Looks like the race for top three-year-old just got blown wide open after that race yesterday. The favorites entered the ring and looked like they couldn't even compete with the New York Monster. The anticipated heavyweight fight between Shackleford and Animal Kingdom looked more like a featherweight fight as Animal Kingdom never had a shot after stumbling out of the gate and Shackleford faded down the stretch once again. It was the 24-1 shot, Ruler On Ice who came out on top, being only the second gelding since 1985 to take the Belmont Stakes.
So, here we are the day after the race, puzzled, confused, mystified, or you can just fill in the blank with your own adjective. Looking back at the past performances, I'm left scratching my head as to how the top two finishers (abysmal speed ratings heading into this race) overcame the monster and the rest of the field.
Does past experience on a sloppy track really come into play that much (if yesterday taught us anything then definitely)? If Animal Kingdom had not of stumbled out of the gate and almost thrown his rider would he have taken the race with ease (probably so)? You can play the what if game all you want and question your picks till you drive yourself crazy. All you can do is try to learn from the race, forget about your loses and move on to the next one. Like I told my friend who was heckling me for my blown picks this past race, "You can't win 'em all or I wouldn't be having to go into work on Monday morning."
The Triple Crown races are over, which will give me and my wallet a breather for a month or so. There is still an exciting summer ahead as most of these three-year-olds prepare themselves for the $1 million Travers Stakes, also known as the famed Midsummer Classic at the end of August. Not to mention, NBC teams up with Saratoga starting at the end of July to televise seven weekends of horse racing coverage all the way through Labor Day. Check back in July and I will have my picks for some stakes races this summer leading up to the Travers.