Those horses are giddy-upping themselves into shape and we’re left to wait and see who makes it to the gate in little over two weeks. It’s almost whoopity-do time at the windows. And, in the meantime, it’s nice to see an owner bypass horse whispering altogether and dive right into full-on, double-rainbow-style, win-one-for-the-Gipper, Vince Lombardi-belching, quips to his equine talent.
Owner Mike Repole pitted Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo against each other near trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn asking both whether or they are going to win.
“Stay Thirsty is obedient,” Repole said, “Mo decides to do what he wants to do. It’s emotion.”
“Todd gave great instructions,” said Repole. “He told Johnny to go between a minute and minute one. Mo misunderstood and decided to go 58 and three. There was a horse working in front of him and Johnny was afraid that Mo decided to go get that horse. I asked Todd if he was a little upset and he just said ‘The horse is doing really good right now. What are you going to do, put him in a choke hold?’ He did it so easy. This is the best he’s ever been. This is better than last year, this is better than before the Kelso. This horse could not be doing any better right now.”
And back in the shadows where he spent every day until the Jim Dandy, Stay Thirsty quenched his need for cruising speed going four furlongs in 48 and pennies. Mr. Pletcher, how’d he do?
“That was a good, maintenance breeze for him,” said Pletcher. “He was moving well and seemed happy.”
Charles Schultz, how did Charlie Brown look to you?
“That was a good, maintenance breeze for him,” said Schultz. “He was moving well and seemed happy.”
Now, who's going to pull the football away from who in a couple of weeks? If Stay Thirsty is the all-too-depressing Charlie Brown and Mo is Lucy, then we have to believe Stay Thirsty will meet an-all-too-eager-fate of coming THAT close.
But this is the Classic! There are 13 footballs and there’s going to be a real horse with female parts and a penchant for teasing the boys. Yep, that there is Havre de Grace, this year’s fastest horse in these global championships held in the country where horse racing is, at best, the 23rd most popular sport plans to rip that ball away and watch all them there boys flip into curlycues on a blustery Louisville night. Perhaps racing's ranking was too generous, but who doesn’t want to watch Biba Golic over Havre de Grace? Swwwwish! Case closed, strike 3, yoooourrrr’e outta he’r!
And if it is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, why is it hosted in this country every single year? Especially a country as indifferent to horse racing as Europe is to hygiene?
The Breeders’ Cup in Hong Kong would attract 100,000 people. Same with Japan, and, well, anywhere. This is horse racing’s Olympics and it should be paraded around the globe.
It would kill betting on this side of the pond because a live product in another time zone puts a doozy of a damper on the Circadian rhythm of the North American horse player—all three of them.
Though when I go to Vegas to get my Cirque du Soleilon, I get up (or stay up) to catch the Dubai World Cup at 8 a.m. or whenever it’s on. So I suspect the OTBs, the racinos, and the serious player’s Internet accounts would be more than happy to stay open.
Maybe once it’s off American shores, people will realize what’s gone, or, more predictably, won’t even notice.
Oh, Lucy ...
Brendan O'Meara wrote a book.