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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Haunting Words?

Back in April around the time I started posting blogs at this site, Handride had a post requesting thoughts as to Curlin's Road to Eternal Greatness that generated a lot of commentary and arguments as to his future races and his eventual legacy. I had hoped he would follow Lawyer Ron's trail to the Breeders Cup via the Whitney/Woodward (got it half right) at the Spa, where I was quickly rebutted by commenter LJK with the now famous Steve Asmussen quote: "I think Graveyard of Champions and the best horse I’ve ever had shouldn’t go in the same sentence. That’s how I’ve always felt about it. I didn’t give it that nickname, but we’re aware of what happens here.” I wonder how many times he's been reminded of that quote since announcing he would run in the Woodward two weeks ago? Anyways those words could haunt him today, in his run at Cigar's all-time earnings figure and his pursuit of "eternal greatness." Regarding legacy, that will be debated long after this race is concluded, especially if he is retired after his 4yo campaign. Today he faces seven other horses in his first ever run at the Spa. He'll be challenged by formidable Divine Park (winner of the Met Mile in a late charge over Commentator in late May), turfer Out of Control, last seen in the amazing wire finish in the Manhatten on Belmont Day and my upset choice Wanderin Boy, for giant-killer trainer Nick Zito. Let's face it at similar weights (126), Curlin, on an ordinary day should have no trouble facing foes like these, but this isn't an ordinary day (his first at the Spa) and his trainer may have foreshadowed the result with his 2007 quote. That's why they run the race.

Being in Central PA this weekend visiting the in-laws, I had a chance to watch HRTV for the first time and was delighted to get a chance to watch last night's The Pursuit of the Cup hosted by Laffit Pincay, and his annoying voice inflection. Wow, I'm glad I don't have to listen to that voice every day. The show, however, was pretty good with lots of highlights and the like. I actually wish TVG had a similar show (maybe they do?). Of course, they didn't explain the BC points system that they showed constantly and I can see how viewers could be confused. They could have also done a better job explaining the supplemental fees also for the casual non-horse racing fan, but I guess the casual fan most likely was watching Temple-Army or a baseball game...oh well. That's why the TBA standings (simple to explain, simple to understand) would make a lot of sense if implemented to be the standard for the industry (similar to NASCAR and PGA scoring systems). On that same note, welcome to new sponsor of the 3yo colt category, North American Trainer Magazine!

Today's Forego highlights favorite Lucky Island and can help solidify the trainer/jockey titles for Kieran McLaughlin and Alan Garcia, respectively. Pletcher/Velasquez could only pick up one win on three joint mounts yesterday (and six total for JV), while Garcia won two races to extend his lead to four with his 35th and 36th wins of the meet. McLaughlin's (16) maintained his one-win lead over Pletcher in the tightly contested trainer matchup. Lucky Island faces Forefathers (from the ice-cold Mott camp) and First Defence (Frankel/Channing Hill connection). My longshot in here is Real Estate (15-1 ML) a Levine/Coa entry who beat Aquino (impressive winner on Travers Day opener) in his last outing. Lucky Island should prevail on paper, but you know what Stevie A once said......



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