It's been a long week for everyone in the northeast, and although my plans to feature Breeders' Cup races and betting angles, during the week were knocked out with the power, obviously things could have been worse.
So after a week of power outages, waiting for gas and literally burning the midnight oil handicapping for the Breeders Cup, I would like to just recap a couple of the odds and ends that went on at the sunny and warm confines of Santa Anita Racetrack.
-Despite the predictability speed favoring course at Santa Anita on both the dirt and turf, horses from the East Coast faired surprisingly well. The general pattern over the years has been that horses that run out in California have trouble winning outside the Golden State, yet are almost unbeatable on their home tracks. Add to that the exceptionally fast track and you wouldn't have been the only one to have tossed many of the East Coast shippers. So the success of East Coast shippers came as a surprise to most, among those stepping up to the plate with winning performances were; Shangahi Bobby, Little Mike, Trinniberg, Wise Dan, Fort Larned, and Royal Delta, add to that exceptional performances by The Lumber Guy, Mucho Macho Man, and Animal Kingdom who all ran well in defeat.
-As for the location of the Breeders Cup, while this week has magnified the role weather plays in an event like this going off without a hitch, horse racing does a disservice to itself by having more and more Breeders Cup events at Santa Anita. Clearly the location is a slam dunk for high profiles celebrities, and warm sunny weather, but having the event the there seems to take away from the event as a culmination of racing throughout the country. If the majority of Eclipse winners are crowned by their performance in the Breeders Cup, and the best horse was compromised by a bias wouldn't that stand to dilute the value of the award.
- Also, if horse racing wants to expand its fan base, then having it at a wider variety of tracks would undoubtably accomplish that goal. A year of preparations and races and events would be a boost for any track in the country. However one idea I heard this week and may seem like the best alternative to multiple tracks would be to have Churchill Downs as the designated location for the Breeders Cup.
-As for Eclispe awards and horses of the year, Wise Dan's win in the Mile, (in my opinion) stamped him as the horse of the year, but the Breeders Cup has to do something about getting race like the Ladies Classic and Filly and Mare Turf back on Saturday. On Friday, Royal Delta won the most eagerly anticipated race of the meet, and by 8:40 PM EST after Wise Dan and Fort Larned made their bids for HOY, Royal Delta was a mere after thought.
-Finally, congratulations to anyone taking down a big score, there was certainly a lot of money to be won. A special bow to whoever took down the pick 6, whether it was one person, or a syndicate, it was certainly a daunting task just to construct a legitimate play let alone take down all six races. Getting through the first race; the 6 1/2 furlong downhill turf is tough enough, never mind piecing all six together.