A few thoughts:
- Shared Belief did well enough yesterday to become a solid chalk for the Classic, winning the Awesome Again. For bettors (that's what we kinda do here), this was welcome news. The hype he will receive from his record and his connections should make him solidly overbet. The win pool at least, should lean towards us.
- The JCGC was marred by an incident to what seems to be a nice guy and a really nice horse - Rajiv Maragh and Wicked Strong. Word is they are both fine, thankfully. Those who liked Tonalist were worried we'd see an over the top reaction on being too close last time, by him being too far back, and early on that looked correct. He was, pinned and surrounded by bombs. We see that so often in horse racing. He won like a good horse should though.
- At the Red Mile, Artspeak won easily again, only under modest tip taps. He looks like he is still learning and is a very nice horse. He has not raced anyone; which is rare for this time of the year. And the two year olds will start to get faster (as witnessed in the last race at the Red Mile last evening, with a solid 49 and change winner). So, the hype is probably unwarranted at this point. Until he gets some adversity in a race with big speed, he's a question mark for me.
- Speaking of hype, the press and insiders who don't handicap every day like we do, tend to look at who wins races, rather than how they are winning horse races. He's Watching and others have had the press, but we know after the Meadowlands Pace, there is one three year old pacer who stands out talent-wise. Last night Always B Miki opened some eyes with a performance that we rarely see in the sport. He's had some greenness issues, steering problems, and maybe a soundness issue or two, but he is truly the most talented three year old we've seen in quite some time - probably since Somebeachsomwhere. He's not owned by harness racing royalty and is not bred like a champion, but if he puts it all together and keeps progressing, we as harness fans are surely in for something special. He's a complete freak who looks like he could time trial in 146.
- Late in the year horses start to make moves who had huge speed, but had physical issues. Odds on Amethyst is one. He always had a giant motor but last evening he looked as sound as a horse could look (for new handicappers, watch the replay - that is exactly how you want your horse to look on the racetrack). Father Patrick has another foe, in a crop that is really sneaky good. By the way, Father Patrick races today.
- At Scioto, Sweet Lou looked poor for the second (some might say third with the drift) race in a row. He has been a horse throughout his career that does have lulls and he looks to be in one. Last year this crop was stupid-good, but this year (despite what you read in some press releases) it's much softer. Who is the best older horse right now? Will anyone run the table late in the year?
- Another horse who was capable of making some noise in the older division didn't have it last evening at Mohawk. State Treasurer, of a couple week break for last week, had little zip in the lane.
- What's with these 29.4 first quarters at the Red Mile? It seems there are a lot of horses prepping this meet so far. In one race yesterday they came their back three quarters in 121.1 of a 30 second first quarter in a pretty nondescript race.