Chat with Sherry Ross
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNNewYork.com contributor Sherry Ross stops by to chat about the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes.
Ross is the radio color analyst for the New Jersey Devils. Before moving into the broadcast booth in 2007, she covered hockey and horse racing for the New York Daily News for 12 years, and continues to write about racing on a freelance basis. Her favorite racing memory was attending the 1973 Belmont and witnessing Secretariat's Triple Crown.
Send your questions now and join Ross on Thursday at noon ET!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is Happening with the New York Racing Association? Will they the Close After Aqueduct?
Sherry Ross (11:58 AM)
Hi Chris, how are things in upstate NY? NYRA has survived a few threats to its existence in recent years, but now getting the loan to get through the OTB bankruptcy and with the hopes that the racino will FINALLY be operational by the end of the year, things don't look quite so bleak.
Do you think Stay Put can pull a Sarava like upset?
Sherry Ross (12:04 PM)
Hi Joe, thanks for your question. I wouldn't throw out any horse this year if you like him. There is no Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner, and there are questions about every horse regarding the distance. Steve Margolis is a New York guy, even though he is Kentucky-based, and I don't think he would have shipped here just to make the trip. The colt is making a big step up after winning an optional claimer, but was a close fifth in two Gr. 2 Derby prep races. He could be a late bloomer.
jay (new york)
is a superfecta compromised of flydown make music for me first dude and drosselmeyer sound good? that be 5,1,11,7
Sherry Ross (12:08 PM)
It sounds good if you feel confident throwing out Ice Box, who may indeed lack the strong pace he needs to close into. Fly Down is actually my top pick, and if you look at Make Music for Me's Derby trip, I think he can make a better showing with some racing luck. First Dude will be on or close to the lead, and was very game in the Preakness. That leaves Drosselmeyer, who was probably the best horse not to make the Derby field this year, and he has trained beautifully for this. Good luck, Jay!
Hector (Jersey City)
Sherry, your story for today said Belmont had been in danger of going out of business. Are we talking about out of business for good, or for a year or two? What an interesting development ...
Sherry Ross (12:11 PM)
Hi Hector. Yes, NYRA's future was gravely in doubt, and whether it would have been out of business for good or through this year's Saratoga meet, it would have been a disaster. I am surprised the taxpayers of NY haven't really raised more of a ruckus over this, when you consider how much revenue has been lost with the heel-dragging on the racino by the state pols. Hope that the fourth time's the charm with the current bids for VLTs.
I've followed racing a long time in New York. Did you ever interview Richard Migliore? He's won me a lot of money. Just wanted to know if the cash came from a good guy.
Sherry Ross (12:13 PM)
Hi Ron. The cash came from a GREAT guy. The Mig is one of my favorite racing people ever. He could be a little hot-tempered after losing a race, but most good athletes are competitive that way. Good family man, a hockey fan, and a rider who really cared about his horses. I hope he stays around the game, because racing needs him.
JC (Ozone Park, NY)
Hey Ms. Ross, enjoyed your work with the NY daily news, What are the chances Belmont gets the Breeders Cup in 2010?
Sherry Ross (12:15 PM)
Hey J.C., thanks for the nice words. I asked Charlie Hayward of NYRA about a BC bid yesterday. He said if the Breeders' Cup does NOT go to a permanent site (a dreadful idea if you ask me), there is a chance the BC could return here in the next year or two.
Two questions: Best Belmont Stakes you ever attended? Best horse you've ever seen at the Belmont?
Sherry Ross (12:17 PM)
Hello Hal. Good questions, because I always have two different answers. The best Belmont Stakes race I ever attended was in 1978. I was a fan then, not a writer, and was standing along the rail at the point where Alydar had in nose in front of Affirmed for about one stride. But the best performance by miles was Secretariat's in 1973. People were hugging each other and crying. It is one of the most emotional things I have ever experienced at a racetrack.
Paul (Bristol CT)
Hey Sherry, are you less excited covering Saturday's race without the Triple Crown at stake?
Sherry Ross (12:19 PM)
Yes, Paul, there is definitely more of a buzz, almost a frenzy, when you get to cover a Triple Crown bid. I have been through several of those and there really is no comparison. This year's Belmont feels more like a Travers. It's still a big race with a lot of story lines, but it's not a chance at history.
I was going with Dave in Dixie because of his name. I like the fact Borel is riding him. What do you think?
Sherry Ross (12:21 PM)
The nice thing, Dave, is that Borel drew the rail, so he doesn't even have to work his way there. The horse does deserve to be a longshot, but John Sadler has done pretty well this year shipping off of synethetic tracks to win on conventional dirt. I don't give him a big shot, but I'm not going to try to talk you off him. Good luck!
Leroy (East Orange, NJ)
If it rains and the track is muddy, do you feel that will help Ice Box or hurt?
Sherry Ross (12:22 PM)
Right now the forecast calls for a warm and sunny Saturday, but there is a chance of thunderstorms. Ice Box would be helped by an off track, as he showed in the Derby that he can handle it well.
Who do you feel is the best longshot in the race?
Sherry Ross (12:24 PM)
Hi Kevin. Among all of the horses with double digit odds, I like Make Music for Me (10-1 morning line). His Derby was awfully good despite a terrible trip, and Joel Rosario is a very underrated rider.
I am not sure you will comment on this but I am going to say it anyway. Why is it none of the big time trainers, jockeys and owners take a stand and stop the slaughter of these beautiful animals. It breaks my heart. I saw the HBO special Running For Their Lives and cried and threw up. When they breed these animals they are going to get a Smarty Jone, Secretariat or Seabiscuit. They were one in a million. There is a lady in Pa that does what she can and rescues from Sugarcreek auction in Ohio. Why doesn't someone stop this
Sherry Ross (12:27 PM)
Hi Barbara. This subject is one the industry has ignored for a long time. It took the tragedies of Ferdinand and Exceller to really get people's attention. Fortunately a lot of anti-slaughter legislation has been passed and more and more foundations have been started to find new careers or retirement farms for racehorses. It's not true that no trainers or breeders or jockeys have stepped up. Nick Zito and his wife Kim are just two of the biggest supporters of these causes. More needs to be done, I agree, but things are getting better instead of worse.
Who'll win the Stakes, Sherry?
Sherry Ross (12:29 PM)
Oh Vince, if I could answer questions like this, I wouldn't have to be sitting here in the Belmont press box doing a chat with you nice people! Seriously, though, my pick is Fly Down. He has been my Belmont choice since the Dwyer.
Sherry, what do you think about the value on Drosselmeyer having 12-1 odds?
Sherry Ross (12:32 PM)
Hi Joe, I think he offers good value. His odds might come down a little when people get a look at him, because he is a terrific-looking colt (for a $600,000 price tag, he should be!). He does need to step up, but when you figure he ran a troubled second to Fly Down in the Dwyer, and Fly Down is 9-2 ML with Drosslemeyer being 12-1, that's value.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
With all the opposition to adding slots at Kentucky tracks, why haven't more people here looked at what's happening with the NYRA and realized Kentucky's on the same path if we don't do more to help the horse industry here?
Sherry Ross (12:35 PM)
Hi Brian. While racinos are no longer the golden goose that racetracks enjoyed at the beginning -- when no one else around had them -- the fact is they remain an essential source of revenue for racetracks. New Jersey tracks have suffered because the casino lobby refuses to allow VLTs at the Meadowlands and Monmouth (all the while buildings racinos just over the border in Pennsylvania). I don't know what the opposition reasoning is in Kentucky.
Will Mine That Bird ever race in the Derby, Preakness or Belmont again or is he retired?
Sherry Ross (12:37 PM)
Hi again, Barbara. Mine That Bird is now a 4-year-old, so no more Triple Crown races for him. He was recently transferred from trainer Chip Woolley to Wayne Lukas, so if he stays sound I would expect him to race soon.
Gus (New City, NY)
Do the owners and trainers realize that they are killing the sport by not having their horses race more than they currently do? The fact that Super Saver and Lucky aren't racing in the Belmont makes less people want to watch racing in general. Also with most of these horses going to stud right after their 3 year old campaign makes it hard for people to really invest their time into watching the sport.
Sherry Ross (12:42 PM)
Hi Gus. This question touches on a LOT of issues. The industry breeds a lot of horses to win NOW. That means bigger purses for 2-year-olds and a lot of wear and tear on horses who are too young for that kind of exertion. I also think frace-day medication has weakened the breed and the use of Lasix in particular harms as much as it helps. It's insane to see a field of 2-year-old first-time starters all running on Lasix. Why is Zenyatta such a superstar? Because she has been brilliant year after year. Her career started late and has been carefully managed. We need more like her. The fact that she's a mare and hasn't been rushed off to the stud farm is one factor, but if fans keep losing interest in racing, there will be no one spending millions at the auctions.
Is it true that Jim rome has race horses and do they race in the big races or just the smaller ones.
Sherry Ross (12:43 PM)
Jim Rome would LOVE to be in the big races! Maybe one day his horses will be. He races mostly in California. Thanks for your questions everyone. Enjoy the Belmont!