Well, we all know, now, that 2020’s Kentucky Derby was re-scheduled for Sep 5. But what of the next two races? The Preakness is traditionally raced two weeks after the derby..which would have been the 16th of May, and the Belmont comes on three weeks after THAT. But as of now, no date has been set for the Preakness. “They’re” talking about it being held in July, August or maybe October? No one at Aqueduct has said a word about the Belmont.
I can understand putting the races on hold, I suppose. A track cannot survive a 0 ‘handle’ day (the handle being the term used for the public, attendees, people there to watch the race /bet.
But, putting the Preakness first, while it’s smart (as it’s a mile and 3/16ths, a bit shorter than the Derby’s 1 1/4 mile)…I never really understood the shorter race coming AFTER the Derby)) puts training into a frenzy. At least trainers prepping their horses for the Derby had at least a month to say, okay, let’s dial back on his training as there’s no point in him peaking for a race that won’t be held.
I’m certain the trainers ARE keeping their horses training, but…for what length? And when will it be held, if at all? And what of the Belmont? That race, at a mile and a half on a track notorious for its tight turns, is a tough one. YOu want to train your horse to go longer distances in ORDER. In the meantime, the horses are in stalls, eating, or on the track, training with no goal in mind. Owners and trainers don’t like paying for a horse that isn’t racing. (which is why a poor racer, one that’s no longer ‘good enough’ or a broken down one is disposed of quickly- and in many cases, I do mean ‘disposed’ of.)
No races means the tracks are in deep financial doo doo. Every track in the country has bills and staff to pay, hay and feed to order, and also has to maintain a bunch of lawyers to fight off developers, greedy, ambitious people who want that land in order to get rich by throwing up 1000 houses, cheek by jowl. They’d NEVER do that to a football or baseball stadium, but horse racing? Pffft, they don’t give a rat’s ass.
And finally, what happens to the Breeder’s Cup? That race is usually run ummmmmmm the first weekend in November. Do you see the problem?
Let’s say it this way.
Let’s say the Preakness is run in, oh, late July. This gives the trainer four weeks to prep his or her horse for the Derby, run on 5 September. Let’s say the Belmont is run, then…given the same separation of races by two (Preakness) and three weeks (Belmont), means that the Belmont might be run first weekend in October. (I’m working sans calendar here, folks, so forgive me). That leaves three weeks til November’s Breeder’s Cup. Not being a trainer, I don’t know how fast a horse can return to a ‘peak’. and that’s only if the Preakness is run, as hoped for, in July. If it’s October, the entire schedule is screwy. And that’s not even (until now, when the thought just hit me) considering that no one had to worry about how much time before the Derby a trainer had to prep his horse. Some horses in the Derby haven’t run in weeks.
So it’s going to be interesting, I suppose.
The Derby weather in 2018 and 2019 was absolutely slop. It rained and rained and rained. It tickled me to see the bimbos at the track, women who were there NOT for the racing but to be SEEN, hopefully on TV, and were dressed (like my father used to say “like hookers”,) wearing ridiculous hats, cocktail dresses and six inch stilettos, trying to walk through the mud without actually walking. In a relentless rain. People there for the race had umbrellas and rain jackets. Or trash bags over their jeans and T shirts, but they were drier than the Ladies in Stupid Hats.
So of course, this past Derby day, 2 May 2020, had absolutely PERFECT racing weather. 70% humidity, 72 ° (F) temperature, sunshine, a light wind and if they’d been at Churchill downs, the track would have been fast.
NBC, stuck with two hours of scheduled on air time, made a smart choice and reran the 2015 Derby with American Pharoah, who we know, now, went on to win the Triple Crown. When you know who won, beforehand, you watch the show with an eye less tuned to ‘your’ horse, and watch the show. There was one shot of the jockeys walking towards the saddling paddock. A woman on the sidelines, wearing her stupid hat, and her strapless, sleeveless and much too tight cocktail dress, saw herself on TV. She held her smartphone to her ear in one hand, shoved her titties out as far as she could, and repeatedly stuck her tongue out, wagging it like a dog wags its tail, in what I’ve learned is called “twerking’. Oh, jeeeeeeeeez, bimbo, just stay home, next time and twerk on You Tube.
So this season’s racing, IF it goes off at all, is going to be a total mashup.