I am getting to my two main items for tomorrow - handicapping the Belmont and the Metro Six Shooter. Past performances, software printouts, the usual stuff. However, I can not get the Belmont news this week out of my head: Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" is being replaced with a new song; supposedly to attract some kind of new demographic.
We in racing have a serious identity crisis. We have no idea who we are. One of the most salient points (and a truism) about marketing is that you can not market what you are not. The moment you do, it tells the world you are hoodwinking them. World meet hoodwink, via the Belmont stakes.
Racing is not a new game, it has history and tradition and this history and tradition is part of its strength. The Derby is the Derby, it does not need changing. The Little Brown Jug is the Little Brown Jug. The Hambo is the Hambo. The Belmont is the Belmont, and the Belmont is not, nor will it ever be Jay Z.
Baseball knows who they are. That is why "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" will be played long after we are all pushing daisies, and if someone comes up with the idea to play a Blink 182 version of the song they will be shown the door. College football, 100 years from now, and 100 years after that will be marching bands and if someone wanted to mess with that, they too would hit the highway. Those sports are okay with that because they are comfortable in their own skin. They don't have to invent relevance, they are relevant; and they are for a reason - because they embrace who they are, and hold to their tradition.
This is one of the most curious decisions I have seen from racing, and in racing, that's saying something.
On to the big race. I have done my best to come up with a scenario to try and make some scratch and that scenario does not include Nick Zito's Ice Box. When Joseph Kennedy heard a shoe shine boy - the story goes - give him a stock tip in 1929 it was his time to sell. Right now a little old lady on the subway who has never bet a race in her life is keying Ice Box on top of her exacta tickets. I am bailing on Ice Box.
I like First Dude and will key him in all verticals and horizontals. Likely I will use UptownCharleyBrown and Game on Dude behind him and try and make a score. I was really impressed with First Dude last time and he seems to be on his toes.
Good luck tomorrow everyone.