Last night at Woodbine, the weather got a bit rainy, but that did not stop the racehorses. Some of the races were all that were advertised.
Muscle Hill locked up horse of the year on both sides of the border (not that there was much of a chance he would not, I guess), with another win. Word was the shoeing was a bit off and he was not grabbing the track right, but this horse is too good regardless. He put together an undefeated season and did so with the most impressive Hambletonian win that anyone has ever seen. That race alone defines what this horse was.
The two year old pace was absolutely thrilling. The undefeated Sportswriter grabbed rail control in 27.4 and used a 90-1 shot as a pylon throughout the middle half. All Speed Hanover made a huge move wide and the stretch drive between these two good horses was quite a spectacle, with the latter getting up by a head. This is a good illustration about competition. All Speed was arguably the first talented horse that Sportswriter has met. Think for a second if he was not there last night - Sportswriter wins by four and people are talking about Horse of the Year and him being better than Somebeachsomewhere. Competition matters and it is why it is sage advice to judge on who horses beat and how they do it, not on what races they win. Here's the video.
Well Said was soundly defeated in the three year old final, by Confederation Cup winner If I Can Dream. The latter went huge fractions and was the best this night. Well Said and driver Ron Pierce looked completely disinterested this night. He pulled right to the back and went for a hole. Conversely, with a similar post at the Meadows in the Adios final, Pierce fired away to the lead with no respect for the competition. I don't know if the Jug hurt this horse or what, but he is not the same horse as he was this summer. Here's the video.
This was a wonderful night for bettors - good racing, all super card, seeded pick 4. However, in a sign of the times handle was only around $2.7M.
Next year's races go to a new venue and after watching last night's races, fans have to be looking forward to that.