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Weekend Ramblings

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 10/17/2011 7:04:52 PM

The Champion Stakes at Ascot this weekend may go a long way to showing all who will and will not be a factor in the online betting for the Breeders’ Cup Turf next month.

Nathaniel appeared in a good spot but he was parked out in post 10 and the shorter trip led connections to drive their colt to the front from the get go. The bad news was that he had the outsider Ransom Note for company and the pressure by that foe did him in when it really counted.

The story of the Champion was the winner Cirrus Des Aigles, who did not run in the Arc because he is a gelding but won a duel with solid runner So You Think to get the money course record 2:02.52 time.

Well, the sports betting connections got the money, but the rider Christophe Soumillon was banned for 5 days and fined over $80,000 American dollars for going to the whip too often.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m as much for kindness to animals as the next guy as I worked on a thoroughbred farm for several years and learned to love horses day in and day out but to punish a guy for whipping is almost as unjust as asking football players in the National Football League to do something suddenly that they have been taught for decades not to do.

The footballers are conditioned from Day One to go all out, attack the ball, be aggressive and try to overcome all adversity at all costs but now are punished for the slightest over involvement on a play even defying the logic of stopping momentum at will.

The new whip rule in England, which was just put into place about a week ago, allow five whip strikes in the final furlong but Soumillon went to the stick one more time and was fined the inordinate amount.

It was the rider’s first run in England since the change, and as Soumillon said, “jockeys are not here to whip horses, but are here to make the horses do their best and that’s is what I tried to do.”

Put yourself in the owner’s shoes for a moment and think about winning a big purse, or losing because a rider has already went through his allotment of hits. It’s horseracing and remember the late great Al Davis when he said, “Just win baby.”

It’s ridiculous and don’t be shocked if the riders strike or demand that the rule is modified.

On another English note, Frankel continues to roll as he won his 9th consecutive race in the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes.

Trained by legendary Henry Cecil, Frankel won 4 times last year but a total of 26 lengths and his 5 wins this year have come by nearly 20 lengths combined.

Racing fans will miss him in the Cup this year, as Cecil has put him on the shelf but expect more brilliance for this superstar next year.

More sportsbooks crime and punishment went toward the way of Richard Dutrow Jr. who was banned for 10 years from racing in New York.

In their ruling, New York racing officials cited Dutrow's long history of rules infractions, including numerous medication violations. The trainer is best known for winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with Big Brown in 2008.

He has won more than a dozen training titles in New York over the past 10 years and also trained 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam.

The ban will likely be upheld around the country but Dutrow is expecting to appeal before Tuesday.

This is clearly a case of things just adding up in the wrong direction. He has been cited nearly 70 times at 15 different tracks over the years and it probably did not help his cause that he is so brash and out spoken.

Granted, there is no place for cheating in racing, but behind the scenes, the powers that be sometimes protect the powerful barns as to not expose the entire ball of wax.

Personally, I knew Mr. Dutrow’s dad back in the day. My boss had a box at Monmouth Park right next to the elder Dutrow and we conversed almost daily during the summer meets in the late 1960s.

Pops was always near the top of the standings, always a gentleman and totally different than son Richard.

It’s one thing to punish a guy and send a message and quite another to ruin someone’s entire life by lumping all infractions together.

This is one thing racing as a whole will need to address and the sooner the better.




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