Monday, June 13, 2011

Belmont - Recap

Belmont Stakes- Recap

Ruler on Ice
Stay Thirsty
Brilliant Speed

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Nehro, Shackleford, Animal Kingdom, Mucho Macho Man, Santiva, Monzon, Master of the Hounds, Prime Cut, Isn’t He Perfect

At the end of the race the announcer yells out – a SHOCKER in the Belmont….but after a “shocker” in the Arkansas Derby, a “bombshell” in the Kentucky Derby, and a surprise in the Preakness…..I think it’s more appropriate had he just yelled….

“A long shot wins….again – WTF?!?! “

Okay so maybe the language at the end would be a bit much for NBC….but I know that’s what many people were thinking.

Despite his fifth place finish, I thought Shackleford gave a valiant effort in the Empire State slop – he broke well from the gate – ran the race we’ve seen him run twice before, and even extended himself in the lead past a mile and ¼ before he faded. This horse kept getting better throughout the Triple Crown - but his style of racing and his troublesome post position made a fifth place finish a bit of a victory in my opinion! As we exit the Triple Crown I think you have to consider Shackleford the best “healthy” three year old horse for races 1 mile to 1 1/8 miles.

Animal Kingdom – in contrast to Shackleford – did not break well from the gate….or rather his Jockey didn’t. Three seconds out of the gate Animal Kingdom appears to slip in the mud or perhaps clip heels with rival Monzon, which nearly sends his jockey flying forward – both of them seem to regain composure and Animal Kingdom makes an impressive bolt at the 1:46 minute mark – passing up seven horses in a matter of a few seconds….and then it’s as if the Kentucky Derby Champion looks at what’s still ahead and decides to quit with the last quarter ahead of him....perhaps they should call him Animal "King" Dom.....

I'm kidding - I actually think LeBron is okay.
Both he and Shackleford seemed to share a similar fatigue at this point in the race.

Stay Thirsty had been a sharp horse to watch throughout the spring, however he never showed a proclivity for this kind of distance – in fact I had him down as fading at 1 1/16th miles….his Belmont Stakes may be the sign of a horse finding his potential ! From what I’m reading he and 3rd place Brilliant Speed may run again at the end of July in the Jim Dandy Stakes - should be worth checking out!

From what I saw in the previous week – Brilliant Speed in 3rd was the only thing that made sense to me!

I was certainly surprised by the winner Ruler on Ice – the Champions were exhausted and with a sloppy field perhaps the race was completely up for grabs – all things considered, once Animal Kingdom quit and Shackleford began to fade,  I thought Nehro would be the one to watch, however he mysteriously only seems to pick up his pace after the race is finished.

The conclusion of the Triple Crown – is a frustrating mystery, making it for me, a disappointing season.

Granted there was very little serious injury this year – which is always a blessing, however as Ruler On Ice crossed the finish line – I felt like I still needed one more race to help determine how good any of these horses are/were…..which in general is a big part of why I continue to write about the sport….if the three Triple Crown winners, and a few spring hopefuls decide to meet up for 1 1/8th miles – and we don’t have yet another longshot shocker in that race….I think it would offer some resolve to the season.

Maybe the Jim Dandy, Travers Stakes…..possibly even the West Virginia Derby - I'll continue writing regardless - however a rematch between a number of these horses would make it a lot more fun.

Video to follow:

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