05/01/2010 3:18PM

Churchill Downs: What Did I Just See?


Okay. All of us who have been around for more than five minutes know that just as fast as a track bias surfaces is as fast as it can disappear. But it is still a shock when it happens, which is why Atta Boy Roy's 10-1 upset of the Churchill Downs Stakes wasn't nearly as much of a surprise as was the manner in which he accomplished it.

Atta Boy Roy went right to the front, was steered over toward the inside by Calvil Borel, and went on to do something no other horse who took that approach could do in the previous five main track races, he went on and won. The inside in recent races claimed some very nice horses like Warbling and Hot Dixie Chick, making them easy prey for outside closers. But not Atta Boy Roy.

I suppose it's possible that Atta Boy Roy was an isolated "bias buster," and that the track is still dead on the rail, and favoring outside closers. But my insticts tell me "no." That's actually good news. It's unfortunate enough that the Derby is being compromised by a sloppy track. No one wants to compromise it even more by a track bias.