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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Interesting draw this morning at Pimlico Race Course where positions in the starting gate figure to make this edition very interesting from a tactical perspective.

The field with early odds:

1-EXCESSION Sheldon Russell 30-1

2-MR. BIG NEWS Gabriel Saez 12-1

3-ART COLLECTOR Brian Hernandez Jr. 5/2

4-SWISS SKYDIVER Robby Albarado 6-1

5-THOUSAND WORDS Florent Geroux 6-1

6-JESUS’ TEAM Jevian Toledo 30-1

7-Ny TRAFFIC Horacio Karamanos 15-1

8-MAX PLAYER Paco Lopez 15-1

9-AUTHENTIC John Velazquez 9/5

10-PNEUMATIC Joe Bravo 20-1

11-LIVEYOURBEASTLIFE Trevor McCarthy 30-1

Starting with the speedy Derby winner, Authentic is drawn outside which wound up playing to his strength; natural tactical speed. And in Johnny, a partner with extreme skill and the temperament to ride a speed type quietly.

But Velazquez is likely to feel pressure over his right should from Joe Bravo who most likely will leave for forward position while keeping an an inside to see where Brian Hernandez Jr. is positioning Art Collector, his well drawn main rival.

If Authentic and Pneumatic are forward factors, Paco Lopez will try to keep them in his sights with Max Player. Steve Asmussen said in a Pimlico interview that he sought out Paco to get ‘Max’ in the game, adding he was too far back in the Derby.

But Ny Traffic has gas and might try for the lead from post 7, not necessarily to secure the front but to gain tactical position.

Meanwhile, two slots further inside is Thousand Words, who adds the blinkers he worked well in recently and Florent Geroux is position conscious and smart. He might even be able to secure the pocket, tucking in behind outside leavers.

All this could compel Brian Hernandez and Robby Albarado to use Art Collector and hickory filly Swiss Skydiver to hold their ground aggressively, forcing the outside speed even wider into the first turn. At some point, Preakness winners need to save ground.

This has the makings for great drama and if the most accomplished horses bring their best excellent betting opportunities may present themselves, with one caveat:

Bob Baffert is 5-for-5 in the Preakness when he brings the Derby winner to crab town. And Thousand Words is far from being considered an empty stall–if they can keep him on the ground that is.

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38 Responses

  1. John: Nothing that will occur in Thoroughbred Racing over the next six weeks, not the Preakness, not the great weekends coming up at both Belmont and Keeneland, not the Breeders Cup, will come close to the monumental achievement of passing the HISA, this afternoon, by the House of Representatives. Congratulations to both Andy Barr and Paul Tonko for persevering in the face of incredible opposition. Much less important legislation has withered and died in the face of such opposition. That these two Members, of opposite parties mind you, never surrendered, is a testament to the fact that not everyone goes to Washington ( save Mr. Smith) for the purpose of going along to get along.
    However, while most everyone in the industry is congratulating themselves, there is still a significant segment of the industry that opposes this bill. In this regard, the National HBPA fears that their decades-long dependence upon a single drug, Furosemide, is at long last, coming to an end. Moreover, their “partners” in drug-dependence, the AAEP, fears that the “golden goose” of Training by Vial & Needle, is nearing its expiration date. One would hope that they might be able to continue their respective businesses without the crutch of drugs-legal or otherwise.
    Finally, John, as always, as usual, the one party that has been ignored by this legislation, the US Horseplayers, might be left to be holding the bag when the music stops ( pardon the multiple metaphors). Without a specific funding mechanism, who do you think will be asked to pay the piper? I think that most of us, who have endured diabolical OTB surcharges ( John, in what universe of mathematics, can you take 20 cents of a $2.40 winning bet, and claim that its a “5% surcharge” rather than a 50% confiscation?), and multiple increases in takeout, know that one must just look in the mirror to find the answer.

    1. Fram, there is nothing that I can say to logically refute any of your conclusions. With respect to your final point, I can only hope (capital H) that the industry is smart enough to know what a divisive issue an increase in takeout would be and the pushback at will get from any in the media with the courage to call it out.

      (I’ll say this, don’t expect any help from the whales who benefit from high takeout in the form of rebates. SO let’s see where industry media is going to land on this…that’s my view from the finish line).

  2. The OTB $.20 makes them a full partner in your wager, haha. Once was in a parlor in Suffolk and Bowie Racecourse was open. A guy next to me filled out his slip for their last race tri. He played the letters J-I-M as in the legendary Jim Bowie.

  3. C: Those of us of a certain age ( i’m turning 60 this week) know what you meant by the Letters-“JIM” on an OTB slip. Oh, the horror of any NYC OTB parlor. If you think that DMV workers are characters from some Horror Movie, you have never had to deal with the Vampires who used to occupy my old OTB on Ave U across from the Plaza. I once tried to make a “verbal” bet on Alydar in the Derby and I thought that my limbs were about to be used for some alien experiment. Unfortunately, I should have left the OTB without filling out the slip because, well, we all know what happened.

  4. Jorge Velasquez told my friend that Alydar was a “leftie” meaning he would not change leads and favored his left. In JCGC Alydar did change leads and Jorge said at that point he knew he would win (which he did). OTB stands for “Out The Bucks.”

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