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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

AN OPENING DAY AT BELMONT PARK LIKE NO OTHER

Every horseplayer I know has a love-hate relationship with jockeys. They are our heroes, and they are the enemy of our bankrolls.

When we lose, it’s almost always their fault. But when we win, it’s because we picked the winner.

This is one horseplayer who was very proud of our human athletes yesterday–the first time we saw an aerial shot of this scene posted by analyst Acacia Courtney on Twitter from a third-floor balcony.

Jockeys, like many in the NFL, or in the NBA, or in Major League Baseball, are immigrants with a brown tint to their skin, or women, who had to work for the right to vote before they sought a license to work on the racetrack.

The jockeys wore masks, and kept their distance, and they took a knee for George Floyd, and for America, the land of the free and home of the brave that game them an opportunity to become wealthy and famous.

The best of them are said to have a clock in their heads, keeping their horses in a rhythm, timing their moves just right.

And as I write this, Reverend Al Sharpton is just concluding his sermon at at Lloyd’s celebration of life. The service ended with attendees standing for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Marathon time–two marathons.

More time will be needed to heel the wounds of 401 years but time has run out on those who would pervert our laws and keep the country safe for all its citizens, not just the privileged and their property.

I’ll never see it, and my children are unlikely to see it, but maybe their children will. And we can all celebrate all Americans in support of the greatest ideal known to man: Freedom.

God rode with the jockeys on opening day and hopefully for all the opening days to come. With the time America has left, what will it do?

Racing, the First Major League Sport in Big Apple Action

After the impromptu “ceremony,” two-time defending Eclipse Champion Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. timed his moves perfectly five times on opening day, but it was Javier Castellano and Rushing Fall who timed their moves perfectly leaving the starting gate in the Grade 3 Beaugay.

Castellano, healthy after recovering from Covid-19 and happy to be home in New York, deflected the credit. “I give all the credit to Mr. Brown,” Castellano to the NYRA press staff.

“He told me in the paddock that he wanted me to be on the lead… I just followed the instructions. Today she was much the best and proved that she belongs with the best Grade 1 fillies in the country.”

That she does. But given yesterday’s performance, it appears that Got Stormy needs either a lengthy freshening or the breeding shed. Her workline indicated that, even if not primed, she should not have stopped trying inside the final sixteenth.

This week Chad Brown said his filly was training great and he expected this to be a big year for her. Nothing she did yesterday would belie that assessment. She ran her final sixteenth in 06.14 seconds following a prior quarter-mile in 22.97. Next stop Grade 1.


 

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11 Responses

  1. Talk about jockeys,Like Irads 6 wins in Belmonts first 11 races! JV,finally tire a horse today that was flying Like Pegasus.Got gimmicks on 3 of first 4 thewent kuro as i usually do coming back with a 6-358box exacta,,and then Zilch in the last two races.One thing,a Big thing to me, Is the new DD probable$ after a race.We usually ber that at Otb outlets but not bere.Does Nyra aboa that in their outlets? If rather have a channel a la carte even if it were costlier.CD takes home and concentration away from Belmont,my race joint to bet,visit and of course chart and keep tabs.Me and mr Sterling picked the same horse a couple of times,,Is he spying on me ?Jose Santos,just wanted to name a Good jock of the past. Bofra check nonnos system picks,,it did not look Good,,so far..Surprised to re read repetitious stuff from someone who only seeks Attention,poor soul.

    1. Ps;which was your favorite,or best jockey colony or group in NY racing since the 70 s? My fav Bug boy was Wesley Ward ,better than Robbie Davis,Chris Antley,,or maybe even Steve Cauthen (?).

  2. Mr. $10: Just because you asked, the then 16yo Steve Cauthen, was not just the best apprentice ever, he was probably the Athlete of the Year in 77, and this is from a Yankee fan who will always consider Reggie’s 3 WS homers as one of the greatest moments in Yankee history. For those of us who cut our teeth on the Inner Track, “the Kid” will forever be the King of the Inner Track! And, one other thing, for one time, and one time only, I stood at the old cashier’s line, on the 3rd floor of the old Big A clubhouse, watching the race, as Turn & Count, with Stevie, won the Excelsior on the Inner. I cashed my $2 win tickets, at 2/5, and vowed that I would never watch a race from the cashiers line again.

    1. You could be right about Cauthen, before my interest in racing which started with the Alydar – Affirmed rivalry. Did the better horse win,, better jock, or inside posts? Why did Cauthen go through such horrific losing streak in California? W. Ward was exceptional, too. Belmont plus$$ so far. Happily missed races with longshot winners in lower ranks. Dominguez.

      1. Love, hate thing about jockeys Had to be something of the past. After reading a book about the subject, moons ago, and reflecting on how much influence does a jock have today, I doubt that it’s over 10% of the outcome. No time to decipher who’s riding and why. No Corderos, Days or Julie Krones to compliment or bitch about.Even big, successful named have become semi anonymous. By switching jockeys on good horses, will the outcome have been different? Who knows, meanwhile we’re too busy trying to find another race in another track. Another reason why I Rarely play more than two race tracks at a time,and Never everyrace under my nose. It’s foolish to be that out of control, addicted. It reminds me of the fable about the dog who saw his reflection on a pond trying to get his own bone which Already was between his teeth,, dropping it losing it. After I’ll hit Nonnos picks, today or tomorrow, I’ll stop putting my Input here. No matter what ,” Don’t Waste Your Talents”,from that little jewel, ” Bronx Tale”.Best wishes to all. JGR.

        1. Thanks and all the best to you. Wish I had the time for memory lane trips but in this environment, impossible, peddling as fast as I can…

  3. With respect,you have done well but with a diminishing Attention span and interest from an ever older audience it just must
    be tough.I plan to leave you a (Long) note.Later on.
    I have to follow my actuarial abilities .Enough tabs,notes ✌️Good luck to you and the better part of Pricci s Entry,Toni😗.

    1. $10 Bet, JGR:

      Here’s hoping that you will stop by here every so often, read the messages and reply to some of them. My attention span and interest level in the game are just fine. We need all the people with extreme enthusiasm for this great sport – and that includes Mark, Tom, TTT and many others – that we can possibly gather.

      Just wish that NYRA’s return to Belmont ultimately results in horseplayers in attendance by July 1. Belmont is massive, social distancing should not be a problem on most days and we need to begin to get back to business as normal. I haven’t given up on fans at Saratoga, either. This could be my 37th consecutive year attending the races at the Old Spa, if conditions permit.

      Whatever path you choose, just keep winning !!!

  4. REM,IGuess that my earlier note did not comes out.Thanx x your words but it Is Not luck that Is involved and besides, in my life luck Is Not,has not been, a faithful companion nor a shadow,,Last month i lost my fav sister in a one car crash accident.In the car there were toys x our niece s birthday and groceries x Mom.That ways all about
    It this generous,unselfish human being who could not receive the proper eulogy. Because churches,funeral Jokes were either closers or too overrun.Rip,Carmela. I close this with the best way that it could have happened,in betting terms.Got a $ 32 placing in the First,after a 3 race skid,so made profits.After losing 3 races got the DD,with one of my favs ,Alvarado, ,,but i did not know it until he won the First have.😗😗Dont ask me about the horses names,,Got 2 races outta 4 at CD,at a profit,also.Too !any times when i think,believe that Im not betting,absorbing nor learning anything about a subject,i change page,location,business,relationships. Personally read many books on horseracing,most of them time wasters,from Beyers on to Quinn,Quirin,Klein et al.Nobody,either they do not know or wont tell,was ever open,sincere.Thankfully,in those days libraries Like WestIslip,Lindenhurst had those books so they did not coast me a shilling.Learn on your own..Do not lie to Yourself.Take notes and if things do not soro our,ie give you profits..Give it up.😗i Will be going full time from some other stays than where Im living in,say Pa,NJ. I got a Good streak in another sports which Is idle right now.i dunno boa it Will start again but i Will watch,,and wait.JP has been Honest with ha,maybe too Much so and i wish nim well but i wonder Why spend time with Distractions if I,You ,Nim believe that you can do well without a false tap on the back? Ghanma again, i was sincere with all of it,well,maybe only 95% of it. Used your talents😗✌️

  5. I’ll second your RIP to Carmela. So very sad to hear this news. The exceptional ones in our lives are impossible to replace. Oh, the stories that I could tell on this subject . . .

    With the thoroughbreds, showing a profit is paramount. Just like any game of chance, winning allows you to keep coming back with confidence to get them again and again. It sounds like you’re doing just fine finding winners and walking away with their cash. Remembering the names becomes important when you’ve just seen some totally unreal on the racetrack and profited nicely from the race. You can’t recall all the winners and neither than can I. Those special ones . . . you can bet that I’ll recall their names with distinction for many years to come. Like the 2000 Travers, when Unshaded just got there in time to beat Albert the Great in the final stride. Many more memories, too, although lots and lots of them did not produce the desired results.

    Catch some great prices today – maybe one or more of them that you’ll remember for a few decades down the road . . . !!!

  6. The Bronx Tale reference above has me taking a memory lane back to Belmont Park of years past. Quite often my wife and I would have a friends and neighbors over for a Derby Party. Everyone attending was required to buy a two dollar entry in a blind house pool. Draw always out of a hat. I even had a life size Bert Reynolds blow up doll attached to the front entrance lamp post as an attention grabber. Bert always wore a Belmont Cap, and a Belmont Park T-Shirt on Derby DAy. On other occasions , Bert might be positioned out at the back patio table, cigarette in one hand, a beer can in the other, and always perusing a racing form. He scared the crap out of the Terminex guy one year. Lol.

    On Derby morning, I would always take a ride over early to Belmont Park, as NYRA always gave away a Belmont Shirt with each paid admission as a promotion. Many fans I observed, would “spin” around the admission turn styles several times to pick up a extra few shirts. My plan of barter was a touch different. Before exchanging my ‘single’ admit coupon voucher, for six bucks, I would invest an additional six bucks in three two dollar double tickets. I always wagered the favorite in the first, with three different runners in the second race. When exchanging my voucher, I would ask if any one of the “per diem” redemption guys might be interested in trading a few shirts for a few “live” daily double tickets. Most always, I returned home with three dozen shirts. Not bad for six bucks.

    I always told my guests that while they might lose “two bucks” in the Kentucky Derby pool, but they would never lose their shirts.

    Riders Up! Keeping Six Feet and Safe – McD

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