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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So What Did We Learn?

Another triple crown season is in the books and the count is now at 32 consecutive years without a horse taking down the three race series.

So what did we learn?

1) The best horse during the Derby prep season, Eskendereya, never made it to the gate of a triple crown race. Eerily similar to last year's best horse in training prior to the first Saturday in May, I Want Revenge who scratched the morning of the Derby. I think I jinxed Esky by buying a Zayat shirt the week before the Derby....note to the shirt after the first leg.

2) The Preakness appears to once again produce perhaps the best 3yo. The last six winners of the Preakness are Lookin at Lucky, Rachel Alexandra, Big Brown, Curlin, Bernardini and Afleet Alex. Not a bad crew.

3) The Belmont continues to be one of the most difficult races to handicap for me. The added distance, the unknown of how the pace scenario will unfold and the addition of new blood to the series all can humble the best handicappers. Kudos to Paul Daley of the Lowell Sun who nailed the win, exacta and trifecta in his pre-race selections.

4) Folks continue to complain about the major networks not showing the race before the big event (Woodford, Dixie and Manhattan) on all three telecasts. It hasn't happened in the past few years, and I wouldn't expect this to change. The TV coverage is for the event only and not horse racing purists. We need to deal with this. Hardcore racing fans have difficulty understanding this, the networks shouldn't pull/block the simulcast feed though, this is what we should be yelling about. If we can't watch it on NBC/ABC, let us watch it on the simulcast feed. Blocking it only makes us angry and write nasty things about you.

5) The momentum we gained in 2009 with Rachel Alexandra's super season that drove national interest in the sport to recent highs, seems to have waned. It's tough sledding when a pre-race song gets more play in the media (and racing blogs) then the race itself. Ugh.

So what do we have to look forward to in the coming months here in our little niche of a sport?

- With the 3yo division wide open (some would say in disarray) going into the summer, it should set up some great racing in races such as the Haskell, the Jim Dandy and the Travers on the East Coast.

- Is Rachel Alexandra ready to step up her game after a couple of second place finishes against older fillies and mares or will her connections say uncle?

- Zenyatta. Quality Road. Breeders' Cup Classic for the ages?

- 40 days of racing at the Spa. While some of the racing may be watered down, the Stakes races are second to none.

- Keeping an eye on the Monmouth experiment. So far, so good.

- The Canadian Triple Crown. (psst....the Queen is coming!)

- The return of the aforementioned, I Want Revenge.

What are you looking forward to?


Amateurcapper said...

I WANT REVENGE was better than QUALITY ROAD last year? Thanks for the heads up on IWR coming back...see that he's got a bunch of 1/2 miles and a 5f spin. Maybe those two will settle the debate on track.

Re: Belmont Stakes handicapping...IMHO, horse racing is part art and part science. In a 6 furlong race on the dirt, the most common distance in America, the science factors heaviest. Lots of data = higher reliability of Beyers, BRIS, sheets figs. In the Belmont, the least common main track distance, the art factors in much more...especially when there aren't any Derby or Preakness winners present.

RE: Belmont day race blackouts...ridiculous to disallow showing a race on TVG or HRTV that is not even a part of the network broadcast! They deserve all the nasty comments anyone wants to write.

RE: RACHEL...put up or shut up time. Best for the game for her to turn the Fleur de Lis into a '09 Kentucky Oaks replay.

RE: BC Classic...QR, Z plus RACHEL (?), BATTLE PLAN, BLAME, LOOKIN AT LUCKY, DROSSELMEYER, SUPER SAVER, RAIL TRIP, FLY DOWN, ICE BOX, FIRST DUDE, MINE THAT BIRD and the Coach, and a healthy I WANT REVENGE! That will definitely do the game good!

The_Knight_Sky said...

SpaceGuy wrote:

....the networks shouldn't pull/block the simulcast feed though, this is what we should be yelling about.


I agree to a point. But the people who need some horse sense knocked into them are the ones who gave "exclusive rights" to ABC/NBC for the race without getting in writing that they televise the major stakes on the undercard.

It other words, the ractracks doing the negotiating failed.

They only got one egg roll instead of two. And a bland one at that.

EquiSpace said...

Rob: Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Yeah, QR was probably the favorite prior to his defection, making IWR the ML favorite. I'm with ya. Re: The could shape up to be one helluva race.

TKS: Sometimes you step in the mud and pull out a $20 bill. Sometimes you just get muddy.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Alexandra should blow the Fleur de Lis wide open...should. She looks incredible right now and some of her works since the La Troienne have been jaw-dropping.
ABC not showing especially the Manhattan was just ridiculous!
I can't wait to see I Want Revenge back in action and Dutrow seems very excited about his condition right now.


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