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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Counting down...

With nine days to go before the 2012 Belmont Stakes, the countdown to the 12th attempt at the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 is on. 

The final Belmont Stakes contenders will be announced at the post draw next Wednesday afternoon and we'll find out where I'll Have Another will be slotted in his quest for history.

The field lost one contender today as Alpha dropped out of the potential field when he spiked a fever. I actually thought he had a chance to be a spoiler as outlined in last week's Sports, Ink blog.

I've become a big fan of the Preakness, I just dig the venue, the people, the sight lines and the overall vibe that Pimlico has in those two days. It's fast becoming one of my favorite weekends of the year.

Speaking of the Preakness, the Buffalo TV market once again rocked the top 5 metered markets according to NBC Sports with an 8.8 rating and a 20 share after its top 5 showing in the Derby ratings. It's great to be on the top 5 list of something other than snowfall.

Just saw a long-range forecast for New York through next weekend and it shows showers and 60% chance of rain for Belmont Stakes day. Time to start studying Mr. Tomlinson's figures. By the way, the only race I'll Have Another ran in the slop was a dismal performance at Saratoga in the Hopeful on closing day last year where he registered a 40 Beyer. Ruh-roh.

Last year's Belmont winner, Ruler On Ice was one of only two horses that had won on an off-track in last year's race. This year there are several: Atigun ($100K optional claimer on Derby day at Churchill), Union Rags (G2 Saratoga Special) and Unstoppable U (Maiden Special Weight at AQU) all who won in the slop. Paynter took second in the Derby Trial, registering a 100 Beyer.

Speaking of Union Rags, I'm just not feeling it (which means you should bet him with both fists). He's a tremendous specimen of horseflesh, I just don't think he's fast. Maybe on a wet track, but I don't see him on any of my tickets next weekend. Paynter, on the other hand, I see as a possible spoiler threat. Wouldn't it be ironic if Mike Smith got it done with Paynter after two second place finishes on Bodemeister?

I found it odd to see the Grade 1 TVG Acorn being run last weekend....why wouldn't the NYRA put that 3-year-old filly race on the Friday before the Belmont? The Derby has its Oaks, the Preakness its Black-Eyed Susan, why can't the Belmont be his Friday dinner date? It deserves to be the headline race, putting it on the Met Mile undercard didn't make sense to me. I would bet an Acorn-Belmont double before a Brooklyn-Belmont double any day of the week.  Just my thoughts.

Tick, tick, tick...



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