Isn’t it annoying to read someone second-guessing why they should have bet a longshot winner when they didn’t? Well, after pouring intently over the Bris past performances of Da’ Tara, I’m beginning to see (barely) why he shouldn’t have been a toss-out. First, he is by Tiznow, so the distance shouldn’t have been an issue—and obviously it wasn’t. Other things to like in his pedigree: through his dam, he traces back to Ribot (through Tom Rolfe’s son Hoist the Flag, sire of the dam sire Pirate’s Bounty), as well as War Admiral, Nashua and Swaps. Nice old names. Also, interestingly, his dam Torchera is a full-sister to Sound Wisdom, whose daughter Unbridled Girl is the dam of Belmont runner-up Denis of Cork! How cool is that?
When you look at the track bias stats, only Big Brown and Da’ Tara are given “+ +” running styles; none of the others had even a single “+”. In the terms of his Bris Speed Rating, Da’ Tara had a 99 last out—behind only Casino Drive (scratched), Ready’s Echo (dead-heated for third) and Big Brown; thus, on speed alone, he was competitive with the rest of the field. His young jockey Alan Garcia has been tearing up Belmont this spring, second only behind Eibar Coa in wins. Maybe not enought to put him on top, but enough to throw him on some tickets as a wild card.
Yea, I know—woulda, coulda, shoulda! I hardly believed that any horse could have wired this 12-furlong race—but it happened. I know it’s not fair to do so, but indulge me…I’ll only do it once. IF Casino Drive had been 100% and in this race, I still firmly believe he would have been the winner. But, he didn’t run so I won’t mention it again. Hearty and well-deserved congratulations to Nick Zito, Alan Garcia and Robert LaPenta! We thought it would be War Pass, but they evidently have another talented 3-year-old in the barn.
Denis of Cork ran the race many thought he would, getting up for second and clearly better than Zito’s other horse Anak Nakal and the Toddster’s Ready’s Echo who dead-heated for third. Just imagine how good Denis of Cork could have been this Triple Crown season if his idiot owner hadn’t messed with his prep. Macho Again was up in contention until Ready’s Echo passed him late—the distance most likely put him away. As I suspected, Icabad Crane wasn’t up for this run after running so well in the Preakness; he was also very washed out in the paddock and post parade—I suspect the heat got to him. I’m not sure if Barclay Tagg wanted Tale of Ekati so close to the lead, but when ABC’s camera fell on him watching his horse in the post parade, you could tell he was already concerned—Ekati looked a bit washed out too. And maiden Guadalcanal—what can you say? He did beat Icabad Crane. I just can’t believe that he went off at shorter odds than Anak Nakal, Ready’s Echo, and Da’ Tara! With three of the four longest shots in the field coming in, the payouts were incredible. The $2 exacta paid $659, a $2 trifecta paid $3,703 with Anak Nakal ($3,954 with Ready’s Echo), and $2 superfecta paid $48,637 with Anak Nakal ($47,309 with Ready’s Echo). Damn Belmont for not allowing dime supers today!
Casino Drive is departing for Japan on Tuesday, but may apparently return for the Breeders’ Cup. According to his connections, the Travers would not be feasible due to quarantine issues.
As for Big Brown, I’m sorry for the horse—he looked very uncomfortable from the moment the gates opened. I’m glad he didn’t break down, and that there appears to be no perceptible physical reason for his performance. Kent Desormeaux did a good job taking care of him, although easing him just so he didn’t finish fifth, as Jay Privman reports, is a bit odd.
As for Dutrow and IEAH—I’ve said it before—karma is a bitch. First, NYRA nixed their Hooters deal, and then they lose the Triple Crown. Still, I wonder how much dough Dutrow made today wearing that Trump Taj Mahal Casino hat for all to see on national television? Yea, he and Donald Trump make a perfect pair. I won’t lower myself to the level of some gleeful commentators, such as ESPN’s Pat Forde, but maybe Dutrow learned something today, babe.