By Top Turf Teddy – The Prince of Pace
The “Worst Stinkin’ Bet of the Day” for Friday, January 24, 2020, will be in the 8th Race at Oaklawn Park, the Smarty Jones Stakes.
Wisdom from the Weeds: “Horses are only human.”
Smarty Jones, one of the greatest race horses of the last century. Often get ridiculed for that statement. The circumstances under which he lost the Belmont are bizarre, tragic, and frankly, hard to understand. The crowd at Belmont that day was enormous, eager to witness what would certainly, and finally be another Triple Crown winner. It was not meant to be. No stranger to ignominy, watching the race atop my perch, a 55-gallon garbage can, binoculars in hand, recall my horror and dismay at what was unfolding, all the while trying to keep my balance. Not that peculiar things happening at the distance of 1-1/2 are rare, but this was a history moment, and you would think that every effort would be made by the principals to ensure the best chance of success.
John Servis, the trainer, instead of having Stewart Elliot secure a mount on Friday at Belmont, the day before the race, to familiarize himself with the unique Belmont oval, with that ubiquitous, daunting stretch, Mr. Servis chose to have Stewart Elliot ride one of his bottom-of-the-barrel claimers on Friday, over at Monmouth Park. My recollection is that there was a 1-1/2 race on the card on Friday at Belmont, probably for the purpose of allowing jockeys to again familiarize themselves with that distance and the Belmont oval, if need be. One could only surmise that the ride that Stewart Elliot gave Smarty Jones, personified how desperately he needed a race over the track the day before. Bill Buckner you are off the hook.
While on the subject of jockeys, Irad is at Oaklawn today, for the Smarty Jones. Witnessed his antics in the last at Gulfstream yesterday, veering in front of his rival in the stretch, intimidating, and costing lengths. No inquiry. He will continue until a major venue puts an end to it. Don’t hold your breath.
You may get somewhat of a price on 7-Shoplifted, as there are a number of untested potential good ones in today, waiting to explode on the scene (a subtle disclaimer), but my figures are my figures, and although often been called a deviant in all things racing, strive not to deviate from my numbers. Forgive the poor showing in the Breeders’ Juvenile; won’t let the fact that Santana goes to the other Asmussen runner deter me. Hoping 7-Shoplifted stalks a fast early pace, and “steals” away with a strong closing effort as he did in both his winning efforts. Love Oaklawn. Good luck!
7-Shoplifted – The “Worst Stinkin’ Bet of the Day”