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HRN Original Blog:
Race Talk with the Girl Next Door

Sounding Off

It appears that the ever classy jockey Johnny Velazquez is giving a portion of his Derby earnings to Robby Albarado. I write about Johnny a lot. I think he is not only a great jockey, but obviously a most incredible human being. I have been rooting for Johnny to win the Derby for quite some time; it seemed though his luck always ran out the week of the Derby. He enters May on a Derby favorite and inevitably they would scratch and he would be left on the “other” Pletcher horse. This year seemed to be going about the same—then he just happened to stumble upon the eventual winner of the Derby and was given the opportunity to ride him. I was so happy to have seen him cross the finish line first last Saturday, and then I remembered how he actually got the mount. So now I am sounding off.
Robby Albarado (left) is a professional, he is able to determine if he is well enough to ride or not and I feel he should have been given that chance. I know you all are going to tell me, “That’s the business”. And to that I reply-“I don’t care, I am P&ss$d Off about it and as a fan, that is my right!!” I was at the Breeder’s Cup the day that an injured Garrett Gomez got aboard his mount and through the pain managed to beat the remaining champ. He later blogged that he was not sure if he was going to be able to race and in his mind knew he had to make a decision. He owed it to the horse and the connections to make sure that they had the best possible chance at victory. The connections trusted him; they trusted his judgment because they know he is a professional. I wish I could say the same for the connections of Animal Kingdom.
How terrible it must have been to have to sit in the jock’s room and watch the Derby on TV. Then to see your horse finish first, I don’t know if I would ever come back from that.  I know Johnny, Angel Cordero Jr. and Barry Irwin are all giving a portion of the earnings to Albarado and how nice of them. It does show class, but really…does any amount of money make up for not being a Derby winner??? I doubt it.
Hang in there Robby. I can remember the story last year after the Derby was that Garcia was going to replace Gomez on Lookin at Lucky. Baffert said it was not personal, just business and I believe him. I thought it was probably hard for Gomez to be taken off such an exceptional horse, but I am sure he did not feel the sting when he was crossing the finish line at the Breeder’s Cup ahead of Lucky.
It seems to me that when the connections of Uncle Mo decided to scratch (more on that later) they saw an opportunity to ROB Albarado of his Derby win by replacing him with Johnny. Both jockeys deserve a Derby win; I am very supportive of both of them. I just wish Johnny would have done it on his OWN mount.
Now, speaking of Uncle Mo…I guess while I am in such a foul mood, I will address the late scratch. These connections knew he was not ready for the Derby before the draw, why didn’t they just scratch him then??? I know, I know “that’s the business” or “they were hoping for a miracle”. Either way, the question is rhetorical and I do not need an answer. The way I see it, they were screwing over the connections of Sway Away who was forced to sit the Derby out because of their actions. I think that may have been the theme of the Derby this year. I know that isn’t true, but in the mood I am in after such displays that is the only way I can see it.
My Derby favorite Dialed In, actually THE Derby favorite, did not get the job done last Saturday. I was not disappointed in his performance (what I could see of it on satellite TV during a storm) and am going to back him in the Preakness. At least, that is the plan for now. I am sure I will have some other horses to put in there, but you can bet that I will not be supporting the connections of Animal Kingdom. No hopes for a Triple Crown this year folks, at least not from me!
I have heard the news about Arch3 getting injured and thus being retired. Sorry to hear that, I think we would have seen great things from him later on. Also, rounding off my Derby trifecta, I think Nehro ran a great race. I think Nakatani was brilliant and I think the Belmont will suit him just fine.
Ok, calming down a bit I was ecstatic to see the old Blind Luck run in her race on Friday. I have always been a bit smitten with her, she is not Rachel in my heart, but she is up there. It was great to see her trip after a few disappointing second place finishes. I give her connections a lot of credit for accepting her second place finishes and allowing her to keep trying. I wish more connections were capable of that.
Upon hearing the news of Michael Baze, I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to his friends and family. As a fan, he was dynamic jockey and I enjoyed watching his many victories. He was taken too soon and I am sure will be missed by all.


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Older Comments about Sounding Off...

Nice work, Angie. And I echo all of your above sentiments. Great to see a last-minute change benefit Johnny V, for once. And the Baze story, indeed, is very tragic. Keep the faith on Dialed In. I absolutely think he's a major player Saturday.
Jockey changes are nothing new. And, it wasn't as if Albarado was AK's regular jockey. Had Robby ridden those two days instead of taking off, he would have been the rider on AK. AK's connections were right to wonder whether Albarado would be 100% when Albarado himself by taking himself off his mounts caused a question to arise!
  • RaTalk_Girl · I still think they should have depended on Albarado being a professional. I know jockey changes are nothing new, but I think they should have went by what Albarado was telling them. He took off to make sure he was going to be ready for Saturday. I know the connections were getting calls immediately following the spill and they were thinking about it then, but wanted to wait to see if Uncle Mo would scratch. I know this is all a part of the racing game, but I don't have to like it. One of my favorite jockeys is one of those riders who get taken off mounts alot. It is one of the things that bother me a bit about the sport. In a game that relies so much on trust, they seem to lack it so obviously in some areas. · 1844 days ago
I think that for once we can let the animals decide and not let who is footing the bill for it's clean up...
oops, anyway...I read he was going to ride King Congie and I posted it somewhere on HRN. I hope Animal Kingdom gets beat by a nose by King Congie. I want them to feel the sting!!
I read
I just heard that Robby will ride King Congie in the Preakness.
Hopefully this is the end of Robby's troubles this year. He deserved to be on the Animal Kingdom.. he deserves the title of Derby winner.
Robby has had his troubles this year, some of which were caused by his own poor decisions ... I hope he gets things back together and is the stand-up rider and person that we all thought he was before this year ... Classy move by Johnny V!

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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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