I have a severe advantage in that I no longer follow racing all year long. Anyone who does so is forced to justify it in their own minds, to pretend for example that those obscure December races actually meant something, that they watched them for a reason and the horses emerging are high caliber. You can find props like Beyer ratings to rationalize your frauds.
Meanwhile I can apply a big picture overview and understand that the freaks, if any, are going to come from young juveniles pointing to the Classics. I don't care about late blooming stiffs or older horses, blah blah blah. Those types get trampled by the American Pharoahs while Happy Adjusters on this board and elsewhere are forced to scramble for explanation. I think I remember how that went: American Pharoah improved a tremendous amount in the fall. Yeah, that was it. He wasn't much of anything during the Triple Crown series. Those older horses were going to carve him up, the blah blah blah types. Do those stiffs run in December? I'll never know.
In brief sampling recently, only two horses offered any threat of wow. Songbird looks as classy as they come. Darn shame she won't risk the Derby. I mentioned last week that Nyquist and Mohaymen looked like mere claimers in the Gulfstream padddock area. Not Songbird. I loved her appearance before seeing one stride. Then the way she held her head so high and steady throughout the race was so memorable.
I'm a bit biased toward Exaggerator because I saw him in person early last October at Keeneland on a wet cold Saturday in the Breeder's Futurity. I braved the elements to examine those horses up close because there is obvious potential for a star to emerge from a race like that. Brody's Cause outgutted him that day. I took note of it. I have no idea how the Keeneland locals could be so dunce last weekend to prefer Zulu above Brody's Cause. What the heck is a Zulu, and who cares about a result after a layoff at Tampa Bay Downs, of all places? Brody's Cause showed a bit of class in overcoming Exaggerator early last October. I don't discount it and IMO Brody's Cause is more than a grinder. Often when two horses run 1-2 in an early prep and then the handicapping conventional wisdom tries to separate them much later, the result was more meaningful than the analysis and they run in close contact again when it matters.
That being said, the flash wow was from Exaggerator. I generally hate deep closers, the parlor act. But when a horse runs big near the lead in one race and then can alter course and dominate via different strategy, it's generally a very positive sign. There is no way I could discount what Exaggerator did in that race, whether it was on mud or divoted bermuda.
BTW, as a USC alum I naturally took an interest in a horse called Trojan Nation last weekend, although I knew nothing about him. I took note of the #3 saddle cloth and followed him all the way around, when possible. For a while he was far back and out of the screen.
Then I laughed like heck as the joke race caller Larry Collmus had no clue what he was looking at and continued to call Trojan Nation by the wrong name. He had obviously handicapped the race beforehand, and in brutal fashion. That can't be the severe longshot closing stoutly on the rail. Therefore I'll identify another horse who makes more sense in that spot, even though the #3 is plainly visible throughout. It was hilarious that he prolonged the gaffe for an eighth of a mile or thereabouts.
I couldn't wait until Collmus detected his error, with the inevitable bumbled words. Even more awkward than my projection.
Granted, there have been much higher profile flubs. I remember the 1975 Derby with Chic Anderson, and Denman missing Street Sense until nearly the wire in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. But at least those guys offered a flash of brilliance at their best. Larry Collmus is a "...shines bright" caliber race caller. Barely above dullard stage. I can't believe we are stuck with him.
Last edited by Apollo
on Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.