1 Week Away:
So, what do we want in the Belmont. For each of us, it might be a little different. What I want is to prove or disprove the authenticity of greatness confirmed in Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Alydar. I know, Alydar didn’t even win one leg of the Triple Crown, he ran 2nd – three time – always to Affirmed with successively more aggressive efforts – until he and Affirmed put their lives on the line to win the Belmont. Actually, if you did a linear analysis of Alydar, he actually ran a little more distance than did Affirmed. At some point we can have a discussion on ground loss compared to expending extra energy with closer attendance to the pace. But it is clear and obvious, to anyone who made it through 10th grade geometry, that Alydar in losing to Affirmed did in fact run about 19 feet further than Affirmed — less a nose!
Look — here I am some 37 years later still talking about Affirmed and Alydar! And believe it or not, they are not my favorite horse, who happens to be Seattle Slew. And it’s very hard to argue that Secretariat isn’t the very best of them all… And I remember in the late 1970’s, some old timers telling me that Citation was better than them all… For sure, this group of 5 are GREAT. And there is only room for a few in the GREAT room. And I would add, that I think Spectacular Bid should maybe in that Great room as well…along with Forego and Kelso.
So now w have American Pharoah, trying to gain entry into the GREAT ROOM. Let’s think this through together. It looked like he ran pretty hard in winning the Kentucky Derby after having a very nice series of prep races leading to the KD. The next case was his tour de force in slowish time and figure in the Preakness. Sometimes this is negative, just as it turned out to be for Dortmund with his high early pace, slightly backward final number in the Santa Anita Derby. At the time, I interpreted that as a positive for Dortmund. But we see that was not the case. So now we have a very similar look for American Pharoah. Since these are better horses, with more natural ability, I believe the correct read is Positive again. Interestingly, we will have two pieces of data, that are pretty similar and eventually two results that we can learn from. But I fully expect that American Pharoah will run very well in the Belmont.
So it is my opinion, that someone is going to have to show up, with a really big effort to win The Belmont away from American Pharoah. I am no longer abbreviating his name to Am Phar. or AP, from now on he is always going to be spelled out completely American Pharoah… unless…