We’re twenty weeks in, and the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league has now drawn to a close. I joined the league with no expectations other than that the league would give me a distinct reason to follow the three-year-old class more closely, and become a better handicapper. The league served that purpose admirably, and was a lot of fun for me. I also somehow managed not to finish last despite being so new to fanatically following horse racing, and despite a big mid-season slump for my stable. In an eight-person league, I finished fifth: not too shabby for someone taking their first crack at fantasy horse racing, and for someone for whom this was their first year following the Triple Crown trail so closely.
In the final weekend, five of my eight horses entered the gate, and two managed to hit the board to score a few final points. Life In Shambles set the fractions in the Easy Goer, faster than I would have expected thanks to longshot Howl pushing him along. He got nabbed by Kid Cruz and Legend late, but the promising gelding managed to hold on for third. I had two in the Woody Stephens, Derby Trial winner Embellishing Bob and recent stable addition Top Fortitude. Embellishing Bob just didn’t have it down the stretch, and finished seventh. Top Fortitude, near the back early, had enough to pick off everyone but Bayern at the end. Bayern ran away with it, but the Arizona-bred still acquitted himself well, and showed that his performance in the Laz Barrera was no fluke. My stable had two in the Belmont Stakes, Ride On Curlin and Wicked Strong. Ride On Curlin didn’t have a good time of things. He bled, and jockey John Velazquez eased him late. He’s getting a well-deserved break before continuing. Wicked Strong chased the pace from a bit closer than I was expecting, and made up some ground late. However, he only got within 1 3/4 lengths of Tonalist at the wire, good enough for a fourth-place dead heat with California Chrome.
A big thank you to Craig for running the league through the winter and spring. I loved it, all the way around. I was a little shy to throw my hat into the ring at first, both because I was relatively new to following racing so closely and because I didn’t know anyone in the league all that well when I joined. Still, I’m glad I shoved aside my fears of failing and of feeling like an interloper. It was both fun and educational to just dive in, and I’ve gotten to know some seriously awesome people as part of the league.
I can’t wait to do this all again next year.