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Friday, June 6, 2008

A race of a different color

Tomorrow, Big Brown seeks to step into the shoes of some mighty giants in his quest to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. After back-to-back winners, Seattle Slew (1977, and Affirmed (1978), there have been many who just failed in their grab at the brass ring of Legend. The ease with which BB won the first two legs speaks well of his class and he seems to be what is known as a "freak" in the thoroughbred world, which is a high compliment.
A cautionary note must be given as I remember what I consider one of the best racehorses I ever saw, Spectacular Bid, go down to defeat in the Belmont to horses who never beat him again. He had a bruised hoof and could not overcome that obstacle.
Big Brown has bad feet and is wearing a patch to bind cracks in the hoof when he runs tomorrow. If the Belmont were a shorter race, I would not be concerned, but I worry about that last eighth of a mile when the hoof might start stinging him. We'll see. I am certainly no expert nor a vet.
Another interesting facet of the race is the presence of another undefeated colt in the race, that being Casino Drive. CD has made two starts, one in Japan and the other in the traditional prep for the Belmont, the Peter Pan Stakes, winning easily despite a slow start. Casino Drive is a half-brother to the last two Belmont winners, Rags to Riches and Jazil being out of the same mare with different sires.
This would be an unprecedented accomplishment if he were to win tomorrow. It certainly adds to the drama. I wish them all a safe trip and sound return to the barn after the race.

My longshot pick: Icabod Crane. Yeah, that is spelled right. Third in the Preakness, coming on, never out of the money and a top jock and trainer. I mean, who bets a 1-10 shot?

UPDATE: More drama. Casino Drive has sustained a bruised hoof and his status is questionable. His connections will decide early tomorrow morning.

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