Coffee in Aiken, Women in France…

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Random thoughts on random racing news…

France Galop has initiated a 2 kg. weight allowance for women jockeys. I’m sure glad Blythe Miller didn’t receive a weight allowance back when I was riding against her. She would have won 404 races instead of a mere 204.

The Pegasus World Cup turned into a bigger success than I ever thought possible. A rematch between Arrogate and California Chrome provided a bonus, albeit, one that ultimately didn’t pan out on the track, but at least it happened. One concern going forward, when owners put up the money – a significant amount of money – so far in advance, it can lead to exploitation of the horse. There were horses in the race who appeared to run simply because the money was already spent. It’s a slippery slope.

I went to Aiken a few weeks ago. Sand roads. Relaxed horses. Real coffee. At the Aiken Track Kitchen, the coffee is self serve and titled perfectly. No latte, no frappe, no soy milk, just two simple, accurate words. “Real Coffee.”

McCraken returned with another professional score in the Sam Davis. With Ian Wilkes at the helm, the son of Ghostzapper has had every chance to improve and develop on his own terms. Those terms could play to his favor in May.

The Grand National weights will be announced Tuesday night at the annual Grand National weights ceremony. Held at the Waldorf Astoria, Savoy, Abbey Road Studios, and Royal Opera House over the years, the event actually delivers on its hype. Described by the Racing Post – “It’s one of the most eagerly awaited events in the jumps year, at which Aintree takes the wraps off the order of handicap for the world famous steeplechase. It is a plush occasion attended by past and present winners of the race and connections of those hoping to be next onto the National podium.” At the last 10 post-position draws I’ve attended – from the Derby to the Breeders’ Cup – I’ve walked away, saying, “Never again.” Maybe one day I’ll to go to the Grand National weights ceremony.

Australian win machine Winx won her 14th race in a row, equaling the win streak of the great Phar Lap. Jockey Hugh Bowman told the Racing Post, “…in the blink of an eye it was all over.” 14 blinks, 14 wins.