January 22, 2010

Triple Crown’s Lovable Losers

Whilst you were all safely tucked away in your beds and sleeping without a worry in the world, Zipse at the Track was deep inside his racing laBORatory. Mixing potions, pouring over past performances, a devilish laugh here, and a fortuitous lightning strike there, and voila! Today’s concoction is a collection of horses sure to please. Call yourself a Cubs fan? Think the San Diego Chargers will ever win the Super Bowl? Expecting a return to greatness for New York’s Knickerbockers? This mythical race is for you. Let’s face it; it is fun to root for the lovable loser. Today I offer up a race that celebrates just such a horse. Now don’t get me wrong, these were excellent horses who won many a race, but alas, not when it mattered the most. Racing’s Triple Crown offered a bit too much of a challenge for these fine horses. Many of them ventured into each leg, all of them attempted at least two thirds of the series. Nary a win amongst them. Truly lovable losers. The field has been set, riders have been announced and post positions drawn. Without further ado, here is the field:

1 Congaree 20-1 V. Espinoza
2 Alydar 4-1 J. Velasquez
3 Free House 15-1 K. Desormeaux
4 Chief’s Crown 12-1 D. MacBeth
5 Cryptoclearance 30-1 J. Santos
6 Sham 8-1 L. Pincay
7 Hard Spun 20-1 M. Pino
8 Discovery 8-1 J. Bejshak
9 Forty Niner 15-1 P. Day
10 Skip Away 6-1 M. Smith
11 Honest Pleasure 15-1 J. Vasquez
12 Slew O’ Gold 8-1 A. Cordero
13 Captain Bodgit 15-1 A. Solis
14 Believe It 20-1 E. Maple
15 Key to the Mint 15-1 B. Baeza

Talk amongst yourselves. Who do you like? Who was left out?

Finally a chance for redemption. One of these excellent horses will put an exclamation point on their careers. The big race will be run next Wednesday, January 27. It will be held at historic Churchill Downs and run at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles over the dirt course. All the horses have entered the race in their lifetime best form. I literally can not wait to see who wins this classic and lovable race.

22 comments:

LDP said...

The two that stood out for me the most are Alydar and Skip Away. My sentimental favorite is the gritty Hard Spun. It is a fantastic field Brian, I cannot wait for raceday!

Jen W. said...

OMG! I was going to say the SAME THING! LOVE Alydar and Skip Away, and Hard Spun was just one gorgeous creature to me!!!!! I actually fell in love with him first time I saw him! ;-)

I love Jorgie V! What a rivalry with Alydar and Affirmed!

Anonymous said...

100yds to go and iTS ALYDAR BY 15 LENGTHS WELL CLEAR THE EASIEST OF WINNERS.......

Larry said...

Chief's Crown and Slew O'Gold will get the distance and the price is right but I would guess that Alydar might win the race. But at the price I will bet on Chief's Crown though you never can tell what kind of ride Cordero will come up with...

tjreyn01 said...

I like LDP and Jen's style. As much as I love Skip Away (think I made a good choice for monday!) Alydar would have dominated if it wasn't for being foaled the same year as Affirmed. Got to go with Alydar over this field. He clearly would have been a triple crown winner without Affirmed to deal with in '78.

Ernie said...

3. Best-looking horse in the field (Alydar)
2. Best paddock presence in the field (Slew o' Gold)
1. Best key-races fig in the field (Sham)

Great race. Skip Away could win; couldn't leave out the magnificent rangy Alydar but the winner of this race would HAVE to change leads. Hard Spun would hold stunningly well to deep stretch.

Only object to this expression: Truly lovable losers. Such Grade I accomplishment, albeit post TC season, shouldn't be categorized as such. I, however, am not a big Kentucky Derby fan (to say the least)- too flukey. I am autumn in New York.

Brian Zipse said...

Looks like the favorites, Alydar and Skip Away are getting the most respect. I am a little surprised there has not been more love for Sham so far, there will be some changes in odds by post time.

And Ernie, this is a most special group of winners one and all. I refer to them as lovable losers only in regards to the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont.

Marti said...

It'll be interesting to see where you place them when the dust settles Brian, but for my $$, and if we're assuming each horse goes in representing when they were in their best respective forms...nobody's going to out-gut Slew O Gold.

Marti said...

As an aside, I'm with Ernie...Derby Schmerby, LOL! Too many talented horses ruined, retired, "called out" as sprinters...whatever...give me the turf, older horses, and the girls any day! :-)

Anonymous said...

Sham...he kept up with the best ever until halfway through the Belmont Stakes.

Diane

Mark Moran said...

One of the horse racing better polls I've ever seen, because it's about some overlooked, yet great horses. As best as I recall (if I'm 50% right I'll be happy), the only ones to win 3yo of the year despite no Triple Crown wins were Key to the Mint and Slew O' Gold. Skip Away won HOY at 4. I think Honest Pleasure set the Travers record, then got nipped by Forego in the Marlboro. No one has ever come closer to Triple Crown glory only to come up short than Alydar. And Sham came within 2 1/2 lengths of track record setting performances by Secretariat - twice - then pushed him to the greatest race ever. I think if you put this whole field in the gate at CD for 10 furlongs, the order of finish would be 1. SHAM 2. KEY TO THE MINT 3. HONEST PLEASURE 4. ALYDAR 5. SLEW OF GOLD. 6. SKIP AWAY I'd list the rest of the order, but then I'd put someone's favorite horse last, and I already have enough enemies.

Brian Zipse said...

At last, some recognition for Sham!

Other notable 3y.o. champs not to win a TC race were Tiznow, Holy Bull, Wajima, And Buckpasser. None of them ran in the Triple Crown, other than Holy Bull's poor effort in the Derby, thereby disqualifying them from this field.

railrunner said...

Alydar by far, but I love Hard Spun. Hard Spun might have had some distance limitations with one of his worst races being in the Belmont, but I for one love how determined and dogged he was. I think his type of runner is the most exciting at times, being able to lead all the way, then open up or fight for all you're worth down the stretch.

Michael said...

I would play a 6-13 exacta box and key Sham over the 2,3,7,and 13 in a trifecta. Sham ran the 2nd greatest Derby ever and unfortunately it was against the greatest Derby ever! And he wasn't just along for the ride. No beating Sham in 134 other Derbies and definitely not in the Zipse Derby!!!

Brian Zipse said...

Sham over Bodgit...interesting Michael, I wonder if I should allow wagering on this one...Just Kidding!

I love your enthusiasm for the great Sham, Michael. We will have to wait until Wednesday to find out how he fares.

Anonymous said...

I can not believe you left Medaglia D' Oro out of this field.

MH said...

Hard Spun, Win, Place and Show.

Brian Zipse said...

Medaglia D'Oro was definitely one I could have added...maybe a late entry.

LDP said...

Hard Spun could go the Classic distance, and perhaps a little over, but 12 furlongs was too long. However this race is 10 furlongs, a distance Hard Spun ran second at twice. Thing is had he not been running against two horses that freaked that particular day or finally found their best stride, he would've won both.

MH said...

LDP is so right. You know Hard Spun will be at least on the board somewhere. His only time off was the Belmont - 2nd Derby, 3rd Preakness, 1st King's, 1st KY Cup and 2nd in BC Classic. He can compete with any of these gems.

Rachel said...

MH, Hard Spun was off the board twice. Once in the Southwest, and once in the Belmont. But he had excuses both days, Southwest he really didn't handle Oaklawn's surface and Belmont he got a garbage ride.

Michael said...

If Sham does not coast by this field, I'll be filing an objection with the stewards!!!!