It’s five AM, the house is quiet and
dark as everyone else is sleeping. Dressed in my sweat pants and hooded jacket,
I place the hood over my head because of the growing autumn. I’m wide awake and
I’m thinking of horse racing. Not only am I thinking horse racing, I’m
contemplating on who will win the three year old horse of the year award for
2013. God, I need an intervention, but would settle for a life.
Trying to figure out the three-year-old championship is a tough prospect in any 12 month period but it is tougher this year. Knowing that I can’t run a 23.4 at the quarter mile pole disqualifies
me. Even though I can eat like the eventual winner, I’m just not going to win
the award-this year. But I think I have it all laid out before me. However, the
last time I had something figured out, I ended up in divorce court.
It’s a wide open field and most
likely won’t be finalized until after the Breeders' Cup, I’m sure. With a
fine crop of three-year-olds rounding out the year, which one will bring home
the whole bucket of oats? There are a lot of contenders for the three year old prize. And all of them think they have a shot at the award. Horses like Orb,
Palace Malice, Verrazano, Will Take Charge and Oxbow.
Orb has not won a race since the
Kentucky Derby, but it’s the biggest race of the year. Will take Charge won the
Travers, with me riding him all the way to the payout window. And that was his
first win since March. Oxbow, I’ve never met him personally and I’m sure he’s a
heck of a kid, I just don’t think his in the same class as the other horses.
And I’m sure if Mr. Lukas has anything to say about it, both of them would love
to shut my mouth and could with a well timed victory. To me the top choices are
Palace Malice and Verrazano.
three year old Verrazano, donned with a pretty, white facial marking, reminds
me of my brother in law, who’s always around except the first Saturday in May
when it’s my birthday. Verrazano, who’s owned by Let’s Go Stables and trained
by Todd Pletcher, has matured since that Saturday in early May when he finished
below the Mendoza Line for horses in the Kentucky Derby. (14th) Since
then, Big V has had strong showings in the Pegasus and Haskell Stakes both at Monmouth
Park in New Jersey. Of course he and his team were shocked by the Travers
finish. But a probable run at the Jockey Gold Cup at the end of the month could
help solidify his standing. I know it would with me. But what do I know? If I was smart I would save my money for
something constructive-like the casino.
As for Palace Malice, he’s owned by
Dogwood Stables and is also trained by Pletcher, who gets around more than my
cousin Edna did back in the day. Like Verrazano, the son of Curlin stumbled in
the Kentucky Derby and in the Travers. But let’s accentuate the positive!
Big time wins in the Belmont and over a strong class in the Jim Dandy made him
a star. (For some reason, I always call this race the ‘Jim Beam’, as if there
was a waitress was around.)
And I like the idea that Mike Smith
is riding the dark chestnut colt. Mr. Smith has always been cordial to me as he
would ignore me walking by the Saratoga Chips stand at the Spa. Meaning, he
would give you the head nod in hopes I would just let him pass without the squeal
of, “You’re Mike Smith!”
Again, there needs to be a Travers
rebound for Palace Malice in the Penn Derby or in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. All to
be looked at as tunes up’s for the big taco-the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa
Anita, the first weekend in November. All we can do is wait and see if I’m
anywhere near right as I think I am. It’s a 10 dollar exacta box that’s
screaming for my attention. Palace Malice and Verrazano, which way is the
winners window because I’m cashing tickets again.
~Written by Johnnie Carrier Johnniec5859@verizon.net
Carrier is a freelance writer who reminds you that, “I really don’t know what I’m
talking about but can do it a style that you don’t realize it. I’ve invented