Handicap Division

Pocket Aces Update #1

Racing can be the ultimate game of patience. Whether you’re racing homebreds or horses you purchased at an auction, a racehorse cannot be rushed. If they are, you can’t expect their best. Those are the rules of the game. Sometimes, the racing gods decide to test just how much you can handle.

That’s something PAR (Pocket Aces Racing) experienced with two of their horses: Command Code and Silver Hammer. Both promising young colts with looks to match that ended up in fate’s crosshairs and on extended vacations at the farm. Health and good fortune have finally found the way back though and the flashiest horses in the stable have found their way to Keeneland.

Silver Hammer

This gorgeous grey got bit particularly hard by the bad luck bug. In his early days, Hammer was working with -and frequently outworking- a horse who won a major stake out in California last year. I unfortunately do not remember the name, but he was well-regarded in the barn. Trainer at the time, Mark Casse, believed he was talented enough to make his debut at Saratoga as a 2YO (a HUGE deal when the meet frequently brings the best of the best). The first shot of bad luck came in him getting cast in his stall. He got his first round of time off and was a week from his 3YO debut in March when he got hurt again. This injury required a very long recovery time, effectively ruling out racing before he turned four. After a lot of TLC, Hammer has been on the straight and narrow ever since. The picture above is the last workout I was present for at Margaux. To say he looks great would be a disservice to the incredible work the folks out there have done. He looks amazing!

I expect you all to rush out to see him at Keeneland and flock in for morning works. He’s worth the trip alone. Before that happens though, here are a few tidbits about my favorite PAR grey:

  • He was foaled March 15, 2015. He celebrated his official birthday (Jan. 1 is only used for classification purposes) just a bit less than a month ago.
  • He has a younger half-brother by English Channel named Bizzee Channel and an older half-sister by Into Mischief named Bizzee Mischief.
  • Hammer’s sire, Twirling Candy, set a new track record at Santa Anita in the 2010 Malibu S. TC covered the seven furlongs on the dirt in 1:19.70.
  • His female family line descends from “Family Number Four”, one of the first in our sport.
  • He’s a camera ham. Take lots of pictures, or you might hurt his feelings. 😛

As mentioned above, Silver Hammer will be at Keeneland for the duration of the meet and is in training with Eric Heitzmann.

Command Code

Even if you’ve never seen Code before, you’ll remember his face. He was in-training up in New York when both of his injuries occurred. They came after a scratch from the turf when his debut kept getting taken off over inclement weather. He was sent to Kentucky to recover.

This flashy -now gelded- son of Mission Impazible is different from Hammer in that he’s very stubborn. And he bites. He’s basically a land shark. If you happen to see him in the mornings, please keep all hands and loose belongings to yourself unless otherwise allowed by the trainer. Code isn’t a mean horse but he’s not a labrador either.

When it comes to taking his picture, it’s Code’s way or the highway. It wouldn’t be strange for me to take 200 photographs trying to get a good shot for publishing or emails and 195 of them consist of him doing as he pleases. He won’t cooperate but he’ll gladly pose for you (seen left)!

Here’s a few interesting points about him:

  • He’s the only registered colt in a family of fillies. All four of his siblings -younger and older- are female.
  • His third dam, Winnowing Wind, had 12 named foals, 11 to race and every single one became a winner. Altogether, her progeny have earned more than a million dollars. She also produced a rare brindle mare named Slewcy’s Gale. Pictures here.
  • His female family line descends from “Family Number Three”, which predates their oldest named ancestor on record as existing before 1695.
  • Code’s sire, Mission Impazible, could run well at any distance. Distances varied from 5f (Kentucky Juvenile S) to 9f (Donn Handicap and Louisiana Derby).
  • His official birthday is May 2, 2015.

Like Silver Hammer, Command Code will also be going to Eric at Keeneland. He’s been working steadily at Margaux since getting a clean bill of health. Both will be making an appearance on track once they settle in at Eric’s barn. Below is a video of Code working out at Margaux!

This is a segment I’ve decided to start since many of you know that I work with Pocket Aces. Some may already follow the syndicate on social media but I realize many may not yet.

Here is your chance to remedy the situation:

Click Here for the their Facebook page.

Click Here for twitter.

They’re also on Instagram by the same name, so if you have the app on your phone, give us a follow!