American Turf Magazine
View Cart
0 item, $0.00

Nov 27, 2004



Weather and track conditions permitting, the Race of the Year will be

 run Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct by the sea. It is of course the nine-furlong

Remsen Stakes, pitting a pair of unbeaten 2-years-olds -- Galloping Grocer

 (the next Funny Cide) and Rockport Harbor (the next Smarty Jones).

Of course, you wouldn't know this was the Race of the Year by checking out the

 media. Naturally there has not been word one about the race in the electronic

 media or in the mainstream print media, and Daily Racing Form, in its infinite

wisdom, relegates the Remsen "advance" to page four in Saturday's editions.

What's more, the DRF linemaker makes Galloping Grocer the favorite. I will

 gladly give up my first-born if Rockport Harbor is not the favorite -- Beyers or

 no Beyers.

The main concern at Team Rocky going into the Remsen is the possibility of a

speed duel. After all, the Grocer and Rocky have nothing but "ones" next to

 their names. It would seem both need the lead.

Then, Rocky went ahead and drew the two-hole, while GG drew the outside in

 a field of six. Advantage Rocky.

And then a house quote Dom Schettino, the trainer of Galloping Grocer, appeared

 in DRF.

Says Dom: "My horse should have no problem rating. He is being trained

to rate."

So the question is: do we take Dom at face value? Or do we think he's fibbing?

 I know it's hard to believe, but trainers have been known to fudge the truth in

such situations. If I only had a dollar for every trainer who has said: " horse

 doesn't need the lead."

In this case, I'm willing to believe ol' Dom is not selling a bill of goods. And if

not, that means Rockport Harbor will scoot right to the top from his inside

post, and the race will be over at the first turn.

Actually, to be perfectly truthful, I don't think it matters much what the

opponents' strategy is. Rockport Harbor is the best 2-year-old on the planet

 (you've been reading such since September in this space), and he'll prove it in

 the Remsen. And if you can get 4-5, count your Thanksgiving blessings.

Rocky thus will complete his 2-year-old campaign with a 4-for-4 record, including

 two graded stakes in New York, with an average margin of victory five lengths.

 That will give him a better resume than Seattle Slew when the Slew was

voted 2-year-old champion of 1976. Unfortunately, Eclipse voters are more

 "sophisticated" now, and Rocky probably won't make the cut.

And, speaking of awards, let me say right here that Stew Elliott should get

 Eclipse jockey. But he won't, however. He has about as much chance as

Steve Asmussen has of getting Eclipse trainer, despite the fact that Asmussen

 set a one-year record with 500-plus victories.

One more word about Elliott. In a Saturday piece, the DRF's lead columnist

 says that Elliott finished third in the Meadowlands standings. That's odd.

The last I looked, Elliott won the Meadowlands title by five winners.

Hopefully, they will get the Aqueduct track fixed in time for Rocky and Elliott

 to flex their muscles Saturday. It boggles the mind that Aqueduct had to

shut down after two races on Thanksgiving because of unsafe track conditions.

 At the time, the temperature was 64 degrees.

It goes without saying that Aqueduct was the only racetrack in North America

 to cancel on Thursday. The new NYRA prexy says all will be right with the

 world when the New York tracks get their slots.


Also sad is a situation that happened at Thistle Down last Saturday.

A horse named Slewrenity won the sixth race by three lengths at odds of

2-5, but the stewards thought they caught Serenity's jock hit
Lac Grape's nose with the stick while blowing by him on the turn, and DQd

Slewrenity to second.

Unfortunately, the stewards got it wrong. A review of the tape failed to show

 a stick in the face. Slewrenity's connections appealed to the Ohio State Racing

 Commission, whoch promptly overturned the DQ.

But then came the really sad news:

"There's not much we can do about the betting," said a commission official.

In the meantime, the three Thistle Down stewards, all former jockeys, are

 discussing "retirement."

<< Back To Newsletter

Redeeming a gift certificate or promotional certificate? We'll ask for your claim code when it's time to pay.