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HRN Original Blog:
Race Talk with the Girl Next Door

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

The dust from the Derby has settled and it’s time for a little wrap up. I know I said I would never do this, I usually detest when this happens but really, it is time for some Monday morning quarterbacking.  I usually try to stay loyal to the jockey, I assume that he gives the horse the best ride possible and I know that I could do no better. BUT, when mistakes are so obvious I just can not stand by blindly defending my favorite jockey.
I remember right after the Arkansas Derby, the commentator turned to Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and asked if he were still riding who would he chose to ride in the Kentucky Derby. I expected more hesitation out of Gary Stevens (a huge supporter of Mike Smith) but without hesitation he replied, ‘Union Rags’. Well, all I can say is I wish he would have been riding Union Rags on Saturday as well.
The Florida Derby was a bad race for this talented colt but I kept my faith because I know this horse has the potential and also because I thought for sure this jockey would not make the same mistake twice. During NBC Sports’ coverage of leading up to the Derby, they asked Gary Stevens about the trip in the Florida Derby changing his mind and he replied, “No, the jockey learned something that day and he will not make that mistake again”. This was my thinking exactly. I thought, Leparoux was boxed in then stayed too close to the rail when there may have been room to get out and go around horses in the Florida Derby…BUT…there is no chance in hell he is going to do that again in the Kentucky Derby. This horse and jockey really learned something in the Florida Derby. Well, I think the only person who learned something was Michael Matz.
As the gates flew open this past Saturday in the Run for the Roses, I saw Union Rags get pinched back, but I wasn’t worried. I knew that Leparoux would let the other horses go ahead out there and he would take the horse on the outside of the other horses along the backstretch so that he would have a good position heading home. I know that the others are going to try to have ground saving trips, but I think Leparoux knows that he could go wide with this horse and he will still make the strong run to the finish line. So…I waited for him to take the horse wide…and waited…and waited…then I hear the words from the announcer, “Union Rags is in trouble!” My heart about stopped, in trouble, how could that be? Leparoux has to be starting to take him to the outside by now; they are coming around the turn. But no, there is Leparoux checking behind the one horse the whole world knew not to follow, Trinniberg. That was it; that is when I knew the Derby was over for him.
I sat in disbelief, not at the winner getting up he is a great horse and is very deserving of his win. Not in Bodemeister quitting; he and Smith put on a tremendous performance and I have nothing but admiration for them both. I think Dullahan’s late run was remarkable considering he may not be a dirt horse. Then there is Went the Day Well, wow, once he kicked on for home he made up tremendous ground. I was so very impressed with him. But for Union Rags to finish 7th…I would love to say no excuses and no blame…but I would be lying. I do know one thing for sure; I am off the Union Rags bandwagon. At least until they find a jockey that fits him.
Congratulations to the winning connections on their Derby win; they were the best that day!! 


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Older Comments about Monday Morning Quarterbacking...

I think several of the horses need different jockies. Let's face it, even jockies get old, get jaded and have set habits that do not win.
Like the horse, love the trainer, not sold on the jockey. I'm still on the bandwagon, and its nice that there is elbow room now. He's still a good racehorse, he just needs some clean air to get that giant stride rollin
it's just like lucky again, might as well get martin marcia to ride him. he learned how to ride lucky. everyone is saying rags can go wide and still have the horse to make a great run. he can still very will be a dangerous horse.
My feelings exactly..except I'll always be on the UR bandwagon!
I would think that there will be a jockey change on Union Rags.
  • rruud · that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE JOCK if they change just lookin for excuses · 1483 days ago
Bode broke 2 lengths ahead and avoided all the ruckus. Dullahan did not get checked by Daddy Long Legs over and over. He also broke faster.
Dullahan was next to UR in PP; how comw he didn't get screwed? And Bode was next to Dull; how come he didn't get screwed? What's the excuse going to be in the Preakness?
you could have a sycranized robot on that horse aint gonna matter ; he's bad out of the gate , has no early speed , cant hang with that bunch , any horse in that race could win but you have to be able to get in possesion behind the pace , and with this bunch he cant onless god was ridin and then i'm not sure.
you can put a syncrinzed nasa tested robot on that horse and the way he comes out of the gate he cant catch a cold ; has no early speed to hang with that bunch , just my opinion
Judging from what was said by the trainer, I am guessing that you will get your wish next time.
Let up on the poor jock, he did a good job. PP screws some and helps others, UR got screwed.

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Meet Angela D'Amico
My horseracing journey and my quest to learn more about it has brought me to the University of Louisville Equine Program, but it began before I was born. My parents met when their parents shared ownership in a few racehorses. Although they did not own any horses when I was growing up, my grandfather still took me to the racetrack all throughout my childhood. In 2007, my stepfather introduced me to different racetracks and handicapping techniques, but it was not until the 2009 Preakness that I was really hooked.
A filly, Rachel Alexandra, venturing into a man’s world caught my eye and I fell in love with her completely. This was when my life changed. When it comes to racing and choosing my favorite horses, I have always seen perfection in what others would characterize as flaws. With this blog, I hope to show everyone that horseracing is not just a gamble, it is a passion.

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