Monday, October 21, 2013
Getting charged up for the Breeders’ Cup
I was in a press box at Corinth High School covering a football game between Hoosick Falls and Corinth. Not that his has anything to do with anything, but it was one of those perfect Friday nights: The community all came out, the 50-50 raffle was over $1,000, the lights were on, helmets smashed. There’s hardly a better way to spend a Friday night.
In said press box I ran into a colleague of mine who also is tightly associated with horse racing. During half time he asked me if I was excited for the Breeders’ Cup. My default answer was, yes, I was, but then I got to thinking that there isn’t as much buzz around with this year’s renewal. He felt the same. He couldn’t point to a race, besides the Classic, that incited the fervor.
Aside from Wise Dan, there’s no real exciting turf horse, if the turf is ever worth getting excited about this side of the Atlantic. Little Mike is nice, but he’s no English Channel vs. Dylan Thomas. Even Wise Dan, as turf miler, is no Goldikova.
The juvenile division, I suppose, is what it is. It’s a Pletcher Industrial Complex showcase. The juvenile division is the Little League World Series of the Breeders’ Cup. The winners can shave at an early age, but usually peter out when the rest of the gang gets a hold of their own Gillette Fusion razors. Would you rather be Sean Burroughs or I’ll Have Another? (Burroughs, it must be said, has had what you may consider a nice, little career in the Bigs. He’s currently in the Dodgers organization but hasn’t broken through. Given the pressure mounted on this guy, a guy I admired watching the LLWS as a 12-year-old, since we’re the same age, and I because I had similar aspirations, it’s amazing he stayed clean and is still going. But he’s no Street Sense.)
The Distaff has risen to be a great headliner to Friday’s card with the addition of Princess of Sylmar. Yet another feat to commend both the owner and the trainer: They planned on skipping the Breeders’ Cup. How tempting a mistress must the Breeders’ Cup be? Then again, maybe it’s less tempting when you have such a good horse, you figure you can get your money over the course of another year versus burning her out in one race. It’s probably more tempting to have a marginally talented horse and run in the Breeders’ Cup more to say you did rather than have a legitimate shot.
But, it appears, PofS will square off against Royal Delta again. Royal Delta, who was at one time, pointed toward the Classic, will run against her own gender. A year ago, I wanted her to run against the boys because, a year later, how can you be sure she’ll be in any shape or form to run a year in the future? You can’t forecast ahead four weeks in this sport, let alone a year. In the end it works.
The Classic, as usual, is worth the wait the entire weekend whether or not the opening acts fire or not. With the Mile setting the stage for the Classic, and Game On Dude presumably being a heavy favorite, you could ALL-ALL-Wise Dan-Game On Dude your way to Paunch Burger.
My friend from the press box likes Golden Ticket, likes him as a bomb. Palace Malice is, without question, very live. But our hero Joel Rosario chose to ride Flat Out in the Classic. Flat Out runs like Orb. That can be construed as an insult at this point, but the running styles are similar and Rosario is as quiet as a librarian.
Game On Dude, if nothing else, is the type of horse who always runs his race. Being a front runner, he’s going to bring his game, his style, to the track. There’s no secret with him. He’s like Fabulous Strike or Ghostzapper. It’s always his race to lose and this year he hasn’t lost at all.
The last time he lost was the Classic. At Santa Anita. Against many of the horses he’ll face in two weeks.
Game on, dudes.
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