A beginning, a continuation, and a couple of endings

Welcome to the new look of Brooklyn Backstretch. This html-challenged blogger prevailed upon the good services of Patrick at Handride, who obligingly configured the new three-column format, thereby enabling me to display more prominently several elements of the blog. I love it; thank you, Patrick. I decided to play with colors and fonts once the format changed; old wine, new bottle.

As part of the transition, he changed “Madison and Floyd’s cat horse picks” to “Cat Scratch Picks,” and I think I like it, though Madison and Floyd are a little miffed at losing their billing. It may return.

As expected, Evening Attire was entered in this Saturday’s Aqueduct Handicap. His opponents include Malibu Moonshine, Judiths Wild Rush, and Pink Viper, a horse I liked when he began racing in Saratoga a couple of years ago, and who has turned into one of those contenders who loses when I bet him, wins when I don’t, usually at a nice price. The mile and a sixteenth is a little shorter than is ideal for Evening Attire, as it doesn’t give him a lot of time to get caught up after he walks out of the gate, as noted by owner Joe Grant in a NYRA interview.

Evening Attire gets the service of Ramon Dominguez for the first time, an encouraging sign given Dominguez’s place atop the jockey standings. Despite confidence in his jockey’s skills, trainer Pat Kelly neverthless expresses some concern about a new jock on the old horse:

“I like when a jockey knows the horse because of (Evening Attire’s) style,” said
Kelly, who trains the gelding for his father, Tommy, and Joseph and Mary Grant.
“He has his little thing about coming out of the gate (slowly). He can’t be
rushed. You’re not going to be able to put him into the race right away. He’s
set in his ways, and has been for a little while.” (The Blood-Horse)

I love that…”a little thing about coming out of the gate.”

Superfecta is where I first learned of the death of Hesanoldsalt, a Zito favorite of mine. He’s in my DRF watch list, and I nearly wrote him about the other day but decided not to, knowing that he was probably just taking some time off and that I’d see him next year. He was a game horse, and I like that Zito often put him in tough spots, to see what he could do and to take on the big guys. I can’t imagine the poor people at the barn, trying so hard to stop him from doing harm to himself, and then seeing the unimaginable happen right before them. Condolences to all of his connections.

For some reason, hearing about Hesanoldsalt reminded me of No Allegiance, who won the first at Aqueduct on December 30th. It was a relatively cheap claiming race, and No Allegiance went off at nearly 50 – 1. Steps after the wire he broke down fatally, and I tried to imagine his connections, their exultation at the horse’s success turning to horror in seconds.

Hesanoldsalt and No Allegiance have little in common, and even the ways they died bear little resemblance to each other. Hearing about each of them, though, made me sad in a way that I’ll remember for a few days. I never get used to hearing about breakdowns, as I have never gotten used to the inevitable days when I’ve had to euthanize my pets. When I was little, one of my parents’ harness horses broke down on the track, going over a metal rail at a track in central New York, severing a nerve in his leg. He was put down then, and the ride home was simply ghastly, my generally impassive father clearly agonized. I know that Hesanoldsalt’s accident didn’t happen on the racetrack; nevertheless, it’s easy to be nonchalant at the end of a race, when they all cross the finish line safely, but it’s worth appreciating, and not to be taken for granted.

2 thoughts on “A beginning, a continuation, and a couple of endings

  1. Evening Attire is a special horse. Almost everyone that follows the game loves him. He is beloved by the fans, I would not be surprised to see banners bearing his name hanging from the grandstand. The love however does fall short of a group of 13 punters topless each bearing one letter of his name emblazoned on their chest. Looking forward to seeing Attire on Saturday.

  2. I looked in vain for both banners and shirtless Evening Attire fans–was tempted to start the trend myself, but I’m not one of those crazy Green Bay fans who takes off their clothes no matter how cold it is.Now, if he races in the summer…

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