Chapter 85: COVID Chronicles

June 21, 2020

By Tony

Day 102

Belmont Recap & Funny Business in the Holly Tree

For my first time ever seeing a horse race, I’m pretty proud of my predictions for the Belmont Stakes yesterday. I gave Tiz the Law the benefit of the doubt, since he was the humans’ favorite, and they were right. He won.

But there I was, glued to the screen when MY favorite, Fore Left, shifted into high gear and stunned everybody on the track when he looked for a moment like he was going to pull off a big upset…

Here was the leader board…

Unfortunately, Lefty’s boldness motivated the other horses and some of them overtook him. I’m glad his jockey let him relax back to 9th place because it made no sense at that point to run him to death.

One of the horses that charged in the end was my other favorite, Max Player. He really showed his stuff in the stretch and finished third!

At home, we had some excitement, too. It started when Karen noticed some dead branches on the holly tree outside the kitchen window. When she went to investigate, she found this nest…

There’s this cardinal who’s been giving Roc and me the stink-eye from that tree for about a week now. Little did we know he was shacking up out there…

Turns out he’s married. When Karen was tugging on the dead branches before she saw the nest, he and his wife were having a fit, flapping and squawking. Here he is again (top) and his bride…

She doesn’t look anything like a cardinal, so we thought it was a mixed marriage (do birds do that?). But Karen looked it up and girl cardinals are gray. Also, cardinals are monogamous and keep the same mate for life, so rather than the carefree playboybird he made us think he was, he’s spoken for.

The wife plopped down in the nest as soon as Karen came back into the house. This is their mating season, so she’s probably hatching a litter out there. The nest is too high for Karen to peek into. Cardinals are born in about 12 days, so Roc and I are keeping an eye out for a sudden population explosion.


Chapter 84: COVID Chronicles

June 20, 2020

By Tony

Day 101

Tony’s Debut on the Triple Crown Beat

I never knew Adele, but Max and Roc tell me she loved horses and the Triple Crown races — far more than she ever loved THEM, they believe.

Karen says Adele picked some winners, like Animal Kingdom (2011 Kentucky Derby) and Exaggerator (2016 Preakness). Adele even Skyped this funny interview with Exaggerator.

Adele would have HATED what COVID has done to the Triple Crown this year.

Today, Belmont is the first race of the season instead of the last. (NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET, post time 5:42) No fans will be there. It’s only 1 1/8 mile instead of the usual 1 1/2 mile. I understand 1 1/2 miles really pushes the horses, especially when they’re pooped from running in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, all so close together. But this year they’re not, so Belmont is more like a normal race.

Because I’m the TV-loving cat around here, Max and Roc agreed I’m most fit to carry on Adele’s tradition. I think they’re lazy, or afraid she’ll haunt them if they do it and screw up. Or hazing the new kitty.

So I’ve been cramming to learn everything, especially what “odds” are. Thankfully, this Belmont has only 10 horses.

Humans think Tiz the Law has the best shot at winning (odds 6-5) because he’s won four of his five races. But he drew post position 8, which means slightly farther around the track.

Since I’m new to this, I’m not saying Tiz the Law won’t win. But I’ve always been an underdogkitty myself, so I’ve paid more attention to the less likely horses. If they can beat Tiz, it’s a win for all of us.

One I found is Max Player. Why? Look at his name. I’m nothing if not loyal to family. But he’s not some half-digested rubber band I just pulled out of my butt, either. He’s won two of his three races. Today he’s in pp 3 with jockey Joel Rosario and odds 15-1.

Watch his most recent race at Aqueduct on February 4 and see for yourself how amazing Max is…

I’ll admit this next is a dangle from my kitty perch, but I’m picking Fore Left to win (pp 6, jockey Jose Ortiz, odds 30-1). It’s not as crazy as it sounds, and here’s a human who agrees.

Fore Left is the most experienced and worldly horse. He’s won three of nine races, most recently the UAE Two Thousand Guineas on February 6 in Dubai…

And here’s Fore Left in June 2019 winning the Tremont Stakes…

All I’m saying is, if Tiz the Law manages to get closer to the rail and finds himself with a faceful of Fore Left tail, he might as well hang up his horseshoes, he’s glue.

(Am I getting the lingo, or are Max and Roc yanking my tail again?)

Almost forgot: Adele always blessed a race with, “May all the horses run a good race and cross the finish line safely.”

That goes for me, too.


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