Monday, May 18, 2009

Preakness Review

The Preakness lived up to the hype, providing a really thrilling race. The good horses fired their best shots, the track condition didn't compromise anyone and Tom Durkin provided a great, emotional call.

NBC also needs to be commended for their coverage, which I thought was exceptional. Its hard to keep even the converted interested in a 2 hour build up to a race, but the pieces they ran on the connections were very good and they covered all of the intriguing aspect from the owners, jocks, to the relevant horses. Top notch.

Rachel Alexandra

It really cant be underestimated how this filly performed Saturday considering two weeks prior she had run such a dominant race in the Oaks. She was set for a bounce and instead she paired her career best figure earning a 108 Beyer in the Preakness.

That’s even more impressive considering her trip in the Preakness. They covered the first half in 46 and change. That’s not brutal, but its close for a classic distance. Luckily both her and Drama were able to get a breather the next quarter, which I believe won the race for her.

Its time to start reviewing the great fillies in racing history again, because if Rachel wins the Belmont she is going near the top of that list. It might not go down as a Triple Crown, but like the Tiger Slam for Tiger Woods when he was the champion of all majors at one time while not in the same year, the “Alexandra Slam” of Oaks, Preakness and Belmont would be monumental.

Mine That Bird

Well, the Birdman is for real. He doesn’t run a lick early but it cannot be understated how fast he closes. Closers in general are not “speeding up” late, as is often confused by some viewers. Generally they are simply “outlasting” other tired horses. Birdey is the rare exception. After loafing around the track for the majority of the race he literally explodes into the turn. His final fractions in the Derby were second only to Secretariat and his fractions in the Preakness were pretty freaky as well.

If this horse is healthy, Alexandra will indeed have to be the next Ruffian to hold him off at a mile and a half.

Musket Man

The horse doesn’t know how to run bad. There is not a lot to say about Musket beyond the fact that he is picking up fans in droves because of his heart and determination. He doesn’t have the raw ability of some of the upper echelon but he is too stubborn to concede it on the track. They are going to point him next for the Haskell, which I think is a great idea. He needs to get a breather and the nine furlongs of the Haskell is perfect for him.

Flop of the week?

Pioneerof The Nile. He is just a slow horse embellished by synthetic racing. He couldn’t run a triple digit speed figure to save his life.

It’s ironic yet fitting that Baffert once said about synthetic tracks, “they make a good horse average and an average horse good.”

He was on to something…

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