Someone didn't give Randy Waples and Thinking Out Loud notice of the coronation as they won the Pepsi North America Cup last night at Mohawk Racetrack in a Canadian record-tying performance of 1:47.4.
You see, despite the notice by many that Sweet Lou was going to be coronated in the North America Cup, the scribes and experts forgot one thing, the race is not won on paper but on the track. Sweet Lou may very well be the champion 3yo colt when all is said and done this year, but horses are not computer models, but living beings who need to compete and deal with the cards they are dealt with
Actually, I thought it was a gutsy performance by Sweet Lou who finished fourth, a mere 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner, getting passed in the last sixteenth of the mile, a victim of a blistering pace. While his connections are no doubt disappointed, there is no shame in Sweet Lou's performance. Some may say Palone made his move to early, but with those fractions (:25.4, :52.1, 1:20.3), the outcome sitting third may have been the same.
You can say, shoulda, coulda, woulda, but that is what makes racing exciting. Drivers need to make decisions and sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't. You can be the best handicapper in the world which will improve your odds over the novice gambler, but it all boils down to luck.
And that is why races are won on the track, not on paper. A replay of the North America Cup follows.
As a side note, it was nice to see the race come down to an exciting late come from behind finish. Too often, drivers act like the race is a coronation and they race for second money. For $1.5 million, drivers should be contesting the race from the start and not allowing a horse to win wire-to-wire unchallenged.
On the other side of the pond, Commander Crowe wins another race, the €150.000 Kymi Grand Prix at Kouvola-Finland, winning easily in a 1.12.0 kilometer rate for the 2100 meters.
Friday night the Meadowlands had camel and ostrich racing as well as a sportscaster charity race (there was another race on Saturday) resulting in a season high crowd of over 5,000. Did the handle go up as a result? No, but at least it got people in the door and if they had a positive experience, they will be back. In addition, it got the Meadowlands on the local news. You got to get noticed and people in the door to get the handle up. Damage can happen quickly, but it takes time to recover.
Harness Racing Update reported on Saturday that Walter Case Jr. will be getting a hearing in front of the Massachusetts Racing Commission regarding reinstating his driver's license. The hearing is scheduled for this Thursday. As I have stated before, if they licensed him before and he has not had any racing or personal problems, how do they justify denying him a license? Here is hoping the hearing goes well for Casey.
Cal Expo closed out their final meet as an operator as negotiations for a new operator to take over standardbred racing in the Golden State. While no agreement is in place, there is optimism and an unofficial target of harness racing resuming this November, two months later than previously anticipated. Hopefully, a new operator will have the resources to upgrade the racing program in the Golden State to make it more significant in the standardbred world.
Happy Fathers Day to All You Dads Out There