January 27, 2010

Triple Crown's Lovable Losers - The Race

Ladies and gentleman, who says you don’t get a second chance in life? Today in Louisville, Kentucky, we have assembled a star studded field of 16 Thoroughbreds who indeed do get their second chance. All of the horses entered today are remembered for their great ability, but they are also remembered for being unable to win any of their Triple Crown starts. Today, one mile and a quarter is all that stands in the way of redemption for one of these fine horses. Famed Churchill Downs is brimming with more than 100,000 racing enthusiasts who have all came today to see this super field slug it out. It is a rather brisk day here in Kentucky, with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees. There is a chill to the air, but the crowd is warmed by their great anticipation for what will happen. There goes Steve Buttleman, the Churchill Downs bugler, and it’s the call to post! The horses look fabulous as they step out on to the fast main track. The crowd is absolutely roaring with excitement.

Leading the stars on the track is Congaree, one of today‘s longshots at 21-1. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, he should be a factor on the early pace. The number 2 is the great, Alydar, with his usual pilot, Jorge Velasquez. With no Affirmed to battle, will today be his day? Many in today’s crowd think so; he has been made a solid favorite at 4-1. Next is the beautiful gray Free House, who looks over at fascination at the boisterous crowd. Kent Desormeaux is in the irons, and he will be sent off at 17-1. The 4 is the winner of the first ever Breeders’ Cup race, Chief’s Crown. Don MacBeth will ride the son of Danzig, who is 13-1. After that comes the stretch running, Cryptoclearance, ridden today by Jose Santos, he is the longest shot on the board at 30-1. The number 6 is one of the favorites, Sham, who was unlucky enough to test Secretariat, during his Triple Crown run. Laffit Pincay will pilot the son of Pretense, who is currently at 7-1. The 7 is the speedy Hard Spun, with Mario Pino back in the irons. The youngest horse in the race, Hard Spun is getting a great deal of support at 9-1. Next in line is Discovery. Yesteryear‘s Iron Horse, and the Horse of the Year of 1935 still looks great and is being let go at 11-1. Let’s get in a quick word for our most generous sponsor. This most distinguished post parade is brought to you today by Zip Zap Zo Shaving Gel, for the closest of close shaves.

Back to the post parade, and there is Forty Niner, the juvenile champ of 1987. Ridden today by Pat Day, Fort Niner is currently listed at 15-1. And there is Skip Away, the iron horse. The fans have made him one of the favorites at 7-1, and he is looking absolutely grand today with rider Mike Smith aboard. The number 11 is Honest Pleasure, the horse who came so close to knocking off Forego in the 1976 Marlboro Cup, is at 15-1. Next is Slew O’ Gold, the two-time champion of the early eighties. Angel Cordero once again rides the 8-1 shot. The 13 is the late running Captain Bodgit, at 15-1 with Alex Solis up. Next is the 22-1 chance and handsome son of In Reality, Believe It, who was clearly born in the wrong year. The 15 is the 1973 three-year-old champ, Key to the Mint. He will be ridden by Braulio Baeza and is listed at 17-1. And finally the late entrant in the 16 hole is Medaglia D’Oro, who is well supported at 12-1. Wow! What a field. The historic race is almost upon us. The horses are loading well, let’s get ready to race! They’re all in, and…They’re Off!!!

For the early lead ... that's Hard Spun in the center of the racetrack. Congaree is out fast from the rail. Forty Niner and Free House move up quickly and there goes Skip Away and Honest Pleasure from the outside. It’s a cavalry charge in front of the stands for the first time. Six of them, and they all want the early lead. Discovery, Sham and Chief’s Crown come together with Believe It, who was away smoothly, on their outside with Medaglia D'Oro farther out. Slew O’ Gold is next. Velasquez allows Alydar to drop back on the inside with Key to the Mint and Cryptoclearance will be the early trailer. Back on the lead, it's Hard Spun, Congaree and Honest Pleasure, with Free House, Forty Niner, and Skip Away all within a length. The pace is fast. Sham has moved up with Believe It on his outside. Slew O’ Gold is moving comfortably just behind them on the outside. Alydar has moved off the rail just ahead of Captain Bodgit, who has just two horses beat. :22 and 4 and :45 and 4 for the half; they’re really winging on the front end. Hard Spun and Honest Pleasure are going head and head with Free House, Congaree, Forty Niner and Skip Away four abreast and in close pursuit. Sham, Chief’s Crown, Medaglia D'Oro and Slew O’ Gold are moving together and trail the leading pack by about three lengths. Believe It is next with Discovery, it’s gap of four more lengths back to Captain Bodgit, Key to the Mint, and Alydar. Cryptoclearance trails the field.

The field heads into the far turn. Honest Pleasure and Hard Spun are still battling on the front end in 1:09 and 4. Skip Away has moved up to challenge with Free House and Congaree. Pincay has Sham on the inside and right behind the leaders. Slew O’ Gold is in the middle of the pack and now Alydar has maneuvered to the outside, followed by Captain Bodgit. Congaree and Forty Niner are the first to drop off this brutal pace, as Skip Away and Free House have now joined the leaders. It is four of them together with Sham making a bold move on the turn, followed by Discovery, Chief’s Crown and Slew O’ Gold. Alydar and Captain Bodgit are now starting to pick off horses on the outside with Key to the Mint making his run in between horses.

Spinning out of the turn that’s Skip Away who has stuck his head in front. Sham ducks to the rail and Hard Spun is resolute between them. Slew O’ Gold angles out and Discovery looks for racing room. Alydar is now really moving, but is going to have go eight wide. That’s Skip Away and Sham who have edged a half length in front, but Slew O’ Gold is a threatening presence on the outside. Hard Spun is weakening and Discovery is still in with a chance. Here come’s Alydar full of momentum on the outside and Captain Bodgit too. It’s Sham being joined by Slew O’ Gold, Skip Away is still there and Alydar is making up ground with every stride. It’s Slew O’ Gold, but Sham comes back at him from the rail and out in the middle of the track Alydar is flying. It is going to be one of these three. Sham has a nose in front, Slew o’ Gold, and Alydar is still gaining. Sham and Slew O’ Gold. Sham and Slew O’ Gold. Alydar is way outside, the three will hit the wire together, and at the finish it’s gonna be…too close to call! Alydar was on the outside, Sham on the inside and Slew O‘ Gold was between horses. Wow!!! What a race!

The photo is being studied, and apparently studied some more. I know I couldn’t tell. After this much time, we could be looking at a dead heat. No, the number 2 has gone up! Alydar! Alydar is finally a winner!!!

The crowd let’s out another loud roar. 16 great horses just gave us their all. Alydar’s connections are over the moon, John Veitch is literally skipping into the winner’s circle. Alydar is the winner, but what a race all of these horses just ran. The photo revealed three marvelous horses noses apart and at the finish, the top eight horses were separated only by an incredible 3 lengths. The first eight under the wire were, Alydar 1st, Slew O’ Gold 2nd, Sham 3rd, Captain Bodgit 4th, Discovery 5th, Skip Away 6th, Key to the Mint 7th, and Chief’s Crown 8th. Alydar paid $10.20 to his happy supporters and ran one of the fastest 1 ¼ ever run at Churchill Downs with a final time of 1:59.75. Well racing fans, it was an incredible day and an incredible race. Alydar has done it…he has earned the title as the best of Triple Crown‘s Lovable Losers.

12 comments:

Ciarán said...

jus read the finish cos i'm off out :)... brilliant Brian!

Emily Cowen said...

Hooray for Alydar! Great piece!

LDP said...

what a great horse Alydar was. Sweet redemtion for him, no matter how hard he had to fight to receive it. Looks like he finally was able to get out of Affirmed's shadow.

ja.raymond said...

I kinda had a feeling Alydar was gonna get it, but I was hoping Sham would have been closer than what he was. He gave a helluva run tho!!
Still, nice race, Brian! Thanx!! :)

tjreyn01 said...

good for Alydar! Got his roses. By the way, where can I get some of that zip zap zo gel??

TurfChatter said...

The post race drug results are in. Alydar was over the permitted level of bute so Slew O Gold gets the purse money!

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks C! Hooray for Alydar indeed, Emily. Yes LDP, he's finally out of Affirmed's shadow. Sham only lost by two noses, how much closer did you want it, Jane? LOL Zip Zap Zo was just pulled from the market, seems like it might cause uncontrollable giggles, Tim. Careful TC, don't start any nasty rumors!

Michael said...

I can't believe the stewards did not look at the finish. It sure looked like Alydar came out and bumped Sham in the final strides.

Brian Zipse said...

Good try Michael, but as we all read, Sham was on the rail and Alydar was out in the middle of the track.

Anonymous said...
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Michael said...

I know. I was just being a sore loser! Watching Sham in the Derby and Preakness has upheld my opinion that he would have won any other year!

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