In which we revisit some of our stories from last week…

Spicer Cub runs straight!

Is it news when a horse runs straight?

Normally, no, but when the horse in question is Spicer Cub — famous for losing a race by a nose after bolting on the turn, righting himself, then suddenly scampering to the far outside of the track around the starting gate (here) — well, then the answer is yes.

As in his prior race, Spicer Cub, racing against maiden special weight company, made the early lead.  He was joined on the turn by odds-on Tru Greek — boldly placed outside a horse whose signature move is bolting — who assumed the lead and gradually pulled away to win.  Cub stayed on willingly enough, though, and the Mary Eppler trainee had just enough to hold off Minecraft.

Post-race, it was time to take a deep breath for trainer and rider.  “I had trouble sleeping last night,” Eppler said. “I am relieved, very relieved.”

Rider Xavier Perez agreed.  “I can take a big exhale and get on with the rest of the afternoon,” he said.

(Featured image is Spicer Cub – #4.  Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.)

Rodman chimes in

Spicer Cub’s straight-as-a-string run didn’t go unnoticed in the announcer’s booth.

Dave Rodman, whom we profiled last week, described Cub as “the star of Youtube” as the horses loaded.

Then, as they rounded the turn, he noted, “Here’s where Spicer Cub pulled the stunt last time.”

Fortunately, no stunt this time, allowing Rodman to point out that the horse was staying straight and then focus on calling the stretch drive.  On the other hand, unlike Cub’s prior race, there was no chance to call, “Do you believe in miracles?”

Big week in breeding

Breeding news took center stage for much of the past week.

On Tuesday, the Maryland Racing Commission took steps to promote breeding, steps that it hopes will level the playing field between Maryland and its neighboring states.  These include enhanced owner and breeder bonuses and paying those bonuses down to third place (unlike the state’s current bonus system, which pays only when a horse wins).

Monday and Tuesday, meanwhile, the sales market continued its recovery (here).  At the healthy Fasig-Tipton sale, horses bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and New Jersey showed strong increases versus last year.  Nine Maryland-breds sold for an average of nearly $75,000, including the sale’s second most expensive filly, a daughter of Pure Prize bred by Dark Hollow Farm, pacing a 33 percent increase in the average price of Midlantic-breds.  The region’s top sired horse was a colt by Pennsylvania stallion Offlee Wild, who stands at Pin Oak Lane.