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Friday, June 05, 2009

Weather and Times Cast a Pall

Another miserable day here in New York, and the rain is not expected to let up until later this evening. The track is sloppy today, and the non-stakes turf races are off. I'd be quite surprised if the early turf races aren't taken off tomorrow; too bad, as they seemed like nice wagering affairs. Another tough break for NYRA, which tried to make today's card attractive with the Brooklyn and Acorn on tap; and a certain loss of wagering revenue can be expected if they go off the grass tomorrow. I do recall several years ago a similar weather scenario, and NYRA worked all night to get the normally slow-drying track fast by post time. Regardless of whether that's the case by tomorrow's 11:35 first race post (for heaven's sake), with a good forecast for tomorrow, I'd expect that the track will certainly be fast by the 6:27 post time (for heaven's sake) for the Belmont.

Some discussion in the comments section about Joe Drape's article in the NY Times today, and the lack of any other Belmont Stakes content whatsoever; and I'll just refer you there rather than...er...beat a dead horse here (yikes, sorry). Steve in nc correctly points out that it's not unusual for the Times, or I suppose any paper, to run a so-called exposé to coincide with a big event. I recall a couple of years ago when the Paper of Record ran its depressing series on the poor health of many former NFL players during Super Bowl week. However, those stories were certainly not at the expense of the game coverage itself, and that's what shocks and disappoints me the most in this case. I mean, the Times is a New York paper, and to not have a single mention of the city's biggest race of the year on the day before the event is just unbelievable and inexcusable to me.

Well, hopefully I'll get to do some handicapping tonight and get some thoughts up on the undercard for tomorrow morning. But as far as the Belmont itself goes, I certainly haven't changed my opinion regarding either Charitable Man or Dunkirk, both of whom I'll be standing firmly against. Miner's Escape (15-1) is one of two starters for Zito, who, as we know, certainly knows how to prep seemingly subpar horses to peak in this race. I don't expect that he can battle early for the lead and survive as he did in winning the Tesio; but if you can surmise that Charitable Man, who reminds me a bit of Casino Drive coming into this race, can get the distance at 5-2, then I can certainly speculate that Miner's Escape can stalk at 15-1 or more. By Mineshaft out of a Broad Brush half-sister to Indian Charlie, perhaps he has the pedigree to go the distance. Flying Private (12-1) has improved nicely at three for four-time Belmont winner Wayne Lukas. Took a step back after close seconds in the Mountain View and Lanes End, but bounced back with his career best 102 Beyer, rallying through trouble for 4th in the Preakness. I look at heavy campaign (12 races, 8 this year) as a plus in this case. Mine That Bird is indeed more than fair value at 2-1, as pointed out by Steve Crist, who completed a hat trick of rubber-stamping the favorite in each of the three Classics this year. If I just had to pick a winner, I guess he would be it, and I'll be more than happy to see him win for Borel, and for trainer Chip Woolley, who has turned out to be a good guy after his shaky start on NBC in the Derby. He'll be in all of my Pick Whatever bets, but I think he's worth taking a shot against in the win pool.

7 Comments:

Kevin said...

Glad to see you have come around on Wooley. This is why knee jerk reactions are pretty pointless. Thought your initial ripping of him was unfair (and, quite frankly, a little ridiculous). Enjoy the blog.

alan said...

Kevin - Fair point. Thanks for stopping by.

El Angelo said...

The difference between racing getting slammed the day before the Belmont and football getting slammed the day before the super bowl is football gets about 9000 articles in the Paper of Guesses every year. Racing gets covered 25 days, max. This is how they want to cover it?

Mike D. said...

RE: "... I mean, the Times is a New York paper, and to not have a single mention of the city's biggest race of the year on the day before the event is just unbelievable and inexcusable to me ..."

Completely agree. Gotcha journalism raises its ugly head once again -- helping to kill the once-great newspaper industry. If I had solid respect for Joe Drape as a handicapper, I'd enjoy reading his take on the race; I won't read the junk that was printed today.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. I hate when all the horse does is win at the Belmont track. And I'm going to completely dismiss what Kiaran said about Charitable Man being "one of the best young horses that he has ever trained." What the hell does he know? And so what if his daddy won the Belmont, he probably takes after his mother. If closers don't run particularly well in the Belmont Stakes, who's fault is that? You certainly steered me right. I can get 4-5 on Mine That Bird. What a coup!

alan said...

Hey man, no reason for the sarcastic tone! It happens that I do respect the fact that McLaughlin is so high on this horse, and I think I mentioned that somewhere. He's a great trainer and a great guy, and it does scare me somewhat. But he doesn't know any more than you or me if this horse is going to win at a mile and a half. And I did specifically say that Mine That Bird would be fair value at 2-1; I'd toss him at 4-5 too.

onecalicocat said...

Dunkirk should do better in a smaller field.
I think he'll get a share.