The annual Racing Kreskin predictions are in the books with the Gun Runner victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic two weeks ago. The crystal ball emerged last December with a look at how we thought the 2017 racing year would progress.
The Racing Kreskin was trying to improve on last year’s .350 batting average and started slowly before making a big run at the 2016 mark. Let’s review each of this year’s stabs projections and keep score as we go…
- California Chrome walks away with 2016 Horse of the Year Honors. Arrogate made a late run at him, but it was his to lose winning six consecutive races, including the Dubai World Cup. We’re out of the gate strong with a gimme. 1-for-1.
- Neither Chrome nor Arrogate wins the Pegasus. This one wasn’t even close. Arrogate romped home with the win and Chrome went into retirement on a down note finishing a well beaten ninth. Scoreboard: 1-for-2.
- The Kentucky Derby winner will come from gates 10 through 15. Muddy track. Irish War Cry wiped out Classic Empire at No. 15 and this one was history. Always Dreaming captured the Derby from post No. 4. Whoops. If you’re scoring at home that’s 1-for-3.
- The Derby winner will come out of the Arkansas Derby. It’s been a solid race for years and there is typically a very good Baffert or Asmussen horse running at Oaklawn. This time it was Classic Empire who would represent the Arkansas Derby, but see No. 3 above, he had no chance five steps out of the gate. We’re starting to slump at 1-for-4.
- First Derby win for Asmussen, McLaughlin or Stewart. Had a few chances in here with three Asmussen horses. Lookin at Lee came in second – with another just miss here. Whoa, slipped all the way to 1-for-5.
- New shooter wins the Preakness. This hasn’t happened in quite some time, and whaddya know, we have a Cloud Computing in the winner’s circle at Pimlico and the rally cap is on. Tally: 2-for-6.
- The Queen’s Plate winner will skip the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie. The oddity of running on three different surfaces within the Canadian Triple Crown had us right on the nose when Holy Helena skipped the Wales for deeper waters in the Alabama at Saratoga, where she flopped as the post time favorite. Back on track at 3-for-7.
- The Haskell Hat is Green. The Racing Kreskin has cowered at the Haskell Hat pick, whiffing on this one for eight straight years. But 2017, the view was crystal clear in that ball and we nailed the Haskell Hat, which was a nice shade of dark green. Back to .500 and looking to start squawking at 4-for-8.
- Songbird defeats males in a Grade 1 race at Saratoga. She lost her final race to future Breeders’ Cup distaff champ Forever Unbridled in the Personal Ensign for older fillies and mares. Hollendorfer made some noise at Saratoga over the summer that she might try the boys back in California, but chose the PE instead. Looking at 4-for-9.
- An older horse wins the Classic at Del Mar. A 3-year old had won three straight Classics and five since 2007. We thought this was another tap-in with Arrogate crushing last year’s Classic. But it was the red-hot Gun Runner who got it done for the Racing Kreskin. The 4-year-old was never threatened by the nearest sophomore (West Coast) and this one got us to the .500 mark for the year.
Final tally: 5-for-10.
We will count 2017 as one of the better year’s for racing’s most famous prognosticator. Look for the Racing Kreskin’s 2018 predictions around New Year’s Day.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.