Sunday, May 12, 2013
Post Derby and a new star on the horizon?
It is now eight days since the running of Derby 139. Reflecting back on ORB'S win and how he did it, he was provided with the perfect trip and excellent ride from jockey Joel Rosario. Rosario came into Churchill and won at a 40% clip before he headed to Belmont. Shaun Bridgmohan has taken the meet at Churchill by storm after Rosario's departure...winning five races yesterday and looks to be well on his way to get a leading riders' trophy if the mounts stay hot and the crafty Cajun can stay healthy.
As for VERRAZANO, I am still in denial and disappointment. HE chased the early fractions in the Derby, looked to be well-positioned heading into the stretch and then applied the brakes and backed-up. I have no doubts he'll recover, recoup and have a very successful three year old campaign. He just got whipped up on in the Derby. It happens to a lot of horses...good and bad.
I caught the clip of FREEDOM CHILD'S incredible win in the PETER PAN Stakes yesterday at Belmont. I liked the son of Malibu Moon enough to include him in my exacta. Unfortunately, My Name Is Michael and Go Get the Basil couldn't finish second.
Freedom Child set the track afire in the slop...maybe a bad choice of metaphors....but so very impressive in destroying the field by 13 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/8 mile test. Stumbling out of the gate, he was briefly last, rallied under jockey Luis Saez to grab the lead before the first 1/4 mile and sprinted away from the rest of the field...galloping down the long Belmont stretch in Secretariat fashion. I was speechless. I figured that favorite Abraham would put up some kind of fight. He never did. Assumed that Fear The Kitten would come rolling at the end to make a race of it. Didn't happen.
I was looking for a "price" in the exacta and superfecta in the race. I had the winner, third and fourth place finishers.
Freedom Child is now 2-1-1 in his career in six starts. HE and Orb have hooked up against each other a couple of times. In a mile maiden special weight race over a mile last November, Freedom Child ran second to Orb by two lengths. In the Wood Memorial, won also by Orb, Freedom Child had all sorts of trouble from the get-go and finished a disappointing 10th. A race where he was held in the starting gate by an assistant starter, broke about 10 lengths behind the rest of the field and ran for purse money only...all bets being returned on him. A bad break, for sure.
There were no problems yesterday for the West Point Thoroughbreds owned monster.
Trainer Tom Albertrani had a plan going into the race:
"We wanted him to be on the lead, and luckily he was able to quicken coming out of the gate and get to an easy lead. Once I saw him on the lead like that I was pretty confident at the half-mile pole by the way he was travelling."
He now sets his sites on the Belmont Stakes on June 8th.
I hope that ORB wins the Preakness. In convincing fashion. The horse racing world needs a Triple Crown winner badly. ORB has that chance.
I will, however, wager on a chestnut horse with a white stripe right down the middle of his nose. You see, I was cheering for a party-crasher a few weeks ago. The University of Louisville women's basketball team. They finished second. I'd have no problem at all with Freedom Child finishing second in the Belmont Stakes.
I think he may have just grown up enough and learned enough recently, though, to crash the coronation and wear the prom queen's crown in the final leg of the Triple Crown. Especially if it's a rainy day.
After all, if the favorites won every race, this horse handicapping thing would be pretty simple, wouldn't it?