Sunday, June 7, 2009

The last word on Luv Gov, I promise ... until ...

With the Belmont Stakes in the books, it's time to close a chapter in my life as a fledgling blogger: My obsession with Luv Gov.

The 3-year-old Ten Most Wanted colt ran the second-biggest race of his life Saturday -- first-biggest (if that's a term) if you don't consider winning or placing to be all that important. He came home fifth in the Belmont, and that's worth $30,000.

I first became aware of the Marylou Whitney-owned colt when his name surfaced amid the plot to block Rachel Alexandra from the Preakness. While Ahmed Zayat claimed he'd been told Whitney would enter a colt to "promote her stallion" (Birdstone), ostensibly by protecting Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird from the girl, the Whitney camp insisted they wouldn't enter Luv Gov in the Preakness if he was, in effect, the last colt in the gate, thus blocking the supplementally nominated filly. I wrote that I found it hard to believe that Whitney and trainer D. Wayne Lukas were serious about entering a colt who took 10 tries to break maiden into a Grade 1 race for his next start, and they might (I hoped) even scratch him before post time. But they proved they were at least serious enough (or under scrutiny enough) to run him and he straggled home eighth at Pimlico.

I subsequently asked if, please, we couldn't get Luv Gov some NW2L competition for his next out. Clearly not among my blog's six followers, Whitney and Lukas didn't listen to the advice, and brought the colt to the Belmont Stakes. My sensibilities offended, I stated my discontent, in part comedically, but in part sincere.

Nevertheless, on Saturday at Belmont, Luv Gov again rallied past the expended and this time, got up for fifth. That's the last of the real checks; everybody after his $30K just got a flat $4,000. Equibase even gave him a 100 speed figure (page 2 of chart), which is a bit of a head-scratcher for me, considering the winner, Summer Bird, garnered a 112 and finished 10 1/2 lengths ahead of our subject colt. I suspect the Beyers for all will be a smidge lower than the Equibase figures, and that the discrepancy between the winner and fifth place might be a little wider than 12 points.

As my headline's vague caveat suggests, I might not be able to ignore Luv Gov forever. Now that the colt has galloped his way into my consciousness, I'll need to keep an eye out for him in the future. After all, there's news to be made. He's now earned $92,896; when will he break $100,000? And where will he turn up next?

A class-drop is probably in order. I mean, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes is coming right up Aug. 1 at Saratoga.

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