Submitted by John Piesen on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM
ALL IN THE FAMILY
During racing’s golden age of the ’60 and ’70s, the most proficient winner on the New York circuit was trainer Howard (Buddy) Jacobson. Sadly, Buddy’s era ended when he was convicted of murder, dealt a life sentence, and died behind bars.
As the fates would have it, son David continues Buddy’s legacy. After saddling four winners on Thursday, none favored, and all off the claim, David is dominating the prestigious Belmont spring meet, much as his father did a generation ago.
On Thursday, David won in succession with Spa City Fever, claimed from numbers maven Jerry Brown. who couldn’t win a race with the filly for a year and a half; Yo Blue, Princess Mara, and Sing Dixie Sing. David was denied a perfect five-for-five when Irish Lion finished up the track in the finale at 9-1.
The four-bagger gives David 17 winners for the meet, and a seven-length lead on Chad Brown, who has some compelling training genes of his own. His father-in-law was the late Red Terrill, a NYRA training fixture for a generation.
As for Jacobson, he will run five horses on Friday, and six for Saturday. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Maybe down the line, David Jacobson will graduate to stakes horses as his father did. But in the meantime, he has become the king of the claimers in New York, and with what the purses are now, compared to his father’s day, he’s doing quite well thank you -- while all the skeptics can do is look on from the sidelines and cry wolf.
Can an Eclipse Award be far behind?
Jacobson’s competition for an Eclipse may come from old friend D. Wayne Lukas.
Wayno, yesterday’s has-been, is today’s super-hero, just like in the old days.
Did you notice (I don’t think any media folks did) that DWL ran the three longest-priced horses in the nine-horse Preakness field, including, of course, the wire-to-wire Oxbow, whose biggest prior victory came in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds?
Oxbow won the Preakness the first time past the stands.
For whatever reason, Goldencents, the Santa Anita Derby winner, took back at that point, yielding the lead, and the best path to Oxbow and Gary Stevens.
Don’t know if jockey Krigger, who had been doing a lot of bragging on the Triple Crown trail, took it upon himself to let Oxbow go, or if he was following trainer O’Neill’s instructions. (I know from experience that you’ll never get an honest answer).
But I do know that when Krigger raised the white flag on the first turn, the Preakness was history. Shades of Aloma’s Ruler and Cowboy Jack Kaenel in 1982.
As we speak, Kaenel is attempting a comeback on the west coast. We wish him well.
Meantime, old Wayne hasn’t changed. He told the media in the Pimlico winner’s circle that he would welcome them at the barn Sunday morning at 4:30 as he loaded his horses on the van for the 12-hour drive to Churchill Downs.
Amazingly, four media folks actually took up Wayne’s offer.
"See you at the Belmont," they told Wayne.
And indeed they will. At 77, Wayne isn’t about to miss any big dances from here. Hell, he’s already checking out his 2-year-olds for Derby 2014.
With no Triple Crown at stake, the NYRA folks will have their hands full selling the Belmont, If Orb had added the Preakness to his Derby win, and presumed good weather, they would have packed 120,000 into the joint for the Belmont. With no TC at stake, they will be lucky to get half that.
I wonder if there is any connection to the fact that, in the wake of the Preakness, the New York Daily News dropped the Belmont charts and the Binocs column, as well as one of its six handicappers.
Only two Preakness horses -- Oxbow and Orb -- are being pointed for the Belmont. That might be a record low, but not a surprise since this was the slowest Preakness since 1951.
Perhaps the biggest news angle for the Belmont will be jockey Rosie, who will be trying to become the second female Belmont winner (Julie Krone) on Code West for trainer Baffert. In a watered-down Belmont field, Code West has a shot.
Todd Pletcher may run as many as four in the Belmont -- Revolutionary, who may go favored with Borel; Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze, and top fillies Dreaming of Julia and Unlimited Budget.
If Julia runs, I would imagine the Toddster’s instructions to Johnny V would be to go for the wire job. As the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, she was whacked at the break, and performed nobly to get third.
The "wise guy" horses in the Belmont will be Golden Soul, the Derby runnerup, and Freedom Child, the Peter Pan blowout winner on a wet track. His rider, Luis Saez, may be the only jock in the race who won’t wind up with a plaque in the Hall of Fame.
The common thread in racing in this month of May has been the Big O.
First, Orb in the Derby. Next, Oxbow in the Preakness, and now Obviously on Saturday in the American Handicap at the sad-to-say, soon-to-be-defunct Hollywood Park.
A 5-year-old gelding trained by Mike Mitchell, Obviously has developed into the best middle-distance turfer on the west coast. His shining moment came in defeat, a close-up third to Horse of the Year Wise Dan and Derby/Dubai Gold Cup winner Animal Kingdom in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last November at Santa Anita.
Obviously figures to wire the six-horse field, and Chosen Miracle should be along to complete the exacta.
Unlike the American, the Belmont feature, the Sheepshead Bay, for fillies and mares at a mile and three-eighths on the grass, is wide open.
Hessonite, a winner of five of her last six starts for Woody Stephens protÃ©gÃ© David Donk, will be the favorite under jockey Alvarado, who tripled on Thursday, but she’s a question mark at the distance.
Of course these races are often won the front end, and Hessonite may shake loose.
The competition includes uncoupled last-out winners Julie’s Love and Strathnaver from trainer Motion; Mystical Star, who rarely misses a payday, and French import Minakshi from trainer Matz, who gave us Barbaro and Round Pond.
Thanks for tuning in. You need to check my daily selections online and on the John Piesen Hot Line (1-888-612-2283), and see you back here next Friday. Also, I recommend you pick up the June issue of American Turf Monthly for my illuminating article on Monmouth Park.
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