Closing thoughts on the weekend

After I wrote this morning’s post, I had the chance to go back and watch the replays of yesterday’s races, and I didn’t quite realize that in the Remsen, Atoned pulled an Afleet Alex out there on the backstretch: clipped heels, stumbled, nose in the dirt…oops, there we go, off and running! Says much about his class and heart, and he is a horse I’ll look for again. The race leaves me with these questions:

Is Atoned a monster horse who, without that stumble, could have easily won?

Is Court Vision a monster horse, who, without being bottled up in traffic, could have easily won?

Either way, looking forward to the rematch.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda department, part I: why oh why didn’t I bet a triple in the Cigar Mile? I always bet Naughty New Yorker, just because I have to, because I love this game horse, and I love that he’s still around…and the Daaher/Midnight Lute/Naughty New Yorker triple paid a perfectly reasonable $43.40—doubling your money in a three-horse triple box. I just so seldom bet triples that I didn’t even think about it until the horses hit the eighth pole. Oops.

So here’s the question: Naughty New Yorker scratched out of last week’s Grade III Stuyvesant, which he had a great shot at winning; if he had won, he would have earned $60,000 and a Grade III victory. In the Cigar, he earned $30,000 and third in a Grade I. Which is better?

Woulda, coulda, shoulda department, part II: Oh, Precious Kitten! What a race she ran today in the Matriarch at Hollywood Park, defeating a stellar field of fillies and setting a new stakes record. I have loved this filly since her win in the Gallorette on the Preakness undercard, and if you were reading this blog following the Breeders’ Cup, you know that I was gutted when she was brought wide on the turn by Simply Perfect, taking her completely out of the race when she was in excellent position.

The race was all hers today, from the opening of the gate, and it was a pleasure to see her grab this Grade I, the first of her career.

Of course, I can’t let the race go by without commenting on its name. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “matriarch” as “a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically: a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants.” OK, I get it from a metaphorical perspective, and denotationally, it works. But connotationally it’s all wrong—“matriarch” conjures up visions of grey-haired dowagers (so maybe if Wait A While had won?), and Precious Kitten is a filly in her prime. So: I add the Matriarch to my list of poorly-named races for fillies and mares.

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