Weekend wrap-up

Congratulations to Todd Pletcher for getting off the Derby schneid.  Pletcher and his wife Tracy have been major supporters of the Belmont Child Care Association, and two years ago they were honored for their work on behalf of the children of Anna House.

And now we can, happily, stop hearing about his winless streak.  Pletcher’s kind of like the team that’s shown regular season success while faltering in the playoffs:  President’s Trophy winner, out in the early rounds, year after year.  Hang in there, Caps’ fans.  

I watched the race with the Brooklyn connections of Stately Victor, who, while disappointed, didn’t let the defeat get in the way of a great Derby party.  Mint juleps flowed; Derby balloons floated; Derby pie was passed.  We had a little Kentucky in our fair borough, and the pangs of defeat are perhaps assuaged a bit by the news yesterday that trainer Michael Maker is pointing Stately Victor to the Belmont, where his local fans will be able to see him.

Is there anyone who found the NBC coverage of the race anything except completely unwatchable?  Being at a Derby party generally means that you don’t hear much of the commentary—you rely on what’s on the screen.  With ten minutes to post, I could barely find out what the odds were, and during the running of the race, as I watched with closers in mind, I had no way of knowing the fractions, as NBC didn’t seem to think that it was important to post them.  The frivolity that made up most of the broadcast doesn’t merit comment. 

I know, I know—everybody loves Calvin Borel.  He’s humble and he’s dedicated and he’s a great guy.  But he seemed to hit that horse an awful lot in the last sixteenth, didn’t he?  Yeah, he rides great; yeah, he knows Churchill; yeah, he’s fearless; yeah, he wins.   But he also doesn’t seem to mind at all that at the end of the race, it’s all about him.

Looking east from Louisville:  When Aqueduct opened last fall, Allen Jerkens won the first stakes race of the meet:  Le Grand Cru, longest shot on the board, took the Grade III Bold Ruler.  Belmont Park opened last Friday, and guess what?   Allen Jerkens won the first stakes race of the meet:  Le Grand Cru, third-longest shot on the board, took the Grade III Westchester.  Convocation, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, got second.  Following the race, Jimmy said, “Well, if we had to get beat, at least we got beat by the Chief.”  Le Grand Cru paid $56.50.  Welcome home, Chief. 

Congratulations to Gary Schneekloth’s Bourbon Bliss Barn for winning this year’s Road to the Roses/Brooklyn Backstretch charity league.  Gary’s two stables finished first and second, with 383 and 369 points; shockingly, yours truly filled out the trifecta with 360.  Gary, please e-mail me to talk about where you’d like your donation to go. 

A week or so ago, there were a lot of people talking about the karma that had led to Pletcher’s likely Derby favorite, Eskendereya, being declared out of the race with an injury—it was, some said, karma for Pletcher’s various real/imagined/exaggerated misdeeds.

What, I wonder, are those folks thinking now?

6 thoughts on “Weekend wrap-up

  1. I thought the same thing-how come no one is mentioning “Karma” now. It is so silly when you think about it. Horses win races because they have the right combination of talent ,training and the right trip, regardless of whether the owner and/or trainer is good, bad or indifferent.

  2. I sure took a drop in your RTTR league. Got nobody but myself to blame for that, though. Didn’t have the top 3 finishers in the Derby in my stable. Just before the Florida Derby, somebody advised me to add Ice Box, but I knew so little about the horse that I didn’t do it. I’m sure regretting that decision now!

    • I got lucky, Elizabeth: for some reason, I included Lezcano as one of my jockeys, which helped a ton; also had Super Saver, Ice Box, Zito, and Pletcher. I have never done this well before, and I’m sure never will again!

      Looking forward to hearing where the money will go.

      Robert–while I think that there might be something to be said for reaping what one sows, I just couldn’t see what Pletcher had allegedly done that would make people happy that he’d lost his Derby horse. He who laughs last…

  3. I can’t believe another first Sat in May has come and gone and we now have one horse who will move forward with a chance to win the Triple Crown. I wish Super Saver and his connections much luck in their effort to win the Triple Crown. And yes, the NBC coverage is unwatchable for a core fan. While Bob Costas is certainly a very gifted sports journalist, he ain’t Jim McKay when it comes to love and knowlege of the thoroughbred. I actually enjoyed the Oaks race more this year than the Derby. (The Oaks TV coverage was REALLY BAD!) What a champion Blind Luck is! I sure hope we get to see her this summer in NY.

    As for RTTR, all I can say is what the heck was I thinking when I assembled a stable featuring Ron the Greek, Hotep, Bulldogger et al? I’ll hope for better luck next season, although I already know I’ll be including Lou Brissie in my group for 2011. I look forward to learning who your winner names as the charity, as well as to continuing following this lively group of 3 YOs on to Baltimore and finally here to New York.

  4. Todd deserves a hearty congratulations for a job well done. He totally deserves it. But talk about Karma….Poor Looking at Lucky! There is an abundance of bad karma between horse and rider which started a couple of races ago. Now GG is one of the best, but he an Lucky have some bad energy going on. Hopefully it’s not too late for Lucky to move forward from this, but a rider change looks necessary.

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