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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Gag Me With A Drosselmeyer

With my sincerest apologies to Ernie Munick, I was ready to puke after the finish of the Belmont. Besides having Fly Down at 5-1, I ended up discarding the ludicrously overbet favorite altogether and ended up with a cold exacta with First Dude underneath. Now, it's not like I got nailed on the wire or came out on the wrong end of a head bob or anything like that. But Drosselmeyer? At 13-1, I thought he was one of the bigger underlays in the field...along with Ice Box, Uptowncharlybrown, Make Music For Me, Dave in Dixie.....OK, there were a lot of underlays as has become the norm in Triple Crown races of late.

It's not like his form was that awful. But Drosselmeyer is your typical corporate overhyped overbet type, who had thus far been a disappointment in three stakes tries. His highest Beyer was only 92 (and it's just two points higher than that now). Like the rest of the field, his pedigree was OK but featured nothing that gave one the confidence he would thrive at 12 furlongs. And to top it all off, he had physical issues with his feet that prompted Mott to train him in bar shoes during the week. Tenderfoot Drosselmeyer is Belmont bound read the headline on OK, he did fire off a bullet five furlong work. And now Mott is being hailed as a genius for the move.

Well, easy to say so afterwards. I thought he was easily one of the unlikeliest winners in the field, and I don't know who the hell even bet him to make him 13-1. None of the smart guys I know liked him, and not a single of the experts in the Form had him in the top three (and only one in the top four).

While I certainly didn't have a good day handicapping either on the blog or in real life, I was right about two things that I'll point out since I have nothing else to boast about. For one, I said from the beginning that the morning line, which made the Belmont a wide-open betting race with Ice Box as the 3-1 favorite, was way wrong. Probably just a rare misjudgment, but oddsmakers who work for the track sometimes do have an inherent conflict of interest to make a race seem more interesting than it really is, don't they? Ice Box went off at 9-5, and man.....was he awful, or what? "He didn't deal with the heat well today," Zito said. Oh yeah, the heat excuse. "When I asked him to run, he showed no interest," [John Lezcano] said. That about says it all.

I also insisted that none of these horses seemed particularly exciting in this spot from a breeding standpoint. I got some pushback from you guys on that, but the fact is that the answer to the question of "which horses handled the distance?" is emphatically none. I became additionally nauseous after the finish when I looked at the time and saw that final quarter run in an agonizing 26.50 seconds. Final time of 2:31.57 was the slowest since Thunder Gulch in 1995; you have to go back to 1970 - before Munick even started to go - to find another slower one.

When it comes to the synthetic track debate, I respect your arguments against regarding matters like tradition and the havoc it has caused in determining champions the last couple of years. But I don't want to hear anymore about how they will ruin everything because the breeding industry is based on speed. If this is the best of the 2007 crop, then that strategy doesn't seem to be going too well, is it? How could a shift towards stamina possibly be bad? Is there anything uglier than watching what are supposed to be well-bred "classy" animals laboring to the finish line in our biggest races? The combined final quarters of the Derby and Belmont this year was 53.40; I'd like to see the Elias Sports Bureau rank that number in history.


Anonymous said...

Pretty pathetic Belmont with the final 6 furlongs done in 1:16 and 3/5ths. It was hard to believe. What has happened to classic American breeding? Pitiful, the focus on speed alone, and where it has taken the sport. Like D'tara, Drosselmeyer may never win another race in his life!

Anonymous said...

As awful a race as the 2010 Belmont was, I tend to think Drosselmeyer will have a better career than fluke D'Tara. Drosselmeyer had never been that fast, but he has shown consistency, the hallmark of a good horse. Plus he has the benefit of being part of a horrid crop of three-year-olds. -jp

onecalicocat said...

Alan, I was with you. I also had Fly Down/First Dude

But am also consistently betting Jeremy Rose. He had four winners yesterday at DelPark. Rose seems to like to move late with his horses. He is very good at timing his moves. Rose is a decent bet almost every time -- he must be getting the choice mounts.

El Angelo said...

The only person I know who cashed a ticket on the Belmont was my wife, who liked Drosselmeyer because she loves the Nutcracker. And she almost didn't bet him because his jockey was Mike Smith, "who was mean to Chantal Sutherland." Loved it.

Anonymous said...

Throw the clock in the can for Belmont day. When the 4th ran at about 1 o'clock (an A other than) 6f went in :08.2, 7 in :22 flat. Then that 90 degree wind began to blow. An hour later, the Woody runs in :08.8, and an hour after that, the True North in :09.6. Belmont final time not surprising at all.

Drosselmeyer fan said...

Guys ... we're talking about Bill Mott here! We all know that the human element of this game is sometimes as (or even more) important than the horses themselves. I had Drosselmeyer for two reasons: Bill Mott and the fact that Mott fired Kent after the last race where he was beaten by Fly Down. Mott and Kent are usually inseparable and, unlike Baffert chucking Gomez off of Lucky, he is not a man who makes decisions lightly. Anyone watching "Dross's" last race saw not only the troubled trip but Kent sort of easing up on this horse in the latter stages of the race (to me, he was thinking, this is my Belmont horse and I know he's good ... so why shoot my shot here where I have an excuse) ... besides that Kent is getting a little lazy if you ask me and Mikey Smith made it clear after the race that he "had to peddle the whole way" which means this is a horse that needs to be ridden ... he's not going to pull the rider to the front and needs urging basically the whole ride. I could be wrong, and he may not be a real 1/2 mile horse but look for this horse to keep coming this year in what is shaping up to be one of the less stellar seasons for 3 yr. olds. By the way I had $40WP on dross, the tri and exacta. I was in for a huge score if Baffert's horse would have held on for 2nd with torn up tickets totaling $400 in ex and tri's with "Game On" in the second slot. Watch this horse too.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying those were fast horses in the Belmont, but that track was as dead - deep and tiring - as "Big Sandy" has ever been. With the sun beating down and the stiff wind blowing down the stretch, they couldn't keep any water in it. Just look at the finish to see how all the horses are splattered with dirt.

Horses don't set track records, track superintendents do.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk speed figs. Drosselmeyer's top Beyer was 92 going into the Belmont. But, hey, according to the BRIS speed figures, which are as good as or perhaps better than the Beyers, Drosselmeyer was plainly one of the ones.
The BRIS par for this Belmont was 107, and not surprisingly no horse in the race had ever run a fig that high. But guess who had run the highest BRIS fig in the field? Yes, Drosselmeyer -- a 105 in a NW1at GP on 31Jan2010. Drosselmeyer's Beyer Speed Figure that day was a
mere 85. Apparently BRIS's fig was a little more solid.
Only six runners came into the Belmont with triple-sigit BRIS Figs: Spangled Star (101 on April 24), Make Music For Me (100 on May 1), Fly Down (101 on May 8), Ice
Box (101 on March 20 and102 in the Derby May 1), First Dude (103 in the Preakness May 15), and Drosselmeyer (with his 105).
Box them you caught the winner ($28), the exacta ($144) and the trifecta ($766). Mike D.

El Angelo said...

Boxing all 6 got you a $744 return on a $240 investment in the trifecta, a/k/a, 2-1. Horrible odds for the proposition.

Anonymous said...

I was gonna post the same thing about the final time after jp mentioned how bad the race was, but I didn't wanna kick him while he's down.

Figless said...

That 4th race "A other than" was won by Trappe Shot who might just be the best 3yo in the country by year end. That was a horrible rendition of the True North after the logical favorite scratched which more than explains the slow time.

I dont think the track was slowing down one bit as the day went on, the fastest horses, Trappe Shot and D Funnybone, ran early.

Anonymous said...

I can only agree with one part of your comment that "the track was not slowing down one bit".
The track indeed, from my observation on Belmont day, just laid there, motionless, inert, expending no energy whatsoever, apparently at a dead standstill!

alan said...

Not buying this idea that the track slowed down. And there simply weren't enough dirt races to make a judgment either way. Just a bunch of three-year olds - both fillies and colts - that aren't that fast.

Anonymous said...

jp is not "down." jp is fine. Look, you could put lipstick on a pig if you want to, but this was a horrible triple crown year and 2:31.57 is a terrible time even if the track was playing a little bit slow. As for my picks, not to belabor the point, but to quote me, I said merely, "ice box will win." That's all I said. I didn't put out any Joe Namath guarantees. Also, who is to say I bet on the horse who was pounded well below his morning line odds of 3-1? As it so happened, I used him, Stately Victor and Fly Down in multi race wagers.

Then you had some clown say he took my advice and put $20k on the horse, which was of course ridiculous. Unlike so many on-line big mouths who like to talk a big game and redboard up the whazoo, let the record show I have never claimed to be a gifted handicapper or a winning player, just another guy who loves horseracing and has followed the game for a couple of decades. From my picks, Dirtyshirt, in his infinite wisdom, inferred that I made the Derby some kind of key race because I picked Super Saver in the Preak and Ice Box in the Belly. Hey dirty, did you ever think I picked these horses for reasons that had little to do with the Derby? Lastly, I should add that I never wager much on these three year old races, other than the Derby which I acknowledge is a waste of money but a mandatory bet for me becuase it's the Derby. As for this year's Belmont, my largest play by far was Snapshot, who ran a good race but finished second to Bribon. I hardly played the Belmont at all, and was knocked out of the p4 when Gio Ponti had that brutal trip. Hell I even used the 12 in the Acorn. That is all for now my friends. -jp

TAK said...

I'm curious to see whether Pletcher sends Mission Impazible next. His Lousiana Derby, in which he beat Fly Down, Drosselmeyer, Stay Put, Discreetly Mine and A Little Warm is not looking too bad right now. Can't hold the KY Derby against him since that is clearly a throw out. He could have an impact later this summer.

Anonymous said...

It is understandable that we should become annoyed with the parade of one hit wonders that win the Belmont. What it says to me is that a one hit wonder proves a given crop of 3 year olds is just mediocre at best. This is the real cause of my disappointment.

The fact that we have not produced a Triple Crown winner since 1978 means that we have not produced a top caliber, champion 3 YO who can run the table at 3 tracks in 6 weeks, with the toughest race run last (as it should be), and at the longest distance. We all know that it takes a unique horse with a lot of racing luck to pull this off.

I dislike the mass mediocrity, and lament the absence of greatness, not the one hit wonders who aim for and win the Belmont, a great race in it's own right. It is still no reason to change the rules of the game other than to try harder to "improve the breed", the goal of all thoroughbred breeders. /S/greenmtnpunter

El Angelo said...

Wholly disagree. We've produced several horses that would have been worthy TC winners--five that come to mind are Spectacular Bid, Swale, Risen Star, Point Given and Afleet Alex. They all, for whatever reason, weren't lucky or fortunate enough to win all 3 races. It happens. It doesn't mean they weren't top caliber horses.

Anonymous said...

And I had a dream the other night that the best 3 year-old at the end of 2010 was Afleet Express. Better late than never.

Anonymous said...

I'll even add Lookin at Lucky and Barbaro to El Angelo's list. We produce tons of quality stock. A huge factor now is the crapshoot in the derby. If the best horse had a managable trip, they would have a triple crown shot. As it stands now the best horses get fucked by 6 or 8 horses that don't belong, and then sit out the rest of the crown in favor of summer races.


figless said...

Real Quiet has to be on that list, his near miss is looking better and better each year.

Anon 10:06, hahaha,

I guarantee that in the eyes of a few of my "neighbors" in the grandstand the track was definately in motion.

Ernie said...

Brutal beat.

I, too, needed Fly Down (for about $2,300).

How's this for irony (given the theme):

What appears to be yuch is just mud from the wheel of the track ambulance. Several at the rail got hit.

Good seein ya Preakness day.