The 1992 Triple Crown is two-thirds over.
Here are some random observations about what has gone on in the past few weeks.
My own personal theory about why Arazi lost the Kentucky Derby: If Steve Cauthen had ridden the horse, he might have won.
It's not that Pat Valenzuela isn't a good jockey. But he moved too soon on Arazi in the early stages of the race.
European horses are trained to be "covered up" early, to tuck in behind horses and only run when they see daylight.
When Valenzuela moved the horse to the outside on the first turn, Arazi simply took off as he was trained to do and ran his race from the three-quarter pole to the quarter pole.
He turned in the same kind of sensational half-mile move that he did in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which he won. But that race, at 1 1/16 miles, was three-sixteenths of a mile shorter than the Derby.
Unfortunately, in the Derby, he had another quarter of a mile to go and came up empty.
Cauthen, who rode Arazi in his French works and in his one Derby prep, not only understands how European horses are trained after being a leading rider in France and England for several years, but he also has won the American Triple Crown and knows his way around Churchill Downs.
He would have dropped his hands, settled Arazi in behind horses and then not asked him to run until the half-mile pole.
Perhaps Allen Paulson, Arazi's American half-owner, was too intent on using his jockey (Valenzuela) instead of using Cauthen, the European rider for Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Arazi's other owner.
Maybe Paulson's ego, his desire to use his jockey instead of the sheik's, cost Arazi the Derby.
B6 Some insiders in the Arazi camp feel the same way.
So much for breeding "the best to the best": The dams of America's two 1992 classic races never won a race.
Eileen's Moment, dam of Derby winner Lil E. Tee, was blanked at the races. So was Rowdy Angel, dam of Preakness winner Pine Bluff.
Timing is everything: It takes luck to win a Triple Crown race.
Trainers of the horses treat their animals with kid gloves and give them the best of care. But they still have to be lucky.
Wasn't it lucky for Lynn Whiting, trainer of Lil E. Tee, that his horse waited until after he won the Derby to come down with a lung infection? He will miss the Belmont Stakes.
Wasn't it unlucky that A.P. Indy got a stone bruise the day before the Derby and missed the race?
Injured reserve list: It's true that the Triple Crown takes its toll on horseflesh.
Many of the Derby and Preakness runners, such as Lil E. Tee, Technology and Pistols and Roses, have fallen by the wayside with various ailments.
But how about some of the people connected with the horses?
Not only did Shelley Riley, owner-trainer of Casual Lies, faint after her horse finished second in the Derby, she was bitten at the Preakness by Conte Di Savoya.
There is also the story of the great grandson of Chief Sitting Bull, who showed up a week before the Preakness and went to work for trainer Bill Donovan.
Donovan's Preakness runner, Dash For Dotty, stepped on the chief's foot last week and broke it.
The chief is hobbling around Pimlico. "We've had to put a bar shoe on him and turn him out for a while," said Donovan's son, Pat.
No comment: Did trainer Dean Gaudet know something we didn't know?
Gaudet, who trained last-place Preakness finisher Speakerphone, refused to talk to the media during Preakness week.
She was quite adamant about ignoring the media.
Gaudet was right.
G; As it turned out, her horse wasn't worth talking about.
He's a pretty nice horse: Look for Technology to be a factor
when he returns to the races later this summer.
Despite injuring his foot and running down in one heel in the Preakness, the colt was bouncing the morning after the Preakness and had more spirit than some of the horses that beat him.
Probably not: Will Best Pal, who ran his worst races ever in the Preakness and 1992 Pimlico Special, ever come back to Pimlico?
Will Pine Bluff, who ran poorly in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the 1992 Kentucky Derby, ever run again at Churchill Downs?
Strictly first-rate: The Arkansas Derby turned out to be the key race in figuring out the winners of this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
K? Pine Bluff won the April 18 race by a neck over Lil E. Tee.
Never say die: In four big races in the past four weeks, the winners all had one common trait: They refused to give up.
Von Csadek finally won the Maryland Hunt Cup for the Doug Worrall family after three tries. Either he or his rider had fallen in two previous attempts. It took Pat Day 10 tries to win the Kentucky Derby.
It took Strike the Gold 13 races before he broke a winless streak at the Pimlico Special.
Two top jockeys, Craig Perret and Jerry Bailey, rebuffed trainer Tom Bohannan and chose other Triple Crown mounts. But Bohannan persevered. He hired Chris McCarron and won the Preakness with Pine Bluff.