vendredi 2 mars 2012

Maybe Today, for Elbow Beach

Elbow Beach at Cagnes-sur-Mer, February 18

This horse that seemed the cream puff, gathered and collected in her first days at Gina Rarick's yard in Maisons-Laffitte, but who turned out to be a little something else again in the saddling area prior to post time on both starts in Cagnes-sur-Mer in February, where she took fourth place in each -- I haven't written, yet, about the second race --, is set to race again today in the 5th, the Prix de Saint-Valéry, at Deauville.

She lowers her big head down to your legs and then rubs it up the length of your body to say hello, lingering a moment at our lower back.

Hello, Elbow. 

And then, one day, she moved that big, old head away, only to swing it back toward my unsuspecting nose, stuck directly in the trajectory of her swing. Agata fixed me up with some arnica, and I learned a lesson about Elbow that she hasn't failed to drive home in the saddling area before her starts. Last time it took three people, pushing with all their might, to keep her in the box to finish the job and get her saddle safely cinched for Fabien Lefebvre, who was up.

I won't, unfortunately, be there to witness the saddling or the race. I won't even be able to watch on the television. We are still in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, and even if we came down from the slopes for the race, we don't get Equidia here. I'll have to wait for the phone call to tell me how she did, and sign up to watch the video later.

Today, she has another chance for a win or a second place, but nothing's ever certain in racing, or as Gina puts it "of course, there is always the unexpected, which is what makes it a race."

There is always the unexpected, which is what makes it a race.

That, it seems to me, is one of the finest quotes from horse racing, ever.

It's a 1300 meter on fibersand for 3-year-old fillies who haven't yet won, and they will fly on the fibersand, so Elbow should be able to stretch out early, which Gina thinks is to her advantage. She has a good top speed, and Fabien Lefebvre, who knows her very well now and likes her action and speed, is up again. All good for us. Ioritz Mendizabal, who won at Cagnes in February and then flew to Dubai to take a first place there a day or two later, before returning to Cagnes to race again, will be up on Caracesca. I really wish I could be there to see this match-up.

We're hoping for the chance to keep her here in France long enough to race her on the 1400 turf on the "coude", or "elbow", at Longchamps, the track the most ideally suited, in Gina's mind, to Elbow's style of racing. Besides, how can you miss the opportunity to race Elbow on her eponymous stretch of turf?

C'mon, Elbow, do us proud today, and, please give everyone a break in the saddling box, alright?

Gina Rarick at Cagnes sur Mer, February 18

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