Saturday, June 9, 2012
A tasty Belmont wrap
By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com
Bad luck is as much a part of a horse player's day as a vegetable is a vegetarian's.
Whereas the regular world was shocked at the late-hour scratch of Triple Crown candidate I'll Have Another -- it was a little like LeBron James hitting his head on the rim during warm-ups and having to sit out -- horse players were dismayed, not flabbergasted, and it was a shame, not shocking, because the worst that can happen is a frequent occurrence at the racetrack.
Bad luck at the horse races is not like a bad beat at cards. Bad poker beats are statistical frights that even out over time. Bad luck at the horse races can kill an animal, maim a rider, can make a horse player take financial losses personally, as though he or she was being punished for a bad deed done years ago.
With the unusual training outline for I'll Have Another -- lots of jogs, no works -- and with the late scratch keeping the Belmont Stakes from becoming a social summit meeting and a cultural watershed, the race turned into an old-fashioned, down-and-dirty horse race meant for gambling.
Here is some of what we should have learned.
A whole lot of supposedly learned horse race people don't know much about handicapping.
Many said Union Rags couldn't get a mile and a half. Well, he did, didn't he. He got a mile and a half and a foot.
A jockey change can be a major plus.
The worst play of the day was on the ultra-trendy Dullahan, the favorite, of all things. This one proved once again that Beetlebaum closers at shorter distances have no relevancy at a mile and a half. Dullahan has never won on the dirt and had a bullet work, probably the last thing you'd want going into a marathon. He finished seventh.
Speaking of investing and picking and knowing certain things, I had Union Rags and Paynter 1-2; how about that.
Write to Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org.