Friday, June 4, 2010
As famous Augie's go, August Belmont, Jr. ranks right up their with Mr. Busch, Augie Doggie, August Coppola (Nic Cage's pop) and of course, Sr. (the financier who sported a fine pair of mutton chops). The builder of big ole Belmont Park in 1905, was a three time winner of the Belmont Stakes (named in honor of his father) winning in 1902 (Masterman) and in back to back years of 1916 (Friar Rock) and 1917 (Hourless).
His obituary published in TIME Magazine stated that he was "credited with having saved thoroughbred racing when it was at its lowest ebb in the East, after the repeal of the racing law in New York State. He was Chairman of the Jockey Club, founder of Belmont Park (famed Long Island track), owner of many celebrated horses—Rock Sand, Norman III, Tracery, Man o' War, and Ladkin. These swift beasts wore his famed colors—scarlet, maroon sleeves, black cap—to victory. His greatest regret was that he sold Man o' War to S. D. Riddle, under whose ownership he developed into the "fastest horse since Pegasus."
Interesting stuff to delve into and I bet he had a nice pocket watch, too. But current events have us focused on Elmont, New York and the annual renewal of the running of his old man's race. Augie's Big Adventure is on our doorstep and it's time to take a peek at the contenders with some fleeting thoughts on each....
#1 Dave in Dixie (20-1). In Dixie Land I'll make my stand to live and die in Dixie. Song's in your head now, isn't it. Augie's Big Adventure is in the Big Apple and Dave's in Dixie. Pass.
#2 Spangled Star (30-1). Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light. Val from Foolish Pleasure has this one ranked third in the Paulick Belmont Index (PBI?) and she's sneaky good at finding value (I don't miss much). Lures GoGo into the irons, wouldn't it be fitting that this unknown horse became his first TC conquest? Considering underneath.
#3 Uptowncharlybrown (10-1). Second cousin to Downtownleroybrown. Baddest man in the whole damn town. Kiaran has lots of success taking the blinkers off. Thinking hard about this one. Unraced since mid April, should be plenty fresh. Distance questions are my only hesitation.
#4 Make Music for Me (10-1). Late entry into the Derby stole 4th with late 8 wide run. Music seems to be the theme here. I'm including and liking a lot. Spent a lot of time analyzing his pedigree, there's lots of racing royalty in there. I will be including in my multirace and exotics.
#5 Fly Down (9-2). Want him to win, only so I can channel my inner 12 year old and yell "XYZ!" Have been fond of this one since watching him win the allowance race at Gulfstream on a mid February Sunday afternoon. An unfortunate trip in the Louisiana Derby kept him out of the Derby, but he came back with an impressive Dwyer showing and 99 Beyer.
#6 Ice Box (3-1). The fav had to work extra hard in the Derby to grab the placing. In the mix for sure, and I've learned my lessons in NY Racing by not playing Lezcano. Zito loves the Belmont and I'm gambling that his horse will be around at the finish.
#7 Drosselmeyer (12-1). Space Gal asked me if that was the name of the repair dude in the Nutcracker. My response: "I dunno." No thanks, passing on herr drosselmeyer.
#8 Game on Dude (10-1). Dorothy, we're not at Lone Star anymore. But ya gotta beware of the Baffert.
#9 Stately Victor (15-1). Aside from Ice Box, the only other G1 winner in the field. Of course, that was the Blue Grass (great big asterisk). Alan Garcia knows the track as well as any jock in the field. thinking this one could be live after sitting out the Preakness. Including in multirace exotics.
#10 Stay Put (20-1). That would have been good advice.
#11 First Dude (7-2). Named after Todd Palin, will definitely have to play a Baked Alaska exacta with Ice Box. Righteous. I am now 5 deep for the Pick 4.
#12 Interactif (12-1). Working well....guessing will be a terror on the turf as his career unfolds. Not so sure about here, but Pletcher wouldn't throw him to the wolves just to have one in the race, would he?
So that's my take on the Belmont field. Some great undercard races. Mostly, I look forward to seeing Tanda, Tidal Pool and Amen Hallelujah tangle in the Acorn and the speed duel that should evolve in the Woody Stephens between Eightyfiveinafifty and D'Funnybone. Good luck and may all your tickets be winners.