Saturday, May 5, 2012
The 138th Run for the Roses ended in an exciting charge to the finish line for the number 19 horse, I'll Have Another. There were a few things that made history during this race and they came from the winner and from the horse that finished second, Bodemeister.
The day started nice and early for me as I got to Hollywood Park at 7AM. When we got inside Hollywood Park, Stu the Swim Coach already had squared away the seating arrangements. Dave, John and myself were in one row, with Sandman sitting next to King Stooge and Stu the Swim Coach sitting next to him. Mush was on his own when it came to his seating assignments. The scratches were handed out to the lot of us by Stu and off we went into a handicapping frenzy.
I had already put our groups tickets together the night before. We were calling it the Kentucky Derby Retirement Trifecta. I purchased our voucher and punched in our numbers for our trifectas. The machine spit them out and placed them in my pocket. It was now 8 AM and the race wasn't scheduled to go off until roughly around 3 PM.
I went back to my seat to watch the show and handicap Woodbine. Just as I sat down, I hear this guy screaming at the top of his lungs, "Sandman!! Sandman!!" Off in the distance is this disheveled heavyset guy. He is wearing a blue stained polo shirt, khaki pants and topsiders with no socks. In his right hand is a beer. It could only be one person, Mush. Sandman asked him, "How do you have a beer already and you don't even have any money?" Mush laughed and walked over to my buddy Dave and asked to borrow 20 dollars because he had a hunch. Dave gave him 20 dollars and Mush ran off screaming, "I love you Dave."
The day continued and the system that I developed was doing real well at Woodbine but it wasn't fairing too well at Churchill. I was happy about two things, one was that I was cashing tickets at Woodbine and Mush was nowhere around to mush our trifecta tickets. Just when I thought it was safe, there was Mush standing right in front us. Mush says in a hushed tone, "I have another hunch, can I borrow maybe 15 dollars?" I'm not moving but Dave reaches into his pocket and gives him another 15. Mush tells Dave, "Don't tell Sandman." Mush takes the money and runs off. At least he didn't ask about the Derby.
The Derby is about to begin and we all have our opinions. Stu the Swim Coach is a different sort of person. Sandman calls him RA for "Root Against". Stu likes to root against anything you have. What gets Sandman all bent about this is that Stu bets 2 dollars across the board on a horse that will completely ruin your big ticket. Stu has 2 dollars riding across the board on Dullahan.
We are watching the race but the televisions at Hollywood Park are so bad it is hard to tell which horse was flying up to overtake Bodemeister and we sure couldn't tell who had third. We all realized that the 19 horse, I'll Have Another was first and that Bodemeister was in second. The bunch of us realized that I still had a live trifecta ticket and they were scrambling to find out who was third. Stu was howling for his 2 dollar bet on Dullahan to finish third. Stu was looking at making no money what so ever with his 2 dollar bet across the board. When we finally realized that the number 5 horse was third, Sandman said that I was RA'd and he told Stu that he should go cash his ticket for his $1.20 in winnings.
All in all, it is always fun and entertaining at the track but a lot did happen during this race. Bodemeister set records for the first three fractions that he recorded. They were blistering and he almost hung on to win. Give Mike Smith credit, he took the horse to the lead and set a blistering pace and challenged anyone to keep up. He gambled that his horse could keep that pace for the whole race and he lost that gamble but he did finish second. That speaks columns for the type of horse that Bodemeister is. I'll Have Another was the first horse to win coming from the 19 post. This was the first Derby win and start for 25 year old Mario Gutierrez.
In two weeks we will see if I'll Have Another can add to his march to the Triple Crown. In two weeks, we will have another episode of Sandman and the Stooges and hopefully another great Triple Crown Race, The Preakness.
Friday, May 4, 2012
At 7 AM Pacific Time, I will be entering the gates at Hollywood Park to watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby. The usual suspects will be there, Sandman and the Stooges, Swim Coach Stu and of course Mush. This year I will not ask Mush who he has bet because last year he told me, "Stay Thirsty can't lose" and that was my horse and I got mushed.
A few of us decided to pool some money and play a few trifectas. After handicapping the race, a few things came to mind. This Derby is wide open. Anyone can win. It is going to be a great race and the money pools will be spread out. That is good for us if our ticket hits.
Tomorrow is also the first day that I am going to get to play Woodbine in Toronto. That is one of my favorite tracks.
To recap, tomorrow is the Derby and Woodbine is on the card and the cavalcade of characters will be quite entertaining. No matter how you look at it, it's a win win situation.
This is definitely a cursed season for Yankee pitchers. Joba and his trampoline mishap, Robertson and his stepsecade while carrying boxes, Michael Pineda and his mysterious shoulder. Now we have Mariano Rivera doing his best impression of someone not being able to play the outfield and he tears his ACL and meniscus.
This is going to give Yankee fans a peak into the future because this is what it is going to look like without the greatest closer. He might return next year and he might not, remember he is a free agent and he might just retire.
The Yankees are of to a rocky start with no middle of the line-up production and shaky starting pitching. Add this wrinkle and it is going to make for one interesting season.
I have to throw a little blame at Girardi. He really needed to tell Mariano not to be goofing in the outfield. You want to shag balls, cool, just don't be running full bore after them. We don't need you to catch fly balls, we need you to finish games with your arm.
I was hoping that if he was going to retire, it would be at the end of the year. He would be coming into the game from the bullpen with Enter Sandman playing and shutting down whatever opponent the Yankees were playing that day for his umpteenth save. I do not want his last baseball game to be that of him being carried off like a limp broken doll and Exit Sandman.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
I am exhausted and I didn't even play. The Rangers went up 2 games to 1 in the series against the Capitals. These two teams played a triple overtime game and finally Gaborik put one in the net for a 2-1 Rangers win.
All I can say is what a game and I know I should say, "Neither team deserved to lose" but it's the hockey play-offs and the Rangers deserved to win.
Wow, never seen anything like it.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
This is Kentucky Derby week. On Wednesday the post positions will be picked and on Saturday, the Run for the Roses will go off. Is there a triple crown winner in this bunch? Is there going to be a horse for the ages? But my big question is, will there be another Secretariat.
Watching Secretariat in 1973 was one of the main reasons I became such a big horse racing fan. He was the greatest athlete for that year.
On July 4, 1972, Secretariat finished fourth, beaten 11⁄4 lengths, in his first race at Aqueduct Racetrack. After that loss, Secretariat then won five races in a row. Secretariat won the Eclipse Award for American Champion Two Year-Old Male Horse.
Secretariat started off his three-year-old year with a win in the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct. In his next start, the Gotham Stakes, Secretariat led wire-to-wire for the first time in his career. He ran the first 3/4 of a mile in 1:083⁄5 and finished the one mile race in 1:332⁄5, equalling the track record. However, in his next start, he finished third in the Wood Memorial to his stablemate Angle Light and Santa Anita Derby winner Sham, in their final preparatory race for the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs bettors made the entry of Secretariat and Angle Light the 3–2 favorite in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. (Sham was next at 5—2.) Secretariat broke last, but gradually moved up on the field in the backstretch, then overtook Sham at the top of the stretch, pulling away to win the Derby by 21⁄2 lengths. Our Native finished third.
On his way to a still-standing track record (1:592⁄5), Secretariat ran each quarter-mile segment faster than the one before it. The successive quarter-mile times were 251⁄5, 24, 234⁄5, 232⁄5, and 23. This means he was still accelerating as of the final quarter-mile of the race. No other horse won the Derby in less than 2 minutes until Monarchos in 2001.
In the Preakness Stakes, Secretariat broke last, but then made a huge, last-to-first move on the first turn. After reaching the lead with 51⁄2 furlongs to go and won by 2½ lengths. Secretariat broke the record for the Preakness that day but there has been a controversy over that due to the on track clock malfunctioning. A handheld clocker showed that Secretariat did not break the record. I believe he broke the record but what do I know.
Only four horses competed against Secretariat for the June 9, 1973, running of the Belmont Stakes. With so few horses in the race, and with Secretariat expected to win, no "show" bets were taken. Secretariat was sent off as a 1–10 favorite. Before a crowd of 67,605, Secretariat and Sham set a fast early pace, opening ten lengths on the rest of the field. Secretariat astonished spectators by continuing the fast pace and opening up a larger and larger margin on the field. Viewers heard the wonder in CBS Television announcer Chic Anderson's voice as he described the horse's pace: "Secretariat is widening now! He is moving like a tremendous machine!"
In the stretch, Secretariat opened a 1/16 mile lead on the rest of the field. At the finish, he won by 31 lengths (breaking the margin-of-victory record set by Triple Crown winner Count Fleet in 1943, which won by 25 lengths), and ran the fastest 1½ miles on dirt in history, 2:24 flat, which broke the stakes' record by more than two seconds. Secretariat's world record still stands, and in fact, no other horse has ever broken 2:25 for 1½ miles on dirt.
Secretariat raced throughout 1973. He retired after he won the Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on October 28, 1973. He retired after this race.
Altogether, Secretariat won 16 of his 21 career races, with three seconds and one third, for in-the-money finishes in 20 of 21 starts, and total earnings of $1,316,808.
At age three, Secretariat was again named Horse of the Year, and won Eclipse Awards as the American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse and the American Champion Male Turf Horse.
There has never been a horse like Secretariat and I am not to sure there ever will be.