“What an upper cut by Douglas, and down goes Tyson!” – Jim Lampley, calling the end of the Mike Tyson – Buster Douglas heavyweight fight on February 11, 1990.
Last Saturday the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest moved west to Santa Anita for a nine-race card, featuring the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the San Antonio Invitational. There were two heavy hitters on each event, Dortmund vs. Firing Line and California Chrome vs. Shared Belief. There was also a bonus contest race at Aqueduct, the Withers Stakes.
Twenty-five years ago today, 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas knocked out undefeated heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in Tokyo, Japan. It was a “where were you” moment, as the invincible “Iron” Mike was left crawling on the canvas in search of his mouthpiece and his senses. It remains one of the most stunning upsets in the history of sports.
These are the kind of “haymakers” that we look for in the horse racing contest world. It’s always nice to have winners, but separators are what result in top finishes. Santa Anita offered up such a horse last Saturday, a horse ironically named Solid Wager who got up in the shadow of the wire at 68-1. On a day where the perfect score was 2,947, Solid Wager returned 1,198 contest points, or 41% of the maximum. Solid Wager’s points were capped at 600-400-200 for contest purposes, but it was still a huge bonanza. We should be able to see a separation on the weekly leaderboard and figure out how many players selected this horse. I’m guessing between 5 and 10. The horse was not in my contender group, but his record shows that he was 2 for 5 at Santa Anita, and he had won two starts back at 14-1. On Saturday he was Buster Douglas.
Other notable results, Dortmund and Firing Line had a virtual match race in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, with Dortmund re-rallying along the inside to win a close one. It was visually impressive, but for contest purposes he was 3/5 on the board. I was a big California Chrome fan last year, and I tip my cap to Shared Belief who ran right by him in the stretch to win the San Antonio. Both horses had perfect trips, and this performance by Shared Belief reopens the “what-if” wound regarding his bad luck at the gate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. I guess we will never know, but color me impressed…
I had a rough contest week, scoring under 200 points. I had one 12-1 shot early on that was on the lead turning for home, but he faded to third. I used Rock Shandy and General Bellamy in the double point races but neither ran well. There weren’t any close calls or heartbreakers, just a lot of selections that resulted in third page material!
This Saturday the contest track is Golden Gate Fields and the featured race is the El Camino Real. Hope to see you here!