- Oh man, ten years in prison for jockey Greta Kuntzweiler, and 25 for her boyfriend Bryan Beccia on charges of possessing, trafficking and making methamphetamine. The latter in particular would probably have been better off dabbling in second degree manslaughter, and certainly with conspiring to lie this country into war. The attorneys for Scooter Libby, sentenced to 30 months or the end of Bush's term, whichever comes sooner, (thankfully, for us as well as for Libby, it's the latter) attempted to block the release of letters written on his behalf. They included submissions from fellow war criminals like Donald Rumsfeld and Henry Kissinger, and the attorneys argued that bloggers would make fun of them (I kid you not). But I don't imagine that I'll have any such letters to ridicule in this very, very sad case.
Beccia was the exercise rider for Monarchos, and was mentioned in that Derby winner's breeder JD Squires' book A Horse of a Different Color. "A former assistant trainer himself, Beccia knew that as a rider he possessed the trainer's most valued tool - a clock in his head." I'm sorry to say that that's a trait that will not serve Beccia at all well in prison. Kuntzweiler, who hasn't ridden in more than a year, won 425 career races, but is known more to me as a former client of jockey agent Bob Nastanovich, a former drummer for the seminal 90's indie rock band Pavement.
- Garrett Gomez may have been the biggest loser on Belmont Day. Not only was he on the wrong horse in the Belmont having committed, too soon as it turned out, to Hard Spun, but he has apparently permanently lost the mount on Rags to Riches to John Velazquez. Johnny V earns that duty based on an absurdly wide trip that he would have been killed for had the filly lost. And if that's not bad enough, Gomez himself is getting killed for his ride on Hard Spun, who he kept wrestled back off the pace throughout the slow opening half mile and three quarters. Larry Jones lamented that Gomez did not seem to have the same talent as the unfortunate Bryan Beccia.
"I'm really starting to wonder whether any jockey has a clock in his head anymore. You could tell the old time jocks how fast to go and if they were off even a fifth of-a-second, they'd be upset with themselves. I really don't know whether these (modern) jocks have a clue as to how fast they're going." [NY Post]Well, throughout his Triple Crown campaign, we've heard that Hard Spun has gone too fast, Hard Spun has gone too slow, but not much of 'Hard Spun was going too far,' the most likely explanation in my opinion.
Dan Illman was discussing the slow pace the other day (the slowest since 1969 according to the Post's Ray Kerrison in the abovelinked article) in the Formblog, and after he was finally done giving props to all his commenters who picked winners over the weekend (which is nice for those readers but, to me, doesn't make for particularly interesting reading), he wrote that the top two were "probably" the best horses in the race. In response, I would direct you to the early stretch run. Curlin and Rags to Riches just waved bye-bye to their opponents, leaving that field in the dust as they scooted away from them as quickly as Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are running from their past policies as chief execs of liberal bastions. I think that they far outclassed the rest of the field regardless of the pace, and I say this with a certain amount of bravado since, for a BIG change in a Triple Crown race for yours truly, I was right on in asserting before the race that the two stood out. You can make the case that the gap may have been closer between the top pair and the rest had the pace been more realistic, but I don't believe there's any doubt that the result would have been exactly the same.
- And a reader traveling in China reports that Left at the Gate is blocked by the Internet Police there. Why, I can't say; probably isn't the lefty politics and can't possibly be gambling given the proliferation of casinos in Macau. Maybe if I change the background and link color back to red..