Jonathan Stettin and Past The Wire recap some of last week’s developments on and off the racetrack:
Parx put on their big day last Saturday and while the racing was good, it was not without controversy and possibly blunders.
The cool million Pennsylvania Derby saw the return of McKinzie for Bob Baffert. While he did win rather easily, and was coming off a significant layoff, the win was not all that visually impressive. He appeared to duck in deep stretch and was just a smidge erratic looking late. He surely needed the race to get his legs back under him, and probably got plenty out of it. I expect him to go forward and point to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Hofburg added blinkers for this one and they did not seem to help. He never threatened. Instilled Regard racing first time for Chad Brown had little to offer.
In the Cotillion things got more interesting. Monomoy Girl managed to get to the wire first, but she was disqualified for bearing both in and out under Florent Geroux through the stretch and crossing into the path of Midnight Bisou. She also carried Midnight Bisou out nearing the wire. I think that last move was the one which sealed her fate but we won’t know that as the Parx stewards do not share their thought process in those decisions. Interestingly there was no inquiry prior to the ruling, just an objection by Mike Smith. Not taking into account whether the call was right or wrong, it is curious how any set of stewards could not see enough during the race to warrant a look. Many fans and bettors did.
The other possible blunder came in not coupling Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou. In Pennsylvania common ownership interests are supposed to be coupled no exceptions. Monomoy Stables owns a piece of Monomoy Girl and Madacat Stables has a piece of Midnight Bisou. Sol Kumin is a principle owner in both stables and was going to be in that winners picture regardless of how the stewards called it. Applying “no exceptions” would have those two coupled. Parx had no comment for the media. I would speculate they did not miss this. My guess is that they deemed Monomoy Stables and Madacat Stables separate corporate entities and as such their was not common ownership. That is a legal question, but generally corporations stand alone as an entity regardless of ownership.
The Gallant Bob may have been the most fun race to watch. Firenze Fire looked beat turning for home when Whereshetoldmetogo ranged up and took the lead by maybe a long neck. Firenze Fire and Irad Ortiz fought back and re-rallied to regain the lead nearing the wire. Apparently Whereshetoldmetogo didn’t appreciate it and attempted to savage or bite Irad Ortiz. The moment was captured by many cameras and shows the determination of the racehorse. It reminds me of the famous The Savage picture from the 1980 Tremont Stakes which I personally witnessed. Bob Coglianese caught Great Prospector savaging Golden Derby in the stretch in that one.
Santa Anita opens Friday and has changed their Pick 6 wager to a 20 cent jackpot. Everybody in the pool. This is an interesting move by the Stronach Group at Santa Anita as California, specifically Southern California is the one place in the country where the Pick 6 pool still holds its own. In any event the Pick 6 is a declining wager much to my dismay and this new format is the now or way of the future.
Belmont and NYRA has been offering Cross Country Pick 4’s but this Saturday they take it to a new and welcomed level. They will offer two stakes from Longchamp including the Arc de Triomphe and two stakes from Belmont in what looks to be the first transcontinental Pick 4. This is a great concept and will or at least should enlighten many as to the lucrative wagering opportunities in Europe. Getting good past performances timely is the main issue and NYRA is aware of this and will look to address it.
The Stronach Group is reintroducing the old Magna 5 with the new Stronach 5. Not much has changed but the name. It is a $1 wager over 5 Stronach tracks including Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Laurel and Golden Gate. The races are usually run close together to hold interest.
Irish War Cry and Good Magic are the latest big name retirees.
The Keeneland fall meet opens October 5th. Breeders’ Cup implications will be abound.
Ingrid Mason got a positive for metamphetimine and amphetimine. She is appealing and claiming contamination.
Junior Alvarado has been released from the hospital and is on the mend after a horrifying spill. Kendrick Carmouche is also on the mend after his terrible spill.