Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

28 August 2011

End of the season shuffle

Another grade one race for three year old colts and yet another winner to join the crowded club for 2011. With the Travers having the distinction of being the last grade one on the books exclusively for the sophomore class and no one creating some distance from the competition, it will be a mad scramble to the end of the year to decide the championships. In this case chaos is good. Uncle Mo did not win the King’s Bishop and if anything may be back for a shot at redemption at four years old, seeing how his three-year-old season has turned into a wash. Shackleford was less than a length away from clinching the division title back on July 31st and now is back in a tie with the rest of the division. Stay Thristy is the resurgent force of the division with two recent wins and was a close second in the Belmont. With the magic number set at two grade one wins, the whole lot is stuck at one.

The parity trend is not isolated to the three-year-old males, the filly counterparts went from a division that was It’s Tricky’s to capture back into a group that any able bodied filly can win if they get on a hot streak. Turbulent Descent probably benefits the most from last week’s upheaval, as she is a multiple graded stakes winner this year. She may only need the rest of the division to trade off victories or loses to the older fillies in the fall stakes races and a Breeders’ Cup win in order to clinch. It’s Tricky remains closer to the honors than the rest of the fillies and a win against older fillies would likely grab the title.

Tizway is the default leader of the older males with wins in the Met Mile and Whitney, one more grade one and he gets the trophy with little resistance. The rest of the elder colts and geldings in that group are a jumbled mess and wins by a combination of any of them probably won’t do much to uproot the current leader.

The horse of the year championship is a four-way race at this point. Cape Blanco has two major victories stateside and a third one could get him the nod. Tizway will probably need one or two more major victories. Then there is the predicament of Havre De Grace and Blind Luck.

These two fillies have faced off against each other throughout various points in the past two years and have traded decisions with a narrow margin of victory almost every time. Havre De Grace is on target for the Woodward this upcoming Saturday at Saratoga and Havre De Grace has two races left on the schedule for the remainder of the season. If Havre De Grace wins against the males and it is a taxing effort like the one Rachel Alexandra put forth in her conquest of this race the important question is do you put her away for the year or squeeze one more race out of her for the year? Blink Luck could run the table and easily take the Horse of the Year honors away for Havre De Grace.

It is unprecedented that a filly or mare has won the Horse of the Year honors for three straight seasons and it may happen this year with the way the division races have shaped up. While horses trading decisions for the past eight months is not the most thrilling of things to follow throughout the year, it does provide for an interesting finish to a season filled with parity.

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