Frankel was fabulous this morning in his first tilt of 2012. Of special note for fans, however, is that he is unlikely for the 2012 Breeders Cup.
This is rather interesting, especially in the context of North American and Australian horses. Our superstars (and yes there have been few) are sometimes labelled as "duckers" if they don't step outside their comfort zone and compete. Zenyatta was crucified for it by some, even though she stepped out to win on dirt, at different distances and took on the boys in two Breeders Cup Classics at 10f, on two surfaces. Rachel Alexandra took on the boys as well. Curlin raced on three surfaces, in Dubai, on both coasts, and raced many distances. This years Zenyatta - Black Caviar - flew 20 hours to Ascot to prove herself and races this week. Goldikova, of course, raced for years and traveled too.
Frankel on the other hand, has not stepped out past eight furlongs, and has not left home base, and likely never will. I think they deserve all the criticism others have if they plop him in another 8f race against overmatched foes. They're not only cheating their horse, they're cheating the sport.
Soap box speech over.
Social Media and sports are made for each other, as top trends and tweets show. You'd think we'd need to slam racing here for not getting it, but they have. America's Best Racing, and racing tweeters everywhere are on twitter and talking racing, just like other sports. Everyone has done a super job, in my opinion.Handles for this year seem to be better than last year, and I think this presence has something to do with it.
We've been chatting for years about the on-track crowd being different from the at-home crowd and the Cameltonian might prove it beyond a doubt. The Meadowlands had over 5000 people for the camel races on Saturday.
Jody Jamieson is getting some blame on chat boards for a couple of his drives Saturday evening. He might not have had a great night, but for goodness sakes, is he supposed to not try, knowing that Warrawee Needy would back up by 26? Is he Jody Jamstrenamous?
If we don't put Thinking Out Loud on top of our three year old ratings I am not sure when we will. Sweet Lou and Needy both have some question marks, and TOL came off deep cover to win fairly easily. I'll wait to see if Sweet Lou bounces back before putting him back on top.
Somebeachsomewhere's foals are rocking the joint out. His number of starters are formidable and they are showing speed. If we thought a Mach Three from a rather non-descript mare might have not been able to do the job in the shed,we'll likely have to rethink that. Contrary to popular belief you could not breed a donkey to his mares and get winners. There have been several sires that had great initial books that did not do the job.
The end justifies the means. It seems if a horse wins a race at 10f or 12f, he "can get 10f or 12f". If he doesn't he can't. That has always stuck in my craw. Union Rags, which many thought couldn't get 12f, won, so he is suddenly a 12f horse. The fact that the final time was a snail pace, and if a few other horses were in it, and/or raced well in 227, seems to make no difference. Any horse that races and has a decent Beyer at 9f can get 10f. He just might get it a little slower than an ideal distance.
I'm not sure the hand-wringing and comparative measures with the new Kentucky Derby rules pass the smell test. You can't say "this horse would not have made it!" with any credulity, because the criteria has moved and that horse's connections would've chosen a different path to get into the Derby. It's like moving the field goal uprights back forty yards behind the end zone and wondering why coaches don't choose to try field goals from the 50 anymore.
The speed harness horses are going is pretty stout and there's no way it's only equipment. If you watch some old races there are a few gaits that stand out: Staying Together, Artsplace, Jate Lobell, Niatross are some examples. All those horses went super fast and their competition, with head nods, skippy gaits and all the rest were no match. I have a ten claimer with a better gait than some of the old time Free For Allers. The breed in our sport - breeding speed to speed, and slick gaits to slick gaits - has improved it leaps and bounds, in my opinion.
I'm of the opinion San Pail is not quite the same horse this season, and I think his 2 for 4 record this year proves that. However, even if he is, he still will have some trouble. Last night another trotter smoked in 1:51.1 - the very good Daylon Magician. There are some good trotters this year showing their force.
Have a great Tuesday everyone.