- I'd mentioned that I was taking a little time off from handicapping and wagering. I believe that taking the occasional break is important. Need to try and keep things as fresh as possible in this era of around the calendar racing, and even a relatively short hiatus does me a world of good. It will be a couple days short of two weeks for me when I pick up the PP's for Saturday's card. It had gotten to the point where the numbers were all becoming a blur. And, of course, I was losing. Nobody takes a break when they're hot.....unless they're smart!
So, I took last weekend off. I have the Arlington Million telecast recorded, but haven't gotten around to it, thus sparing you another past-posting live blog. So far, anyway. Maybe I'll get to it over the winter sometime.
I did catch one race though while flipping around the channels; and it happened to be the contentious Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. The rough stretch ride and subsequent DQ of first-under-the-wire Kelly Leak led to a
heavyweight middleweight lightweight featherweight flyweight teenyweenyweight bout between jockeys Rafael Bejarano and Victor Espinoza.
Now I'd love to post the video of the race, but will have to direct you to the head-on shot at Cal Racing, or to this fan-made tape on You Tube (brief glimpse of the head-on replay at 5:20). This, by the way, is my current pet peeve - it would take just a little effort by the NTRA or individual tracks to set up their own channels on You Tube, as the NHL and NBA, among others, have done. That way, videos of interest, whether close or controversial finishes or Tom Durkin singing, could easily be sent out to media outlets and fans alike. I mean, what's the big problem here?
Anyway, the way I saw it, there were two separate incidents. Kelly Leak bore out at the top of the stretch directly into the path of Azul Leon and Bejarano. The latter then switched to a more inside route; but Kelly Leak and Espinoza then bore in and crowded his rival. At the same time, with four horses stretched across the track at this point, the 5 horse, Coronet of a Baron, seemed to bear out. As a result of all of this, the 8 horse, Charlie's Moment, had to check sharply.
In my most humble opinion, neither of the incidents involving Kelly Leak, by themselves, would have resulted in a disqualification, especially in a Grade 2 stakes. I believe that it was the combination of the two - the fact that Azul Leon first had to switch paths, and then was bothered by the same horse - that caused the steward's decision. In addition, I thought that Coronet of a Baron was equally guilty of causing the 8 horse to check. In any event, the stewards officially took Kelly Leak down for the second incident, as he was DQ'd to 4th place, ouch. Espinoza has been suspended for three days.
Azul Leon is a son of Lion Heart, and he remains the first and only graded stakes winner for the current leading rookie sire (having also won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship). He's out of the graded stakes winning, and now deceased, Cure the Blues mare Quick Blue.
[UPDATE: Jessica writes:
The NTRA has a YouTube channel:My bad....guess one has to search under 'Channels' rather than 'Videos.' What do you expect from a guy who doesn't even know how to use Facebook? However, no reason why every track in the country doesn't have a You Tube channel of their own.]
And so does the Breeders' Cup and CDI.
What's too bad about the NTRA channel is that it is just stakes races. Agree it would be nice if the channel was expanded to include funny race calls or controversial/newsmaking rides.