Friday, January 9, 2015

California Chrome or Shared Belief?

Whew. It's been a long vacation, but what better way to get back into the swing of things than to talk about two of the hottest guys this season?

So, which camp do you fall under? Team California Chrome or Team Shared Belief? Remind me again why we have to choose?

I have a guilty pleasure...I love reading Internet comments. Even though they always upset me, I read them anyway. They make me think. They make me question. Recently, I have noticed a rise to GO CHROME vs SHARED BELIEF RULES! It got me thinking...which one do I like better?

This was tough.  I was a fan of Shared Belief to win the Kentucky Derby well before he was injured and taken off the Derby trail. I was saddened that I wouldn't get to watch the gelding dominate. As for California Chrome, I picked him out because I liked him name. Trace might say "her favorite color is chrome". Then he started to stack together wins. Then he went to the Kentucky Derby. A Kentucky Derby I was fortunate enough to see live. I liked him. I liked his story. I liked Sherman's story. I liked his owner's story. I liked the fact I was able to go back to the betting window to cash out on my win.

I am not going to break down stats and stories of these horses. No, I'm going to focus on the division I have seen cropping up between these two horses.  Why? Why do we do this? We take two great horses...pick one to back...and insist that the other isn't worth their weight in salt.

Point #1
When the two aren't even in the same race, the other camp feels the need to go "So and so would have won!"
Would they have? Who's to say. This is horse racing. You could be the hands down favorite and that X factor crops up and destroys your chance (like ripping your leg open at the start of the Belmont...or having a big brown colt ram into you at the start of the Classic).

Point #2
"So and So's connections are better than So and So's."
(This is going to be more California Chrome based. I've seen Shared Belief's great races but not seen nearly as much pre and post race coverage as I have for Chrome.)

Well...that would be an opinion wouldn't it? A lot of people thought Coburn's reaction at the Belmont (and his jab at Churchill during the Preakness) was uncalled for and simply unprofessional. Personally, I think the press knew he was a hot head and should have left the heart broken optimist alone after such a devastating loss. Perhaps after a day to calm down and reflect, he would have been able to talk with a little more thought and composure.

Now, does this bad part of Chrome's connections take away from the good? What about Art Sherman? Does he not get any points for what he has done? Personally, he seems to be a pretty level-headed and straight forward. He presents well and has said anything worth the hate.

Finally (and admittedly, this took me awhile to enforce in my own life...I'm still working on it), why hate on the horse because of his people? Does that take away from the horse's accomplishments? No. I still have a few trainers or owners that make me gag. Does that mean I can't like their horse? It really shouldn't, but to many people it does.

Point #3
You're going to miss it!

All this mess and hate filled commentary to the other side reminds me very the great war: Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra. People are STILL going on about how much better one mare was over the other. Most recently, there was a Rachel lover hating how little "love" the mare got on her Facebook page. Yea, first's Facebook. Are the mares really counting how many 'likes' they get in a day? Second thing, Zenyatta's team is still keeping that horse in the public's eye meaning there is more opportunity for 'love' to be had.

I digress...

However, I do remember when this battle raged on. When you read comments or talked to people about the two horses, you had to have a side. You had to root for one mare over the other. Because of this attitude along with me being young and dumb, I choose a side. My siding with Zenyatta probably had more to with being angry that Rachel beat Mine That Bird in the Preakness, and, remember that hating the connections point I just made? Yes, there was some of that involved to.  Still, I lost the opportunity to enjoy the accomplishments of an exceptionally talented filly because I had to choose a side.

So fans, if you have missed either of these great boys this season because you like one over the other...STOP! It is horse racing. You don't have to love Seabiscuit and hate War Admiral. You don't have to root for Jess's Dream and throw Cozmic One aside. Enjoy California Chrome and Shared Belief for what they are: great. Like them both. Bet an exacta box. Enjoy the talent we are lucky to see return for a 4 year old campaign.

I'm looking forward to a great rivalry between these two. All I can say is I hope everyone else can too.

Stay safe. Stay sound. Stay savvy.