- In the 7th at Keeneland, which I happened to catch on TVG Thursday, 4-5 Accredit hooked up with 41-1 Secret Getaway as they left the (about) seven furlong chute; they went head and head for much of the rest of the way. The longshot, who had last raced at Canterbury in August, bobbled at the break before rushing up on the inside of the favorite, and he would just not yield; even when McLaughlin's colt opened up a half length or so midstretch. As Secret Getaway battled back with Albarado, Accredit leaned in, not too severely it seemed, but enough to apparently cause Secret Getaway to stumble once again. Still, the longshot would not give up, and missed by a stubborn neck. The chart reads that he held on gamely to miss; not sure if I've ever seen it phrased that way.
The inquiry sign went up. Watching the head-on showed contact between the two, and I'd have to say that Accredit initiated contact when he leaned in. But it didn't seem severe enough to warrant a DQ. Matt Carothers thought it was apparent that the result would stand.
But it did not. Perhaps the stewards were influenced by the stumble. But in any event, down came the favorite and up went the longshot, no doubt dealing a final fatal blow to any Pick Six players who happened to survive the 21-1 shot in the first leg.
Usually, the talk in the grandstand during such an inquiry would be like "Nah, they're not gonna take down the favorite - they all have it, those crooks!" And even the less suspicious amongst us would believe that human nature would dictate that the foul would have to be quite significant with such a huge swing in bettors' fortunes at stake due to the disparity in odds involved. But a reader emailed me suggesting a different scenario.
After the stewards’ decision, I saw that the horse put up was 41-1 and had this suspicious thought that – after a $45.80 horse had led off the pick six – putting up this longshot would almost certainly guarantee that nobody would hit the pick six and hence there would be a huge carryover to Keeneland’s final day - when the huge carryover itself plus the fact that it had to be distributed based on its being the final day would result in an immense handle for the pick six. [Not a run-on sentence on this blog.]The reader swears that he's not the conspiracy theorist type, and neither am I, but it's certainly worth some thought under the circumstances. The carryover is $375,000.
Well, the above thought in alliance with my having read of Keeneland’s “handle woes” led me to cry “foul."
- As expected, Mr Mistoffelees made a smashing debut in the third, going right to the front, set a pace of 21.48 and 43.89, and just bounding down the stretch, drawing off by almost ten and clearly loving the game ("WOOO, this is SO cool!"). [Thought I had figured out a way to post this race, but no luck, so you'll have to check it out on Cal Racing.]
- As mentioned, Friday is the last day at Keeneland. That means that the long, long winter racing season in New York is about to end. Yes, it's been spring for a few weeks. But if you check out Thursday's charts at the Big A, and look at the types of races and the names of the jockeys and trainers involved, for the most part they could just as well have been from February other than the races are on the main track and turf. I seem to remember in years past that the Aqueduct meeting would revive in the last few weeks. But now that doesn't happen until Keeneland ends and the big stables head back up north. As it turns out this yer, there's only one more week until Belmont! We'll still see plenty of names like Contessa, Levine, and Alan Garcia winning races this spring and summer, but the big guys are coming back soon.