Previously on the first - and probably last - reality/game show/horse racing hybrid, there was lots of grossness, lots of awkwardness, lots of nastiness, some leering, and a little bit of horse racing.
Steve highlighted some of the key moments on the show - like the stable hands' battles with the owners; the skirmishes between Susan & Aaron and, well, just about everyone else; the love triangle between Sara, Eric, and LeVar; and of course, the guts matches. In the end, it was 3/4s of the mansion alliance that survived to the end - Eric, LeVar, and Sara, in that order.
Steve asked Eric about that drunken confessional when he first got to the mansion. Eric replied, "If I did something people are still talking about, it must be good." Well, yeah, if you say so.
Our intrepid host asked LeVar about the show's most infamous triangle. LeVar said they tried to stay focused, but Eric was a sucker for love, but it all ended up OK in the end. In the opinion of the author, Eric was a sucker for love and other things. But never mind, there's a show to recap.
Mr. Santagati asked Sara if there was anything left for she and her allies left to prove. She answered, "No... we're here, aren't we?" Clever answer.
Then it was time for their picks. They tried to play it like they were picking live - or at least just a few minutes before - but we knew the picks were in for at least two days. Anyhow, Eric picked Crafty Value, commenting that he was the best horse for the distance. LeVar favored Crafty Value also, but was content to settle for Big Wagner. Sara took Nigel No Mates.
Alex Hassinger stopped by to comment on these three picks. He said that those were the three best horses, but Nigel No Mates had worked best in the mornings.
And who's this? Why, it's our favorite handicapper "John". Only his name really is John, and he's a reporter/handicapper. He noted that all three were good choices, but the rain could affect the way the race is run. Did I say that it was raining at Santa Anita? It NEVER rains in sunny southern California.
And now it's time for the losers to come back and face their fates. And their fate - as is ours - is more recaps. We got to see Dean the dealmaker, Chris the charmer, Jewel the city girl, Susan the horse lover, David the handicapper, Tara (C) the show horse person/mansion 4th wheel, Aaron the puppet, Tara (W) the seductress, and Deanna the other horse lover.
Steve asked Aaron what the worst part of the show was for him. He said that it was the stables, and specifically noted that there was a lot of water in the group shower.
Then Steve asked Deanna whether all the time she spent in the stalls was good or bad. She cleverly noted that it had its pros and cons.
Another thing we knew beforehand was who was in and was out, and also what horse they picked. But they actually revealed vote percentages to us here. Deanna led in a runaway with 38% of the vote. Dean got 25%. Susan was third with 12%. Chris was given 9%. Steve explained to us that the last two were separated by only 28 votes. This near photo finish was won by... David, who ended up with 5% of the vote.
And what horses did they pick? Deanna chose Avenueofknowledge. Dean chose Shoot Yeah. Susan chose Sharp As A Fox (Susie, I love you, but they're sending you home tonight anyway; you don't have to pick a loser anymore). Chris chose Regal Cruiser. And David selected R Champ the head case.
Oh goody, LeAnn Rimes stopped by. She had three thing to do - mention her album (gotta make the label happy), make her pointless pick in the race (she liked Crafty Value), and lip sync her new song "You Take Me Home", which happened to be the theme song for the show.
Because we can never have too much handicapping info, "John" - sorry, JOHN - stopped by to tell us that Nigel No Mates has a good trainer in Ron Ellis, who has a Derby contender, and wouldn't it be great if he won both the American Dream Derby and the Kentucky Derby in the same year? Yeah John, on a scale of 1 to 100 on the excitement scale, winning the Kentucky Derby is about a 300, and winning this is, what, about a -3?
Anyway, Alex stopped by again also. He noted that Big Wagner was the only horse in the stable to win 3 times, but also said that Crafty Value has run well in the past on sloppy tracks.
The horses were loading into the gate, but let me make some notes for posterity's sake. First, the post time odds:
1-Avenueofknowlege, 6-1 2-R Champ, 8-1 3-Big Wagner, 9-2 4-Crafty Value, 2-1 5-Nigel No Mates, 2-1 6-Regal Cruiser, 15-1 7-Sharp As A Fox, 30-1 8-ShootYeah, 10-1
I made a small bet on Shoot Yeah, and I had a daily double bet from the previous race with Crafty Value.
Trevor Denman did the call, instead of that guy that did the guts matches and such. Denman's the regular Santa Anita announcer and a good one. And away they go! Early on, Avenueofknowledge and R Champ dueled for the lead, Big Wagner, Crafty Value, and Nigel No Mates were just behind; and the others well behind them. At the 3/8s pole, R Champ started to fade - right on time - and AOK had the lead. But the stalkers were coming... or not. AOK left them in the mud and took the win by 4. Regal Cruiser came from nowhere to finish second. The rest of the finishing order went like this: Big Wagner, Shoot Yeah, Nigel No Mates, Crafty Value, Sharp As A Fox, and R Champ.
Deanna was thrilled at this huge victory. They presented her with a big check and a big trophy. It seemed that everyone and their brother stopped by the winners' circle to get a piece of this - the other 7 contestants and Steve, of course, but also Avenueofknowledge, jockey Omar Figueroa, trainer Howard Zucker (you mean Alex didn't train all those horses? The next thing you're going to tell me is that there is no Santa Claus!!) and a whole bunch of Deanna's friends.
She said that she really wanted those horses and committed to using all of the prize money to take care of them, which I'm sure will make at least one of my "fans" very happy.
Steve said, "See you next time". Only in a rerun, Steve.