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Sunday, May 03, 2009

I Knew Giacomo...

And Mine That Bird is no Giacomo. The 2005 Derby winner was an overlay at his odds of 50.30 to 1. True, he had only won one race prior to the Derby, but he had at least raced competitively with the top West Coast horses, and run a 98 Beyer which, if certainly not in the top league, was at least respectable and indicative of potential for more. The SA Derby contingent was not highly considered that year (winner Buzzards Bay went off at an unbelievable 46-1 from the 20 post); but that judgment turned out to be in error, as horses who ran in that race comprised 2/3rds of the top six Derby finishers.

Mine That Bird was an underlay, a gross one in my opinion. I mean, this horse could have been two....even three times his 50.60 to 1 odds, and I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Nor would I have even considered betting him; his is an incomprehensible upset. I think that part of the reason for the relatively paltry odds on a horse who'd never run faster than an 81 Beyer --- and among those who are perhaps no longer laughing at me are those who did so when I postulated that those figures are fast becoming obsolete for the specific purpose of handicapping the Kentucky Derby --- is ol' Giacomo himself. His highly popularized win seems to have really flattened out the upper spectrum of the tote board. In the four years since his Derby win, no horse has gone off even close to the 71-1 odds that runner up Closing Argument did - Z Humor, at 63-1, is one of only two to even crack the 60-1 level - and Closing Argument looked a hell of a lot better than many of the longest shots since. Including Mine That Bird.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your post. Now, couple that with this. I'm sure you saw the aerial view of the race from about the 3/8 pole. When Calvin Borel asked this horse he started moving like he had an outboard motor attached. He inhaled all of the horses in front of him and won going away. How? Why? What's going on here?

As someone who had Pioneer & Musket Man in the exacta and bet both of them to win I'm not feeling good about this.


Anonymous said...

The KY Derby is the Circus Maximus, so what else do you expect? I kinda enjoyed these hard scrabble guys sticking it to the KY breeders, the Sheihks, and the other big spenders, and with a gelding no less. However, all is not lost since little Birdstone, a KY bred, and Belmont and Travers winner, is fast moving up the list of SW sires thanks to the Derby win.

Whispers following the race hypothesized that Mine Bird's connections are just the latest to discover a "juice" that doesn't show up in the post-race analysis. Better living through chemistry. Or, is this just the sore losers venting their frustration? Will we ever know?

Whatever the reason, the KY Derby jumped the shark again. Has it peaked as an event? It continues to lose prestige as a serious classic race when you have 20 horse fields and long, longshot winners, whatever the track condition. Col Matt Winn was the marketing impresario who created the Derby "myth" back in the 1930's and '40's but, as we all know, nothing lasts forever.

So, NYRA marketing dept, wake up and take advantage of this opportunity to re-build the prestige and popularity of the Belmont Stakes, the true Test of Champions. You have everything to work with, including an umatched, big time NY venue with a rich racing tradition and the most historic of the Triple Crown events. But best of all you have only the real contendahs show up to run the mile and a half. /S/greenmtnpunter

El Angelo said...

This is the biggest upset since, well, Upset.

Anonymous said...

He might not be Giacomo, but like Giacomo I expect him to not win anything of importance again. It would be amusing in and of itself if Mine That Bird skipped the Preakness, but like Giacomo I want him to run just so I can see how badly he loses.

Anonymous said...

MTB moved like he was on rocket fule or getting hit hard with buzzers while he passed 17 or 18 horses. There is no other plausible explanation.

Anonymous said...

One could also chalk it up to the inattention of the jocks on the leaders at the 3/8 pole. Would a Bailey, Day, Stevens, Cordero, Pincay, Shoemaker, et al, have left the easy running rail path open to a a closer?

Why weren't any of the leaders on Saturday ready to shut off the rail? They all knew, or should have known, that there is a rail bias on an off track at CD, so why didn't they run accordingly? It would have forced Railbird Calvin 4 or 5 wide and may have slowed him down a bit?

They all were aware of Calvin's rail reputation at CD but probably assumed that MTB would be nowhere in the hunt by the 3/8 pole? So, underestimation coupled with Murphy's Law brings us the 50-1 Derby winner. What do the race riding tacticians say? /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Mine That Bird is certainly no Giacomo. Giacomo had one win at 2, a MSW. Mine That Bird won 3 stakes as a 2-year old and was 2-year old champ in Canada.