TVG’s The Works Blog: Talking Breeders’ Cup Horses And Hockey

by | 10.28.2017 | 12:53am
TVG's Mike Joyce interviews Dana Barnes, exercise rider for the Bob Baffert stable

I have it sound authority that today's episode of 'The Works' was one our finest I ever. I'll just have to take said authority's word for it as I'm barely part of the production out there on the Island of Santa Anita. As a reporter I can't see the program as I haven't a monitor to look. Plus I only hear the show half of the time, partially because I take out my ear-piece when talking to someone off camera but mostly because I dropped the cell phone we use as our IFB into toilet this morning (true). At any rate let's just assume 1) that the critics are right and the show was brilliant today and 2) the disinfectant properties of the bathroom soap at the track are strong enough to kill hepatitis C.

Of Utmost Import

Del Mar is starting to bustle and the track is getting busier. But again the best work of the day was at Santa Anita:

This work was shot by Anna and every morning she has been setting up her camera right near the box where clocker Gary Young usually works his craft (see yesterday's blog for reference). This little section of the grandstand is located just before the finish line with a great view of the entire track making it a popular spot for trainers and clockers alike. The past two mornings we've been surrounded by the likes of Carla Gaines, John Sadler, Eoin Harty, Bob Baffert, clocker Toby Turrell, etc. When Champagne Room worked she literally caught everyone's eye. Baffert clocked her just for the fun of it, Sadler kept a keen eye on her as both of them will be facing her in the Distaff. Gary got her :59 3/5 and Bob said he caught her galloping out in 1:13. I'm not sure it means a whole helluva lot of anything but her competition was certainly sizing her up, all commenting on how fast she went.

As much as Simon glowed over the work, Peter Eurton couldn't hide his delight and spoke to the speed of the work in this interview:

As Peter locates his bubble-wrap we'll show that work of Giant Expectations with Gary Stevens up:

Team O'Neill got on the work-tab at Del Mar with their lightly race 3-year-old Pavel. I should mention here that I am a die-hard Blackhawks fan and I personally find Paul Reddam's tendency to name all of his horses after famous Red Wings not only annoying but downright torturous. You can all assume (correctly) that Pavel is named after Pavel Datsyuk. But I refuse. I'm going to pretend that he was named after the NHL's original Pavel, Pavel Bure, who doesn't have as impressive career numbers but led the league in goals three times, had a way higher peak, was three times faster and at least 35 times sexier (that according to every girl I dated in high-school). This is important to me why? Because I had to scream Nyquist home in the Derby last year and it created a confused Pavel-ovian (pun-ish reference unavoidable) response that caused me to vomit in both exultation and celebration. That's why. I'm still upset with myself for not just calling him “The 13.” It also doesn't help things that every horse they name after Jonathon Toews (and there's a bunch of them) sucks. I'm shaking…where were we? Oh right. Bure:

Piedi Bianchi, on the other hand, is a nice filly whose name I have no visceral reaction to whatsoever.

Of Marginal Import

So Mongolian Saturday was on the track and did…well, this:

American Pastime went for a spin around Del Mar for Bob Hess Jr:

Gary Mandella was gracious enough to talk us through the work of his horse I kept referring to as “Birdy Num Num:”

And Sharp Azteca did his best impersonation of Janet Jackson's nipple:


Britney Eurton broke the news today that Bal A Bali would not only miss the Breeders' Cup but would also be retired. Here is the full interview with Papa Mandella:

Brad Free of the Daily Racing Form broke the story the It Tiz Well would skip the distaff. Here I am plagiarizing his work while using the pretty horse to accentuate the news:

Not Emergent

Probably the coolest part of my day was interviewing Dana Barnes. She's Bob Baffert's gallop rider and she's been on the greatest horses in his barn. I know this is under the “Not Emergent” section but I honestly almost led the blog with this interview. Not for the information so much as for the demeanor. It's very rare you get to talk to someone who is this genuinely excited about their work/life/everything. All the cynics and critics who try to paint our sport as archaic and utilitarian need to spend a morning with a Dana Barnes. The joy she gets from these animals and the intimate knowledge she has of all of them really brings home just how much you need to love horses to do this job. The backstretch is literally peppered with hundred of people who feel the same way about the animal as she does but you can never see this sort of genuine love of the game too often.

I now must apologize to my colleague Joaquin Jaime. How his segment missed my blog yesterday I'll never be able to justify. I just forgot to get the clips pulled, which is no excuse. The fact of the matter is it's funny, it's on TVG and I have nothing to do with it therefore I'm rife with envy and jealousy (Todd feels me on this). But a good bit is a good bit and this segment is good enough to have been included in the original 'Quarters' open with Todd in his wrestling leotard and Dave Weaver in full costume as Much from “A Bronx Tale.” So Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, 'Grooming Joaquin:'

Shameless Plugging for Tomorrow's Works Show

It's going to be a busy one tomorrow with even more horses slated to hit the track at Del Mar. Also at Santa Anita we'll see Stellar Wind and Abel Tasman with their final works for the Distaff, Accelerate and Mor Spirt for the Dirt Mile, Collected for the Classic, Finest City, MyBoyJack, Blackjack Cat, and more. I also got Cameraman Miles to join Anna at Santa Anita tomorrow so we'll be able to have more fun and be more mobile, responsive, actually on the freaking show more, etc.

Raw Footage

Our production staff has done an excellent job getting everything in to these show so there really isn't much raw footage left to show you. I'm going to post the works from two weeks ago that we have compiled but from here on out we'll most likely get everything in the body of the show.

Hope you enjoy and we'll do it all again tomorrow!!! Possibly with a hangover (don't look at me like that. It's Friday).

Sunday (10/15)

West Coast

Finest City

Abel Tasman

Bolt D'oro

Ultima D/Fairyland

Master Merion/Hemp Murray

Oscar Performance

Monday (10/16)


Gun Runner

Mor Spirit/Drefong

Wednesday (10/18)

The Tabulator

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