In the game that is racing whether we are betting or owning and racing them, there are certainly some ebbs and flows. It does not much matter which breed - the thoroughbred or the standardbred.
This weekend we saw San Pail defeat the two best trotters in racing in the $800k Maple Leaf Trot. It was an absolutely dominant performance.
The first quarter of 26.2 is super-fast for trotters, and the half was the fastest half for a trotter at Mohawk. With Lucky Jim lurking and Enough Talk in the pocket it would not have been a surprise to see San Pail come home slow and be soundly beaten. However, he stormed home and the others had their problems. Funnily enough, Peter Klienhans trainer of Enough Talk was quoted as saying it was a two horse race (between his charge and Lucky Jim). Maybe so on their home track, but neither of those horses seem to bring their A games up here. This game has a way of biting you in the rump.
Rachel Alexandra also raced on the weekend. Her first two starts were anything but impressive, but her third was a solid win. In it she stamped herself as "back". However, this weekend most watchers were less than impressed with her, in a race against not too much. Bill Finley describes it here.
On Saturday we saw the three year old colts go at it at the Meadows in the Adios elims. For the first part of the year these horses were throwing some darts and the teletimer proved that. But like we see so often, they can get slower as the year rolls on. One of the Adios elims was won in 152.2 over a fast track. Rockin Image won the fastest elim, in 150.2 and should be the chalk in the final.
Another ebb and flow is Real Joke. The horse made famous by Lou Pena and his back to back 47 and change wins when entering his barn has cooled right off. He came sixth yesterday.
The hottest trainer at WEG is also slowed to a crawl. Shawn Robinson was placed in a special D barn for his Mohawk starts on or about June 16th. He was clicking through at some huge numbers before then, but not any longer. This past week he had 16 starters with zero wins, zero seconds and two thirds for a 0.042 UTRS. He had close to a 25% win percentage and 0.335 UTRS for most of this year at WEG.
This is a game of ebbs and flows. Will Rachel whip males next time in a stunning fig, will Lucky Jim and Enough Talk crush a horse like San Pail next time on home soil, will these three year old colts last the year at high speed? Who knows. It sure makes racing fun, and it does stamp me with one clear thought - horses who show up week in and week out, never throwing a bad one, are something we should hold in high esteem in our sport. It rarely happens.