Good Saturday morning racing fans!
Tonight there is some solid action in harness land, with the $200,000 Dan Patch. It's a good race,with returning four year olds, facing some seasoned champs. I'm looking at A Rock n Roll Dance for John Campbell in an upset.
Orb! Jeremy Plonk takes the same stance that PTP took here. Alan today asks a more important question. What do we do with him in the Belmont?
What do we do indeed.
If you chalk Orb's loss to inside paths, or bad trips, you will probably receive the odds needed to bet him. His average Derby and Preakness Beyer certainly puts him at or near favorite status. His breeding and running style likely means he should improve with distance, juicing up a fig, making that Beyer even more formidable. He's in your wheelhouse.
If you're more in line with me and Plonk, well, that's where it gets tricky. Does he bounce back? Does he have an issue we can't see? Will three weeks sound him up if so?
Like Alan is with Palace Malice, I kind of wish Orb not going to New York, simply because I'd like a different puzzle to figure out as a handicapper. Having said that, I hope he wins, because he's a nice horse, and he deserves it.
A Harness Racing Report card was given out on Thursday at HRU (pdf).
I, like a lot of you, have been watching the NHL playoffs this year. I think the officiating has turned into something we are unfamiliar. It seems they can call literally 20 things a game the way its being called today, but they let 16 on each side go, then pick four of them to call when they feel it's the right time. The press is having a field day, and no doubt the NHL will have to do something about it.
Growing up watching the playoffs we always got stoked for playoff time, because there would be so few power plays. this allowed for a game flow with little momentum interruptions, and it let the players - five on five - decide games. The league decided they'd become a thoroughbred steward - if the foul took away a winning horse's chance, the horse would be pitched.
This over the years has changed - the stewards seem to be calling every nudge, or bump in a turf race - indubitably to help skill teams score more by opening up the ice. But it is a far cry from old time playoff hockey.
I think I'll write a column on judging sometime in the coming weeks, just for fun. It's always a neat topic.
Speaking of old time hockey, it's Memorial Day weekend in the US. People remember the folks who went to war for us in different ways. For me, I remember my 'defacto' Grandfather. He was a World War II vet who met my family when my father was coaching a Junior B hockey team in Northern Ontario, (who his son was playing against). As he told me the story, my father had sat his star player down in an important game for being too selfish with the puck which was causing turnovers. He promoted the hardest working kid to the first line and the team rallied around this, and won the game, and the playoff series. He liked that move as a tough-nosed Air Force vet I guess, and moved his son to my father's team the following year.
The rest was history. He traveled with us on road trips to horse races (he was a huge racing fan), and because my dad was so busy at work, took me hunting and fishing. It might sound funny in today's world, but when I was eight he bought me my first rifle and showed me how to use it safely. I learned a lot from him, and I will remember him forever, especially on holidays which remember our war vets. God bless you Mr. Burns.
Have a nice long weekend, my US friends. And to everyone, good luck and good racing.
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