I also believe folks are underestimating the potential effects of a jockey switch in a big race. Whether it's Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks(switch to Mike Smith), Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby (switch to Borel), or even just last year with V.E. Day (switch to Castellano) in this very race, when a horse with talent changes equipment the results could improve dramatically. I could name 20 more instances if I had to. Obviously American Pharoah is the best horse on paper and is the most likely winner, but he's had a long season and there are some good horses in this race. The Haskell may have looked good visually but it was suspect against the clock, geared down or not. I don't think you ever concede big races like this to a heavy favorite when there are reasonable alternatives.
Isn't it more likely that the connections of the horses running this weekend didn't or wouldn't like their chances or running in a G1 next weekend? I think the racing secretary or whoever couldn't have filled the race if there wasn't enough interest. It's similar to the Curlin Stakes on the Friday and the Jim Dandy on the Saturday. The Curlin Stakes is a restricted stakes but I think the point is the same.
You root for Reddam? He's a snake and is essentially a loan shark posing as a legitimate business man. His businesses pray on the vulnerable, including some horse players. I won't go further here, but google him if you like.
She never was going to run unless the big horses scratched. She is supposed to run at Santa Rosa Friday instead.
The assumption being if he was whipped or encouraged he'd run faster, which is not always the case. The Derby is proof that he may not run faster if encouraged. As you said, let's hope they all stay healthy and provide us a great BCC.
As you know pace makes the race. American Pharoah was loose on the lead in the Belmont, which is a race that never really has any pace. In the AR Derby, KY Derby, & Haskell the final 3 furlongs were run in 37.98, ~39.13, & 38.35 respectively. American Pharoah is not appreciably better than the older horses; he's just facing weaker competition. And he's yet to face Texas Red as a 3 year old. I think we won't see that until the BCC, if the both stay healthy.
So who does Curalina have to beat for you to believe she's the best 3 year old filly right now? Also who do you think is the best 3 year old filly? When you do the math it's hard to not make her number 1 based on accomplishments.
I won't get into the problems/nuances involved with comparing race times but Shared Belief was probably the best dirt horse in the country at that time and Hard Aces ran 4th from post 13 in that race. Since Hard Aces won the Gold Cup the 2nd and 3rd placed finishers from that race came back to run well again in the grade 2 last weekend at Del Mar. Shaman Ghost hasn't beaten a graded stakes winner on dirt so until then he doesn't belong in the same conversation with Hard Aces in terms of accomplishments on dirt.
Hard Aces is a grade 1 winner at 10 furlongs and Curalina is a multiple grade 1 winner. Shaman Ghost's most notable accomplish on dirt is winning an allowance race at KEE. His big win was a restricted stakes race in Canada, where the competition is weaker. Brian Lynch would have tried him in a stakes on dirt here in the states if he though he was good enough. Maybe after the Breeders' Stakes he'll try his hand in the states again but until then I don't believe he even deserves mentioning.
Obviously there have been some key injuries but I wonder if those that believed that this was "one of the greatest crops of all time" want a do over. We'll learn more this weekend as Texas Red looks poised for a big effort vs. some of the Derby runners.
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