just a handful more racing days remaining in 2012, it’s time to reach back into
your memory bank and think about the most exciting race you witnessed this
year. We tend to recall those races that caught national attention. The 2012
Belmont Stakes were all exciting.
How about the Alpha / Golden Ticket dead heat in The Travers?
Where is it written that only (graded) stakes races are worthy of being
mentioned in a list of “Most Exciting Races of 2012”? If you
are a true fan of the Sport of Kings, you can appreciate the beauty of a
terrific stretch duel to the wire or an amazing closing kick, whether it be in
a Grade 1 or low level claiming race.
With that being said, were you one of maybe just a few hundred who witnessed an
awesome race at Beulah Park, Portland Meadows or whatever small
track you follow on a regular basis? Or it could be a race at a major track
that happened one weekday with little fanfare. If so, share your story and link
to video of the race (if available).
Here are my Top 10 Maryland races of 2012…
10. Black-Eyed Susan – May 18th–
Race 10 @ Pimlico
In Lingerie was
looking tight as a drum while impressively pulling away from the field.
9. 107-1 Winner – March 21st – Race 9
@ Laurel Park
A 1 for 18 lifetime low-level claimer
Wire Funds proves that running on
turf versus dirt can be like night and day. This one was first time on grass (for
$10,500 tag) while stepping up from the $5k claiming ranks on dirt, failing to
have hit the board in his previous 5 outings. After winning this one, he came
back to win his next 3 on the lawn against $12.5k Claimers, $25k Claimers and
$43k Allowance company.
8. Mr. Diz Stakes – April 7th– Race 10 @ Pimlico
MD Horse of the Year Ben’s
Cat rallies to take 3rd consecutive Mr. Diz Stakes.
7. Near Triple Dead Heat – March 16th – Race 7 @ Laurel Park
After racing 7
furlongs, no measurement could separate Milwaukee
Chief and Artic Raven, while Let Me Be Frank settled for SHOW money
a mere whisker behind those two.
6. Ladys Legend for the Cure – May 18th–
Race 4 @ Pimlico
Class Rules may have won easily but it was 59-year-old Jennifer Small in who was in the irons, and the other retired female jockeys who made the 3rd annual People’s Pink Party a memorable $40k Allowance NW1X race.
5. Rapid Redux notches #22 – January 4th – Race 6 @ Laurel Park
This $5,000 Starter Allowance would be the 6-year-old geldings final
race. Retired with a record 22 race win streak intact, he won a total of 28
races from 42 career starts.
4. Frank J. DeFrancis Dash – October 27th
– Race 9 @ Laurel Park
Andy rallies in deep stretch to catch Il
Vilano at the wire. What really hurts is that I had Il Vilano. How many
times is the cameraman wrong when showing the winner on the gallop out in a
3. Pimlico Special – May 18th–
Race 12 @ Pimlico
Alternation puts in a game
performance as he gets the better end of the head bob versus
Nehro. Watch the slow motion replay
at the wire. Nehro actually catches and gets ahead of Alternation 5 feet before
the wire. Once again, guess who had Nehro at 6-1?!
The next day I had Steve
Asmussen (Nehro’s trainer) crying on my shoulder saying, “How in the hell
did he not win that race?!”
2. Double Dead Heat – October 8th
– Race 7 @ Laurel Park
a horse racing rarity, as Rockaby Bay
and Masterel hit the wire
simultaneously for the WIN while just a neck behind Elkhorn Creek and Colonel
Bill could not be separated for the SHOW purse, in this $25k Optional
1. 137th Preakness Stakes – May 19th– Race 12 @ Pimlico
I’ll Have Another and
Bodemeister, Round 2. If this
stretch run doesn’t give you goose bumps, then you must not be breathing.