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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Derby Notes

As shocking as the Derby result was, as DiscreetPicks points out: the horse ran great, and he's getting ZERO credit for it. Mine That Bird's winning time of 2:02.66 is a middle of the pack kind of time historically. His Beyer of 105, though, according to Crist, tied with Sea Hero's as the second lowest (to Giacomo's 100 in 2005) during the last decade (and three points slower than Rachel Alexandra), certainly seems respectable if not spectacular. Whereas Giacomo's rally took place into a final quarter of nearly 27 seconds, the final quarter here was 25.17. And, according to Formulator, Mine That Bird zipped home in final fractions of 24.11 and 24 seconds flat. Big Brown came home last year in 25.26. One can certainly explain the difference away given Big Brown's wide trip from the 20 post and Mine That Bird's dream journey on the best part of the track over a surface he obviously relished. But the point is that, as inexplicable as it may have been, this gelding's win certainly seems a legitimate one, at least in terms of time.

Of course, it also helped that the horses he inhaled late had had enough at that point. Pioneerof the Nile showed the determination he did in the Cash Call Futurity and the Lewis in fighting off Musket Man and Papa Clem (said to be going on to the Preakness) for the place. But he struggled home in 26.23 and earned a Beyer of only 95, as did the other two.

Todd Pletcher, winless now with 24 Derby starters, said that Dunkirk (11th) grabbed a quarter and suffered some nicks and cuts. Friesan Fire (18th) had an eventful trip.

He grabbed a quarter in the left front, had a cut on the tendon in the right front, and a cut on his right rear back foot. He also had some leg webbing, apparently from another horse, embedded in one of his hooves.

While she did not know what Jones or the owners would decide about the Preakness, Cindy Jones said all of the cuts were superficial and would heal quickly. [Bloodhorse]
- David Cotey, Mine That Bird's original trainer who sold him for $400,000, seemed to have no regrets as he and his partners were able to purchase 37 other horses as a result of the transaction.
"I never ever sold a horse and wished someone would do terrible with them," Cotey said. "Now people will buy a horse out of here for good money and not be afraid to go to the Breeders' Cup or the Derby or wherever. [Canadian Press]
- I don't usually go for that schmalzy sentimental stuff, but I thought the highlight of NBC's coverage (other than the fabulous blimp shot of the stretch run] was the interview during the walkover with Tom McCarthy. General Quarter's owner/trainer was obviously overwhelmed by the moment, not only proceeding to the paddock to saddle his horse for the Kentucky Derby, but being cheered on by railbirds along the way. It (almost) made me want to bet on the horse. And I bet he wouldn't have snapped at Kenny Rice no matter how many times he asked him the same questions he'd been asked all week. (If one can't be gracious when he wins, what do you expect he'll be like when he loses?)


Anonymous said...

Wondering why there was no inquirey?? See quote below;

"Kentucky Derby fourth-place finisher Papa Clem will definitely go on to the Preakness, trainer Gary Stute said on Sunday. His father, Mel Stute, won the 1986 Preakness with Snow Chief, who rebounded from an 11th-place finish
as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

“I looked at the charts this morning and I was only beaten a nose and a head for second,” Stute said. “To be honest, Baffert’s horse [Pioneerof the Nile] came over and bumped me. If it were a normal race, there might have been an inquiry. With any luck we could have been second. "

My question, why is the Derby considered "abnormal" from a referee standpoint? Could you imagine these comments after a Super Bowl? There are millions and millions of dollars wagered on this race. If they take PON down my buddy hits a 100k triple, should he not be pissed?

Granted, the comments would be worse if from the stewards themselves, but still...

Anonymous said...

As for all the suspicion regarding the result, most if not all of us are racing veterans, you see this type of result every time a deluge hits at every level. Some horses freak in certain conditions, and not all wet tracks are alike.

The were holes in all the favorites and the non-favorites, lets face it, this was not a stellar group. The top of the crop were mostly absent.

So the holes, and a roughly run race, run a distance most will never run again over a unique surface, results in an inplausible result. So what, shot happens. Does not mean there is some huge conspiracy. Unless someone has evidence, shut the freak up.

And those crying about your PON exacta, realize PON should have been taken down, so you have no right to cry. In any other race, the inquiry sign would have been posted before they pulled up, because its the Derby they look the other way.

Until the stewards finally take action this race will continue to be a rodeo. If they are truly as concerned with the horses as they claim to be, they need to call these riders on the carpet and enforce the rules, then perhaps the jocks will be a tad more careful from start to finish, and this race will not take such a toll.

onecalicocat said...

I am just a fan and probably know less about handicapping methods than anyone who posts here but I find it strange that these "experts: on TVG and HRTV seemed to resent the fact that Mine That Bird won the race.
Hey, if your handicapping methods fail to identify all the contenders, don't blame the winner of the race.
I don't know the name of the TVG guy (Bray?) but what a jerk. And the snide guy on HRTV who called it "beginner's luck."
Maybe the next step is "ultra-handicapping" where new, outside-the-box methods are devised to identify unconventional contenders.
Borel gave some good reasons why the horse did well on the wet track. How come no one else seemed to see these reasons?
Or maybe the bottom line is that many races can't be handicapped at all with the methods now available -- and what's wrong with that.
By the way, Mine That Bird (and Birdstone as a sire) got numerous positive mentions on the Maiden Watch blog in 2008.

Bob said...

Mine That Bird..... owners and a trainer that Nascar would be proud to call their own.

rather rapid said...

watch the videos of MTB and you'll see a pretty good, completely overlooked training job. Only horse whose last breeze was a full mile, per Calvin Borel. MTB was one of two horses in this field doing 2 miles on slow days. His trainer went to the extreme and stopped off at Lone Star just to gallop the horse, to give some indication of their intent. I suspect they knew what they had. this was a fast, nice striding horse, who got some very decent handling.

steve in nc said...

I for one didn't blame Wooley for reacting. He had just won the Derby, and the interviewer didn't want to talk about how he trained the horse. The guy apparently is a former rodeo bareback rider. In addition to pulling the horse van, he probably does his share of the hands-on equine work instead of just organizing, delegating, supervising, and negotiating.

This is my moment to ride off into the sunset for awhile. I've given back too much of my inner track profits; not sure why my handicapping approach that has cleaned up each of the past 5 winters doesn't work in the spring, but I can't argue with results. And unlike Geitner, I'm not about to (and can't afford to!) pump more money into losing propositions.

I'm going to give it a rest until either Saratoga or the Breeders' Cup. Adios compadres...

jk said...

NYRA is losing $5 million so the MTA can save $112,000. Brilliant.

On Kentucky Derby day last year, for example, the train brought in 385 passengers to Belmont, said Kenneth T. Cook, vice president for security at the racing association. On Saturday, the shuttles carried just 96 people.

On weekdays, the train carried 30 to 35 people last year; so far this spring, the shuttle has carried 7 to 9 passengers a day, Mr. Cook said.

Racing association officials, who lobbied against the elimination of direct train service, estimate that the park will lose more than $5 million this year because of the cut, while the authority says it will save about $112,000.

Brett said...

"watch the videos of MTB and you'll see a pretty good, completely overlooked training job. Only horse whose last breeze was a full mile, per Calvin Borel. MTB was one of two horses in this field doing 2 miles on slow days. His trainer went to the extreme and stopped off at Lone Star just to gallop the horse, to give some indication of their intent. I suspect they knew what they had. this was a fast, nice striding horse, who got some very decent handling."

They knew what they had I agree. A horse that won a GIII in Canada and couldn't beat Kelly Leak in the Sunland Derby. I think it's simple that this horse freaked in the slop and many others hated it.

I really don't think this horse is the next TC winner. And if he were the owners and trainer would not even contemplate entering him in the Preakness.

Anonymous said...

Quite agree on Tom McCarthy, his horse was surely my sentimental fave in the race. Other than that, the highlight of the day, as it is every year for me,is when the Derby field steps on the track and the band strikes up "My Old Kentucky Home". Brings a tear to my eye. Every time. /S/greenmtnpunter

El Angelo said...

Someone needs to explain where this phantom $5 million figure comes from. If Belmont is losing 30 customers a day because they're not running the train, that's a total of 1,950 over the entire meet (not counting Belmont Stakes Day). You're telling me that the *average* person that goes to Belmont and takes the train bets over $2500? ("$5 million in business" is vague on its face--does that mean in handle? Money spent at the track? NYRA profits?) And if the average person coming on the train IS betting that much per trip, they're probably betting it anyway via OTB or some other off track site instead. I'm sorry, but this doesn't come close to computing.

Alan Mann said...

>>Brings a tear to my eye.

Oh man, GMP, if you, of all people, are tearing up for that, then I wouldn't want to be next to you when they play Sidewalks of NY at the Belmont!!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the $5 million lost revenue or profit figure provided by the NYRA seems bogus. If it were true, the NYRA would surely just pay the MTA the $115,000 it is saving out of this $5 million lost business due to the shutdown of the rails.

Can't ask John Lee anymore what the real story is, but what believe the NYRA anyhow?

Anonymous said...

Long range forecast for preakness day, sunny, 85 degrees and humid.

Unless there is a freak tstorm belmont will be half empty on the first saturday in june.

jk said...

Belmont lost 289 customer on Derby Day vs a year ago. They are loosing 30 a day during the week and hundreds on the weekend.

All they need to do is restore service on the weekends.

Anonymous said...

This is probably WAY too logical, but if in fact the loss of service is costing NYRA $5Million while only saving the MTA $112k would it not makes sense for NYRA to just reimburse the MTA for the expense and run the damn trains?

If the numbers were accurate, NYRA would just do it, even they are not that stupid. If something smells it is probably rotten.

Anonymous said...

Could be the issue is out there to persuade the politicos to vote for an MTA bailout, making them feel sorry for businesses like the NYRA that are getting hurt? Could be the NYRA is making a big deal out of it in order to make it an excuse when being evaluated for live attendance figures by the Franchise Oversight Board? In either case if the MTA and NYRA numbers are accurate, just pay for the train!

Anonymous said...

Alan, I'm just a sentimental old guy who likes going to the track. "Sidewalks" is another tearjerker as my maternal grandfather, a wonderful man and loyal NY'er to the end despite moving to Boston for business, would sing it as a reminder of his Brooklyn heritage.