Weekend Recap- Horses and Pigskin

I have to admit, Saturday was a bit of a blur for me, complete with the eight Breeders’ Cup races whizzing by quicker than I could decide how to bet them, college football games (most of them surprising me) blaring in the background and all the while wearing a Johnny Cash costume in a sports bar for a Halloween party I was heading to directly after the races ended. I persevered though, and here’s what I remember, as chronologically as possible:

  • The chalk won both of the Juvenile races. I had Backseat Rhythm to place and she finished third and paid impressively. Growl.
  • I can’t believe how easily West Virginia handled Rutgers on the road. Most impressive had to be their defense, holding a pretty strong Rutgers offense to only three points. The Mountaineers are certainly still in the national championship conversation.
  • Wow, it was muddy at the Breeders’ Cup. However, the mudders didn’t necessarily get over on the horses accustomed to firmer turf or faster tracks; in fact, no European horse won a single race despite seemingly favorable conditions. Nowhere was this more evident than in the Filly & Mare Turf, where Lahudood pulled a shocker. My pick, Honey Ryder, closed hard to place and make me some money, but I of course had left the winner out of my exacta.
  • Oregon got a huge win at home against USC. I officially withdraw previous negative comments about the Ducks, they’ve simply won too many big games to continue fading them all the time. They’ve got another big one this weekend against undefeated Arizona State for full control of the Pac-10. Who would have thought USC would have two conference losses at this point?
  • Finally, I nail an exacta as Midnight Lute closes hard to win the Sprint in maybe the day’s most impressive performance, and hometown hero Idiot Proof runs basically a flawless race to finish second.
  • Georgia’s whole team ran on the field after they scored their first touchdown in a hilariously horrible display of sportsmanship. Whatever works I guess! Florida’s defense looked pretty shaken from that point on and lost 42-30. The Gators never really had a chance in this one, and I didn’t think they there was any way they could lose.
  • Another exacta! In my best call of the day, Kip Deville wins the Mile as favorite Excellent Art finishes second. Wow, what a great trip Kip Deville had, it was everything I had envisioned.
  • Connecticut has a football team? Apparently so. How quickly South Florida has gone from a national title to a team that just lost to Connecticut at football. Maybe the Huskies are for real though. Their defense certainly looks strong, and right now they might be the second best team in the very confusing Big East.
  • My luck comes to an end with the ponies as pace dominates the Distaff and I finally brick a race completely. My closers were never a factor. At least I had Hystericalady to show, but I was amazed to see Ginger Punch wire this supposedly deep field. It turned out to be maybe the least impressive race of the day. After Nashoba’s Key didn’t fire in the Turf race, I really wish she would have run here, and she probably won’t even get the Eclipse Award now.
  • American hero English Channel pulled away from the Euros and won the Breeders’ Cup Turf in his last career race. Wow, I didn’t see that one coming at all, but I couldn’t have been happier about it, except that some no name horse called Shamadian got up for second and ruined my exacta, which I ended up greedily overbetting. Growl #2.
  • Mississippi State killed Kentucky. Good luck trying to put these SEC teams in order of quality. My best guess is that any one of them can beat the other on any given day, and that they’re quite good actually.
  • Classic time! Hard Spun and Lawyer Ron went to the lead just as everyone had expected, but Hard Spun proved me wrong again by staying the course and getting the distance, while Lawyer Ron was gone by the turn for home. As I imagined, it appears that Lawyer Ron blew all the energy he had in that tough Jockey Club stretch run and will retire without ever having won a 10 furlong race. Hard Spun, meanwhile, will go down as one of the best horses to ever race and never win anything that mattered. He sure did screw up a couple of big exactas for me along the way though, triple growl! But honestly, coming around the turn for home, Curlin was just in a different gear than the rest of the field. It’s amazing what this horse accomplished this year, and is a deserving Horse of the Year off of his past two efforts as well as his impressive Triple Crown performance. As far as George Washington’s breakdown and euthanization is concerned, it was obviously a horrible way to end an otherwise terrific day at a muddy Breeders’ Cup. I have to wonder why he was even running in this race on an unfamiliar surface. I suppose that’s the risk horse owners take to earn the glory, but no one in their right handicapping mind thought the horse had a chance in this race, and he shouldn’t have been in it to begin with.
  • By the evening, things were starting to run together. I can’t believe how good Ohio State is! California is either in a freefall or Arizona State is for real. We’ll see over the next couple of weeks. Oh, and how the hell did Boston College possibly win that game Thursday night? I for one switched it over to the World Series….

TOP 25 OF THE MATTY:

  1. Ohio State (9-0)
  2. Boston College (8-0)
  3. LSU (8-1)
  4. Oklahoma (7-1)
  5. West Virginia (7-1)
  6. Arizona State (8-0)
  7. Oregon (7-1)
  8. Kansas (8-0)
  9. Hawaii (9-0)
  10. Missouri (7-1)
  11. Virginia Tech (6-2)
  12. USC (6-2)
  13. Georgia (6-2)
  14. Michigan (7-2)
  15. Connecticut (7-1)
  16. South Florida (6-2)
  17. Auburn (6-3)
  18. Florida (5-3)
  19. Alabama (6-2)
  20. Texas (7-2)
  21. California (5-3)
  22. Tennessee (5-3)
  23. Boise State (7-1)
  24. Wisconsin (7-2)
  25. South Carolina (6-3)

HEISMAN WATCH:

  1. Matt Ryan, Boston College
  2. Tim Tebow, Florida
  3. Andre Woodson, Kentucky
  4. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
  5. Mike Hart, Michigan

ECLIPSE AWARD PICKS:

2 Year Old Filly: Indian Blessing

2 Year Old Colt: War Pass

3 Year Old Filly: Rags to Riches

3 Year Old Colt: Curlin

Older Male: Lawyer Ron

Older Female: Ginger Punch

Sprinter: Midnight Lute

Male Turf: English Channel

Female Turf: Lahudood

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