09/17/2009 4:46PM

Midshipman's Return


When Midshipman makes his first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in Friday's 3rd race at Belmont, he will be coming off the second longest layoff by any returning 2-year-old champion in the last 36 years:

A few thoughts:

--In total, 18 of these 35 2-year-old champs won their first start at 3, but it's a tale ot two streaks: They were 12 for 17 from 1972 through 1988, but only 6 for 18 since.

--All four 2-year-old champs who did not return for six months or more -- Macho Uno (264 days), Maria's Mon (282), Roving Boy (305) and Gilded Time (371) -- lost their debuts at 3. So did two of the three others whose first start at 3 came 150 days or more after their last start at 2: Capote (152 days) and Johannesburg (154 days.) Arazi won his first start at 3 off a 156-day break. So returning 2-year-old champs coming off layoffs of over 150 days are 1 for 7 since 1972.

--On the other hand, Godolphin has been popping with one long-layoff returnee after another in recent weeks. Vineyard Haven finished first (dq'd to second) in the G1 King's Bishop off a 198-day layoff; Sara Louise won the G3 Victory Ride off a 273-day layoff, and Girolamo won a Saratoha N1x off a 309-day break.


Midshipman faces one hurdle no other 2-year-old champion ever has: He will be making his first career start on dirt after racing only on Del Mar's Pro-Ride and Del Mar's Polytrack synthetic surfaces last year. Also, he has caught a small but salty field for his return: He is the third choice on the morning line at 3-1 in a field of six behind Storm Play (8-5, and coming off a 294-day layoff himself) and Just Ben (9-5), who have recorded top Beyer Speed Figures of 110 and 109, respectively. Midshipman's biggest Beyers as a 2-year-old were 91's in his debut and the BC Juvenile.

buzznott More than 1 year ago
Steve---The breakage article was probably one of your most profound.Previously, I have been thinking that breakage should go to the Don MacBeth fund or Jockeys Guild. With $.10 supers, pennies are already in use.
thehoarsehorseplayer More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't go as far as calling the breakage system criminal, but it does seem like it has the makings for a class action civil suit. Certainly, it would be interesting to hear the racing authorities defend, what seems to be an increasingly indefensible position. Defend, under oath, where they would be compelled to release figures revealing exactly how much money is involved here. In this same vein, maybe a web page listing not only actual payouts, but also would-have-paids without breakage prices would serve to raise the public indignation. Of course, breakage can also be looked at from the perspective of where the money is going. For the sake of argument, let's assume breakage is a tax horseplayers have learned to live with. Then maybe the tax could and should be earmarked for an underfunded industry responsibility like horse retirement. And/or, I'm sure a case could be made that it is in the long term interest of racing to figure out a way to subsidize Past Performances before the tools of the trade get prohibitively expensive.
Can See'em All More than 1 year ago
Steve .... Did you make it up to East Boston for the closing of Wonderland? They ran their last card last night, and with dog racing banned in Mass next year they're finished. Very, very sad day for racing.
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
After reading the article about Rosario being questioned about a ride at Del Mar I went and watched the replay. He broke his horse good but it was a turf race and they were going pretty fast. He was outside another horse and Rosario looks like he was just trying to rate the horse. Then two horses made a big rush together on the outside and Rosario simply moved his horse inside to save ground and make a late run. Big Deal! The horse finished ok and just missed third. Rosario appears to be riding the horse. He was never going to win this race. It was set up for a closer and one came and ran everyone down. I don't see any problem with the ride. The race call was terrible and made it seem like something was wrong. As far as the other stuff about asking if the horse was for sale, I have no idea nor do I care. But the ride itself seems fine to me.
spectacularbid More than 1 year ago
steve, charles town recently started a $.50 pick 4. normally i do not bet anything more than pick 3's. i must admit that i played caveman tickets on doubles and pick 3's and on the occasional pick 6 that i would play when the carryover was huge. i read how you play your tickets classifying your picks as A b or C. tonight i played the early pick 4 at charlestown. i used your system. i cost me $11. a caveman ticket would have cost $15 based on $.50 plays. there were no winners and 3 of 4 paid $33.05 for $.50. i had that 4 times but if i played the caveman i would have won the entire $3470 pool minus the takeout. how often does this happen to you and do you have a rule such as ...if the ABC tickets cost more than 70% of the caveman ticket then i will play the caveman ticket. loooking back it made little sense not to pay the caveman.
Gharza More than 1 year ago
I know a flawed argument when I read one and Mr. Crist your comparison of the Grade I application in the mainland 48 versus that of the Grade I designation notrh of the border is flawed. Woodbine is the ONLY major thoroughbred circuit in Canada. Uncle Sam has 3. Southern California is year round outside of Fairplex. Kentucky is "A" level at Keeneland for 2 months and Churchill for 3 1/2. New York is all that from Wood Memorial day in early April through Thanksgiving weekend with the Cigar Mile. Sprinkle in Gulfstream Park(3), Maryland(2), Arlington(3), Oaklawn's Apple Blossom and the U.N. and Haskell at Monmouth and the Grade 1's in the U.S. are limited to 8 circuits of which 2 are winter tracks. Using a quantitative basis for justifying your argument ignores the qualitative variable and everybody knows the quality in the 48 crushes that running in the provinces. I think a little over 100 of the Grade 1's are in the 3 major ciruits. Why? Because the quality is in the quantity. I respectfully disagree with your position on the # of Grade 1's in the lower 48 Mr Crist.
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
El Angelo: In some cases, I believe it is by law they have to include show wagering unless there are fewer than five betting interests (in some states six). Sometimes, tracks are allowed to skip place and show wagering anyway if there is a big minus pool (in fact, back in 1985 Nilhilator, who was the top pacer that year raced at Monticello, and for that race there was only exacta wagering offered as I remember). One thing that I have seen in the past in Harness Racing, but never with the thoroughbreds (except where because of a late scratch, part of an entry is running for purse money only) is barring a horse from the wagering entirely if that horse is going to be a prohibitive favorite, especially in a decent sized field. Perhaps it is not allowed in throughbred racing, but if you have a super-heavy favorite, perhaps that is a solution to making races more bettable at times.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
JD you are spot on brother. Betting against Godolphin/bin Suroor is a money losing proposition. Layoff or no layoff.
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Am I crazy? Richard Migliore actually said of Midshipman today that "He ran by the horse so easily at the top of the lane that he got to wandering" What horse did he run by easily? He never had a clear lead until well inside the 16th pole. I watched it and watched it. Unless I am going blind Midshipman did not dominate until the last 400 yards or so. Anyone else think I am crazy?
eeebayou More than 1 year ago
The Santa Barbara, California OTB was once "the" place to bet!! Now, because of dwindling attendance, this location is shutting down. Here's a link to a very good article: http://www.independent.com/news/2009/sep/17/why-satellite-wagering-failed/