The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, November 4, 2023 — The score after the first half of Breeders’ Cup on Friday: East Coast 3, Europe 2, SoCal 0. Don’t know about you but on it’s face, this is surprising. And at this pace, with the exception of Kentucky, will the East Coast (read New York here) ever see another live Breeders’ Cup?

What do you say? After the new Belmont Park is constructed–even if the building will comfortably house fewer fans–can’t bygones be just that so that Empire Staters get to see another event day?

After yesterday’s turf events, can we pretend that Mechanicville Chad was foaled over there and lump him in with the Euros, such is the manner of his grace dominance? That wouldn’t be so hard to justify. Ahem!

Given the plight of America’s three-year-olds in the immediate leadup to Breeders’ Cup, we figured there might be a handful of abundance-cautious scratches.

There were two good quotes that came over the TV during the Breeders’ Cup broadcasts. Paraphrasing Hall of Fame great turned analyst Jerry Bailey: some benchmark needs to be established re the health history of horses shipping into new venues so that veterinarians know if there’s predisposition to a horse’s quirky way of going, etc.

The other was from trainer All-World horseman Aidan O’Brien who said directly: “When in Rome, you don’t argue with the Pope.”

Trainer Jessica Harrington was a little more direct concerning the scratch of her Givemethebeatboys, a personal disappointment as we had him planned for a boxed exacta with Big Evs and a saver win wager at 15-1 on the early line [to verify see our Tote Busters profile in this section].

She said that he had passed inspection the two mornings prior and that the assessment was made after trotting him forward and back, the trainer saying that the inspection trials were staged over uneven sandy ground and rubber mats placed one after another which exacerbated the issue.

I thought to myself as I watched: Sure hope he doesn’t trip. In the heat of the moment, Harrington told she would have to think twice and might not bring another horse over for the Breeders’ Cup–and note that this boy was coming in fresh off a career best run.

While Brown made the visitors feel unwelcome when Hard To Justify confirmed her New York form to remain undefeated in three career starts, Euro runner Porta Fortuna might have been best, suffering through a difficult journey, finishing gamely for place in close quarters on the fence.

As it turned out, Tamara, who missed a final prep for the Juvenile Fillies, also missed a board finish in a terrible performance, running on empty approaching headstretch. More observations on the day later…

Noted that some pay-for-play professional handicappers did some self-congratulating, we’re not immune to doing the same. Friday results:

‘A’ horses went 4 out of 5, two ranked first (Big Evs, Unquestionable); ‘Value’ horses were 1 of 3 (Just FYI) and ToteBuster Exotics tabbed: 2 runnerup finishers (Valiant Force, 21-1 and Jody’s Pride, 17-1) with 4 remaining runners off-the-board. With so many exotics, never occurred to me to play the earliest BC double: a 1X2 paying $62.80 per deuce.

Money, money money… money

Record Friday Attendance: $43,000 + Second Highest Friday Handle Ever: $61.7 million

this is a live column and will be upgraded

Facebook Share
Twitter Share
LinkedIn Share

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *