There's The Green Monkey. Well, actually, I missed him there. But that's who everyone is looking at.
There's the Toddster, with Johnny V and guys in suits. Saturday was not a good day for these guys. It wasn't really a great day in general. Rags and Riches' loss, and the season-ending injury that apparently occurred during the running of the Gazelle, is another example of our stars being unable to remain on the racetrack. .
I found the way the whole thing unfolded to be pretty bizarre; it seemed as if the events were all foretold by some unexpected action on the tote. I fully expected Rags to Riches to be 1-9; not because I necessarily thought she should be under the circumstances of her training interruptions. But just because she won the Belmont and that's the way people bet. So when she opened at that price, I figured that the hot action would be in the tote board. Well, it was, and back to that in a bit.
I didn't give it much thought when Lear's Princess started drifting down from 5-1 to 9-2, 4-1... After all, she's a nice, improving filly coming off a career best effort. But I and my two companions, Handride and a loyal reader stopping over in the course of his world travels, looked at each other in surprise and even dismay as Lear's Princess not only went even lower, but did so with much enthusiasm. She seemed to take a hit on every flash, 3-1, 5-2, 2-1, and even 9-5. Meanwhile, Rags to Riches was going in the opposite direction. We saw her as high as 3-5 before some late money settled her at .45 to 1.
Meanwhile, the action on Rags to Riches in the show pool was hot and heavy as expected. It's almost like the track is agreeing to give money away in the form of a minus pool when it agrees to accept show wagering races like this. The money poured in over the last couple of minutes; the total went from $250,000 to around $550,000. But in the meantime, Lear's Princess attracted some bridgejumpers of her own; over $110,000. I've never before seen a race with two horses getting bet in the show pool like that!
So things just did not seem quite right when they went into the gate. And they certainly didn't seem right when Lear's Princess swept past Rags to Riches with relative ease (and that's not to disparage her considerable effort to the wire, especially if she was indeed hurt when changing leads as Pletcher suggested).
It was a bummer, I must say. Once again, a horse with the potential to become a media star and fan favorite is simply unable to stay on the track. I don't know how much of it is just plain bad luck as opposed to issues related to the state of the breed. Nice to hear that they intend to bring her back, but I get the feeling that it's no lock that she does so.
Whatsmore, it's a real bummer that the crowd was only 7,361. That's not really different from a normal Saturday without the "Belle of Belmont," as the buttons that NYRA distributed called Rags to Riches, as well as three other stakes, including a look at the potential future stars of the sport. Not to mention The Green Monkey. It shows how far that a "New NYRA," or anyone else has to go to try and bring people back to the track.
The Green Monkey was 2-5, and brought Pletcher's first-time streak to 1 for 35 when he settled for a no-threat third. He had a little bridgejumper action himself with over $60,000 in the pool. And if anyone ever deserved to lose a bet, it's those who made that happen.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Posted by Alan Mann at 4:44 PM