Top 10 things I learned from the Triple Crown series in 2013:
for key races to judge competition between horses, not highest Beyer speed
figures. The Louisiana bunch produced
3 of top 4 Kentucky Derby placings and 6 of 9 money finishes this spring if you
include Oxbow, who won the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds by 11 lengths and
just missed the board after a wide trip in the Risen Star.
the best horses in your bets rather than trying to guess pace factor and bet
accordingly. In the Belmont, there
was not much dispute that the most accomplished horses this year ran 1st
through 3rd. Many people
(i.e. yours truly) discounted Oxbow and Palace Malice based on the fact they
may not “stay” the 12 furlong distance after racing forwardly.
sires (1st or 2nd crops) are the best way to get you a
Derby horse without breaking the bank. Look at 4 of last 5
Derby winners and nearly half the Derby field this year (Into Mischief, War
Pass, Lawyer Ron, Curlin).
not overuse track condition in handicapping – look to the horse's times in
workouts and pre-race paddock appearance. The talk Derby week
was on the “mudders” in the group such as Vyjack, Itsmyluckyday and
Revolutionary. The fact is at this point in their young careers, most horses
have not even attempted an off-track so this exercise proves futile.
not give extra credit to “local” connections; horse’s training base, jockey or
trainer.Top 2 Belmont
finishers jockeys seldom ride the big turns of Belmont. Orb was based at Belmont and had most of his exceptional
post Florida workouts here but that didn’t help him this past Saturday.
not hold grudges against a horse, trainer or jockey (unless it’s Julien
Leparoux, who consistently puts his horses in terrible positions). I didn’t “trust”
Palace Malice because of his Derby debacle even though I loved him all spring.
Whether it was his own rank attitude or poor handling by Mike Smith that caused the Derby
episode, who knows. But it sure cost me a bunch of money by turning away from
him in the Belmont. Ditto for Mike Smith’s poor Derby ride.
bad race, give them another chance. But two strikes and leave ‘em out! Itsmyluckyday had
only put forth one poor effort prior to Louisville and rewarded his backers by
running second at nice odds in Baltimore. Same with Palace Malice, barring his
horrendous trip in the La Derby. Will Take Charge and Frac Daddy are proof of
to favor closers in the Derby, speed in the Preakness and stalkers for the
Belmont. Derby: Orb, Golden
Soul and Revolutionary this year, Animal Kingdom, Mine That Bird, Street Sense
from recent years past. Preakness: Oxbow,
Shackleford, Bodemeister (nipped at wire), Rachel Alexandra, Big Brown. Belmont: Palace
Malice, Union Rags, Ruler on Ice.
sure to personally attend a Preakness Stakes before the Maryland Racing Commission
moves it away from rickety old Pimlico Race Course. For my money, Baltimore is the
most fun, easiest access (including public transport) and cheapest trips of all the
TC races and you can spend a day at the inner harbor and catch an Orioles game the
day before or after.
10) Keep the
hopes and dreams alive for the elusive 12th Crown – think Miguel