Purdon Appeals & Plonk's Big Win

Driver Mark Purdon has appealed his rather harsh suspension and should be able to drive his star pacer. In this case the appeals process seems to have worked. The commission lets drivers know that not trying hard with a chalk is a no no, and Purdon can still drive his horse. Not a bad outcome.

Jeremy Plonk at ESPN looks at Derby horses who have had a blowout victory and that this usually signals a good shot at the Run for the Roses. About 40 years ago Tom Ainslie wrote his take on the "big win". Loosely this stated similar to what Mr. Plonk asserts - big wins are horses that repeat. The logic is pretty infallible, and it works in harness racing too. Namely, a horse who wins easy is doing it on his own, and has much left in reserve. If he is making solid horses look ordinary, one can expect him to become a good horse.

Long ago in racing this was not as big a deal as today. In harness, horses like Albatross, Cam Fella and many others did not have the "big win". They were grinders representative of the sport - tough animals. Nowadays this has changed. Horses who destroy other horses in fast times are always a force. Somebeachsomewhere - blew out horses winning by 2+ lengths under wraps several times early in his career (he was never in a conditioned race, only stakes from start one). In his second lifetime start as a three year old, Tell All broke stride, was 17 lengths back at the half, and went on to win the Count B by 6. Last year Muscle Hill won the Haughton by 6.

You can't teach speed, it is god given. And speed wins races, big. Very few champions do not exhibit the tendencies that Mr. Ainslie wrote about long ago.

PowerCap has written a wonderful piece on what it is like to be a horseplayer. All I can say is: ditching classes as a kid and hopping on a streetcar to Greenwood, studying the program like it was my text book in the hopes of finding 10 winners, I could not agree more. This has been a many decade puzzle for me. A puzzle I will never figure out, finish or master; and it is what keeps me coming back, each and every time.

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