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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Triumph and Tragedy

The triumphant victory of Flightline today in the Breeder's Cup Classic will be remembered and spoken of by this generation for many decades to come. Just as our parents and grandparents reminisced over Secretariat during Sunday dinners when we were young, hence the tradition and the romance of the great sport continues to the next. In that sense, yes, I can see the comparison, loud and clear.

In hindsight, the Classic analysis this year should have been one simple paragraph:

Get in the car. Drive directly to your nearest betting facility. Place $100 to Win on Flightline and obtain a real Tote Ticket. Do not cash that ticket. Put it in an archival frame and store it. Pass it down. Yes, hindsight is 20/20.

Hours after this edition of the Classic race, I get it now. I understand it. It is much more than past performances, number of races, total competitors. None of it really matters. It's so much more than that.

Flightline is comparable to Secretariat because just as I grew up on the stories of the great horse, I too, will retell what I witnessed today, and the tradition continues. That is what it should be about after all.

I truly regret penning that article about the minimal career of Flightline. To be able to run like that with so "little" under his belt is a true testament to the power of the horse. The fact that he had such a minimal career makes what he did even more spectacular and worthy of retelling for decades to come. Incomparable. Distinguished. Exceptional.

The magnificent Flightline laughed directly in the face of 22.55 45.47 1:09.62 1:34.58 and proceeded to explode thereafter, leaving a complete shamble in his wake. After a total annihilation, there was no true 2nd, 3rd or 4th in this race. The effect of his presence alone on every runner, from Life is Good to the very back, started way before those gates even opened. It started with the strategic plans of men in the days that proceeded that race.

Secretariat's Belmont was a race where you could have basically tossed the entire field up in the air, and where they fell, is where they landed. Flightline did the same in both Classics. He gutted them so badly; that tote board was simply filled with nameless and random numbers, that which is usually only held for the 4th place spot.

Unable to take my eyes off of Flightline, I was completely unaware of what was transpiring in the back. I knew I had nothing because of Olympiad, so off with the program and a quick check in with The Club.

The second post on the thread that I read was from Hayes.Gerard after the race had ended.

"Very impressive. I just hope Epicenter is ok," he wrote. My heart stopped and my eyes welled instantaneously.

Completely unaware of the tragedy that was unfolding on the backstretch. Not Epicenter. Just not Epicenter.

The horse who walked into the Breeder's Cup Classic as the 4th best horse in the world. Not Epicenter. The fearless one who has been at our forefront from the start, never wavering, always with him. Not Epicenter.

Epicenter suffered a lateral condylar fracture of the right foreleg and will undergo surgery today. I do not know what this entails. I don't know the repercussions nor the fate of it. All I know is that all four legs of the mighty Epicenter were as perfect as they come and now, one of them is not.

From time to time, I will visit Shared Belief's Equibase page. I've been using his races as a benchmark when handicapping for years. When I see that top entry with the Charles Town Classic Stakes with a DNF in the Finish column, I actually feel physically sick. Now Epicenter has that dreaded DNF in that Final column as well. Those three gruesome letters that never ever go away.

I must believe in my heart, even if we never get the opportunity to witness Epicenter's grandeur grace the racetrack again, he will live a happy and peaceful life in the beautiful hills of Kentucky. He will deliver us his incredible offspring and he will live on. I can't even believe that I am typing this right now. It just can't be.

When I speak of this day and the great Flightline to my little nephews someday, Epicenter will always follow within that story. He will always be attached to it and his is quite a story to tell as well. I will keep faith that he pulls through this just as he has in all of his noble performances. He is one hell of a beloved horse.


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