Congratulations to Ruler On Ice, the winner of the 143 Belmont Stakes, and all his connections. Yes, I am shocked, and no matter what, even with the addition of blinkers and his win on a sloppy track, I never considered this horse. Though I like the added challenge of handicapping for an “off” track, I just didn’t think this horse was good enough.
But one thing I do know, the racetrack made the difference. I think as handicappers, we sometimes forget that horses can improve MANY, MANY lengths on a sloppy track.
Some horses relish it and move WAY UP. Some horses hate it, and don’t run a step. Some horses ignore it and it doesn’t seem to affect them at all.
But it certainly can change the outcome of a race. And I think that was the case with Ruler On Ice. His form showed that he liked the sloppy/sealed track at Delaware, when he broke his maiden in a five horse field. His breeding is not a distance pedigree, but certainly a wet track pedigree, with the Mr. Prospector influence on top and speedball Saratoga Six, on the bottom.
This was the key I guess, and still I admit, I didn’t give him serious consideration. When he shows up again, against the same class of horse on a dry track, I'm not sure what I will do.
I think that the track moved Stay Thirsty up, too. I always thought that this little horse had some class if he could stay with Uncle Mo this winter in all his workouts. His connections were praying for rain and they got it. He caught his racetrack.
Shackelford ran a good race, and just ran out of gas after a mile and a quarter. Still a gallant effort as far as I’m concerned.
Brilliant Speed ran a good one too. You still have to wonder if he should go back to synthetic, grass or try dirt again.
Poor Animal Kingdom. Talk about bad racing luck. But then you can look at it this way. It could have been so much worse.
So we move on, with still lots of questions concerning the three year old crop. Makes the second half of the year more interesting.
Other thoughts from the day-
Trappe Shot was truly impressive yesterday winning easily in 1:08 and 4.
Congratulations to My Baby Baby winning the Early Times Mint Julep at Churchill, IN FOAL TO CURLIN.
And who’s better than Havre de Grace? The Obeah at Delaware was a ROMP for her.