The Travers Stakes was quite a horse race (although some people thought it was more like a stock car race with all the bumping on the turn for home) with the Colonel stealing one with an extended head bob after being passed on the outside by Mambo in Seattle. Where the hell did this horse come from? We thought Big Brown was a late blooming three year-old colt, but this one still can do some damage before the year is over. Post-time favorite Pyro had a decent race to finish third. But absent yet again was the powerful stretch kick he showed twice earlier over the Fair Grounds course. It appears that his best racing days may be behind him. Jim Dandy winner Macho Again had some traffic trouble, but appeared to be retreating when it occured. Nick Zito's trio of charges, most notably Belmont winner Da'Tara, were hopelessly overmatched.
It's time to give Garrett Gomez some major props after he hit rock bottom in 2003 when he was serving prison time. Gomez got busted for a controlled substance while being away from the sport after he was unable to maintain the stringent weight guideline for jockeys. After working his way back to the track in late 2004, he had tremedous success in 2006 while leading North American jockeys with purse money earned at $20 million (by the way, his cut is 10% plus private retainers... not bad for a high school dropout!). He was snubbed at the Eclipse Awards that year in lieu of Edgar Prado and his memorable season with Barbaro. But in 2007 he backed that season up and then some while breaking Jerry Bailey's record for most stakes victories in a season at 76 (including two Breeders' Cup races).
Speaking of Jerry Bailey, is it just me or is he tremendously overrated as an analyst? I mean, the guy may have been a world class jockey, but Randy Moss' predictions of horses expected to show speed and pace figures are much more on point than his alien-shaped head counterpart. But that sure doesn't stop Bailey from hawking his handicapping DVD at every segment. And while I'm on the subject, the only thing Hank Goldberg has been "hammering" as of late is his piggy bank -- to find loose change. This guy has run out of his bankroll the last three ESPN racing coverages that I've seen, yet he was bragging about not losing a race prior to ESPN's coverage around the 8th race. Sure... great job hitting that non-winners of two lifetime race that NOBODY cares about. Why would he even be handicapping "crap races" with a card like Del Mar had Sunday? And would somebody please send Jenine Edwards a scarf so she can cover up the horse veins in her neck? I keep waiting for one of those things to burst all over Rick Dutrow's sweat laden shirt during an interview. Maybe then Rick would stop calling her "Babe." Where's Kenny Mayne when you need him?!