Commentary

First-day Cup lessons

Updated: November 2, 2012, 9:56 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

You sure that was the first day of the 2012 Breeders' Cup?

Better rides have been seen at the rodeo. All that seemed to be missing in some races was a rope and something to try to hogtie. How far did Executiveprivilege drift out in the Juvenile Fillies, five lengths? Ten? How far back did the jockey take the French runner Ridasiyna in the Filly and Mare Turf, two blocks, three? Mark that horse, it has to win soon if the rider will only stay on the same side of the track with the leader.

What's worse than your turf horse making up more than a dozen lengths and finishing freshest of them all at fourth? Losing your billfold at the track. At least we don't have to make a special effort to get ready for the card early next year.

The first two races this time looked like the late double at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Scratches were plentiful. A maiden won the first Breeder's Cup race. The jockey that should have won the race let Mr. Lukas' horse through on the rail.

All that was missing in the Marathon was a park ranger leading the way around. I had the one that should have won, Atigun, who actually fought for the lead in a race that lasted forever.

Here is what else we learned.

Royal Delta is far too good to be ridden poorly, up front flying, off the pace. Here are the pre-race instructions: Just hang on and enjoy the win.

The cameras turn pickers to mush. Who are those guys, handicappers or restaurant hosts?

The goofy Breeders' Cup grass races turned out about the way they usually do. Horses that shouldn't win do, horses that can't run second run second, the solid choices drag in third and fourth. Lucky numbers emerge victorious.

European horses couldn't compete on the dirt with a considerable head start.

Need equals creativity.

And if the woman who said that she was Bo Derek was in fact Bo Derek, she has been doing something right.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.