News comes that Explosive Matter is likely to bypass the Breeders Crown and instead race in the Premio Orsi Mangelli to be raced on November 1 in Milan, Italy. No doubt one of the factors involved in skipping the Crown is to get away from Muscle Hill, thus eliminating from the Crown the only horse with a remote chance to beat Muscle Hill, thus making it a virtual walkover.
While many would think this is just a case of a dodging Muscle Hill, this is a bold move. If Explosive Matter played it safe and raced in the Crown (likely there will be no eliminations), he would almost certainly pick up second place which means he could add $125,000 to his earnings for the year. By deciding to race in the Orsi Mangelli, Explosive Matter must deal with several obstacles; shipping and quarantine; racing against foreign horses; racing two heats; a different racing style (they have no qualms about racing parked out). Thus racing in the Orsi Mangelli is a gamble; especially when the purse traditionally has not been as large as the Breeders Crown final.
For sure, the stated desire regarding getting Explosive Matter European exposure will benefit him once he does begin his stud career; possibly even leading to a sale to European interests. However, this also provides another opportunity to compare the quality of our trotters versus the European trotters. Anytime we can have European horses racing in North America or our horses racing in Europe, standardbred racing on the whole wins. We should be thankful Explosive Matter's connections are not playing it safe. To Explosive Matter and his connections, we say "Buona Fortuna".
For those that have never seen the Premio Orsi Mangelli, here is a video of the 2004 edition won by Passionate Kemp.