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Tragedy Preakness Weekend

Triumph and Tragedy Preakness Weekend
Posted by Betonline Team on 5/25/2016 3:47:58 AM

Triumph and Tragedy Preakness Weekend Posted by Betonline Team on 5/25/2016 3:47:58 AM Many of the joyful fans that filled Pimlico Race Course were in a cel

Many of the joyful fans that filled Pimlico Race Course were in a celebratory mood. They watched Exaggerator pull away from third place finisher and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, spoiling his bid for the Triple Crown.

However, near the celebration and cheers was a tragedy. Two horses were dead from earlier races and the only people that knew were race organizers and fans who got the news off their cell phones.

Homeboykris, a nine-year-old gelding that ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, collapsed after having his photo taken in the winner’s circle after placing first in the opening race of the day. In the fourth race, four-year-old filly Pramedya collapsed on the track with a fractured left leg and was euthanized on the track. The long bone between the ankle and knee was shattered and there was an open would. Doctors determined surgery could not help the horse.

Her jockey, Daniel Centeno, fractured his right clavicle after being thrown to the turf. The track was inspected after the fall but officials said everything was fine. There were no incidents reported on the muddy track during the Preakness.

Those who do not like horseracing made stinging comments about how cruel the sport is. If Sea World is shutting down its whale exhibit and the Ringling Brothers Circus it’s elephant shows, then why not abandon horseracing?

It is a silly argument but extreme comments are commonplace during the Internet era. Horseracing will live on because it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Race organizers called it a tragic day but the show must go on. Athletes have died on the field and courts in football, basketball and hockey, yet no one screams to shut those sports down.

Tragedy Preakness Weekend

“It’s deflating,” Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club told the Baltimore Sun. “You try to figure it out, go through so many steps to make sure the horses are OK. Things do happen.”

Roy and Gretchen Jackson are no strangers to putting a horse down. They also owned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro who broke his leg during the Preakness two weeks later. They tried to figure out ways to save the horse but euthanized him later.

“We haven’t fully digested the whole thing,” Roy Jackson said. “But life goes on.”

Race experts estimate that deaths occur between one in 500 to 1,000 races, experts said. The Equine Injury Database said 31 horses died at Pimlico from 2009 to 2015.

Tragedy Preakness Weekend

Homeboykris was considered to be in good shape. He raced four times this season and reported no leg problems.

Meanwhile, the Preakness was a great success. The race set an attendance record and drew a 6.2 overnight rating, up seven percent from last year. That boost can be attributed to Nyquist, who was trying to become the second horse in a row after American Pharaoh to win the Triple Crown.

Nyquist trainer Doug O’Neill blamed himself for an aggressive start to the race, which seemed to wear him down. However, it appeared as if Exaggerator was coming on strip during the Kentucky Derby, but ran out of room to win the race.

Now comes the rubber match on June 11 in Belmont, New York and the media is likely to play up a rivalry between the two horses although we doubt they have spoken to each other.

“We have to play that up as horse racing aficionados,” said Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux. “You lose a lot of luster after a Derby winner is beaten because the Triple Crown chance is annihilated. We have to play up the rivalry, I guess. Keep people interested. There’s no way it’s going to compare to American Pharaoh last year, but it’s going to be fun for those of us immediately involved.”

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Belmont Stakes Racing

With the Belmont Stakes Racing just days away, this may be a good time to examine how the Belmont Park surface played during the day when the third jewel of the Triple Crown was run last year.

Only the dirt races will be evaluated as we will attempt to get a crystal ball look at how the surface may play this year when American Pharoah attempts to become the 12th runner to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Belmont Stakes Racing

With the Belmont Stakes Racing just days away, this may be a good time to examine how the Belmont Park surface played during the day when the third jewel of the Triple Crown was run last year.First, the track itself first opened in May of 1905. It is known as the ‘Championship Track’ because nearly every major champion in history raced at Belmont including all 11 Triple Crown winners.

The main Belmont track is nicknamed ‘Big Sandy’ and is the longest dirt track in North American at a mile and a half. From the top of the stretch to the finish line runners have to negotiate 1,097 feet.

The track is always well sported but when an event like a possible Triple Crown winner is in prospect, the people will come.

When Smarty Jones was trying to win the Belmont and complete the Triple Crown in 2004 over 120,000 people witnessed his defeat at the hands of Birdstone.

Belmont Stakes Racing

In the first race on Belmont Stakes day last year, the racehorse Jimmy Connors was stretching out from 7 furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth and he made the lead rather easily. The eventual 5-2 winner Wabbajack sat 2 and a half-lengths off the lead early before winning going away.

The second race was run at the same 8 and a half furlongs and a deep closer prevailed. Kid Cruz was dead last early at 3-1 but he got into contention at the top of the land and drew off to win by over 3 lengths.

The Brooklyn Invitational was next and it was run at the exact same distance of the Belmont Stakes so there is a good gauge there.

The third choice in the race Ground Transport made the lead but Joel Rosario aboard Norumbega had his measure all the way. That eventual winner was 5th early, was a length off the lead with a furlong to go and got up by a neck at 10-1. He was timed in 2.27.13 compared to the winning Belmont Stakes time of 2:28.52.

Sprinters were in the spotlight next in the 7-furlong Woody Stephens and Bayern got the ideal 2-hole trip and he drew off to win by 7 and a half-lengths.

Sophomore fillies went a mile in the next race, the 6th, and the winner Sweet Reason was 11th of 13 early, rallied to get within a length of the lead at the top of the lane and cashed by a half-length.

Older fillies and mares competed next in the Ogden Phipps Stakes and champion Close Hatches was in the garden spot early sitting third and won by a head when 3 horses were on the line together.

The 8th race was on grass, the 9th was the Met Mile and again the winner Palace Malice got a perfect garden trip and got up by a length.

The Manhattan on grass set up the stage for the Belmont Stakes. In the Classic last year Commissioner went to the lead at 28-1 and he almost pulled it off. He had a length and a half lead at the top of the lane but once again, the horse that sat third early, Tonalist, won a stirring stretch battle to get up by a head at 9-1.

All in all, the Belmont surface last year played fair, but runners that had tactical speed, seemed to thrive.

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