Secretariat

Horse Racing: Where Dreams Meet Reality

Horse Racing: Where Dreams Meet Reality

By Steve Haskin

 

Consider this a public service column. Just heed my words and you will live a joyous, fulfilling life.

Let’s start with the battle that plagues us all, especially when it comes to the world of Thoroughbred racing. It is a world like no other, comprised of two hemispheres. In one hemisphere exists the stark reality of practicality, if I may use a phrase I just concocted. In the other hemisphere exists the impracticality of romance. Or in other words, one hemisphere is guided by the brain and other by the heart.

As an example, Penny Tweedy had to decide whether or not to cross that bridge from one hemisphere to the other. Her practical side probably knew her family was right in wanting her to sell the struggling Meadow Stud following the death of her mother and father, Christopher Chenery, who had built the Virginia farm into one of the most successful racing and breeding operations in the country. But Penny knew how much the farm meant to her father and she decided to follow her heart. The beckoning romance of the sport had won out, and the legends of Riva Ridge and Secretariat were born.

I am, have always been, and always will be an incurable romantic, as you might have gathered if you read my column “A Love Letter to Joan” a couple of years ago. Or if you read the numerous poems I have written to Joan over the years. From the time I was in school I was never guided by my brain, hence my Shawshank Redemption-like miraculous escape from the clutches of high school prison. I believe it has been my romantic outlook on life that drew me to Thoroughbred racing, which then led me to the wonderful life with which I have been blessed.

My wife Joan, who many of you probably feel like you know, certainly has a romantic side to her, but she, unlike me, exists in good part in the hemisphere guided by practicality, thank goodness. For if it wasn’t for that I doubt our bills would ever get paid and our checkbook balanced. I’m still trying to figure out long division.

So, where am I going with all this? OK, I will tell you.

Here I was going along at my usual leisurely pace handicapping the Kentucky Derby, pretty sure in which direction I was going. It all looked pretty simple. I, like the vast majority of fans, felt Tiz the Law, Art Collector, and Honor A. P. dominated this field that I felt was subpar for a Kentucky Derby field. I had latched on to three longshots early in the year – Sole Volante, Major Fed, and Attachment Rate – and to a slightly lesser degree, Enforceable. So I was merely going to stick with them after eight agonizing long months of following the Derby that would never come. This long, meandering, and bizarre road was feeling more like the Run for the Woeses, as prominent horses kept dropping out, including the late withdrawal of Art Collector.

So, here I was gathering my wagers in my head and just waiting for Sept. 5. I didn’t know what I was waiting more for, the race itself or for it to be finally over. And then it happened. Unfortunately, I read a Facebook post from Patti Reeves, who owns Sole Volante with her husband Dean. The post read:

“I’m proud to be a part of AUTHENTIC (Post Position #18 at 8:1), along with my sister; my sister in law; several girlfriends; and even my financial advisor. (The husband’s not in on this one; it was a girls thing!) So if anyone got Covid Crazy like I did and wants to have some fun before the big race, you too can own a microshare of a Derby horse! Check out MyRacehorse.com and join in for the ride. Shares are still available. Heck, it’s 2020 and anything can happen.”

“Wow, that is awesome,” I thought, as my romantic side came skyrocketing to the surface. I checked the website and there he was in living color charging to the finish line in the San Felipe Stakes and heading straight to Churchill Downs. For $206 paltry dollars I could buy 0.001 or one one-thousandth of a Grade 1 winner who is trained by Bob Baffert and running in the Kentucky Derby.

That’s it! That will be my surprise present to Joan, just in time for our 40th anniversary on Sept. 28. Or I could buy it for my daughter Mandy, who grew up around many of the greatest Thoroughbreds of all time. But first and foremost, it would be a perfect anniversary present for Joan, who never wants jewelry and only wants books and more books, leaving me with nothing original to buy her other than a gift certificate at Barnes & Noble. I once bought her a star (yes, a real star) and named it Joanie’s Eyes, which is officially registered with the International Star Registry. We have a large framed certificate hanging on the wall to prove it. But since then, it’s been Barnes & Ho-Hum Noble every year, every holiday, as I watch Joan go through 500-page books like I went through comic books as a kid. Evelyn Woods couldn’t keep up with her.

So, I filled out all the information and was just about to push “Buy,” when I stopped and pondered the situation. Uh, oh, my practical side was beginning to engulf my romantic side. What would Joan say to me spending $206 the day after her big boss at the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, where she has been a part-time resolution writer for the past 17 years, decided to cut costs by eliminating all part-time workers. She had been seriously contemplating retiring anyway, but hoping to still work a couple of days a week. So, here she was out of work and me also recently getting the boot from The Jockey Club (BloodHorse) for similar reasons after having a lucrative free-lance stint there for the past five years.

I had just cleared it with Joan to order Dr. Ho’s Circulation Promoter, which I saw on TV, for her bad back and my arthritic feet. The cost was $219 and 96 cents, almost the same price as a microshare in Authentic. And, who knows, maybe it will help. Heck, it helped all those people on the commercial and it was a 90-day free trial. Why not give it a shot.

But then I got hit by Patti Reeves’ lightning bolt. The heck with pain relief, the heck with seeing our income diminished. I can buy a Derby horse for Joan, even an infinitesimal share of a Derby horse. Do I dare do something so foolish, and for a horse who was not even included in a single bet of mine? After all, he didn’t have a mile and a quarter pedigree, he was a confirmed front-runner who needed an uncontentious lead, and he had a perfect trip on the lead in the Haskell Invitational and tried his best to give a three-length advantage away, barely lasting by a nose. And in the Derby, he had drawn post 18 in an 18-horse field filled with classy pace horses and stalkers, and the last time he had an outside post in the Santa Anita Derby, he ducked out badly at the start, costing him the lead and any chance of winning. In my Derby rankings, I had him ranked at No. 8 and No. 7, even though most people had him ranked No. 3. What did they know? He simply was not my kind of Derby horse. Yes, he was very talented and fast, but everyone knows Into Mischiefs can’t go 10 furlongs, or at least have never given any indication they can, and on the lead no less, being hounded by Tiz the Law, Honor A. P., Ny Traffic, King Guillermo, and his own stablemate Thousand Words. And breaking from post 18.

Oh no, my romantic side was quickly conceding defeat to a practical side I despised, but sadly had to acknowledge. Should I incur the wrath of Joan for spending $206 for a strand of a Derby horse’s tail, and one that I didn’t like to win the Derby? But he will still be a good horse after the Derby, and should be a popular stallion, and who knows what’s going to happen in a crazy year like this? Come on, what a neat anniversary gift, even if you throw away $206. You are part of something unique and special and there are owner’s perks that come with it. It’s romantic, it’s something from the heart, it’s me. It’s poetry. It’s all about owning a star a billion light years away, which is as impractical as you can get. This star at least I can see in Joanie’s Eyes, charging under the famed Twin Spires. After all, racing is for dreamers.

I sort of tested Joan out and was convinced that this was nothing more than folly, and I knew she did not want me indulging in such foolishness, especially at this time. She told me so. So I grabbed my finger and pulled it away from that siren-like “Buy” button that kept calling, “Hit me, hit me. Do it.”

I went back to the harsh reality of handicapping and trying to win some money, as we got ready to drive up to Saratoga to watch the race with our dear friends, the Freedbergs. Authentic was now a dimming dream and I dismissed him completely, as owning a piece of him faded from both heart and mind.

But the lure of the siren wasn’t about to give up that easily. The day before the Derby I received an email with the subject line, “Last Chance With Authentic.” They knew I had reached the precipice of owning a piece of the horse by all the info I had provided and were giving me one more chance. Just when I thought I was free they were pulling me back in; tempting me, teasing me by implanting the dream in my psyche once again. The email read: “Authentic runs tomorrow in the Kentucky Derby, this is your last chance to invest. Offering closes for good at Post Time. Reach for the Stars. Run for the Roses. Authentic couldn’t be coming into the race any better.”

Stars again. I can see Joanie’s Eyes and this time I don’t need a high-powered telescope. I can see Authentic running to glory and destroying all my handicapping. I can hear Joan saying after the race, “I was wrong, sweetheart. I own part of a Kentucky Derby winner. I’m so happy you followed your heart.”

Stop, you’re killing me. I know Joan would want me to be strong and not give in to this last-minute temptation. She told me so yet again, and deep down I knew she was right and being the wiser of the two, as she always is. So I closed the email and that officially ended the romantic aspect of this year’s Kentucky Derby and the unwritten poetry I was going to present to my wife.

Of course, what happens? After Art Collector dropped out, so did another strong pace presence in King Guillermo. And then another strong pace presence in stablemate Thousand Words, who flipped and fell backward in the walking ring, with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes suffering a broken wrist. Authentic now is breaking from post 15 instead of post 18 and three of the horses who could challenge him are gone, as is Honor A. P. who gets sawed off at the start and drops back to last.

The day before, the horse who was Baffert’s main focus this weekend, the brilliant Gamine, also by the distance-challenged Into Mischief, suffered her first defeat when she was upset as the odds-one favorite in the Kentucky Oaks. And his big older horse McKinzie finished out of the money in the Alysheba Stakes. This was getting to be a typical Bob Baffert Shakespearean melodrama. After the Thousand Words incident I said to Joan, “Knowing Baffert, this can only end one way – Authentic wins the Derby.” Not only does he win, he sets fast fractions and battles back after being headed to defeat the mighty Tiz the Law, something he had never shown he was capable of doing. Leave it to Baffert to turn agony into ecstasy and get an Into Mischief to win at a mile and a quarter. That concluded the strangest and most convoluted Derby trail of all time. It could have only ended this way. All I kept thinking was that I shouldn’t have wavered in the first place. I shouldn’t have told Joan about my intention and my indecision.

I am writing all this to tell you all, you can be practical in all phases of your life, but not in horse racing, where you have to dream before a dream can come true. The dream of Authentic is gone forever and I am trying to come to terms with that, not for myself, but for a beautiful woman who has made my life beautiful in every way. I wish I could have given her this, but she still says the right decision was made and, unlike me, has no regrets at all.

All I can say is that Dr. Ho’s Circulation Promoter better work.

Photo courtesy of myracehorse.com

171 Responses to “Horse Racing: Where Dreams Meet Reality”

  1. Dave Stevenson says:

    Steve, aside from the chemical components within the cranium, plus the myelin sheath, the fact that Authentic probably would not have been capable of defeating Tis the Law in May. The rapidity of change physically and mentally in the thoroughbred are uniquely independent in each animal for the purposes of fright or flight. In my opinion Authentic wasn’t as far along as Tis the Law in May and your handicapping skills would have prevailed under normal circumstances. A return match might add light to that assumption.

  2. Betsy says:

    So Lauren Stich, who used to write about pedigrees at DRF is a huge HAP fan. She had a lot to say post-Derby:

    “Oh, yeah, big-time Honor A. P. fan. Still am. Despite a poor start, it was so very obvious that Honor A. P. had tons of trouble with the surface. His action was so awful, it looked like he was going to fall down all around the track and I was sure Mike Smith would pull him up. But he perservered and still managed to finish fourth on sheer class. But like so many other notable Thoroughbreds in the past, he just didn’t handle the “cuppy” Churchill surface (ala, Snow Chief and so many others who returned to win big races). After all, he ran down Authentic so easily and authoritatively in the SA Derby at 1 1/8 miles, it was apparent he would be even more effective going 1 1/4 miles. Don’t know what Shirreffs’ plans are for Honor A. P., but even though Keeneland doesn’t seem like the best oval to run, I do hope he targets the BC Classic at 1 1/4 miles there. I still think he’s the best 3-y-o going this classic distance and hope he gets the chance to prove it.”

    More:

    “….I’m afraid, that even with Thousand Words in the race, it would have surely helped Tiz the Law and he most likely would have won because the two Bafferts would have been running 1-2 early. But Honor A. P. never had a chance over the surface. His action was sickening to watch. Again, how he even got fourth was amazing. KD — who knows what the heck happened there! But I do believe with Thousand Words in the race would have given Tiz the Law the victory. But I’m not upset about it. But seriously, anybody *really* believe Authentic is better than Honor A. P. after the way Honor A. P. blew right by him when he had things his own way in the SA Derby? And that was 1 1/8 miles. At 1 1/4 miles, there is no question, whatsoever, that Honor A. P. is the one. Unfortunately, he will ave to prove it another day (hopefully BC Classic) because he hated CD surface.”

    • perimeister says:

      Betsy, I hope Lauren’s assessment gives you some peace. It’s very validating, not in the least because it’s accurate and coherent.

  3. Betsy says:

    Livewire, I agree about HAP’s athleticism. It bothers me when people assume that he’s clunky because he’s a big horse. People also say that he needs everything to go his own way, but…….Authentic is like that. Also, admittedly we haven’t seen HAP weave in and out or overcome being blocked, etc.. BUT in both the SB and the Derby, where he got slammed at the start and cut off……..and when he had some issues with the track (Derby) …he never quit. Hopefully he’ll prove to be as good or better than Authentic and Tiz……..

    • Livewire says:

      Thanks Betsy. In my opinion, HAP has already proved better than Authentic but now that he has lost two in a row he will have to do something big to get back to where he was in standing a couple months ago.

      • Betsy says:

        Livewire, well it’s 2-1 for Authentic………..but in any case, you’re right; losing two in a row has seriously eroded much of the high regard people held HAP in.

    • perimeister says:

      You know that Honor AP has shown himself to be classy and versatile, and doesn’t need to be set up in a particular way to contest a race. Don’t let yourself be bothered by others’ prejudices and confirmation bias.

      • Betsy says:

        Peri, that’s excellent advice……and actually some of those who were a little down on HAP before the Derby because of the Shared Belief were impressed with his performance. I don’t ever go out of my way to look at rankings – so in the future if I happen to run into them, I’ll just ignore them. They really don’t mean much.

        Also, yes – Lauren’s comments made me feel better – or at least validated what we’d been saying. If HAP truly hated CD, that would explain why he lagged in last place and why Mike had to urge him. The fact that he was able to close (Livewire posted his internal fractions in HRN) despite that speaks volumes. I do think he might use more gate work, but other than that…….really, it’s just frustrating that he was primed for a peak performance and couldn’t really show his best.

  4. Racingfan says:

    Oh Steve! Are you kicking yourself like I am? I discovered MyRacehorse.com a few months ago and for $199.00 bought a share of 4 two year old fillies (they were offered as a package – all 4 for the one price). I have been tormenting myself about buying in Authentic since they bought into him before the Haskell. On Derby Day, I was still torn, but opted not to buy in! Then I watched him run thru the race and finish first wearing the MyRacehorse silks! I was soooooooo happy for all the owners but sooooooo bummed for me! I will say though that since I am a MyRacehorse owner, I did still feel “involved” watching “my” silks running thru the race! One thing for sure, if they ever offer another Derby prospect, I WILL be buying a share! (FYI, only one of my fillies has raced so far and finished second…. And the MyRacehorse people are awesome to deal with!)

  5. Steve Haskin says:

    Just a reminder, this column will come down shortly to be replaced by another post Derby column that will be posted later this afternoon. So come on back later.

  6. Donna Hurst says:

    Oh did you spin that one out!!

    **Will he. Won’t he. Will he. Won’t he.”

    Damn. He didn’t.**

    LOL

    Just one question? Have you told Joan about this???

    • Steve Haskin says:

      LOL. Tell her? After wavering I finally told her what I wanted to do and she said “No.” Thn I gave her a last chance on Friday after getting that email and she still said no. I didnt write that because I didnt want to throw her under the bus, and she still has no regrets, so neither do. I wouldnt want to give her something she didnt want. And besides, she knew I didnt think Authentic would win. It just wasnt the frugal thing to do under the circumstances. As I said, no regrets and I got a good column out of it.

  7. Betsy says:

    Interesting thread on Twitter from Racing with Bruno, a workout expert…His tweets are protected, so I can’t copy and paste links to videos, but where Bruno mentions videos, I’ll point it out so anyone might go look for them.

    So, we’ve discussed HAP’s issues wire breaking. I’m having a hard time seeing this stifle issue, but if there is one, I wonder if it can be fixed.

    ** Absolutely NOT, he broke the same way he did in the Shared Belief, and his physical issues don’t allow him to break better, learned a long time ago, ‘some horses break well enough to get pinched.’ Honor A P is one of them.

    look at carefully behind in his works, his right hind seems to take longer with an exaggerated swing when turning for home changing leads, thus, not allowing him to fully quicken and accelerates. This also affect start when hind end is crucial at pushing off. video proof….

    ***This is where Bruno focuses on the 8/22 work, just after HAP makes the turn for home.***

    This video of 8/22 work: there’s a hitch in his right switching leads – from possibly the right stifle – that would cause a momentary delay in lead change behind which con tributes to ability to accelerate in stretch –

    Thats THE right hind – as he turns for home he needs to push off that right hind to able to extend through his stride … wonderful horse but picked that up on him for last few works – answers why he breaks a bit slow and gets pinched as well – the push from behind is everything***

    • perimeister says:

      Betsy, am I correct, that the implication of the quotes is that Honor AP breaks slowly, and has broken slowly since before the Shared Belief, because of “physical issues” diminishing his ability to propel himself on the right lead? And that this leaves him vulnerable to being sideswiped and squeezed out of the gate? I’m not seeing it.

      On the evidence of the Derby alone, Honor AP and NY Traffic broke equally quickly and were ahead of both Tiz the Law and Authentic at three or four jumps out from the gate. Does Bruno hold all four to have broken as poorly as or worse than Honor AP, who he believes has “physical issues”?

      In Honor AP’s Santa Anita workouts, when he’s in the three or four path coming out of the far turn, he’s had a relatively sharp-angled cornering motion at the moment of lead change the whole year, which corresponds in timing to what Bruno is pointing to. I haven’t checked farther back to see if he’s always done this. But when he is hugging the rail, he strongly cleaves to the arc.

      I see where Honor AP’s right hind seems to hitch on one single stride on each of the 7/25, 8/15 and 8/22 Del Mar works, coming out of the turn, but I am positive that these are artifacts of technological glitches in the recordings. It looks to me like one frame of the video is repeated. The 7/25 “hitch” is a glitch occurring couple of strides after the lead change, even.
      There is no visible hitch/glitch coming out of the corner in the 8/8 or the 8/29 works.

      If Bruno can’t tell the difference between a video recording/playback defect and a gait anomaly, I would infer he has some conflicting investment in finding a problem with the horse and not waste my time (or money) with what he has to say.

      • Livewire says:

        As I told Betsy on HRN, a bunch of hooey, hope he has a day job. The first leg on a right lead to strike the ground is the left hind for one thing.

        Sometimes, when you look for information everywhere, you’re going to come across garbage information.

        • perimeister says:

          “As I told Betsy on HRN, a bunch of hooey, hope he has a day job. The first leg on a right lead to strike the ground is the left hind for one thing.”

          Eeezactly. Sorry, Livewire, I haven’t see what you’ve on HRN in a few days. I overdid it over the weekend and have been taking a mental health break from that site.

          • Livewire says:

            No problem, I have been absent from class for a few days too, :). This guy sounds like one of those hacks who somehow got a forum to display his lack of understanding.

            I just feel sorry for John Shirreffs, you only get so many chances at this and to have the outcome it did. When you even shock the race caller enough to make a comment during the race of how the race is progressing, something has gone disastrously wrong.

        • perimeister says:

          “As I told Betsy on HRN, a bunch of hooey, hope he has a day job. The first leg on a right lead to strike the ground is the left hind for one thing.”

          Eeezactly. Sorry, Livewire, I haven’t see what you’ve written on HRN in a few days. I overdid it over the weekend and have been taking a mental health break from that site.

          • Livewire says:

            And, I have seen this horse do some amazing things athletically for such a long striding horse, during one of his works, they were working on lead changes early on the turn and this horse performed it flawlessly. Not many horses are that athletic to alter the cantilever of balance while on a bend.

        • perimeister says:

          Livewire, there is no way for me to reply to your most recent comments in this thread, so I will just interject here that I didn’t see the impressive lead changes, but Honor AP’s athleticism, his balance, quickness and flexibility, so plainly shines through in his common movements that I’ve never had any doubt that he has uncommon ability — even if he’s not yet had need to display them on the track. While I continue to be amazed at how fast he ran despite his trouble getting a grip on the track, I too feel sad for his connections that they couldn’t be rewarded with a win in the Derby. I do hope they can and will campaign him in a manner befitting his talent before he retires.

          • Betsy says:

            Peri, I hope so,too. I love John, but I fear a limited, all-CA “plan” for next year….If John loves HAP the way he apparently does, let the colt run. I don’t mean that he should ship out constantly, but there are races out East – specifically at Belmont- that would be perfect for him. RUN him – he’s big and strong. Don’t have him be retired where you wonder “what if”…

      • Betsy says:

        Peri, yes – I think that’s what Bruno was saying. I mentioned this to Livewire on HRN, but I recall a work (I think before the SB) where Bruno raved about how HAP looked and didn’t mention any hitch.

        • Betsy says:

          I’m posting this again so it’s in the thread…

          Livewire, I agree about HAP’s athleticism. It bothers me when people assume that he’s clunky because he’s a big horse. People also say that he needs everything to go his own way, but…….Authentic is like that. Also, admittedly we haven’t seen HAP weave in and out or overcome being blocked, etc.. BUT in both the SB and the Derby, where he got slammed at the start and cut off……..and when he had some issues with the track (Derby) …he never quit. Hopefully he’ll prove to be as good or better than Authentic and Tiz……..

  8. Betsy says:

    This is the TDN summary for HAP….On the one hand, he says the race was better than it looked, on the other that it was too bad to be true. He certainly doesn’t think much of HAP’s sustained run.

    “Honor A.P. was never in it to win it last Saturday. Yet considering how tactically adrift he was for the first mile of the race, his fourth-place effort is better than it might seem. “He spun out from the word go. Really did,” said jockey Mike Smith, who cited this $850,000 FTSAUG Honor Code ridgling’s inability to grab hold of the “deeper, cuppier” track as the chief obstacle to a better placing. He broke hesitantly and was allowed to lag near last for most of the trip before unwinding with a long-striding move through the far turn that left him parked way out in the 10 path for the home straight. But he didn’t pass a single horse in mid-stretch who was not already backing up. Honor A.P.’s Derby has a “too bad to be true” aura to it, and as the only horse to ever finish in front of Authentic (in the GI Santa Anita Derby), it’s reasonable to think he’s capable of a more spirited showing if and when they meet again.”

    • perimeister says:

      Betsy, would I be correct in inferring that you find this summary confused and contradictory?
      Let’s revisit the thread over at HRN on the question of Honor AP’s break from the gate, when you hadn’t seen the entire race and wondered if he had “hesitated”, which is the word used in the Equibase chart to describe his break.
      As can be seen on a close view of the head-on video, Honor A.P. and NY Traffic broke equally quickly, in that for the first three or four strides their legs are moving at the same time. In this aspect, if Honor A.P. hesitated at the bell, so did NY Traffic. But it is also clear from the view above the gate that, at strides three and four, Honor A.P. and NY Traffic were ahead of Tiz the Law and Authentic.
      The head-on video shows that in between his first and second jump from the gate, NY Traffic dropped low and to his right – I infer because the ground broke out from under him – so that with his third jump he was squarely in Honor AP’s lane. The lane invasion was possible because, even though the two were striding at the same rate, Honor AP was holding his head high and was taking much shorter strides than NY Traffic, who therefore had empty space to veer into, instead of Honor APs body.
      Honor AP doesn’t normally take short strides nor hold his head high coming out of the gate, and horses’ front ends go up when they brake with their rear legs. It seems impossible that he did not perceive NYTraffic’s trajectory, so it’s most likely he braked to avoid taking the full force of the other horse’s charge.
      TDN’s use of “hesitantly” implies a good racehorse – one who is confident, focused and fast – would have done otherwise, would not have attempted to avoid being plowed into out of the gate. The point is arguable. The absence of any description of the facts, the lack of argument supporting the characterization, however, combines with the implication that Honor AP’s race was less “spirited” than it could have been, to diminish Honor AP’ effort and undermines TDNs suggestion that Honor APs race was “better than it might seem”.
      Followers of Authentic would be quick to point out that Honor AP beat him in a race where Authentic’s break (not described by TDN at all, much less described as being his own fault) arguably cost him and easy lead and thus the race, and so to them it might well not seem reasonable to conclude, from a race where Honor AP’s break (described by TDN in a manner that suggests it was his own fault) arguably cost him the race, that Honor AP has the capacity to make “a more spirited showing if and when they meet again.”
      The summary is not well grounded or well reasoned, and probably displeases fans of both Authentic and Honor AP.

      • Betsy Tarr says:

        Peri, I’m confused because I think TD Thornton (TDN guy) is confused, lol. How can he say that HAP’s effort was better than it seemed (which implies that, on first watching, it was a poor effort) and then say later on that his sustained run was essentially a mirage……..and then say after that the race was “too bad to be true”? If he thinks HAP made up ground only because horses in front of him were slowing down then he can’t say that this was a good effort.

        That said, I didn’t take his use of “hesitantly” as a negative – the official chart says that (which is stupid, because it doesn’t mention NY Traffic crossing in front of him. Of course, that’s no surprise; the chart of the War Chant completely ignores all the trouble Bama Breeze had in that race).

        I didn’t read TDN’s summary of Authentic……but before the race, they had him ranked below HAP and I don’t recall them ever stating that he lost the SAD because he broke poorly.

        • perimeister says:

          My guess is that TDN guy had the official chart in front of him and relied more on that than on the visual record in organizing his account. It’s the path of least resistance, but too often leads one astray, as you know. And the summary isn’t very coherent, as you perceive.. You’ve got enough information and reasoning ability to form your own opinions and end up with a better understanding of what you should think abut what happened than what you can get from reading the output of those who don’t think as hard or care as much as you do — even if they are accredited professionals.

          • Betsy says:

            Good point, Peri…….ultimately, horse racing is about opinions; we all have them, whether we’re $2 bettors, non-betting fans who just love the game or racing “experts”.

  9. Davids says:

    Steve, sometimes you just can’t win. It seemed a lovely thought to me but incurring “the wrath of Joan” was obviously too burdensome. Lol!! I was wondering, in Joan’s library does she have a copy of William Harrison Ainsworth’s “The Spendthrift” to remedy some earlier extravagances? In all seriousness, Dr. Ho’s charm will last longer and be more practical. Fun read.

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