If you've arrived here looking for some really detailed and perceptive Breeders Cup discussion or analysis, there ain't none here. I'm kinda torn between wanting to apologize or say "too bad," though I'm leaning towards the former since I do truly appreciate you dropping by. This is not to say I'm not looking forward to the races...at least the ones on Saturday, as I'll be working or commuting for most or all of Friday's. (Hopefully, this will be the last time that I have to mention how much that idea sucked.) In fact, I've often written about looking at these races too much and for too long, and I'm psyched about coming in fairly fresh. But what can I say, it takes a lot of time and effort to write about the event sufficiently, and I'm just not into tackling the task this year for whatever reason. You can check out guys like this who obviously have a lot more time and energy.
And I'd guess he's not into the World Series. I feel as if this is the first Series I've really watched in the last five years, as busy as I've been blogging in the past this time of year (sometimes even for pay!). I wouldn't at all describe myself as a passionate Yankee fan, but I followed them with interest throughout the season and would be disappointed at this point should they not wrap this up. In any event it certainly makes for a tough go publicity-wise for the Breeders' Cup, especially if the Series goes the distance (Thursday night is the final game).
One reader has for the last couple of years at least now has written to suggest that the event be moved on a permanent basis to the first weekend of December, long after baseball and when the Army-Navy game is about the only game in town. I certainly like the concept of finding an otherwise quiet time slot, though it would stretch the season even longer and severely limit the possible venues (the reader suggested Fair Grounds as a permanent one). Because the way it is now is hopeless as far as getting any mainstream attention. Not only is there the Series, and college football coming down the stretch, but there's Election Day too (Bill Owens won the 23rd CD race, thus salvaging an otherwise forgettable night).
Now, as I said, none of this is to suggest that I'm not excited for Saturday. Reader McCarron wrote of Andy Serling's anti-synthetic rant on MSG101, and we've heard from some here who are disgusted enough to pass the races. And I have agreed all along that two consecutive years on the Pro-Ride was ill-conceived, resulting in defections and championship questions which will not be definitively answered.
Nonetheless, at this point, I mean, just forget all that stuff. There are still some pretty damn good races, and, in my mind, some attractive betting opportunities. In the Classic, take your pick at 12-1 among legit contenders, in my opinion, like Gio Ponti, Einstein, Richard's Kid, Quality Road, and Mine That Bird. (Also at 12-1 is Colonel John, who I don't think cares for the distance). Zensational drew poorly by getting the rail, and is a major underlay anywhere near his morning line of 7-5 in my view. (Tom Amoss was very down on Fatal Bullet on The Works tonight [and the show was also shown on MSG Minus/Plus]; said they compared the tape of his work last year to this year with unfavorable results.) With Gayego listed at a paltry 5-2, check out contenders like the improving Capt Candyman Can (15-1), or the Euro filly Fleeting Spirit (8-1). In the Juvenile, unbeaten Looking at Lucky (8-5) is stuck out in the 13 post; and second choice D Funnybone (5-2) is untested beyond seven furlongs. How about the improving Noble's Promise (8-1), or take a chance on one of the impressive looking Euros, like Radiohead (15-1) or Vale of York (20-1).
Look, synthetics are different than dirt, some horses surely like it better than others, but they're still perfectly viable surfaces as far as I'm concerned, and I too am a bit tired of the whining. It's a major factor one has to consider, but certainly no less so than the speed-favoring dirt surfaces that were in place in California in the past. And, as opposed to those who, like Serling, argue that "marginal" horses can win, the Europeans, as we've seen, have an entirely opposite view. Veteran British trainer John Gosden suggests that they actually provide a more reliable measure of what Europeans, at any rate, cherish as class in a thoroughbred.
"We like to see a horse like Sea The Stars, that can go any distance, any pace," he said. "A horse with tremendous cruising speed. And then bang! That last quarter, they just explode and go away. To me, that's what is exhilarating about the equine athlete. And these surfaces can bring that out. Zenyatta [the unbeaten American mare] is living proof of that. [Independent UK]That's what I've always said. I get a much bigger kick from seeing them flying down the stretch than grimly hanging on after running fastest in the first part of the race, and I find the European-style of racing far more logical, exciting, and aesthetically pleasing than what we often see here on dirt.