11/06/2013 12:38PM

Dick Jerardi: Another tough-beat Breeders' Cup

Tom Keyser
Despite a 4 1/2-month layoff, Magician (left) edged The Fugue to win the Breeders' Cup Turf.

I got disqualified out of the pick five. I had five of six in the pick six. Other than that, Breeders’ Cup Saturday went quite well.

No doubt, I was not alone in that sad exacta. But I am not sure how many people multi-race leveraged 5-1 Zeewat instead of 1-5 Flashback in the Damascus Stakes. Having been at Parx Racing on Sept. 21, I knew Zeewat had run against a strong rail bias.

Like many, I singled Dank in the Filly and Mare Turf and was thrilled to be alive to the Beverly D. winner after She’s a Tiger crossed the finish line first in the Juvenile Fillies.

The thrill did not last long, because She’s a Tiger was disqualified for interfering with runner-up Ria Antonia.

As any longtime readers of this space know, I advocate getting rid of stewards because judging fouls is so subjective. Thus, there can be no consistency because nobody really knows how to define a foul. Since I despise the whole system, I had no particular opinion on the decision.

Half the people who did have an opinion seemed to agree with the decision to take She’s a Tiger down which, of course, meant the other half did not.

If, in fact, you accept that this is a good system, I would suggest that unless there is absolutely no doubt that a foul was committed there should never be a change. But that is not the system.

I like my system better. First horse to the wire wins.

What I do know is this group of 2-year-olds was really slow Saturday. Neither the fillies nor the colts hit 90 on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. Was that because of no Lasix or are they just not very good?

I did not actually spend a giant amount money on the pick six. None of the races seemed all that complicated. Wise Dan looked like and ran like a single. The pattern was familiar, with three winning favorites. Two of the favorites, however, were in the Turf Sprint and Sprint, races I thought were a bit more complicated.

Mucho Macho Man was an obvious contender in the Classic. If Magician had been trained by anybody other than Aidan O’Brien, I probably would have tossed him in the Turf because of the distance and his 4 1/2-month layoff. But it was O’Brien, so I had to use the son of the amazing Galileo.

I missed on the same horse most people likely missed on – New Year’s Day in the Juvenile. I was not overly confident in that race because there were so many unknowns, the lack of Lasix being one of the more prominent.

But New Year’s Day looked like a lot of other horses – Beyers in the 70s and minimal or no dirt experience. If I had used him, he would have been grouped with several others with similar histories, making the bet a bit too expensive for my taste.

There is always 2014.

Beyond my empty pockets, it was a sensational two days of racing, with all those defending champions and so many of them performing so well again.

If you weren’t certain that horses often develop on their own schedules, the Classic result is a case study. Classic winner Mucho Macho Man (2011) and runner-up Will Take Charge (2013) each ran in all three Triple Crown races. They were beaten by a combined 80 lengths.

I especially loved Gary Stevens’s ride on Mucho Macho Man. In a way, it reminded me of why Gary has always been one of my favorite riders to bet on. He rides like an unafraid bettor. He goes for it and he does not want to give up what he already has.

He probably could have waited a bit longer to ask Mucho Macho Man for his very best, but why wait around to let your competition catch up.

If I closed my eyes and went back 25 years, I could see 25-year-old Gary Stevens open on the 1988 Kentucky Derby field at exactly the right moment with Winning Colors and have just enough to hold off Forty Niner. That was Gary’s first Derby win. He never forgot how he did it. And he got rewarded with his first Classic win.

I was pretty certain Will Take Charge was still getting better because of that sudden burst he made to win the Pennsylvania Derby. I was not sure he was ready to do the figure it was going to take to win the Classic. Turned out the big colt was ready. He just did not win.

Mucho Macho Man got the weekend’s best Beyer (112) in the weekend’s biggest race. All credit to Kathy Ritvo and her team. The horse was ready when the big money was down. And they made exactly the right call when they hired Stevens for a fall campaign at Santa Anita.

It was interesting that Richard Mandella called on Stevens this summer when he needed a rider for Beholder. As I was watching the Classic stretch run, I felt like I was watching Stevens’s ride on Beholder in the Distaff. Only no horses were chasing him Friday. They were chasing him Saturday. They just could not catch him.

The Baron More than 1 year ago
She's a Tiger bumped that other filly hard and cost at least a length and that is why she came down - because the difference was a Nose at the wire. My understanding was it was 2-1 - Ward did not want the DQ . Truth be told if this was New York the filly comes down as well - no questions asked. Stevens should not get days as he was right hand whipping and did all he could by appearance any ways to prevent her from lugging out. I disagree with the writer - Stewards are an evil necessity - some one has to make the call when there is is this type of a situation other wise it would be a Free for All as when Pincay used to ride in California and knock horses silly and never got taken down. I remember I was living in New York back in the mid 70's and Laffit came there to ride for a season - he got DQd 4 times in 3 days and got like 30 days and then just left for greener pastures!! There are has to be some law and order - for the very least of the safety of other riders and the horses!! Period - End of Story!!
Joe Taylor More than 1 year ago
Haven't heard anyone giving regrets about the injured jockey and the poor horse that had to be euthanized.
The Baron More than 1 year ago
You won't - it is Bad for Business!! Johnny V will think twice before he gets on another horse for Baffert on that you can make bet!!
Joe Taylor More than 1 year ago
Just like I said Will Take Charge was over looked at 8/1. My sentiments were on MMM because Ms. Vitco and I are transplant recipients. Second choice was WTC to Place and a nice winning ticket, no pun intended.
David Young More than 1 year ago
Like other self proclaimed geniuses I've heard from this week and BC weekend the parade of chalk has them feeling like they are great handicappers. Sheesh, I would have gotten beat up without NYD and Magician and some other ones that cashed for me. Jerardi is probably a nice guy but all he does is give you a synopsis of the PPs of some heavy favorite or highly touted horse. To me handicapping is about projecting not regurgitating what you see in the PPs and getting all ga ga over what some horse has done and what some other horses have not done. DRF doesn't seem to understand this. It's a shame because the handicapping product is excellent. The "analysis" is a complete joke.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let's say this idea was implemented, it would cause many problems at tracks which offered low purses. Cashing bets is more profitable than cashing purses at some tracks. The connections would gladly give back a few hundred taxable dollars from purses in exchange for thousands of non taxable dollars from winning bets. Just a thought...
Walter More than 1 year ago
noocheroni More than 1 year ago
I did not here or read if Jose Lezcano made a donation to the Disable Jockey Fund with his gift this past Saturday.
long_shot_alert More than 1 year ago
Holy cow! I agree with Dick Jerardi. No dqs for pari-mutuel purposes. Deal with purse re-distribution and jockey issues separately. As for this dq, I can't believe so many people think it was even close to the right call. I can think of many reasons this was a bizzare decision, but I'll offer just one thought experiment. If that same contact happened at the eighth- pole or between horses battling for 3rd and 4th how many think the decision would have been the same? At the very least can we agree dqs should at least have to be unanimous?
Kendall Daniels More than 1 year ago
Friday and Saturday were pretty true to form (100k for Friday and ~50k for Saturday), so I suspect many chalk pick 6 players were "close", Saturday in particular. When you get a 400 consolation payout out of a 3 million dollar pool, you know "chalk walked".
Nascar19661 More than 1 year ago
First horse to the wire wins? Guess you're wanting a race to be a horse version of a demolition derby, which would more likely mean horses and riders would than likely get injured. The replay shows the stewards actually made a good call on the race. I am fully aware that the stewards sometimes do make the right call. If you didn't have She's A Tiger on your Pick Six would your view still be the same on the DQ?
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
There would be no demolition derby if set rules were in place. The winner should never be taken down. The rules vary from state to state and are interpreted different on a daily basis. The replay shows the bump, but you can't say definitively Ria Anonio was winning, Maybe she was. I've watched the replay several times at equibase and it is not as clear cut as you think.
gowanusbaseball More than 1 year ago
If everyone posted there boring stories about how they bet poorly, this site would crash.