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Monday, June 09, 2008

The Roar Back for a Day

- John and I were marveling at The Roar of the crowd as the horses turned for home at Belmont on Saturday - especially in races in which the prohibitive favorite wasn't being pulled up on the turn! Usually, one can make out individual voices; and at times, each individual echo rattling around the empty stands. But on Saturday, the noise rose as one to a deafening din, a most welcome sound that was once routine, but now comes once a year in New York; at least east and south of Saratoga. It helped to make the day memorable even though the Belmont Stakes itself was such a drag. As we've seen in the past, a foiled Triple Crown bid can make for theater just as compelling as a successful one. But this was just an anticlimax, pure and simple.

There were two particularly outstanding finishes amongst the other stakes which really had the crowd in a frenzy. Benny the Bull kept the day from being a total loss for the Big Brown connections. He looked beaten when he passed us around the sixteenth pole - and John thought he had the 7-3 exacta nailed. But Benny charged home determinedly from that point, getting up by a neck for jockey Edgar Prado, closing through a final furlong of 12 2/5 to win the True North. Excellent effort by runner-up Man of Danger.

The finish of the day was in the Manhattan, which was also the only race I got right. Dancing Forever is one of the finest examples of a horse brought along ever so slowly by Shug. I can't say that this son of Rahy crept up his conditions, because he was still eligible for entry level allowance races when he got his first stakes win in an ungraded contest at Calder in December. Since then, he'd been a neck short of two more stakes wins, both of the graded variety. I loved him here at 4-1, and got my second lucky head bob in the last week when he just got up on the inside. Unfortunately for me though, it didn't pay off. I didn't like second place finisher Out of Control, who I considered a shaky favorite having never been the distance, and left him out of the exacta. I also had the winner hooked up in doubles with Ready's Echo and Icabad Crane, and you know how that turned out. At least that was the only money I lost on the Belmont.

- The Times' The Rail blog, which Joe Drape told NPR was the second busiest blog on the paper's website, will be shutting down shortly; I received a 'last call' for posts. It was fun while it lasted, and perhaps they'll start it up for the Breeders' Cup this fall.


Anonymous said...

That was a great finish and I too had live doubles to Ichabad and Ready's Echo as well as to Denis of Cork. It wasn't that I disliked Big Brown so much as I felt like the DD offered some value. Oh well....

As for Da'Tara, I couldn't see taking a speed horse against Big Brown and I found it awfully hard to take a Mdn winner with lousy numbers on top of that. As many have said, where were all these Da'Tara supporters pre-race?

Keep up the good commentary...most of us appreciate your efforts. There aren't that many places that discuss the range of racing topics found here without having a particular axe to grind!

Colins Ghost said...

"John and I were marveling at The Roar of the crowd as the horses turned for home at Belmont on Saturday" AMEN TO THAT!

Good meeting you on Saturday -- I enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

"the second busiest blog on the paper's website, will be shutting down shortly"

I guess I will be the one to ask why shut down the second busiest blog? Leave it to the Times to screw up a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Trouble in paradise as reported in the DRF....

Dutrow questions Desormeaux's ride

"Getting the horse from the gate to the first turn like that is not the way to play the game," Dutrow said. "A lot of people say that it really confuses the horse. I'm sure he didn't have [any] idea what the hell was going on going into the first turn the way [Desormeaux] was switching him all over the damn track. I don't know what he was doing. Did he tell you what he was doing?"