I won't wax too much about the race racing fans, because, primarily, there isn't much to wax on about. The Derby is in the books, and I better drop my "I'm never betting a chalk again" after betting Mr. Frisky mantra, because the odds board is getting good. Way good. This baby was formful.
There will be a lot of talk about times and figures, but the top four finishers, to me, looked like quality stock who would've hit the super in 46 or 48, 110 or 113. I think they're good, deserving horses and they performed while others did not. It's not like horses had to close into a 49 back half (it was 51 and change), nor did a lot of them have huge excuses. It was what it was.
Watching the replay I did see Keen Ice - a laughing stock pick to many on the twitter - come home nicely. I also saw Materiality have what looked like some trouble and fire home fresh and fast. Maybe if he raced before Christmas he would not have gotten jammed up. Just kidding.
Upstart was a concern. If you thought Zenyatta looked uncomfortable at Churchill in the first quarter, Upstart blew that away; high stepping, head moving. I hope he's alright. He's a nice little horse.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about US breeding not producing stayers. This Derby will do little to change that. Like last year where California Chrome did not (and still does not) look like a 10 furlong horse, I suspect the top four finishers will not be considered as such either. They're fast horses, obviously, capable of 1:47 Sunland track records for 9 panels, but beyond that, I don't know.
I am not sure what to make about the Triple Crown. My gut says there will not be a Triple Crown champion this season, but who knows. American Pharoah did win, as he was supposed to, and some in the business are bestowing some pretty big accolades towards him (e.g. I saw him compared to Sunday Silence on a clocker report). I lean not, but they may be right.
We saw some scratches the last few days and I think that's a good thing. After the Life At Ten fiasco things were overhauled a little for the safety of the horses and it was a step forward. In addition, with PETA making noise, it makes business sense to ensure everything is taken care of. The Derby is a strong brand and Churchill needs to protect it. From what I saw, heard and read, I think the vets are doing a super job and the industry should be commended.
Travis Stone. I thought his call was superb. "Frosted warms up" was a great line. In a race where not much action occurred, and where he was probably very nervous, he sounded like an old pro and I give him huge props.
I found, like I always do, the Derby was fun. We get caught up in attendance, or handle or what have you with these big events (those were good this year), but up 5% or down 5% it means little. The Derby, along with the Indy 500, Little Brown Jug and other like events for niche sports brings us all together. People might look at us funny, but it's what we do and enjoy. the Derby is the pinnacle of the sport, where for one day we can laugh at a bath picture, share a story or two, or watch NBC coverage that most of us pull our hair out over. Unless PETA bans racing, or Greenpeace stops allowing us to race cars, these events will be here forever. I had fun with everyone in the virtual world today, and despite not cashing anything on the Derby but consolations for scratched horses, I had a marvelous time. In 365 days I will again. It's a great day, win or lose, and it always delivers.
Have a nice evening everyone and congratulations if you did well at the windows today. And congrats to the Zayats, who finally finished one spot ahead.
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