Canadians Dominate Alabama, in New York?
On Saturday afternoon Veteran Woodbine Jockey Robert Landry shifted his tack from the comforts of home to Upstate New York's and more specifically Saratoga Race Course.
Landry, who could have stood pat in Etobicoke and easily filled his dance card with mounts for Saturday afternoon racing at Woodbine, opted instead to travel stateside for a chance at the Alabama Stakes $600,000 purse.
Usually picking up a few spare mounts well "on the road" as a jockey isn't such a tough task.
Jockey, trainers, agents and owners all do their part to see that a jock on the road catches spare mounts to cover travel expenses, accommodation and what ever serum it is that convinces a 100 pound man, women or child to get aboard a 2000 pound beast, who is primed to run through a wall, in an attempt at reining in this runaway freight.
The Jockey Colony at Saratoga is stellar, the global economy is in a tail spin and "spare" mount just aren't as easy to come by these days.
No sweat for two time Sovereign Award (Canada's Top Jockey 93',94') winner Robert Landry...
...who made the trip to Saratoga for just one mount. Careless Jewel the 7 1/4 length blowout winner of the Delaware Oaks who would dominate the days action in the Alabama, winning by a ridiculous uncontested 11 lengths.
Careless Jewel, who is trained by Woodbine based conditioner Josie Carroll (A women I have a tremendous deal of personal respect for) sat just off of pace-setting long shot Be Fair for the entire race before swallowing up the lead on the far turn. From that point the filly with all the Canadian connections, exploded through the stretch thrilling many in the Saratoga grandstand, most of whom were no longer seated.
In the end, Careless Jewel's 11 length victory was effortless, uneventful and completely unchallenged. Just what you like to see when your holding a $25 win ticket that's going to return a $100.
Nation of Canadian Domination
Imagine my surprise when I gazed over at the tote-board and realized that the second place horse was another with Woodbine connections.
Milwaukee Appeal a filly who missed winning both of the first two legs of the Canadian Horse Racing Triple Crown, by a neck and nose respectively and is trained by Woodbine based conditioner Scott Fairlie (a man I have a tremendous amount of personal respect for)
Fairlie selected full-time New York based Jockey and part-time International Playboy John R. Velazquez to ride Milwaukee Appeal in the Alabama Stakes. Although I would have liked to see Scott go to a jockey who rides somewhere north of the Peace Bridge, the decision to go to Johnny V proved to be a wise one.
Second place may sound bridesmaidish, but when the winner runs away from the competition like Careless Jewel did on Saturday all you can really hope for is second money.
Open Petition to the NYRA
Combined Careless Jewel & Milwaukee Appeal beat their U.S. counter-parts by 14 3/4 lengths!!!
Maybe the NYRA will now consider my petition to rename the Alabama Stakes (which seems kind of out of place being run in New York) the Canadian Princess Handicap.
I would even settle for the Invader Stakes.
Heck, after Saturday's performance the Careless Jewel sound suitable enough (I know, it's too soon).
Upon further review
Although Careless Jewel's performance on Saturday made my heart grow to three times it's original size, imagine the outright confusion my petition would have generated had Milwaukee Appeal been the race winner.
I can picture those dingbats at the New York Racing Association trying to get a handle on a petition requesting the renaming of the Alabama Stakes (a race run in the great state of New York) to something a little more appropriate... ...like the Milwaukee Appeal Special.
Why the Alabama Stakes
The Alabama Stakes has been run since 1872 and was named in honour of William Cottrell of Mobile, Alabama who was apparently to modest to have the race named after himself.