All in SID FERNANDO

This year's Triple Crown preps were notable for producing a number of high-class contenders, and, coincidently, it was the first year of mostly all-dirt trials since major tracks in California, Kentucky, and Dubai abandoned synthetic surfaces for the real thing. 

Plot: An ambitious two-pronged plan is hatched by some guys in Hong Kong, to take a local horse from Sha Tin Racecourse to the United States with the aim of winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on dirt in early November. First, though, they'll prep in a Grade 1 race on dirt at Santa Anita in California in early October as a practice run for the main event.

Sid Fernando talks about how Wesley Ward's successful raids on the elite European race meetings goes in some way to dispel the myth that Lasix is a performance enhancer. Time after time Ward sends out winners in Europe at meetings such as Royal Ascot but with Lasix being a banned substance it shows that maybe there is too much faith put into the drug in America.

 

His like is endangered nowadays. I was jolted by thoughts of this while watching the HRTV broadcast of the Eclipse Award Ceremony from Gulfstream Park on January 18. Wise Dan was the equine star of the evening, a "people's horse" in the same way as Curlin. He, too, is a two-time Horse of the Year and top older horse, plus top turf horse. But Wise Dan is a gelding, and he's by the unheralded Wiseman's Ferry. And he's a turf miler - the weakest division of North American racing.