Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

28 June 2009

Mother Goose Report

There were heavy rain showers while driving through the Bronx on the way to Elmont for the Mother Goose Stakes Stakes at Belmont. The day might have been ruined but it was not, it just served to pad the rain stats as it has rained here 24 of the last 26 days. Only by luck those rain showers never reached Belmont, not only were the conditions dry but the day was lovely. A cool northerly wind combined with low humidity, and sunny skies made for perfect racing conditions for man and beast. If you keep notes on how the track played the main track seemed to favor speed with fast times all day and frontrunners did well. The crowd was reported at 13,352 persons, which is a small crowd relative to the tremendous capacity of the facility. However compared to a usual weekend crowd the crowd was a larger. What the numbers do not show is that the crowd was overflowing with enthusiasm and had a different demographic than the typical mix of middle age to elderly men.

Naughty New Yorker

The first stakes race of the day was the Ed Fratello Stakes. Favored Wishful Tomcat tracked frontrunning Fortunate Prospect, took over at the top of the lane, winning the mile and a 16th test in 140 and 2/5ths. Looking at Wishful Tomcat in the paddock, he is a stoutly built, tall, good looking individual. He looked best on paper and impressive in the paddock. One look at him and it was clear that not only was he the favorite to win but Wishful Tomcat knew he was going to win. The horse had presence. He could come back and win the Suburban next week if Dutrow chooses to enter him. Wishful Tomcat is a horse with razor sharp form.

Naughty New Yorker

Old campaigner Naughty New York was in this field too. After all these years he still wears that full cup blinker over his right eye. He was second off the layoff after a year without a race. The 7 year old New York bred was a bit overweight in the paddock and raced like he needed the race as he finished last. I'm sure the connections would love to get him over the million dollar earnings plateau which he has flirted with since 2007. He is only about $15K away from 1 million but like a gambler trying to make the rent money if he does not find his old form he may not get there.

Paddock Crowd Mother Goose Stakes

“We were very pleased with the crowd today, especially the number of girls and women,” said Hal Handel, NYRA executive vice president and COO. This was a crowd where you can take your young daughter too and not worry about her being out of place. There were thousands of new faces and as one of the old faces I know who all the regulars are. These people were not track regulars. There were dozens of couples, there were teenage girls and adolescent girls with their families. I even talked to a guy who flew up from New Orleans to see Rachel run. This was a crowd of fans not just the hardcore packs of gamblers and handicappers.

Paddock Crowd Rachel Alexandra

It may be easy to dismiss these women as taking up space and not contributing their fair share to the game. Not only did they receive free admission but I did not see them hitting the windows with $100 exacta boxes. However their contribution is not to the handle but to the track aesthetic and of the ambiance of the facility. Having tons of women at the track changes the game. Old men cursing at a television screens suddenly feel like they are acting like crass animals and they tone down their public tirades of profanity. The hecklers keep their outbursts to themselves. What was once grimy becomes a classy event that could be attended by all. Taming racing's sleazy reputation is a good start to working the game back into the mainstream. Embellish the few thousand foul mouthed degenerates in the crowd with pretty girls and their admirers and soon the track becomes an inviting place. Suddenly demographic groups that are extinct at Belmont find that it is a good time. The potential for growth is opened up. The track demographic aquires some diversity outside of old and profane. Whatever NYRA did on Saturday was successful and is one of the building blocks to growing the game. I was bearish on this promotion, but I am happy to be wrong. The Rachel Alexandra promotion was a success. New fans showed up by the thousands and it was the most thrilling sporting event of the day.

Cheers In The Paddock For Rachel

Rachel Alexandra crushed her two competitors in the Mother Goose winning by 19 lengths, exceeding expectations. She rated behind the blistering pace and then drew off impressively as the rider pleased. It was pleasing result for the thousands of racing fans in attendance. The Preakness winner delivered strong validation. This type of crowd pleasing result is never a given in this tough game. Many hearts have been broken in Belmont's stretch. If Smarty Jones could have delivered like this in the 2004 Belmont I think a few thousand new racing fans would have been minted that day. Hopefully some new fans were created yesterday.

All Alone At The Wire Rachel Alexandra

Rachel is an athletic filly with a long neck and a serious eye. She looks like she is tough and not one to be trifled with. When Curlin raced at Belmont last year Jess Jackson spent time with Curlin in his stall, this time Jess Jackson gave Rachel Alexandra her space standing close by instead of in the stall. Like Curlin, Alexandra did not walk the paddock, her connections decided to have her spend the entire time she was in the paddock in her stall. Her manner was calm, controlled and confident. When Borel mounted her her ears pricked and she was on her toes. She received a round of applause in the paddock and then another warm reception during the post parade. When she returned to the winners circle she received a standing ovation. This type of affection is only reserved for racing royalty and she received the full royal treatment.

Beautiful Belmont Park After A Successful Day

The day was a success for Rachel Alexandra, the connections, the fans and for NYRA. This filly has the potential to bring people out to the track. She is a superstar and a real crowdpleaser. Every sports/racefan should make it a point to get out and see her while she is out there campaigning.

Photo Credit to Joe Burns

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