Monday, July 5, 2010

MTB favored in Firecracker? What in the world?

Color me dumbfounded.

Mine That Bird sent off as the favorite in the Firecracker Handicap? ... All I could think when I got home and saw the chart after an Independence Day evening cookout with friends was, "What in the world were you people thinking?"

Tizdejavu -- the most obvious horse in the one-mile G2 turf test -- wins and pays $10.20. An easy-as-pie exacta completed by Public Speaker cashes to the tune of $44 for every $2 ticket. And a pretty readily deciphered trifecta of the three most likely horses in the race, including turf journeyman Inca King in third, is worth $188 for every $2 bet.

It's times like these that I really regret the restrictiveness of North Carolina's laws, which let me gamble on a numbers game run by the state, supposedly to fund education (the lottery), but prohibit me from having an online wagering account of any kind for horse racing. Because I wish I could have cleaned out a few of your pockets on this one.

Still, even though I'm seeing it in black and white on an Equibase chart, I have trouble believing it went down that way.

Mine That Bird sent off as the favorite in the Firecracker Handicap?

Clearly, not enough people read this blog, on which I took the opportunity to detail the many reasons why Mine That Bird was more likely to fizzle than sizzle in Sunday's Firecracker. Nevertheless, how could so many people butcher the handicapping job on this one, even if they were doing all their own thinking?

The horse had no prior turf form from which to judge, and his pedigree isn't particularly grass-oriented. He was in very tough against G2 company, including numerous proven turf horses. He just made a barn switch in May to D. Wayne Lukas, which isn't the upgrade it used to be. And, the horse who won last year's Kentucky Derby -- but hasn't won since -- had been on the shelf since a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic last November.

What was there to like?

Of course some bettors love the underdog stories, wanted to see a sharp comeback by the now-famed Derby-upsetter, and Calvin Borel gets over-bet at Churchill on a daily basis. But it isn't like this was a comeback by the duo of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard -- whom by my handicapping, would have had nearly as much chance to win this race as did MTB and Calvin.

Mine That Bird sent off as the favorite in the Firecracker Handicap?

Even in the light of the next day, I ask, "What in the world were you people thinking?"


  1. I couldn't believe MTB was the favorite myself and I'm a diehard Lukas fan! Even though I have the ability to do so, I didn't bet a dime on the race.

    From what I read leading up to Firecracker, it seemed to me that most people were with you on this one, people who seem to hate MTB and DWL.

  2. Well, Glenn, I read your article after I posted the Churchill card for Sunday on my site and it was nice to be reassured of my findings. It was very obvious but maybe those bets on Mind That Bird were more about hope than reality.

  3. Surely he has lots of fans. I'm not an anti-fan. Definitely don't hate the horse, and would like to see him be competitive and maybe last a few years. How often do we get to see a Derby winner race at 4, or especially ages 5 and 6? (Funny Cide, that's who. But not often.)

    I just can't imagine people were laying so much money on him. Or so many people were laying many. Or however it added up to Mine That Bird being favored.

    I think it was much more likely he'd finish last than first.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.