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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Orb Goes Bye-Bye

Yeah, I flaked on doing picks for Saturday's Breeders' Cup, sorry, whatever, I didn't really like anyone anyway.  I wrote about how happy I am that it's all over at the TimeformUS blog.

In all the many years I've been writing this blog, I don't know if I've ever been more right about a horse than I was about Otb.  Not that that's necessarily saying that much; and indeed, I was convinced, prior to and in the immediate aftermath of his Derby win, that he would win the Triple Crown, which I don't think I ever put in writing here.

Nonetheless, I had him in the Derby.  I did like him in the Preakness though didn't bet him at 3-5. Afterwards, I bought the excuse that he was trapped on the worst part of the track, and I credited Oxbow for a better performance than some others did.  But I soured on him as the Belmont approached, and cleverly used him only at the very bottom of my winning trifecta tickets.  A few weeks later, I wrote that he won't win another race this year.  Probably somewhere I wrote, or at least thought, that he'd be retired before he ever won another race.

So, now, Orb has indeed been retired.  Used to be that owners would at least offer some lame excuse, usually in the form of a minor injury, to justify a retirement which has no justification from a sporting sense. But, that is surely no longer the case.

"He is sound, looks about as good as he ever has in life, if not better," McGaughey said by phone. "They just felt like it was the right time to maybe retire a young horse to go to stud.
"The decision to retire Orb was made with mixed emotions," Janney said in the press release announcing the retirement to Claiborne. "While I believe he would have had a very successful 4-year-old campaign, and Phipps Stable and I would have loved being a part of that, Orb is a wonderful stallion prospect." [USA Today]
I have to say that I thought that Shug was different from the rest, and that he wouldn't sacrifice this horse's long-term prospects in an attempt at Triple Crown glory.  But I guess I was wrong.  Well, it's too bad - I was especially looking forward to betting against him in the Cigar Mile - but we're used to it, and what does it matter anyway?  Would take an extreme change of culture to keep these horses racing and produce the kind of long-running rivalries that are a relic from the past.  We don't really even hear the "keep the stars on the track" mantra much anymore, mostly because of its sheer futility I suppose. And what difference does it make anyway, when network coverage is virtually non-existent (we'll see what the FOX broadcasts do next year), the entire post-Triple Crown season is reduced to a prep by the BC, and the ultimate showdown takes place on a freak show of a dirt track at a time on a Saturday night when nobody is watching.

 - In the 4th at Aqueduct today,  In the Beat (5-1) looks to rebound off a poor effort at Parx for trainer Bruce Levine.  This barn struggled at Belmont, but did pop a winner at 13-1 here the other day, so perhaps some better fortune is in store.  Claimed four races back, In the Beat gets some class relief here after a futile effort on turf, a close third after a wide trip chasing better at Monmouth, and the fast-paced Parx race for
which I'm willing to give him a pass; winner Red Doctober would be a distinct favorite against these.  Gelded son of Street Sense has some good numbers at this six furlong distance on dirt, and the TimeformUS Pace Projector predicts a fast pace into which In the Beat (#1) should be in good position to close into.  Running Tap (5-1) looks to be the best of the speeds, and trainer Steve Klesaris has good numbers second time with the barn.  Be tough if he can shake loose.  Dan and Sheila (15-1) tries a distance as short as six furlongs for the first time, but has some good back figures and good liven up the exotics.  Best of luck and have a great day.


El Angelo said...

I'm not sure I agree with you that Shug did anything wrong here to sacrifice the horse's long-term prospects. All that he could have done differently would have been to hold him out of the Belmont, but I thought he was right to run him at the time, given that the horse should have relished the distance and had an excuse for his Preakness. His Travers wasn't bad off a layoff. His JCGC was abominable, I will grant. But it sounds like the owners decided to pull the plug, not him.

I assume Claiborne made them an offer they couldn't refuse. What's depressing is that owners with as much money and a sporting nature as Phipps and Janney took the money over keeping him on the track. If they wouldn't keep him around for another season, what chance do we have for keeping around a good Derby winner that has anything resembling good breeding?

jk said...

I enjoyed the BC telecast. Maybe it was the palm trees and mountains in HD. However, it is safe to say "the best is yet to come"!

Dan said...

Yes, the sun setting & reflecting off the mountains was a great view in the classic going down the back stretch. I lost the same amount of $ to the dollar as year 2012. I hope 2014 is a better BC day for me.

Figless said...

Orb's last race was just SO bad that there must be something chronic, perhaps minor, but something, wrong with him that they see not point in disclosing.

As El Angelo states, his Travers was an excellent run off the suspicious layoff, so the talent was very real.

August Song said...

Cuomo was highly critical that NYRA was paying Charley Hayward $450,000 a year as their CEO. So Skorton et al., spend a year looking for a re-placement. "They" then come up with a racing know-nothing, whose's claim to racing fame was. he once attended a day at races 40 years ago, and he loved it. So much so, that he never went back, until Skorton/Cuomo/the new NYRA agreed to pay him $300,000 and incentives to earn $250,000 more, but Skorton, who was so emphatic that everything needed to be open and transparent in regards to the new NYRA when he took over, refuses to say what Kay would need to do, and what incentives are involved.

Now, word come out that Kay had a "mentor" hired and paid for to the tune of $75,000 to educate the uneducated Kay on the sport of thoroughbred horseracing, because, he was after all, a know-nothing. You could conjure up such a pathetic story, like this one, in a million years.

Cuomo is up for re-election next year. It would be sacrireligious for anyone knowledgeable in, or associated with, thoroughbred horseracing to entertain the thought of voting for despicable political crook.

Figless said...

LIKE! August Song's comment.

jk said...

The horseman will vote for Cuomo to preserve the slot fueled purses and to thank him for the recent source market fee (takeout)increase of which 90% goes to breeders accounts.

Horse players a/k/a the customers have no reason to vote for Cuomo.

August Song said...

Not the horsemen, that I've spoken with. They realize Cuomo intentions are to try and take the VLT monies away from the purses, the owners, and the breeders.

Cuomo set up a corruption committee to focus on the large amount of political corruption going on in New York State. Imagine that, corruption in New York? Then, Cuomo had "to ask" the committee to "back off" on investigating the corruption, and influence, when it was reported that certain New York City real estate developers were given tremendous tax breaks, who had made large contributions beforehand to Cuomo's re-election campaign.

Ask Cuomo why he did nothing to his cronies involved, and caught red-handed in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group's bid-rigging casino scam? That also includes after he authorized an investigation into the affair, his Chief Investigator said that he "was never so appalled at how publicly elected officals abandoned their sworn oath, in order to pursue their own personal gain," and reommended strongly that the state and federal governments consider indictments and prosecution.

"The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference."

Bess Myerson

Figless said...

Agree Horsemen realize Cuomo is no friend of the industry despite some recent concessions they all realize his long term intent is opposite their interests, at least I hope they do.

Figless said...

Besides cutting the VLT money the worst thing that could possibly happen to NY Horsemen is the closing of AQ, and the writing is on the wall in that regard now that the referendum has passed.