Blame is the winner of the 2010 Grade 1 Whitney Handicap.
This blog hoped that this post would begin with the above statement. Even with Blame being the selection, a blog favorite AND the blog's choice to win the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, this win was a bit of surprise. There was a not-so-small part of this blog that thought Quality Road would crush this field. Going in, he was a formidable opponent and a worthy 1/2 favorite. He had three superb wins this year, setting a track record in one of them. Those led him to be the deserving highweight in the field, Most of the others had a least a fighting chance. But they had no one to Blame once the race had been run.
As the field was in the gate, Haynesfield broke through it prematurely, acting very fractious, but was allowed to run. After the first quarter mile, Quality Road look to be in complete control. After half a mile, Quality Road looked on his way to a blowout win. After 3/4 of a mile, Blame looked like he had a small chance. After a mile, Blame looked like he had a good chance. At the 1/16th pole, it looked like he had a great chance. At the wire, Blame had cashed in his chance and crossed the wire first, under a hand-ride. No whip needed. His jockey Garrett Gomez never lifted the stick.
Before the Whitney, this blog was committed to shouting from the mountaintops that Blame was this year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, but nothing else. Now with the win, the phrase "Blame - 2010 Horse of the Year" has entered into the lexicon. He has now moved to the top of the handicap division. But how will he accomplish that goal? It looks like that his next race will be the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont October 2nd, then the Breeders Cup Classic. This schedule leaves no margin for error. A loss in the JCGC will take him out of contention. On the flipside, it leaves him in a nice position as a fresh horse. Hopefully this carefully plotted course will have a happy ending come November 6th.
Blame was given an opportunity and seized it. Now, how will he and his connections react with the pressure on? As the line from Shakespeare Henry IV says, "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown".