Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Happy New Year?
The year that was had its moments, but while most folks will do lists of the iconic images of 2011, I’ll leave that to most folks. Rather, in this spot, let’s project to what could be the top headlines of 2012
The Eclipse Awards: If nothing else it will, at last, put 2011 to bed. This should be streamed live online for anyone who’d like to watch it who doesn’t have TVG, or whoever else airs the awards. Seems silly to shrink an already small audience.
The Birth of Jess Jackson’s Super Horse: Rachel Alexandra will deliver a colt in five weeks. Mr. Jackson thought he was being original in thinking that breeding one great horse to another could yield yet another great horse with stamina and speed. What have breeders been doing for centuries? Still, his intentions and heart were in the right spot by breeding his two favorite horses to give racing as a regal a bloodline as an inbred Hapsburg.
The attention on this colt will be astounding. If you thought Nicanor—the troubled, chain smoking, blogging, inventor-of-cheap-board-games—brother of the late Barbaro was showered with attention, just wait until the RA-Curlin cross fails to stand up after 20 minutes.
The Birth of Jerry and Ann Moss’s Super Horse: Zenyatta will deliver a Bernardini foal later in the spring. As if Zenyatta and Bernardini weren’t already late bloomers themselves, their foal will be four to five months behind its contemporaries. Advice? Don’t start this horse until 2016. (Where will I be in 2016? Probably chain smoking, blogging, and inventing cheap board games.)
The Rise of Aqueduct: The purses are rising higher than Americans’s credit card bills. And with that comes the prospect of other out-of-state trainers moving strings to the Empire State. Why not run for $10,000 extra dollars for the same claiming race run in another state? Sure, it’d be great if betting handle itself could support the sport, but it doesn’t cut it anymore. No shame in milking the gaming law teat. It’s here to stay and the tracks and states that don’t get with the picture will find themselves fall by way of the Montreal Expos.
Royal Delta: Bill Mott is already pointing this filly to the Dubai World Cup. She had a brilliant 2011 and will be one of the best, if not the best, horse returning in 2012.
Actor Horses: I hope “Luck” finds a nice spot on HBO. That channel’s history with television dramas is mighty fine. See Sopranos. “War Horse,” while not a horse racing movie, has promise. Also Solomon Gill’s “Viva Canonero,” about Canonero II, will hit the screen in the fall of 2012. That horse will teach you a thing or two about adversity.
Those are just some of things to look forward to. That, and a reduced exotics takeout presented by the N.Y.R.A. You give a little, you get a little. Even Steven.
Brendan O'Meara is the author of "Six Weeks in Saratoga." Follow him on Twitter, if you dare.