What a race! Big Brown nipped Coal Play at the wire in a thriller Haskell, despite every effort by jockey Desormeaux to lose the race. I’m not saying Kent was trying to lose, but it just seemed like he wasn’t riding with any confidence in his horse. After shooting out to the lead at the break, he immediately reined Brown back as Coal Play ran up to challenge. The Big Horse followed Zito’s rabbit around the track in second, but when the time came to blow past for the win, he didn’t respond. Coal Play opened up 2 lengths on him and Cool Coal Man and looked very much the winner. It was more than halfway into the stretch before Big Brown responded to any of Kent’s urging, right-handed whip action. He raced somewhat greenly, drifting far out to the middle of the track. Still Coal Play lead, and Cool Coal Man was advancing (albeit sloowly). Finally, in the last few yards, Big Brown’s mystical “energy button” kicked on, an he somehow managed to pass the pacesetter with enough momentum to carry him across the line 1.5 in front. In the gallop-out, Brown fought Kent every step of the way, throwing his head up with his mouth hanging open. It wasn’t pretty.
For Brown’s next race, they should put Prado back on and see what a difference it would make. Jock changes aren’t uncommon even with the Big Horses. Jean Cruget got taken off of Seattle SLew. Steve Cauthen didn’t always ride Affirmed. Jerry Bailey didn’t always ride Cigar.
The partnership between horse and rider was severely shaken up in the Belmont and in SUnday’s Haskell, it seems the ties finally broke. If we’re only going to enjoy Big Brown 2 more times on the track, the connections would do well to consider the jockey switch. The horse deserves the best chance he can get for optimal performance. Especially if it’s up against Curlin, who he must beat for any Horse of the Year honors.
Of course, all of this will be moot if ZENYATTA goes in the Classic instead of the distaff. That filly is the queen of the Cali condomtrack!
SAUHBR WEEK 2 RESULTS!!
HASKELL: 1)BIG BROWN (4) 2)COAL PLAY 3)COOL COAL MAN (1)
OCEANPORT: 1)SILVER TREE (1) 2)GIANT WRECKER 3)HOTSTUFANTHENSOME
MATCHMAKER: 1)J’RAY 2)DYNA’S LASSIE 3)COZZI CAPITAL — NO POINTS!! TOTAL SUCKAGE RACE…
WEST VIRGINIA DERBY: 1)READY SET 2)WEB GEM 3)REAL APPEAL — NO POINTS! MAJOR BOMB RACE…
WV GOVERNOR’S STAKES: 1)ZANJERO (4) 2)BETTER THAN BONDS(1) 3)BARBICAN EX BONUS 5
ROYAL NORTH: 1)AKRONISM (4) 2)BECKY SHARP 3)MARINA BALLERINA
TOTAL SCORE after 2 weekends: 39 POINTS!
This race is just gettin’ started! I have PICK POWER this week, and there just happens to be a few grass races at Arlington that usually draw a crowd up there in Illinois…
Sunday’s races are proving more difficult, though — I’ll figure something out before Wednesday.