Baseball has its great rivalries (Yanks-Red Sox, currently Dodgers-Giants), so it got me to
thinking why can't racing do as much. Yes, I know. Every 10 years or so you get an Affirmed-Alydar
and a Sunday Silence-Easy Goer.
But that's it.
So what would be better for racing (and the entire sports world) than a rivalry between
Smarty Jones and Birdstone?
Right now, it's Bluebloods 1. The People's Horse 0. But most folks, myself included, believe that's a
fluke. Bobby Frankel says the same thing. As an impartial observer, Bob said after the Belmont
that Smarty Jones would beat Birdstone nine times out of 10. Nick Zito found that opinion offensive.
So what would be better than a Smarty-Birdstone rematch down the road? Maybe in the Travers.
Zito would have the home court, like the Lakers and Phil Mikelson, but Smarty would be the favorite.
More importantly, a rematch in the Travers would produce the biggest media event -- and the
biggest crowd -- in the century-plus-old history of Saratoga. You would need to park in Glens Falls
just to get near the place.
But this is horse racing we are talking about. It ain't gonna happen. Yes, Birdstone will make the
Travers. That's a given. But trainer Servis this week laid out Smarty's schedule, and, as I have
been saying in this space for weeks, there is no Travers on it.
Health permitting, Smarty will make the Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8, the Pennsylvania
Derby a month later at Philly Park, the Pegasus at The Meadowlands, and finally the Breeders' Cup
Classic at Lone Star, quite probably Smarty's last hurrah.
It's always a plus to see Smarty Jones on the racetrack, but what fun is it to see virtual walkovers
at 10 cents to the dollar? And that's what we're looking at in the Haskell, Penn Derby and Pegasus.
Of course, in theory, Smarty and Birdstone could stage their rematch in the Classic, but that's a
longshot. First of all, Smarty and Birdstone would have to run the table coming up to the Classic, and
that's a longshot (especially Birdstone). And, secondly, Mrs. Whitney is very much anti-Breeders' Cup.
Notice she passed last year with Birdstone and Bird Town.
Speaking of last year, Empire Maker and Funny Cide were at least entered for the Travers before
dropping out. This year, a Smarty-Birdstone rematch is just a dream. A pipedream.
We deserve Round Two, and we'll never get it.
Too damn bad.
Again, I want to point out that I don't have a clue about training thoroughbred race horses. But
I do know that it is not a good thing to van a horse 13 hours on the eve of a big race, especially in
I pointed this out in this space last Friday, and I suggested that Azeri, who spent 13 hours on a
van from Louisville to Long Island, thus
will be a bet-against in the Phipps Handicap the next day at Belmont Park.
In fact, I picked Azeri to finish fourth in a four-mare field -- behind Sightseek, Storm Flag Flying
and Passing Shot in that order.
You saw the race. Sightseek aired at $6.70. Storm Flag Flying was second. Passing Shot third. Azeri
fourth. According to backstretch sources, Azeri bled through the Lasix.
The bottom line is simply: WHERE ELSE DO YOU GET THIS GOOD STUFF?
And while I am at it, last weekend I managed to pick 70 per cent winners at Belmont and Monmouth
on my phone sevice (1-888-612-2283), including best bets Frisky Spider ($11.40), and Ulla Bloom
This doesn't happen every day...but it happens a lot.
This is something you need to know.
I am anxious to find out if I can have similar handicapping success on the left coast. What better
opportunity than Wednesday when there is a 175K Pick Six carryover on the line at Hollywood Park?
1. #7 Senfully Easy
2. #6 Julie's Go Baby Go
3. #1 Shes a Freebie
1. #6 Damar Wayne
2. #7 Ended
3. #5 McManus
1. #5 Minister Blair
2. #6 Sharp Marc
3. #4 Montana Deputy
1. #4 Dauphin
2. #3 Komax
3. #8 Islander
1. #2 Tronare
2. #4 Reel 'Em In
3. #3 Golden Arrow
1. #3 True Stride
2. #9 Riley's Life
3. #5 Spectacular Bay
One final thought:
How bout those Devil Rays! Manager Lou, a hard-rock horseplayer himself, has these guys thinking
they are the '98 Yankees. Last Sunday, they made it 11 straight (as a slight dog) with an NBA reject
on the mound, and their two best hitters on the bench.
There is still room on the bandwagon.