Monday, April 9, 2012

Illinois Derby Sets Stakes Record -- Slowest Ever

By more than a second and a half. From the apron, the tote lit up opening fractions of :22:1, but this wasn't right. In fact, it's hard to tell what the actual fractions were. It was still an amazing sight watching them rush by under brilliant silks, and maybe I'm different from other railbirds in that I think speed is the most overvalued aspect of racing. Consistency and stamina are way cooler. If I could turn back the quarterhorse influence of trainers like D Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert, I would. The good news is the European tradition seems to be wending its way back in with top trainers, like Mott and Motion, not relegating their talents strictly to turf. Motion took dirt's grand prize last year with Animal Kingdom (who ran a nice second to Wilcox Inn in an impressive maiden race at Arlington in the fall).  The horse seemed to make a trenchant statement about domestic breeding and the creep of drugs hiding our ability to evaluate bloodlines. If it weren't for the lead-tongued Barry Irwin telling people he couldn't trust any American trainers on the biggest day for the sport then saying America can't pay me enough to have me run my champ in the states ... Don't get me wrong, he makes great points both about our trainers telling owners only want they want to hear and purse structure for 4YOs, not to mention breeding and drugs. Unfortunately thanks to bad luck Animal Kingdom appears to have nagging injuries, which just plain sucks because it undercuts the new dawn this horse might have revealed.

OK, let's talk Illinois Derby and Wood and Santa Anita. Done Talking Now will not run anyone off their feet, but he'll likely pass tired rivals. And who knows what this injection of confidence will do for him and his all-Maryland connections. Best of luck to him.

The Wood: No real surprises here. Both Alpha and Gemologist ran good races, though this also was a plodder's fest. But I'll take a nice dual like this with Gemologist making the last push to put his foe away. Santa Anita is a different story. There's a lot of speed out there. I'm not a fan of the surface and the disarray with synthetics. One way to fight this overvalue of speed is to tame tracks that have ridiculous speed biases. Santa Anita is getting better, but would have liked to see the synthetics given a better chance to influence racing and breeding, as well as handicapping. 

No comments:

Post a Comment