Thursday, August 7, 2008

BB & co.

Paul Pompa has been heard from, not Richard Dutrow or Michael Iavorone. That speaks volumes by itself as far as I'm concerned. Quite often what's not heard tells the true message . Can anyone say damage control? Unfortunately the words heard are not what one had hoped. There will be no meeting with Curlin in The Woodward (gr.I) or an appearance by B.B. in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr.I). with or without Curlin. It seems 27 days is too much of a rush for the Woodward. While I don't think many truly believe that excuse these days it's possible. But, if true it doesn't speak well for the durability of his pedigree. No I don't believe it's too much of a rush. I do believe that they want to keep B.B. racing against 3-year-olds a bit longer or just find some softer spots. According to Pompa B.B. will be pointed to a race on the grass. I agree with Pompa that B.B has probably done enough to "solidify himself as 3-year-old of the year. (BH)" But his comment "If he wins the (gr. I) Breeders’ Cup (Classic) later this year, it would give him a grade I on synthetic (surfaces). And, if we find a turf event where he can win a grade I, he’ll have won grade I races on three different surfaces.” Yes, and if the pilgrims had shot a skunk... That's a lot of "ifs." Pompa doesn't sound as confident as Dutrow. If Dutrow is to be taken at his word and B.B. truly is the incarnation of Pegasus, why, one has to wonder, would they dodge a decisive bout with any horse? Why look for a grade I turf event "he can win?" If he's that good shouldn't he be able to win any event? So they should be looking for the most prestigious, not the most winnable race. As Curlin and his connections have proven, it's no disgrace to try and loose. But you have to have the courage of your convictions and at least try! So why the change in direction?

I have my own conspiracy theories. First, not all team B.B. is as certain of the colts dominance as Dutrow. Second, his foot problems continue and they believe the grass will treat him better. Perhaps his feet are another reason he seems to want to stop in his last two races. But my coup of conspiracy theories is ...(drum roll), maybe, just maybe, his retirement package was tied to performance accomplishments. Maybe he would have been worth - or at least he would have allowed Three Chimneys, to at very least, recoup - the reported $50 -$60 million if he had won the triple crown. Maybe everyone involved was so certain he would win the Belmont that it was considered a fait accompli. But of course, if you're Three Chimney's, you have to cover yourself. I say this because lately I have read little to nothing about him being retired. I don't believe I'm alone in believing B.B would have been retired had he won the Belmont. The best (easiest) way to create a legend is to leave all the accomplishments in the 'what if' category. But he would have been just that, legendary, if he had gone on to win the Belmont. Forever the questions would have circulated: What if he had run in the classic against Curlin? What if he won everything and raced as a 4-year-old? What if he lined up alongside Seattle Slew? or Secretariat? Fun? -yes, and the type of questions $50 million dollars is made of. Unfortunately, B.B has only gone on to have a P.R. problem. A P.R. problem is great to get people to the track but not so good for getting them to the breeding shed. So I believe the thinking of team B.B. is that they need to try the grass. They will find a spot -or have one created - on the grass that he can win so as not to damage his rep. In doing so they will also get a better gauge on how he'll handle the synthetic surface. So in effect it kills two birds with one stone. If the grass race doesn't turn out they way they hope, or expect, I don't believe we'll be seeing B.B. in the B.C. Classic. Regardless of Dutrow's boasts, at this point the brain trust of team B.B. seems intent on containing the damage and avoiding the big horse. Too bad for racing fans.

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