Solvalla Shocks and Superstitions

Yesterday the best trotter in the world - and it's not really close - delivered an awe inspiring performance in Sweden at the Elitloppet, thrilling the fans in a way we will rarely see. Bold Eagle, the six year old Ready Cash horse, raced first up and grinded down a very nice filly in Delicious, on way to a stunningly easy win. The time - about 1:50 - and the ease in which he did it, were equally jaw-dropping.

We all waited with breathless anticipation to see the 1-20 shot win the final easily, stamping himself (yet again) as an all time great.

Then it happened. Clunker city. The horse who could trot a hole in the wind, suddenly could not even spring off perfect cover and hook a horse he had beaten a dozen times with ease. He was 12 to 15 lengths slower. He didn't hit the board.

When have you seen an elimination winner so far ahead of his foes bounce in a second heat before? It's not only uncommon to see a horse win his elimination so easily, with such command, with no urging, come back and race so poorly, in 100 years of heat racing in this sport, I am not sure it's even happened. It's why, after all, we see plethora of $2.80 second heat winners. Standardbreds are built for heats.

Thus far there is no apparent reason given for the clunker, but perhaps we can chalk this up to something we all live by as horse owners - crossing the harness Gods.

Bold Eagle's driver, after his elimination win:

“The horse is just so much better than all the others, I am pretty sure that he will be even better in the final,”

For every superstitious horse owner, driver, trainer, or groom out there - in likely the most superstitious sport on the planet - that's yet more evidence to never, ever tempt the Racing Gods.

Regardless, for those of us who expected a coronation, it did not happen; proving yet again, that when we're dealing with 1,100 pound animals, anything is possible.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

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