For the record, I’m one of the biggest Mike Smith fans in racing. I have always referred to him in my blogs as “The Money Rider.” – After reading an article in the Paulick Report /Jockey Talk360.com. I must admit I was taken aback. I was a little surprised to hear the words “I’m gonna’ fool him.” – Smith is too darn good to have to fool anyone, and after plenty of time to mull it over. This was not bragging as I first thought, these were the words of one of the best riders I’ve ever witnessed caught at an awkward moment.
The words of Dizzy Dean about the 1934 “Gas House Gang” the St. Louis Cardinals hold true today and will in the future. “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up” referring to him and his brother “Daffy” winning the World Series. – When the winning connections were celebrating and talking, it was heard by the all-knowing ear of social media from the conversation of an excited group of people talking among themselves. Could they have waited to hit The Brown Derby and talk some smack; of course that would have made more sense. But they were enjoying the moment and emotions got away a bit. You take a listen and judge for yourself.
Victor Espinoza has had quite a run, and has been nothing short of exciting to watch. But in the feelings of this gambler he rode a questionable race. – “Chrome” called all the shots and looked to be the real deal. When the rider started looking around instead of just worrying about his horse, the questions would begin to pop-up. – Art Sherman has been one of the best guys to root for. Humble and unassuming and was just happy to have the horse of a lifetime. Here is a quote from the Paulick Report from Sherman about California Chrome’s race. – “It was quite a race. If I had to do it again, I’d like to see Victor (Espinoza) open up turning for home,” said California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman. He rides him with so much confidence every time. Everybody’s upset that he was looking around. He wanted to see where the other horse was.”
About now I was starting to question one of my riding favorites. I fell in love with Smith’s riding skills when he came to Turfway Park for the inaugural fall meet and he was fresh in from Canterbury Park. – Smith taught many lessons that month and from there his star has continued to shine. – Again, that conversation between Mr. Baffert and Smith could have waited until they were finishing the third bottle of wine at dinner. But, we are all on record these days and things can be mis-understood. – I went back and watched the reaction from one day earlier when two old chaps locked horns and battled to the wire. It was as close as I’ve seen and to hear Larry Collmus call the photo is utterly amazing. – This is what the public and media should hear when the race is over and the interviews begin. Ladies and gents, I present two professionals in the twilight of their careers describe the race. – Just fast forward to 3:40 and enjoy.
In the days of social media where every person with a phone can be reporter of the year. We need to apply the old rule of “divide by two.” Simply put, believe about half of what you hear. – I think Smith and Baffert were just excited and the “Money Man” should have saved that conversation for dinner that night. – Congrats to all in both races, and in my heart there were no losers. When Jerry Bailey quoted Tom Durkin’s famous words of Carson Hollow in the Test Stakes; “a race that doesn’t deserve a loser.” That about summed up the weekend for this fan.