The Triple Crown is in our rear view mirror, and it is the duty of all horse players to begin scanning the dates for the upcoming summer racing season. This past weekend has me more in the dark than ever before. Just when I saw that light at the end of the tunnel coming closer, I failed to hear the wailing train whistle.
I have been going over the PP’s, and looked for anything I could have done differently. Now, I know that is the echo of insanity, as I see the image of Mike Smith hoisting yet another big trophy in the winner’s circle. They did some real magic with this runner along the way to the winner’s circle. Pletcher wins at a crisp 33% taking off the blinkers, and this handicapper made sure mine were in place. After watching a disastrous effort in Louisville with red-hot fractions, I had pretty much tossed him out completely. I felt he just lacked the moxy to get it done but there was more to the story I must have forgotten on the way to the windows. Palace Malice failed to get my attention in his first effort off a sprint in the Risen Star. The Louisiana Derby was a race where he was trapped the entire stretch in New Orleans. Now, as I started to take him off my list of runners to watch the final straw was running on the poly track at Keeneland in the Bluegrass Stakes. In that race, he really looked good except for the final stride against the late-closing Java’s War. Did I let the “poly” trip lure me into thinking he was a synthetic runner? By looking over the past races, Pletcher’s win % taking off the blinkers, and “Magic” Mike Smith in the driver’s seat. He sure could have been tossed in as a value play. I had five runners going in the final leg, but left off a legit price number. Oh well, I look forward to seeing him in the summer against the usual suspects.
The Breeders’ Cup made the announcement that 2014 would be held at Santa Anita. This will make three years running, and it does not sit well with many. If I were the “King of the Breeders’ Cup,” I would run Belmont, Churchill, and Santa Anita. All facilities can hold the big weekend, they have lush turf courses, and are preferred by many handicappers. Now, not to say that the Monmouth or Lone Star experiments were not a good idea, but why not keep it moving?
When I first heard the news, it took me back to day when a Breeders’ Cup executive and I were having a short conversation. I asked, “Why not have it at CD more often? Players love the course; Louisville is a great town, and the track can handle the large crowds.” His answer was short and sweet, ” Ed, can you guarantee it could be sunny and 75 degrees?” Without needing a degree in meteorology, the answer hit me like a cold shower. The decision is all about business, and there should be no hard feelings. It will come back to Louisville someday, and you can bet I will be in the stands once more.