With the 135th Kentucky Derby less than a month away (May 2), three big races this past weekend showcased some big guns and one that never got a chance.
The Pamplemousse came up with a leg problem, was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby and will not be running in the Derby. It’s a shame, but with him out of the Santa Anita Derby, it became basically a one horse race.
Pioneerof the Nile pulled jockey Garrett Gomez out of the saddle and could not be restrained in going to the front on the backstretch. Gomez finally got hold and let a horse go by him, but he then went to the front again in the stretch and held for a length win.
If this guy runs this type of race in the Derby he will get cooked.
Then there was the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park won by the tough Musket Man with Giant Oak second by five lengths. These two seem a few steps behind the main Derby contenders. The second place finisher will not go to the Derby.
The big race of the day was the 85th Wood Memorial. For racing fans, this is a must-see if you missed it. Odds-on favorite I Want Revenge broke in the air and was far back in last as all the bettors around me took a big gasp. You very seldom see a horse in a Grade I stakes race overcome a start like this, but that is just half the story.
The cool headed Joe Talamo took I Want Revenge in hand and let him gradually move up on his own. He then moved between horses on the turn, but was blocked. Somehow Talamo got him out and made a five wide move to split rivals and take the lead. He drew away under a hand ride and I’m not sure Talamo ever used his whip.
In any case we could be looking at something very special here. One thing is for sure, I Want Revenge will get his revenge over Pioneerof the Nile when the two meet in the Kentucky Derby. Pioneerof the Nile was victorious in both previous meetings in California on the artificial surface.
Now the advantage is with Revenge on the dirt and revenge will be sweet.
With The Pamplemousse out, it just could open a spot for Dunkirk. He will head to Kentucky with just three lifetime starts in trying to become the first horse since Apollo way back in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old.
Times are changing in horse racing and the curse of Apollo could come to an end in the year 2009.
Hard Rock baseball
With baseball in full swing this week, here’s one short observation. The new Yankee Stadium looked like the ball was just flying out. It’s a hitter’s park so look to bet the Yanks over a lot this season.
Hard Rock will be offering a special weekend baseball parlay card. And Eric St. Clair at The Cannery has plans for something called "the 2-hit card." There will be selected players and bettors will have to pick at least four that will get two hits in a game. The Cannery contest is pending approval, while Hard Rock’s card is good to go. Stop by and take a shot.
Walking through a casino last week, I unluckily passed by a Megabucks machine and saw that it was over $32 million. So I said why not? And, it was 21 bucks down the tubes without even a tie. I walked away wondering why you never see a headline in GamingToday saying "Psychic Wins Megabucks" or "Psychic Hits 10-Team Parlay."
Also, I had to stop at the bank after my Megabucks play. I left wondering why banks keep both doors open yet chain the pens to the counter?
Maybe someone can tell me.