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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Belmont

I follow horseracing (when I can!) and have since I was about 12 or so, thanks to Walter Farley.

This year was the first in many that I was not able to watch the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. I was on the edge of my seat when Funny Cide ran in the Belmont...would we have a Triple Crown winner? Nope. Not then. I rooted for Smarty Jones, for the others who followed. Each year a horse would win the first two legs of the Crown...and fail in the Belmont. Barbaro was on my list of great horses, of course, but his tragedy at the beginning of the Preakness didn't even give him a chance to prove he could win at least two. (For the record, I thought he would have taken it.)

I would LOVE to see Big Brown take the Belmont today, but his trainer's cockiness just rubs me the wrong way, and as they say...pride goeth before a fall. I am hoping and praying to, for the first time in my life, witness a Triple Crown win. Although I think the trainer will be eating humble pie, I'm still rooting for Big Brown and I hope he does it. And I DO think he has it in him.

This is one of the reasons I love the sport; the stories behind the horses, the people and who they really are in all their humanity and all their hope. It's a sport that has so many factors influencing the outcome that it makes it nearly impossible to predict what will really happen.

But given all the tragedy in past years, and even this year at the end of the Kentucky Derby where Eight Belles was put down on the track, well, I am praying hard that this race is a safe one for all involved, both human and animal.

For now...if I were at the races, I'd be betting on Big Brown. No question.

More later after the race.

UPDATE: Yup. Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. is eating humble pie. He's not talking to the media. I'm certain he's embarassed...anyone with any sense would be embarassed.

And I love the fact that Big Brown's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, pulled him up, taking care of him when he realized his horse wasn't "there". They don't know of anything medically wrong, and I don't think anyone would dispute that Big Brown is a special horse. I do think he had it in him to win, but something happened that affected his performance. In any case, congrats to the winner, Da'Tara, and to runner-up Denis of Cork (who is named after an Irish priest!)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just watched the Belmont as well.
Disappointing but just glad no one, human or animal, was hurt. I really felt bad when they finally had to put Barbaro down.
Hey, if there's time when you're in Cleveland maybe we could go to Thistledown or Northfield racetrack.
Just a thought!

MJ

adoro said...

MJ ~ I'll be there in July, last weekend, although I'm not sure we'll have time to hit the tracks. Although I'd love to!

gman59 said...

I have to agree I thought the trainer for Big Brown was bit full of himself. I guess his 15 minutes of fame are now up.
I too would have liked to see a triple crown winner but als no such luck. To show some history ( and my age) I saw Secratariat runs his last ever race up here in Canada. He was something to behold in the walking ring you knew by looking at him and how he carried himself that he was a real champion and that he knew it also.
Wath Secratariat's run at the Belmont quite a victory.
Take care

Maureen said...

This long loss record goes to show that today's Thoroughbred racehorses need more distance/endurance training. They are spending too much time training them as sprinters and not enough as all-around horses.

adoro said...

gman ~ I'm jealous you got to see him live and "in person"!

Maureen ~ Not true...there are a lot of factors with the Triple Crown races. First, the longest race (mile and a half) is the last one in a mere 7 weeks. It's actually recommended that the horses only race 3 -4 in a single meet, which is about 5 months. These horses are meeting that quote in a much shorter period of time. And they ARE sprinters. A thoroughbred can only hit top speed (38-40 mph) for ONLY 1/3 of a mile. No amount of endurance training can cause that to be extended

Also, they rarely run that distance. There are a lot of 6 furlong races, 1 mile races, some 1 1/2 mile races, but a mile and a half? Very few. And especially after the grueling and very competetive Triple Crown races, well...it's a lot to ask of any horse. They really "spend" themselves when they race, as does any athlete. And that's why it's so hard for one horse to win them all.