September 16, 2009

Race of the Century - Second Division

Excitement fills the air as the huge crowd readies for the much anticipated 2nd Division of the Race of the Century. A field of 13 is set to do battle to get a step closer to 21st century bragging rights. The sun is shining and it is a little hot and humid for this time of year with temperatures approaching the nineties here at Churchill Downs. The horses look great but you can see the heat on at least one of their conditioners; Rick Dutrow, trainer of St. Liam, is completely washed out. The fans have had a tough time deciding between this loaded field. Ghostzapper rates a tepid favorite over Curlin, although both horses are listed at 9-2 on the tote board. Next is two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Tiznow at 5-1 and the sentimental choice is Barbaro who will go off at 7-1. I’d like to take a moment to thank our sponsor Dapper Dan Hair Cream for helping to get all these great horses together. We’re getting close now. The horses are starting to load, let’s get ready to run. They’re all in, and…They’re Off!!!

War Emblem is off like a rocket from the outside, just to his inside is Ghostzapper and there goes St. Liam on the rail. War Emblem is determined to have the lead as Victor Espinoza steers him towards the rail. St Liam and Ghostzapper are next, but there is a wall of horses between them. Azeri, Lava Man, Tiznow and Left Bank all try to hold their pos…OH! Left Bank checks sharply! Lawyer Ron and Rags to Riches are also bumped in the melee. That could have been disastrous, but everyone is still on their feet. It’s War Emblem by a length and a half. St. Liam and Ghostzapper are renewing their rivalry in the early stages with a Californian contingent of Azeri, Lava Man, and Tiznow close behind. Barbaro is down on the rail, with the recovered Left Bank back in contention. Next comes Lawyer Ron, the filly Rags to Riches, Afleet Alex and then back to Street Sense who has fallen some 20 lengths behind of the fast pace set by War Emblem. Fast, I’ll say :22 and 3 and now :45 and 3! It is a furious pace and the others are closing in. Just three lengths separates the first eight horses. War Emblem leads the chase into the far turn with St. Liam off the rail and Ghostzapper on the outside breathing down his neck.

Lava Man and Barbaro move up and Tiznow is between horses. Afleet Alex moves up on the rail and Street Sense still has more than 15 lengths to make up. Rags to Riches is making her move. Spinning out of the turn that’s Ghostzapper who’s taken the lead, Tiznow joins St. Liam from the inside and Curlin is making a powerful move on the far outside. Barbaro is right there with Rags to Riches and Afleet Alex. As they approach the eighth pole it is Ghostzapper and Tiznow. Tiznow and Ghostzapper! Curlin is driving on the outside and … Afleet Alex bursts through a narrow opening on the inside! Afleet Alex is flying! Ghostzapper, Tiznow, Curlin and Afleet Alex! That’s Afleet Alex with Curlin on the outside, Afleet Alex has done it! Afleet Alex with Curlin, Tiznow, and Ghostzapper, What a Race ladies and gentleman!

The top four finishers: Afleet Alex, Curlin, Tiznow, and Ghostzapper advance on to the final race in the Race of the Century. In the all important race for the fifth spot, the fans’ sentimental favorite, Barbaro, won a four hose photo over Rags to Riches, St. Liam and the late running Street Sense. Barbaro will round out the top five headed to the championship race. The final order of finish included Lava Man 9th, Lawyer Ron 10th, Left Bank 11th, Azeri 12th, and War Emblem staggered home in the stretch to finish last. Final time for the race over the fast Churchill Downs Dirt Course was 1:59 and 4.

Ten of the best horses of the 21st Century have now qualified for the finals. The Race of the Century will include:

Afleet Alex
Rachel Alexandra
Point Given


NetworkEmpowerment said...

What a strong field this will be, and what a race that was! RA will need everything to run out Zapper then hold off Curlin, Afleet, Barbaro, Zen, Invasor and Bernardini. What a calvery charge that would end up being. This race sets up for a horse that can make a come from behind move or a long steady run. What a fun race to try and handicapp.