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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kent D. Still Waiting...

- Kent Desormeaux initially thought he was off the hook this time.

"Anytime I get beat by less than a length, I think there's absolutely something I could have done different," he said. "That one [his defeat on Real Quiet in 1998] just ate me up. This will never eat me up." [Newsday]
As it turns out, that was only his final misjudgment of the day. I don't think it's at all fair to pin the blame solely on the jockey for Big Brown's last place finish in the Belmont. I had enough questions before the race - his quarter crack, his workout with the slow last quarter and lack of gallop-out, the differences within the BB camp as to when to apply the acrylic patch - that I hesitated to pick him and made some small wagers against. However, I certainly don't think that Kent D did the horse any favors, and I'm absolutely convinced that he was totally psyched out by the events of ten years ago when he fell short of a Triple Crown by a nose. "In that one day," Desormeaux said [before Saturday's race], "I learned how not to ride the Belmont." [ESPN]
“Asking (Real Quiet) for that burst of speed so quickly was unnecessary,” Desormeaux said at Wednesday's post position draw. “It's a marathon. It's not about speed. I wouldn't want (Big Brown) to show a big burst. I would just let him lengthen out his stride. He doesn't need to be pressed for more speed, he just needs to be turned loose.” [SignOnSanDiego.com]
As I was watching Saturday's race unfold, waiting for Big Brown to make his move, I could almost hear Desormeaux thinking to himself "wait, wait, wait." Unfortunately, by the time he was finally ready to step on the gas, the tank was empty, even at $50 million a gallon.

As to what happened next, I'm not going to criticize Desormeaux for pulling the horse up. I know some disagree, and Michael makes a quite reasoned case that it fit in with the rider's history. However, I thought it was pretty clear at that point that he was going nowhere, and the last thing we needed was another ugly incident. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

As for Dutrow, I didn't at all mind his bluster before the races; in fact, I came to find it refreshing in a sport in which the participants are often far too staid. But while it's easy to be classy after a win, the real test comes with adversity, and Dutrow is failing this one as badly as his horses have flunked their drug tests in the past. Time for the trainer to get real quiet himself.

- Michael Iavarone indicates that Big Brown may be headed to the Haskell rather than the Travers; these days, that's usually an either/or rather than a both. But don't worry Saratoga fans. Nick Zito says that both Da'Tara and Anak Nakal will be pointed there. He'll probably throw in another unqualified horse or two as well. Yeah, I thought you'd be excited.

12 Comments:

forego is my witness said...

It would be a beautiful thing for Monmouth, my home track, to get BB in the Haskell. As long as it didn't rain for three days straight!

I think many people want there to be ONE major reason BB lost the Belmont, as opposed to there being a multitude of reasons. His interrupted training regiment certainly was a factor. (The heat was pretty bad--but it didn't stop Da' Tara!) Kent did seem to handle him rather roughly going into the first turn, but afterward Kent appeared to have a good hold on him. Couple those two things with the fact the track definitely seemed more sandy than usual (easy to notice on the ABC telecast closeups of the dirt), it all adds up to a confluence of negative things.

Dutrow has every right to be angry at Kent's ride and subsequent easing if Dutrow feels BB came out of the race with no physical problems. But it's blind of him to disregard the fact that maybe Brownie just didn't have it in him Saturday. Maybe he simply didn't feel like running....

Jessica said...

I get tired of hearing the same staid, canned quotes over and over, and I did find Dutrow charismatic and compelling on the NTRA teleconferences and in person, but I never got completely comfortable with the bluster and boasting because it was always so lacking in respect and self-awareness. There was never, ever a moment of humility or reflection. He was refreshing in the way of a summer thunderstorm on a hot, hot day ... you think the rain will clear the stale air out, instead the humidity returns worse than it was before ...

Clarice said...

Some of Dutrow's bluster was amusing, but it really started to piss me off when he wandered into the "blatant disrespect" zone. He totally disregarded the other horses in the crop a little too rudely. As David Carroll put in, "Basically what Dutrow has been saying is, [Denis of Cork] is a P.O.S. And he isn't. He's a good horse. He rubbed me the wrong way." Then he started ragging on the connections of Smarty Jones. Dutrow claiming that the "mismanagement" of Smarty cost him the race...can you feel the irony now? It's okay for a trainer to be boisterous, to be a little hotheaded, be a "character," whatever. That's amusing, not annoying. What is annoying is rudeness, disrespect, arrogance and petty behavior.

OKAY, plus the whole Hooters thing. That kind of threw me over the edge.

Michael said...

My real problem with him pulling up (in addition to his history of quitting during races) is that it sets a bad and possibly dangerous precident.

If every horse in a 12-horse field that is out of the purse money pulls up, I think we're going to start having traffic problems and possibly spills.

It's obvious that nothing is (or was) physically wrong with the horse and Kent has failed to give a true justification as to what he thought was wrong (other than the fact that he wasn't winning). Plus, he says he pulled up when he was in 7th or 8th place -- it looks to me like he started to angle up when he was in 3rd.

They fine you overseas for "giving up" before the end of a race, considering that this horse is healthy, I think a fine is in order...

Anonymous said...

C'mon, Iavarone, I thought you guys would have learned something out of of all this! Ducking the Travers in favor of the Haskell is just the icing on the cake, it shows you've learned nothing. Contrast that with Steve Asmussen moaning about the back breaking burden placed on his baby by that mean ol' racing secretary in the Clark- when was the last time you heard any trainer complaining about weights? I thought they did away with handicap races?! Ah, yes, trainers complaining about weights, there may be hope yet.
/S/Green Mtn Punter

Arthur said...

Ivorone should take his little piece as front man and keep a low profile -
Haskell - good luck with the turns;
Vet Center- like they need the real estate tax breaks.
(where did that "non-profit" money come from - ground breaking was many months before the emergence of BB) - sad situation - perfect trainer for this outfit

Go away already

Brett said...

Lets get back to racing...

As much as everyone hates your handicapping skills Alan, any thoughts on the major P6 carryover and the races tomorrow?

alan said...

>>As much as everyone hates your handicapping skills Alan, any thoughts on the major P6 carryover and the races tomorrow?

What, are you looking for some throwouts? :)

I took a glance on the subway coming home and was pretty underwhelmed, but I'll try to check in later.

jk said...

NY Times reports KD will remain BB's jockey over Dutrow's objection and the Winstrol shots will resume.

The horse is on drugs and so are his connections.

Anonymous said...

Like Dutrow has any credibility left to be bashing Kent. Coulda been Edgar.
Dutrow should shut his yap and exhibit some class for just once. Pretend he's nominating Kent for the Ralph Lowe Sportsmanship Award, the one Mr Lowe created to honor The Shoe following his finish line gaffe on Gallant Man in the '57 Derby. Now that's class, something racing could use a lot more of these days.Doesn't this guy have a publicist for God's sake? /S/Green Mtn Punter

Erin said...

Love what your trainer says about KD's ride and even more about Dutrow's training, which isn't getting the attention the same attention.

http://tcm.bloodhorse.com/article/45678.htm

libby said...

Dutrow was a lousy winner, he always was a lousy loser. Now he is back on the Prado train? Did not Edgar try to box Big Brown in the Preakness or so he said? This guy needs to get out of the limelight.