May 12, 2008

Overlooked in the Eight Belles tragedy is the absolutely tantalizing confrontation between Big Brown and Curlin in this fall’s Breeders Cup Classic assuming what is remains operative between now and then.

Imagine if Big Brown is indeed the real deal and sweeps the Triple Crown and the other stuff, the stage will be set for the confrontation with Curlin in what could be as intriguing a match up as when 3-year-old Secretariat trounced 4-year-old Riva Ridge in the inaugural Marlboro Cup.

Imagine if we had a similar forum for Somebeachsomewhere if he proves to be what the qualifier suggests he might be!

As testimony to the ‘gold in them thar hills” discussion in last week’s trotlines, herewith is the following for your inspection.

Chester Downs, Sunday April 20th offered 13 races with cumulative purses approximating $360,000. The Monday April 21st card offered 13 races with cumulative purses of $263,000.

On Saturday April 19th, there were 13 races staged at The Meadowlands for cumulative purses of $380,000. Woodbine carded 12 races with total purses of $267,000. Yonkers offered 11 races with purses totaling $247,000. During the afternoon, Pocono Downs featured 14 races with total purses of $167,000. It should be noted that in the case of Pocono, several races were for modest claimers in which the purse was fairly close to the claiming value.

Isn’t there anyway to get this message out to the general public? After all, they are potential customers though most are blissfully oblivious to current realities that there really is gold in them thar hills especially at the slots fueled Racinos.

Even if this prosperity is but temporary as Andy Cohen’s alarmingly illustrative wire to wire piece in the April 30th Horseman implies, it is worth shouting about loud clear and often! In other words, we should make hay while the sun shines bright.

Looks like Monday has become Ladies Day at Chester Downs given the preponderance of races offered for the faster class distaff set.

On Monday May 4th, Ball Gown A nipped Darlin’s Delight in the $40,000 mares open. Commensurately there was a $35,000 for the mare’s winners over class, a $30,000 event for non winners of $27,000 last six and a $27,000 event for non winners of $22,000 last six. Thus there was a total of $132,000 exclusively available for fast class fillies and mares on the table at Chester.

Received a program from Sweden entitled OLYMPIATRAVET-the official program for the Olympic Trot and other notable races. On the under card noticed Hall Of Face, an Enjoy Lavec from Toss Out who apparently has earned a kronor or two on that side of the pond.

The problem here is that unless you were privy to this Swedish race program you’d never know it as there’s no data base in this country from which to obtain this information.

Conversely a horse named NICOLE IN ONE (Dream Vacation-Hornby Nicole) was named horse of the month in Norway. A check of the dam’s breeding history discloses that Nicole In One earned $10,000 while in this country having last raced in 2005.

Obviously he’s earned substantially more to warrant horse of the month honors.

Gotta be a way of integrating these data banks so that this information is easily accessible.

It is certainly wonderful when Open trotters have an opportunity to race for $40,000 as did Buckeye St Pat and Vivid Photo on a recent Thursday. It’s not so wonderful when horses of that caliber get raced at 3:30 in the afternoon on a weekday to the tumultuous applause and viewing pleasure of a very limited audience.

Couldn’t help but notice the dialogue in Kentucky pertaining to “in-breeding” which turned out to be a testimonial to the upcoming implementation of the stallion limitation rule scheduled for 2009.

With all due respect, this back burning issue of where the breed might be in 50 years seems somewhat dwarfed by the immediate issue of just who is going to buy the animals we’re producing in the next five to ten years.

At the risk of showing the years, can still hear the jazzy strains of Eydie Gorme’s signature classic What Did I Have, I Don’t Have Now? Which might have been from Mame but nevertheless is a passionate and self- indicting lament at what used to be.

You look at those Derby Day betting numbers especially those accrued at what are ostensibly harness tracks that have never been as lopsided as they are now and you have to seriously wonder just what it was we did we have that we so obviously do not have at this point in time.

Bob Marks



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