Category Archives: Racing

Link

Marion Marauder is the favorite in the $1M International Trot at Yonkers Raceway

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/ny-sports-trot-yonkers-draw-20181009-story.html

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas  – Marion Marauder was installed as the 3-1 favorite after drawing the coveted post position one in the 40th edition of the $1,000,000 International Trot to be held this Saturday afternoon at Yonkers Raceway at Empire City Casino.  A winner of over $3 million lifetime representing Canada, Marion Marauder will be driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Paula Wellwood and owners Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling of Ontario.

Zeron, who drove Marion Marauder to a second-place finish in last year’s International, told the crowd at the world famous 21 Club in Manhattan: “It’s difficult driving in a race with ten competitive horses.  I had to adapt last year and you always need a little bit of luck.”  Of course, it’s a big advantage to draw post position one at the Yonkers half-mile racetrack.

Trainer Paula Wellwood has great hope for Marion Marauder, a five-year-old son of Muscle Hill, the top trotting sire in the world. After the draw, she told The Daily News: “It’s hard to race a four-year-old against older trotters but he raced really well last year.  We limited him to ten starts last year, but now, at five, he’s even better than he was last year.” When questioned about the additional quarter mile to race (most races are at a mile; the International is at a mile-and-a-quarter), Ms. Wellwood told The News: “We’ve always trained him to go longer [than a mile], so the extra distance won’t be a problem.”

In his last start, Marion Marauder won the $200,000 Caesars Trotting classic at Hoosier Park in Indiana.

Listed as the 4-1 second favorite from post position four is Italy’s Ringostarr Treb for driver Wilhelm Paal and trainer Jerry Riordan.  The New England-born Riordan trained last year’s International winner, Twister Bi (out this year due to injury), but is back this year with a different horse who has lifetime earnings of over $1.5 million.

Driver Wilhelm Paal, pinch-hitting for trainer Riordan who had not yet arrived in the country, told the crowd: “I have driven him since 2015. He’s a very smart horse.  He can handle all types of tracks.”  Ringostarr Treb is the winner of the prestigious Elitlopp in Sweden this year.

Rounding out the field (by horse, country, driver, post and morning odds), in addition to Marion Marauder (post 1, 3-1) and Ringostarr Treb (post 4, 4-1) are:

Up and Quick (France), Jason Bartlett, post 2, 10-1

Ariana G (U.S.A.), Yannick Gingras, post 3, 5-1

Pastore Bob (Sweden), Johan Untersteiner, post 5, 8-1

Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden), Brian Sears, post 6, 12-1

Will Take Charge (Canada), Tim Tetrick, post 7, 6-1

Arazi Boko (Italy), Alessandro Gocciadoro, post 8, 15-1

Lionel (Norway), Goran Antonsen, post 9, 10-1

Slide So Easy (Denmark), Flemming Jensen, post 10, 15-1

The first race on Saturday starts at 1 PM with the International scheduled to go off at 3:40 PM.

© Copyright 2018 by Steve Kallas. All rights reserved.

Advertisements
Gallery

LET THE HORSES AND DRIVERS, NOT THE JUDGES, DECIDE THE HAMBLETONIAN

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – OPINION PIECE: You’ve heard the expression in other sports; in basketball, in football, in hockey –“Let the players decide the game.”  It’s a saying that is often followed in professional sports. Well, it wasn’t followed … Continue reading

Rate this:

Gallery

TONALIST WINS THE BELMONT; CHROME OWNER BECOMES A NATIONAL FOOL

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – While the focus was correctly on California Chrome as he attempted to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, it was Tonalist who ran an unbelievable mile-and-a-half race to just beat out … Continue reading

Rate this:

Gallery

HERE’S WHY A TRIPLE CROWN VICTORY FOR CALIFORNIA CHROME MIGHT BE A BAD THING FOR THOROUGHBRED RACING

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – The buzz in New York is palpable as California Chrome will try and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.  The city is not going totally crazy over this event (as 11 … Continue reading

Rate this:

Steve on WFAN with Marc Malusis (8/3/13)

WFAN Audio

Horse expert & law man Steve Kallas who writes for WFAN.com joins Moose live from the Hambo to discuss A-Rod and other issues.

Gallery

BREAKING DOWN THE WORLD’S GREATEST TROTTING RACE

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas  –  Saturday, August 6, the first Saturday in August, is like the first Saturday in May (Kentucky Derby day) if you follow harness racing. Over 30,000 will show up at the Meadowlands to watch the 86th edition … Continue reading

Rate this:

DON’T PUT TOO MUCH OF THE BLAME ON CALVIN BOREL FOR MINE THAT BIRD’S BELMONT LOSS

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

         

Calvin Borel has taken a real pounding for “moving too soon’ with 6-5 favorite Mine That Bird in this past Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. But if you listened to what was being discussed at length right BEFORE the race and know anything about the races, you knew Borel and his horse might be in trouble.

      

Here’s Jeanine Edwards of ESPN/ABC as she was walking over to the paddock with Mine That Bird’s trainer, Chip Woolley: “Chip was a little bit concerned that Mine That Bird has been quite rambunctious since he left the holding barn. He’s been bucking and kicking and playing quite a bit more than he normally does.”

     

If you’ve been around the race track, you know that is potentially a bad thing.

         

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey (also on ABC) picked up on this immediately: “It’s a concern for me because if he’s [Mine That Bird] the least bit aggressive early on in the race and Calvin can’t relax him off the pace, and I mean really on a long rein relaxes him, then he’s going to wear himself out to a degree. It’ll minimize his [inaudible]. He’s gotta do what Calvin wants him to do and that’s relax.”

             

Even Kenny Mayne chipped in with “I’m no bloodstock agent but I would say Mine That Bird did not look as calm as we’ve seen him in the past.”

                 

Those are an awful lot of clues if you actually wait until the last minute (which you always should but rarely do) to bet the Belmont (or any race).

                

JERRY BAILEY STAYS ON TOP OF THINGS

               

But there was more to come. Jerry Bailey spoke to Calvin Borel right after the post parade and continued the questioning, asking Borel if he had any concerns about being able to rate Mine That Bird in the Belmont since he seemed more excited today than in the past. Borel said that Mine That Bird had been “dancing a bit” but, in response to Bailey’s question, Borel said, “I don’t think so, Jerry, like I say, he’s coming in a little bit harder [or hotter, it was unclear] than I thought he’d be.” Borel then confidently stated: “Nothing for me to handle” (meaning, presumably, nothing that he couldn’t handle).

            

And then the race began.

           

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

           

Dunkirk, the $3.7 million (that’s right) yearling, wound up setting the pace in a rather quick 23.2 quarter and 47 half. This is a quick first half, especially in a mile-and-a-half race. After getting away last as planned, Borel moved Mine That Bird at about the five furlong marker, surprisingly early to anybody who had seen the Derby and/or had heard his trainer talk about how the horse needed to be raced. After racing four or five wide the whole final turn (a very difficult thing to do), Mine That Bird took a brief lead at the top of the stretch. But he made the lead too early and Summer Bird, who had a Mine That Bird Derby-type trip down inside, blew by him to win rather easily. Even Dunkirk came back to beat Mine That Bird and finish a game second. Mine That Bird was third and, given his trip, raced pretty well.

             

Clearly, there had to be a reason why Mine That Bird came to the pack so early.

           

Jerry Bailey was on it right away, immediately after the race: “Calvin, on Mine That Bird, I think his horse got a little bit rank with him, he let him ease up a little soon and I think, if anything, the move might have been a little premature.”

              

Then, right before Borel was interviewed, still just a minute or so after the race, Bailey said “he got a little rank with him at the five furlong [5/8 mile] pole and pulled him up, pulled him up close to the lead.”

              

WHAT DID BOREL THINK HAPPENED?

              

Keep in mind that Calvin Borel had just lost his personal quest for an unprecedented jockey Triple Crown on two different horses. “They went so slow up front, you know, I mean I had to let him go a little bit down the backside. He was kind of fighting me a little bit.”

         

He also said, “He grabbed a hold to the bit so I didn’t want to fight him too much. I let him creep up easily.”

           

Of course, the reality was, with fractions of 23.2, 47 and 1:12.2 for the first three-quarters of a mile, that was slightly fast to fast – there’s no chance that the pace was “real slow,” as Borel stated.

           

WHAT DID TRAINER WOOLLEY THINK?

        

Understand now, that in these big races, the trainer and jockey don’t speak before speaking to the media and, in the case of immediate post-race coverage, to the national TV audience. Trainer Woolley, despite putting on a brave face, was clearly agitated. After saying he thought that his horse was the best in the race, he stated, “We just made a little early move there and he came up empty. Calvin set him down maybe a hair early.”

         

Woolley kept going, “Calvin was letting him drift up and when you let this horse do that he’s going to try to go, you know, and so he’d a been better off probably keeping him covered up down on the fence [the rail] for awhile.”

          

SO, WHY WASN’T IT BOREL’S FAULT?

           

Here’s why: If a horse is hot or grabby or rambunctious before the jockey gets on him, that’s not his fault, especially if he normally isn’t like that before a race. Borel probably thought he was in some trouble before the race; certainly Jerry Bailey did and said so with his comments literally minutes before the race.

         

While it’s a jockey’s job (and a tremendous skill) to keep a hot horse calm, sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do. Even the trainer later admitted maybe he should have done something “to take the edge off” Mine That Bird prior to this third race in five weeks.

           

Clearly, Mine That Bird had not been like this before either the Derby or the Preakness (and presumably his other starts). So he had already raced in front of gigantic crowds in Kentucky and Maryland and there was no reason to expect this change in pre-race attitude.

          

If anything, the fact that he was too much on the bit has to be blamed on the trainer, not the rider. Maybe it’s nobody’s fault; maybe the horse got spooked or got nervous or got scared for some reason we may or may not ever find out about. But once he’s riled up (and by everybody’s account he was), it puts Calvin Borel in an almost impossible position.

                     

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

                

Jerry Bailey again got it right: “Calvin was in a no-win position. If you strangle him [take a strong hold of him], that will wear him out.” Conversely, if you let him run too early, that will wear him out.

      

And the latter is exactly what happened.

                    

Should Calvin Borel have raced a few times at Belmont the week before or the day of the Belmont? Absolutely. Was it a mistake not to? Absolutely. Did he overdo it with Letterman, the NY Stock Exchange, etc.? Maybe, although that’s not as big a deal as not racing at Belmont.

                   

        

WHAT’S THE REALITY?

                    

The reality of it all is that Calvin Borel was given a rambunctious, hot horse to ride who races best from the back in a mile-and-a-half (or, apparently, any) race. He couldn’t hold him back any longer than he did (in his view) because, if he did take a heavy hold, he might have shut off his wind or choked him or made him fight the bit – all guarantees of a loss. So he took a shot as best he could and moved early (I’m sure he knew he was moving earlier than he wanted to but had no choice). He made the lead too early for this (and possibly only this) race.

               

So while he gets some of the blame, most of it goes to whatever made this horse on this day something he hadn’t been before – rambunctious and on the bit.

          

AND THAT TOOK PLACE LONG BEFORE CALVIN BOREL MOUNTED HIS BELMONT HORSE.

                  

And, as they say at the track, that’s horse racing.

                   

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.