A few random thoughts about the BC from the last 48 hours of being glued to the TV and interweb screens.....
Handle was down this year by about 5%, as was attendance. Unlike last year, when Zenyatta was the most popular horse in the sport (by a football field), there was simply not the same buzz. I guess that is not unexpected.
My favorite races, on pure talent: The Juvy Sprint and the Juvy Fillies. Wow, those two winners were hugely impressive.
By the time the Classic rolled around I was pretty fatigued this year, but I think it was more than just that. I could simply not find a horse to hang my hat on. In hindsight, Drosselmeyer seemed to be on the improve and seemed like a horse who, at 10f, would not be stopping like he was racing in glue, like most of the rest of them. Regardless, it was a less than stellar tilt. I hope thoroughbred racing finds some way to keep good horses around, because we need the Classic to be a Classic.
In-running betting should be embraced for the BC and we should have it
here. It was completely fascinating yesterday on Betfair. Hansen traded
high when he looked beat and there were several others who took mucho
action during in-running betting. Exciting!
Todd Pletcher did not have a good Classic, just like last year when Quality Road came 10th or 11th (and the year before for that matter). Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo almost dead heated for second last. Ironically, with the slow final time, Mo as a two year old when he zipped 8.5f in 142.3 and galloped out in about 149 for 9f, probably would have finished better than he did this year. There is something wrong with that horse, but I guess it is not a newsflash.
Here is where we juxtapose: The Breeders Cup and Kentucky racing this year wanted to ensure that no horse raced who was not fit to race, after last year's Life at Ten fiasco. No fewer than three horses were scratched, and scratched quickly before the gate sprung this year. It was all about horse safety and public relations. However, how does one explain the non DQ of Golidikova then? Her rider almost mugged Courageous Cat, causing a massive check that was very dangerous. Is horse safety paramount for the massive TV audience, only before a race is run, but not during it?
The Turf Sprint - can they run that on Friday, or not at all? It's like handicapping a slot machine. After spending an hour, I used seven horses in my horizontals, and had no strong feeling I would get past it.
Hansen wins! He was an ultimate fade for many, but he came to play. Union Rags did travel further and raced well, but I don't take anything away from a horse who zipped out quickly, looked beat and fought everyone off like a good horse should. My only regret is that I wish Union Rags was named NKOTB. The saver exacta would have padded my bankroll.
I'm a Mo fan (last year's Mo anyway), but the bettor part of me wishes he went in the mile. I was unimpressed with his last and he would've been a major-league throw out for me at 4-5 or lower. The way he fought yesterday, he would not have won any race, at any distance.
There was plenty of chatter on Twitter during the Goldikova non-DQ. Most of it stemmed from fans noticing a football game was on one of the monitors in the stewards shack. Like seriously guys, the world is watching, there is millions of dollars at stake, both in purses and betting. Shut off the football game.
The Horse of the Year dogma might be challenged this season. What older male horse, on dirt, at Classic distances was good? Ummm, not sure. I think the most impressive horse this year was a 2 year old filly, and that sure won't fly. Even if she was proven (and everyone agreed) to be the best horse in training, she would not get a sniff.
The pick 6 live bombers in the Classic told the tale of how the pick 6 tends to work on BC day. Ruler on Ice and Rattlesnake Bridge - both longshots - were the only live horses. There are pin-seekers with ABC tickets during this day, looking for the pool shot, and it brings up some wild and wacky live combos.
The Breeders Cup overall, I feel, is too much. There are so many races, and with high rake, huge fields and many possibles it is a bankroll killer. I love it, don't get me wrong, and I am the furthest from a BC basher as you'll find, but I wonder if there is not a better way. A week long festival maybe, with some of the undercard races on the undercards? I have no idea.
How much of the handle loss in 2011 can be attributed to lack of churn via longshots winning? The velocity of money en masse, is certainly better for rebetting when it's in the hands of many, rather than a few.
One word that would've brought tons of energy to this Breeders' Cup? Frankel.
Tom LaMarra liked Hansen with me, and we both liked Turralure. I'm betting more with Tom next year, because that intersection of thought was about the best I did this weekend.
Caleb's Posse ran a great race, and did it like a lot of great races are run - with little variance internal splits. He ran 23.68, 23.20, 23.90, 24.07 as per Trakus. He's such a nice horse.
I pin seek at Breeders Cup's because that's what I do. This year the closest I came to hitting my score was in the Juvy Turf, when I played Excaper in pick 4's and supers. I was close to making it a more than profitable year on that play, but no dice. He raced fantastic. I hope you fared better.
Twitter 'shot' of the day (well of today as this was tweeted this morning):
You're a bad boy Derek!
Have a great Sunday everyone.