What Demko knows after the Blue Grass Stakes
The Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland was the kind of race that would make you turn around and start scanning the box seats for a smiling John Gotti, smoking a cigar and shaking hands with his associates. Watching the horses down the backstretch in this garbage race, you couldn't help but think to yourself that the fix was in. Five jockeys had their donkeys out for a casual afternoon stroll and they were all going to wait until the quarter poll to turn it on. At the post, Street Sense was at even money and Great Hunter was 2nd at 9-5. And the horsey wizards were falling all over themselves after the race trying to convince everyone that's exactly how it would have played out, had the race not been "paceless," which is just paddock code for "everyone shook hands and agreed not to actually race their 'racehorses' until the backstretch."
They shouldn't do things like this to Demko, who in addition to being an absolutely unrepentant degenerate gambler, is also an investigative journalist, with a real hard-on for St. Paul City Hall. He would have been pounding on the jockey room door after this race shouting, "Chris Coleman couldn't hide from me, and neither will you bastards!"
My own heart is so full of hate, I want to scratch all of these horses off the list. Just in case you're scoring at home, in a photo finish, Dominican beat Street Sense and Zanjero. But what DID we learn, if anything? One...Dominican out-kicked the others, which might be of note; the Derby is the longest race any of these nags will have run, so late steam is a desirable trait. Two...Zanjero absolutely hogged the rail; he not only kept the rest of the field off the rail, he also took it over and ran it 3 or 4 wide down the stretch, forcing them all way to the outside. If he were to get a good post position, you might look at 2 or 3 horses next to him and wonder whether they're going to get aced out. Three...Polytrack takes the furtive adrenaline of a desperate bet based solely on self-loathing out of horse racing because it slows the race to a crawl. Four...The "pace" horse, Teuflesberg, ended up fourth, but it was a very strong fourth, and he might be a sexy pick for a Superfecta, if you have a gambling problem, like Demko. Five...Don't bet the mortgage on Street Sense or Great Hunter; a loser is a loser.
In other news, Curlin beat absolutely nobody by 10 1/2 lengths in the Arkansas Derby. When I get down to some heavy action on the Derby, I'll examine his times and Beyer numbers, but this horse has run against the equivalent of the race scene in "The Quiet Man:" he's beat all the neighbor horses in a Sunday race over brunch and Irish Whiskey.