If only those two were being used in the same title because they shared more than the same Saturday in June...
Diplo on the Hollywood Turf
Diplo ran a nice second in his $40,000 claiming race over the Hollywood Park turf course. He navigated the mile and sixteenth nicely with Martin Pedroza aboard and battled down the lane to earn the place. The winner got loose on the lead and, as happens when lone speed becomes controlling speed, was able to stay within himself to pick up the first place check. By all reports Diplo came back from the race feisty and full of himself. As it turns out, our boy is a turf horse after all. Del Mar anyone?
Drosselmeyer won the Belmont Stakes in fine fashion. I had said yesterday that his breeding should be able to get him the distance but that maybe he wasn't classy enough to beat this field. He proved me wrong and turned the tables on Fly Down after the six length pasting in the Dwyer. I didn't think that he got into six lengths worth of trouble in that race, but apparently he did with the slow start costing him more than I thought. Mike Smith gave him a nice ride and had the mile and a half timed perfectly in his head.
The "Dudes" ran better than I thought they would. I especially thought the ride by Dominguez on First Dude was a pretty good one. I really expected the colt to fade out of it long before he did and he hung on for a very clear third. Most of the commentary focusing on how the Preakness runner up was being ignored was unjustified. If anything a horse that fades at a mile and three-sixteenths can't really be considered a threat at a mile and a half but Dominguez nursed him along better than I would have thought possible.
It's official, the new anthem of the Belmont Stakes was a dud. As you know, in theory I thought this was a bad idea on Thursday when it was announced (there's a lot of commentary around the web on this now, but as far as I can tell, my bitching about it was first - if I can't pick a winner, I need to brag about correctly prognosticating something!) and in practice it met my expectations. Even ABC must have thought so as it cut away from the horror before it was over to get to commercial. Bless them. It looked as if NYRA was trying too hard to remain relevant when it really doesn't have to - well, at least for the Bemont Stakes.
No Triple Crown possibility and the threat of rain kept many away reducing the Belmont attendance to just a shade over 45,000 - half of what it's been during years where there is the possibility of a Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is America's most prestigious horse race. There is always a shot at the Triple Crown heading into the Preakness, but its placement at the tail of the Triple Crown trail places the Belmont's relative appeal to the masses in the hands of fate. A forecast of nice weather and a possible Triple Crown would move attendance past 100,000. Even a hipper new official Belmont song can't get you past not having a Triple Crown winner or even a winner of either other leg in the race. Still, 45,000 people on the day of the largest race in the biggest metropilitan area in the country is more than a little depressing if you stop and think about it too much, but that's a thought for another day.