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Posts Tagged ‘The Preakness’

Mine That Bird Longshots To Derby Greatness

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Well, THAT was unexpected. Mine That Bird, a 50-1 long, long shot, won the Kentucky Derby Saturday in dramatic and incredible style. Coming from the dead last position, Bird delivered an incredible run down the stretch, one that saw him overtake the ENTIRE FIELD from the inside position, as jockey Calvin Borel masterfully maneuvered his horse to the front of the pack and into horse racing history. A quote from longtime Louisville-now-ESPN scribe Pat Forde, who has seen his fair share of Derby stories, details just how surprised the horse racing universe is by Mine That Bird’s amazing win, and just how much his win resonates:

More Derby reaction after the jump >>

An Interview With Doctor Lawrence Bramlage

Dr. Larry BramlageBecause we are in the grips of horse racing’s run for the Triple Crown, the subject of horses and their safety has been brought back to the forefront — especially when you consider the tragedy of Eight Belles. With this in mind, I pursued an opportunity to interview Dr Lawrence Bramlage, the attending on-call* veterinarian of the Kentucky Derby.

Dr. Bramlage also oversaw the euthanasia of Eight Belles after determining the severity of her injuries; something he’s never before witnessed during his career as a medical expert for the thoroughbred industry.

In our interview, we asked Dr. Bramlage some questions about the Eight Belles injury, potential prevention methods, Big Brown and Derby Pie. Needless to say, Dr. Bramlage went to great lengths to educate some of us who may have been in an uproar about animal cruelty and horse racing. Our interview was conducted via email and because I’m no expert when it comes to matters of the horse-racing industry, some of my questions may seem elementary.

Thankfully, Dr. Bramlage’s answers were not:

Intentional Foul: Dr. Bramlage, thank you for taking the time speak with Intentional Foul. In your report, it was revealed Eight Belles had fractures of the cannon and sesamoid bones in both front legs. What, in your professional opinion, contributed to the severity of these injuries? Was Eight Belles fighting the “slow down” commands she was being given or did she perhaps step incorrectly while she was slowing?

Dr. Bramlage: She was slowing down perfectly just like you want a horse to do. She was decreasing her momentum without abruptly stopping. She was relaxed and the jockey had her perfectly balanced. There is no good explanation for how she got the fractures. In her last three strides she showed lameness in the right front on two, then dramatically shifted her weight to the left. That is when the left fractured and she went down. Obviously she overloaded the right as well.

There is no indication of anything wrong until those three strides. Horses occasionally sustain injuries during a race that shows up as they slow down, but no one associated with racing that I have talked to has ever seen anything like this event.

Continue reading our interview with Dr. Bramlage

Weekly Pwnage: Big Brown Absolutely Smokes The Preakness

I’ve seen a lot of memorable performances and plays in the past year. Things like David Tyree’s catch, Tyson Gay walking Asafa Powell down, Dwight Howard’s Superman and so on. However, what I witnessed from Big Brown at the Preakness equals or surpasses these and other highlight-worthy exhibitions. While the Preakness infield was apparently its normally fun self, watching Big Brown destroy the field as he rounded that last turn was pretty exhilarating as well.

Next up for Big Brown: three weeks worth of “Will he be the first horse since win the Triple Crown since Affirmed?” speculation as he prepares to run the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the coveted Triple Crown. While Big Brown’s chances to finally accomplish the Triple do look great, the fact the Belmont is the longest of the three races — 1.5 miles — may play a part in the outcome.

Will jockey Kent Desormeaux preserve Big Brown’s energy so his horse has enough left for a strong finish or will this be a repeat of Smarty Jones?

What Can Big Brown Do For You?

Big Brown

The Preakness is tomorrow and while you are enjoying all the debauchery, be sure to remember there’s a semi-important horse race going on tomorrow. You know, if going to a horse track to watch horses race is your type of thing — a legitimate question for all the in-field attendees.

If you are actually interested in the race, the other questions surrounding The Preakness are can the horse who launched a million UPS trucks (not really, but he did get his name from the shipping giant) win the second leg of the Triple Crown? If he does, will anyone in attendance be sober enough to appreciate it? Another question, deftly tackled by Pat Forde, is whether or not two-weeks is a sufficient enough lay-off for modern horses to compete the Triple?

I’m not sure Seattle Slew or Affirmed had these issues to worry about, but nevertheless, the concerns are out there. Others tend to stem from the Eight Belles tragedy and while they are legitimate, I’m not sure if they won’t just fall on deaf ears. The horse racing industry is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry (especially if you include the gambling aspect) and while the immediate destruction of one of these beautiful creatures leaves a lasting impact on the general sporting public and generates tons of shock waves, it won’t derail horse racing from moving forward.

We are in the middle of the Triple Crown season and it’s the industry’s time to shine and if the Barbaro saga didn’t dampen their spirit, nothing — not even the destruction of Eight Belles — will.

Anyway, enough op-edding for now; let’s look at the race. Can Big Brown complete and win leg number two of the Triple Crown? Considering the fact he’s a 1-2 favorite (for every $2 spent, you get $1 in return), it’s pretty obvious where Vegas’ feelings lie. When you look at the rest of the field’s odds, you can get the distinct impression Big Brown is the only horse worth paying attention to.

The second lowest odds are for Gayego, who comes in at 8-1. After that, the rest of the entires have double-digit odds. To me, this seems to indicate either Big Brown will destroy the field (in a winning way) or some enterprising gambler is going to make a lot of money off the likes of Macho Again (20-1) and Riley Tucker (30-1). With that in mind, I’m going to go out on a limb here and pick Big Brown to win, place, and show.

In other news, ESPN’s Randy Moss looks really intense. God, I love bad choices in online video freeze-frames.

Randy Moss

Don’t take any crap from that ESPN 2 crew, Randy.