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Monday, August 1, 2011

Plodding Along

Amidst all the weekend excitement—surprises and upsets galore—the G1 Bing Crosby fell off my radar, and ended up being one of the best races by far. It’s hard to recall that he began his career with a 6-race win streak, but the lightly-raced and now 7-year-old Euroears followed up his nice runner-up performance to world-class Rocket Man in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen with a track-record setting win over last year’s Golden Shaheen victor Kinsale King and 3-time G1 winner Smiling Tiger.

Last weekend, longtime blog favorite Mambo Meister thrilled with a facile victory in Calder’s Primal Stakes. Of course we aren’t talking about top-notch company, but not all good performances occur in graded stakes. The 6-year-old King Cugat gelding won geared down as Fernando Jara never moved a muscle on him. Very impressive.

It’s these kinds of hard-knocking types, those that just keep plugging along year after year, injury after injury, that interest me most. Not the flash-in-the-pan types that win a couple good races. And it’s oh-so-tiresome to hear how these “it” horses are obviously the best horses in training, because we all know (or at least we’ve been programmed to think so since the advent of the Breeders’ Cup) that one race far outweighs a body of work. I'm sick of it.

The 3-year-old division in particular this year has become tiresome. Not exciting. Tiresome. I don’t even want to recite the list of those that have come and gone in terms of “achievement”—honestly, at this point, I don’t give a damn which one of these colts wins end-of-year honors. It’s all going to come down to the Breeders’ Cup Classic anyways, isn’t it? While competitive enough with one another, there’s just no one horse (or two or three...) that stands out as worth drooling over. And what if a mare wins the Classic, with nary a 3-year-old colt in sight? When the Eclipse Awards are announced next January, can we just vacate this category?