Last night's $1M Meadowlands Pace was pretty much as advertised. With the absence of any superstars, whomever jumped up and raced big, or got a trip was going to be around at the finish. Roll With Joe, with a talented trainer and a good team, took down the prize with a solid speed show. He earned every bit of it.
Big Jim, the sentimental pick for many - including me - got stalled behind some dead cover, went way wide and raced fabulous to fall a neck short. Driver Phil Hudon worked out a second over trip. Unfortunately, that cover was terrible. If he could do it all over again clearly he would have liked first up off that 53 half.
In the other watched race of last evening, See You at Peelers ran her unbeaten string to 21, but she did so while being (for lack of a better word), truly awful. After reaching the half in 55, Brian Sears looked for his customary third quarter rest with the filly and succeeded. However, when he called on her on the far turn she was flat as a pancake and passed by the talented Krispy Apples, who then - for reasons only known to her, I imagine - took a right turn and went wonky. After surviving that, she then was beaten by another filly who promptly went wonky and broke. Divine intervention worked last night, but if she races that poorly next time, the undefeated streak is probably over.
Not even $4.0M was bet on the card which clearly shows the disarray at the Jersey track. Not long ago, $4.0 million was bet on a typical Saturday.
Is it just me, but every time there is a winners circle photo, is Jerry Silva's mug in the win picture?
In the interviews and post script to the Peelers 'win', trainer and driver seemed to simply say everything was hunky-dory. As a bettor and spectator who knows better, would you rather not hear the connections say "she could barely come home in 56 and got extremely lucky tonight". What's wrong with the truth? Edit: Today it's a different story, which seems like an accurate one.
How can Better Than Cheddar go from a horse who can win in 49 and pace a 52 back half, to a horse who comes 10th by 20 a month later and now enters races as an afterthought?
A lot of people have long said they'd like to book bets made by drivers. Brian Sears chose the Teague horse over Roll With Joe. The public disagreed, making Roll With Joe 5-1 and Sears' choice 11-1. The public, as is proven time and time again, was the superior handicapper.
How can I as a bettor get thrown out multiple times at the M over the years for not losing ground on a break (even for a couple of strides) but Idyllic is left up last night?
You'll be hard-pressed to find better people in racing than the owners and trainer of Roll With Joe and Big Jim. That has to be the best exactor in a $1M race I have seen in a long time. In a game where the supertrainers (some who can barely train a poodle without their vets, likely) dominate at times, it's great to see the Classic races left to horsemen.
Up the Credit - was his best race the Cup win? He seems a little off, and not as explosive. This could be one of those years. Big Jim and Roll With Joe seem to head the 3YO class right now.