Are you interested in writing for LoneSpeed? Send in your stuff and we’ll post it. This blog comes from John Whalen. Thanks John!
It’s hard for me to think about a Breeders Cup at Churchill without flashing back to 2011. I had been a fan of the ponies for a couple of years but it was probably the first year I really started to understand the magnitude of the Breeders cup. A year since Blame had held off the great Zenyatta I loaded up my Twinspires account and locked in for what would soon become one of my fondest racing memories.
I’m from New England where we don’t know a damn thing about thoroughbred horses but that doesn’t keep me from hammering the window from time to time and lucky for me I had an in. The man I credit with really introducing me to the exciting sport of horse racing was Coach, my neighbor. He and I would work together to make multi-race tickets and as he contributed his old school knowledge I had a knack of figuring what speed figures worked well on different tracks and together we would sometimes cash a nice ticket. The 2011 BC was really nice to handicap with someone since it just felt like bouncing ideas off someone was what got you paid. Think Aidan O’Brien is going to put Joseph O’Brien on a winner? You bet. Is Bill Spawr going to win with Amazombie (a horse he got for free, great story if you don’t know it)? I guess anything’s possible with Money Mike on board.
Then you get to the classic. Let me tell you something about Drosselmeyer. I loved the horse. Coach loved the horse. And if you were track side on that warm sunny day in the beautiful Saratoga Springs a couple of months before the BC you probably would have loved him too. After a disappointing 7th it was hard to bet him again and even after a strong 2nd in the Jockey Club Gold Cup I just couldn’t stomach betting a horse that let me down during my other favorite weekend of the year. I spread in that race. I thought I was covered. To honor and Serve, Harve de Grace, Uncle Mo I could have used any one of them. I still blame Baffert for putting Sutherland up on Game On Dude but two triple crowns later its getting hard to question the man.
Even with the tough beat I made out on the day. I had singled Amazombie in one of the pick fours and cashed and from that day on I have been in love with the sport. This year I like to pretend I won’t be betting every race but I honestly know I won’t be able to control myself. I won’t try to pretend to know who will win the Classic. I bet Mckenzie in a derby future after his first race and would probably like to see him win but for me it’s about the weekend. Watch with a friend, get them hooked, bigger pools for all of us. Also some food for thought, this lucky 2011 year a man named Aidan O’Brien won his first Juvy Turf with Ryan Moore up. He has won it three of the six years since with Ryan Moore up. Mendelssohn, ever heard of him? That’s Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore last year. Just a tip, include Anythony Van Dyck this year.