Tight, Not Light: Big Brown had five career starts going into the Belmont Stakes. The 11 Triple Crown winners made an average of 14 career starts before the
Belated Excuses: Kent Desormeaux finally came out and blamed the starter standing on the racetrack for Big Brown’s ducking out leaving the gate or at least hinted he could have contributed to it. The only problem is, you complain about that five minutes after the race, not five days. Sorry, the statute of limitations has run out on that one.
The New Breed: From the statistical mind of author and historian Richard Sowers: “Everybody always talks about the
Well, Saturday marked the third consecutive year that the winning jockey in the
That hadn't happened since 1979-82, when Ruben Hernandez won aboard Coastal, Eddie Maple aboard Temperence Hill, George Martens on Summing, and Pincay (hard to believe he hadn't won a classic before) on Conquistador Cielo.”
Quote of the Day: With the water out throughout most of the track on
From Zatara to Da’ Tara: There are many methods people use to name horses, but not many are quite as complex as Nick Zito’s naming of Da’
“Bob LaPenta has been having trouble naming horses, and I like the story of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Zito explained. “In the story, Dantes escapes from prison and jumps off a cliff into the water and washes ashore, and these pirates find him. And by the way, this horse is out of a Pirate’s Bounty mare.
So, the leader of the pirates tells Dantes, ‘We’re going to call you Zatara,’ which means driftwood. Well, we didn’t get Zatara, but we got Da’
Zito was on the track after the
Zito also named Cool Coal Man and Web Gem for LaPenta.
All in the Family…Almost: NYRA security officer Juan Dominguez was all set to lead Big Brown back to the test barn following his expected sweep of the Triple Crown. It all seemed destined to happen. Dominguez’ uncle was none other than Laz Barrera, the trainer of the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, 30 years ago.
Big Apple Repeat: For the second straight year, a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner sired the winner of the Belmont Stakes. In the case of Da’ Tara’s sire Tiznow, however, he kept it all in
Taken to the Cleaners: You know your privacy has been invaded when you walk into your local dry cleaner’s and there’s a reporter from Newsday in there asking questions about you. That’s what IEAH Stables’ co-president Michael Iavarone was subjected to between the Preakness and Belmont.
“There’s one dry cleaner in town, and it just so happens that at the exact same time I go in there to drop stuff off, she’s in there asking the dry cleaner questions about me,” Iavarone said. “You can’t make that up.”
Special Delivery: About 15 minutes before the Belmont Stakes, Nick Zito won the 10th race at Churchill Downs with Wisconsin Girl. The name of the allowance race: the UPS Senders.
Save it for Later: When
It’s a shame he never got to test his luck. And how good did Casino Drive look after the horse he crushed in the Peter Pan (gr. II), Mint Lane, came back and romped by 5 3/4 lengths in the Postponed Stakes on June 13 against a solid field?
Applause Meter: The biggest cheer that went up over the
Cide by Cide: In 2003, you couldn’t get anywhere near Funny Cide, who had security around him 24 hours a day in the days preceding the Belmont Stakes. And Barclay Tagg kept everyone guessing when he was going to take him to the track. Now, five years later, there was Funny Cide standing by himself each day on the horse path outside the back entrance of Tagg’s barn, tied to a tree, munching on hay without a soul around. Now a pony, Funny Cide, his named embroidered on his saddle cloth, calmly stood there, waiting to accompany Tagg’s 2008 Belmont starter, Tale of Ekati, to the track each morning. One morning, with Robin Smullen aboard, Funny Cide passed right by Big Brown, who was standing by the rail, then moved alongside him and stood next to him for several seconds, making for a memorable photo of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners.
Keeping it Light: Da’ Tara’s owner Robert LaPenta leaving the walking ring before the
Rose Fever: So, what brought noted TV interviewer Charlie Rose to