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.