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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ouija Board Shines Through

- I re-read my post on the Breeders Cup from Sunday morning, and it was pretty negative. Of course, it wasn't all bad, particularly the win by the fabulous Ouija Board. ESPN gave her the attention she was due, and British reporter Nick Luck, who did good work all day, interviewed her owner Lord Derby prior to the race. The interview was followed by one of the more precious moments of the telecast when Luck placed his hand on his heart, and said solemnly, "But all our hearts are a-flutter, us Europeans; we desperately hope she can."

It was just a classic ride by Frankie Dettori, saving ground around the first two (of three)from his advantageous inside post. (Another weird chart comment in this race: Ouija Board, never far back and rating kindly three or four wide.. Can't say I saw that.) Dettori eased her out approaching the final turn, swung wide in the stretch, and didn't even ask her for run until around that imaginary 300 yd marker. "From the furlong pole to the wire, it was just a time to enjoy the moment - and that doesn't happen very much." [Daily Racing Form]

"It's just life-changing to be around her," [trainer Ed] Dunlop said of the brown mare. "Hopefully, we'll find another one day." [Guardian UK]

Wait A While was bet early, actually opening as the favorite, but drifted up to the 2-1 second choice. John Velazquez is one of those riders who doesn't seem to care about ground loss if he thinks he's on the best horse, and he was two wide for the first turn, and easily three wide for the second [EDIT: NOTE CORRECTION IN COMMENTS SECTION; GOMEZ WAS ON WAIT A WHILE. THOUGH I STILL FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT JOHNNY V.] Given the winner's sheer dominance, I can't say that the ground loss cost her the race, but the runner-up Film Maker benefited from a ground saving trip. Honey Ryder put in a very admirable run for third from being nearly last on the turn. Somewhere on the turn. Hard to say where given ESPN's confusing cuts to an overhead shot, and then a disorienting shot from up close.

- As this commenter pointed out, Jerry Bailey did a great job on ESPN. He took us inside the starting gate, put us in the boots of Javier Castellano as he tumbled forward off the stricken Pine Island. He elaborated on what Bordonaro's trainer Bill Spawr meant when he was talking about how the appearance of the horse's hair helped him determine that he was ready for the race despite needing more time in the past. And before the Classic, using animation, he correctly predicted almost exactly how the race would be run, complete with Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron leading the way, and concluding that either Bernardini or Invasor would be the winner.

- Jeanine Edwards, doing trackside interviews, seemed nervous and got off to a shaky start with a halting interview of Dreaming of Anna's trainer Wayne Catalano, including an awkward and unnecessary query of exactly how much money the filly's owner had turned down for the horse. The question seemed even more trite after the race when the owner, choked with emotion, was unable to speak - the horse is named after his late sister. But Ms. Edwards recovered, and did an especially good job interviewing Dr. Bramlage after the Pine Island incident. Her best moment was when her face lit up after Spawr told her that he was hoping to get an easy lead in the race. "Wow, he wants an easy lead. Good luck with that!"

- The F&M Turf was one of Trevor Denman's better moments, as he noted how confidently Frankie Dettori was riding Ouija Board just before he asked her for run and she exploded home. The Distaff was by far his worst. He never picked up the fact that Pine Island was down, and he completely missed Round Pond until she had already burst into the lead.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't like TD's race calls for such a big event. For races that are hoping to crossover into popular entertainment media, you need stirring and dramatic and smart stretch calls. I like TD but not in the BC. You want "highlight reel" race calls that get you on your feet and I just didn't hear it (even for those races that aren't head bobs).... One thought I had was that they should have different race callers on the different audio channels as a bonus feature (maybe some young up and coming calling talent), from different parts of the world, etc.
Just my opinion.

El Angelo said...

Denman also blew the Juvenile by not even calling out Street Sense until he was about 6 lengths clear of the field. Not his best day. His work on the Classique was good though; he accurately read Bernardini as not looking sharp on the backstretch, and nailed the stretch run pretty well, I thought.

Anonymous said...

Did you read the comments from Fleet Indians owner regarding waiting twenty minutes for a second horse ambulance? Guess it was out of the realm of possibility that two horses could be injured in the same race?

Superfecta said...

I've got a link to Saylor's comments...the odd thing is that I think the Breeders' Cup stipulates that the track they hold the event at must have two equine why did it take so long to get the other one to her?

At least she is doing OK, but something isn't right there, in my opinion.

I normally like Denman but I have to agree it wasn't his best day.

Anonymous said...


Garrett Gomez rode Wait a While in the F&M Turf. Velazquez was on Honey Ryder. I think Gomez doesn't care (and hasn't had to) about ground loss when he's on Wait a while. Look back at Johnny V.'s ride on Honey Ryder in the Flower Bowl. That was saving ground!


Anonymous said...

Oops, thanx for the correction.