The 139th Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby are in the books. I hope that my readers who love racing enjoyed their days at the races, either at the track or on TV. I also hope that those who bet made lots of money. Even if you lost a few bucks, I hope you had a good time anyway. I am not endorsing gambling, but I hope that those who did gambled wisely.
Let’s discuss the winning horses and their connections.
In the Oaks, on May 3rd, Princess of Sylmar, with jockey Mike Smith up, pulled a huge upset for the win. She is owned by the King of Prussia Stable partnership. Her trainer is Todd Pletcher, who also had Unlimited Budget (3rd), and Dreaming of Julia (4th) in the race under his tutelage. “Sylmar” ran down Beholder for the win.
[adinserter block=”1″]In the Derby, on May 4th, on a very sloppy track due to the rain, Orb, the favorite, came down the stretch and won the roses with Joel Rosario aboard. Orb’s trainer, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, a native of Lexington, KY, is a Hall of Famer, and has won big races, but has never won the big race in his home state. The late, great Easy Goer, who finished second in 1989, is the closest “Shug” has come. All that changed when Orb crossed that wire.
Now, I am going to add a little more detail on the Oaks/Derby weekend by using my favorite literary device: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the entire weekend, so both races will be intertwined.
“Shug” McGaughey’s first Derby win:
McGaughey is one of those trainers that is well respected. I have followed this sport for 36 years, and I have never heard a bad word spoken about McGaughey. Well, let’s say barely, to be fair. It was about time McGaughey won a Derby, given how much he has been so good for this sport.
Congratulations Mr. McGaughey. You earned it, and deserved it.
Beholder’s performance in the Oaks:
During the post parade, she was just acting goofy. She threw her jockey off, and nearly fell down. Despite all that, she ran a fantastic race, but could not fend of the winner, Princess of Sylmar.
Defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan’s Victory in the Woodford Reserve:
In the Kentucky Derby under card, there are several stakes. One race was the Woodford Reserve, a turf race. Because of the soft going, Point of Entry, a terrific grass horse who was suppose to be in the race to challenge Wise Dan was scratched. However, the show goes on, and Wise Dan just sat off the pace, and took over at the top of the stretch, and drew off to win.
Rain on Derby Day:
I know when you love an outside sport like horse racing, MLB, or the NFL, there is always the chance of rain. In the NFL, it doesn’t make that much of a difference how the players look. However, for racing, and especially the Kentucky Derby, it makes a difference. It is so much prettier when it is sunny, and the track is “fast.” The ladies hats and outfits look a lot better in the sun, and such. Wearing ponchos and such doesn’t sound like fun to me. Seeing the horses and jockeys running in that mud isn’t appealing either.
I usually watch the coverage from morning till the race itself, but I just had to shut the channel off for a bit. That Michelle Beadle on the NBC Sports Network is so annoying. I don’t know what it is about her. She had no idea what on earth she was talking about when it came to the horses. Of course, they had Mike Battaglia acting like a goofball. NBC covered Todd Pletcher ad nauseum.
Dreaming of Julia getting slammed at the gate in the Oaks:
If former WWE wrestler Bret Hart wants to see a screw job, he should watch a replay of the Oaks. Stonestreet star Dreaming of Julia was pretty much body slammed when the gates opened, and lost all chance. She wound up at the back of the pack going into the first turn, and I knew she was in trouble. She got into traffic problems, and it was a miracle she wound up fourth, losing out on third place money by only a head. She will be back.
Is Todd Pletcher the Peyton Manning of Horse Racing when it comes to the Kentucky Derby?
This is starting to become a pattern. Todd Pletcher gets good 2YOs Pletcher then develops them into very good 3YOs, and then wins many of the Derby preps. Pletcher then has a whole bunch of 3YOs for the Kentucky Derby, and with the exception of Super Saver in 2010 (Pletcher’s only Derby winner for owner WinStar Farms), Pletcher’s horses strike out. Many don’t hit the board.
Same thing here. He had 5 different horses for 5 different owners, and only one, Revolutionary, finished third. The racing media worships Todd Pletcher. They just think he is the man.
I compare him to Peyton Manning because the pattern is similar. Media worships Peyton. Peyton is awesome in the regular season. Amazing stat collector. One of the best ever, and I will give him that. Great in the regular season (prep races, if you will). Playoff record- 10-11 (including 1-1 in SB). Need I say more.
As for Pletcher, I am not trying to knock the guy, but I wonder what happens as to why he doesn’t have more Derbies than he should have. He did win the Oaks this weekend though.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall as to what explanation he gave those five owners yesterday.
Bugging Gary Stevens on his Twitter Page:
Now, after a race, especially after a losing effort, every jockey will get heckled by the fans at the track. It is part of being a jockey. Even an NBA player will be heckled after a loss as it’s part of being an athlete in general. I think most athletes accept it as part of their profession.
[adinserter block=”2″]That being said, and I realize that when any celebrity opens a twitter account or any social media account, they open themselves up to fans bothering them or whatever. However, it gets a bit much when the fans get really rude.
Gary Stevens, 50, just came out of retirement, and is riding at an amazing level. He rode Oxbow in the Derby. Some hecklers wrote on his twitter that he needs to retire, and calling him and Mike Smith (who rode Palace Malice) “old geezers.” Stevens was a bit ticked, and blocked a couple of them.
I mean, fans get really stupid at times.
Well, that was my recap of Oaks/Derby weekend. I hope you all enjoyed it. On to the Preakness to see if Orb can win that, and maybe be on the verge of a Triple Crown.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan
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