• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 5 days ago
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  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 5 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 8 days ago
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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Bada Bing Inc.

Belmont Stakes Epilogue: Winning and Losing


We’re all gamblers – in some respect. Horse racing simply amplifies the causality of putting your bets on something, anything. Pursuing a new career, catching the eye of one potential lover over another will provide similar consequences, too many unseen paths converging or not. At the track it only takes about 30 minutes in between races before you realize monetary pay outs or money lost on each gamble.


Triumph takes risk-taking, a willingness to lose. These ideas of winning and losing usually exist within the private of our homes, our minds. By betting among the masses at the track those personal boundaries are exposed as bettors collectively create the odds and the pools, from which all bets are paid out. Thus, losers pay the winners. (The racetrack is merely the conduit and the host taking percentages of all pools for their services.)


Whether at home clicking online, to bet through an advance wagering account, or handing over your money to a mutuel clerk on track, bettors participate in a public process.  As with all professional sports, the horses, trainers, jockeys and owners participate in a their own open-air theater. The spotlight shines on them in ways that most bettors will never know or realize. This symbiotic dance relies on cunning and faith from each to the other, feelings shared, but rarely understood.


Reality’s glare in tearing up a losing $10 Win ticket or your horse missing the winner's share of a $1 million purse by a nose renders the heart just a little weaker, the soul a little more bitter. Since winning percentages in racing are shockingly low, for even the best in the business, losing assimilates, far more than it accumulates. It happens, it hurts; you move on, hopefully some lesson learned.


Just like every other track on every other race day, each Belmont Stakes Day race had it’s own individual winner’s story, leaving a wake of losers to reconsider their plans, search for what was missed. Unfortunately, one half of Dumb Ass Partners, owners of Triple Crown aspirant, California Chrome, delivered such a hurt – loud, clear and publicly. It was the bettor’s lament magnified in that bigger than life, New York City way.


Sadly, Steve Coburn’s loss was that of owning the rarity, a winner of two of the Triple Crown races. While California Chrome fell short of the sweep, those winning the first two legs number only 34, with 11 completing the triple. Since Sir Barton first took the series in 1919, millions upon millions of Thoroughbreds have been bred in America.


The odds of anyone having such good fortune breeding a Kentucky Derby winner, well, they are breathtakingly high. Given Dumb Ass bred their history-making colt on their first try and on the cheap, it would be equivalent of cashing their first lottery ticket purchase ever, after finding loose change in the sofa cushions. It was too easy, not enough toughening of the skin through bone-crushing defeats and for that Coburn’s loss stung more than usual in the Thoroughbred world.


Yes, the closer your grasp of the Holy Grail, the more the want. Nobody likes to lose, especially when Broadway lights or history books await.


Here is the conundrum of horse racing and our times – winning is hard, losing sucks and each costs something. Time, effort, energy and luck usually combine for the win. Losing, it can come from everywhere and include everything like a fellow competitor stepping on your hoof.


For Coburn it was foolish pride thinking he was owed something for coming so close or following flawed logic that only he understood. There is no requirement for horses to run in all three Triple Crown races, nor should such a rule exist.


From Golden Gate Fields to Belmont Park, horses join the racing fray when their trainers or owners see fit. The fact that Tonalist won the Belmont Stakes in only his fifth lifetime start says more about his athleticism and his trainer Christophe Clement’s horsemanship than the horse’s absence in both the Preakness or Kentucky Derby does.


The fastest horse to the finish line, wins. This does not mean the best, whether in the bloodlines coursing through veins, recent performances given or the story lines behind human connections. Now, California Chrome did not win, and we’ll wait until next year’s Preakness Stakes to find our next would-be champions and tragic figures hoping to finish first two more times after a Kentucky Derby win. There will be no guarantee, even though American horse racing holds out hope for a true hero to materialize through 12 grueling furlongs.


The Belmont Stakes coined The Test of Champions did just that on Saturday and one emerged, Tonalist, amazingly surging to the front in the final yards of the race. In victory, Clement’s adoration of California Chrome was refreshing and humbling. Too bad Coburn’s shrill voice was the one paid most of the attention in losing.



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Older Comments about Belmont Stakes Epilogue: Winning and Losing ...

any one any race who wants to have long term sucess should ALWAYS bet against very short priced horses that have ANY suggestion that they are underlays. ALWAYS
California Chrome didn't only grab his right quarter; he also came close to severing a tendon in his left fore. THAT latter injury was the one that had Sherman, after the race, holding his breath. "That could have been devastating," he said. Coburn is lucky the horse came out of the race in fairly good shape, considering the jostling and bumping he endured. He will live to race again. He is quite a horse, no matter what.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • joann.balzarini · so agree with CalChrome#1 he can be another Curlin, he is a spectacular horse and yeah it sucks to lose but thank God he wasn't hurt further. Most important is a healthy and happy horser · 1225 days ago
  • joann.balzarini · meant horse · 1225 days ago
Very well written article. Thank you for that.
Since I had already done most of the math, C. Chrome had 536 winning $2 Super tickets, and W. Strong had 356.
You can work it backwards, 1stsatmay. The pool was 10,745,084. The takeout is 24%, and the payoffs were $7,616 for California Chrome, and $11,467 for Wicked Strong. Are you trying to figure out how much money Espinoza cost bettors for failing to urge California Chrome to the wire? That would be $4,083,131.00.
There were so many examples of saying the right things. Joel Rosario said that, "If I didn't win, I wanted to get beat by California Chrome."
how do you find out how many winning super tickets there were on the belmont
Well put
Last paragraph said it all best. It was great to see you this weekend!
Great seeing you this weekend. Keep up the great work.

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Tony Bada Bing began his lifelong quest of finding winners more than 35 years ago as a fifth grade student. This is when his grandfather first took him to the many Off Track Betting facilities sprinkled throughout Long Island, NY. While many kids his age were clamoring to hit the beach or an amusement park during summer vacation, Bada Bing was spending it in stuffy, smoked-filled rooms filled with retirees and reprobates listening to Marshall Cassidy on tape delay calling Saratoga.

This passion was further lit by his father, who took Bada Bing to East Boston's Suffolk Downs, only after Bada Bing learned to read the Racing Form. For most of his young adult life a summer rotation of NY OTB, Suffolk, and the now shuddered Rockingham Park in Salem, NH filled his betting days. 

Notable winners along the way: Willow Hour's and Runaway Groom's Travers wins as well as Derby winners Grindstone, Thunder Gulch (which he called in print the day before) and Super Saver. His latest quest is to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

Bada Bing plays tournaments at Derby Wars, bets through several account wagering sites and has blogged about Thoroughbred racing for the past four years. He prefers the bigger meets of NYRA and California as well as seasonal meets of Gulfstream, Churchill and Oaklawn. He likes vertical, multirace wagers like Pick 4s.

He has produced several Horse Racing Nation videos, in addition to blogging. He can be found at Twitter @tonycbadabing. While away from the track Bada Bing enjoys time with his wife, who tolerates and supports his passion, and his two children.


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