With the Belmont getting closer by the minute, I have really been thinking about how special this year could be. There has been no Triple Crown winner since 1978, and man are we really due. The race is beginning to take shape, and a few stories have caught my eye. 2012 could be the year where we look back and really marvel at the accomplishments of the players.
Well, this could get my butt kicked, but here goes the truth anyway. Michael Matz has made the move from Julien Leparoux to red-hot-money-man John Velasquez. There are a just a few riders in my mind that fit the Belmont oval so well. Johnny V happens to be one of those riders who can get the job done. He knows about the long backstretch, and the sweeping turns. Nothing against Julien, but he just doesn’t gel with this colt. Not to say that he won’t have a bevy of Triple Crown wins, but it just won’t be aboard the talented Union Rags. The runner comes in fresh and rested for a super-trainer. Michael Matz has made the right call by going to the “old pro” over “Big Sandy.” They are hoping for a clean trip, and J.V. can help him get a clear shot at the top of the lane.
Mario Gutierrez is the picture of cool. Prior to the Preakness, he was leaning against the wall next to Doug O’Neill. It could have been a condition claiming event at Hastings Park, but it was just the second jewel in the Triple Crown. He was focused and ready. No need for talk, or long-winded banter of how great he feels. He lets the horse do the talking, and he is just glad to be a part of the team. The comparisons have been flying. When Mario is mentioned, the name Steve Cauthen is not far behind. Now ladies and gents, that speaks volumes for Mr. Cauthen to make comments about IHA and how well he comes back. Well, I think he has the floor, as he is the last to pull off this feat. He knows what it takes, and is impressed with the efforts of the rider.
Dale Romans is a very talented trainer. He comes from a racing family that mainly raced claimers. Oh, there were some talented athletes in his late father’s barn, and he had a handful of stakes wins before leaving the game way too soon at 58-years-old, but he did leave Dale with the knowledge of how to get a horse ready for longer distances. He was quoted as saying, “Most horses can get a 1 1/8th, but the longer races must be trained up to.” So, when he uses this borrowed knowledge from a blue-collar horseman, you can bet that Dullahan will have enough gas in the tank. Romans isn’t about to give this race away, and he is on-guard to ensure that I’ll Have Another is going to have bring his A+ game.
Belmont 144 should be a show you don’t want to miss. June 9, 2012 could bring about the 12th Triple Crown winner in racing history. Be sure to stay tuned to WinningPonies for the up-to-date scoop, and how the race is shaping up. The tickets for the day sold out in the blink of an eye. They will be playing “New York, New York” once again before a record crowd.