This week I thought I would try something different and ‘dial in’ with a few random thoughts that I have so buckle up and enjoy the roller coaster ride.
Since I went through my Derby list last week I want to start it off on a good note, Julien Leparoux. This is an A+ jockey. We hear his name repeatedly, picking up a few Eclipse Awards, riding titles and Breeder’s Cups. We have not had the pleasure of hearing his name after the words “Derby winning jockey” though. This year may change that all. Leparoux, as far as I can see, is in a perfect spot. He is the man aboard Kathmanblu and Dialed In. This means he has the potential to win not only the Kentucky Oaks but the Derby as well. I know that Uncle Mo is the favorite, but don’t forget what an impressive 3-year old Dialed In is turning out to be. He was undefeated up until last week and even his loss helped the horse. We all know that Dialed In needs a better pace and Uncle Mo will provide that; not to mention the fact that Dialed In was able to get those ‘two turns’ in, making his next start more familiar to him. Kathmanblu is just a force to be reckoned with and I am not sure if any filly out there will catch her. I am not saying that she is going to win by 19 ½ lengths the way Rachel did, but the way I figure “catch her if you can”!
Next up, I wanted to comment on the John Velazquez accusations. I remember standing there, at the Breeders Cup and watching Life at Ten NOT cross the finish line first. I kept wondering if something had happened, but I wasn’t sure because it was freezing and the large crowd of people made it almost impossible to see. I followed the incident closely the days after and when I returned to sunny Florida after leaving Kentucky, I watched the taped races to see what all the fuss was about. Shortly before the Lady’s Classic, Johnny V was on talking about how Life at Ten was not warming up like normal, I witnessed as the station notified the stewards and so forth. I am not a lawyer or have anything to do with the law and to tell the truth, I don’t know the charges brought up against Velazquez. That is what I don’t know, now on to what I know. I know that John Velazquez is one of the greatest riders of our time, always classy, always talking to the media if asked and a spokesman for the Jockey’s Guild. I know that he has crossed the finish line first many times in his career. He has won riding titles, awards, George Woolf Awards and the respect of his peers and the respect of the horse lovers that put him aboard their beloved horses. I do know that the report keeps mentioning that he did not notify the vets, but I also know that he told the millions of people that were watching the race. Doesn’t seem to me that he was hiding anything. I don’t know how things are going to go for Johnny V, but I support him and the decisions that he made.
Horse racing is such a roller coaster ride of emotion, up and down, up and down. It is this way for those involved in the business and also for those of us at home. We the fans, pick our favorites, make connections to the horse or jockey, we watch their every move. We anxiously await their next start, the next time we will see ‘our horse’ race again. We wait for that moment when the horse is given their recognition. That is the kind of fan I am. I wait for the next race; I wait for that big break, for that race that is going to give this horse real international recognition.
That being said, Chamberlain Bridge (one of those ‘my horse’ horses) was scheduled to go to Dubai following his spectacular victory at the Breeders Cup. His Dubai plans have been squashed, but I have to tip my imaginary hat to Bret Calhoun. It was very admirable of him to decide to sit this race out because the shipping would be too much on the horse. These are the type of people that I hear about in horse racing. They put their horse first; after all, they are the star. Props to you Mr. Calhoun, I will anxiously be waiting for ‘my horses’ next start.