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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


The big takeaway from this week’s NTRA Poll was that the Florida Derby, Haskell winner and Kentucky Derby finish-line leader, Maximum Security, entered the ranks of America’s 10 best race horses.

Obviously, this is the only conceivable recognition due any member of America’s glamour division since Maximum Security is the only 2019 sophomore to finish first in three Grade 1s this year. He’s earned his way.

However, the curiosity is that while he is the current divisional leader, the jury is still out as to which member of his division is best in all the land. What will happen when he meets Preakness winner War of Will and both enjoy trouble-free trips?

Also, what of late-winter leader and presumed Derby favorite Omaha Beach before it was discovered that he had an entrapped epiglottis? Isn’t he the most talented of the lot? Many thought so, and that could be the case.

Unfortunately, the answer to that question will have to await America’s biggest champion dance, the Breeders’ Cup Classic NOV 2 at Santa Anita Park. Yes, Virginia, Santa Anita is real and is preparing for the beg event.

This is because Richard Mandella is playing it safe, and smart. Why leave town and risk defeat, or a setback to long range plans, if by winning one race, one that includes older horses, you can ingest the whole enchilada?

I have not read any speculation as to why his return to the races has been delayed this long. It was only a few days ago that he had his first breeze; a three-furlong spin outside of his company, allowed only to extend himself only when the finish line came into view.

It doesn’t normally take three months to recover from the procedure that he had correct to correct his issue. Yes, Virginia, like corporate America, it’s all about protecting shareholder value.

Indeed, Omaha Beach might be the best three year old not named Maximum Security or War of Will–one of the featured players in Saturday’s Jim Dandy, a race that includes Triple Crown colleagues Tacitus and Tax.

At this point, the answer to the Omaha Beach is an unknown, as is to which is the better horse; the Derby-first or the Preakness-first. We’re of the opinion that War of Will would win an eyeball test between the two. But that’s opinion. As “The Coach” says, horses have the facts.

And why Saturday’s Jim Dandy is an important first step to knowing the answers to any of the propositions above.

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