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Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Heck of a Year Coming Up; The Battle of Saratoga?

Based on the results of last night's Su Mac Lad final at the Meadowlands, it looks like we will be having one heck of a year in the FFA Trotting ranks. Lucky Jim was once again victorious with Arch Madness second and Enough Talk finishing third. While Lucky Jim was spectacular last night and would have most likely won anyway, he was the recipient of racing luck when In Focus jumped off stride past the quarter, delaying a move from Enough Talk which allowed Lucky Jim to open up five lengths on the field, necessitating Enough Talk to brush earlier than he wanted so he could catch up to the leader.

Enough Talk then took on Lucky Jim on the final turn but was unable to make up any ground. When the duo turned into the stretch, Pierce gave up the fight and dropped Enough Talk back along the rail, allowing Arch Madness who was tracking the top two to overtake Enough Talk and challenge Lucky Jim in the deep stretch only to come up short by a neck.

Some people may question why Pierce decided to engage Lucky Jim on the last turn instead of waiting for the stretch to make his move. While it would have been the preferable to wait, it wasn’t possible as delaying his attack would have resulted in Arch Madness coming out to engage the leader, possibly locking Enough Talk on the rail. Pierce knew the turn may have been his only chance to challenge so he made his move then, figuring it was better to take his shot when he could instead of not being able to at all.

With all three of these trotters at the top of the game, I expect we will be seeing all of them in the winner’s circle at different times during the year. While it is early in the season and we need to see what transpires in the other divisions, there is a good chance one of these three horses will end up, not only as Trotter of the Year, but as Horse of the Year. With any luck, the these take their battle all the way through Lexington.

The Battle of Saratoga is underway at Saratoga Raceway.  No, not the Battle of Saratoga that some of us more 'seasoned' fans remember from days gone by.  This Battle of Saratoga is actually a series of late closing events for pacers and trotters that are non-winners; not the three year old open event which once featured the nation's best three year olds.  I realize the half mile track is out of favor by some, but it would be nice if there was a way Saratoga could bring back the 'old' Battle of Saratoga; perhaps racing it on a Saturday evening in August when the runners are in town, hopefully getting some of the thoroughbred crowd to come over and experience our sport.

We can dream can't we?

Here is the infamous Battle of Saratoga where Niatross went over the rail. 

Also found this gem.of Nevele Pride setting a world record at Saratoga in 1:56.4 which at that time was the fastest mile over a half mile track for a trotter or pacer.  It is always fun to take a look back in time at some of the great moments in the sport (excuse the little silliness at the end).