Saturday, October 25, 2008

Somebeachsomewhere Delivers. Curlin Does Not

In a spectacular day of racing, two superstars slipped on a bridle. One delivered a superstar performance, and one did not. I am not here to beat on Curlin, like I am sure some will. I love the horse. He is wonderful, and he is racing at four. That is enough in this day and age to love him.

First up, Somebeachsomewhere paced another magical mile in the $650,000 Messenger Stakes at Yonkers. The track was a mud bath, and Beach was not handling the going at all. During the running of the race he looked out of whack, and not steering at all well. If he was ripe for a beating this was it. Inside of him was Shadow Play - in any other year, the three year old pacer. He won the Little Brown Jug by 7 and set a World record in the Adios.

While watching the race a seasoned race watcher (in fact a guy who makes his living betting horses and does rather well) said "he can't steer him". He thought he was done. I am enamoured with this horse and thought he was not beat, and when he reached the straight he would go by. He did; but to say I was not sweating it would be a lie. Not to mention, even going straight in the lane was tough for him tonight, he veered and almost locked wheels with Shadow Play.

When we wrote the preview and thought it would be a tough race, we did not think this tough.

I was interested to see if we were both seeing things regarding the Beach's gait and straightness, but this was confirmed (thanks Kevin for pointing it out) on harnessracing.com.

Somebeachsomewhere overcame heavy sheets of rain, losing a couple of bell boots..... While scoring down before the Messenger, Somebeachsomewhere managed to kick off his Velcro-closing bell boots. MacDonell elected to go without them. Earlier in the evening MacDonell had warmed Beach up free-legged and the colt broke stride at about the three-quarter mark, but MacDonell later said that didn't worry him either.

This folks is what great horses do - they overcome adversity. Only the very best can do that. It is why we have had him #1 with a bullet every week since the Metro Stakes last year, when he won the race like no other two year old pacer has ever won in our sport.

Here is the video evidence:



Forget the World record mile . This race, to me, stamps him as one of the all time great three year olds.

That brings me to Curlin. He is a wonderful horse, but he is not a great horse in the spirit of the phrase, because great horses do not need to race on a particular surface or have things go their way. Great horses do not have to have good weather, or everything perfect for them to win.

I was cheering for Curin today (despite being happy since one of my good friends had a nice sized double on Raven's Pass) and I love the horse, so I hope the above paragraph does not come off the wrong way. It is the same way I speak of Dewey. I love that bugger, the owners and trainer, and think he will be a great sire. But superstars should be reserved for the very best. You saw that tonight with the very best; and his name is Somebeachsomewhere. I am convinced we will not see another like him for a long, long time.

Breeders Cup Notes:

Tremendous action on Betfair that was as fun to watch as the races themselves. Sharp players know what they are doing. If you thought that Well Armed was going to win at the half, the sharpies did not. In running he was 21-1 at that point.

Midshipman was hammered all during the trading.

I do not understand Woodbine. They ran their first race at 1:10 PM, which was the exact same post time as the BC Marathon. I could not believe their scheduling today.

Curlin went down to 1-2, and suprisingly it seems that no one believed Raven's Pass was going to win late. When trading was shut off, he was even money. Betting a winner at even money, right near the wire? Wow.

Quote of the day for me was from the Owner of Conduit: 'Well, he was going to retire after his last race, but we decided to give him one more race'. I had to look, thinking he was a 5 year old warhorse or something and I missed it ...... he is three and has had six starts. That's like Tiger Woods calling it quits when he was 11. Racing has some serious problems.

I grinded most of the day and made no money at all. In fact I think I ended up down. I ended up betting Eagle Mountain. Place money was decent and I caught the ex. He was right in my price range. That pretty much salvaged the day. I bet Go Between in the Classic and was very confident (watching the in running trading he went down to 5-1, in fact) but he did not fire. Some near misses otherwise, but a great great day of racing in beautiful California.

4 comments:

greg reinhart said...

Go Between didn't fire b/c the Team Valor horse and Casino Drive both stopped right in front of him before the quarter pole.

Once he finally shook free after checking about five times, he rallied from an impossible spot to finish fifth and was beaten maybe 3lengths by Curlin. It was the one thing that didn't go right for Gomez all day.

Pull the Pocket said...

Thanks Greg. I gotta watch the replay. After it looked like my $$ were burned on him, I switched to being a fan and watching Curlin.

Alex M said...

The Beach and Shadow Play showed what real superstars do. Rain or shine, healthy or injured, tired or fresh, they simply perform. Wayne Gretzky has often spoken of the advice he received from his father Walter at a very early age regarding the responsibility that comes with his gifted ability. He told him that fans, teammates and the game deserve his very best effort every night. When someone comes to watch you, pays money to do so, you have to be your very best.
Well last night two superstars ignored the rain, ignored their own discomfort and put on the very best show they could . . . no nights off for a superstar.
And kudos to Paul MacDonnell as well, the ultimate classy drive, NEVER USED THE WHIP . . . lots of urging, no whipping. Congratulations, Beach, and Shadow Play, take a bow . . . and take a much earned rest.

(PTP, I sure hope the poll voters found some time to catch this one)

Pull the Pocket said...

I think, if they watched that effort, and looked at the entire year, we will see a different result come Monday. I see the folks on Andrew Cohen's blog are unanimous in their praise for a vote change.

We'll see.

I have not spoken to Herb about Tuesday's top ten, but I think Beach will remain number one :)

PTP