lead the rest of the way through fractions of :54, 1:21.3 and 1:48.  As has been the case all year, Foiled Again made a strong move but once again just couldn't capitalize on it.  The Burke stable swept the top three positions when Clear Vision finished third.

While Sweet Lou heads off to a career at Stud, we learn that Foiled Again will most likely return to the racing wars at the age of 11. I am sure Foiled will earn his share of money last year but I suspect at this point of his career, he will continue to find himself being beaten by that 'one' horse who always seems to be better than him.

While Sweet Lou went off to stud a winner, the pipe dream of Sebastian K winning horse of the Year went up in smoke big time in the TVG Trot Final.  Unlike Sweet Lou, Sebastian K led the race from the start taking the field of trotters through blistering fractions of :26,1, :54.1, 1:23 before tossing it in as the swarm caught the trotter at the top of the stretch where he faded to finish ninth.  Intimidate, who loves the big races came from far back to win the race in 1:51.2

The big difference between the two races was pressure.  While Sweet Lou largely went unchallenged once he took the lead the advantage you have when you are being chased by stablemates, Sebastian K was shown no love, being under constant pressure the entire race, causing him to run out of steam.

In some ways, the Swedish trotter was a victim of his own success.  Had he not been as successful as he was at the beginning of the year where he set the bar so high, the year would have been considered successful and HOY would have still been a possibility.  Clearly Sebastian K was not the same horse he was at the start of the year; the long grinding season taking its toll but it was still a successful year for him as he went 12-8-2-0 for the year, earning $663,853 and a 1:49 lifetime mark.  While HOY is out of the question, he will take home the hardware for aged trotter and will be in the running for trotter of the year.

Plans are for Sebastian to return next year as a 9 year old albeit a shorter campaign so hopefully he will be fresher at the end of the year when it counts the most.  It will be interesting to see how he returns in 2015.  It should be an interesting season.

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