Monthly Archives: June 2015

Wizards Disappear

I feel sorry for Ted Leonsis. He seems like such a nice humble guy unlike some owners. His hockey team, the Washington Capitals, for the last several years seems about to win it all and then they don’t. This year going to Game 7 and into overtime. Heart rending. (Don’t you hate how people say heart rendering? What are they doing, cooking down the heart?)

Wizards Woes

Of all the people to get hurt, your star player crashes to the floor and breaks his hand and wrist in five places in Game 1. Yet, the Wizards had a chance in Game 4 without him. They trailed most of the game but at the very end, they passed to a wide open Paul Pierce to tie the game and take it into overtime.  He is usually a sure thing from that position. He lives for this sort of moment but this time it didn’t happen

Wall Returns

John Wall must be one tough dude. After missing one game with the broken wrist and hand, he comes back and plays in game 5. He played well, but it looked like this time Paul Pierce was going to be the hero after looking like the goat. It was looking good with the game tied and the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce with less than a minute to go. With 32 seconds left he got stripped of the ball and Atlanta gets a fast break and goes ahead by two points. Washington comes back down the floor and after several passes, Bradley Beal gets the ball to Pierce in the corner who drains the three point for the Wizards to go ahead by 1 with only 8 seconds left. Game over, right? Wrong. Atlanta gets a shot off that misses. There are Wizards all around but Horford crashes through, gets the rebound and puts it in to win the game at the buzzer.

Game 6 Heartbreak

Despite John Wall being out games two, three and four, the Wizards were only down 3-2 in games. If they had protected their 9 point lead at the end of game 5 or boxed out and not allowed Horford’s last second shot, they would be in the lead and looking to close out the series. It didn’t help that Marcin Gortat was sick and couldn’t play much. Atlanta went after the 37 year old Paul Pierce to see if he could keep up with the younger guys. Washington was down in the third quarter and fought back. Then it came down to Paul Pierce once again. He hits a three pointer from way downtown as time expires and Washington and Atlanta huddle for overtime. BUT! The refs review Pierce’s shot and determine his fingertips were still barely touching the ball as the shot clock went to 0 and they nullified the shot. Atlanta wins game and series. Unfortunately the Wizards have an uncanny ability to pull off losses like these. Hopefully next year will be the year they truly break out.

 

Triple Crown Fever

American Pharoah – Next Triple Crown Winner?

It has been 47 years since a horse won the triple crown. Yet again, we have a horse that has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. (Love those Mint Juleps) The Kentucky Derby was exciting with the three horses expected to be in the top three finishing one, two, three and it being a tight race the whole way. But then there was the Preakness. It was a beautiful day and then the heavens opened and the track became a soggy mess and it was still raining at start time. American Pharoah had the number one post position and with all the mud, didn’t want to get boxed in and eat mud the whole way. He bolted out into the lead and stayed there the entire way, finishing an impressive 7 lengths in the lead in all that muck.  The  jockey Victor Espinoza was spotless during his post race interviews, not a trace of mud.

Why no Triple Crown Winners?

There are many theories. Some people feel the horses are pampered too much and don’t build up the muscles and stamina while they are two year olds.  American Pharoah ran 3 times as a two year old and most other horses these days don’t race much more. Before starting the Triple Crown attempt, Affirmed had started races seven different times with only one or two weeks rest. Before Secretariat went for the three Triple Crown races he had raced three times in five weeks two different times plus he ran four races in under six weeks.

Also, horses have gotten so expensive that people want a fast payback so the theory says that horses are bred more as sprinters now and less for distance. And because they don’t run as much as two year olds, they don’t have the conditioning for the longer Belmont.

You also have horses that race in the Derby, sit out the Preakness and then race in the Belmont, so they are much fresher. You even have horses who only race in the Belmont. So it isn’t exactly a level playing field.

Not much talked about, but drugs could also be a factor. Many medications such as Lasix are now commonly given to the horses. Lasix is a diuretic that is given to control bleeding. But the drug has side effects. Many old timer trainers feel that it is affecting the durability of horses and should be banned.

Belmont Jinx?

And sometimes, shit happens. Spectacular Bid is considered the best horse to have not won the Triple Crown. Just before the race he stepped on a pin that went into his hoof. He had a large lead but was caught. Some people don’t think it was the pin but a poor ride by his jockey, who took him out too fast and hard in the beginning of the race. Then there was Big Brown who also looked promising. He cracked his hoof while winning the Preakness. During the Belmont his jockey pulled him up saying he “had no horse left”. You think that wasn’t second guessed.

And What About American Pharoah?

American Pharoah was the top two year old and the last 4 Triple Crown winners were also as well as two earlier Triple Crown winners. None of the other horses going for the Triple Crown over the last 47 years except Spectular Bid had that distinction. Also, he won the first two races in entirely different conditions. One reason American Pharoah raced so little as a two year old is that he injured his leg in one race and was recovering. Some people think the may just be peaking now. If horses are stressed or worn out, they lose weight. That is why Firing Line was pulled from the Belmont after doing well in the Derby and Preakness. American Pharoah has been in good spirits, eating well, hasn’t lost weight and in his last workout had really fast times. We may have a winner here.