PADDOCK TO POST: TRIPLE CROWN 2020 – (OR: HOW TO BUILD ANOTHER SECRETARIAT)
By Jennifer Thibodeaux Bourque and Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief
LAFAYETTE, LA and PHILADELPHIA PA (www.basnnewsroom.com) The specter of the COVID -19 virus has altered our approach toward sports forever.
For the things which have seemingly been taken away, a glimmer of hope has emerged. Those willing to adapt have made attempts to again have the culture embrace them as we negotiate to this rough time…
The Sport of Kings and their changing things have connected for a brief piece of the sunlight as the sports calendar may yet put thoroughbred racing in the winners’ circle.
On June 20, each Triple Crown race gets a makeover, beginning with the end. The 152nd Edition of The Belmont Stakes – the endurance one and a half mile grind, now leads off affairs. The distance, in spite of being shortened to a mile and an eighth, still has that killer backstretch – and a total tactical rethinking in deciphering the race.
This changes strategy for the riders as tactics must adjust to accommodate; and a move too soon or too late will be costly in what is shaping up a very competitive race. I can remember riders like Jorge Chavez stealing big races on the front end by slowing the field to a crawl before going to Hoss Power as he lulled the field to sleep…
The shorter distance should also favor the stalkers; anyone sitting close to the front will be in a good spot if the track is fast. Once the field heads into the back stretch, it will be all about ‘the clock’ – who makes their last move their best move as they swing out to the path which best put them in position to succeed.
Recently, riders like Joel Rosario are heading into their prime. With just over 2,000 wins this Dominican Dandy is poised to remain among the very best for a long time. Rosario is a two – time Belmont Stakes winner – and will ride live long shot Max Player.
Puerto Rico’s Manuel Franco is another rising star, with over 1200 wins in less than eight years, Franco will ride Tiz The Law, who is opening as the 6-5 favorite, and going in at post position 8 in a field of 10 hosses…
1. Tap It to Win 6-1
2. Sole Volante 9-2
3. Max Player 15-1
4. Modernist 15-1
5. Farmington Road 15-1
6. Fore Left 30-1
7. Jungle Runner 50-1
8. Tiz the Law 6-5
9. Dr Post 5-1
10. Pneumatic 8-1
If you want to put yourself in position to win at the track, it still comes back to science. Bloodlines have run true since the concept, and my l’il sis Jeni sums it up in two words. “Class tells, Brother,” says Jeni. “No one just comes out of nowhere; somewhere in their DNA is a link to a hoss who may have passed down a superior trait which gives them an advantage.
“It’s just ‘reading through the tea leaves’ correctly to find that advantage; and that’s why you see consistent patterns in some bloodlines when it comes to strength, speed, stamina – even the ability to run on a wet track – and which Hoss manifested that specific trait.
But the goal has been always to find one Hoss who encapsulates the very best of all these traits – and that is why Secretariat – is the Gold Standard.”
In this current field, it seems almost every Hoss can trace back to Secretariat – or his daddy, Bold Ruler – which should make for one hell of a race, but the real secret to Big Red’s success – are his daughters.
Lady’s Secret, a comparatively tiny horse, had a huge heart – and tenaciously spanked opponents to the tune of a Horse of The Year award in 1986.
WHO’S YO’ DADDY?
Out of Secretariat’s 663 foals, 341 won at the track; and 54 became stakes winners; that’s better than a .500 average. Another daughter, Terlingua, was the mama of Storm Cat, one of the most sought after studs ever. For a mere $500,000, you can get a date with the Mack Daddy of Divine Equine in the hope his baby – won’t be a ‘maybe.’
The most powerful argument for bloodlines, however, is how they carry over generations. Secretariat’s full son Risen Star, crushed the opposition by over 15 lengths in the 1988 Belmont Stakes…
His grandson, A.P. Indy (his babies known for stamina over distance) won the Belmont in 1992…
In 2007, A.P. Indy’s daughter, Rags to Riches, out – dueled Curlin down the stretch to become the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over 100 years!
So class really does tell; and the efforts to build a better Hoss – have gone on for generations.
GETTING THE DISTANCE
The other aspect of the distance between events. instead of the two week/three week format after the Kentucky Derby, will be the ten week difference between the Belmont and the Derby – scheduled for Labor Day weekend in September. One month later the Crown races will end October 3 with The Preakness laying the Black-Eyed Susans on the potential Triple Crown champion; a week before The Breeders’ Cup!
If successful, it will give thoroughbred racing a safe space to land on; and a defined space on the sports calendars to come.
We see the following:
This race revolves around the two Tapit hosses, Tap It To Win (1) and Tiz the Law (8).
Tap It To Win seems to have tactical speed, and should get out in good order. Tiz the Law and Dr. Post (9) are definitely stalkers. They will sit behind the pace – with long shots Fore Left (6) and Max Player (3) among the second group with Modernist (4).
As they come to the still reasonably long backstretch Tap It To Win, Max Player, Tiz The Law and Mondernist should be four across, and now it’s about the trip. Who ever is on the rail may have a slight edge saving ground on the turn home.
The Ortiz brothers know the track well; but so do Rosario and Franco!
Tiz The Law hits the wire first, Tap It to Win second and Max Player third; with Dr. Post or Fore Left filling out the superfecta (#1#3#6#8#9 box) = $60
So when you see your Hoss eatin’ up ground in the backstretch, stand up and scream at the top of your lungs…
WORK THAT NOBLE BEAST!!
See you Saturday at Belmont!!
always outnumbered…never outgunned.