The Inside Rail

Well, they dropped the flag at Far Hills. Epic day at the sport’s biggest meet. American-breds went 0-for 33. Irish-breds won four, British-breds won two and a French-bred won the other. Yielding ground will do that.

The Irish invaded, Gordon Elliott taking the Grand National with Jury Duty. As a friend of mine said when I told him Jury Duty won the Grand National, “Gordon wins everything.” Whew, $270,000 goes out of the game.

Robbie Power liked the place, well, how could he not after guiding Jury Duty to the big score.

“I’ve won an English and an Irish Grand National, it’s great to have an American one,” Power said from a back of a golf cart heading to the barn Saturday evening. “It’s a fantastic course, the atmosphere, even going around there, you can feel the atmosphere.”

Wagering was strong, better than expected. Lines were long at the window near the paddock, a few things could be improved, but it’s a learning curve for Far Hills. Good effort, that’s for sure. Is this a real revenue source for a sport in desperate need of one? Something that can bolster the sport? Lower the fees of owners? Provide and divide purse money? Change the game?

Should American steeplechasing card a stakes for American-breds? I guess it would look like All The Way Jose, Schoodic, Personal Start and Overwhelming. Hmmmm.

Should Far Hills offer a 4-year-old stakes? A flat stakes? What happens to the filly and mare stakes, the division? The New Jersey Hunt Cup, historical for sure, was the weakest race to wager on or watch. 

Billy Santoro won one for the little guys. Sean McDermott banged out two. Ricky Hendriks and Jack Fisher are still in a scrum after each doubled.

Riverdee nearly pulled one off when Gibralfaro led for most of the second division of the Foxbrook only to get run down by a game Detroit Blues. Tough beat.

Top Man Michael, rest in peace. Brutal end to a glorious day.