No looking back for Point Given
By Kenny Mayne
Special to ESPN.com
In Baltimore they don't seem to openly weep as much as in Kentucky when the state song is played. It's probably because "Maryland My Maryland" sounds a lot like "O' Christmas Tree." There's no time to get teary-eyed when one needs to be on the lookout for a Christmas tree light going bad at Pimlico. Just one blown fuse and the whole place might burn down.
But why look back at past problems when the day seemed to come off so swell? Also, why was Gary Stevens looking back so much in the stretch? Maybe he was checking to see if some fan had run onto the track behind him.
Certainly, no animals were running with him.
Stevens and Point Given cruised around and passed the others like they were supposed to have done two weeks previous. Maybe Stevens was looking back to see what might have been. If he could look back far enough maybe he could undo what occurred. Probably not. That's more of a losing player's way of thinking.
The thinking this time was that Point Given deserved another play even after having been soundly beaten by Monarchos (and several others for that matter). His detractors made the solid argument that the Santa Anita Derby winner had been blown away by Monarchos, so why were we to expect anything to change in two weeks? Point Given's apologists explained that the animal should be allowed one off day in his life and that believe it or not, on a card in which three track records were established at Churchill and Secretariat's mark nearly fell, Point Given didn't like the track.
That last part wasn't so far-fetched. After all, humans get shin splints running on cement.
As for throwing out one's last race, the smart guys in the Form often run with this theory when calling for support for this or that horse. But for some reason many horse players don't subscribe to this during the Triple Crown events even if they buy into it during other times of the year. The Triple Crown Series is a big deal and everything, but as smart as these animals are, they don't actually know the names of the events.
Point Given didn't suffer the same emotional let down Bob Baffert had. Point Given doesn't have to deal with the media. Except for photographers. But they aren't allowed to have opinions. Just ask the people they shoot pictures for.
So Point Given didn't really know he'd let down mankind by running like a slug in the Derby. All he knew is he didn't feel like running the entire mile and a quarter that day on that track.
Who the hell knows how he'll feel in three weeks? He doesn't even know the name of the race. But his jockey can quit looking back now. There are a lot of good days to look forward to. For openers, Belmont Park has no Christmas trees.