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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Starting to Make Sense?

- More on Street Sense's workout (and as much as I'd like to take credit for being clairvoyant, it was listed on Equibase's site early this morning), including some more upbeat assessments from the connections:

The Street Cry (Ire) colt clicked off splits of :12.80, :24.60, and :36.60 under jockey Calvin Borel and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80.
“He's doing good," said Borel. "Carl's got him on the right track. It's up to Carl now. He told me what to do with him this morning and I did what he wanted. We're just going to go from here. He's as good as before, or better."
"There's something about this horse—he's a fast work horse," Nafzger said. "I don't necessarily say that's an asset or not, but he worked :49 this morning and never did drop his head." [Thoroughbred Times]
A couple of readers disagreed as to the significance of the Thursday media conference at which Nafzger will announce their decision. I think it was scheduled even before this work, so I don't know if it means anything either way. I'm still thinking they're going to duck the race, but these comments make me a bit more hopeful. Judging from the Toddster's recent remarks, if he does run it will probably mean that Rags to Riches doesn't. But I hope that the sporting nature of her connections - if they have any - prods them to do so if she's ready. The last couple of years have been a difficult promotion for a non-Triple Crown Belmont - even Afleet Alex vs. Giacomo was a bit of a stretch - but this one has some real potential if all of these guys - and the gal - go.

Bill Finley, writing on, makes no bones as to his opinion:
It's a sad day for the sport when a horse who has run all of four times this year and, apparently, is perfectly healthy may duck a Triple Crown race. The Belmont is a difficult race and the Triple Crown is a demanding series, but it is where good horses go to prove their mettle and their talent. Tafel and Nafzger should be relishing the Belmont challenge. Instead, they are prepared to run from it. That's not fair to a terrific horse in Street Sense and it's certainly not fair to the sport.
But it's not fair to the horse or the sport if the trainer feels that the horse isn't up to it, and it would be hypocritical of anyone who's been advocating stretching the series out to insist that the horse run in the third leg. Not that Finley has to my knowledge....but I'm just saying. [UPDATE - Michael at Curb Your Enthusiasm has more more thoughts on Finley's column.]

- A brief baseball break - Last night in New York we saw two fairly remarkable games that showcased two teams headed firmly in the opposite directions. The Yanks dropped their fifth in a row, falling 14 1/2 games out of first behind some other team. The Blue Jays went ahead in the 7th when Aaron Hill made a mad dash to steal home while Andy Pettite was completely oblivious, locked in on his next pitch; one of the more infrequent, but most exciting plays in the game. And though the Yanks managed to tie the game in the top of the 8th - courtesy of two Toronto errors - the Jays scored the winning run in the the bottom half when Alex Rodriguez, featured on the front page of the NY Post for entirely the wrong reason today, played a sacrifice bunt that was clearly headed foul, and Scott Proctor, brought in for unknown reasons by Joe Torre, surrendered a sacrifice fly in a terrible relief performance.

Shortly thereafter, the streaking and most Amazing Mets went into the bottom of the 12th trailing by a run. Fortunately for them, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought in Armando Benitez, who promptly walked the leadoff batter Jose Reyes. Benitez, a hated ex-Met known to wilt under pressure, promptly balked Reyes to second, and after the latter moved to third, AMAZINgly balked him home after being rattled by a fake dash home. You tell me the last time you saw two balks on the same baserunner. It was little surprise that the easily rattled reliever then gave up a mammoth game-winning homerun to the red hot Carlos Delgado. David Wright said "I don't think you'll ever see a game like this again," but if there's a way to lose, the Yankees will probably find it. So don't bet on that.


Michael said...

As I clearly blogged this morning, I think Finley's comments are unfair and out of line. You're going to tell Nafzger how to train a colt and set up a schedule from your office? Come on!

Anonymous said...

I hope Street Sense runs: I'd love to get close to 2-1 on Curlin for this one.

Anonymous said...

He really should be complaining about R2R in addition. She is the one that should be running. Might have one of the best fillies in history and they are going to leave her in the barn and admire her? Run her on 6-30 vs. no one proves exactly what.

Even if they needed the bucks she has maximized her value as a broodmare.

Thought the Irishmen were better sportmen than this.

Anonymous said...

I think Nafzger is doing the right thing. Bill Finley is a total hack, who knows nothing about training horses. We all want to see great competition but STREET SENSE is better off reloading and pointing to the Travers where his athletic ability might pay dividends. Not on the wide easy turns of Belmont. I'm also bummed b/c CURLIN would have made a great single at 6-5 or so. Now he's 2-5. Oh well.