Preakness 135 is in the books. Lookin at Lucky finally got a break, and we saw some new faces who will make a splash down the road. We really needed Super Saver to win for the industry. But, you can’t always get what you want….Or sometimes, what we really need.
I loved the way that “Lucky” romped home. Martin Garcia gave us a glimpse of what we wanted, but the racing industry was in need of a hero. To have a Triple Crown hopeful to talk about for three weeks, would have drawn more folks to the game. I could feel the crowd at the track I work, and I am sure you could sense the surge we get every Preakness. The hope, the promise, and the thought of another 3-year-old going for the gold. It gives horseplayers and fans of the game something to follow from January until June.
I think the overall crop of runners this year has yet to show us the best. I still believe there is another out there that will show us his ability. Don’t get me wrong, and take nothing away from the Derby and Preakness winners. It just felt like this was not the best crop I have seen in years.
Lucky who turns three on May 27th, will not head into the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. He is young according to Baffert, and felt the youngster needed some well deserved rest. I am sure we will see him come back fresh later in the year, and I can’t wait…
Super Saver will pass on the “Big Apple” as well. These were the two big dogs, and they need a vacation. Pletcher felt the two weeks was too quick, and he needed more time. He says we will see him back for a big summer. I’ll bet a donut on a Travers return….
Attendance was up, but handle was down for the second jewel. It came to around 8.6% down… Just about this time every year, all tracks want to see a T/C runner heading to New York… I guess the powers that be at NYRA need to have few cold ones. It is like getting knocked out. You go from making plans for all-time crowds, to hoping for solid attendance and weather.
For the most part, the tried and true handicappers will be waiting. They always get excited no matter if there is a hopeful or not. They are the core audience, and we need to build this group. During the World Series, everyone is a baseball fan. When the “green jackets” come out, we are all guilty of watching too much golf. When the sport has that special three-year-old going for the big prize, it takes us back. Back to a young Steve Cauthen, and the glory that still lives on each spring. It will be another year that we will have to wait, and in the meantime, we will play the most exciting game I have ever come across. It is the sport that you can take part in by having a two dollar wager. How our dads, grandpas, and friends took us to the races. How we could smell the action a mile away from the track. The trek to get there for the double, and reading about the game in any publication we could get our hands on. Hope springs eternal each year… I guess we will just have to wait.