Happy Columbus Day

Or as the former (California) school of a current colleague says, Happy Indigenous People’s Day.

A collection of random thoughts on the weekend’s racing:

After multiple attempts, I was finally able to catch Spooky Mulder’s race on Calracing; it was a four-horse field, but a typical Spooky race: he hung about four lengths off the lead throughout, and then came charging up to take the race at the wire. We probably overuse the term “gutsy” in racing (particularly when it’s followed by “gelding”), but it applies to this guy. He’s always fun to watch, and he never takes a race off.

Daaher won the 138th edition of the Jerome today at Belmont. He was close to the lead throughout and the field flew through three-quarters in 1:08.2. He had plenty left to hold off Forefathers, and Most Distinguished was a disappointing fourth. After two strong races (a second to Teuflesberg in the Woody Stephens on the Belmont undercard and a win in the Amsterdam at Saratoga, Grade II’s both), he’s thrown in a couple of clunkers–though one could argue his fourth in the Grade I King’s Bishop at Saratoga (won by Hard Spun) wasn’t bad given that he was seriously outclassed. Most Distinguished was a half-million dollar purchase at the Saratoga yearling sales and is trained by Nick Zito, owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak.

Why do some of the big races for fillies have such inappropriate names? The Matron, for God’s sake, just doesn’t make sense, given that it’s for two-year-olds. And the Spinster??? Come on! I’ve looked in vain for an explanation of the race’s name; it was first run in 1956, and by then you’d think that someone might have thought twice about it.

Much conversation has been raised in the last twenty-four hours about the Polytrack surface at Keeneland, and ESPN’s commentators spent a lot of time talking about it during Sunday’s broadcast. The general opinion was that among synthetics, Cushion has been the most honest and easiest to maintain. Jay Privman noted that synthetic surfaces contain sand, rubber, wax, and carpet fiber, and then offered that the surfaces are “a big toxic waste dump.” Um, yeah, sure, I’d love to put my horses, exercise riders, and jockeys on there. It was also noted that some of the jockeys wear masks–masks!–to avoid breathing in the mix.

We have a long way to go, people…

2 thoughts on “Happy Columbus Day

  1. TeresaI caught that bit about the masks too. Very nice. I know a few trainers including Tagg have mentioned their concerns about this but I don’t think it’s really been looked into. Sounds not so pleasant to me.

  2. Thanks for the comment…like you, I am surprised that no one else is talking about this…but it’s not popular to raise questions about synthetics, and I think people fear being labelled when they are not 100% synthetic supporters.

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