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Breeders' Cup 2017

Weight rarely makes much difference

If looking silly is going to be the objective -- well, they probably could look even sillier, couldn't they? They could say they're not going to Oaklawn Park because they don't like the corned beef sandwiches, or they could complain the hot springs there are just too, too, too hot. But for purposes of coruscating embarrassment, this will do, too, and these connections will look silly enough: They're bypassing Friday's Apple Blossom Handicap because they can't bear the thought, so sensitive are they, that the Horse of the Year will have to carry 123 pounds.

 

Ta Wee, who in size rivaled a hood ornament and who, by the way, never was Horse of the Year, won the 1970 Interborough Handicap while racing under the burden of 142 pounds, 29 more than the runner-up. But Havre De Grace can't carry 123 pounds in the Apple Blossom? Just to get this straight: The little Ta Wee carried 142 pounds, but the big and powerful Havre De Grace can't, or shouldn't, carry 123? Well, sometimes the piffle gets in the way of the twaddle, and this, I suspect, is one of those times.

 

John Nerud and Dr. Fager were in transit, traveling across the country, from Aqueduct to Hollywood Park, when the trainer learned there was some confusion about the weights for the Californian Stakes. He had been told his great speedster would carry -- what was it, 124 pounds? But Dr. Fager, Nerud now learned, in transit, would have to lug 130 pounds around Hollywood Park.

 

"It won't make any difference," Nerud said, without hesitation. And he was absolutely right: The weight didn't make any difference. Dr. Fager won by three lengths while carrying 14 pounds more than the runner-up, who happened to be the champion Gamely. 

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