Tuesday, December 29, 2009

4: Summer Bird Snags the Belmont

Summer Bird cements Birdstone as a superlative stud, and gives Desormeaux some Big Sandy consolation. Like many others I never saw the Birds coming, but what a great turn for racing; breeding for the bottom end is refreshing in a sport that has way too many cheap speed dashes.

Tim Ice notched this Classic victory in his first year as trainer, on his birthday no less. And Summer Bird followed this with a nice win over Quality Road in the Travers to cement or at least squish his name into Eclipse contention. He will likely win best Three Year Old.

All three legs of the Triple Crown were interesting this year, but watching the scopey, cobalt-splotched Dunkirk burst out of the gate in a losing but eye-popping tack to take the longest race on the front end was amazing. And he nearly pulled it off. Speed had been carrying all day, so the gambit made sense from the Pletcher brain trust, but jeez I just never knew D had it in him. And even though he fractured his condyular bone, he never threw in the towel. All this high breeding, talent and desire to win spell later success for this gray. And, Mine That Bird was rounding out his form in what was maybe not the best ride from Borel who rode nothing on the undercard on a track he was unfamiliar with. Borel will amaze with his brilliance and dunderheadedness. He's a lot of fun. But this day belonged to the Summer Bird who I hope recovers and returns to the oval after an injury in the island nation of Japan.

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