Every horse I liked in the three TC races either finished second (Bodemeister) or second-to-last (Take Charge Indy, Went the Horse Slowly and Dullnbland). I was, in short, the anti-Croix Boy, displaying all the handicapping skills of a blue-haired slots player.
Congrats to those who cleaned up, and special congrats to Steve, CB, timmye and the rest of Team Rags. Every blind squirrel finds an acorn.
Kidding! He ran a fine race and caught an overdue break by finding that shaft of daylight at the rail. Believe it or not, I was pleased with the result insofar as Rags has enough fans and charisma to blow up into a rock star if he keeps winning.
It was what it was, it is what it is, and what will be will be. Looking forward to the 2013 UIC Open. Baffert, Smitty and Zayat now know how Calumet, Vietch and Jorgie feel. Being a bridesmaid is nothing to be ashamed of, but second place is in actuality, first loser. Peace, CB.
Smitty has no one to blame but himself. Shame on him going to the left handed whip and letting Union Rags thru on the rail. I'm not saying the best horse didn't win the race but I am saying the second best could have made it alot tougher for him.
The only time I ever blame the jockey is when it costs me money and then I hate (well, mildly dislike), myself for doing so.
As others have noted the first threat was Atigun to his outside and there may have been sense to going lefthanded to deal with that. In an instant it changed to Union Rags inside, then it was too late as he just got through. If Rags wasn't the best on Sat it would have bothered me more but that is horseracing.
I didn't have a serious dog in this fight. I thought it extremely likely that the top three choices would make up the tri. I wasn't the only one who didn't know that Dullahan wouldn't pick up a hoof, so I'm not ashamed of being wrong about that. The point is that the race just wasn't playable for me.
I've had a soft spot for My Adonis all season....probably mostly because he's a Pleasantly Perfect, so I did a $5x heart play on him, even though I knew, with his running style from way out there, his chances of hitting the board were slim to none. But if something weird had happened and he HAD hit the board and I didn't have anything on him, I would have just plain felt bad. I also did the obligatory $2 Lukas/Baffert x-box, but other than that, my wallet stayed in my pocket.
As far as Mike Smith and Paynter are concerned, I tend to think that the horse was running on fumes (and considerable heart) at that point, and that maneuvering the colt to either close a hole on the inside or intimidate a horse closing on the outside wasn't really an option for Mike. I just feel that the only thing he was concerned with was doing everything he could to help his colt get to the wire first.....and that, in my opinion, is as it should be.
Lots of folks might not agree with me, but I remain convinced that if Kent Desormeaux had ridden Real Quiet only, and not tried to ride Victory Gallop as well, we would have had our 12th Triple Crown winner in 1998...in spite of the early move. As it was, if that photo had gone the other way, the stewards would have been faced with a frightful decision.
Just my take, but it's easy for me to say having lost no money by Paynter finishing second. I truly understand the angst of those that did.
I agree with Pas. Paynter was gassed and it was probably all he could do to maintain a straight line. In a perfect world, Smith still manages to execute the basics of Race Riding 101, which is shut off the rail. But the horse just got beat, fair and square.
However, calling Union Rags the best horse is a little much. The winner is by definition the "best horse," but he only won by a neck. Let's not get carried away. In fact, considering that the Belmont was Paynter's fifth start lifetime -- and fourth in nine weeks -- he was the most impressive horse who ran Saturday. IMO.
The last impressive horse that ran in a Belmont win or lose was Dunkirk in 2009.
Set a fast pace for a Belmont and stayed on.Summer Bird took advantage of that pace with a very patient ground saving ride by Kent to get up late.
Paynter has been poorly managed but it worked out okay so far.Not sure if that's Baffert or Zayat or both calling the shots.
Goes from a 5.5 furlong maiden win to the 9 furlong SA Derby-ridiculous.
Runs pretty good in the Derby trial than they waste his best career race on an allowance on Preakness day-ridiculous.
Hung around in the Belmont only because there was a crawling pace that he controlled.We'll see how he bounces back from a race that probably gutted him.Could be a very good horse down the line but horribly spotted so far in his career.
Interesting points and all true about PAYNTER, big. It will be equally interesting to see how they spot him in the upcoming summer races too. With Baffert having BODEMEISTER and PAYNTER we shouldn't expect to see them bang heads on the same schedule.
Wasn't picking on you, Otis, or anyone really. Well, maybe Steve Crist. He played the "best horse" card yesterday -- as in, Whew! The best horse won. Which is a little much, IMO. Rags is a very nice colt, but by no means is he a cut above his peers. And hasn't been since he exited the Champagne last fall.
Somebody voted Rags No. 1 in the new 3YO poll, ahead of IHA. Which is ludicrous.
You make good points about Paynter, big, as always. But I'm inclined to give Baffert the benefit of the doubt. Paynter's race schedule was unconventional, but the horse sure handled it well. If the Belmont gutted him, well, that's a chance you have to take, don't you? He most certainly was ready to run. He certainly ran well. That's all a trainer can control, seems to me.
Whatever happened to the old practice of striking while the iron is hot? Horses were trained and raced that way forever, because it worked, I imagine. Paynter has been in good form this spring. He clearly has some ability. Why not run him?
Besides, Baffert has a much better record than most of getting his horses through the spring of their 3YO seasons. Nearly all the good ones have come back to win major races down the road. I don't see why Paynter should be any different. Though he might be.
Some young horse's actually thrive off racing. The good ones especially. Medaglia d'Oro was similar to Paynter in '02. He'd done an awful lot in a short period of time, and when stank it up in the Preakness, it looked like he needed a vacation. Yet Bobby Frankel, Mr. Fresh Horse himself, wheeled him right back in the Belmont. And he almost won.
I think the Belmont wound up helping MdO when he cut back in distance. He turned into a terror at 9 f. and damn hard horse to beat at 10 f. Maybe that would've happened w/o extending himself at 12 f., but the Belmont sure didn't hurt him any.
The good ones take hard races and build on them. The average ones don't. We'll see which one Paynter turns out to be.