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Castle Village Farm’s four-year-old NY-bred colt Strings and Arrows, who missed seven months with a bone chip, is ready to return to racing next Saturday, January 16th.  Trainer Leah Gyarmati gave Strings and Arrows a brisk five-furlong breeze out of the gate Saturday morning, Jan. 9th, and pronounced him ready to go.  We’ll be entering on Wednesday for the Saturday race, a 5 1/2 furlong NY-bred maiden special weight.

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Castle Village Farm trainer Bruce Brown, who saddled Talking Blues to a 5 1/2-length victory on New Year’s Day, is off to a flying start in 2010.  In the first three days of racing at Aqueduct in the new year, Bruce had six starters, with three wins — including Talking Blues — and three more in-the-money finishes.  That’s a 50% win percentage and 100% in the money. Pretty good start for the year!

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Talking Blues, Castle Village Farm’s gray gelding, won the 6th race at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day, to celebrate his fourth birthday.  Under a heady ride from Rosie Napravnik, Talking Blues rated in fourth, on the rail a couple of lengths off the pace, then swung out on the far turn and galloped past the competition, winning by 5 1/2 lengths at the finish line. The race was Talking Blues’ maiden win, and came in his first try since switching to trainer Bruce Brown’s barn, and in front of a big crowd of CVF partners at the track on the holiday. Congratulations to all involved!

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Trainer Leah Gyarmati gave Strings and Arrows a five-furlong breeze Thursday, December 31st, on the Belmont training track.  Our colt went the distance in 1:03.03, which was in the top one-third of the 34 horses that worked five furlongs. Strings and Arrows remains on track to return to the races by President’s Day Weekend, either January 16th or the 18th.

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Castle Village Farm regularly contributes a percentage of its horses’ earnings to backstretch charities and thoroughbred retirement organizations.  The contributions for 2009 went to BEST, the Backstretch Employee Service Team at the NYRA tracks, and to ReRun, Inc., a New Jersey-based retirement group.  BEST operates medical clinics for grooms and hotwalkers at Belmont and Saratoga, as well as paying for specialist and hospital care for backstretch workers who need it. ReRun is very active in rescuing horses from slaughter and finding them long-term homes. You can learn more about these organizations at www.rerun.org and www.bestbackstretch.com.

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The Daily Racing Form makes Talking Blues the 5-2 favorite in Friday’s 6th race at Aqueduct. It’s a one mile, 70 yard maiden claimer for four-year-olds and up, with a field of 10. Post time for the race is 2:48 pm.  Talking Blues will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik and will be making his first start for new trainer Bruce Brown.

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On Monday morning, December 28th, Iguazu had his second half-mile breeze since heading south to the Palm Meadows training center. He went the four furlongs in a comfortable 50.40 seconds. Trainer Bill Turner is pointing Iguazu toward a maiden race, most likely in the third week of January, at Gulfstream.

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Talking Blues breezed an easy 5/8ths of a mile for trainer Bruce Brown on Monday morning, December 28th.  Bruce says our boy is all ready to go in whichever of the races is used by the racing secretary for January 1st.

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Talking Blues to Enter for January 1st. Talking Blues will be entered for the maiden claiming races at Aqueduct that are in the condition book for January 1st. One’s for NY-breds, one’s for open company, but the racing office will probably use only one of them, so we’ll take whatever is used. Both races are at a mile and 70 yards, which should help Talking Blues’ closing style. Jockey Rosie Napravnik gets the call for trainer Bruce Brown.

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Strings and Arrows Eyes mid-January Return. Strings and Arrows continues to progress toward his return to racing. He worked five furlongs on December 24th, and is pretty close to a start. Trainer Leah Gyarmati is looking at two races at Aqueduct, both NY-bred maiden specials. There’s a 5 1/2 furlong sprint on Saturday, January 16th, and a mile and 70 yard race on Monday, January 18th. We’ll decide which way to go as we get closer to race day.

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