Saturday, June 23, 2012

From Royal Ascot to Frog Juice - The Good with the Bad

What a week for our sport! International racing took center stage at Royal Ascot and did not disappoint. THIS was the year to be there. Frankel decimated his opposition in the Queen Anne Stakes drawing off by 11, to prove that he may be, indeed, the best in the World. And the Queen of the Turf, Australia’s Black Caviar, came, saw and conquered in the Golden Jubilee, still undefeated with her 22-win record. While we really won’t know what her jock was thinking approaching the wire, she won, and that’s all there is to it. Rumors abound that she was not 100% herself going in, and what equine would be? with the travelling she had to endure to get there. But take nothing away from “Nelly”, she is a true champion.

And kudos to the Maryland Racing Commission as they have finally awarded Triple Crown winner Secretariat the Preakness Stakes record after 39 years. We all knew it was his, but it has finally become official. Better late-than never.

But as great a week that it was, racing's image did take a hit.

And how offenders will be handled is the next question. “Frog Juice”, or dermorphin, has reared its ugly head in Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and quite possibly, Texas. New York has been testing this for several months, and no positives have been found.Frog juice is an ILLEGAL, powerful opiate. It is 40 times more powerful than morphine. It is dangerous to horses, and jockeys, not to mention, unfair to the wagering public.

Whoever is using this-needs to be ruled off FOR LIFE, no questions, and no second chances. Stiff penalties will rid the game of cheats and low-life. If Racing Commissions have the ability to do this, it must be done.

This is an opportunity to set an example. Those that use a drug like this drug don’t deserve to be anywhere near the game of horseracing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rag's Time

While this year’s Belmont was disappointing for some with the scratch of I’ll Have Another due to injury, it was thrilling for followers and fans of the Dixie Union colt, Union Rags. This blogger’s favorite since last year’s Champagne, he ran the gamest of races under a masterful ride by John Velazquez. Union Rags showed immense courage going inside the pace setter Paynter and was up in time, to win by a neck.

He joins a stellar group of Belmont winners that have won on June 9th, including the one and only Secretariat, and the filly Rags to Riches.

Fans of Union Rags knew his day would come. Even with the premature retirement of Derby –Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, there is still some exciting three year old racing ahead.

If you missed it...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Racing Gods Will Decide

If you are a horse fan / handicapper, it’s safe to say that you believe in the Racing Gods.

How they do their job is a mystery.

But you can be sure they are working overtime this year.

With I’ll Have Another looking to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in history and the first since 1978, only Belmont’s mile and a half Big Sandy, stands in the way.

I’ll Have Another is a very good colt. He has tactical speed, the right racing style and a pedigree that says he can run all day. He has a famous stable pony, who has coached him, no doubt, and his young jockey is riding a huge wave of good fortune. His owner and trainer, though not without some controversy, have kept him seemingly healthy and happy.

The Belmont has always been known as the Test of Champions. And it is just that, in a year of a possible Triple Crown winner. It’s a grueling race. Most horses never want to go a mile and a half, but especially in the first half of their three year old year.

I’ll Have Another has never raced over the track. And, in what appears to be somewhat unconventional, has not had a work in three weeks. He has had 2 tough races, back to back, and the Belmont will be the most demanding. His jock has never ridden at Belmont, and although he will ride on Friday, will that be enough to get a feel for the mile and a half oval and those wide sweeping turns? Lastly, there are several talented opponents who are coming in fresh, could improve, and are legitimately good enough to upset.

Does any of that matter?

It will take an exceptional horse-an extraordinary horse-to get the job done,and win the Belmont.And if I’ll Have Another pulls it off, he will certainly deserve the Crown.

But it’s not up to us.

It’s all up to the Gods of Racing. And I wish I knew what they were thinking.

Enjoy the Belmont,the Test of Champions-and may the best horse win.