The Hambo Card is all done, and we will have some more thoughts on Muscle Hill in the upcoming weeks, but Muscle's performance was not the only good one of the day.
In the US Pacing Championship, Shadow Play (although probably still not 100%), answered the bell and won easily, defeating Mr. Big, Art Official, and other top pacers. I wonder, can this colt finally get some respect? He is a freaking marvelous beast of a horse and would be considered one of the better colts in quite awhile if he had not been born the same year as Somebeachsomewhere.
Another myth that keeps getting shattered is the 4yo's can not beat older. Shadow Play is the latest in a long line of 4yo's to win prestigious Free For All races. It again adds credence to the opine here and elsewhere that Somebeachsomewhere was perhaps the greatest three year old since Nihilator. Shadow Play can not even get a sniff of him last year and he beats up on horses like Mr. Big? Beach would be 1-5 against FFA horses this year, and deservedly so. Don't think for a second he wouldn't.
Muscle versus who?
When we discussed How Good is Muscle Hill awhile back, we were comparing him to other horses who seem to have a lot of hype. One commenter, ITP, stated that Muscle would be an 8-1 chalk against Dewey and a 15-1 chalk against Donato if they match raced. I am sure people read that with a lack of credulity, but as he stated in the comments section tonight, he will "have to increase those odds now". Yes, most definitely. To change around a Jack Nicklaus comment, "Muscle Hill trots in a way I am unfamiliar". He will have to have a lot of bad luck not to break 150 later in the year.
Standardbred Canada is running a poll "Who would win a match race, Muscle Hill or Lucky Jim?" It's a fair question.
So, we have some things happening in harness racing at the high levels to keep us interested. It's a great sport to watch; I just wish more people did!