Triple Crown Redux: Merci, Geroux!
By Jennifer Thibodeaux Bourque and Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief
LAFAYETTE, LA and PHILADELPHIA, PA (www.basnnewsroom.com) On the eve of this year’s Kentucky Derby, it’s important to rewind last year’s Belmont Stakes; to reemphasize how it’s always the little things – that mean so much…
Coming out of the gate past the first quarter, jockey Florent Giroux, after sliding out of his irons, saves at least three horses and riders by sliding outside the pack to safety,
Now a casual fan might be a bit miffed that the two bucks bet on Giroux’s Hollywood Handsome (at 23-1) are gone, but real fans appreciate the skill exhibited in moving 1200 pounds of Hoss Power away from danger by one of the best pound – for – pound athletes in any sport…the thoroughbred jockey.
The elegant move displayed strength and speed; but the bigger issue, sadly, is the notion that jockeys as athletes aren’t as respected as they should be.
This is an issue which comes and goes seemingly as we get to Triple Crown or Breeders’ Cup time; because a lot more asinine talking heads minimize what these athletes can do by showing videos with supposedly humorous sound effects as jockeys and horses fall – like it’s one big fucking joke…
Covering a Breeders Cup in Chicago a few years ago at Arlington Park, Rene Douglas, who I had interviewed for a project was Arlington Park’s leading rider (at that point) four years straight.
A situation very similar to what happened with Giroux did not fall favorably with Douglas in 2009, who clipped heels and was thrown from his horse…with the horse (Born to Be) landing fully on Douglas, paralyzing him below the waist. Douglas would never ride again, but has become an inspiration in the business with his determination to walk again.
So when those fucking videos pop up, please consider what these men and women put on the line when they ride…
Parade to Post
The ulterior motive in this year’s Derby will be to not ‘justify’ Justify (PP7) as a Triple Crown contender. Trainer Bob Baffert’s Mane Man has handled all before him – but has yet to deal with the chaos that can come with a big field; where The Trip is the saving grace.
Pedigree – wise, Justify seems on the surface to be a hoss to beat; but Jenny says otherwise. “Justify’s pedigree on the surface looks a lot like American Pharoh’s (Triple Crown winner) – only better – it’s as close to equine royalty is possible.
“Mendelssohn, however, has Storm Cat/Secretariat in his DNA, with a touch of Northern Dancer. Translated, that means when he’s in full four-heel drive, he doesn’t just win, he demolishes. Huge extended leads.”
Unlike Justify, Mendelssohn has won on grass and dirt. They are both ‘related’ in that they have Scat Daddy (a sire of note in his own right) in their blood, but Mendelssohn has successfully stalked and negotiated his way through big fields.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, frankly, would love a little payback. He’s brought more than a couple hosses abroad – with less than favorable results. Speed bias in Dubai notwithstanding, we feel Mendelssohn is the real deal.
That said, Mendelssohn (PP14) is our pick to get to the pay window, along with Bolt d’Oro (PP11) Good Magic (PP6) Audible (PP5) and possible ‘rabbit’ Promises Fulfilled (PP3) in our trifecta box. The fact that the 10-cent superfecta was taken off the betting boards will make this effort even more intriguing;and more to savor should we be right!
We’ll take Mendelssohn (14) in a trifecta key with Promises Fulfilled, Audible, Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro (14/3, 5, 6, 11) and the same five in a trifecta box.
Summary: The extra traffic will nullify Justify – if Mike Smith gets caught mid-pack, he will be hard – pressed to wiggle out of the jam.
Good luck to everyone, and when you see your Hoss turn for home, remember to scream at the top of your lungs:
WORK THAT NOBLE BEAST!!
Michael – Louis Ingram (c) 2018 all rights reserved.