where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2021-08-30 11:24:04  

Most South Africans aren't in the loop or acquainted to United States racing and for good reason.

The one good reason is the unfortunate time zone issues where west coast racing, Santa Anita, Del Mar and Golden Gates Fields are early in the mornings whilst the more palatable times of Gulfstream, Aqueduct and Saratoga start at dinner time.

United States racing is exciting. The product on Fox Sports and live on Youtube is world class and the presentation is professional. South Africans cannot hold a candle to the efficiency of their daily product and class of the presenters. From the way they outfit themselves to their detailed form analysis, young and old, male and female, they have a combination that matches well.

The footage of the 'Bite of the century' by champion sprinter Firenze Fire taking a nibble out of competitor Yaupon in the stretch run at Saratoga, was exceptional. Every angle was covered for what was a once in a lifetime move from a horse at that level trying to take out his competition. As funny and crazy as it was, it was most talked about on social media and trended in racing circles.

Besides being the main sprint event on the day, the Grade 1 race itself was littered with Champions and group performers.

To top the weekend off, one of the country's best sprinters who is yet to face graded competition, was out on parade on Sunday night. Beau Liam is touted to be as good as Jackie's Warrior, the horse that took down the undefeated Life Is Good on Saturday in the Travers. From the same stable, the all time most winning US trainer, Steve Asmussen, he has produced some crazy speed figure numbers and had his jockey, Ricardo Santana shaking his head at the end of the race. His Beyer figure for that run was ranked a 107, equalling the best figure all weekend. That would place him in the world class range.

The weekend's performance was by Essential Quality who produced the joint highest figure. He won the Travers in good style running down the brilliant one time Kentucky Derby favourite, Life Is Good. The latter was injured on the Derby trail and missed the season. But he is back and as good as ever in his comeback run. Most likely a distance short of his best and off the layoff, he ran a big race.

The weekend on Sunday night was roped off by the controversial Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit who won The Shared Belief on his first start since that Derby win. He romped home at Del Mar and sets himself up for a Breeders' Cup crack at that same venue later this year.  

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