I went to Mohawk last night for the festivities. I did not cash a ticket, but had a good time.
Some thoughts and observations.
The crowd was large and it was a great day in the area, but cooled off at night. I think the times were a little bit slow, as it was cooling all night.
Handle was a fairly solid $2.6M, which we do not see too often any longer. For contrast, North America Cup night handle is usually $3M.
Corleone Kosmos beat the Mohawk jinx finally and won a big one there. He seems to have trouble up here as Greg alluded to in his post. I played Digital Image in that one and I thought I might catch, but no dice. Good entertaining race.
I walked around the grandstand and a couple of sharp cappers liked Straight Shooting in the Metro consolation. In another sign that sharp handicappers are some of the only ones left playing racing he opened up at 2-5, despite being third choice in the pick 3's. He jogged and paid $4.50.
There were no Rainbow Blue's in the She's a Great Lady stakes. The time was relatively slow, but it was a good race.
The $1M Metro lacked superstar power (nothing against the field of course, it just was not like previous years). I think Ron Pierce's colt was the best in there. He tried a bull rush move that turned out to be over-aggressive. He lost by two, but the colt was awesome. He paced a 54 and change middle under severe pressure and did not fold his tent until late.
Greg's pick, Brigham Dream, raced well in the Mare Trot. Luc won two with trotters and as someone said to me last night 'he has a good set of hands with them'. I think that is true. Rarely does an aggressive driver do well with trotters, but Luc is more than that. He has driven them well for a few years now I think.
My Little Dragon must be a bit headstrong, or something, as her D barn record has not been overly good. Or maybe it is just a coincidence. Regardless, it did not bother her a bit in the Mares Pace. She won easily.
Other than Somebeach, I do not think there is a better horse in training than Mr. Big. He was sensational again. He does not miss a beat, this horse. What a buy for what 225k a couple of years ago? He was a late bloomer as a 3YO and he carried it now for two seasons.
I was surprised to see fans filing out after the Mare race. I think we have become desensitized to horses that we see often, like Mr. Big. I think the future will have less big races at same tracks. Let's face it, purse money is not what it was, and some stakes have been scaled back. That will probably keep fans around.
The Breeders Crown folks do it up right, though. Great trophies, and all of the Society show up and treat the races with the respect they deserve. I saw a very capable (and friendly!) Society member carrying the trophies with cloth gloves and brushing them up before the big races. A good deal of harness racing's who's who were there too, including several big owners, breeders and insiders.
Dewey did not disappoint at Duquoin, but you know what, the others are catching up to him. We see it every year come September when fickle trotters get their legs. Vivid Photo met Strong Yankee late, Donato met Arch Madness late. The list is a long one. In his last two Grand Circuit races, Dewey has won by a half length and three quarters of a length, and the tank was used. He was beating these horses much more easily earlier in the year. It will be an interesting fall in that division if this keeps up.
The Cane is tomorrow. It looks to me an act of God is all that can beat Art Official, but you never know in this game.
Photo credit of Luc and Brigham Dream: Clive Cohen