The annual Racing Kreskin predictions made on New Year’s Day via long range crystal ball viewing wrapped up two weeks ago at the Breeders’ Cup. It’s that time of year to see if the Racing Kreskin performed his best Biff Tannen to rock the horse racing world.
The Racing Kreskin was sniffing greatness in 2019, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. Let’s review each of this year’s picks…
1. Justify walks away with 2018 Horse of the Year Honors with over 80% of the first-place votes. You can’t get much closer than this: Justify finished with 191 votes to Accelerate’s 54 and two for Monomoy Girl. By my math that’s just slightly over 77%. We missed by seven stinkin’ votes. O-for-1 if you’re scoring from home.
2. Accelerate is upset in the Pegasus. Upset in the Pegasus! The favorite had won the first two in convincing fashion (Arrogate, Gun Runner) and this time second choice City of Light splashed home on an unseasonal day in South Florida. Accelerate finished third in his last career race. We’re on the board and avert the dreaded goose egg/shut out at 1-for-2.
3. McKinzie wins the Big Cap. Are you kidding me? Gift Box? The almighty Kreskin loses by a nose in the Santa Anita Handicap? It didn’t bode well for Mike Smith later in the year as he was taken off McKinzie in the Classic. Seven votes and a nose so far, so that’s how it’s going to be. Count: 1-for-3.
4. The Kentucky Derby winner will come from a middle gate from 7 through 12. Maximum Security, the No. 7 horse crossed the wire first in the Derby. And then he was disqualified. Seven votes, a nose and a DQ. Count: 1-for-4.
5. The Derby winner will come out of the Bluegrass. First really bad prognostication. The crystal ball must have been a tad hazy when we made this pick. Vekoma handed jockey jockey Javier Castellano his 13th consecutive non-winning Derby. The Belmont winner Sir Winston finished seventh in the Bluegrass, so there’s that. Scoreboard: 1-for-5.
6. First Derby win for the trainer and jockey. Both Bill Mott and Flavien Prat grabbed their first Derby win on Country House who was put up after the DQ of Maximum Security. Was a winner either way as Servis-Saez both would have earned their first Derby win. Back in business: 2-for-6.
7. Mark Casse saddles three runners in this year’s Queen’s Plate. Casse saddled two colts in the Plate, Skywire and Federal Law, where he missed was not having any of his fillies make the race. Meatloaf would be happy, but it’s not a notch in the Kreskin belt. Down to 2-for-7.
8. The Haskell Hat is Lime Green. Man, you can’t get any closer. It’s certainly green. Can’t take credit though. Sliding towards the Mendoza Line at 2-for-8.
Here it is -- the 2019 HASKELL Hat. pic.twitter.com/WJnfh2BVn9
— Matt Shifman (@AndyScoggin) June 22, 2019
9. Javier Castellano wins the jockey title at Saratoga. Booted this one by not picking an Ortiz, who would win a fifth straight by one of the brothers. This year it was Jose (59) holding off Irad (52) and Javier finishing a distant third with 39. Batting .222 heading into the final pick.
10. Santa Anita breaks attendance record on Saturday. In 2016, 72,811 a record crowd attended BC Saturday at Santa Anita, and although it was a picture-perfect Southern California day this year, only 67,811 went through the turnstiles. Played the over, it was under. Final count: 2-for-10.
Early on we put forth a valiant effort to make a run at .500, but we had three close calls that went the wrong way on us. Wait ‘til next year, ye olde Kreskin will be back.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.