DIRT TO TURF SWITCH

For about a month, McKinzie has been getting my vote at #1 in the NTRA Weekly Poll. Nothing earth shattering here, just a peak as to which Thoroughbred might be crowned best in show by year’s end.

I voted for McKinzie in part because traditionally this country is one in which dirt horses are valued over turf specialists. Thus there is a built-in bias against grass horses that aspire be Horse of the Year.

Guilty as changed.

But after yesterday I cannot deny that at this point McKinzie is more deserving than Arlington Million winner Bricks And Mortar. So, like a true politician, I’m flip-flopping this week.

Chad Brown’s patience certainly paid off for this patient. It took 14 months to return and the result has been six straight victories beneath Irad Ortiz Jr.; five of those this year, four Grade 1.

Yesterday’s performance, beneath a supremely confident Ortiz Jr., was extraordinary. It wasn’t so much 1-1/4 miles in 1:59. 44. It was that final quarter-mile of :22.64, all out only about that far and just gaining a full head of steam as the wire approached. Wow.

So, now, after adding the Million to the inaugural Pegasus Turf Invitational, the Churchill Downs Turf Classic, and Belmont Park’s Manhattan, meet the new boss, same as the early season boss.

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