Andy Serling has been playing the horses for almost his entire life, and is currently the co-host of NYRA Live. To follow Andy on Twitter, click here.
I always enjoy during the NBA playoffs when players guarantee victory. Patrick Ewing, who was one of my all-time favorite players, used to do it fairly often. Sometimes he was right.....sometimes not. I feel like there were some recent guarantees from the Cleveland Cavaliers. I always wonder how exactly they would define guarantee. Does it mean " I hope we will win? " Maybe if players were told they had to pay for every season ticket holder's seats the following season if they were wrong they would reconsider their promises. Maybe not. I thought of all this when I read the following comment from Calvin Borel, concerning Mine That Bird, on this website.....“We're going to win it, no questions asked," Borel told reporters
. While I appreciate his confidence, as I have been known to be extremely confident about my selections from time to time, and certainly Mr. Borel is riding the kind of horse racing high right now that most can only dream of, but I can't help but wonder if this is somehow akin to pronouncing your horse "home " at the eighth pole....something you invariably end up regretting. Sounds pretty tempting to the Horseracing Gods if you ask me.
Contrarian that I am, I now plan to bet against Mine That Bird with the utmost confidence, that I can guarantee. I, however, will attempt to stand on at least slightly firmer ground than simply hoping the supposed Horseracing Gods will be forced to intervene. Mine That Bird has been the recipient of two extremely good trips in a row, at a very opportune time may I add, and this is something that rarely happens to deep closers. In the Derby, he rode a very strong rail, while getting a shockingly clean trip, against a field that simply did not show up. In the Preakness, while failing to beat a very good horse in Rachel Alexandra, he was able to take advantage of a pace the essentially collapsed, and got a very clean trip, all things considered, in a large field that bunched as the field was turning for home. Now, don't mistake this for a lack of respect for Mine That Bird, as I think he is a very nice horse, and he may very well be the best horse in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, but I think there is a high likelihood that he will not get as favorable a trip this weekend as he has gotten in the prior Triple Crown races.
Consider the pace scenerio. There are simply no confirmed front runners. Charitable Man, whose chances I am also not particularly high on, may end up going to the lead, or perhaps Miner's Escape will try to duplicate the same tactics that got the same connections into the winner's circle last year, but neither of these horses figure to be going particularly fast early. Thus, in all likelihood, Mine That Bird will find himself closer to the pace than he has been while being effective in the Derby and Preakness. In the past, when he has raced close to the pace he has had no effective finishing kick, while racing against much weaker foes. In my opinion, the main reason for his recent improvement is his new running style, and there appears to be more than a reasonable chance that will be mitigated in this weekend's Belmont Stakes. At his expected short odds, these are enough reasons for me to bet against Mine That Bird.
The problem, of course, is who can you be confident will run a winning race Saturday. I will worry about this later, or more distinctly Wednesday night after the pps come out, as I have already convinced myself of perhaps the most important decision a horseplayer can come to......I'm tossing the favorite. I guarantee that Calvin Borel's comments actually had nothing to do with this.