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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing




HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 3, 2021—The headline is misleading in that Saturday’s is more than a match race between 6-5 early line favorite Knicks Go and close second choice, Maxfield.

The 2021 storied Whitney Stakes, a premier event for the world’s leading racehorses, has drawn five runners, including the champion filly Swiss Skydiver.

The field is completed by Silver State, who puts a six-race win streak on the line, and the erstwhile hard-hitter By My Standards. Indeed, there will be plenty of equine bling on display at Saratoga.

The long-range forecast is for cloudy skies, book-ended by bright, sun-shiny days fore and aft. The field listed is listed in post order with sire, trainer, jockey and early line odds:

Grade 1 WHITNEY STAKES — 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles:

1 By My Standards, by Goldencents, Calhoun, G Saez, 10-1

2 Silver State, by Hard Spun, Asmussen, Santana Jr, 4-1

3 Swiss Skydiver, by Daredevil, McPeek, Ortiz Jr, 6-1

4 Knicks Go, by Paynter, Cox, Rosario, 6-5

5 Maxfield, by Street Sense, Walsh, Ortiz, 8-5

Monmouth Stewards Suspend Flavien Prat

I’m sure well-meaning lovers of the game, hopefully all who are reading this, can argue both sides regarding the emergency-only whip rule in place in New Jersey.

I’m for the rule but this isn’t about that and don’t wish to engage on those specifics. Another argument for another day.

But even those who despise the rule were quick to compliment the Monmouth stewards for swift and timely adjudication of a riding violation that didn’t take 22 minutes to decide.

The best news, of course, was that the fallen Paco Lopez and Hot Rod Charlie emerged without serious injury.

On Sunday the stewards took the ruling to completion by suspending Prat for seven days for careless riding, i.e. “failing to make a reasonable effort to keep his horse from drifting in past the eighth-mile pole in the July 17 Haskell Stakes.”

The incident resulted in Hot Rod Charlie being disqualified from first and placed last for crossing directly into the path of Midnight Bourbon, causing that runner to clip heels and stumble badly, unseating Lopez in the process.

The Prat suspension begins on September 7. The last day of racing at Del Mar is September 6. For all intents, Prat has the meet riding title nailed down with a month of racing still remaining.

This is a point where fans of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS fame will be quick to note that, according to Gibbs Rule 39, “there is no such thing as a coincidence.”

Speaking of rules, however, the Board found that “Mr. Prat’s actions were in violation of NJAC 13:70-11.1 [crossing and weaving]:

‘When clear, a horse may be taken to any part of the course but no horse shall cross or weave in front of other horses in such a way as to impede them, or cause interference or intimidation.’”

As a practical matter, the suspension runs while Southern California racing shifts to the Los Angeles County Fair meet at Los Alamitos, there would be no need for the rider to consider gaming the system via the appeals process.

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7 Responses

  1. Tony,

    Yeah, thanks–and not the first time I felt compelled to use it in relation to our sport…

  2. Indeed the timing of the suspension appears no coincidence. Had Prat appealed, NJ would get more light shone on the ban and its implementation!

    The Whitney’s tiny field may provide some excitement, but not for vertical exotic bettors. There is no sprinter like Mischievous Alex to challenge Knicks Go’s early speed, but perhaps without Lasix and Bute, his early lead may not be insurmountable.

    IMO By My Standards at 10-1 would be exceptional value here, and I will EXA box him with Silver State.

    1. ‘Standards’ is a hard trying horse and comes from a live race but with the exception of the filly, who’s missed some training, the other three are exceptional horses. May they all come back safely, wherever they finish…

  3. I always look forward to watching the Whitney. And there’s no better Sportsman or Trainer in the game today than Kenny McPeek. Kenny is never one to dodge a tough battle with his charges. John I believe you had Swiss Skydiver as one of your finalists, if not the finalist, in your HOY analysis last fall. How could any racing fan not love McPeek for his sportsmanship and intestinal fortitude?

    Little time for horses with all the action on Wall Street this week. David Aragona I spot bet a few times off his Timeform NYRA daily free analysis. He had a $22 winner in Christopher yesterday, and another $22 winner in race 4 today on Panter? or something similar. Cashed on both runners. (Thank You David.) Sneaky clever he is John and Indy. Well worth reading HRI faithful. All that said, I will however revert back to the HRI FRA when Broadways analysis is again submitted for perusal. John always rates first call. You ain’t gettin’ me to quit or even change lanes this late in The Game Mr. Pricci.

    I saw mention of NJ going with live odds “lock in” wagering. Sure hope NY follows. Try to pass a bill now with Cuomo’s attention diverted as he battles to save his job. Same mindset as President Asset is my first read into all of this. Serious allegations for sure. Putting his younger brother in a pickle over at CNN he is.

    Jamaica Estates Richie Rich kids with fast cars, and all other types of toys of unbridled wealth left unchecked. Speaking of which, who could have ever imagined so many of our friendships, treasured for so many years, could have ever been destroyed by one red ass hat cap wearing man, but then again, just like with opinions, everyone has got their own business to process through their own colon organs each day. Most however are simply not so destructive in nature at the start of the process each day. Not referencing R or D here, more simply focused on destructiveness of elite entitlement and power.

    All a part of a silent caste system which was never really considered important for us to be taught in any history class. And the imbalances grew and grew, and morphed into the devil’s world we find ourselves divided into today. So hope one day we can all find our path back to a moree centrist balance of dialogue between those of us with differing views. God Bless America. We could all use some of that blessing.

    Looking forward to Saturday’s races. Friday’s as well. Should be fun. Riders Up!

    1. McD et al,

      In computer hell. cavalry doesn’t arrive until Monday. Will post selections but precious little else.

      Note to partisan morons: My good friend, and friend to HRI sports bettors and fans, Marc Lawrence, fully vaccinated and masked, contracted Covid last weekend. Was sick five days but is now on the mend.

      Please tell your ignorant partisan friends to do the same. Marc said it saved his life–but it was NO day at the beach.

      If you don’t care about living yourself, or the lives of friends, family and co-workers, then by all means, don’t, and take comfort in your hatred of humanity. But if you do care, PLEASE, PLEASE, get vaccinated and wear a mask, please!

      Rant over…

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