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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cowering Before the Throne

- Alan Shuback reports in the Form that Bobby Frankel’s Leroidesanimaux has been installed as the 7-4 favorite for the Breeders Cup Mile by British bookmaker Ladbroke; this despite what is considered to be still a formidable European contingent of contenders even after the retirements of Footstepsinthesand, Shamardal, and Divine Proportions.

Leroidesanimaux is French for ‘King of the Animals’ and, according to reader Andrew Young, who traveled to Woodbine for Sunday's Atto Mile, at least one of his rivals seemed to cower before his regal presence. Noting his measly 3-5 odds and impressed by the appearance in the paddock of Regal Regalia and Vanderlin, Andrew was looking to beat the favorite. “Then it happened and all bets were off.”

Lero and Vanderlin were being walked close to their groups just before riders up. The lead groom for Vanderlin was not paying attention and almost walked his horse into Lero. Lero just kept going as if to say "get the hell out of my way" and Vanderlin just stopped dead in his tracks and was almost spooked by the confrontation. Poor Vanderlin was finished. I could not believe what I saw, and was not sure if anyone else had seen the same thing. I asked around and nobody seemed to know what I was talking about - maybe it was my vantage point, maybe the beer. In my mind the race was over. I bet $200 on the nose for Lero just for the sport of it. There was no way the horse was going to lose and the impressive performance verified what I saw in the ring. I have only seen two horses in my life that have made that kind of visual impression up close. Wando the Canadian Triple Crown winner, and Point Given whom I saw win the Belmont. Leroidesanimaux might top that list!!
The King earned a Beyer of 114 despite barely extending himself in his 8th straight victory, and that’s the highest turf number on the continent this year. Whatsmore, he did so on a soft turf course and from the one hole, not a favorable spot in a one-turn race. Bobby Frankel observed, "That was the easiest I've ever seen him win….He usually doesn't draw away. He was really strong today." [DRF]

I don’t know if Afleet Alex has already been conceded Horse of the Year honors; but a smashing win on Breeders Cup day to complete a four race undefeated season for Bobby Frankel…..sound familiar?

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