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Where have all the horses gone?

May has been a great month of racing. It really has. I mean the unfolding saga of I’ll Have Another alone is enough to put a smile on the face of a discerning race fan. And besides the magic that comes from a potential Triple Crown winner, the amount of good older horses around, of either gender, is frankly something we have not seen for a while. So what has turned my mood slightly sour today? Field size.
 
May 28 at Belmont Park was literally a racing card that I’ve literally been looking forward to for months. The Met Mile is one of my favorites. Some of the best horses in America always look at this Memorial Day feature as a key race the first half of the year, and let me tell you, this one-turn mile is every bit the test that the three-year olds will face in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. It’s eight furlongs of all-out equine courage and class. Throw in a pair of grade 1 biggies for the distaff set in the Acorn and the Ogden Phipps, and you had the making of one of the cards of the year. I was geeked. Now I am not.
 
As I learned of the entries today, I could not help but to say, “that’s all?” Not once, not twice, but I said it for each of the big three races. The quality is high, with horses like Caleb’s Posse, To Honor and Serve, Shackleford, Jackson Bend, Awesome Maria, It’s Tricky, and On Fire Baby, but the field size? Well, it stinks.
 
Whatever you may think the problem is … Too many racetracks … Too many races … Too much money at less prestigious races … Simulcasts taking away from live racing … Good horses not racing enough … Not enough horses … or all of the above, it doesn’t matter to me right now. 
 
I’m just disappointed that the most horses we can hope to see in the three big grade 1 races at Belmont on Monday add up to a grand total of 17. I pray there are no scratches.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Where have all the horses gone?...

Thanks, Ann. I'm starting to feel better ... and you know I love Mr. Commons!
Sorry you are having a bad day, Brian! You should be pleased your Mr. Commons has a nice field of 11 in the American coming up tomorrow. One of my favorite new horses is a filly by the name of Aqsaam, and she's running in the Sheepshead Bay S at Belmont tomorrow in a FIELD OF FOURTEEN!!
  • annmatt · Your site just threw me off while I was still writing!!! LOL Anyway, I agree, it's a shame that the Grade 1 races, especially with a purse of $750,000, if that can't draw some runners, what will get them there! I agree with someone else who suggested it seems trainers/owners want soft spots and they run away from competition. You do have a valid point, especially about the Grade 1 races. They should be over-subscribed, if anything, you would think. Anyway, good luck to Mr. Commons in the American, and my filly, Aqsaam in the Sheepshead tomorrow! · 826 days ago
Holy Bull, Gulch, Conquistador Cielo, Arts and Letters, and Sword Dancer all won the Met Mile as 3YOs and later became champions!
Honour and Glory won it two years after Holy Bull. It used to be common to run 3yo's in the Met ... they get such a weight break.
Really would've liked to have seen Hansen in the Met Mile instead of the Woody Stephens (or wherever he's running). Have any 3yos been daring and run in this since Holy Bull in 1994? I can't remember...
Not short on quality, that's for sure. But, I would like to see more entered also. Still, good value in the Met Mile, you're going to get playable odds on the Breeders' Cup Mile Champ. You're also going to get great odds in a short field on a horse that posted 3 straight 100 beyer speed figures, anyone know who that is?? :)
Now five of the six entries for the Met Mile are coming off wins....looking very forward to the Met Mile as well. The entire weekend is filled with fantastic racing! Have a great holiday weekend everyone. Godspeed to all horses and riders. Run fast but most importantly run safe.

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