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Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Birdman Cometh (and the Birdman Taketh Away)

We can chalk that one up to to the Anything Can Happen in The Kentucky Derby scenario. If you told anyone in Racing Blogger Nation last week that a) the favorite would scratch in the morning, b) the post-time favorite would get stepped on out of the gate and lose half a hoof, c) the second choice would stumble out of the gate and d) a 50-1 shot would win by over 6 lengths, they would have had you committed.

From a handicapping perspective (and I'm grasping at straws here) the only way you could picked the winner is that you actually watched his previous races (and your sister is the trainer's neighbor), you bet his pedigree (sired by Belmont winner Birdstone, grandsire is Derby winner Grindstone) or 8 is your favorite number. I wouldn't have had Mine That Bird in a million years. Actually my quote was "slowest of the slow" in my Gremlin post. I did have one trifecta bet where I singled PoTN in the 2nd hole and had Musket Man in the 3 hole with four others, unfortunately I didn't have MTB as one of my top four horses on that ticket. I was actually excited for a moment thinking it might have been Dunkirk coming up the rail, but to no I wasn't too disappointed in my handicapping, but it still came up empty. Four synthetic wins, never won on dirt, lowest speed figures in the field, highest dosage index in the field (not that it means anything), and finished last in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Go figure.

Some pundits are saying that the mud and the distance were the two equalizers on Saturday, I'll wait and see how he does in the Preakness before making that assessment, which should be a tremendous betting opportunity, by the way. The Birdman could be the highest priced Derby winner in Baltimore since Giacomo (6-1) in 2005. Yesterday, he ran a 105 beyer, compared to Giacomo's 100 in 2005.

At least, MTB has a feel-good story (was Canada's champion 2yo last year), unfortunately General Quarters wasn't the one we were hoping would hit paydirt here at Space Camp. Finishing 10th and not handling the mud very well, 75 year old trainer Tom McCarthy said "He came back to the barn choking in mud. One eye was completely packed shut and his one nostril was completely shut with mud. He coughed twice and it popped out." (Buffalo News)

Looks like the Sheikh will have to go back to his piggy bank as both Regal Ransom (faded to 8th after threatening in the early stages) and Desert Party (14th, never a factor) failed to get the Sheikh into the Churchill winner's circle. Can't say I'm disappointed. Where does the Sheikh party on Friday night Derby Eve though, I need to know these types of things? With his harem?

Todd Pletcher (0 for 24 in the Derby) was able to stay out of last place, although Atomic Rain threatened to keep his caboose streak alive. I wonder if Dunkirk will run back in the Preakness? (Update: Nope, injured left hind hoof....see here)

I would think that absolutely fabulous ride by Calvin Borel may have catapulted him into Hall of Fame consideration. He has absolutely mastered that ride and the overhead shot of him saving ground and picking off horses in the stretch in the inside lane was incredible. I have to believe Garret Gomez was completely shocked when Borel breezed by his inside in the stretch, unfortunately the monkey is still on his back, but he rode an excellent race on the Nile.

Pletcher commented on the winning connections by saying "I salute Calvin for his terrific ride. It's an amazing story. It just shows you how special this race is. Anything can happen."

And it did.

1 Comment:

HRMaven said...

...or you could just bet ALL to win. Perhaps we won't event see MTB in the Preakness?


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