What’s “Stryking” about yesterday’s Longacres Mile post-position draw was who was not there.
Accomplished, powerful California trainers like Bob Baffert & Jerry Hollendorfer et. al. declined to enter a horse. The Mile’s 200k purse & Grade III ranking usually brings at least one or two noted stakes placed runners from the Golden State – but not this year.
My guess is these trainers do not want to tangle with Jim & Mona Hour’s 5 year old gelding, Stryker Phd. Trained brilliantly by Larry & Sharon Ross, Stryker’s performance in the 1 1/8 mile Mt Rainier Hcp on July 20, in a track record 1.40.2 was nothing short of phenominal. Making this feat still more impressive, Stryker ran against a powerful front end bias and was the only horse to win from off the pace that day.
You can certainly understand opposing trainers seeking alternate venues to win a Grade III race. California trainers don’t take the time & expense to bring a top stakes horse to EmD to get 2nd or 3rd – especially when its a race where “the doctor is in”.
– Ron Classen – firstname.lastname@example.org