Thru The Binoculars
By JOHN PIESEN
Invasor Retired - The Lawyer Gets Beat - Time To Get Cable
I've got a secret.
Actually two secrets.
You'll never guess what happened over the weekend.
First, it was announced (surprise!) that Invasor, the best older horse in the world, got hurt, and was retired to stud.
And second, Lawyer Ron, the second best older horse in the world, got beat at 1-10 at Monmouth Park.
If either or both of these items (both of which broke late Saturday afternoon) are news to you, it's understandable. With rare exceptions, I couldn't find any mention of either story in Sunday morning's newspapers. Much less on TV or radio.
Let's take Invasor first.
The reigning Horse of the Year on Saturday morning worked five-eighths in a bullet: 59 2/5 at Belmont Park in preparation for next Saturday's Suburban Handicap.
"He went well," said trainer McLaughlin. "He's all set for the Suburban."
At least that is what was reported in Saturday's NYRA press notes.
During this down time in the 3-year-old division, NYRA has been busy trying to build up Invasor, who got Horse of the Year only because the voters preferred to overlook Barbaro's record and contributions to racing.
In fact, NYRA even went so far as to schedule a press briefing for Tuesday morning at 8:15 at the McLaughlin barn.
But a funny thing happened between the workout and the press conference.
Late Saturday afternoon, the NTRA released a statement that read in part:
"Invasor was retired today due to a cracked sesamoid in his right hind leg. The injury was detected following a workout at Belmont Park. The injury is not life threatening, and Invasor will retire to stud at Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky.
"Invasor came back fine from the workout," said McLaughlin. "But when we went to wash his feet. He took a couple of funny steps, and we noticed some swelling in his right hind leg. We had him x-rayed shortly thereafter, and that is when the fracture was detected."
I don't know if historians will consider Invasor a great horse...but he sure had a great record. Unbeaten in this country, he won the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Dubai World Cup, and earned $7 million-plus for the sheiks. Maybe that money can help finance their ski resort in downtown Dubai.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Invasor will command more than the $100,000 million stud fee that Bernardini gets.
Bet you all forgot last summer's flavor of the month.
The bottom line is that the sudden retirement of the greatest racehorse in the world should be major news in the industry. Notice I said industry. Not sport.
But you wouldn't know it by the media coverage.
This morning (Monday) I rushed to the newsstand to get the Monday and Tuesday editions of Daily Racing Form.
Not a word on Invasor.
Back to Barbaro for a minute.
I cannot forget the image of the press corps chasing after Barbaro upon the colt's arrival at Pimlico by van on Preakness Eve last year...at the precise time that the Pimlico Special was in progress.
And the winner of the Pimlico Special?
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Now...this brings us to Lawyer Ron.
As predicted in this space last Friday, the bridge jumpers chased Lawyer Ron big-time in the $150,000 Salvator Mile Saturday at Monmouth Park.
The Lawyer went off 1-10 under Johnny V in a five-horse field, and roughly $450,000 of the $480,000 in the show pool was on him, creating a $95,000 minus pool. I thought it would be a lot more.
You saw what happened.
A dozen lengths back of the front-running Gotcha Gold at the quarter-pole, Lawyer Ron came flying late. But too late. He got beat a neck. And was three in front two jumps past the wire.
I'm sure that Team Pletcher was delighted. LR finished well over the track, an excellent prep for the Breeders' Cup to be run over the same track next Fall.
Who cares about the betting public?
The only smart players were the one who played Lawyer Ron to show...and the folks who bet the winner at 10-1.
In the immortal words of Alan Iverson:
"They call it practice.
Curiously, five minutes after the Salvator, Pletcher got beat at 6-5 in the $250,000 New York Handicap at Belmont.
But not to worry. The Toddster got the money a half-hour later in the Arlington Classic.
Another good horse ran at Monmouth over the weekend.
Remember a month back you read a piece here on a 3-year-old named Cable Boy.
At the time, Cable Boy, a $23,000 bargain buy by trainer John Forbes on behalf of Phantom House Farm, the same folks who gave us Tale of the Cat a decade back, was coming off a first-pop maiden win at Monmouth.
Since then, Cable Boy won an allowance race at 5-1, breaking the track record for a mile 70, and on Sunday made his stakes debut as the stick in the $60,000 Coronado's Quest Stakes.
I remember Coronado's Quest very well because he won the Haskell the day after my 207-day hitting streak snapped.
In case you missed it, Cable Boy grabbed the lead out of the gate, and won by three-plus lengths under a hand ride by jockey Velez.
As Cable Boy was being unsaddled, a railbird yelled at trainer Forbes: "You need to change his name to Cable Man."
He's got a point.
Cable Boy will go next in the Long Branch Breeders' Cup on July 14 at Monmouth, and if all goes well, he'll move on to the Haskell on August 5.
That would mean five races over the same track in four months.
Right now, Curlin is definite for the Haskell, and Street Sense and Hard Spun are iffy.
If Hard Spun doesn't go, how dangerous will Cable Boy be on the lead?
Speaking of Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner had his first breeze since the Preakness on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.
With jockey Borel up, Street Sense went an easy half in: 49 2/5 over a muddy strip.
"We are back on schedule," said trainer Nafzger. "Let's see if we can make the Jim Dandy or the Haskell and go from there."
Notice the billing.
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