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No Summertime Blues

Posted by on 6/8/2015 9:11:52 PM

When Eddie Cochran co-wrote ‘Summertime Blues’ in the late 1950s he had no concept the tune would be covered by country legend Alan Jackson and The Who but now that the sophomores will take a break, let’s look what the next several weeks have in store.

Long after the last Mint Julep was consumed at Churchill, hours after the Baltimore fans bade goodbye to the Preakness and days after the lingering sounds of “New York, New York” were a memory to those that watched history being made by American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes, the racing machine still rages on through the summer coast to coast.

If the Triple Crown is the king of appetizers, the action throughout the summer is the main course before the Breeders’ Cup serves as the sweet dessert to end the season and there are some great races with some legends in tow to gamble on this year.

Let’s look this time at 2 huge summer extravaganzas with a back to the future look at what happened in recent years. The Travers is called the “Mid-Summer Derby” as those that were on the Triple Crown trail just may hook up again including the Belmont Stakes winner and runner-up Frosted.

In the Windy City, the Arlington Million generally brings together the best turf runners on both sides of the pond.

The Travers will be run on August 29, the Arlington Million on August 15.

Nothing wrong with being the first one on your block to get the top prize and the Arlington Million was just that, as its name implies was the first thoroughbred race to offer a purse of $1,000,000 in August 1981.

To put that number in perspective know that he U.S. Census Bureau listed the median income of a normal household was just over $19,000 that year.

The race will be renewed in Chicago and fittingly, in its inaugural year, the race was won by the great John Henry, who became the only double winner of the event 3 years later.

Since those early days the mile and a quarter test of quality has been won by some super nice horses. The versatile mare Estrapade took down the top prize in 1986, champion Manila won the next season and Chester House kicked off this decade with a win for the recently deceased Bobby Frankel and the Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.

Last year Hardest Core was coming into the Arlington Million off a 3-race win streak and he rose to the task posting a successful 103 winning Beyer Speed Figure.

The mile and a quarter Travers is the oldest major thoroughbred horse race in America. The first Travers took place in 1864 at Saratoga Race Course and some great horses have been crowned the king of the New York social scene since.

Triple Crown winner Whirlaway won the race in 1941, Alydar got some sort of revenge on his rivals taking the 1978 renewal as the original first finisher Affirmed was taken down and placed second.

New York’s favorite son Easy Goer ended the 80s with a victory in the fixture and Sea Hero proved his 13-1 surprise in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke as he went home with the Travers trophy.

In recent years after beating Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes, Birdstone’s owners hoisted the champagne of a Travers success and Street Sense also posted the Kentucky Derby/Travers double.

In 2009 Summer Bird reveled in the slop in the $1 million Travers cashing with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. He was winning only his third race of his career and basically flattered Rachel Alexander how had just beaten him by 6 lengths. The son ofBirdstone repeated in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and ended his career completing the superfecta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Last year V. E. Day was coming off a game win in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes before coming from 7th to get up by a nose over Wicked Strong in the Travers.

What players want to generally look for in a Travers hero is tactical speed, the ability to quicken in traffic and the constitution that enables a runner to take a lick and keep on ticking.

These are just 2 stellar races highlighting the summer and we’ll key on 2 other clever fixtures this week, but value action is generous at venues like Hollywood Park, Monmouth and even Emerald Downs in the Northwest.

Dress cool, drink your fluids and here’s hoping you cash some tickets this summer.

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