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Monday, April 24, 2006

Derby Fever is Bananas

- It turns out that I did catch the Lexington Stakes live, with my beloved Rangers fading like Sinister Minister will in the tenth furlong. Showing Up (Strategic Mission) was able to achieve what the far, far more heralded, blue-blooded, and expensive Strong Contender was unable to. He stepped up into stakes company and stretched out to two turns successfully in just his third start, albeit against lesser company than John Ward's colt. It turns out too, that his name was inspired by a Woody Allen quote: Eighty percent of success is showing up.

While the time of the race may not have been impressive, he looked like a far more experienced horse the way he was able to rate, move up on the inside on the final turn, and then swing wide for his rally. Horse and jockey were both so cool and calm, reserved in 5th place going into that turn, that trainer Barclay Tagg “thought he quit.” [Louisville Courier-Journal]

"I thought he wasn't going to run and it was going to be a disaster, but Cornelio said he had plenty of horse and he was just cruising….He knew more about him than I did." [Philly Inquirer]
Another quote attributed to Woody is:
More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
Although it’s somewhat less profound, Barclay Tagg also has to make a decision on his thrice-raced colt running in the Derby. And deep down, Tagg knows what the correct decision is. "If it were any other Grade I race besides the Derby, I wouldn't even think about going into it and I'd give him a month off.”
“The smart thing to do might be to skip the Derby and wait for the Preakness, but if you win the Derby, the horse is about 20 times more valuable afterward. If he comes out of the Lexington well, we'll probably take a chance with him." [NY Times]
What seems especially ponderous about the decision to run, which seemes to be already made, is that the horse is owned by the same folks who own Barbaro, so it’s not like they don’t already have a good shot at the roses and the money that comes with it. "But they're only 3 once. What are you going to do?" Well, Barclay, you answered that question yourself. But as Woody Allen once said: Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. Except that no one is threatening to go broke here, except perhaps a horse pushed to the limit too soon.


Anonymous said...

...Nick had mentioned Showing Up also...i liked him in the Lexington, but couldn't bet him @ 8/5...he did run okay, but i wasn't exactly bowled over by his performance...looked kinda wobbly down the stretch if you ask me, and i got NO impression that he'd be any kind of threat in the best i can tell, he's not gonna run there anyway, so it's probably a moot point...

..btw, i just posted some head-to-head Derby matchups on the previous thread...lemme know if anything catches your eye...

Anonymous said...

interesting article in DRF about the samll hole in showing up's leg!! Byanose

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, I recall the Woody Allen quote as being more like "80% of life is just showing up", but I may be wrong. It's a good one to trot out in many life situations but especially any situation requiring one's less than enthusiastic attendance, like large family gatherings, for instance!Especially good in the post-mortems of these situations where the reluctant attendee can breathe a sigh of relief because it went much better- and easier- than expected! The one about finances and poverty sounds more Yogi Berra-ish than Woody to me?