Another year, and the history books of racing have been put away. I’ll Have Another held up better than anyone expected. Bodemeister and Paynter get the Bridesmaid awards, and Union Rags finally got his trip. Steve Cauthen will be the busiest man in the world next May. It will be the 35th anniversary, and every media hot-hand better make your reservations now to speak to ” The Kid.” I have filed the year under the exciting tab, and as usual it had more stories than your favorite soap.
For the fans that love the game, all that I can tell you is to wait. It will come eventually, but as I said in a past blog, it may tougher than in the past. We don’t run our horses the same amount of preps, and the task itself is so damn tough. Tough for shipping, new surroundings, and keeping your charge fresh and rested. Sounds impossible ? – Well, many think that we may see an ice age before the next Triple Crown winner.
Team O’Neill took some flack from every writer, blogger, reporter, and crazy fan with a sign in the Belmont winner’s circle. Overall, he held up very well. The bad part about the Triple Crown is that everyone will know how you take coffee, how you train your barn, and anything that has ever happened to you will be brought out. Kudos to Mario for taking his game to a level he never knew existed. As he wore the roses, Mario was a long way from Hastings Park. It was a shame the barn had to battle stories, suspensions, and everything else. Overall grade for this guy is very good… I look forward to seeing his babies for years to come.
Bodemeister was trying to help mend Bob Baffert’s heart. I have new respect for his barn, and seeing him as a man. Bode sure gave his all, and Paynter stood in to get beat by a dirty nose at the wire. I guess if Mr. Baffert could purchase a length and a half, he would be the man. Heal up, Bob… We all love to see you bring them to post, and this year has had some bitter-sweet moments. More sweet, as we still have you after a close call in Dubai.
Union Rags had more excuses than Henny Youngman. Take my last two races before the Belmont, please….. Only John Velasquez and a few others could have pulled that off at Belmont. He came in as an 8% winner, and was not having his best year. Well, we can put that to bed now as he came up the rail with enough room to fit a playing card. Michael Matz sure deserved to get a clean trip, and show what he had all along.
All-in-all, we had a great time. The runners put on a great show, and everyone had to stay under the same roof. It will be remembered as the year that racing became transparent. We could see and hear all, and for the first time I had confidence that the contenders and pretenders would be revealed. I can’t wait until next year, and there are only about 10 1/2 months until that first Saturday in May.