Good morning everyone. Here are a few items that caught my eye.
Upstart was a very handy winner of the Holy Bull on Saturday. This looked like a really nice horse last year, but after his tough Juvy and time off, you just never know how sound and happy they come back. As his trainer said "They need to leave horses at some point, and he kind of did that yesterday". I'm a big fan of this horse but I can't help but think last week's 40-1, which looked like an overlay, this week will be an underlay.
Upstart got a good trip, moved and separated when asked, ran a good number (a 107 TFUS number), did so willingly and like a good horse should, and looked sound afterwards. There's simply not much not to like.
With some closings on the east coast, GP's handle on Saturday was good.
I was very interested to read Don Swick's comments in HRU (page 7, pdf) this weekend. Don, a long time harness trainer, moved to the thoroughbreds as well and now trains both. Harness horses are constant work - rigging, shoeing, equipment - and keeping them sound because they race so frequently teaches one to be a damn good horseman.
On what's more difficult about training Thoroughbreds: "Reading the condition book"
On their soundness: "Their ankles can't handle it [hard training]"
He also has some fantastic comparisons to how thoroughbreds are constantly , "clamped down" rather than relaxed like is so important with harness horses. "Vets and blacksmiths are amazed how that within two or three weeks in my barn they act like normal horses, not Thoroughbreds".
A trainer training horses to be relaxed, happy and "normal". Sounds like a harness trainer.
In HRU Friday (page 5, pdf) the judges in other sports versus racing was looked at. Racing's are better.
Story in the TDN this week looking at how serious the NFL gets regarding anything that weakens the fan link when it comes to integrity. It went on to compare how racing did not stick to its core principle (a gambling game you can win at) and has suffered for it. The NFL, a violent sport, in a society that is hell bent on weather warnings, safety seals, and tearing up monkey bars in playgrounds, continues to buck convention by thriving; $17B TV deals, in a sport that does not have a world stage to fall back on. The NFL has been teathered to the modern American sports fan like no other sport this side of the pond. It took a long time to do that.
Flipping over to racing, one of my favorite dudes on the twitter (Dougie Sal) often posts racing links from 1912, or 1918, or 21, regarding the gamblers of the day. Tim Mara took $2,500 he probably made from booking the card at Belmont and bought the New York Giants (how is that for irony today), pros were alive and well, earning a living at the track.
One sport went from very little to everything, and one sport went from everything to very little. It has a lot to do with "KYC" - know your customer.
The NHC winner pocketed $800,000. Congrats to Mr. O'Neil. A little bird told me Mr. Dinkin will be writing about the NHC in this month's HANA Monthly emagazine. That should be out this week.
Have a great Monday everyone.
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