National Handicapping Championship. There's also now a ton of ground to make up in the Public Handicapper's 2012 contest, where the leader hit three of four races and already is $80 to the plus side (we're down $8) in the contest that runs through the 2012 Breeders Cup.
The next key event for us is the Preakness Day Handicapping Contest at Monmouth Park.
Anyway, some final two cents, at least from the NJ Horseplayer camp, to put a bow on Derby 2012:
- Pace scenario was probably even better than we hoped, with a first half mile run in 45.1 -- speaks volumes for the quality of horse in Bodemeister, who (if not spent) should relish a fast Pimlico
- Third- and fourth-place finishers came off synthetic surface preps, suggesting that surface is not at all a detriment to Kentucky Derby outcomes, as we observed last week
- Mario Gutierrez was part Moses parting the Red Sea and part lucky; great job keeping I'll Have Another out of trouble and getting him behind the top flight from Post 19, but he seemed to be running with no one around him down the backstretch...perfect trip off the top flight of speed
- Dullahan also ran pretty impressively -- included him in the 3rd and 4th spot of my superfecta ticket, and think he could be a force come the Belmont Stakes
- Union Rags can be a force heading toward Breeders Cup, even if trainer Michael Matz threw jockey Julien Leparoux under the bus for an awful start of our the gate; we noted the concern last week with the inner-field draw, but the horse was still determined late and can rebound against a rational-size field (i.e. anything but a 20-horse Kentucky Derby)
- NBC is a nightmare to watch as a racing fan in terms of the celebrity interviews and such; great presentation by the color commentators on the actual race breakdowns, but Costas and pitching the Olympics was obnoxious; give Laffit Pincay III the reins to run the show