Archive for the ‘Sports’

2015 Preakness Stakes 140th Predictions and Preview

May 15, 2015 By: Category: Sports

This Saturday, May 16, 2016, will be the 140th running of the race known as the second  jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. The race, run at 1 3/16ths miles, is run at Pimlico Racecourse, outside of Baltimore, MD. Because of the racetrack being on a hill, it is given the nickname, “Old Hilltop. Should Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah be fortunate to win on Saturday, he will have two-thirds of the elusive Triple Crown.

I was at the Kentucky Derby this year. Before I give my readers my opinion on the Preakness, I want to share my thoughts on my Kentucky Derby experience. First of all, I highly recommend that my readers attend the race. Not only do you see great racing action, but the people watching is awesome.  I  hung out around the paddock area, and I saw quite a few famous people. I  met Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife. I  got his autograph. He was very nice. I saw Kentucky Governor Steve Bashear (D), and Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, who played for the University of Louisville, gave the “riders up” for the Derby horses.  I ran into various horse trainers and owners as well as people wearing all sorts of crazy hats.

As for the race itself, as I had General Admission tickets, I had to watch the race on a screen, but I thought it was a very exciting race. The way the track was playing, I knew that any horse that came from way off the pace didn’t have a prayer. Any horse that was near the pace was going to have a shot. I had picked Dortmund. I also thought that Firing Line and the favorite American Pharoah had a shot. Wow, I  should have played the Trifecta. American Pharoah won, with Firing Line second, and Dortmund third.

Much has been made about Pharoah not being impressive. I didn’t buy that. Some people were expecting a 15 length victory, like his last two races. Has anyone ever heard of “bouncing?” What I mean by that is when a horse regresses from a huge effort.  I also saw the fuss about his jockey Victor Espinoza hitting Pharoah 32 times. First of all, Pharoah blew the turn, so that explains some of the use of the whip. Also,  if you watch the head on replay, Espinoza didn’t make contact with the horse during the 32 uses. Many times, he flagged the horse. In other words, he waved the whip to get the horse’s attention.  Am I a HUGE FAN of using the whip like Espinoza did?  I am not, after all, as the saying goes, “It’s all in the hands.”  I’m just saying that why I think this is a very important issue for discussion, I think it was way blown out of proportion.

Now, that I’ve discussed the Derby,  onto the Preakness. Like my Kentucky Derby blog, I will discuss the Preakness by using the same format . I will give you a link to the field, with the morning line odds, jockey, etc. I will group them according to how much of a chance I give them to win the 140th Preakness Stakes. As we only have an 8 horse field,  I’m going to split them up into two groups. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the Preakness Stakes.

EVENT:  Preakness Stakes 140
VENUE:  Pimlico Racecourse

The Preakness Stakes.


Mr. Z.

Mr. Z leads off the group of horses who are generally aware they don’t have big change of winning the race. If my readers like to play long shots, by all means, please do.  Anyway, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who trains this horse just HAD to have a horse in the Preakness, right? The poor animal has not won a race in nearly a year, and even though his now former owner, Ahmed Zayat,  said after the Derby,  that Mr. Z wasn’t running in the Preakness, the once powerful Calumet Farm buys him. Now, the horse is in the Preakness. Lukas is a legend in the sport, but I think his ego is getting in the way. Even Todd Pletcher is not entering a horse in the race. Regardless, I don’t think this horse should be in the race.

Divining Rod

This horse will have a lot of sentiment attached to him. He’s owned by Gretchen and Roy Jackson, who owned and bred Barbaro. To refresh your memories, in the 2006 Preakness, Barbaro shattered his hind leg soon after leaving the gate. After a 9 month struggle for his life,  he sadly passed away.  Anyway,  after almost a decade absence, the Jacksons return with Divining Rod. The horse has won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, the last time out. He has finished 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby as well. He would be one to play, if you like hunch bets. I am sure many Barbaro fans will be backing him.

Tale of Verve

Like Mr. Z, what is this horse doing in the Preakness? All the races this horse has run in are Maiden Special Weights. I  know his trainer, Dallas Stewart, has had horses hit the board in past Triple Crown races, but he must think highly of this horse to put him in the Preakness.  Tale of Verve also needs a very fast pace to run at, to even have a shot. From looking at where the speed is, he could get it. I’m not sure he has to talent.


Bodhisattva, who’s named for the Buddhist term, “enlightened one,” is the local horse. He may be a California bred,  but his sire, Student Council, won the 2008 Pimlico Special, so there are Maryland ties. He’s the winner of the Frederico Tesio Stakes, and had placed in the Private Terms Stakes.  If you are a fan of Steely Dan, put a couple of bucks on his nose. (


Firing Line

The second place finisher in the 2015 Kentucky Derby kicks off my discussion of the 4 horses that I feel are more likely than not to wind up with the famous blanket of Black Eyed Susans that is placed on the back of the winner of the Preakness. Firing Line had a great Derby. He battled Dortmund for the lead. He finally seized the lead, but American Pharoah was a bit too much. Firing Line has been working like a monster since the Derby. He’s coming from the far outside post, #8, but I think Gary Stevens can get him into a great position.  A slight caveat is that the last second  place finisher in the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness was Prarie Bayou in 1993.

Danzig Moon

Danzig Moon ran fifth in the Derby, which I was impressed with, considering that the pace was dawdling, and the track was not playing to closers. I  was impressed with his second place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes, as well. With a possibility of a better pace scenario, I think Danzig Moon could either pull the upset, or hit the board.  He should be better positioned in the race, as there’s just 8 horses. I would use in exotics.

American Pharoah

Here’s the Kentucky Derby hero. He’s an amazing looking horse in person. I thought he won a hard fought race in the Derby. I’m more impressed by that kind of win, than a blow out, a lot of the time. Again,  he’s the horse to beat.  Much has been made of his post position, #1. I  will admit that it’s not ideal, considering the fact that the rest of the speed is on the outside of him. I  think that he has the class to overcome his bad post.  He’s won from the #1 hole as a 2YO, so this won’t be foreign for him.  There’s a possibility of thunderstorms as well,  so a wet track should not bother Pharoah either,  if you remember his performance in the Rebel Stakes back in February.


Dortmund ran an awesome Derby. He set dawdling fractions. He battled eventual second place finisher Firing Line, his main rival during the Kentucky Derby prep season in California, during the entire race.  Firing Line got his revenge, as Dortmund wound up third. After the race, it was revealed that on April 25th, the week before the Derby, Dortmund was nearly scratched due to a bout of colic. Briefly, colic is an intestinal disease, that can be very serious    in horses.  Horses like The Wicked North have died from the disease. The issue with this, is that the concealment of the news of the horse’s illness IS a big deal.

While the horse was cleared to race, and thankfully, he was alright, I felt that both his owner Kaleem Shah, and his trainer Bob Baffert should have said something to the public. This is an integrity of the game issue.  Handicappers and fans, I feel should have had the information.  Fans and the public need to know that this game is on the level, and handicappers need to know that the sport they’re betting on isn’t rigged. I’m sure had they known the horse was sick,  they would have changed their bets.

That being said, from looking at Dortmund this whole week after the Derby,  he looks a lot better than he did in the Derby. He really looks like he will give a much better effort in the Preakness.  I am willing to give him a mulligan.  I liked him in the Derby.  I’m not in love with his post position, #2, but I think he has great tactical speed to overcome it.


Obviously, American Pharoah is the horse to beat.  If he’s at his best, no one will beat him.  I have been on this horse’s bandwagon since the beginning. However,  I also have been on the Dortmund bandwagon as well. I am behind Dortmund again.  I think he turns the tables.

Your winner of the 2015 Preakness Stakes is: DORTMUND.

Five Takeaways From Deflategate

May 13, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

On January 18, 2015, the New England Patriots hosted the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game for the right to go to Super Bowl 49. The Patriots demolished the Colts by a score of 45-7. As we all know, the Patriots went on to defeat the then defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, and become Super Bowl 49 Champions. QB Tom Brady became SB MVP for the third time in his career. The Patriots also had broken a ten year drought.

Leading into this particular Super Bowl, the Patriots were dealing with a very bizarre controversy. The day after the AFC Championship Game, news broke that the Patriots were being investigated for allegedly playing with under inflated footballs in the AFC Championship. This accusation was made by the Indianapolis Colts. It had to have been the strangest thing I’ve ever heard.

To explain this, the rule is that a properly inflated football has to be between 12.5 and 13. 5 psi (pounds per square inch). The Patriots were accused of purposely deflating the footballs, so QB Tom Brady could have a better grip on the ball. The outrage by columnists, fans, and the American public was incredible. It was way more than the outrage over Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Anyway, both Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady gave separate conferences. All this followed the team to the aforementioned Super Bowl, which the team won.

Now, we fast forward to May 6th of this year. It was over 100 days since Ted Wells, an attorney who was assigned to investigate this rather crazy case. After all the hype and energy and money that has been put into this case, the Wells Report found that “it was more probable than not” that the Patriots purposely deflated the footballs. Wells also concluded that QB Tom Brady was “generally aware” that Equipment Manager James McNally and John Jamstremski were deflating the footballs with his (Brady’s) knowledge.

After more hysteria from the media, and the American Public, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dropped the hammer, and suspended QB Tom Brady for four games. The Patriots were hit with a $1 Million dollar fine, the highest in NFL history. The Patriots were docked their 2016 first round draft pick and their 2017 fourth round draft pick. Many pundits and fans have had their say about the whole event. I’m going to give my five thoughts on this entire debacle.

Much has been made about the violation itself. People are going crazy. Some are comparing deflating a football to using a PED, or to what the Saints did. People need to slow down. Acting like Tonya Harding’s hoodlums and, putting a pin in a football are not related at all. To me, it’s like a baseball player using a bat with pine tar, a la MLB Hall of Famer George Brett. ESPN’s Mark Schlereth was fined $5,000 for putting Vaseline on his arms. It was rescinded, but you get my point. While I am NOT advocating rule breaking, people are making this way more than it is.


I have read the Wells Report, and I just don’t get the impression that it’s a slam dunk. The issue of different guages being used bother me. Referee Walt Anderson’s not being sure which guage he used is bothersome. Ted Wells now says that It doesn’t matter what guage was used. Well, if Wells and the NFL want to nail the greatest QB in the NFL, they should not be so cavalier with details. If this was such a huge deal to the NFL, Well should not have included sketchy details. His information needed to be way more accurate.

Walt Anderson also said that the balls were gone for a time. Well, when the balls showed up, why weren’t they retested? When the Colts first made the complaints, why did the NFL allow the game to go on? Why didn’t the NFL tell the Patriots that they (the Patriots)were busted before and that the NFL had heard some complaints, and if the Patriots didn’t stop, they’d be busted again? Why was Ron Grigson, the Colts’ GM, allowed to make a complaint based on rumors and gossip? Is this how the NFL is going to be run?

Do those texts and emails look damning to Tom Brady? Yes. I am not saying they don’t. However, they sound more like they’re sarcastic jokes. As for Brady and his phone, if this investigation were not the witch hunt that it was, maybe he should have done it. However, I think he did the right thing. I don’t think I would turn in my phone, especially to the NFL.


Even though there was little evidence of wrongdoing, as I said, Tom Brady and the Patriots got hammered. Some people are saying “too hard,” “not enough,” and many fans are thinking about boycotting the NFL. I think Commissioner Roger Goodell went way too far. The Patriots were treated as repeat offenders because of Spygate, hence the highest fine in NFL history of $1,000,000, and the aforementioned draft picks. Brady’s suspension was done because the NFL wanted to send a message that no one was above the rules. I also think that the League Office was mad that Brady would not cooperate with the witch hunt.

The fine for this kind of violation is $25,000. The San Diego Chargers were penalized the same amount in 2012. They used a sticky substance to the towels used for the game footballs, which is against NFL rules. There was no uproar by the NFL or by the public. ( Both the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers got WARNINGS for heating the game balls this past season. ( ) In these cases, there were no outrage by the NFL or the public. Even when the Colts emailed the NFL about their suspicions, the NFL didn’t get the public in a fuss. Now, they start this investigation and all of a sudden, this violation has turned into the equivalent of the Titanic disaster? I’m not buying it.

Goodell wanted to make an example of Brady and the Patriots, and that’s what he did. I mean, why on earth did Spygate have to be considered into Brady’s punishment? He wasn’t part of it. That was on Belichick. The fact that the team is being punished for something they’ve been punished for already, I think is ridiculous. The fact that Brady is being treated as if he took PEDs is asinine, especially considering the usual punishment for this type of thing. Shame on Goodell for pandering to public pressure, and not according to the actual violation.


How will this four games affect the NFL on the field product? As we know, Tom Brady is appealing his suspension, as expected. Trust me, this is not over by a long shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if Patriots owner Bob Kraft has a few tricks up his sleeve. I’m guessing that the next time Roger Goodell messes up, Kraft won’t be there. The team is standing by their QB as well.

The AFC East will be even more interesting. Assuming that Brady loses his appeal, he returns Week 6, against the Colts. Backup QB Jimmy Garropolo will be the starter. Garropolo will be facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the prognosticators of Doom, I think the Patriots can go 2-2, at worst. The Patriots went 11-5 without Brady in 2008, when Brady went down week one. That QB was Matt Cassel. From what I’ve seen of Garropolo, I think he’s better than Cassel. If the rest of the AFC East teams, with their improved defenses, stumble out of the gate, that’s on them. I still think that the Patriots will wind up winning the Division.


After all this moralizing and hand-wringing, and such, in this blogger’s opinion, Tom Brady’s NFL legacy is intact. He’s a First Ballot Hall of Famer. His NFL achievements are many. Do the findings in the Wells Report erase them? In the minds of the shrill few, and the haters, yes. For those who look at Brady’s career as a whole, and for those who will be voting on his candidacy five years after his retirement, I seriously doubt it.

In conclusion, I am going to wait and see what happens with Brady’s appeal. He has just hired attorney Jeffery Kessler to help with the appeal. This should be a very interesting next few months. Thanks for reading. Feedback is welcome.

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Jon Jones: The Once and Maybe Future King

May 04, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

To say that the last week has been life altering for Jon Jones would be an understatement. We all know the story by now, but the chain of events profoundly illustrates the domino effect of Jones’ downfall.

Jones surrendered to Albuquerque, New Mexico, police on Monday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Jones allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday morning, which sent a pregnant woman to the hospital with a broken arm.

Jones fled the scene on foot, ran back to his vehicle, retrieved a handful of money, fled the scene again, and scaled a fence into a gated community where he made his escape. Police found a pipe containing marijuana in his vehicle.

After meeting with Jon Jones and his lawyer on Tuesday, Dana White announced that Jones has been stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title and has been suspended indefinitely by the promotion. Daniel Cormier will step in to fight Anthony Johnson for the vacant championship on May 23rd at UFC 187.

On Wednesday, Reebok announced they have dropped Jones as a sponsored athlete, rescinding his financial endorsement deal that had a heavy financial upside. Things didn’t get better on Thursday, as the fitness supplement company, MuscleTech also severed ties with the embattled star.

There are those who saw this coming a mile away due to Jones’ confirmed and unconfirmed, off the record behavior over the last four years. Anyone whose pockets are about to get lighter as a result of Jones’ recent transgressions looked the other way too often and said yes more than they should have.

UFC deserves a lot of credit for making a hard business decision that will cost them in the short term. The big question is though, will this work? Is this the wakeup call that Jones needs in order to see the error of his ways? Right now, it’s abundantly clear that Jones’ can’t handle the fame that comes with being a superstar athlete.

When strictly considering the realm of athletics, it’s a shame that morality outside of the cage dictates what happens within its confines. However, in 2015, the public is tired of celebrities getting an increased benefit of a very large doubt. The fact that Jones’(who is a millionaire) first instinct was to secure his cash paints an ugly portrait of his personality.

Jones was never beaten for the title and critics will look at the Cormier vs. Johnson winner as a hollow champion. I disagree with that notion. Yes, Cormier has already fallen to Jones, but he was already in training camp preparing for his previously scheduled June 6 bout with Ryan Bader.

If Daniel Cormier wins the title, he is the rightful and deserved heir because, up to this point, he has acted and conducted himself in a manner becoming of a world championship athlete. This is the opposite of Jones, who’s conducted prompted journalists, pundits, and fans to call for the removal of his title.

If Anthony Johnson wins the title, he also deserves full recognition from the sport and its contemporaries. Jones has never fought Johnson, and while “Bones” would be the favorite, the vicious KO power and overall skill that “Rumble” brings to the table gives him a better chance than most.

Plus, he’s come back what from appeared to be a never ending fall after being cut form the UFC three years ago, something everyone should hope that Jones can accomplish.

If I’m paying $59.99 to watch a premium combat sports product, I want the fighters involved to be as prepared as possible so we can see their best on fight night. Jones’ current legal troubles compounded by his alleged drug use suggests that training for a professional prize fight was the least of his concerns.

While it’s easy for anyone to sit on the outside and provide commentary on such matters, let’s try to look at things from the other side. Jon Jones is heralded as the best fighter on the planet and there is a lot of pressure that comes with that.

However, Jones has the added distinction of being pegged as quite possibly, the GOAT. We’re talking about some exclusive company with the likes of Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Babe Ruth. The pressure that comes with that is beyond compare and something LeBron James is familiar with.

There can be a plethora of punishments implemented to deter criminal behavior. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how badly Jon Jones wants things to change. Right now though, Jones needs to forget about the spotlight and just do him because the fighter can’t exist without the person being well.

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Money Matters! Floyd Mayweather Defeats Manny Pacquiao

May 03, 2015 By: Category: Boxing, Sports, Videos

Money Matters!: Floyd Mayweather Defeats Manny PacquiaoWhen we went to the scorecards I had a nasty feeling that this one’s going to raise a stink. Nevertheless I expected it to be a close one. Then I heard 118-110! No one’s gonna score that against the home boy. That means Pacquiao’s going down.

But anyone who watched the match with a clear, unbiased mind would swear that Pacquiao didn’t go down even for a second during the 12 round ‘5-year-in-the-making’. He simply looked to live up to the fight. Perhaps the characteristic onslaught was missing. But then you need your opponent to square up to you for that.

In Pacquiao’s limited English, ‘if Mayweather wasn’t moving much….’ What he meant, of course was if Mayweather just fought back, maybe he could have unleashed a lot more aggression. But then Mayweather was kept on his toes throughout, trying to figure out how to survive the ‘eater of pac-dots’.

I won’t go into the rounds and what went down. Instead let me quote Pacquiao.

When asked at the end of the fight about what he thought, Pacquiao said he thought he had won the fight. And he wasn’t just saying it. He meant every bit of it.

The interviewer of course didn’t like it. And he asked why Manny thought so – with a supercilious ‘since no one else did’. Pacquiao said, ‘Mayweather did nothing.’ And he said that with disbelief that was hard to miss.

From then on it became a farce as the interviewer tried to exploit Pac’s poor language skills to get him against the ropes. With as much partisan edge he was allowed to get into his voice, he kept probing. But Pacquiao couldn’t say anything beyond the truth. Mayweather did nothing.

Yeah! The champ. The pound for pounder. The undefeated. And he did nothing.But then perhaps he knew money would win in the end.
He’s got a whopping big deal with Showtime. Not been defeated. Got one more match to go. There’s money riding on that. Big money. And I guess Mayweather had to win for the sake of Money.

Not so with Pacquiao. He’s still good. Can give as good as he gets or doesn’t. But he’s not Money.

He’s the bull that must die in the afternoon for the Matador de Toros to stand tall. The moment of truth hit him tonight. It hit us tonight. But let’s all forget that. Judges don’t matter. Scorecards don’t matter. That last image of a man walking back still trying to make sense of the true meaning of money is all that matters. After all it’s professional boxing!

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Kentucky Derby 141 Predictions and Preview

April 30, 2015 By: Category: Sports

The first Saturday in May is almost here. I hope everyone will be ready for that huge fight. No, I am NOT talking about THAT fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd “Money” Mayweather, even though I hope Pacquiao beats the living daylights out of Mayweather.  No, the fight  I’m talking about is that 20 horse “fight” to that first turn in this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby on May 2nd. The Kentucky Derby is the premier event for 3YOs, and is the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Aside from being a great sporting event, the Kentucky Derby is an event in and of itself.  Attendees wear interesting hats. I have seen hats that have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous on Derby Day. There’s food as well, like Derby Pie and the famous Mint Julip.  Celebrities show up to the big race as well. The most important thing about the event is the race, and this race is going to be one for the ages.

This Derby field is lining up to be one of the best in a very long time. Even though the focus has been primarily on American Pharoah, the 2YO Eclipse Award winner, and deservedly so, you can make a case for about 6 or 7 horses to win. There’s the undefeated Dortmund, winner of the Santa Anita Derby. There’s the Bluegrass Stakes winner Carpe Diem. This is going to be a hard race to handicap, for sure.

I have decided to give my readers a link to the field, with the morning line odds, jockey, etc. I will be discussing the horses in groups. I will group them according to how much of a chance I give them to win the  Derby. I will use 3 groups. The first group will be for the horses who have no hope of winning the race. The second group will be the horses who might have an outside chance, but I would doubt it. The third group would be the ones that I think would be the likely ones to wear the garland of Roses. I will end the blog with the horse that I think will be the winner of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.  So, sit back with your Mint Julip, memorize “My Old Kentucky Home,” and  and enjoy the blog.

Here’s the link to the field for the Kentucky Derby.  It includes post position draw, which also corresponds with the saddle number of each horse. The morning line odds are included as well. American Pharoah is the morning line favorite at 5-2. What he will be bet down to at post time, is going to be interesting.

EVENT: Kentucky Derby 141
VENUE : Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY
TIME : 4:30PM-7:00PM EST



These are the horses in the first group. These horses have no chance to win the Kentucky Derby, at least in my opinion. Now, I’m not saying that these horse have ABSOLUTELY no chance, as I  would have tossed a horse named Mine That Bird. Trust me, I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who looked like a moron that day in 2009. I just think this bunch are the least likely to win. If you like longshots like my father did, go ahead and use this bunch.

The first horse that I am tossing is Ocho Ocho Ocho. First off, he got the dreaded rail. The wonderful Ferdinand was the last horse to win the Derby from the one hole in 1986, and this horse is no Ferdinand. Zayat Stables has three horses in this race. Mr. Z, El Kabeir, and the heavy favorite, American Pharoah.  Their best shot is the Derby favorite as  Mr. Z is another horse that I am tossing. This horse tries hard, but has lost his last ELEVEN races. He got enough points to get in the race, but I’m not touching him. Their other horse, El Kabeir  is another toss. He’s a very nice horse, and I love him, but the New York bunch he’s beaten hasn’t been much, and his 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial is a concern.

Stanford, a horse I was going to toss anyway, has been scratched due to his connections deciding not to run. That means Frammento, one of the two Also Eligibles, gets in, as there is a scratch. He goes into the 20 hole, with all others sliding down one spot.  Should another scratch by 9:00AM on Friday morning , the other AE, Tale of Verve, gets in as well.  Frammento is trained by Nicholas P. Zito. As much as I respect Zito, I  don’t see this horse doing much,  so he’s a toss. I hope that this horse doesn’t cause any trouble.

Materiality is a nice and speedy horse. He’s getting a lot of attention,  but I don’t see it. He’s coming from the 3 hole, and will have to use a ton of his speed to get position. Pass. Danzig Moon finished a nice second to Carpe Diem in the Bluegrass Stakes. He could finish in the money with the right pace setup, but I don’t think he’ll get the trip.  Tencendur is a pass as well as Keen Ice. ItsaKnockOut didn’t knock me off my feet with his Florida races.


Now that I have discussed the horses who I think don’t have much of a shot, now I will discuss the horses who might have a possibility of winning. I’m not completely confident that these horses will win. However,  I think if I saw some of these horses coming down the stretch, and pulling the upset, I would not be that surprised. In this bunch, some horses have a better chance than others. If you play exotics, such as exactas, trifectas, I would consider some of these horses.

I’m going to start with Bolo and War Story. Yes, Bolo’s likely a turf horse. However, he’s been decent against the likes of the undefeated Dortmund in a third place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. He was a borderline toss for me, but if he could get a decent trip, he might get fourth. War Story is another horse that could get a piece of it, if the right pace scenario comes up. He’s placed in all three Louisiana preps, so even though he would really surprise me if he won, I  think he could be a horse to consider in exotic betting.

 International Star and Far Right are the next horses I will discuss. Far Right is a deep closer, like 2009 Derby Winner Mine That Bird, or 1991 Derby Champion Strike the Gold. I’m expecting a fast pace upfront. I don’t expect to see Far Right win, but I’d have him in the bottom of my trifectas and superfectas. International Star, the qualifying points leader, now HE would not shock me if he pulled the upset win.  International Star won all the Louisiana preps, including the Louisiana Derby. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s shown toughness, and if he runs his race, I expect him to be right there.

The last horses for this category are Carpe Diem and Upstart. I was going to put them in the category of potential winners, but I usually narrow things down after the post position draw. I saw the draw for these two, and I was a bit hesitant. Upstart is a speed horse, and is coming from a far outside post. He’s going to want to go to the front. He’s a very good horse. I’m not sure about his ability to overcome that post position.
Carpe Diem is trying to be the first horse since Strike the Gold to win the Bluegrass Stakes and Kentucky Derby. He’s coming out of that 2 hole. He has to deal with Ocho Ocho Ocho trying to get off that rail, and Materiality trying to get position from the 3 hole. Carpe Diem has speed, but will he have to do a lot of adjusting that may cost him the race?
Either of these horses could still win. I  just have some doubts about their ability to overcome obstacles.


This last group of horses are the ones with the best chances to win. These horse are the best of the best. These horses should definitely be used in exotic betting. One of these horses, in my opinion, is the Kentucky Derby winner.

The first two horses I will discuss are Firing Line and Frosted. Frosted was impressive as a 2YO, but in the Fountain of Youth, as a 3YO, he didn’t fire. Well, his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin discovered that the horse needed an operation to correct an displaced palate. The horse also underwent an equipment change, and won the Wood Memorial. He appears to be on the improve. I  think he has a great shot.

Firing Line has been dueling with Dortmund earlier this year, but Dortmund has been getting the best of him. However, Firing Line put on a dazzling performance in the Sunland Derby by 14 1/2 lengths. I have been very impressed with Firing Line. He’s a tough horse. I could see him dueling for the lead, and being there at the end to grab the Roses.

Mubtaahij, the UAE Derby winner in Dubai, is the next horse I will discuss. When I saw him win the UAE Derby as part of Dubai World Cup day, I was bowled over by the Irish bred Mubtaahij. He had an amazing turn of foot, and when he took the lead, he blew by that field. The race was 1 3/16ths, longer than any of the American prep races that the American horses have run. His name means “elated” in Arabic. Mubtaahij is also running without the anti-bleeding medicine Lasix.  Michael de Kock, the horse’s trainer has won in many countries. I have been very high on this horse since the UAE Derby on March 30.

Lastly, trainer Bob Baffert has an amazing 1-2 punch with the undefeated Dortmund, a son of the 2008 dual classic winner Big Brown, and the heavy favorite, American Pharoah. Dortmund is a little over 17 hands high. He’s battle – tested. He’s won his races in several ways. He’s lost the lead, but regained it. He’s won going away.  Dortmund is a real fighter. He has a win over the Churchill Downs track as well.  I  really love this horse, and highly recommend using him in exotics.

American Pharoah, the favorite, is owned by Zayat Stables. This stable has been bitten by bad Derby luck in recent years. The Zayats owned Bodemeister was caught in deep stretch by I’ll Have Another in 2012. In 2011, Nehro, finished second to Animal Kingdom . American Pharoah, being the 2014 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding 2YO, gives Zayat Stables their best chance to win yet.

Sidelined from a foot injury since November, forcing American Pharoah to scratch from the Breeders Cup Juvenile, the horse returned to the races in the Rebel Stakes back in February. He was much the best over a sloppy track. On April 10th, American Pharoah ran in the Arkansas Derby. Again, the horse made mincemeat out of the field.  Now, the  knock on the horse is that he’s all hype, and he hasn’t beaten anyone. Well, one can say that about several of the other horses in the race. Besides, American Pharoah hasn’t done anything wrong.  I think some people have an agenda against either the owners and/or the trainer.  I  feel that this is the horse to beat.


Well, I have to make a pick. There are several horses that I love for various reasons, but I can only pick one horse to win. Can I predict a dead heat between American Pharoah and Dortmund and Mubtaahij? Seriously, after careful consideration, the horse that I predict will win the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will be: DORTMUND.  The basic reason is because, as I said, he’s battle tested, and can win in different ways.

I  hope that my readers have enjoyed the blog. Good luck with your wagering. Don’t let anyone talk you off your horse. Bet with your head, not over it.  Feedback is welcome.

UFC Champ Jon Jones Wanted For Questioning in Hit and Run, UFC 187 Fight In Jeopardy

April 26, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC light heavyweight champion appears to be in trouble with the law once again. Rumors have been confirmed that Jon Jones was in a car accident and is reportedly wanted for questioning in a Hit and Run in Albuquerque, NM.

This caps a day in which rumors ran rampant about Jon Jones and his involvement in UFC 187. Rumors began circulating early Sunday that something major happened with Jones and he was out of 187. Nothing was confirmed until a few Twitter leaks were confirmed by reporters and respected members of the media.

Alex Goldsmith, a reported for KRQE news in Albuquerque confirmed reports on Sunday night with a tweet.

“APD confirms MMA star Jon Bones Jones is wanted for questioning in connection with a hit and run.”

This is nothing compared to several other rumors that hit Twitter about the accident. None have been confirmed at this time thus it would be unfair to mention them. Yet the idea that Jones would allegedly run from a car accident tells you everything you need to know about the substance (no pun intended) of those rumors.

This is just another dark moment in what appears to be the downward spiral of the UFC champion. Jones tested positive for cocaine metabolites prior to his UFC 182 fight. Jones plead for forgiveness and entered rehab. Jones’ stint in rehab lasted a matter of one day according to several reports.

Jones was also arrested for a DUI back in September 2012. He plead guilty to DUI charges and paid a fine. His license was also suspended for six months.

The next 48 hours of UFC news will be very interesting to watch. Depending upon the circumstances of this incident, it is conceivable that Jones is out of UFC 187. That said, I don’t think the UFC will suspend him for a minute. Any discipline will come from the commission as the UFC tends to default to the commission in these types of situations. The fight is in jeopardy nonetheless.

More to come…

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Dana White Says No WWE Match For Ronda Rousey

April 26, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

While many observers are excited about the idea of Ronda Rousey wrestling at WrestleMania 32, there is one guy who isn’t. Unfortunately that happens to be the one guy who can make it happen and according to him, it’s time for the WWE to move to Plan B.

UFC champion Ronda Rousey made international headlines after she got into the ring at WrestleMania 31 and teamed up with the Rock. Most presumed it was a prelude to WrestleMania 32 and subsequential reports confirmed that the WWE are planning a Rousey vs. Stephanie McMahon match at Mania 32. Not so fast says Dana White.

I think the bigger story behind Rousey appearing at WrestleMania was the UFC giving her permission to do so. Dana White has always been adamant that he didn’t want his fighters getting physical on pro wrestling shows. White was responsible for shutting down a Brock Lesnar return to the WWE while Lesnar was still fighting for the UFC. So when Rousey got into the ring and got physical at Mania, many wondered if White had changed his mind on pro wrestling. Apparently he hasn’t.

White was asked about her appearance at Mania and the rumors of Rousey wrestling next year in Dallas, Texas. White immediately shot them down and said that Rousey’s WrestleMania appearance was a one and done.

“What she did on WrestleMania was awesome. It was awesome. It came off great, I loved it. Um, she’s a one and done.”

When asked if that meant she wouldn’t be involved in any more WWE matches he reaffirmed, “Nope.”

Houston we have a problem! The problem is that the biggest star in the UFC wants to return to the WWE. Rousey is a big pro wrestling fan and recently told Roddy Piper that the biggest problem she had with her Mania appearance is that she is hungry for more.

“I hit the ground running,” Rousey said. “The first I ever wrestled was at Wrestlemania with an attendance record at Levi’s Stadium. I had a problem when I left. There’s no way I can’t not go back in there again. There’s no way. After experiencing that, there’s nothing like it.

The UFC could have a big problem on its hands. Do the UFC hold the power here? They sure do. But you also don’t want the biggest star in your company unhappy. Rousey’s popularity is growing and so is her movie career. Rousey is an athlete at heart but she is also a business woman and she certainly has enough money to retire or sit out to support a dispute. With Anderson Silva and GSP seemingly lost, the UFC cannot afford to a rift between its MVP and the president.

My prediction is that Rousey will be at Mania but she won’t be wrestling. Quite frankly I don’t think it makes much sense, unless she is getting in the ring and beating someone in 30 seconds. I do predict that we will see Rousey in a WWE ring but it will come much later after retirement or a hostile standoff with the organization.

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Ronda Rousey Says She Wants More WWE

April 15, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ronda Rousey got a taste of the WWE and she wants more! The UFC champion told WWE legend Roddy Piper that she had so much fun at WrestleMania 31, there is no way she is not getting back into a WWE ring.

Rousey made her first in-ring WWE appearance at WrestleMania 31 in a highly publicized angle with the Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. It had been widely circulated that the WWE have been interested in using Rousey for awhile, yet her UFC contract prevented her from showing up. With a blessing from Dana White, the WWE finally got their girl and it may be that blessing that winds up blowing up in White’s face.

Rousey was a guest on Roddy Piper’s podcast and talked extensively about her experience at WrestleMania 31. Rousey told Piper that the biggest problem is that she can’t wait to go back.

I hit the ground running,” Rousey said. “The first I ever wrestled was at Wrestlemania with an attendance record at Levi’s Stadium. I had a problem when I left. There’s no way I can’t not go back in there again. There’s no way. After experiencing that, there’s nothing like it.

The second I left I was already thinking, ‘How can I possibly go back?’ I didn’t even change [clothes] yet. I hadn’t even gotten out of my outfit yet.

Rousey is already rumored to be a part of the WrestleMania 32 main-event. Early speculation was that she’d either back up Rock vs. Triple H or tag with Rock against Hunter and Stephanie in a mixed-tag team match. Recent reports indicate that the WWE wants a Rousey vs. Stephanie singles match. Whatever the idea is, it would appear that Rousey is up for it and anything else.

Piper talked to Rousey about the angle and the benefits of working with someone like the Rock in that situation.

It’s a tricky thing having [The Rock]. He’s so good at putting people over. He holds the room so intensely, it’s hard to not be outshone by him,” said Rousey. “Triple H and The Rock could be one of the biggest rivalries of all-time. How can we make a situation where we ignore them? That’s a lot of pressure, to be captivating enough to ignore them.

Rousey also talked a bit about the spots in the angle with Stephanie and Triple H. Rousey told Piper that the hip-toss in particular did not go as planned.

That wasn’t even a throw I was planning. I made it up on the spot. I pulled it out of my ass. I don’t even know what that is,” said Rousey. “It was kind of awesome to see everything planned, and everything that doesn’t go according to plan.

She also told Piper that Stephanie wasn’t supposed to go down in their skirmish either. Rousey and Piper both agreed that the spontaneouity of it all made the moment even better.

I was nervous, in a way, when I knew [the appearance] was coming up,” Rousey said. “I was trying to look like I was cool but my heart and my chest were [pounding]. I was trying not to look obvious but I think I totally did.

Rousey and Piper also talked a bit about wrestling fans. Rousey literally stopped short of saying that wrestling fans were better than MMA fans. To put it in context, Rousey told Piper that wrestling fans understand that the WWE stars are just entertaining whereas MMA fans may take things she says to promote a fight too literally.

Sorry Dana but you have a problem on your hand. Your number one star is hooked and loved the rush of working in a stadium in front of 66,000+ people. Rousey did tell Piper that she won’t look ahead to future WWE dates until she fights Beth Correia on August 1. Rousey also told Piper that she had several movie commitments shortly thereafter.

I’d say there is a pretty good you’ll be seeing Rousey at WrestleMania 32 if she has her way. If she doesn’t, it could lead to an interesting showdown between White and his biggest UFC star.

Check out the entire podcast with Piper and Rousey. It’s a lot of fun and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll come out of it having a bigger appreciation for the UFC champ.

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CM Punk Calls WWE Fake, Says UFC Fighter Is An Easy Job

April 14, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk is making some waves with some recent comments about his former trade. The former WWE champion who was once a big pro wrestling fan has now to come to despise it and is a lot less impressed with his former skill set than most of you are.

Punk did a lengthy Q&A with and whether it is the door officially closing on pro wrestling in his household due to his wife retiring, a million-dollar lawsuit, or pressure, he does not have any kind things to say about his pro wrestling career and the WWE. So for you wrestling fans if you think Punk is coming into the UFC and fighting for you, he is here to tell you that he isn’t.

What does it mean to be a good fake wrestler? That’s an identity crisis that I think I struggled with. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, someone else picks who they want in the top spot.

It’s fake. People always get offended by that word. ‘No, we like to say it’s pre-determined.’ For whatever reason, people get angry at fake. Pre-determined eases the blow? It’s fake. At the end of the day it doesn’t really mean anything. So after a while, it was, ‘Let’s just really fight and see what happens.’ Now I get to.”

It’s interesting that Punk would go so far as to call it fake. It is what it is but for a guy that admittedly suffered countless concussions and injuries, you would think that fake would be a word that offended him. It certainly offends a lot of his former peers I can tell you that much. It’s not that anyone is trying to say it’s real, it is just that these guys and girls who do it for a living work hard and suffer through quite a lot to make it and sustain their spots. To demean it now that he and his wife are out is a little disappointing.

Backstage [in WWE] is so shark-infested and political. It’s almost comical. A lot of people are more interested in the backstage goings-on than what they see on television. A lot of ways it’s more fascinating. It’s a competition for sure.

You wonder, Did you really punch me in the face? You say it was an accident but I know you and I think you’re a prick and I’ve seen you do this to other people. Are you doing this to me? Did you kick me in the ribs as hard as you can? In MMA I know the other guy is going to try and kick me in the ribs as hard as he can. No, not maliciously. But I’ve been in the wrestling ring with plenty of guys where I’m wondering, Is he is trying hurt me? Is he mad because he is losing? I don’t have to deal with that bullsh*t any more. It’s a godsend.”

The guy is entitled to his opinion but he’s not real smart here. He is mocking the entire fan base that he is expected to bring with him to the UFC. He wasn’t signed to a UFC contract without one fight under his belt because they thought he’d be a champion. He was signed because he was expected to bring the pro wrestling fan base over with him. Coming out with so harshly against pro wrestling isn’t going to help.

Punk was also asked about other WWE stars getting into the UFC. “Half of them talk about it; none of them do it. They have their little comfortable safety net doing WWE stuff, I guess. I would much rather give it a shot than just talk about it.”

Punk not only angered WWE peers and fans but has probably made several of his UFC peers and many fans made as well when he called being a UFC fighter an “easy job.”

“[In WWE] you’re on the road pretty much every day of the year, at least when you’re in the position I was in. Fly into a town. Find a gym, work out. Go to the building. Stretch. Wrestle. Cool down. Drive to the next town. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now I’m just training. What an easy job, right? It’s way better for me. I was burnt out on traveling, so over it. People think I’m crazy, living in Chicago and driving to Milwaukee every day to train. That’s the easiest thing in the world! Ninety minutes from my front door and I can be in my own bed every night? It’s a different lifestyle and it’s done me wonders. Amazing. I love it.

The real tough sons of bitches are the guys who train as hard as I do and then have to go to their nine-to-five job. I’m fortunate enough to do this as a full-time job. So I get to train two or three times a day. Things are going to be okay for me.”

I have to hand it to Punk. He alienated two fan bases in one interview. That is quite an accomplishment in a day’s work. While I am sure referring to being a UFC fighter as an “easy job” was not meant as a slight against his peers, it will certainly be taken as such.

There is also something quite sad in the way a guy like Punk who used to love pro wrestling has grown to absolutely hate it and everything about it.

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Kentucky Derby 2015 Prep and Horse Racing Tidbits

April 10, 2015 By: Category: Sports

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2nd is a little over three weeks away. Many of the major Derby prep races have been run as of this writing. As most racing fans know, each race had a certain amount of Derby-qualifying points attached to it. The more important the prep race, the larger amount of points. The last major prep race, this Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR, gives 100 points to the victor, 40 to the place horse, 20 to the show finisher, and 10 to the fourth place horse.

In speaking of the Arkansas Derby, I will be discussing the race, and my thoughts on my top choices for the Kentucky Derby at this point. By the time the race gets here, my mind will likely have changed several times. I also will be discussing my views on things that are going on in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing. I hope my readers will enjoy the blog.


The huge favorite for the Arkansas Derby, as well as as huge favorite for the Run for the Roses, is 2014 2YO Male Eclipse Award winner American Pharao. American Pharoah made his 3YO debut in the Grade II Rebel Stakes back in February of 2015. He was coming off a foot injury which caused him to scratch from the 2014 Breeders Cup Juvenile back in November. In the Rebel Stakes, on a muddy track, American Pharoah just destroyed the field, leading gate to wire. Some of the criticism that American Pharoah received was that he didn’t face a tough field, and it was “too easy.” I don’t know what the keyboard warriors expected.

Now, we will see what will happen in the Arkansas Derby. American Pharoah faces seven others ( He is in post six. It will be interesting to see if someone goes out with American Pharoah to try to test him. After all, American Pharoah gets on that lead uncontested, and he is as good as gone. He really hasn’t been tested like he will be in the Kentucky Derby.

From looking at the field, I’m suspecting that Mr.Z is going to be on the lead, as he has early speed. It will be interesting to see if American Pharoah can try to rate (ration out or reserve his speed) off the pace. Both horses are owned by Zayat Stables, but as Mr. Z is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, I’m sure that Lukas will want to have a horse in the Derby. The rest of the field doesn’t impress me all that much, with the exception of Far Right. Far Right won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. He is definitely a threat to pull the upset. TheTruthOrElse added blinkers, and is a closer, so he might be a possibility for an exact or a trifecta. Other than that, I am going with American Pharoah for the win.


Now, I will move on to the top five horses who I like for the Kentucky Derby. As the race gets closer, I will do a weekly blog, expanding it to the Top Ten. For space purposes, I will be giving you a Top Five. My mind will change, so don’t hold me to this.

5. International Star.
Winner of the Louisiana Derby has the most points. I loved his gutsy performances. It will be interesting to see what will happen in a 20 horse field. Can he repeat it?

4. Mutaabij

This horse’s performance in the USE Derby in Dubai knocked me out. He had an amazing turn of foot. He got out of a little bit of trouble, and blew by that field. He also ran 1 3/16th miles in that race. He should not have a problem with the Derby distance.

3. Carpe Diem

I attended the Bluegrass Stakes, and was very impressed with Carpe Diem. Trainer Todd Pletcher has done a great job with this 3YO. I think he’s one to watch in the Derby. He is unbeaten as well.

2. American Pharoah

So far, American Pharaoh has not done anything wrong. He’s undefeated. We will see after the Arkansas Derby if he remains so. I do wonder, with Dortmund and Carpe Diem also wanting the lead, if American Pharoah can withstand that kind of pressure in the Derby.

1. Dortmund

Dortmund is undefeated in six starts. I have seen this horse win in all kinds of ways. He won races with Firing Line breathing down his neck. Dortmund has won when challenged in the stretch, and had to pull away. In the Santa Anita Derby, people wondered whether Dortmund could win from that #1 hole. That was no problem for Dortmund, as he just obliterated the field. That’s what I like to see in a Derby horse. For the keyboard warriors saying Dortmund is “too big” to win the Kentucky Derby, I really don’t think so.



Two time Eclipse Award winning Mare Beholder finally returns to the races this Friday, April 10, 2015. Right before the Breeders’ Cup races, Beholder was scratched due to an illness that caused a fever, and a very severe lung infection. She returned to training earlier this year , and after a few audibles, her trainer Richard Mandella supplemented her into the Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita Racetrack on Friday.

As a huge fan of Beholder’s, I am very excited. I can’t wait to see her on TV. I hope she wins, of course, but I do realize that she’s coming off a huge layoff. I hope she and jockey Gary Stevens have a great, but safe trip. I will be waiting to see her, as well as many other of my current favorite horses, in person at the Breeders’ Cup, when Keeneland hosts the event on Halloween weekend. That will be awesome.


Now that we are heading for another Triple Crown season, the worn out ideas of trying to change the current format of the Crown keep popping up. To refresh your memories, the current format is the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby runs on the first Saturday in May, then two weeks later, the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, MD is run. Three weeks later, the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park in Ozone Park, NY. This format has been in place since 1948 when Citation won it. There was a 25 year drought before Secretariat won it. Now, that there’s a 37 year drought, people want to change the format.

I feel that winning Thoroughbred Racing’s Triple Crown for 3YOs is one of the hardest accomplishments in all of sports. It requires a 3YO horse, within a five week span, to win three different races on three different surfaces, and travel three different distances. The same horse is also asked to take on all comers as well, including horses that have skipped the Derby and/or Preakness. The horse has to overcome so much, and everything has to go right. However, I do not think that the current Triple Crown format should be changed.

I realize that the Triple Crown has not always been this format. When Gallant Fox won the 1930 Triple Crown, the Preakness was run before the Derby. The Kentucky Derby was not always 1 1/4 miles. I recognize all of that. I also understand from some of those who are calling for change, that with today’s horse, the Triple Crown might be “too hard.” Well, it’s supposed to be hard. I realize that the breed is weaker, but that’s not a reason to change the format. Today’s horse is bred for speed, not stamina.

In his post-2014 Belmont Stakes rant after California Chrome failed to make history as the 12th Triple Crown winner , besides calling the winner Tonalist’s connections “cowards,” minority owner Steve Coburn made a ridiculous suggestion. He felt that the only horses who should be running in the Triple Crown races should be just the horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby. First of all, where’s the competition in that? What does the Kentucky Derby have to overcome?

Also, there will be short fields, which will turn away serious handicappers. Handicappers don’t generally like short fields. Besides, if you look through racing history, plenty of horses who skipped the first two legs of the Crown have upset the Crown bid. A horse named Coastal upset Spectacular Bid’s attempt in 1979. Pass Catcher upset Canonero II in his bid for Triple Crown glory in the Belmont Stakes in 1971. So, Tonalist is not the first horse to skip the first two legs in the Triple Crown and upset the Crown bid, and he won’t be the last.

I just think the accomplishment is so rare because it is so hard. It should not be changed to make it easier. What I mean is, there shouldn’t be a Crown winner just to have one. The Triple Crown winner should be that one great horse who has earned it, and deserved it, not because rules were changed just so racing is so desperate to have a Triple Crown winner.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. All feedback is welcome.