To be fair, Awesome Again had one of the best seasons in recent memory not to be rewarded with a championship, so I don't begrudge him a stakes race. Although perhaps the Lava Man would have been more appropriate.
I believe the exact reason is that Oak Tree had a claim and didn't want them using the old names. I think the new names are mostly ridiculous but it's hopefully just a matter of time until most of them get renamed after famous horses/racing people.
The Ramona was renamed the John C. Mabee when he died and has since been downgraded to G2 but is still at 9F.
While I'm in complete agreement with you about the overall trend, that's not actually what happened here. When Oak Tree closed, Santa Anita renamed the old Yellow Ribbon the Rodeo Drive and it is still 10F and a G1. This race was then renamed from...the Palomar? Las Palmas? Something like it.
Good assessment that Carina Mia's camp has everything to gain and nothing to lose here, although I don't think it's as dramatic as you make it sound for Songbird (does it really count as "putting it all on the line with everything to lose" in a race where you're deservingly odds-on?). I do think Carina Mia will prove she can get the distance with her new running style but don't see her beating the champ, who is on another level.
Great story! I, too, was a big fan of this horse during his days on the track. He always tried his heart out, and there was about a one year period that included his Donn win and DWC effort where he was truly a world-class talent. The Bradleys really do run an amazing operation.
Songbird's connections are considering the Delaware Oaks, not the Delaware Handicap (which would be much more exciting). What a sorry group of sprinters this year. And when did Taris go to the shelf? That's unfortunate.
If you want to see the definition of a horse who refuses to lose, check out this guy's most recent race in the Seattle Handicap! What a stretch battle, and now 6-for-6!
If the horse is sound, which he currently is, especially considering all the breaks on the farm they give him, there is no reason to think any more racing will do him harm. If he wins the Pegasus it will be hard for them to say no to another $6M for the taking in Dubai considering his first year stud fee probably tops out at $150K no matter what he does on the track.
He was coming off a very long layoff in the Penn Derby and was rushed to make the race. He has already proven in the Derby, Preakness, Belmont, and at Meydan that he has good form outside California.
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