Saturday, June 9, 2007

Girl Power, Motherfuckers!

Holy shit, she did it.

Rags To Riches beats Curlin to the wire

Rags To Riches held of Curlin the freak in an amazing stretch duel to become the first filly in 102 years to win The Belmont Stakes. What an amazing race, with a stretch run reminiscent of the famous Affirmed/Alydar race of 1978. Also note that Rags To Riches is the half-sister of last year's Belmont winner Jazil {and they both ran 2:28 4/5}. I think the breeding fee for their mama, Better Than Honour, just went up a whole bunch.

The 139th Belmont Stakes

Talk about determination. Curlin got head to head with Rags To Riches at the top of the stretch, and the whole way you expected the bigger, stronger male horse to pull away and win. But Rags To Riches kept digging and never really relinquished the lead, winning by a nose in the end, and although Curlin was bigger and perhaps stronger, Rags To Riches was 5 pounds lighter and used her quickness to get it done. Tiago got up for third.

Other initial thoughts:

- Initial fractions of :24, :50, and 1:15? I don't think I have ever seen fractions that slow in any race. The were damn near walking, with the first 6 bunched up and bomber Imawildandcrazyguy way back. When you saw :50 and 1:15, you knew that the closer had absolutely no shot at all.

- Just like Curlin in The Preakness, Rags To Riches seriously stumbled out of the gate and still recovered to win.

- Between this year's Derby, Preakness, and today's Belmont, I cannot ever remember a more exciting set of Triple Crown races when considered as a whole. Wait, I can after all: 1997, when Silver Charm won an incredibly exciting Derby, win an even better Preakness, and then lost the Triple Crown in The Belmont by just half a heartbreaking length . That year will always be special since it was my first Derby, and I had the winner. Before that you probably have to go all the way back to the amazing 1978 Affirmed/Alydar duel, when they went head to head in all three races and Affirmed barely edged out Alydar in all three to win the Triple Crown, which has not been won since.

- Todd Pletcher, 0 for 28 in Triple Crown races, finally wins one with a filly. Wild.

- While NBC mostly sticks to sappy human interest stories in their horse racing coverage, ABC/ESPN's content tends to be much, much better. The back to back segments today on Robby Albarado coming back from multiple fractured skulls and a fractured pelvis, followed by a piece on how being a jockey is so dangerous and yet they always come back, were AWESOME. I sure hope someone throws them up on YouTube, they make a wonderful video companion piece to my assertion that Jockeys are the most badass of all athletes in the world.

- As I hinted at last week and Solon pointed out in the comments, ABC execs pretty much all creamed their pants when Rags To Riches won: what a fairytale lead in for their Ruffian movie that they aired immediately after the Belmont broadcast.

- So it turned out to be a beautiful thing that I couldn't get my bets down.

So congrats to all the connections to having the courage to try, and to the horse for an incredibly gritty, gutty performance to beat the bigger and stronger boys.

1 comment:

Solon said...

I, on the other hand, would like to thank Xpressbet for blowing my shot to hit the exacta and finish with a healthy profit for the triple crown races this year. Bastards. It'll be for me in 2008 and beyond.

I suppose ABC's content was better than NBC's, but they could use some serious work on the technical side.

First, Jeannine Edwards did a pre-race interview from the paddock (I believe with Pletcher) that had no sound. Of course, the capper was the post-race interview with the rather subdued losing trainer Asmussen, where the sound was concurrent with Jeannine Edwards' interview with the somewhat more upbeat winning trainer Pletcher.

I have no idea why they didn't cut away and get it straight--I guess someone in the booth figured "Hey, fuck it, this will make up for the pre-race Pletcher interview that we didn't get."

The weirdest thing about this year's Belmont was Rags to Riches winning as a lead-in to the movie about Ruffian. Mondo bizarro.