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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Breeders' Cup Post

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 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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on my suggestion of pushing the BC back into a quiet time slot.

I read somewhere that that particular weekend was considered by the BC at some point but it was deemed too cold to run in any northern venues, which eliminated NYRA and CD as host sites. With GP out of the picture it would pretty much require permananetly basing it in CA, a non starter.

Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it alledgedly did not leave enough time between the event and the beginning of breeding season and conflicted with the bloodstock sales, yet another example of conflict between commercial Breeders and the sport itself.

In a follow up, someone sent a letter to the editor suggesting that BC purchase FG Racetrack and entirely renovate the place to create a permanent home for the BC.

I believe this is a fine idea regardless of when they run the thing since that dirt surface is regarded as safe and fair, the climate is mostly reliable that time of year, and it is centrally located in a tourist friendly town.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

good if you cut/paste to your next relevant Aqueduct posting.

sorry Alan, have been away for a while, but wish to comment, due to the continual frustration of, horeseman among others going through financial hell, being mainly, still no Aqueduct political, chit decision.

A concern, re-affirmed in last few hours -
Connected Indians, are coming to Queens, believe it, after politically powering, through Florida.

fine, but what do they bring, to NY community, NY horseman within their hidden baggage…

Hell, we can't even then, have our police, arrest parties, involved with any Aqueduct, on-course disturbances, unless we have their elders, present !!

This direct, community concern, has been publicly mentioned, by a very senior, decision making NY politician, approx 2 months ago.

Fla. lawmakers approve Indian gambling bill
May 09.

The Seminole Indians upped the ante in exchange for exclusive rights to casino gambling,
throughout Florida - Fla pollies, are now under the control of Seminoles, who now have a foothold in that state.

NY will now, must, avoid them sensibility, like the plague, or they will control the whole region.

NY Legislature must also not agree and hopefully NY Supreme Court, also.


Seminole Indians, are very aggressive and are scaring other states, with their potential power - hell they even have Fla state, dormat horse, dog tracks and jai-alai frontons with racing permits that they re-open being open slander for their gaming, yes they are smart players, but definitely not community driven.

Gov. Paterson understandably wants to promise New Yorkers as much as possible -- as soon as possible -- ahead of next year's election campaign.

But when it comes to metro-area casino gambling, the famously distractible Paterson appears to be counting his money while still sitting at the table.

The governor's office this week announced that he'd be increasing his efforts to win federal approval for as many as three Indian casinos in the Catskills.


then we have now, our somewhat totally politically focused , but fenced Governor, recently saying - also NY Post ?

Gov. Paterson understandably wants to promise New Yorkers as much as possible -- as soon as possible -- ahead of next year's election campaign.

But when it comes to metro-area casino gambling, the famously distractible Paterson, still appears to be counting his money while still sitting at the table.

The governor's office this week announced that he'd be increasing his efforts to win federal approval for as many as three Indian casinos in the Catskills…


BUT, is there anyone, anyone, out there, straight up, that really, really cares about NY Racing, Community & therefore relevant NY unions, without grey, vetted employment agreements and very selective 'outside', senior management, opportunities ??

Understand, they and why not, exploit politically loop-hold monies and am not afraid to say it -

cheeky, Indian, casino tribes .

jk said...

BC in December is a bad idea; it will never be held in NY in December.

I will be playing on Friday and Saturday. How can you turn your back on two cards of Grade1 championship races. The inner track is not far off so I will be enjoying these races.

As far as the synthetic issue, this is what handicapping is all about. A puzzle to be solved. Breeders Cup Day is a great time to rise to the handicapping challange.

What has worked for me on synthetics is to upgrade turf form on poly races vs dirt form.

Hopefully there will not be a game 7 of the WS so I have time to dope out Friday's card.

Good luck to all!

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman

Take 2., bit rushed, NY post Aqueduct, in last few hours is ;

The Florida Seminole tribe, which is part of a team making a play to run the potentially lucrative video lottery casino at Aqueduct, is enmeshed in a controversy in its own state, with some pols claiming they're illegally allowing gambling.

The Seminoles have partnered with real-estate bigwigs SL Green Realty in a bid to run and revamp Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, which Gov. Paterson is expected to make a decision on in the coming weeks.

At issue for the tribe back in the Sunshine State is the lack of a compact over the games they're allowed to operate at their Hard Rock Casino.

Last week, Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul sent a letter to federal gambling regulators noting that the Seminoles are allowing banked card games and slot machines in its tribal-land casinos, saying federal law "clearly prohibits the conduct of [such games] . . . on Indian lands in the absence of a tribal-state compact that is in effect." ......

ljk said...

I dislike the synthetic too, but my flight to LA leaves Thursday and somehow once you get to SA and see the San Gabriel mountains in perfect weather, the BC at Oak Tree doesn't seem like such a crappy idea.

I read on a blog once (don't remember which), and this is really thinking out of the box, that suggested moving the BC to Labor Day weekend at Saratoga every year. It would be before the football season and there could be two (three?) weekends of awesome prep races. Again, outside the box I know, but why couldn't you have a racing "season" that started in late fall at Oak Tree, Keeneland, and Belmont; continued over the winter in LA, Miami (please God at Hialeah)and New Orleans, then built through the Triple Crown to a championship Labor Day?

Steve Munday said...

Moving the BC to Dec is a good idea for the reasons stated. The BC has also destroyed Belmont's fall meet & moving it to later in the year might improve Belmont's quality of racing.

Always intrigued by the idea of making historic Hialeah race track in Miami the permanent home of the BC. Realize this is bit of a pipe dream since the owner is notoriously hard to deal with but there are some positives: 1) a warm weather tourist destination; 2) its dirt and turf courses were regarded as the best in the country; 3) permanent location may allow the BC to take root.

Lastly, from a marketing standpoint the BC isn't a spectacle like the KY Derby. However, it is a lucrative handicapping challenge. Quite frankly, I don't care who wins Eclipse awards and assume most horseplayers don't either. What I care about is a day (or two) full of great betting races.

Anonymous said...

I think we should be paying a whole lot more attention to improving the Grade I's run at the numerous leading tracks around the country than we do the Breeder's Cup. The BC is always a letdown because it puts all the chips on one day of racing. It is getting to be a bore, I hear strains of Peggy Lee's anthem in the background.

Remember, the BC was invented by KY breeders as a showcase for their top stallions and breeding operations; any rub-off, of which there has been precious little, would be gravy for the industry as a whole. We keep swinging for the grand slam on one pitch whereas singles and doubles will do the job better.

Let's get back to the Eclipse point system whereby a consistent performer during the 9-10 month season can still win the title without winning the Breeder's Cup. There is no one race anywhere that is justified in crowning a champion, as the KY Derby keeps proving year after year, despite the CD spin machine./S/greenmtnpunter

Kevin Stafford said...

Thanks for the link. I love being "guys like this" :-)

I'm actually deeply into the World Series as well - and like you, it's the first I've really cared about in years.

I grew up in a house of Phillies fans, so obviously last year was special (though I'm not a Phils fan myself - they are my "2nd favorite team").

A few weeks ago I was doing World Series and baseball card related posts, commenting that if this was indeed the "year of the filly" than the Fightin' Phils would take the Series again.

Now I'm pondering another WS/BC connection angle.

Assuming the Yanks win (which it appears they will) - does that bode well for U.S. horses against the Euros?

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm. :-)

As for time on my hands - man, I wish. I'm so exhausted I have a twitch now acting up in my eye and haven't slept soundly in days - apart from my nightmare that Proviso publicly humiliated me by winning the Ladies Classic.

SaratogaSpa said...

Virtually impossible to get any mainstream ink at this time of the year-competing with the World Series and anyone who doesn't care about the WS is watching college football. Last year was even worse as the WS had a game Saturday night. Make it one day, weed out the bad races, move it to later in the year.

El Angelo said...

If you move the BC to December, you can forget about getting any Europeans, who already think that November is too late.

Anonymous said...

Loving the Hialeah idea, good one, it could be permanent or rotate with FG and SA.

What IS clear is the current format and time slot is NOT working, something needs to be done and no matter what that is it will offend someone.

If someone has to be left out let it be the Euros since these races ultimately, I believe, are meant to determine the Champion horses of the USA.

If they decline to participate so be it, but for $6Million I suspect they will get over their whining and attend.

Anonymous said...

Also, the Euros contribute nothing to the sport in the US on a day to day basis, so screw them, move the cup back for the benefit of the sport as a whole in this country.

The World Championships are held in Dubai anyway, they are only here for the money and to increase the stud value of their Euro turf horses.