Sunday, June 7, 2015

Belmont Stakes, Epsom Derby

I am still running on an adrenaline high, so I can only imagine how the Zayat family, Bob Baffert and his stable, and Victor Espinoza's family feel.  What a fantastic 6 June!  A new Triple Crown winner after 37 years of trying...  I remember, after the many years of drought, when Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973 - the previous Triple Crown winner was in 1948, 8 years before I was born.  Then Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown, and then Affirmed defeated Alydar in all three race to win in 1978.  I remember people saying that the Triple Crown was "too easy" to win.  Before yesterday, people were saying the Triple Crown was too hard to win, and were talking about trying to change the races and the set-ups to make it easier to win all three races.  I think that is stupid.  These races have a good, long history (for America) and changing the races, the timing, the distances, would definitely take away the mystique and stamina that these twelve champions have shown - it would cheapen the Triple Crown title.
   The 236th Epsom Derby was run yesterday in England.  There were twelve colts entered in the race - they ran 1.5 miles, plus 30 feet, on a grass course.  Golden Hind won easily, at betting odds of 13 to 8.  He ran the course in 2 minutes 32 .32 seconds - and defeated stablemate Jack Hobbs.  Storm the Stars was third, and Giovanni Canaletto ran fourth.  Golden Hind was supplemented to the Derby, at an entrance fee of 75,000 pounds.  He has never lost a race, and jockey Frankie Dettori and he seemed to work extremely well together.  Maybe we'll see this combination in the two other English Triple Crown races....
   American Pharoah, a three year old bay colt, bred in Kentucky; sired by Pioneerof the Nile, and out of  the mare Littleprincessemma.  I have tried to not like this colt.  He is a slightly darker bay than my TB/AQHA colt was, and they shared the same bloodlines.  Pharoah has the same calm, quiet demeanor as Court Jester did - but, then, of course, Pharoah wears earplugs when he leaves the barn to keep the crowd noise from disturbing him...  CJ was just downright inquisitive and wanted to be the center of attention.  Both he, and his sire, would grab their halters and blankets and toss them at people, begging for love and attention.  Spoiled? Yes.  Great athletes?  Both were.  Looking at American Pharoah is like looking at a muscular Court Jester for me.   It makes me love him to pieces.
   American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes yesterday, covering the 1.5 miles on the dirt track (known as Big Sandy) in 2 minutes 26.65 seconds.  He won pulling away, under a hand ride by jockey Victor Espinoza.  The winning margin was 5 1/2 lengths.  Frosted ran second, 2 lengths ahead of Keen Ice, who crossed the finish line a neck in front of Mubtaahij.  The last half of the field, in order of finish, were Frammento, Madefromlucky, Tale of Verve, and Materiality.   American Pharoah's time for the race was 1/5 second faster than Affirmed's winning time in in 1978.  With a small field, and with Pharoah the betting favorite, the returns on $2 bets were small - $3.50  to win for Pharoah; $3.50 to place for Frosted; $4.60 to show for Keen Ice.  The perfecta paid $13.60, the trifecta paid $109.50, and the superfecta paid $570.00
   In regards to the time the race took to run:  Secretariat still holds the track record and stakes record for 1.5 miles.  Secretariat's time was 2 minutes 24 seconds flat (1973).  Easy Goer, in 1989, has the second fastest Belmont time, with 2 minutes 16 seconds flat.  A. P. Indy is in third place with 2 minutes 26.13 seconds.  Risen Star won in 2 minutes 26.4 seconds.  Gallant Man places fifth on the list, with 2 minutes 26.6 seconds.  Then come yesterday's performance by American Pharoah - he ran the sixth fastest Belmont in 2 minutes 26.65 seconds.  And please note that the first and sixth horses on this list are the only two Triple Crown winners....
   Has American Pharoah lived up to all the media hyperbole surrounding him?  I say, "Yes!"

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