So as we get close to the Belmont Stakes, I am being exposed to absolutely silliness… The most ridiculous or the silly remarks is with the wonderful horse Spectacular Bid. At the time — I was just learning about horse racing – and open to everything that was said by everyone — especially Buddy Delp. Buddy called Spectacular Bid the greatest horse that ever looked through a bridle. Well at that time, I was a ticket writer on the new computer terminals at Gulfstream Park and many of my co-workers were friends of Buddy Delp. One day, Buddy came over and told one of the tellers that his horse was a sure winner at the low price of 2/1. And of course, all of the ticket writers at our particular location all decided to wager on this good thing from the trainer of Spectacular Bid. OF COURSE, the horse finished nowhere to be found! And I vowed, never to listen to anything that any Jockey or Trainer had to say about anything related to horse racing! I have been proved correct over and over again… I’m not finished yet!
Just like Smarty Jones, Spectacular Bid ran the 1 1/4 beautifully and had a open lead, which unlike Smarty Jones completely wilted into being a well beaten 3rd. Some say that Ron Franklin took him out a little too fast and if Schoemaker was up, he would have been better handled ! What a load of crap… Affirmed and Alydar went head and head the entire — freakin – 1 1/2 and never stopped and never let anyone go by them. So I am sorry if Spectacular Bid was a little too keen on the lead, because when you think about Smarty Jones being gang raped on the front end, and still fighting to the wire — how can anyone consider his problems severe! How about the premature move of Kent Desormeaux on Real Quiet or the issues that caused California Chrome so much difficulty – even last year.
No doubt Specatular Bid was a GREAT horse. He proved his greatness on the track as a terrific 3 year old and an nicely improved 4 year old. But it remains — he never won at 1 1/2 MILE, he was soundly beaten by both Coastal in the Belmont and Affirmed in the Jockey Gold Cup. In fact, let’s just compare Affirmed to Spectacular Bid in his head to head effort. Three times he made a move at Affirmed and Affirmed laughed at him as he scampered away. To my eye, he couldn’t make Affirmed — while getting weight – take him seriously. But I remind you, that Alydar was like a second skin to Affirmed when they races against each other. And as a 3 year old, Alyday defeated the best 4 year olds in the world by nearly 10 lenghts… IN 1977 and 1978 we were treated to three truely GREAT horses, GREAT by every single measure. Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Alydar — and believe me, we have seen some really good horses and in the case of Spectacular Bid a Great horse, but we haven’t seen any horse to compare with those three or the other one that went by the name Secretariat.
And as for Willie Shoemaker’s opinion, I would bet all my money and all of your money that Forego would give Spectacular Bid more than he could handle. And just to that point, remember that Forego was not only the amazing distance loving, weight carrying monster, but he was also Sprinter of the Year (I believe that was 1976) and in his next to last race, coming off a 10 month layoff, Forego beat Dr. Patches at 7 furlong ion one of the most astonishing stretch ones I have ever seen. Oh by the way, Dr. Patches, while in receipt of 15 lbs in his next start, beat the amazing Seattle Slew in the Patterson… Dr. Patches could motor…
Here is a treat you can all give to yourselves… go to YouTube and dial up the 1979 Jockey Gold Cup and the 1978 Marlboro Cup and Jockey Gold Cup and the 1978 Belmont Stakes, which is without a doubt the greatest race ever run!