Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

20 November 2010

A return to normalcy




The Breeders' Cup is two weeks removed and fading into the rear view mirror until next year. Horse racing moves on, unless you work for the Daily Racing Form. The writers for that publication will not stop talking about Zenyatta’s loss in the Classic. This will be the only paragraph you will see about her loss, she was on the dead rail headed into the stretch and had to make up more ground than anyone else in that race by moving off the rail during the stretch. If Smith swings her out wide at the top of the stretch like he has done so many times before, the outcome may be different. Yes, it was Smith’s mistake and mistakes happen. After Cigar’s first loss in 17 starts Bailey took the blame because the horse could be held to fault after 16 straight wins. As for the horse of the year controversy, who cares? The top two finishers are headed to the breeding shed and they faced off once, it is not like it is the end of a great rivalry like Sunday Silence versus Easy Goer or Affirmed versus Alydar, it was one race with two top quality horses. Only two groups of people place any importance on Eclipse awards, out of touch racing journalists and overly devoted fans of the horses in the running for these awards. There are plenty of races after the Breeders’ Cup and a lot of it is worth watching.

The Mad Hatter Stakes

Just to highlight the ridiculousness of placing too much importance on Beyer Speed Figures, take a look at Understatement. He ran a figure of 115 in February and the Classic winner had a figure of 111, if you go solely on these numbers you will be tempted to say that Understatement is a beast that could have mopped the floor with the Classic field. Closer form inspection shows that he runs his best on the winter surface at Aqueduct though, he ran that big number over the ice rink last January and was shipped to the mid-Atlantic twice in the spring to no success. His tries at Monmouth last year were also mediocre in comparison to his inner track record. It also could stand to reason that his form cycle peaks during the winter as evidenced by his big effort in December of 2009 before running big efforts in two stakes at the Big A. When the racing returns to the inner track, beware of this one.

Suburban Handicap winner Dry Martini is going to post for the 35th time in this race. The one thing that racing has not been good at in recent times is promoting the geldings, they make up most of the horse population at any given track and they run in more races than the high class stallions do as well. The geldings are a great promotional tool, because you know that the breeding shed will never call and all they can do is race. More Than a Reason is not gelded and is making his 59th start, I guess winning starter allowances is not highly sought after in the breeding shed. He made 24 starts last year and 16 starts this year, a total of 40 starts with five wins and a little over $300,000 to show for it, not bad at all.

Juvenile clearinghouse

The Delta Jackpot will be renewed for the eighth time today, seven times prior this race as produced nothing more than futile longshots for the Kentucky Derby. Despite that fact trainers will send their juveniles in this spot because it makes it that much easier to get into the Derby field even if their horse doesn’t have any foundation being in that spot. If there ever was a solid reasoning for restructuring the the Derby entry process this is the example that could be used.

Uncle Mo was a much the best winner in the juvenile, but before everyone goes rushing to Vegas for Derby futures on this one, here is something to consider. The last three Juvenile winners failed to reach the gate come the first Saturday in May following Street Sense’s Juvenile/Derby double in 2007. For some reason the runner-ups and also-rans from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile seem to fare better going forward. This is not a recent trend either, Alysheba was third in the 1987 Juvenile and won the Derby and Preakness the following year. Lookin at Lucky and Afleet Alex were on the board in juvenile and went onto bigger and better things, Wilko never panned out and Vale of York all but disappeared from the radar if it wasn’t for a recent notice about his retirement.

Discovery Handicap

This race usually produces some good runners going forward, a recent example is Haynesfield. Reaching into the vault, Evening Attire was the winner of this race back in 2001. Recently a half brother of Evening Attire, Con the Cat broke his maiden over the Big A carrying the tradition of success over the Aqueduct oval in the family’s genes. If Con the Cat is half as good as his older brother than he should be a hell of a racehorse. Not much insight on this running of the Discovery though, just an excuse to post a youtube link to Evening Attire’s 65/1 upset in this race.

1 comment:

G. Calabrese said...

More Than A Reason doesn't get much respect but he is more honest and has earned more money in the last year than 99% of the bums in the grandstand.

I like Senior's Pride to win one for the old guys here.