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Monday, May 12, 2008

You Gotta Have Friends

- Bobby Frankel told the NY Post, of Big Brown:

"I think he's an excellent horse. He might be a great horse. (But) the best thing he has going for him are his 'friends,' the horses he's running with. Taking nothing away from him, he's making them look bad."
However, Frankel thinks that Dutrow's colt would have done fine against the big three from last year - Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun. "He'd match up with them, and he would probably beat them." Hmmm.... I presume he's talking about the 3 yo version of Curlin as opposed to the present one. But still, hmmmm.....

- The call to skip the Preakness with Harlem Rocker came from Frank Stronach.
"I thought the horse worked extremely well," Pletcher said [on Sunday]. "His work this morning was very, very good. I'm going to recommend to the Stronachs that he runs. Obviously it's their decision." [NY Daily News]
And kudos to Frank for doing the right this case. Why would you run a colt who hasn't gone beyond a mile, and hasn't been around two turns, against Big Brown in the Preakness? Didn't make sense to me, and I'm a bit surprised that the Toddster would be in favor. Guess he's really desperate for a Triple Crown winner who's not a filly.


Anonymous said...

I hope no one here took the LIRR to Belmont on Saturday.

Today’s card had 10 races, not the normal 9… apparently no one bothered to tell the LIRR because the last train left before the end of the 10th race!

Alan Mann said...

I've sat on that train waiting for it to leave when it, instead, waited for a simulcast race to be over....that when they used to be added to the program as a "10th race." So this story is pretty weird.

steve in nc said...

I sometimes thought I could walk to Jamaica faster.

Anonymous said...

Big mistake skipping the Preakness...the psychic says she liked his chances.

Yes, this post is tongue in cheek...then again, she DID hit the trifecta in the Derby. But one kind of has to question why a psychic would need to box it...

Anonymous said...

Oh, also...

Am I the only one that feels like if Curlin had come from the 20 hole the Derby may have been a very different race. The 2 hole really effed up his chances of doing anything, yet he still closed nicely for 3rd in spite of the traffic jam. We all know now that he loves the outside, so maybe, just maybe, if he had the 20 like Big Brown he could have pulled it off too.

I'm not trying to detract from what Big Brown did, even though it may seem like it. It just turns out that the 20-hole was a much better choice than I initially gave Dutrow credit for. The man really knows his horse.

I think it's hard to say whether Big Brown would have beaten Street Sense and his perfect trip in the Derby. But it is interesting to not that Big Brown still ran a faster time dispite being so wide and running into a strong wind twice. It's possible Big Brown is the beast everyone says he is. It would just be nice if more people were willing to test him instead of just conceding to him.

I'm hoping Casino Drive can give him a challenge.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember if Bernardini had any prior two turn experience, but he did pull off the Withers - Preakness double. That decision was made with a Barbaro who had been prematurely handed the triple crown. No one obviously anticipated the result coming about that way, but Bernardini nevertheless didn't suffer for that decision.

Anonymous said...

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, Alan.
When Harlem Rocker goes in the Plate Trial at Woodbine he'll be going two turns for the first time at a distance he's never tried and he'll be doing it on a synthetic surface that he's never run on. Okay, Big Brown won't be there, but so what? I'm not a Pletcher fan, but I don't think he'd want to run a horse with seemingly so much potential in this spot if he didn't think the horse could handle it. Even taking Barbaro out of the mix, there were a couple of highly regarded (at the time) horses to deal with in the Preakness two yaers ago and Bernardini seemed to handle that fine.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you can make that leap without a problem if the horse is good enough.
As for Stronach, I don't know what his deal is. Maybe he really wants to win that Canadian triple crown. He is Canadian isn't he? I know he has a lot of business ties up there. Or, maybe he doesn't think he's done enough to help screw up Maryland racing so he wants the Preakness to remain a snooze fest. And if Harlem Rocker does win the Canadian triple crown, who cares? I know the Preakness is the weak sister of the triple crown races, but it's still a pretty big deal isn't it? Harlem Rocker would be all but guaranteed to finish at least second, with a big chance to win (assuming everybody gets around in one piece).
For me personally, the news is disappointing because as a fan, I'd like to see an interesting race. It looks to me that Big Brown can regress and still beat this bunch. Harlem Rocker seemed to be the last hope for a competitive race. That said, I wouldn't want to see him run if I really thought it would be harmful to the horse. I just don't see it that way.
What I do see is the slowest and most uninteresting group of three-year olds I can remember. This is the first year of my adult life in which I couldn't manage to muster up any enthusiasm at all for the Kentucky Derby. Now we'll follow that up with what looks like it will be the most uninteresting Preakness in recent history.
On a bit of a different topic, let's suppose Big Brown romps on Saturday, which looks very likely at this point. Now he's going in to the Belmont as latest lock to end the tc drought. Many people seem to think that a Big Brown triple crown sweep will be a cure-all for horse racing. It will make everybody forget about Eight Belles and restore racing's tarnished image. But I have to wonder if it wouldn't make things worse. Look, I don't know Rick Dutrow. I've never met the man. But I have read the stories about his lifestyle, and more importantly, I know about his suspensions. Now that there's fresh blood in the water, and considering the sensationalistic tendencies of our modern media, am I the only one who sees a potential problem here? Does anyone think that the media, or atleast certain elements of the media, would hesitate to use Dutrow's past problems to kick racing while it's down and trying to recover?
Anyway, I love the blog. Sorry to go on so long.

Anonymous said...

More sleaze and waste at OTB.

Suffolk OTB and benefits: Phasing out a perk

William Lindsay, presiding officer of the Suffolk Legislature, was irate after finding out Suffolk OTB failed to keep its promise to cut off medical benefits for board members.

So he refiled a bill last week to end the perk.

But Lindsay got quicker action than expected: the lone OTB board member getting health insurance, Patrick O’Byrne, resigned Thursday.