One of the things that I have come to love and appreciate about the horse racing community is how nice and helpful people can be. Case in point, our modem chose Saturday of all days to go ka-put. In the span of about ten minutes, my mood shifted from excited anticipation to complete misery because I was going to miss the biggest racing day of the year. Thank goodness I had finally allowed my husband to talk me into upgrading to a smart phone because without out, I truly would have fallen into a pit of despair. As it stood, though I could not watch the races live, I was able to get real time results thanks to the very kind people that took pity on me and posted race results and replay links to my Facebook wall.
Dubai World Cup—How great was Animal Kingdom??? After watching him destroy a world class field, I just cannot believe that I doubted him for so long. I’ll probably lose my friendship with Heather Seiden over this, but I was never a believer in The Animal until after his Breeders’ Cup performance back in November. I was one of the minority who believed that Caleb’s Posse deserved 3-year old honors in 2011 instead of the Derby winner. Well, cut my legs off at the knees and call me ‘Shorty’ because I’m a believer now (*cue the Shrek music*). Too bad my belief comes at the end of his storied career.
Continuing along the same lines, I just took the time to check to see where Royal Delta and Dullahan checked in, and I was surprised by Delta’s finish. After leading for so much of the race, I just could not wrap my head around how she faded back to tenth. We all know that distance and class are not the issue for her, so is it safe to conclude after two failed attempts at this race that she just does not like the surface at Meydan? As for Dullahan…I will continue to obstinately cheer him on despite all the many times that he has not performed as well as I know he can.
Gulfstream Park Oaks—Before both the Oaks and last month’s Davona Dale, I said that in order for Dreaming of Julia to be a factor John Velazquez needed to get her closer to the pace. Velazquez finally did just that, and the Stonestreet owned filly absolutely demolished her rivals. I just have to ask…did anyone else feel a sense of déjà vu watching Dreaming of Julie run away with the Oaks by over 20 lengths? Did anyone else see Rachel Alexandra soundly defeating her rivals in the Kentucky Oaks?
Florida Derby—Either Orb really likes Gulfstream or he is peaking at the right time. I have not quite made up my mind about him at this point, but I will say that his ability to sit so far off the pace at Gulfstream and still win is rather impressive. Factor in that he is one of just five colts that have won more than one Points Prep race, and you have to think that maybe, just maybe this guy is for real.
New Orleans Handicap—Graydar received a pace break in the G1 Donn Handicap when Ultimate Eagle backed out of the race early due to a grabbed quarter. With no one pressing him on the front end, the Twin Creeks Racing Stable colt romped home in near record time. I was not sure how the gray colt would do away from Gulfstream, but he passed yet another test with flying colors. Sitting off the pace in third, Graydar collared Mark Valeski leaving the far turn and battled him down the stretch, before finally proving the tougher of the two and pulling away to win by just under two lengths. His ability to rate and his tenacity down the lane caused me to change my mind about him. Legitimate Eclipse contender? I think so.
Fair Ground Oaks and Louisiana Derby—I really do not have too much to say about either race except that Unlimited Budget is still undefeated and Revolutionary needs to stop waiting on someone to come at him because that’s how races are lost. Oh, and that’s now two tough losses in a row for both Flashy Gray and So Many Ways.
There were so many more stakes races on Saturday than just these that I have commented on. I would probably have to write an essay in order to cover everything that happened that day, so I just stuck to the races that really stood out to me. Please dear Lord do not let my modem go out on me again on such an important day (Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup, etc)! But, if misfortune should strike me again, I can at least rest easy knowing that I have wonderful friends that will keep me up-to-date.
This blog is dedicated to Ryan Farnsley, who like myself was unable to see Saturday's races, and Heather Seiden, Linda Marie, Warren Wruck, Lanie Johnson, Stephanie Benoit, Anne Küppers, and Stephanie Lambert who were kind enough to keep me up-to-date on all the racing.