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A lackluster Belmont


It was a nice sentimental story that the filly Rags To Riches won the Belmont Stakes, but it was certainly nothing for her connections to brag about. The race was run in a time that was nearly a full five seconds slower than the record time of Secretaiat. I probably could have run the race that fast myself. And those slow fractions could have been set by a garden snail.  Hard Spun's new jock made a grave error in judgment by not making good use of his trademark speed. Instead he just rode a rather even race. He might have had a legitimate shot to win if he had really used his greatest strength. And the results of the race would have definitely been different if he had forced a more credible pace. Oh well, I guess there's a good reason they're called pinheads.

Entry #52


Rick GComment by Rick G - June 10, 2007, 4:34 pm

I was also disappointed with Hard Spun's piloting. He should have been setting the fractions into the stretch with gas to spare.

From the Belmont Stakes chart: "HARD SPUN raced erratically, while fighting his rider and tucking in a bit in the early stages, drifted out a bit on the first turn, stalked the leaders five wide on the backstretch, continued wide while lodging a mild bid to threaten approaching the quarter pole then tired through the last quarter of a mile."

Bad jockey decisions in all three races, an error in the trainer's jockey switch for the Belmont, and a tired horse led to the inevitable defeat.

I agree with you, it was a shame to see the horse's true speed being beat by jockey and trainer decisions and not another horse in all three races.

The pinheads should re-read Handicapping 101 where it covers pace advantage.

ayenowitallComment by ayenowitall - June 11, 2007, 1:11 am
Rick, That chart comment about racing erratically and fighting his rider tells it all. I can't believe that idiot jock tried to deny that horse his natural talent for front end speed. That type of horse can't be turned on and off like a light switch. When they tried to change his running style, they got no run at all. I'm sure he would have finished better if they'd allowed him to run at his own comfortable front end speed early on and then set him down for the drive down the stretch. Not many horses will respond well when an attempt is made to force a different running style on them.
Years ago when I worked with horses, we claimed a grey horse named JC's Rocket at Churchill Downs. The horse had a ton of speed, but he was a run-off artist who would burn himself out and have nothing left for the stretch. When we ran him back on the raise, Randy Romero rode him. He knew the horse liked to run off, so instead of fighting him by trying to rate him slower, he just boxed him in behind horses where he had nowhere to run. When he got to the top of the stretch, he swung the horse clear and the horse ran off to win by daylight. That just goes to show that the rider needs to be smarter than the horse. Unfortunately, that's not often the case...lol.

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