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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Jorge Navarro is a controversial guy, for all the wrong reasons, of course. But I will say this for Navarro; his horses are always turned out well and they hold their form, unlike some other trainers he could be compared to.

Several weeks ago, the man who has had some very good horses to train, said that Shancelot is the best horse he’s ever trained. On Sunday at Saratoga, the horse did all the talking. And what did he have to say?

I will win the G2 Amsterdam by 12-1/2 lengths running 6-1/2 furlongs in 1:14.01. And I’ll do that after posting fractions of 21.79, 43.94 and 1:07.63. Now Saratoga played fast this weekend; anyone who saw Imperial Hint’s track record 6 furlongs on Saturday knows this.

But it’s not a superhighway. Not all horses are posting out of the ordinary times; only the super freaks are running this kind of fast. Here’s what the connects of the undefeated Shancelot had to say after the race.

“Wow!” Navarro said. “To say what I said a month ago, that this is the best horse I’ve ever trained -you know, Private Zone was good. Sharp Azteca was good. X Y Jet is still good – going into the race…

“I knew he was running against some good horses, I thought, ‘am I going to be wrong?’ I guess not. The jockey jumped off and said, ‘Jorge, this was just a workout.’ He said, ‘I had so much in the bottom.’ I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Said Emisael Jaramillo, up from South Florida for the ride: “He was excellent today. He did it easy. He was moving fast but he did it like it was normal. That’s him. He’s that talented. This is probably the best horse I’ve ever ridden in my life next to X Y Jet.”

“If everything comes out good,” continued Navarro, “[the Grade 1 Allen Jerkens] is where we’ll end up. We’ll go through everything with him, make sure everything is fine. That’s our plan.”

Ricardo Santana, aboard runner up Nitrous had this comment about his mount and the winner: “[Nitrous] is a horse who is doing better and better. The winner was a freak, that’s’ all I can say. To go 43 and 1:07 and close at 1:14, that’s something else.”

That’s the 3-for-3 3-year-old Shancealot; something else. If the more experienced two-turn divisional leaders don’t sort themselves definitively and this guy runs the table, ending with a Breeders’ Cup Sprint victory, a sprinter could win a divisional Eclipse Award. Now wouldn’t that be something else entirely?

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3 Responses

  1. I was quite impressed with Shancelot at Monmouth and he completely crushed the field at Saratoga. Outside controlling speed and ran 121 Beyer. Wonderful , fantastic. Very fast horse trained by a miscreant.
    Bigger picture to me is Navarro. He has a list of medication violations just in Florida that are longer than my arm and multiple horse deaths that are being adjudicated. (go to Division of Florida Licensing -horse trainer ; they are meticulously documented). To have this ‘person’ as the face of thoroughbred racing for even one day is nauseating and revolting. In addition, more owners are using him because they want to win. Example, Joseph Besecker who may be leading owner in country in wins this year(hedge fund manager).
    Don’t you fine it a touch ironic. that the leading sprinters in the country the last 3 or 4 years are trained by 3 “super ‘ trainers. World of Trouble-Servis;Roy H-Peter Miller; XY Jet, Sharp Azteca and now Shancelot- Navarro. TVG and FS1 dance around the issue of pharmacology every day when they stutter and stammer with their praise of their exploits.
    Lasty, as an aside, Mike Napoli, former Boston Red Sox catcher, is now one of the leading owners in the Northeast. He is winning races in droves in New Jersey and Florida. In fact, was leading owner at last GP meet. How has he accomplished this great feat being new to the game? He is using ‘super’ trainers Gilberto Zerpa and A. Florida and Breen in New Jersey(deadly in that state). They certainly know who to employ, eh!! Take care kevin from Tampa.

  2. Kevin, as a famous man once said: I hear you, and the whole world will hear from us soon.

    Only there’s nobody home. We write columns here, make suggestions, plead for federal oversight (me but neither of my colleagues) an overhaul of the antiquated parimutuel wagering system and, of course, ridding the sport of race-day medication use. And what response do we get?

    Cease and desist orders from lawyers or crickets. I have spoken with many well meaning individuals in the sport who explain there is no will by horsemen’s groups to reform. When there is, the roadblock becomes economics.

    Everybody knows who these super-trainers are and unfortunately they must figure into handicapping. Even if you think their horses are vulnerable, most feel compelled to use them defensively, myself included.

    I wish I had a good answer but even if I did, it would be just another voice crying out in the wilderness.

    1. Thanks John , I really do appreciate your reply. Trying not to be cynical. I remember in 1983/1984 when i was a teenager and bicycled to Belmont Park( I did not have a car until 22) from Garden City and a horse by Oscar Barrera would open up at 3/5 and i couldn’t figure out why that was since he just was a claimer vs. allowance horses. Boy, did i learn my lesson quickly. That was the beginning of lesson to bet these “super’ trainers off claim and a profitable one ,too.
      As you are well aware , there are no mortal locks in racing but winning 30-50 per cent off claim is almost as close as one can get. Maybe, Chad Brown in turf stake is another. They can be singled in horizontal wagers(i dont even like to single very often) and be used as “anchor’ horses in Pick3/4s. Take care . Kevin in tampa

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