Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2015 Contents BALTIMORE---For the third time in four
years, Belmont Park will play host to a
Triple Crown hopeful when American
Pharoah attempts to add the 147th running
of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes
on June 6, the final and most demanding
leg of the series, to his victories in the
Kentucky Derby and in Saturday s rain-
It will mark the 14th time since Affirmed
swept all three races in 1978 that a horse
has had a chance to join the 11 Triple Crown
champions; none have succeeded. Three of
those attempts have been by American
Pharoah s Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert,
who won the first two legs in 1997 with
Silver Charm; 1998 with Real Quiet and
2002 with War Emblem. Two previous
attempts were also made by jockey Victor
Espinoza, who rode California Chrome to
a fourth-place finish last year, and was also
aboard War Emblem.
On a humid Sunday morning, Baffert
stood outside American Pharoah s barn at
Pimlico Race Course and reflected on the
events that brought him, along with
Espinoza, owner Ahmed Zayat and the
handsome bay colt, to the brink of racing
immortality once again.
"It s hard for me to imagine I m going
through this again," said Baffert, who is
sending American Pharoah back to Kentucky
today for a light week before he returns to
training and comes to New York on June 3,
the Wednesday before the Belmont.
"I can t believe this will be the fourth
time I m doing this, and how lucky I ve
been." He added. "All I can do is rely on
my experience going to the next one. I know
what to expect; I know how difficult it is
... with a horse like this it makes my job a
lot easier. You see the way he moves; he
just floats. It s just effortless."
Although American Pharoah looked
unbeatable in two races over a sloppy
track---the Rebel at Oaklawn Park and the
Preakness---Baffert said he was hoping for
a fast track at Belmont.
"Like the one Secretariat had," he said
jokingly. "I ll take that."
American Pharoah could face as many as
eight competitors in the Belmont, the cen-
terpiece of the expanded three-day Belmont
Stakes Racing Festival featuring 17 stakes
races and purses of more than $10 million.
Among them are Tale of Verve, who was
second in the Preakness, and a gaggle of
horses from the Derby who skipped the
Preakness including Frosted (4th), Keen Ice
(7th), Mumtaahij (8th), and Frammento (11th).
Quite Smart has an obvious chance in
the eight-runner Maiden 3-y-o Fillies
Stakes over seven furlongs of good to firm
Redcar today when there are three other
flat fixtures and jumping scheduled for
Towcester; that s right FIVE meetings
That s the daily dose nowadays, it s
designed to totally overwhelm and confuse
punters and judging by profits announced
by the major firms the recreation of betting
shop and internet enthusiasts is contributing
multi-millions to their coffers, world-wide.
Several years ago one wondered whether
English racing would prove popular in foreign
climes; have no fear it s almost an addiction
but, unfortunately, rewards don t seem to
be permeating through and enhancing prize-
money in the United Kingdom.
Bookmakers have the whole scenario
completely stitched up but it doesn t concern
me in my quest for a DAILY PATENT which
is able to keep the heads of readers above
water; Toormore failed by just a neck to
land huge odds for this column last Saturday
when Richard Hughes could have been a
deal more positive on this strong galloper.
It s my opinion and I ll be smart if
Robert Cowell s does indeed make it fourth
time lucky under Graham Lee, a significant
Quite Smart achieved a career-best on
her seasonal debut at Goodwood sixteen
days ago when a close second to King To
Be; that s also significant, form at that pic-
turesque course is usually solid and you can
bet this progressive Arcano filly will be bang
on the premises and good enough.
Once-raced Godolphin-owned Highest
Quality is a serious runner and there will
be plenty of confidence behind Marco Botti-
trained Lady Estella but consistency usually
gains reward and this looks a Smart selec-
Earlier it could be worth taking a Risk
in the thirteen-runner Maiden 2-y-o Stakes
over six furlongs.
Twice-raced Risk Adjusted was runner-
up again when finishing strongly over the
minimum trip at Ripon twenty-three days
ago; this extra distance and a useful TH
mark bodes well for Ann Duffield s charge;
Monday, May 18, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
TODAY'S PICK TWO
Times played this year
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30 pm Total
02 OLD LADY
04 DEAD MAN 6
05 PARSON MAN 3
15 SICK WOMAN 2
18 WATER BOAT 2
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30pm Total
27 LITTLE SNAKE 1
28 RED FISH
29 OPIUM MAN 4
30 HOUSE CAT 2
31 PARSON WIFE 4
34 BLIND MAN 1
35 BIG SNAKE
LAST DRAW: SATURDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS
Play Whe results to May 16
22 (Rat) 6.30 pm
31 (Parson Wife)---10.30 am
13 (Crapaud)---1 pm
7 (Hog)---6.30 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
30 (House Cat) 1 pm
10 (Monkey) 10.30 am
10.20 Risk Adjusted
11.20 Quite Smart
Quite Smart can pay
Trainer Bob Baffert rubs the
head of Preakness Stakes
winner American Pharoah
outside the stakes barn,
yesterday, at Pimlico Race
Course in Baltimore. AP PHOTO
BALTIMORE---Victor Espinoza couldn t wait to get
off American Pharoah.
His boots were water-logged, his goggles were
painted with mud and a chill ran through the jockey s
body as thunder roared overhead.
So, forgive Espinoza for acting like a man in a
hurry to get the job done after the gate burst open
Saturday to launch the 140th running of the Preak-
"I was freezing," Espinoza said. "I just wanted to
get it over with."
The Mexican jockey guided American Pharoah to
a seven-length victory, keeping alive the bay colt s
bid to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978
to win the Triple Crown.
American Pharoah came from behind to win the
Kentucky Derby. In this one, he forged in front early
and maintained the advantage to win easily.
Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert and the marvelous
Kentucky-bred horse will head to the Belmont, where
on June 6 they will attempt to ride into history as
the winner of the Triple Crown.
Espinoza has been here before---twice. In 2002,
aboard the Baffert-trained horse War Emblem,
Espinoza was in position to claim the Triple Crown.
War Emblem stumbled out of the gate and rallied
before finishing eighth.
Last year, aboard California Chrome, Espinoza won
the Derby and Preakness before finished fourth in
No sooner had Espinoza jumped off American
Pharoah when someone wanted to know his thoughts
about resuming a chase that has thus far been futile.
"Hopefully, the third time will be the lucky charm,"
It s the first time in history that the same jockey
has entered the Belmont two years in a row with a
chance to win the Triple Crown.
Although American Pharoah proved he s outstand-
ing on a sloppy track, Espinoza will no doubt be
looking for better conditions when it comes time to
approach the starting gate in three weeks in New
York. Things got really weird for the 42-year-old
jockey as the Preakness approached. One race earlier,
the horse he was aboard---Grand Tito in the Dixie
Stakes---sat down in the stall and had to be scratched.
Then, only 15 minutes before the Preakness, a hor-
rific storm hit the track. As lightning cracked in the
distance and thunder boomed above, sheets of rain
came down on old Pimlico Race Course.
"The first thing I think about is so much water
in my boots," Espinoza said.
It was time to adjust on the fly, and few in the
sport do it as well as Espinoza.
"Going into these big races, sometimes we have
a plan and a lot of things will change," he said. "Def-
initely, it changed a lot. Sometimes you make the
right decisions, do what s best for the horse. All
changed with the rain, but it worked out well."
Espinoza did a wonderful job---and so did American
American Pharoah heads for triple crown
3rd try at glory
Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard American
Pharoah after winning the 140th Preakness Stakes
horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday in
Baltimore. AP PHOTO
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