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Jenny Kellner is an award-winning journalist and educator who has written about horse racing for more than 20 years. She has been a media specialist with NYRA for the past four years.

One For The Birds

Saturday, June 06, 2009

So a little before 11 o’clock this morning, I’m standing outside the clubhouse entrance when this monstrous vehicle pulls up, a black stretch SUV about a furlong long. Oh my, here come the cowboys. It’s Mine That Bird’s crew, dressed all in black with their black cowboy hats and shades, and as they’re walking into the clubhouse, the giant Air Force cargo plane flies low over Belmont Park and I’m wondering if it’s some kind of sign.

Then I see Ed Fountaine of the New York Post walk up wearing a black cowboy hat, the one he bought as a souvenir at the Breeders’ Cup at Lone Star Park, and I think, “Nah.”

It’s a beautiful day here at Belmont, five hours and change until the Belmont Stakes, and the place is starting to fill up and the fans are smiling and the program looks gorgeous and already I’ve tabbed my King’s Bishop horse. Just Ben rockets to victory in the second race, hitting the wire in 1:21.18 for the seven furlongs over a miraculously good track. I hereby nominate NYRA Director of Racing Surfaces Glen Kozak for Man of the Year!

You think it’s easy picking a Belmont winner? When you’ve fed peppermints to Summer Bird, traded jokes with Eoin Harty, watched Kiaran McLaughlin spend time with the children of Anna House, marveled at the sight of Wayne Lukas in his cowboy hat and shades astride his pony on the track, and seen Chip Woolley maneuvering on the most famous crutches in Thoroughbred racing (he can hold two drinks in one hand while balancing on his crutches, take that, Elliott Walden), your objectivity is basically shot. Up close and personal is not the way to handicap horses.

So then I reach up and touch my ear and I remember this morning I wore my hummingbird earrings, and I realize that’s the sign I was looking for, and it’s going to be the Mine That Bird/Summer Bird exacta box.







Comments :

  • William | July 01 2009 02:27 PM

    That Summer Bird would win the Belmont Stakes stood out like a sore thumb when you look at his record with Jockey Rosier aboard. The jock had him wide in all of the four races he rode the horse, and it was just a matter of when trainer Tim Ice would wake up and realize he needed a Triple Crown experienced jockey such as Kent Desormeaux to get the job done. With Kent remaining as Summer Bird's jockey, I am convinced he'll win ALL his races thru and including the "Cup" and the Eclipse Award as the best 3yr.old colt, AND the Horse of the Year title.

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  • Ann Gray | June 12 2009 08:54 PM

    Glad to see Caton Bredar on and off the horse for ABC. Never saw her during the ESPN part, but heard her several times. She is a great talent and should be used much more by the horseracing broadcast community. Her post-race interview with Borel had just the right touch. Bredar has all the knowledge and credentials it takes, plus good looks...Would like to see more of her.

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  • Jenny Kellner | June 06 2009 04:32 PM

    A lot of good vibes here today!

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  • Jessica | June 06 2009 04:12 PM

    I live about 45 miles from where Mine That Bird is from. So, I'm most definately picking Mine That Bird. I'm sending good luck vibes to the Belmont for Mine That Bird. Just a note to Mine That Bird: New Mexico is rooting you on!! Make us proud!!

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