The Brock Talk

Monday, June 13, 2011

Class of 2011 Still Has Chances To Thrill Fans

So there is not a Triple Crown winner. We knew that three weeks ago. Nope. No rivalry between Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. 1) winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) champion Shackleford either. And another long shot (Ruler On Ice) wins a grade 1 race for 3-year-old colts (The Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2011. And I am less wealthy because I didn’t listen to Captain Obvious on that last one.

But our three champions coming out of the Triple Crown races, each have plenty of which to be attracted.

It was refreshing to read on the Daily Racing Form site this morning that Animal Kingdom managing partner Barry Irwin is backing off of his plans to run the Derby winner on grass to prepare for a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Before the Belmont, Irwin told NBC’s Bob Costas that Animal Kingdom was headed for the Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds or against older horses in the Arlington Million, both grade I races on grass at Arlington Park near Chicago this summer. But Team Valor president Irwin has since told the Form’s Jay Privman that the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park and the Travers Stakes (gr. 1) at Saratoga are two $1 million races now under consideration.

What horse racing might need more than the staying power of its stars this year, is a victory by Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Since Big Brown won the 2008 Monmouth Stakes in final race of his career, Kentucky Derby winners have gone 0-13. Animal Kingdom is now winless since his big win at Churchill Downs, finishing second in the Preakness and sixth in the Belmont after a disastrous start. Super Saver, winner of the 2010 Derby, was winless in the Preakness and Haskell Invitational before he was retired last year and 2009 Derby Champion Mine That Bird was 0-9 before he was prematurely retired.

Preakness winners have a propensity for post Triple Crown success the last few years with 12 of the last 14 winners of the second jewel taking home post season honors as the champion 3-year-old male. The only Preakness winners not to garner that award since 1997were Rachel Alexandra, a filly who was named Horse of the Year following her 2009 Preakness win; and 2000 winner Red Bullet.

Shackleford, this year’s Preakness winner, has built in popularity with his front-running style and coming from the barn of Dale Romans, which has been in vouque rightly so the last few years.

As for Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Ruler On Ice maintaining his popularity, his reproductive status dictates that he will likely stay on the track for awhile. The gelding trained by Kelly Breen and owned by George and Lori Hall has nothing to send him to retirement other than injury.

Not thinking Ruler On Ice can reach the popularity of champion geldings such as Kelso or Forego, but he is sure to benefit from better management than Mine That Bird, who quite frankly, should still be running with success.

Regardless of their popularity before and during the recently concluded Triple Crown races, this much maligned class of 3-year-olds still has plenty to offer racing fans. So far they have not been the fastest class of colts and geldings, but they have been relatively sound and if nothing, surprising for those of us who have wagered on this bunch.

1 comment:

sumik said...

I am hoping that Ruler on Ice will be around enjoying racing success and playing in the mud for a while.

Glad that Team Valor is reconsidering running Animal Kingdom solely on grass.