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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Odds and Ends - March 16

- Upset that the stewards took no action against Jeff Mullins for his “idiot” comments, LA Times columnist TJ Simers writes:

Horse racing is already working hard to separate itself from the general public, and I know this, I'll write about hockey before I write another word about racing.

That will come as good news, of course, to Mullins and others who have deceived the public, but more important, it will be great news for everyone else who doesn't care to read anything more about horse racing. [LA Times]
Actually, this comes as good news to any of us who like horse racing but have no interest in reading Simer’s egotistical, sophomoric drivel, the quality of which would probably qualify as a ‘C’ level in a high school writing class. Though actually, I’m not really qualified to judge his writing skills, as I’ve never been able to make it through one of his idiotic columns in its entirety. Good riddance.

- They’re all ga-ga in Arkansas over the upcoming Rebel stakes on Saturday. As noted previously, hotel room are at a premium. And according to the Form, Some are calling it one of the most anticipated races in the 101-year history of Oaklawn Park. Imagine if it promised to be a really competitive race; because on paper and logic, Afleet Alex wins this for fun, against only 4 anticipated rivals. Rockport Harbor’s physical problems have been well documented, and we've heard "percentage-of-fit" figures in the 60-70% range.
In all, Rockport Harbor has missed five days of training for the Rebel - three for his hind foot issue, and two for his left front foot, which was tender last month when his shoe was found to be pinching his sole.

"The way it worked out, I would have got another work in him," said Servis. "If I'd have got that work in him, he'd be exactly where I wanted to be."

Otherwise, the colt has thrived. [editor's note: LOL]

"He's filled out a lot," said Servis. "He's taken on that colt look instead of that immature look, and attitude-wise he's very good. [Daily Racing Form]
As for Greater Good, he continues to defy his sprinter’s pedigree, but will be tested for class here. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that having gotten some serious work in thanks to his 6f win a couple of weeks ago, trainer Tim Ritchey has his eye on the big picture for Afleet Alex.
"I don't want the Rebel to be too tough a race for him," said trainer Tim Ritchey, who hopes to get one more prep before Kentucky in the Arkansas Derby (April 16). "It's his second race back. I want this to be a building race for him. My plan is to build him up, so that he peaks on the first Saturday in May." [Albany Times Union]

- Unspeakable and bizarre tragedy in Australia as two jockeys have suffered fatal injuries in separate racing accidents in just the past two days.
- And, here's something I fear we'll be reading more and more of as legalized gambling expands: Charles Town Races reduced purses 20% last week in anticipation of shortfalls from slot machine revenue at the track. [Thoroughbred Times]