RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Breeders' Cup Random Thoughts

I'll get the well-earned bragging out of the way first. Caleb's Posse ($15.60) was awesome, getting the "he looks like he just jumped in at the quarter pole" call from Denman as he crushed the field in the exact manner as I figured he would. The Sprint similarly went just about as I called it as Amazombie ($17.80) rallied to outgame Force Freeze, producing an exacta of $145.20. Additionally I showed excellent discipline - those two races plus the Classic were the only BC races I bet on Saturday....and, given the results, I don't regret that at all. And though I'm not bragging about the Classic result, I did assert that Uncle Mo would not be close to favoritism, and that "I would not be shocked if he's higher than So You Think." According to the result charts, So You Think was 5.30-1 while Uncle Mo was 5.40-to-1 as the 4th choice. So it was a good BC for me, and would have been even better if Perfect Shirl hadn't come around to beat my Nahrain - Misty For Me exacta.

So, there you go. Now, as it's already Wednesday and you're probably sick of reading about it - just some random thoughts on what turned out to be a Breeders' Cup with a lot of seemingly random results.

- Caleb's Posse earned a Beyer of 111, and has to be squarely in the mix for champion 3 year-old. In fact, I can't right now think of any other serious contenders. Animal Kingdom? Meh.

- Force Freeze put in what was in my opinion the best runner-up effort for the Breeders' Cup, Union Rags notwithstanding. As in his US return at Monmouth, he was completely unfazed while engaging the blazing early fractions, and he just effortlessly glided by the leaders while a full four wide on the turn, with Johnny V still motionless after turning for home with the lead. As Amazombie bore down on the leader, Trevor Denman said that the only question was how much he'd win by, but Force Field actually came back a bit and lost by just a neck. (This race was not Trevor's finest moment....Apriority is running a huge one?) Six-year old son of Forest Camp is a gelding, so hopefully we'll see him around these parts in the future. Can't imagine what he'll do if he catches some field in which he's lone speed.

- I watched mostly on TVG, which was doing the coverage I guess for the on-track feed. (They had to cut away for the actual races themselves.) Compared to ESPN, it was like horse racing for adults....that's not, in this particular case, a criticism of ESPN, which naturally strives to cater to people of all levels of racing knowledge. Great job by Simon Bray, Donna Barton, Tom Amoss, some chaps from the UK, Todd Schrrrmmmpppp, and even Paul LoDuca (though I suppose he'd like to take back his condescending comment that the money bet on Hansen represented "amateur hour"). For example, as ESPN was probably doing some cheesy feature on one horse or trainer or another, Ms. Barton was interviewing Donnie Von Hemel, who assured viewers that Caleb's Posse used the two-turn Indiana Derby merely to "get him here," - no assurance I guess to those who pissed away their money on him at 2-1 that day. (Though no sympathy for them, they should have read the past performances.)

So I can't really comment much on ESPN's coverage...except for these few things: First of all, STOP ALREADY WITH THE WEIRD CAMERA ANGLES!!!! Or, if you insist on using them, please provide a simple track diagram with a little dot to represent the position of the leader. Not that complicated. Whatsmore, while the TVG coverage of the races (which I saw later on You Tube) included Trakus, ESPN flashed totally meaningless MPH numbers. What was that about? Was the spirit of Howard Sartin directing the coverage? Additionally, please spare us from Joe Tessitore, who apparently feels obligated to come out of every finish with: CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 18 YEAR OLD JOSEPH O'BRIEN...KEN RAMSEY TURNED DOWN AN OFFER FOR STEPHANIE'S KITTEN....MIKE SMITH BEATING CHANTAL SUTHERLAND (I wonder if he would have even realized that if Denman hadn't called it that way). IT'S JUST SHRILL AND...oh, sorry. It's just shrill and tiresome. (To his credit, I did see his name as a producer of a very well done special on the Alabama-Auburn rivalry I saw on ESPN last night.)

Also, I just could NOT believe it when, prior to the Classic, they went into the Eight Belles shtick - again! - in profiling Larry Jones. Give that a rest already, and give us all a f**king break.

And finally, Randy Moss gets the award for the most meaninglessly inane comment of the Breeders' Cup when he asserted after the Juvenile that Union Rags is "still the favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby." Please, I know he's catering to the national TV audience, but Moss is way above that kind of drivel. He knows as well as anyone that 2 yo races in November no longer mean diddly regarding those six months hence. Five years from now, the thing about Derby winners having to had raced at two will be as forgotten as the thing about them having to have raced no more than three weeks prior is now.

- Royal Delta was the horse I was probably the most wrong about; left her completely off my tickets. Guess I was still holding the Alabama against her, so it serves me right because after all she won that race, and it wasn't her fault that horses can't get a mile and a quarter anymore. Thought I was right at the top of the stretch, but she was quite impressive rolling home in 12.47 to get up for Lezcano, who executed a perfectly timed ride; earning a Beyer of 104. Still, don't think she's worth $8.5 million.

- Nahrain ran terrific and she's an extremely exciting three-year old filly, hope we see her on these shores again next year.

- Goldikova just had to be DQ'd for almost downing Courageous Cat and Valenzuela. It was a clear and blatant foul. Maybe the State Department intervened in the interest of maintaining good international relations.

- Yes, I did end up betting Uncle Mo, thought the 5-1 was fair value. Silly me, all of you who scoffed at the notion that he could get the distance were correct. No matter....with all due respect to those who had him (including the swifty John, a $40 win price kind of guy who excels beyond a mile and an eighth), they could have run this race 1,000 times and I never would have had Drosselmeyer. I saw Elliot Walden on TVG on Sunday trying to make it seem as if they were maybe reconsidering and keeping him in training, but you know he was just saying that. Oh, he'll be retiring alright; he's at the peak of his value now, and they know as well as we do that it's quite likely that he'd never win another top class race in his life.

Uncle Mo has already been retired as I'm sure you know by now. I still support the decision to run him in the Classic rather than the Dirt Mile, even though the latter has indeed proven me wrong and (presumably) produced a champion in Caleb's Posse. Given the result, don't know if I can still say it was the "right" thing to do. But I still do think it was the "appropriate" thing, given the lofty ambitions that the horse's still undeniable brilliance inspired. Was the decision inspired by "greed?" Maybe. By "ego?" Definitely, but what's wrong with that? Ego is the very root of this sport, the idea of 'my horse is better than yours.' It's just unfortunate that he goes out this way, and moreso that they had to give us the lame excuse that his liver enzymes were out of whack. Frankly, I don't know if I even believe that. And in any event, Uncle Mo couldn't get the distance. That's not really a disgrace in a day and age when probably 99% of thoroughbreds in training can't either.

- And finally, for now anyway, there was the Breeders' Cup Marathon, which I completely ignored. To my own detriment as it turned out. I was so completely tuned out in fact that I didn't even realize that Afleet Again is now owned by Kasey K and my old (in terms of how long I've known him, not age of course) buddy Bob. I mean, that would have been worth putting a buck or two on him at 41-1, don't you think? He purchased the horse privately from the Afleet Alex folks after he ran 4th at Saratoga this past summer. Won't tell you for how much, but let's just say that it's paid off. And not just for the money won. I spoke to Bob and the man is just over the moon as you might imagine. And so were the partners, as you can plainly see below in this video that one of them filmed during the race. The thrill of there any endeavor in which that phrase is more applicable than our sport of kings?


Anonymous said...

Alan, I may not have mentioned this before, but, I long ago gave up on ESPN's coverage of the Breeder's Cup. The absolute best way to watch is on the Internet by going to the Breeders Cup website where they give you the feed DIRECTLY from the track. This is the way racing is supposed to be shown. One personal point on the Breeders Cup for me and why this Cup was tragic is my insistence on not wheeling in exactas. I loved Turallure but could not come close to giving Court Vision a look. It cost me $2,000.

John said...

Thanks for the mention. It was a good day for me, one i will have a hard time duplicating!

rather rapid said...

priceless video. congrats to connections. txs. for posting.

steve in nc said...

I have to say I really enjoy Jerry Bailey, and his interviews with the jocks, so despite all the warts you highlighted (and the Hank Goldberg nonsense), I was left thinking how much better ESPN's coverage is than what we used to get on NBC with Bob full-of-himself Costas and Muttonchops.

You were so right on Caleb's Posse!

Anonymous said...

Excellent video. By the way, this was the only race I won money on that day. Thanks for posting it!

Figless said...

I am in the minority I guess enjoying the coverage and watching the big events on HD on the big screen from my couch.

I view this event from a sporting perspecitve first and enjoy most of the features (of course, Hank has to go and I deal with the camera angles, for some reason I can always pick up my horses).

In fact I prefer being at home to being at some simulcast that refuses to put the sound on or worse dealing with a bad feed.

I guess its mostly because the folks that run most of the simulcasts are as clueless as Hank.

Figless said...

And yes, the jockey interviews are priceless, moreso because they respect Jerry and therefore answer his questions honestly.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any update to the current situation in NY with Dutrow. I see he is still racing and WINNING. Thanks

steve in nc said...

His attorneys got a one-month injunction on his penalty pending their appeal. In today's judicial system, I believe this is actually fairly quick turnaround.

And speaking of quick turnarounds, helluva sudden jump-up his horse at AQ on Saturday has had in its last two outings, eh?