In today's 2nd race, my first choice was scratched. My second and third choices were at decent odds, and the exacta probables looked surprisingly generous. So I box up my two guys, Striking Rizzi and Dr. D.F.C., and am feeling pretty confident as they come charging down the lane side by side. That confidence quickly changed into sorrow, however, as a 60-1 shot named Big Daddy Rex came out of the clouds to win by 3/4 of a length. And that's basically how today went.
Lawyer Ron and Sun King, who are both routinely big disappointments at short odds, did it again today, finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the Met Mile. I can't really grumble, though, I gave them both another chance knowing that this was a real probability. Corinthian looked tough in this race; he's been impressive in G2 and G3 company, but he's also lost to 2nd-level allowance horses. This G1 win makes him a big dog, and it might be that he's more ideally suited to the mile (the distance at which he broke his maiden), than he is to the 9 furlong events he's been running in.
In other news, it looks like the Derby/Preakness trifecta of Curlin, Street Sense, and Hard Spun are all going to show up for the Belmont Stakes (Saturday, June 9th). I was pretty surprised to hear this. A mile-and-a-half is a rough distance, particularly for younger horses, and with no possibilty of a Triple Crown I would think that most owners and trainers would point their G1 livestock at the Travers in August or the Breeder's Cup in the fall.
Hard Spun will be getting a new rider, but I don't think it's going to help his case. His front-running style puts him at a big disadvantage over such a long distance. Curlin and Street Sense are both stalkers, so they'll probably be around at the end - but I don't think either will win. My early pick, obviously subject to change over the next couple of weeks, is Circular Quay, who finished 6th in the Derby and 4th in the Preakness. Deep closers have an edge in a really long race, where all the front-running types tend to spit out the bit in the stretch. Last year's Belmont Stakes was won by Jazil, who wasn't the most talented of the bunch, but had the right running style - the same running style as Circular Quay.