Give that girl a Cigar
Pulling the sheets taut, tucking the corners in neatly and then smoothing the coverlet, I made up my mind, with neither a wrinkle nor a doubt anywhere, and relaxed comfortably in the conclusion that Wise Dan is the Horse of the Year. But then Buff Bradley charged into my thoughts, bounced everything into disarray and dropped an anvil of an idea onto the nightstand, reducing it to splinters.The trainer said he's "thinking about" entering Groupie Doll in the Cigar Mile, which means I'm thinking about what a victory at Aqueduct would mean for the most dominant horse in America. With a win on Nov. 24 in New York, wouldn't Groupie Doll put herself in the middle of any discussion about Horse of the Year? In fact, if she wins the Cigar Mile as convincingly as she has won each of her last five races, wouldn't it be difficult to deny her Horse of the Year? After the Breeders' Cup and after a few moments of clarifying consideration, the Horse of the Year became, for the moment anyway, obvious. The conclusion seemed not only reasonable, but also inevitable. Yes, Royal Delta and Little Mike made eloquent arguments with their Breeders' Cup success; but Wise Dan's victory in the Mile, where he set a Santa Anita course record, was the culmination of an effulgent campaign that established him as a modern virtuoso of versatility: five stakes, four of them on turf and one on a synthetic surface, plus a runner-up finish on dirt in a major stakes that with a better trip he would have won.
Any conclusion in horse racing, even one that seems reasonable and inevitable, comes with an ejection seat.
If Groupie Doll wins the Cigar Mile convincingly, she could force voters to consider another, even more dramatic, departure from tradition.
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