- A happy crowd of 15,000 was on hand at Belmont for Memorial Day. Well, I suppose not everyone was happy, particularly one guy who, on the way out, was muttering about what a "rat hole" the track was. I'd shudder to hear what he calls Aqueduct. But most everyone seemed happy, and the park was crowded. There were actually lines at the windows outside, and I had to go to Betting Plan B for the first time this year.
I was late getting there; it was foolish for me to think that I'd be able to leave at my convenience with a full allotment of kids in the house. So I phoned in a bet on the early double; a cold combo of the horses I picked here in the first two. Cockney Gambler, misidentified as Dontess on a shaky day for Tom Durkin (that sure would have been a disappointment for Dontess bettors back in the day, listening to the call on WCBS), did his part before I arrived. But Dr. D.F.C fell short in the second to a 60-1 shot (!), Big Daddy Rex. My fate was sealed as they turned for home, and a guy watching at the same TV started screaming "Go Eibar! C'mon Eibar!" It's just uncanny how I never win when the big loudmouth guy in the area is yelling for my horse. If I had a computer with me and could get on one of those exchanges where you can wager in the middle of the race, I'd have laid off my bet as soon as he started yelling.
So that was a disappointment, but I did hit the Pick 3 ending with He's A Pioneer in the sixth, another horse I picked on the blog. I singled Pletcher's Winstrella, spread in the 5th, and singled He's A Pioneer. I would have been even happier if 10-1 Spurred had caught 7-2 Thunderestimate in the fifth, but the $142.50 payoff was quite satisfactory and made for a profitable day. Reverberate was dead on the board in that last leg and ran 5th.
I also picked the winner of the 7th here, and the runner-ups in reverse order. But it was a race that I just didn't care for, and I ended up not betting that one. And the 9th was just wacky. I had written that it looked like an impossibly wide open race, and felt silly when Perfect Bullet was the only horse getting bet. He was even money, and got slammed to 1-2 at post time, 1-2! Looking back, he was a standout going strictly by proven turf form; and neither of the first-timers got bet. But I was surprised that he was bet that low, and felt vindicated when he ran out of the money.
- Thanks to Valerie for pointing out that Clocker-1 was back today, and had this to say about Street Sense:
..he DID NOT make a favorable impression. He appeared a bit washy again, and was reluctant to get going. In fact, he actually had to have the lead pony engage him in order to begin galloping! Not good news for those of us hoping to see the "BIG 3" in the Belmont.They're supposed to make a decision by Wednesday.
After Corinthian's win in the Met Mile, Jimmy Jerkens referred to the horse's last workout; it was a bullet (of 54) five furlongs in 58 flat.
“The work a week ago was beyond anything I ever saw. I never had a horse do what he did. He was just strong all the way. He was terrific all week. I thought if he didn’t run good today, he just wasn’t good enough.” [Thoroughbred Times]The move was one full second faster than the second fastest drill at the distance; and it was truly a star-studded workout roster that day. Chances are that if the Met Mile was scrutinized as is the Kentucky Derby, there would have been numerous stories written about that work, and the horse would have been 7-2 instead of 9-1! Jimmy Jerkens did his part in keeping the payoff generous; I found no comments from him about the work before the race, only him saying that "It's going to be tough."
As he did in his work, he ran strong all the way in the Met Mile. He was right behind the contested pace that picked up steam in a second quarter of 22.49. He was then three wide for a good portion of the sweeping turn for home; but he was solid in the stretch, putting away a game Lawyer Ron and holding off the overlaid Political Force to set up an all-Jerkens exacta of $285.