I understand your frustration, but the Pimlico Special was not run for a number of years from 2009-2011. Prior to that period it was a Grade one and after it wasn't run for three years it was down graded to a grade three. Just for the record the race was also not run from 1959-1987 and also not in 2002 and 2007. While four TC winners won it, this was I believe in the 1940's. The criteria for grading includes amount of purse money, longevity, top horses in the race etc.
The grading system was to help conform American stakes races to their European counterparts. Prior to that period in the 1970's we really didn't grade races.
This shouldn't be too surprising. While a Derby prep race, it hasn't had the top fields that other preps have had and hasn't produced a Derby winner in awhile. Also the graded stakes races were done to conform American stakes races to their European counterparts. And is really a system for breeders.
Why Stymie? He wasn't a gelding. Winn had nothing to do with the rest of the TC races, just the Derby. Further one couldn't get into the Belmont Stakes without being nominated to the Futurity. This was true through the 1930's and impacted Discovery.
In the early days that Discovery, Exterminator etc. raced in, the spread in weights was enormous. Horses like Discovery were carrying 137 giving away thirty plus pounds because horses were carrying 100 or even less. Kelso gave away decent amounts and won under top weights. Problem with Citation was he carried 130 plus but never won under it.
I roared at the biggest bouquet for your grandfather at his funeral came from his bookie. Wonderful!
Yes that Belmont was one of the greatest races I ever saw. In the movie Secretariat, the two reporters are saying this isn't good he's going too fast he'll never last. That was exactly what we were all saying as we watched the race unfold. I remember just being stunned as Secretariat kept increasing his lead. It was just breath taking. I remember being just shell shocked at the finish. It was just an incredible display of power.
Kelso holds a special place in my heart, as you can tell.
Borderline top 20 is in my opinion is an insult. To me top five is exactly right. If you think about it in the years that Kelso ran the TC matter little for HOY honors. He defeated the best horses year after year. It seems that you're penalizing him for racing longer. Forego, John Henry, Exterminator, Armed, Discovery, etc. raced longer than many others, does that diminish them too? As to Arcaro, he also said he would always say in public Citation was the best he rode and wouldn't say anything differently while Jones was alive.
For me MOW was great but Riddle was terrified of Exterminator and avoided him and because of that I would place Exterminator ahead of MOW. Citation certainly had one of the best three year old seasons and if he had retired then, I would have place him at the top. But as noted turf writer, David Alexander said Citation had problems carrying weight. I don't believe he ever won carrying 130 or more. Kelso won nine times with 130 or more times with the highest burden he won under was 136. For me carrying weight is very important in judging top horses. I have always placed Discovery and Exterminator in the top ten for this reason.
Kelso also defeated Never Bend, Ridan, Jaipur, Bald Eagle, TV Lark, Quadrangle, Crimson Satan, Roman Brother, Pia Star, Malicious, On and On, Etc.
That's wonderful about your grandfather seeing MOW and so many other famous horses. I really envy him and you too who heard his stories about so many great ones. I'm sure it was an enormous influence on you.
You are lucky to see Secretariat run. I saw him in a number of races and was at Belmont for the incredible TC win.
My dad got me into racing. He worked for Remington Arms during WWII and had extra gas ration coupons because he took guns and ammo to the army training centers on the East coast. He was a huge fan of Count Fleet and was able to see the Count win the Derby. Years later, we went to the 1969 Belmont Stakes to see Majestic Prince try for the TC and to root for Johnny Longden to not only ride a TC winner but to train one too.
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