Apr 142019

ESPN – Youngmisuk and McMenamin – Magic abruptly steps down as Lakers president

LA Times – Ganguli – Magic Johnson steps down as Lakers’ president of basketball operations

It is not a pretty portrait. It is the depiction of an organization in chaos. It is a portrayal of a mess that, let’s face it, began when Johnson was unwisely given the job in the first place.

It was written here that he was never right for the position and, quitting in a manner as shocking as anything I’ve seen in 25 years covering this team, he proved it.

Johnson quit because he wanted to fire Luke Walton and owner Jeanie Buss disagreed. He quit because he didn’t like the politics of the dysfunctional front office, expressly in regards to the actions of general manager Rob Pelinka, whom Johnson may have also wanted fired against Buss’ wishes. He quit because he didn’t like the rules restraints placed upon him by the league. He quit because he realized he couldn’t give his full attention to both basketball and his numerous businesses.

LA Times – Plaschke – Magic Johnson was never all in, so now he’s all gone

NY Times – Cacciolo – No Playoffs for LeBron James, No Job for Magic Johnson. Why the Lakers Fell Apart.

NY Times – Cacciolo – Magic Johnson Steps Down as Lakers’ Team President

Phil has a question:

If Magic had been given Carte Blanche instead of a Platinum American Express card would he have stepped down.

I make sure I get a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruit. I am a big fruit man; I am a vegetable man, anyway.
Magic Johnson

Magic Man

ESPN –  McMenamin and Youngmisuk – Luke Walton couldn’t outcoach the Lakers’ dysfunction

I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.

John Wooden

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Smith – Winx is now the world’s all-time money leader

Bloodhorse – Racing Post – Mottershead – One for Road: Winx Goes out With 33rd Straight Win

The Daily Telegraph – Winx wins 33rd straight race in her final run at Randwick’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes

The Sydney Morning Herald – Roots – Winx wins 33 in a row as she farewells Randwick and racing

TDN – Vettise – Winx Out a Winner in the Queen Elizabeth

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Duckworth – Winx: surely no other horse could have soared so high so often

Randwick Bells

NY Times – Stein – Stephen Curry Has a Popcorn Problem

The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.
W. C. Fields

Stay With Me

One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.
Cal Thomas

Bad News, Good News

Good News for the Pastor: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.

I have some good news and some bad news.
Client: Well, give me the bad news first.
Lawyer: The blood tests showed that it was your DNA they found all over the crime scene
Client: Damn!  I’m screwed!  What’s the good news?
Lawyer: Your cholesterol is down to 130!

Good News

NY Times – Kolata – Most Osteoporosis Drugs Don’t Build Bone. This One Does.

Bad News

The cheaters will soon have the market for the new drug cornered and the regulators will take 2 decades to respond with a test.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

Bad to the Bone

It is hard to think of practical applications of the black hole. Because practical applications are so remote, many people assume we should not be interested. But this quest to understand the world is what defines us as human beings.

Yuri Milner

The Guardian – Black hole picture captured for first time in space breakthrough

National Post – NY Times Klein and Overbye – A guide to black holes for Earthlings: Even Einstein and Hawking had doubts about them

Quanta – Levin – What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist

FiveThirtyEight – Koerthe-Baker – Forget The Black Hole Picture — Check Out The Sweet Technology That Made It Possible


Black Hole Sun

Black holes are where God divided by zero.

Alberta Einstein

Racing needs a backbone

Does anyone in racing have the spine to make a decision and stick to it?

The situation at Santa Anita is turning into a bad joke reminiscent of the old Ella Fitzgerald tune Undecided: “First you say you will, and then you won’t. And then you say you do, and then you don’t. You’re undecided now, so what are you gonna do?”

First Lasix was banned on race day. Then the ban was put off until next year and even then only with 2-year-olds. Then the ban was modified to only half the current dosage. This is like being half-pregnant.

Rules at Santa Anita have the shelf life of fresh fish.

Horse Race Insider – Jicha – There’s no holding back in final Derby preps


My response to yet another committee, board or group coming up with something that has teeth in it is as follows: wake me when it’s over please.

My problem is that no matter how many rules, substandard tests and other measures are introduced, one thing in the struggle to rid the game of cheats remains constant: no jurisdiction in all of North American racing has yet shown the will necessary to move the ball an inch.

Having been a civil servant for seven years in the Los Angeles County Probation and Civil Service Departments, and having interviewed plenty of stewards and regulators as a turf writer over the years, I know one thing for sure about regulators and stewards: like Congressmen, their main goal is not to lose their jobs. So in order to achieve this lofty goal of survival, they feel it is incumbent upon them not to rock the boat. They embrace the status quo. So counting on racing regulators to save our game from cheats is a foolhardy concept to begin with.

TDN – Letters to the Editor: Barry Irwin

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Paulick Report – New Zealand Shuts Down Seven Of Its 48 Tracks Due To Industry’s Financial Problems

NewsHub – Carran – New Zealand horse racing ‘in crisis’ as seven tracks close for good

Gimme Shelter

Phil will not refer to the 3 year old Stakes races as Kentucky Derby preps as that denigrates Graded races that carry million dollar purses that can stand on their own without the Kentucky Derby. That said Phil’s glad that the skein has run out as each weekend the 2019 class of three year olds failed to distinguish themselves and you may have claiming horses and a maiden in the 2019 Kentucky Derby starting gate.

2019 Holybull.ca Kentucky Derby Contest

In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.


I Came To Dance

2019 Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard

Horse Racing Nation – Brinkmeyer – Who’s in, out and on the 2019 Kentucky Derby points bubble?

Phil has a question:

Wouldn’t a contest or future bet based on the 20 horses that actually start the Kentucky Derby be another way to keep interest in thoroughbred racing.

Every once in a while, someone will mail me a single popcorn kernel that didn’t pop. I’ll get out a fresh kernel, tape it to a piece of paper and mail it back to them.
Orville Redenbacher

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bloodhorse – Ehalt – Bodexpress, Signalman Playing Derby Waiting Game

CDI needs to add a further qualification for the 2020 and all future Derbies. Entry is restricted to horses that have at least 1 win to keep maidens from the field.

Horse Racing Insider – Jicha – Omaha Beach holds No. 1, could break Derby streak

Bloodhorse – Haskin – Derby Dozen – April 16, 2019 – Presented by Shadwell Farm

Bloodhorse – Omaha Beach Exits Arkansas Derby in Good Order

Bloodhorse – Ehalt – Omaha Beach Fends Off Improbable in Arkansas Derby

TDN – War Front’s Omaha Beach Holds Off Improbable in Arkansas Derby

A year after riding Justify to the Triple Crown, Mike Smith has a tough choice about which horse to ride in the Kentucky Derby.

ESPN – AP – Omaha Beach edges Improbable for Arkansas win

Paulick Report – Omaha Beach Holds Off Improbable In Arkansas Derby


Bloodhorse – Oser – Owendale Rallies to Lexington Breakthrough

TDN – Into Mischief’s Owendale Upsets the Lexington

Phil has a question:

Do you think that the jockey switch to Javier Castellano benefited Anothertwistafate.

Do you think that Anothertwistafate’s connections would switch jockeys if they had a do-over.

Who Am I?

Kentucky Derby – Mucciolo – Road to the Kentucky Derby Horse Profile: Master Fencer

Actually, the Kentucky moment was better than winning the two National Championships, because it was the epitome of what I try to get from a team in a crisis situation.
Mike Krzyzewski

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman

TDN – Caulfield – Pedigree Insights: Roadster

The Long and Winding Road

Paulick Report – Frank Mitchell – Bloodlines: Vekoma’s Distinguished Family Roots

Tunnel of Love

Paulick Report – ‘On His Toes’: War Of Will Sharp In Gate Drill At Keeneland

Paulick Report – Hennig Watching Weekend Prep Races To Determine Plans For His Bubble Horse

Gimme Shelter

2019 Kentucky Oaks Points Leaderboard

Gold Dust Woman

As promised last week, here is the story behind MAXIMUM SECURITY. First off, his sire wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire, so Gary West told his longtime racing manager and bloodstock agent Ben Glass to sell him and find a farm who would buy half-interest. Although the asking price was cheap, no one wanted to stand him. Finally, a syndicate from South America bought him and sent him to Brazil. The dam, Lil Indy, had sold for a meager $2,200 as a yearling before being purchased by Glass for $80,000 in foal to Pioneer of the Nile. The resulting foal finished out of the money in all five of her starts. Lil Indy’s third foal, a full brother to Maximum Security, ran for $7,500 to $10,000 claiming races and finished out of the money in six of his final seven races.

Maximum Security was a late foal, born May 15, and his knees didn’t close (the bones didn’t fuse together). West, with over 100 horses, needed to get rid of those who didn’t measure up, and this colt, physically and family-wise, certainly didn’t measure up. They decided to wait until July for his knees to close so they could eventually run him for a claiming tag. They sent him to Jason Servis along with several other maidens they needed to cull and told him to move them along. But this colt immediately came down with sore shins, so they had to wait for him to get healthy.

The colt hadn’t shown anything on the farm or at the track in the morning, so when Servis told Glass he wasn’t working that well, Glass said to just put him in for $16,000. But once he got over his shin problems and was ready to run, Servis noticed something about him and told Glass, “You know, this horse may better than we think. Maybe we should run him for $40,000.” But having just practically given his sire away because no one wanted him, having just sold his dam for a meager $11,000 after having paid $80,000 for her and seeing her go off to Korea, having seen his sister, Lily of the Nile, sell at the sale as a 4-year-old for a paltry $3,000, and with his siblings having done nothing on the track, they decided to stick with the original plan to run for a $16,000 claiming tag figuring people would see he’s a homebred with a dismal family history and assume they were just trying to get rid of a crooked horse.

Even though Maximum Security surprised everyone by romping by 9 3/4 lengths, with no one claiming him, the following month Lily of the Nile sold again, this time for only $5,000. Now, three months later, here is that one-time reject, a winner of the grade 1 Florida Derby, a winner of all four of his starts by an average margin of 9 1/2 lengths, and one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby, and somewhere out there, someone has his dam for $11,000 and his half sister by Pioneerof the Nile for $5,000.

As Glass said, “I honestly don’t have the answers. All of a sudden this colt woke up. You just never know in this game. When you have over 100 horses you have to move some of them along. Dr. David Lambert once told me a horse’s heart develops by racing and putting stress on it because it isn’t fully developed before they run. Sometimes you can’t tell about a horse until they test out their heart. We don’t even know yet if he’s just a horse for course or if he’s this good. It was totally different with Game Winner. The first time we breezed him I sent a text to Gary saying “We just breezed the next Gun Runner (another son of Candy Ride).”

Bloodhorse – Haskin – Derby Dozen – April 9, 2019 – Presented by Shadwell Farm


I love to be in the ballpark. I love to just go in and enjoy a great baseball game, a great pitchers’ duel.
Magic Johnson

Bardown – Johnny Manziel announces he’s changed his name

Phil has a question:

How many out there thought he was going for a moniker closer to has antics and changing to Johnny Asshole.

Darling It Hurts

“I think the message to the industry and the people who have seen this as a way of life for generations is that there is no guarantee it’ll be here for future generations,” Scollay continued. “So I think the message to the current stakeholders, myself included, is to do everything we can to improve the safety for these horses and the jockeys.”

Paulick Report – ‘There Is No Guarantee’: Scollay Urges Kentucky Racing To Learn From Santa Anita

Horse Race Insider – Berner – Racing Must Not Ignore Recent Science

Horse Race Insider – Berner and Pricci – Mutant Gene Causes Horse Bleeding and Breakdowns

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – McNally – Australia in damage control mode after ‘a major stab to racing’s heart’

TDN – Ross – Synthetics and Sealed Dirt: The Science, Data and Expert Opinion

TDN – Bill Finley – So Maybe Richard Shapiro Was Right After All

Cadillac Ranch

NY Times – Severson – The Sweet Success of the Spiral-Cut Ham

Sugar, Sugar

Garden and Gun – The Secret Behind Augusta National’s Pound Cake

Southern Living – Million Dollar Pound Cake

I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn’t irascible.
Ezra Pound

Garden and Gun – Purvis – Endangered Species: North Carolina Barbecue

Garden and Gun – Purvis – North Carolina’s Barbecue Baron

Garden and Gun – Tierney and Saunders – Farewell to Charleston’s Hominy Grill

Gimme Shelter

Southern Living – Luesse – Why Southern Women Buy Easter Dresses

Short Skirt, Long Jacket

The Chronicle – Duke men’s basketball’s Cam Reddish declares for NBA Draft

Phil has a question:

With Reddish declaring for the draft will Duke feel Bluish.

Sympathy for the Devil

Duke is an ugly word in Kentucky. Nothing in the world compares to the joy of beating those hateful swine from Duke.

Hunter S. Thompson

Bloodhorse – Daugherty – Bourbon Resolution Proves Unstoppable in Ben Ali Upset

Phil has a question:

With 2 Graded Stakes winners so far in 2019 will the Wests be on the phone to Brazil to get New Years Day back.

Gimme Sympathy

Hollywood is where they shoot too many pictures and not enough actors.

Walter Winchell

New Yorker – Kolbert – Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

I’m glad I don’t have to explain to a man from Mars why each day I set fire to dozens of little pieces of paper, and then put them in my mouth.

Mignon McLaughlin

One After 909

Phil M Stockmen

  One Response to “The Pre Kentucky Derby Graded 3 Year Old Stakes Are Done”


    Once again Topo resurfaces from a winter in the wonderland known as the Coachella Valley of California just in time to witness what has been an extremely dull lead up to Kentucky Derby 2019. When a $16,000 Maiden five starts back has a legitimate shot of winning this year’s rendition, it’s tough to get overly excited at the quality of this year’s stock.

    But enough about horse racing on this day – Topo is focusing on the final round of the Masters where the great Italian golfer Francesco Molinari leads the pack into the stretch. If one were to go back to the archives in one of Topo’s opuses, Francesco was touted as a star even though mainstream media didn’t and still don’t talk about him much. Topo promises his loyal flock if Bad Boy Patrick Reed (family is important to Topo) puts on the Green Jacket on the Italian late afternoon, Topo will remerge as your Roving Rodent Reporter (RRR) making guest appearances on the Holybull website during 2019.

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