The weather gods showed a little kindness to racing fans today, equine and canine. After qualifying in his heat, Joey the wiener dog proved to doubters that he was worthy of a three-peat as he emerged to take the last heat in his final strides (watch the replay here). A healthy crowd turned up to cheer on the wienerdogs, and the races are definitely turning into one of the more popular days at the track.
On the equine front, we had 2 noteworthy races. A field of five top older runners hooked up in the SW Randall Plate. Right from the gate, St. Liam’s Halo and Crew Leader were dueling away, with Senor Rojo stalking behind. As the race progressed, it became apparent that it was turning into a match race between the two front runners. As the two horses entered the final turn, it seemed like neither would give an inch. In fact, that’s what it literally came down to. Crew Leader secured his win by a nose. Senor Rojo was unable to close any ground, along with the rest of the field. I’m sure the one-two finishers will be meeting again down the road.
In the nightcap at Hastings, Colonel Courtney, an 11 year old gelding, showed plenty of patience as he drew away from the field at the top of the stretch. Rider Mario Gutierrez stalked the pacesetters after they set some fast fractions and timed the Colonel’s move perfectly. You don’t hear about many 11 year old geldings running, let alone winning. The Colonel now has 2 wins for the year and has already doubled his 2010 earnings.
Looking at graded races across the country, we had another chapter in the rivalry between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace as they faced off in the Delaware Handicap on Saturday. The two runners have met five times prior to Saturday’s race, with three races being determined by a nose (or possibly less). This race did not disappoint fans, and there are comparisons being drawn with Affirmed and Alydar in the 1970′s. What do you think?
Next week is the opening of the Del Mar and Saratoga meets. Saratoga should have some good racing cards and competitive renewals of the Whitney and Travers. Rest assured, it’s summertime in those parts.