A question below:
Would love to hear your take on Borel and Mine That Bird. I see a torrent of criticism aimed at his too-early, too-soon move. But long-time harness fans know that it is rare to find a heavy favorite in a big race that DOESN'T make an early move. I have heard the best drivers speak of these situations in which the thing they do not want to have happen is to lose a race having too much ground to make up at the end, and so their moves for the lead are almost always completed by or just after the half-way mark of the mile. Mine That Bird was spent - the pacesetter came back and edged him for the place spot - and was a tired horse. The Triple Crown road is a gruelling one on young horses, and T-breds cannot bounce back week after week like their harness cousins can. If this wasn't the case, then we would not have the number of unlikely longshots that have won the Belmont in recent years.
Jim, riders/drivers get far too much credit when a horse wins, and take far too much blame when a horse loses. When Borel made his move and Bird was hanging like a chandelier I said to my gambling friend "boy is he going to get toasted for this", as it was clear he was not going to win. It made me think of Ron Pierce on Art Official in the Meadowlands Pace last year. He has done that move plenty of times and came 9th by 11, and was called a goat. When he won with Art Official, he was a genius. I do not feel sorry for riders and drivers either way, but it is the state of the game. People like to humanize their wins and losses and it is easier to blame or praise someone who speaks, rather than something who whinny's.
My 2 cents.