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Monday Notes, DQ's, Dan Patch & a Bit More

Good morning everyone.

There's still a lot of chatter about the Gulfstream Rainbow Six DQ in customer-land. Andy Beyer weighed in sensibly in the Washington Post today. I, like Andy, don't for a second buy the conspiracy theories and everything else in this situation. But like him as well, can surely understand it. Horseplayers have been maddened at the inconsistency for so long, that any time it happens in a public way, they blow up.

As for the rumor swirling about GP's Tim Ritvo being 'on the phone to the judges stand when the inquiry was taking place', well this should help:
If you don't know Racetrackandy, take it from me, he carries no one's water in the business.

I've spoken with Tim before too, and he is not a dumb guy. Only a fool would call the judges in that situation. 

The Dan Patch Awards were handed out last evening at Dover Racetrack, and there were few surprises. It was good that Bee A Magician got her due, because even after the Captain's loss to Dedi's Dragon, she was probably a slight underdog. The pull of the three year old colts is something that's hard for this business to break come awards time. She clearly deserved the honour. There's a chance we're looking at one of the best filly trotters in a long time.

The Pacer of the Year vote was much closer, with the Captain edging out Foiled Again. This too, I think was warranted, but am still a bit amazed the vote was that close. As you all know by now, I was not a Captain fanboy this year - close finishes against a half a dozen separate horses, some of whom I do not think are world beaters, plus three losses was enough for me not to be - but he did have a very good year. He won the big dances and lasted almost the whole season. Line by line, race by race, the Captain had a much better year, in my opinion.

I Luv the Nitelife won her division (and she is supposed to be back this summer off her injury) and that was good. She was a victim of circumstance this season. If the three year old colt class was deep like last year, with stalwarts like A Rock n Roll Dance winning only four races, and Pet Rock close to an afterthought in major stakes, perhaps she would've won pacer of the year. She is fast, tough and had a tremendous year against a good crop of mares. 

Speaking of ILTN, her owners, Richard and Joanne Young have begun to lobby commissions about the kicking rule. Via harnesslink.
  • To those people that say the “kick” is nothing and does not hurt the horse, I say all you have to do is watch what happens to the driver’s leg when he comes into contact with the hock.  The leg is forcefully pushed back and looks like kicking.  So whatever you want to call it, it looks horrible and the public perceives it as abuse.  For that reason alone it needs to be banned.”
Harness racing is an interesting sport. Twenty some odd years ago Walter Case had to have his feet fastened to the sulky to stop him from kicking. A quarter century ago commissons found it looked bad and had to be stopped. Today somehow it seems to be accepted. In a world where animal rights have taken a massive step, with a public more conscious of how they are treated, harness racing has gone backwards.

Sorry I ain't a NASCAR fan. Maybe it's the northern boy in me or something, but it has never been my cup of tea. However, I've really never watched it much. Taking care of some work, and having the Daytona 500 on the tube in the background, I must say, I ended up finding it pretty interesting.

We often hear from racing fans 'horses dont race long enough. How can the public latch onto them if they are only around for a few starts'. I tend to agree, but I brush it off as minor a lot of the time. However, I get the point.

Not knowing these nameless, faceless drivers, I had no real stake in the outcome. I found myself watching for Danica Patrick, because I know her, and I'd like to see her do well because I read she's been taking it from one or two of the boys that she can't drive; Kevin Harvick, because my long time horse racing buddy on twitter likes him; and cheering against Jeff Gordon, because I think he's won a ton of races already so I'd like to see someone else have a chance.

Other than that? I don't know these guys.Not knowing them made it pretty hard to get totally jazzed up about.

I thought about that for horse racing, and I think it's why the Triple Crown series remains watchable for casual fans, or newbies. A couple of years ago I got text from neighbors during the Preakness who were tuned in to see Animal Kingdom. Why him? Their kids liked the name. Regardless, they were tuned in because they knew the horse.

Just like in any sport, knowing who you are rooting for or against is a big reason why we watch.

Have a great Monday everyone.


Comments

Anonymous said…
I can't see the USTA sanctioning incidental contact between the driver's foot and the horse, but I expect it will be ignored, leaving each jurisdiction--track actually--to shape their own approach to policing, or not policing, it.