Weekend of Surprises

It's official: I'll Have Another is your 2012 Kentucky Derby winner!


I really looked forward to this weekend of racing. I entered in with many thoughts before Friday, and now I have a renewed vision of sorts.

How many people thought the pace would collapse?  I sure did, and man was I surprised. They sizzled through six panels in 1:09, and Bodemeister looked like a winner. He not only took it to Trinniberg, but he showed that Baffert has a runner to be appreciated. I did not have him on top of my list, but my enthusiasm for him to return is growing. I thought that Mr. Baffert would have something a little further down the road, but it turned out that this one is a bear. So, I am officially dumping the 1882 / Apollo talk right now. Times have changed, and runners can and will come with fewer races. Baffert sounded like he needs some time down for himself. It has to be grueling to face the Dubai heart attack scare, and try to recover so quickly. His horse looked fine, but everytime I heard him speak to the media he got emotional. Now, before anyone jumps to the quick, I am not a doctor, or even play one on TV. But one of my favorite trainers looks like he could use some down time on the farm. Just a little break to come back and be better than ever.

I’ll Have Another has fans enjoying adult beverages saying just that. The race turned out to be one of the greatest stories in the world. When Doug O’Neill spoke to the NBC team, he gave shout outs to his mom, and his greatest line of “look at me, I was a “C” student in school!”  His rider Mario Gutierrez, is now the hero of the hour. He rode at Hastings Park in Canada, and not long ago he was thinking of going back. I guess he is going to stay around a little bit longer now.  Paul Reddam must be one of the best guys in the world to keep a small time rider in the saddle. You could imagine that there were a bevy of big namers looking for mounts. The horse was named for Mr. Reddam’s response to his wife Zillah’s question if he would like another cookie. The 15-1 upset gives the owner, trainer, and jockey their first Derby victory. It was a truly great ride, and his cool head allowed him to weave this colt through traffic like he has been there before.  Congratulations…

Dullahan looked like he had run on every surface except broken glass. I doubted a bit; even though he ran a hole in the wind scoring impressively in the Bluegrass. When he got moving like a heavy-loaded train it looked like he was going to roll late in the shadow of the wire. I think he will probably find the winner’s circle many times to come. It may be on dirt, turf, or the poly-track. But, one thing you can count on is Dale Romans bringing him ready.

Went The Day Well did not catch me sleeping, but he did not reward me at the windows on this day. But, just give him time and I think this will take care of itself. I just hope he comes out in fine order, and Graham Motion will take care of the rest. I really look forward to seeing him, as I think he will be special.

Union Rags…. I think he will need some time, and let Mr. Matz fix what ails him. First, I hope that Julien will not tweet anymore lines about the next time. Horses run, and sometimes they get beat. He had a rough trip, and pointing at the center field wall and calling for a home run in the Derby is a tall order. Leparoux is super talented, and if you have any doubts, just ask the many riders who have been inhaled by his runners.

I had the honor of chatting with a young lady rider on the Winning Ponies radio show by the name of Rosie Napravnik. She is the first woman in 138 years to win the Kentucky Oaks. She has the hands of a musician, and the patience of a long-time rider. She is good on the lead, or getting her mounts to close stoutly down the lane. Believe You Can is trained by the talented Larry Jones. He is easy to spot in his white stetson, as only the good guys wear white hats. Congratulations, Rosie and keep finding that winner’s circle.