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Preakness Wrap-up & Business Woes

Lookin At Lucky, Martin Garcia
Youngest horse + youngest jockey = Preakness win

Lookin At Lucky finally had his luck change, and another Preakness is in the books.  While Lucky’s win was not unexpected, First Dude and Jackson Bend’s efforts to round out the trifecta were a little more surprising.  First Dude showed he’s more than just a colt saddled with an unfortunate name; he seems a likely Belmont threat.  Lookin At Lucky will not be Belmont-bound, but he should come back to this coast for the Haskell. As he has yet to celebrate his actual third birthday, a bit of a breather seems a wise move.  The television coverage was moderately better than the Derby (and a vast improvement over the Oaks fiasco), but still ended up in the ‘could do better’ category.

Meanwhile, Jackson Bend, who looked hopelessly out of gas in the Derby, proved he could stay beyond a mile and dug in to finish third.  Caracortado played the part of Jackson Bend this time around – he simply could not stay the distance, but looked threatening near the top of the stretch.  I’d love to see these two meet up again in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – and, ideally, beyond that; a rivalry between the two could lead to an exciting Met Mile (if it happens next year, but more on that in a moment).  Trainer Nick Zito is aiming to bring Jackson Bend back in the Haskell – perhaps the little horse has more depths than we realize at present.

Also worth a mention is Dublin, who seemed headed for the exits at the break, but came back to finish fifth; one wonders what he could be capable if he had some changes to his routine, as well as some better luck.  And luck did not seem to be the issue for Derby winner Super Saver – the horse just looked tired, and his announced rest also seems like the obvious next move.

Attendance at the Preakness was up, after a big drop last year.  The lure this year was unlimited beer for $20 in the infield.  Granted, this was not good beer – for $20, I expect something at least half as good as this; perhaps a craft brewers’ tent could be set up for the adults who would like to have some of the real thing while watching the races.  Local brewers Flying Dog would be an ideal anchor brand (although I’d hate to see a group of college students after multiple, cheap Raging Bitches, much as I love the beer) – and Baltimore’s Brewer’s Art is well-placed to offer advice…but I digress.

Even without the Derby or Preakness winner, the Belmont should be a good race (albeit one that seems custom-designed for Ice Box).  Other interesting possibilities include Drosselmeyer, Uptowncharlybrown and the Tim Ice-trained New Madrid; who doesn’t like a horse named for a fault?  If nothing else, the lines for the bathroom will be much more manageable.

While the question of who will go to the Belmont is an interesting one, the much larger issue hanging over NYRA is how – or if – they will remain in operation after Belmont weekend.  Things are not looking good at this point.  The situation is complicated in California as well; Ron Charles resigned as president of Santa Anita shortly after the news broke that the Oak Tree meet would no longer be welcome at the track (although what has been going on behind the scenes there is anyone’s guess).  Oak Tree could move to Del Mar, but the ouster from Santa Anita is an odd business; one wonders who is really making these decisions, and how many groups are involved.  It makes picking the horses look easy.

1 comment to Preakness Wrap-up & Business Woes

  • Strapper

    The nature of the game, losing horses whether you’re a jockey or a trainer. Chip Wooley may have lost Mine That Bird but he can take solace in the fact he will be linked in Derby Lore forever.

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