Yessiree, they are out in full force on Paul MacDonnell's drive on Somebeachsomewhere. It is completely wrong headed, and here is why.
It is the 2009 Belmont and I have a crystal ball. Bejarano is on the 1-9 undefeated favourite. Rafael is a good rider, but he has something no one else has, me. I am unimportant of course, other than the fact that I have the crystal ball. I cannot see the result but I can see his final time. At the mile pole I radio him and say "if you make your move now and open up you will beat Secretariat's record by 4/5's of a second". On cue Rafael (who likes me, cuz after all I have a crystal ball) opens up and proceeds to win in World record time, shattering Secretariat's 37 year old mark. Everyone cheers his name in the Belmont grandstand. He is a riding god. He moved at a perfect time.
Well at the Meadowlands on Saturday night, let's say Paul MacDonnell had a crystal ball, exactly the same as I had. He looked into the ball and sees that if he moved right now his horse would pace 1:47 flat, and shatter the world record by 4/5's of a second - just like Rafael. He would be sitting behind the fastest three year old pacer in the 130 year history of our sport. So move he did. No handicapper, or driver, or trainer or fan in the world, if he was told at that time if he moves now he will pace 147, would have told Paul not to. Not one of them. They all would have said "let it fly Paul". On Monday of course, after he lost, it is a different story.
Paul made the right move, and he did not even have a crystal ball. It was a textbook drive, by a good driver. Everyone who is criticizing him are doing it for one reason only - they need someone to blame - because losing fair and square does not seem to be in our makeup.