Mrs. Murphy is a maiden no more! (Photo from a previous race)
After a 2009 campaign that took her to three different tracks and saw her just miss the brass ring on a few occasions, Mrs. Murphy finally got her breakthrough win last Friday at Pinnacle Race Course. Boom goes the dynamite!
Consecutive weekend trips to Detroit and Lexington left me strapped for cash and lacking for energy, so I decided to watch the race from the simulcast room at Mount Pleasant Meadows. The feed didn’t have sound, but I could bet on the race, and the fact that my name was in the program made me the most popular guy in the place for the half hour surrounding the contest.
As I entered the bar and searched for a monitor broadcasting the Pinnacle signal, I saw Murph was giving off odds hovering around even money. She was the morning line second choice behind a first time starter named Copperness. In their pre-race selections, mutuel clerk/racing analyst/multitasker Andrea Ritter picked her to win and track announcer Matt Hook had her second behind Copperness. Murph and Copperness took turns as the people’s choice, but when the gate’s opened, Mrs. Murphy was the 1.60-to-one favorite.
True to form, Mrs. Murphy came out of the gates like a rocket and challenged fellow chalk horse Copperness for the lead. The pair streaked several lengths ahead of everyone else and never looked back as they dueled across the backstretch. Murph pressured the leader from the outside through the turn and heading into the stretch. Then things got interesting.
At this point, Mrs. Murphy began to fall off from the leader. She was as far back as a length and a half and showing signs of lugging in. At this point, a part of me began to concede defeat. She ran hard throughout the race and between her past performances and sprinter’s pedigree, she could have very easily tapped herself out.
Except she didn’t.
By the middle of the stretch, Copperness began wavering and Murph began slowly chipping away at her advantage under urging from jockey Mike Roll. She gradually came even with her rival as the wire approached, traded bobs of the head and willed herself to the front as they crossed the line. The Equibase chart says she won the race by a neck, but from what I saw, that was a pretty generous spot.
For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.
By this point, my hand had become sore from slapping it with my rolled up program. After a race like that, it was a good hurt. Though I will someday cash a nice breeder’s check from the day, the immediate payoff from Murph’s win was about $15 and change from $2 across the board and another $2 to win. By the end of the day, it was all back in the Mount Pleasant Meadows till.
Though I could not make it to the race in person, it was a good feeling to see a horse with so many ties to my family, both by name and bloodlines, succeed. Staying away from the track seems to be the winning formula, but I hope to someday watch her find the winner’s circle with my own two eyes. After an effort like this, there will surely be more to follow.