Clip & Save BC Prep Trip Notes from Super Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., October 9, 2016—If your intention is to make money on Breeders’ Cup XXXIII and you missed any of the prestigious races run from East to Midwest to West on Saturday, get thee to a replay center and decide for yourself.
The results of Saturday’s graded stakes were as exciting as they were illuminating. It was interesting to see and infer which connections were serious about winning yesterday’s Grade 1 titles at all costs or whether a win would be nice, but more a means to an end.
At Belmont Park, graded stakes action started with ladies first, and juvenile youngsters—all six of them--the small field norm in Saturday’s preps—raced a flat mile in the Frizette. Local runner Libby’s Tail nearly stole the race, and the show.
She made all the pace, most of it pressured, hounded by favorite Nonna Mela, who ultimately was dull, short, or subtly outclassed. Libby’s Tail was in front into the stretch, which forced strong second favorite Yellow Agate to reach down deep.
And win she did, showing extraordinary courage while up in class and distance making her second career start. Few races are wasted these days given rich purses, but this was quite a performance to get up in the final strides under very challenging conditions.
Quite a performance by trainer Christophe Clement, too, building on his reputation for getting horses to repeat following a maiden win, a good one in which she overcame gate from far back in an eye-opening 1:10. Gemologist is a hot sire and grandsire Lemon Drop Kid adds distance to the resume.
Lady Eli can bring a racing fan to tears, watering mine with a gutsy score over talented mate, Sea Calisi, Chad Brown beating Chad Brown. Taking the lead in midstretch, ‘Eli’ showed her noted class taking the G1 Flower Bowl in her second start after battling laminitis for a year.
Industry Continues to Disrespect Horseplayers, Fans and Its Own Legacy
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 4, 2016—I should be enjoying the game right now. The Breeders’ Cup, the two best back-to-back betting days of the year, is upon us and last weekend’s first round of playoffs were nothing short of top shelf.
This weekend, it’s a Super Saturday for real at Belmont Park, and mighty Keeneland Race Course, friendly rake and all, opens its boutique autumn meet Friday with Fall Stars Weekend featuring the great turf mare, Tepin.
All that remains after this weekend is delving into this year’s graded stakes results and learning more about the invaders that make Breeders’ Cup truly world class. This is a time when fans and players should celebrate their love of the game.
However, many devoted fans on every level, myself included, have a sick feeling in our stomachs, as if the five final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign weren’t enough of an anxiety-fest.
No matter how recent events have been spun--a handful of exceptions notwithstanding--the sport’s rich and powerful and its ruling class, the stewards, spend time covering up transgressions while feigning transparency.
Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Recent “improvements” and “strides made” are Band-Aids on bullet wounds that slowly and inexorably becoming fatal.
I personally know four deeply devoted practitioners that have walked away in a span of two months and two more who are thinking about it.
Two of the defectors were big-time gamblers. One horseman, a successful syndicator and member of the Water, Hay and Oats Alliance, volunteered without prompting the he’s slowly phasing out his U.S. operation in favor of racing in galaxies far, far away.
Like me, he’s aware Thoroughbred nirvana is unattainable, but that the game has become a playing field where only racing’s deep-pocketed elite class have more than a puncher’s chance to succeed.
But when the racing-made millionaire said “there’s no real appetite for reform in this industry,” he made me and like-minded media feel foolish. It was like kryptonite for chroniclers who refuse to take a knee when confronted by the sport's deep wounds.