In a festive atmosphere, the California Los Alamitos racetrack staged in the late evening of Saturday January 26 its annual high-point, prestigious stakes race of the USA Arabian racing calendar for 4 year old purebreds: the $75,000 Drinkers of the Wind – Derby (G1) and the $75,000 Daughters of the Desert – Oaks (G1), both at a distance of 6 furlongs (1200 m). Top Arabian horses from Texas and Delaware made their way to Los Alamitos and joined California’s best.
The Derby race lured four horses from Delaware Park and four from Sam Houston Race Park. The Delaware group of colts was headed by Our Machine. On November 4, 2007, Our Machine went in wire-to-wire fashion and won the Grade 1 $30,000 Arabian Cup Juvenile for 3 year old colts and geldings. He was bought for $20,000 by renowned Florida trainer and breeder Bill Waldron. Under his ownership Our Machine finished the 2007 season with five wins, including three stakes races, out of 7 starts. The colt was bred at Cre Run Farms by Alan Kirshner and Deborah Mihaloff. He is from the first crop of the French sire, Nivour De Cardonne, who stands at Cre Run Farm, and out of Egyptian unraced broodmare Dreams R Forever by MHF Eclipse. Our Machine is Dreams R Forever’s second foal and the first to race.
One of the key opponents of Our Machine throughout last year’s season was Cool Sand Luke, a gelding that led the Texas boys to California. He raced at Los Alamitos several times in his career and was victorious in the 2007 Texas Lone Star Futurity where he set a new track record of 1:17.88 for 6 furlongs on December 8. He won eight of 17 starts. He came to Los Alamitos to win his fourth win in the row. Cool Sand Luke is trained by Jerry Partin for Scott Powell. Cool Sand Luke, on the dam side, traces back to the Janów bay mare Armada imported to the US. He is by the outstanding sire, Burning Sand, of the Polish Ibrahim sire line. Cool Sand Luke is the grandson of the Polish imported stallion Mirzaz, 1957 (Nabor x Mira by Wielki Szlem). He is out of Du Smaragda by Azlaf Azjdib. Burning Sand, the number one leading racehorse sire in the US for the last two years, is owned by Todd Moak. He has had an amazing race career and set five track records. He is the sire of outstanding racehorses like Line Dancer 1996, the sire of Daughter’s winner and Los Alamitos track record holder, Unchainedd Melody, and the sire of multiple stakes winner mare Cath 2002. Cool Sand Luke’s 42 year old owner Scott Powell originates from Montana but since seven years breeds Arabian race horses on his farm near the Salt Lake City Equestrian Centre in Utah. The weather there helps keep his horses going during the winter. He loves the Burning Son bloodline. He is an avid endurance rider and is very hands on about his breeding and racing. All by himself he shoes his horses, breaks them, and trains them. Scott Powell has an original way of starting his horses. He starts them early, around the early fall of their second year. He gives them a lot of slow, easy works. He takes them outdoors into the low mountains to chase rabbits through the sagebrush. It takes a lot of time and hard work to teach them how to do this. Some horses perform better than others in doing it but all of them go through the sagebrush rabbits’ chase before they head for the training at the oval. (It reminds me of the deer and antipode chase that the Bedouins inflicted on their racing mount in the 19th century before they hit the oval in Beirut and Damascus).
Drinkers of the Wind 2008
The field to the Drinkers of the Wind last Saturday was: Cool Sand Luke, Walk The Line, Kryptonite CS, Throttle Up, Stoicc, Frysk Me Now, Auroras Rainbeau, The Forrce, Our Machine, and Tri Pro. But this year’s Derby turned out to be a one-horse race. The chestnut colt Walk The Line dominated it from start to finish. Walk the Line took command immediately from the gate and opened up a clear lead down the backstretch with the jockey Otto Arriaga in the irons. From then on Walk The Line turned for home all alone and crossed the wire nine length ahead of the other participants. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:17.87 over the sealed track. Walk The Line smashed the previous Drinkers record of 1:18.78 posted by Arabian Triple Crown winner TH Richie in 2005.
Walk The Line became the first California-based horse in eight years to win the prestigious race for Arabian colts and geldings at Los Alamitos. This victory gave Walk The Line his fifth win in eleven starts. It was his first start in graded stakes. Walk the Line is by Burning Sand out of TF Desert Jewel by RD Five Star that traces back to Homer Davenport’s import of the desert bred Urfah mare. Walk The Line was bred in Virginia by James Morris. He is owned by Donald and Vivienne Dates from Las Vegas, who have only recently begun their Arabian racehorse breeding program. It was Walk The Line’s first start under the care of trainer Chuck Treece.
Heavily favoured Cool Sand Luke by the racing crowd managed to come in only second. The grey stallion Auroras Rainbeau finished third. Auroras Rainbeau was bred and is owned by Michelle Morgan from Mandolynn Hill Farm Texas. Auroras Rainbeau is the grandson of the legendary Monarch AH and out of Aurora RSM 1995 by By Golly. The first three horses were followed by Our Machine, Frysk Me Now, Stoicc, Tri Pro, Throttle Up, Kryptonite CS, and The Forrce who finished last.
Drinkers Of The Wind Derby; 6 Furlongs | 4 Year Olds | Stakes | Purse: $75,000
|1||WALK THE LINE||Arriaga O||121|
|9||COOL SAND LUKE||Guce R||121|
|3||AURORAS RAINBEAU||Garcia M S||121|
The second leg of the Arabian Triple Crown for colts, the Texas Six Shooter, will be run on March 29 at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas.
Daughters of the Desert – Oaks 2008
As for the Daughters of the Desert – Oaks there were 10 fillies at the gate on Saturday night: Stars The Limit, Ange De Gargassan, Abra Caadabra, MD Sugar And Spice, Sey Lady Proof, Storm Surge, Ruby Earrings, Dixie Dance, Sey Trisori Proof and Tri Spring Proof.
Three of the inscribed fillies (Sey Lady Proof, Sey Trisori Proof and Tri Spring Proof) were by the famous bay pure Polish-champion-producing sire NF Proof, 1985 (Bataan x Szalka by Eleuzis) tracing back to the Krzyzyk sire line, owned by Ann Seymour from Florida. Tri Spring Proof appeared to be the main threat to another filly to watch in the Oaks race, namely the grey Dixie Dance. She was bred and is owned and trained by Bill Waldron, many times winner of the best owner and trainer Darley Awards. Dixie Dance is by Line Dancer, the best racing son of Burning Sand, and out of Bill Waldron’s champion race horse and champion producing broodmare Dixie Darlene by Wiking i.e., an Polish/Egyptian cross. Dixie Dance dominated filly races in Delaware in 2007 with her only major blemish being her second place finish in the Arabian Cup Juvenile. She won four of her other five starts, including a pair of stakes races.
Scott and his brother Mark Powell brought to Los Alamitos two champion fillies: Ange De Gargassan of French Arabian bloodlines and Abra Caadabra by Burning Sand out of Caarabine by Aneto that traces back on the dam side through Caapri (El Azrak x Comorra by Aquinor) to the Gazella O.A. Polish dam line. Abra Caadabra was the fresh winner of the Texas Lone Star Futurity 2007.
But this year’s Oaks top favourite was Loren Nichols’ Stars The Limit. She won on November 3, 2007 the Arabian Cup Juvenile and came first fighting hard again in two of the trail races to the Oaks. On Saturday night, Stars the Limit has once again proven that one should never count her out. Under jockey Dihigi Gladney, Stars the Limit tracked patiently in fourth as favoured Dixie Dance and trial winner Ange de Gargassan hooked up in a torrid speed duel. As the two leaders began to fade nearing the far turn, Stars the Limit made a powerful early move and took command. At the sixteenth pole, Abra Caadabra made an inside move and looked like she would run on by, but Stars the Limit spurted away again and won by two lengths. Abra Caadabra finished second and MD Sugar and Spice finished third. She was followed by Sey Lady Proof, Tri Spring Proof, Storm Surge, Ruby Earrings, Sey Trisori Proof and Ange de Gargassan while Dixie Dance completed the field.
Stars The Limit firmly established herself as the best Arabian filly in the nation. The Oaks win gave her fourth victory in seven starts and her second Grade I victory. She has showed that she has a lot of heart and has a strong late kick. Stars the Limit was bred in Florida by Town and Country Farms. She is the only starter from her sire No Limite’s first crop of two foals. No Limite was originally imported from France. He raced for several years in California winning 5 races from 13 starts. The dam of Stars The Limit, RW Norwegian Star, is an unraced Wiking daughter tracing back to the Polish Gazella O.A. dam line which has also produced stakes-placed winner Nordik Star, earner of over $127,000. Stars the Limit is trained by Maureen Spellman. For Maureen it was the first time to California. She has been training since 1988. She started in New England with Thoroughbreds but at her Delaware barn she now has 10 Arabians. Stars The Limit owner is Loren Nichols of Trackside Farm who won the coveted Breeder of the Year 2006 award. Horses bred by Trackside Farm have many a time won black-type stakes all over the US. Loren has trained some of the best Arabian horses in the US history, like Samsheik and HF Sarah. He saddled Sideways Wiking’s son to victory in the 1996 Drinkers of the Wind Derby
Daughters of the Desert Oaks; 6 Furlongs | 4 Year Olds | Stakes | Purse: $75,000
|1||STARS THE LIMIT||Gladney D R||122|
|6||ABRA CAADABRA||Contreras B||122|
|4||MD SUGAR AND SPICE||Wright J J||121|
The second leg of the Arabian Triple Crown for fillies, the Texas Yellow Rose, will be run on March 29 at Sam Houston Race Park.