Monday, August 02, 2010

The Leader In The Clubhouse

There might have been some question earlier this spring during the Triple Crown season as to who was the top three-year-old in the land. There might have been some support for Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, or the runner-up, Ice Box, who ran such a phenomenal race in Louisville. There might have been some backing for an argument for Drosselmeyer, who won the "Test Of Champions" at Belmont Park, or First Dude, or Fly Down. Maybe even a hint of thought behind someone else also.

However, after Sunday, there can be no question in anyone's mind anymore that Lookin At Lucky, winner of the Preakness and now winner of the Haskell Invitational, is the best three-year-old in this country. His performance yesterday was the stuff that legends are born of. He took a field that included a good chunk of the names mentioned in the first paragraph and toyed with them through the stretch to come home a crushing four-length winner at Monmouth Park. The Derby winner and Preakness winner made their moves together on the far turn and Lookin At Lucky just flicked Super Saver away like he was a fly troubling him back at the barn. Super Saver appeared so disheartened by this, he couldn't sustain any type of run and finished fourth. THAT is what champions do, they take their competition and destroy it in such a manner that you hardly notice it. They also do it with class and dispatch, so that you admire it at the same time.

It also seems to me that Martin Garcia and Lookin At Lucky are a perfect match for each other. Lookin At Lucky was under Garcia's steady hand when he held off everyone in a frantic finish in Baltimore and this time, it looked like Garcia was sitting there with pocket aces and the flop had just hit the board A-A-K.

I would like to ask you to go back and watch the 2010 Kentucky Derby replay again at some point. Watch the #1 post position where Lookin At Lucky broke from all the way through the stretch the first time. He doesn't just get impeded, he gets annihilated. His chances are completely compromised within the first quarter-mile of the race and it is a testament to him that he still managed to rally from as far back as Ice Box and finish sixth.

So the question becomes where does he go next? Trainer Bob Baffert said after Sunday's win that he wasn't sure if he was headed home to California or will stay east to run in the Travers at Saratoga. The one thing we can say is that even though he is a three-year-old, you might want to think about adding the name Lookin At Lucky to the current big four of Quality Road, Blame, Rachel Alexandra, and Zenyatta when it gets to be time for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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