- Good job by TVG today showing the stretch runs of Eddie Castro’s unbelievable 9 wins at Calder yesterday. Also a nice job by new track announcer Bobby Neuman, who took over from long-time caller Phil Salzman this year. He first picked up on Castro during his 3rd win in the 4th, calling his name during the stretch run and noting it was his 3rd consecutive win. As Castro edged to victory number 6 in the 10th, he called “Could this be number six for Eddie Castro?” For number 7, the new record at Calder, all attention was on the rider - “Here comes Eddie Castro with Carey’s Gold....bidding to give Castro his 7th winner on the card...” Win number 8 was a head-bobbing stretch duel and I think Neuman forgot about Castro in the excitement, but for the climactic 9th win - “It’s Ben’s Advantage...trying to give Eddie Castro an all-time record. He has 8, he’s bidding for 9, which would be the most wins at one track for one jockey in one day......He does it!”
Oh yeah, nice job by the jockey too, who was shut out after winning the first race on Sunday.
Castro, a 21-year-old Panamanian jockey, has been in the United States a little more than two years, and in that time has won an Eclipse Award as the leading apprentice jockey for 2003 and three riding titles at Calder.
He was the leading rider at the Calder's Tropical meeting in 2003-2004 and the leading rider at the summer meetings in 2003 and 2004.
His record the year he won the Eclipse Award was 1,256-242-257-174. [Miami Herald]
- Bennett Liebman, the proprietor of the Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page, suggests that we "Look at the chart of the 4th race on Saturday from Suffolk Downs, and answer the question of how the stewards allowed the race results to stand and didn’t cancel the wagering on this race."
- Giacomo had his final workout before departing for New York on Wednesday, getting 6 furlongs in 1:14.80.
Shirreffs timed Giacomo through an opening quarter-mile 26.40 seconds, a half-mile in 50.80 seconds and five furlongs in 1:03.60.I dunno, Giacomo ain’t quite doing it for me, how about you? His Preakness provided a certain affirmation of his Derby in that he again beat most of the horses he'd beaten there, but it didn’t prove that he could beat a top field without having the race set up for him. I’m also not convinced at all that the extra distance will be that much to Giacomo’s advantage. In his column the other day, Steve Crist, in making the argument for a wager on the under-75,000 for the Belmont crowd, wrote:
"I was wondering if Sabina was asking him, and she wasn't," Shirreffs said. [Daily Racing Form]
This year's race is a tough sell. Afleet Alex is a deservedly popular colt, but the idea that the public is salivating for a rematch or rubber match between him and Giacomo is as far-fetched as the canard that Giacomo had some sort of nightmarish trip in the Preakness that accounts for his 9 3/4-length defeat. He was 11 lengths back after a half-mile, eight back in the stretch, and did nothing but lose ground behind the leader while completely clear and inching past tired horses in the stretch. Maybe he will like 12 furlongs more than Afleet Alex will, but it is otherwise difficult to see a reversal of the Preakness outcome. [Daily Racing Form]I might have taken an over-75,000 stance because I think that the crowds of the last few years have risen the attendance bar and elevated the status of the race as an event. But there’s one thing that Crist doesn’t mention in his column that I think may have a significant and negative effect - the no alcohol rule. People who would come on a nice day even if the Belmont was a match race between Going Wild and Tom Cruise to just hang with their friends and drink beer do not want to stand on long lines (and can you imagine how long they’ll be!?) to pay six bucks, or whatever it is there, for a Bud Light, ugh. Those are the people who are going to say f--k it and stay home. This is not coming up as a compelling enough race to convince people who may be on the fence, in my opinion....except perhaps for hardcore Alex fans making the trip up the Turnpike.