While not 100% directly related to horse racing, this morning I stumbled across the trailer for a documentary entitled Bigger Stronger Faster.
The film, from the the producers of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, looks at steroid use in sports and the culture that creates cheating to ask the question, is it still cheating if everyone is doing it?
The opening paragraph of the synopsis says it all:
In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. We reward speed, size, and above all else: winning at sport, at business, and at war. Metaphorically we are a nation on steroids. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs?
It’s good to keep in mind as our discussions and debates about the state of the game unfold, that horse racing is a reflection of a bigger picture. That’s not so say that things can’t or shouldn’t change, it’s just harder to break out of patterns that are ingrained in every aspect of our culture without real incentive and “reward” for doing so.
As usual, there are a lot of great blog posts out there. And, as usual, they tend to align topics across blogs. Here’s a Friday night sampler platter of posts by (mostly) TBA bloggers.
Filed Under “let horses race”, Val at Foolish Pleasure looks at some Endings and Beginnings, and what struck me was a comment that someone made about the number of horses currently running that have won more than 3 G1 races… hint, it’s a low number. Frank at That’s Amore Stables highlights an issue that rarely gets pointed out in one of my favorite overall topics, “we need to create incentives for horses to race past 3”, in his post 30 cents on the dollar.
Benny the Bull, Thor’s Echo and Kelly’s landing? Bring it! Not to mention, Thor’s Echo!!! Bayou’s Lassie, Criminologist and Sharp Susan? J Be K and Majestic Warrior? Indian Blessing, Sherine and Zaftig? Einstein, Better Talk Now and pretty much the whole field of the Manhattan? I’m ready to start handicapping now!
Last year was my first Belmont as a fan, and as a New Yorker you know I was there! Swifty and I were marveling at how incredible it would be for our first two Belmont’s to be of the historical variety. Since Swifty is the luckiest man alive I think it’s a distinct possibility, I mean let’s forget Big Brown for a moment, it’s really all about Iavarone, Swifty!
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887 (uploaded by 元気の実)
With the news that Congress is going to call hearings on racing, I’m wondering what everyone makes of it. I am not one of those people who watches hours of committee or sub-committee hearings, however I have fond memories of the hearing scenes in Godfather 2!
In the last poll, “Will Big Brown run after the Belmont?”, most of you thought they would retire him right after the Belmont (14), not too far behind with 12, just as many of you of thought he’d be retired due to “mystery injury” as would hope to hell that he continues to race. 4 of you (me included) think (or in my case hope) they’ll go after Curlin while at least 3 of think he won’t be sound enough… and didn’t it look like it earlier in the week. Thankfully, that’s all behind us now… for now.
The injury was not career-ending, but it was decided to retire her anyway. “By the time we would have been able to get her back to the races it might have been this fall,” said John Greathouse. “She was already home.”
Grrrrr. They would have had to wait until the fall? Deprived again of seeing another talented horse.
Feast your eyes in this performance in the Juddmonte Spinster (grrrrrr) where she beat older fillies and mares. She did not go on to run in the Breeders’ Cup, which makes her early retirement even more enervating.
My favoriteNashoba’s Key moment was in the Clement Hirsch. She and Balance were sitting off two long shots setting the pace. Nashoba’s Key rolls up to Balance and totally turns her to head to give her the eye! Balance’s rider race rides her a bit to keep her boxed in and then she makes her move but Balance doesn’t really go on. Nashoba’s Key finally gets some room and blows by her. Classic. I wish it was on YouTube so I could embed it but it’s up at NTRA.
Alan Garcia and Divine Park after their divine performance in the Met Mile (Sarah K. Andrew)
How do I know this (besides the obvious holiday)? Sarah is back at Belmont!
I was supposed to go out yesterday but wasn’t feeling so hot so I stayed at home, I didn’t even handicap! Although I did try my hand at my new maiden strategy, inspired by Halation, of throwing a couple of bucks on any horse over 50-1 to no avail.